December 6th, 2013
The growth of bourbon is a huge success story today, considering that 80 years ago, everything came to a standstill. Prohibition wiped out 85% of U.S. distilleries and 100 percent of breweries. Legal liquor retailers went down in number by 90 percent. The few breweries and distilleries that stayed open switched to making non-alcoholic beer, industrial alcohol, or medicinal whiskey!
Well into the 1930’s, two-thirds of Americans still thought Prohibition was a good idea.
Thats where the imitators came in. Soon good straight whiskey was hard to come by, thus the introduction of blended whiskies. By one estimate, just one-fourth of this blended whiskey, was actual whiskey!
This is essentially how the cocktail was born, as the booze available was disgusting, which spurred the popularity of cocktails to mask its taste.
Still today, there are many absurd restrictions still in place. To this day, the sale of alcohol is still banned in 10 percent of the country under local dry laws. It only took 13 years to realize this experiment was a disastrous mistake.
So sit back and relax, enjoy your favorite bourbon, and thank God for Repeal Day!
November 25th, 2013
The holiday season is upon us, and it’s time make a list. Stocking Stuffers are supposed to be fun, tasty treats, right? Well, that sounds good to us, and we have lots of ‘em. Here are a few ideas:
2.5″ Whiskey Ice Ball Mold to keep your bourbon cold, but not watered down.
A special gift for that bourbon lover, your very own carrying case.
Several local spots and a few distilleries offer etching when you buy a bottle. Some even offer it for FREE.
Check out this tasty hat that we carry in our Mint Julep Tours Store, located on the 3rd floor of the Rivue Tower, The Galt House Hotel.
We drink our bourbon and eat it too. Get in the holiday spirit with this Bourbon Smoked Sugar from our friends at Bourbon Barrel Foods. We carry a wide variety of bourbon related foodie products at our Mint Julep Tours Store.
And of course, for the special person on your list, how about a Bourbon Tour. Whether it’s a Public tour for one or two folks, or a custom tour for a group, we have you covered! We’ll even make up a pretty certificate you can present to them on the special day.
November 15th, 2013
Located on Louisville’s historic “Whiskey Row,” the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience features an artisanal distillery, tours, tastings, and more! Celebrating the legacy of Evan Williams, Kentucky’s first distiller, this immersive experience brings to life the history and tradition of Kentucky’s native spirit.
Whether you’re a Bourbon enthusiast or looking for something exciting to do in the city, come for a taste of Bourbon’s rich history. You’ll step back in time to 1783 and experience life and Bourbon making as it was in the early days of the Republic.
The guided tour features an operating Artisanal Distillery where you will not only learn the process for making Bourbon, but you will see it being made right before your eyes. The tour also includes a premium Bourbon tasting and concludes in the gift shop where you can take home an array of signature items including a personalized bottle of Evan Williams or a barrel-proof Whiskey jug.
Check out the sneak peek:
Check out the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience website.
October 31st, 2013
Bourbon is one of those subjects that tends to inspire strong opinions. Maybe it’s the Bourbon talking, but Bourbon has a long history in this neck of the woods. Lets explore some of the myths:
“It can only be called bourbon if it’s made in Bourbon County”
Well the Federal government says, Bourbon can only be made in the United States. However, most Bourbon is indeed made in Kentucky, however none is currently distilled in Bourbon County as a result of changes in the political borders of the County.
“Bourbon needs to be aged for two years”
The regulation reads as follows: “Whiskies conforming to the standards prescribed in paragraphs (b)(1)(i) and (ii) of this section, which have been stored in the type of oak containers prescribed, for a period of 2 years or more shall be further designated as ’straight’; for example, ’straight bourbon whisky.’” So just “straight” bourbon whisky must be aged for 2 years.
“All Bourbon is made in Kentucky”
While most bourbon comes from the Bluegrass State (according to the Kentucky Distillers’ Association, 95 percent of the planet’s supply is born there), by law the alcohol can be distilled anywhere in the United States. Much of the reason why bourbon is made here is the limestone rich water, true 4 season climates, and the abundance of raw materials like corn.
“You can speed up the bourbon process”
Good things take time. Distilleries have experimented heavily with smaller barrels, rotating barrels, shrink-wrapping barrels to lessen the angels share, and probably more that we don’t even know about yet. Some are even using modern methods like pressure aging and ultrasonic technology.
The Buffalo Trace Experimental project has been heavily written about. “As expected, the smaller 5 gallon barrel aged bourbon faster than the 15 gallon version. However, it’s as if they all bypassed a step in the aging process and just never gained that depth of flavor that we expect from our bourbons. Even though these small barrels did not meet our expectations, we feel it’s important to explore and understand the differences between the use of various barrel sizes,” said Master Distiller Harlen Wheatley.
Want to check out more fun facts and history of your favorite drink, check out the 2013 book Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey: An American Heritage disproves pretty much every previously held belief about the birth and early history of this American-born booze.
Historian Michael R. Veach reveals the true story of bourbon in Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey. Starting with the Whiskey Rebellion of the 1790s, he traces the history of this unique beverage through the Industrial Revolution, the Civil War, Prohibition, the Great Depression, and up to the present. Veach explores aspects of bourbon that have been ignored by others, including the technology behind its production, the effects of the Pure Food and Drug Act, and how Prohibition contributed to the Great Depression. The myths surrounding bourbon are legion, but Veach separates fact from legend. While the true origin of the spirit may never be known for certain, he proposes a compelling new theory.
October 25th, 2013
Looking to win over your future father-in-law this holiday season, then look no further. Think big. Think Bourbon. Think, a lot of bourbon. Well we have the inside scoop for you. For those at a loss on what to buy the person on your list that has everything, think big - a whole barrel of bourbon.
We have the inside scoop on a couple of unique experiences for the ultimate bourbon lover. Here at Mint Julep Tours, we can do all the planning for your Private barrel selection at a handful of distilleries. We plan your ultimate experience and coordinate your transportation (because you don’t need to sample barrel proof bourbon and be driving yourself around bourbon country). To inquire for more info, fill out the info form here to get more information for your private barrel selection.
Buffalo Trace Distillery, located in Frankfort, Ky offers bourbon enthusiasts the unique opportunity to hand-select their very own barrel of premium bourbon. Visit the Trace to experience an amazing day of southern hospitality and leave with the ultimate souvenir!
The road to buying a barrel begins with selecting a brand such as Buffalo Trace, Eagle Rare Single Barrel, Elmer T. Lee Single Barrel or Blanton’s Single Barrel.
The barrel buying experience begins upon arrival at the Trace. Guests are greeted by the Buffalo Trace staff. One of the distillery’s expert tour guides will then lead a behind-the-scenes tour to educate guests on the finer points of bourbon distillation and the rich history surrounding the bourbon industry.
The barrel selection takes place in the legendary Warehouse H. Warehouse H is the only metal-clad warehouse at Buffalo Trace and it houses all of the Blanton’s Bourbon. Blanton’s is the original single barrel bourbon, first released in 1984. The bourbon samples are taken directly from the barrel. Tasting is done at barrel-strength and then again cut to 60 proof, allowing the products’ natural aromas and flavors to come through.
After selection, the barrel will be pulled aside and prepared for bottling. Each bottle of bourbon will have a custom sticker or tag, letting everyone know it was specially selected. Once the bourbon is bottled it will go to the distributor and then to a local liquor store for pick up. Plus you get to keep the barrel too!
Prices and quantities of barrels vary depending upon the brand and how much the barrel yields. All bourbon is paid for the at the consumer’s local retail outlet.
As a part of our Four Roses experience, Four Rose’s invited folks out to the Cox’s Creek bottling and aging facility to begin the tasting process. There you can sample all TEN Four Roses exclusive formulas directly from their respective barrels under the guidance of Hall of Fame Master Distiller Jim Rutledge.
After the selection, your barrel is bottled and you will receive your bottles with your individual custom label at full barrel strength. The entire barrel yields close to 200 bottles.
Check out the video of a recent experience during a Four Roses Private Barrel Selection here.
To inquire for more info, fill out the info form here to get more information for your private barrel selection.
October 16th, 2013
At Mint Julep Tours, we are the experts at Bourbon Experiences. We provide weekly tours along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® and beyond, as well as Louisville City Tours, and Horse Farm Experiences. We customize bourbon experiences for any size group.
What you may not know, we get pretty creative with Bourbon Events, tastings, and corporate outings. Pair a customized bourbon event with a Bourbon Tour or Horse farm tour, and you have an amazing experience. Or dream up of your own day, weekend, or week of bourbon activities. We have mastered bourbon on land, and on sea.
Well, the Ohio River is the closest sea we have to Bourbon country!
Our Team at Mint Julep Tours makes event planning easy. You call us, and we handle the rest from transportation to food to bourbon to activities.
Check out a few of our past experiences:
- Kentucky Style corporate outing with a Bourbon themed dinner & tasting
- Dinner Cruise, Bourbon tasting, and bluegrass music entertainment
- Kentucky Style Dinner, bourbon tasting, and a Mixology lesson how to make your favorite cocktail
- The History of Bourbon Whiskey as Told Through Bluegrass Music. You will hear, see, smell and TASTE bourbon as the history of it is told in story and song. Here’s a short video!
- Pair a famous Kentucky Horse farm & a Bourbon distillery for a day long Taste of Kentucky for your group
- Roll out the barrel as you select your own barrel of bourbon, that will be individually bottled and labeled just for your group
Kick your team meeting into gear and do something different. Our experiences make for the perfect appreciation outing for your office staff, so take the fun on the road and let us plan your next corporate event. Not only can we provide VIP Transportation, we’ll also handle event coordination for stress free party planning!
Our bourbon tour and event experts are ready to dream your custom bourbon experience. Click here to dream up your adventure!
October 10th, 2013
Bourbon has been stereotypically considered a “man’s drink”. But it’s 2013 and times are “a changin”.
Bourbon is smoother, aged longer, and is not the “Rot Gut” stuff that used to burn a hole in the bar, portrayed in the wild wild west.
Bourbon is expanding to the female audience. This is clear in the number of women centric bourbon blogs popping up on the web, bourbon inspired drinks, and women bourbon groups and events. Now, women are showing the ever popular spirits industry, they love bourbon too. Not only are women enjoying bourbon, but they are also appreciating the female impact on the bourbon industry. Check out the Bourbon Women Group who’s mission is to promote the history and heritage of Bourbon, started by Peggy Noe Stevens.
The iconic Maker’s Mark Bourbon bottle has a woman’s fingerprints all over it.
The bottle, the wax and the label were all created by Marge Samuels, Bill Samuels Sr.’s wife. Bill Sr. wanted to get rid of that because the bottles would come in torn and chipped too often, as well as the arduous task of hand-dipping each bottle. But she stood up for it, and you know how it turned out. Maker’s Mark is one of the most recognizable bourbon brands in the industry.
One such example of this female influence, is the new book Whiskey Women written by Fred Minnick. Whiskey Women tells the tales of women who have created this industry, from Mesopotamia’s first beer brewers and distillers to America’s rough-and-tough bootleggers during Prohibition. Women have long distilled, marketed, and owned significant shares in spirits companies. Buy the book here on Amazon.
Wall Street Journal best-selling author Fred Minnick, once an army journalist in Iraq, writes the award-winning “American Whiskey” column for Tasting Panel Magazine and “Toasting the Hunt” column for Covey Rise. A regular contributor to Caviar Affair, Costco Connection, Whisky Magazine and Whisky Advocate, Minnick has widely written about the spirits industry, traveling around the world covering everything from Limoncello in Sorrento, Italy, to Malbec wine in Mendoza, Argentina. Minnick is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors. Meridith May, publisher of Tasting Panel, calls Minnick “one of the best whiskey storytellers in the business.” Read Fred Minnick’s blog here. Check out dates for the book tour here.
September 30th, 2013
We like to put bourbon on our pancakes, in our coffee, and in our glass. Speaking of bourbon in our glass, we especially love that our friends at the Old Talbott Tavern won a tasty achievement this past month at The Kentucky Bourbon Festival.
The 2014 Kentucky Bourbon Festival signature drink was named at the Mixed Drink challenge, “A Sidecar Named Desire,”made by Old Talbott Tavern bartenders Angie Leake and Heather Richards. If you didn’t make it to the festival, here’s a treat to replicate the tasty winner at home:
“A Sidecar Named Desire” - Winner of the Mixed Drink Challenge at the 2013 Kentucky Bourbon Festival.
1 ½ oz. of Woodford Reserve Bourbon
½ oz. Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
½ oz. Cointreau
1 ½ Strawberry Simple Syrup
1 ½ oz. Apple Cider
The glass should be rimmed with Turbinado sugar and a fresh strawberry.
Be sure to stop by and say hello to our friends at the Old Talbott Tavern in Bardstown, KY, “The Bourbon Capital of the World”.
We think it’s fitting that their concoction won the Mixed Drink Challenge, since they are also the “Worlds oldest Bourbon bar”! Check out the Tavern’s place in Bourbon history here.
September 23rd, 2013
If you feel like you have just been hit by a truck, you’re gonna be fine. It’s just the day after the 22nd annual Kentucky Bourbon Festival. They don’t call it the Bourbon capital of the world for nothing!
Let’s recap: 41 festival events are now history, with an anticipated crowd of 60,000, attending from more than 45 states and 12 countries.
Comically, the Bourbon Festival more than quadruples the population of Bardstown, KY (Population ~13,000). Its a huge showcase for our signature spirit. It’s a walk in the park for the fine folks of Bardstown, because when it comes to Bourbon, they have been at it for over 200 years!
Here are a few highlights of the All-Star Sampler, the sold out/kick off event of the Bourbon Festival. 500 plus folks packed the event, with their chance to meet and interact with all the Master Distiller’s of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail distilleries. Bourbon lovers, lined up to rub shoulders, seek autographs, and take pictures with the legends of our industry. Oh, did I mention they serve bourbon too!
Master Distiller Jim Rutledge of Four Roses Distillery, autographing a flask for a fan.
The Kentucky Bourbon Trail glowing barrel at the All Star Sampler Bourbon Festival event.
Creative bourbon barrel head with signatures from the event.
Bourbon Legend Parker Beam, Master Distiller Emeritus of Heaven Hill Distillery, pictured with his son Craig Beam, Master Distiller of Heaven Hill.
Parker Beam, Master Distiller Emeritus of Heaven Hill, signing autographs.
Legendary Master Distiller Jimmy Russell of Wild Turkey, signing autographs.
Next year’s festival has already been put in ink, so mark your calendars for September 16-24th, 2014.