This month I found myself in Lexington, Kentucky, so I decided to hit up one of the distilleries on the famed “Kentucky Bourbon Trail” for my 30 minute project.
Woodford Reserve, begun in the late 18th century, is one of the oldest distilleries in Kentucky. Snuggled in between several lush horse farms, Woodford Reserve is a small but beautiful operation, housed in several very old stone and brick buildings. As I went on the first tour of the day at 10am, it was an unsurprisingly small group. Our tour guide was so sweet and knowledgable, and took us through the different buildings showing the entire process of crafting real Kentucky bourbon. (Fun fact: apparently Kentucky bourbon is so delicious because central Kentucky sits over a huge limestone aquifer).
The process at Woodford involves grinding a mixture of corn, rye, and barley and then they add the special local water and ferment it in large batches over several days. This converts the sugars to alcohol. The mixture is then distilled through 3 different brass contraptions, ending up a clear liquid that is very high in alcohol content. The workers then fill the handcrafted oak barrels (which are toasted/charred on the inside to inspire flavor), stamp them and store them in huge above-ground cellars for several years until it is ready to bottle!
I was lucky to witness the actual bottling and packaging process while I was there. It was definitely a cool experience and gave me even more of an appreciation for bourbon! After the short 30 min tour ended, we were led back to the main building where there were free samples for us to taste, along with dark chocolate bourbon ball candy! 😉 Psst! Now that you’ve finished exploring the Woodford Reserve Distillery, go check out all of the other photographers in our group’s take on the “30 minutes” project! Click here and enjoy!