We sat on the porch at Woodford Reserve, rocking back in the wooden chairs and shielding our eyes from the afternoon sun. I had to take this moment to let all of the Kentucky goodness soak in. All weekend it was rolling green golf courses, multicolored trees, majestic horses, and a premium bourbon distillery, and it was just about time for me to hop on a plane back to California.
Gina and Dave were the best hosts I could ever ask for. They flew me in to shoot their Saturday morning wedding, but we spent entire weekend together exploring Kentucky and enjoying autumn at its best.
The main attractions: horses and bourbon, quintessential Kentucky. We arrived at the Kentucky Horse Park after it had already closed, so instead of doing an official tour, we roamed the grounds and found some new equestrian friends. On the left, a dry stone wall unique to the area, expertly built without mortar. On the right, one of the many beautiful horses.
Huge, gentle horse eyes. Love.
Just look at this view from hour hotel, the Griffin Gate Resort & Spa. Amazing. My favorite.
And on Sunday afternoon, we headed to Woodford Reserve on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail for a tour of their distillery. Bourbon is a whisky unique to Kentucky, made possible by the iron-free waters that run through Kentucky’s limestone foundations. The best thing about touring Woodford Reserve is that it’s a small batch distillery, which means it’s small enough for you to actually see every room and every barrel of the entire production.
Fermentation begins in these huge vats bubbling from the yeast.
The bourbon is triple distilled in copper stills and comes out crystal clear, not a particle in sight.
The beautiful, rustic oak barrels are what give the bourbon its auburn color. Each of these barrels are used once and only once, and a master taster and distiller hand mixes several barrels together to form the signature Woodford Reserve blend that goes into every bottle.
Finally, at the end of the tour, I get my sample tasting. I won’t pretend I can describe bourbon with any sort of developed palate, (something about toasted almond?) but it was amazingly good. And seeing the entire distillery from beginning to end really helps you appreciate everything that goes into this little shot of liquid. Oh, and the bourbon chocolate was delicious too.
I have to say again how amazing Gina and Dave are, because Dave had been through this tour five times already, and neither one of them drinks, but they thought it would be fun to bring me anyway. Thank you both so much. I had an amazing Kentucky adventure.