Some Nirvana in Kentucky

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is returned from a quick trip to Kentucky. The purpose, as he mentioned in a previous bleg, was to road trip with a good friend to visit Bourbon distilleries. Specifically the Maker’s Mark distillery.

By the way, my loyal minions… What the hell is up with you people? Have none of the 3,000 unique visitors per month to this site ever been to Lexington, Kentucky? None of you? He blegs for a restaurant suggestion… And nothing… On the one hand he is glad that no one made up a recommendation. On the other hand he now wonders if any of you get out…

(NB to you all… Your Maximum Leader read his site statistics for the first time in months in order to ascertain how many of you might be out there…)

Your Maximum Leader will not bore you with all the sundry details of the whole trip. He’ll say that he visited three distilleries. Four Roses, Wild Turkey, and Maker’s Mark. Of those three, if you were going to visit one… He’d tell you without hesitation or reservation that the only one worth your time was the Maker’s Mark distillery.

As longtime readers of this spot know, your Maximum Leader is a Scotch whisky type of fellow. He comes from a long line of Scotch whisky drinkers. But over the past few years a combination of patriotism, changing taste, and the economy have started a love affair with Bourbon whisky. (Great Bourbon is a hell of a lot cheaper than great Scotch by the by. And times are tough you know…)

Your Maximum Leader’s favorite Bourbon is Maker’s Mark. He does like the Wild Turkey “Rare Breed” and Wild Turkey “101″ as well; but Maker’s is his favorite. He suspects this is due to the lack of rye in making Maker’s Mark. This is not to say that he doesn’t like Rye whisky. In fact he does. But if he is going to go down that taste path, he’d just as soon have Scotch.

In case you need photographic evidence of the trip…

Here is your Maximum Leader posing with the Maker’s Mark sign:
Maximum Leader at Makers Mark sign

As many readers surely know, Maker’s Mark is famous for the wax seals on their bottles. The distinctive red wax is applied by hand to every bottle. If you happen to visit the distillery and want to pony-up the cash, you too can dip a bottle of Maker’s in the red wax yourself. Needless to say, if you are making the trip you really have to do the dipping too. So here are just two shots (from the sequence of shots taken) showing your Maximum Leader dipping his bottle of Maker’s.

Maximum Leader preparing to dip bottle

Maximum Leader twirling his bottle

The Maker’s Mark distillery is really worth the trip if you are in the area. (Of course, your Maximum Leader made the 470 mile - each way - trip for no other reason but to go.) The grounds are fabulously kept. The facilities are great and the people are terrific. Everyone we encountered was so wonderful. Your Maximum Leader was particularly pleased with Betty and Susan (who gave him his tour and who greeted us upon our arrival, respectively). In addition, the man who was mixing the mash in the fermentation barrel was very happy to answer some questions while he worked. Even the fellow doing the weed-whacking near the parking lot was a cordial guy.

Your Maximum Leader was not as pleased with Four Roses or Wild Turkey. To be honest he’d never heard of Four Roses. Apparently much of the Bourbon produced by Four Roses is for export only. The Four Roses distillery was okay. In many ways it was about half-way between the Maker’s distillery and the Wild Turkey distillery experience. Maker’s Mark was almost a high-end theme park dedicated to Bourbon. Wild Turkey’s distillery was more like walking through a factory. Four Roses was somewhere in the middle.

To be fair to Wild Turkey, they need to be more factory-like. They are producing in a month as much product as does Maker’s Mark in a year. Where the Maker’s facility was characterized by manicured green lawns, nice sidewalks, beautiful shade trees, and well-tended buildings; the Wild Turkey facility was characterized by paved streets, rail road sidings and the constant hum of machinery.

Oh yeah… Did your Maximum Leader mention that Wild Turkey’s visitor center doesn’t have a serve permit? So while your Maximum Leader was getting small samples at Maker’s and Four Roses, they can’t let you try the goods at Wild Turkey. That was a little sad.

Anyhoo…

Your Maximum Leader might, at some point in the future, return to Bourbon country USA. He was rather charmed by Lexington and the surrounding horse country. He can see himself going (with Mrs Villain) to Lexington and taking in some horse racing, fine dining, and another visit to Maker’s Mark…

Carry on.

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