After our tour at Churchill Downs, we said goodbye to Louisville and began the drive to Lexington, Kentucky. We made a few stops along the way to break up the drive and to see some well known Kentucky landmarks. Our first stop was a little drive outside of the city, in a little town called Bardstown to see an iconic landmark, Federal Hill, a Georgian-style plantation house built in 1795 by Judge John Rowan that once entertained dignitaries like Andrew Jackson and Marquis de Lafayette, but is better known as the inspiration for Stephen Foster’s “My Old Kentucky Home”
All the tour guides dress in period dress costumes, and sing the whole Kentucky state song during the tour, they are talented people! Pictures weren't allowed inside the house, so here are a couple of pics from the internet that show how beautiful it is.
After our stop at Federal Hill, we continued our drive. We made a short photo stop at a look out over the State Capital. Not long after our short photo stop, we arrived at the Buffalo Trace Distillery to learn all about the process of making that famous Kentucky Bourbon.
Buffalo Trace has been in the whiskey making business since the early 1800s and is one of the world's top producers of Bourbon. They are extremely dedicated to their craft, and definitely have the process down to a science. We got to tour one of their many bourbon barrel aging warehouses, then visited the renowned Blanton’s Bottling Hall where we saw where signature bourbons are filled, sealed, labeled, and packaged—all by hand.
Blanton's, one of Buffalo Trace's many whiskey brands, was the first single barrel whiskey ever, and is still one of the leading brands on the market today. Blanton's is also well known for their collectable stoppers, there are 8 stoppers in all and they tell the story of a race horse on it's way to the finish line.
After the tour, we were escorted to the gift shop for a complimentary tasting of some of their different bourbon brands. My family aren't drinkers, so we didn't partake, but I loved talking to other members on the tour about the differences in between the tastings. Apparently, bourbon is an acquired taste, it seemed too strong for a lot of our fellow travelers. To end the tasting on a sweet note, they offered small root beer floats made with bourbon cream instead of ice cream, this appeared to be a crowed favorite.
When we got back on the coach, we each had a little present on our seats, Bourbon chocolates! While I don't drink, I thought it was fascinating to learn so much about Kentucky's favorite drink, bourbon is a huge part of the culture down there so I had a total blast visiting one of the top distilleries in the state.