Can you believe we’re on day 3 (of my tour) already? Or are you bourbon’d out? No such thing! Don’t worry, only a few of these to go. I think that even if you don’t love bourbon – say you’re a wine drinker – I’m sure you can appreciate the process – and the behind-the-scenes fun!
Maker’s Mark is about an hour and a half from town (Louisville) in a place called Loretto, a journey that takes you through bourbon town aka Bardstown. That town is a whole other post if you’re interested in that tiny, but fun, place.
So we arrive at Maker’s, which had changed quite a bit since my last visit. A new welcome center greeted me upon arrival, which is still being beautifully refurbished for guests.
This distillery sits upon a beautiful piece of land and is one of the most picturesque distilleries I’ve been to. The first few photos from the welcome center really set the stage for the land it sits on.
The liquid coming out of these stills is called White Dog – the bourbon, which is not quite bourbon, as it’s just about to be placed into a barrel to mature. We had a chance to taste it, and it was actually pretty good! You can really tell all the flavors that a barrel adds when you taste it straight from the line.
Below you’ll see a photo of me and Master Distiller Greg Davis. He explained a good bit about this process and even in the crazy heat we had that day, we still had a great time.
Then we visited Victoria MacRae-Samuels (yes of the Samuels family name) who helped us understand the nose of bourbon. Really, how to differentiate between a good batch and a bad one. It’s not as easy as you think!
How crazy is that stained glass up there right? We had a tasting in the official tasting rooms, complete with Maker’s Mark, Maker’s 46, Maker’s Cask Strength and Maker’s 46 Cask Strength (which they don’t even sell right now). So good. You might think that Cask Strength (aka the strength they bring it out of the barrel goes straight into that bottle and isn’t cut with limestone water) would taste too strong but it actually brings SO much flavor complexity. Yum.
The last stop was atop the lake on the hill – the private lake of the Samuels family where their chef (and Chef of Harrison-Smith House) had a delicious meal waiting. The view! I can’t get over it. By the way, in those little glass milk cartons was cold brew, condensed milk and Maker’s 46. So fun.
And there you have it. Thank you Maker’s Mark for your fun and educational visit!