What a long, strange year it has been. Not being able to travel and be out and about has made it tough to find good material. Now that I am fully vaccinated, and hope you are too, I am slowly getting back out into the world. For my birthday, my SO and I visited Louisville and Lexington, Kentucky to check out some distilleries and a few breweries along the way. Today, I chose to highlight three of the distilleries we enjoyed.
Peerless: Founded in 1889 by Henry Kraver, it was revived in 2014 by Kraver's great-great grandson Corky Taylor and his son, Carson. Distilleries are issued a plant number when registering for their license, they were able to have their original number reissued to them through quite a few legal hoops which leads them to have one of the older (and smaller) numbers. They distill under the DSP-KY-50. Their bourbons are bottled between 4 and 6 years depending on the master distillers tasting notes. Unlike most of the distilleries, they use a column still instead of a pot still. They, along with Angel's Envy, use a local cooperage, Kelvin, for their single use barrels. They have a number of complex ryes and bourbons that have become some of my new favorites as I had not had tasted any prior to this trip. You can buy the ryes in Georgia; they are working on getting some of the bourbons into this state. As a special note, they have a distillery cat named Rye, who is a hardly working calico who adores head rubs and back scratches.
You may see bourbons that have beer barrel finished or wine barrel finished on the label. To be bourbon, the distilled liquid must be aged in a charred barrel which can only be used once. Once the right amount of time has passed and the liquid is considered bourbon, it may be "finished" in another type of barrel. The once used barrels are sold to Scotch and other beverage distillers which don't operate under the same confines.
We were a bit limited as right now many places in Kentucky are still practicing Covid-19 safety; so we had to really plan our trip and reserve spots for tastings and tours. If you are planning a trip, keep that in mind. We were able to do most of what we wanted in terms of pubs and restaurants as well. Travel safely and remember to eat well and drink good...bourbon.