5/06/13 A relaxing slow start to the day before a short trek out to the Woodford Reserve Bourbon Distillery, a boutique distillery nestled along side the Glenns Creek.
Elijah Pepper first settled here in 1812 and set up the first distillery which operated until 1878 when it was sold to the Labrot brothers. It's a small scale distillery using three enormous old copper pot stills from Scotland in it's unique triple distilling process. It produces between 15 to 30 barrels a day. By comparison, Jim Beam does 2200 barrels a day. A barrel will provide 180 x 750ml bottles.
We were all amazed when as a part of our tour we were taken into a big barn that smelt like closing time at The Belmont Hotel. There, four enormous 9,000 gallon tanks of fermenting mash known as "beer" were literally bubbling away all at different stages of fermentation.
It seemed quite surreal to have such unrestricted and unguarded access to what would be millions of dollars worth of product. I cant see that it would be that difficult for an unscrupulous person to quietly drop something into a patch and ruin 9000 gallons of potentially yummy bourbon. We stood on the platform looking into the enormous Cedar vats, the strong smell of fermenting grains and yeast filling our nostrils. When you placed the palms of your hand a few inches from the surface of the bubbling mass it was like turning your palms to a slow burning campfire. The Ageing Shed had about 5000 barrels of bourbon all at different stages of the required 7.5 years of char edged barrel ageing. Estimated value is about $US40 Million.
At the end of the tour we all ended up in the tasting rooms where we were all treated to a shot of Woodfords Premium Bourbon. We were instantly down for a bottle before we collared Bill, another of the tour guides and started to pepper him with some questions. Well, one thing lead to another and next we know Bill is giving us a taste of the Real Good Stuff.
The Double Oaked Bourbon that is aged once for 7.5 years then put into another barrel that is highly toasted and only slightly charred so it retains the caramelised sugariness of the oak, for a further 12 months. It slipped down the throat like a spoon of warm Tupelo Honey. Such a smooth caramelly, slightly nutty drop that hung sweet and smokey on your palate long after it had started to warm the pit of your stomach.
|One of the three huge copper distilling pots|
|Drowning in a vat of bourbon?? I could think of worse things.|
|If I had to be locked up in a warehouse...|
|"The Really Good Stuff"|
Happy and content we took the slow drive back to our homestead to retreat to the white iron tree seat nestled under the canopy of the tall Liquid Amber shading the back of our cottage.
|Sipping smooth bourbon by the light of a fading sun to the sound of the chatting birds, bliss|
There we enjoy the cool of the fading daylight and a healthy dram of Kentucky's finest.
7/06/13, Today was a trip to the Harrodsburg Fort. The trip out was lined by "400 Mile Sale" signs every 100 metres or so all the way down Highway 127. Once a year, on the first full weekend in June, everyone who wants to, along the 400 mile length of highway 127, has a yard sale. There were literally hundreds of them along the short stretch we travelled from Georgetown to Harrodsburg. Some, no more than a few odd clothes thrown over the hood of a car and others looking like a professional suburban swap meet where half a dozen serious neighbours get together and spread dozens of stalls loaded with nick nacks, countless clothes racks and enough books to fill a library, along the curb side. We did stop and chat to a stall holder after our visit to the fort, Harold it was, and he gave us the run down of the history of the sale and sold Christina a few old cooking magazines. I could have picked up a complete set of Titliest golf clubs for about $60, including a bag.
The Harrodsburg Fort was a replica built in 1927. It wasn't built on the original site, which was built in 1727, but moved a hundred metres on the other side of the pioneer cemetery. The original fort was finally deserted in the 1840's and eventually stripped to make other dwellings as the town began to grow.
It's most active time as a functioning fort came in 1777 when it was under siege from the Cherokee Indians. A siege that lasted a full year and if not for the unorganised and erratic nature of the Indians attack would have seen the fort overrun and all 300 occupants scalped, burnt alive and chopped into tiny morsels. The fact they had a running spring inside the fort and managed to dig a tunnel under the fort to escape and bring back meat was all that really saved them. Not everyone escaped though, one poor fella who strayed outside the gates was beheaded and the Fort's Reverend who also found himself lingering outside after a quick trip to retrieve the dropped pluckings of a wild corn field was surprised, captured and scalped. The fort has been painstakingly replicated and everything there is from the period if not from the original fort. Judging by the spartan existence of these early pioneers it was subsistence living at the pointy end. There were no luxuries here apart from a roof over your head,some cooking implements, the barest of furniture and a bed to sleep in.
|Authentic 1770's Fort|
|Although I'm not sure about the Crazy Paving|
|Could do with The Hilton touch,|
|It was strictly girls to the left and boys to the right|
|It was all over once the young ones were lured by the prospect of free travel|
Within twenty years the numbers had dwindled from 500 to 12 and the short Shaker era had come to a close. There are three living Shakers left residing somewhere outside of New York but they're old and their days are numbered. It was an interesting experience.
Callum had discovered in the first days of our arrival at Harold and Beckys, a giant fire pit all fuelled up and ready to go and was desperate to put a match to it.
We got permission from Harold to go set the thing on fire so we could toast some marshmallows and burn some wieners.
Most nights we were either back to late or it had rained that day and the thing was soaked. But, today we were back early and the rain gods had stayed away. Tonight, we make fire.
|Fire in the hole|
|I read somewhere that the charcoal is good for your teeth|
|A watched wiener never cooks|
|But, an unwatched wiener always burns|
9/06/13. Sadly, this was our last day at the Jordan Farm Stay. One last throw of the stick for the dogs and one last vigorous scratch of Lily's rump and it was time to hit the road. A five hour road trip today with a three hour stop over at the very erroneously named Under Ground Railroad Museum which had absolutely no connection to a railroad let alone an underground one.
It was a reference to the underground movement where pro freedom whites helped slaves run away from their slave masters in the early days of the Abolitionist Movement prior to the Civil War. It wasn't what we were expecting at all which gave it all the more impact.
The numbers were staggering, over 12 million Africans were sold into slavery over three centuries. Many died in horrible conditions before they even got there.
|The Underground Railroad that wasnt|
|The KKK, White supremacist pigs with absolutely no fashion sense|
|Slaves were shackled and penned in barns like this|
They also have a compelling section on modern slavery. Even today, millions of people across the globe are sold into slavery, up to 50% of them children. Makes you sick and wary. I found myself holding the boys hands just a little firmer when we left.
The trip to Chicago was a long one but we're here now.