Buffalo Trace unearths ‘bourbon Pompeii’ of 1873 distillery on Kentucky River

During some recent renovation at the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, KY a discovery was made of huge historical significance. What the workers unearthed were the foundations of an old bourbon distillery dating back to the 1800s.

It began earlier this year in April when they found brick pillars and remnants of walls, and then in June what they believed to be a cistern.  More digging revealed parts of the first floor and a row of brick structures.  Louisville historian Carolyn Brooks and bourbon archaeologist Nicolas Laracuente have joined in the efforts to fully grasp what the discovery entails.

Buffalo Trace Bourbon Pompeii
Photo Credit: Charles Bertram – Lexington Herald Leader

What they found were almost completely intact 11,000-gallon fermenting tanks built by the legendary Col. E.H. Taylor as a version of his O.F.C. Distillery.  According to Laracuente, this find is “very rare”, mainly due to the fact that most distilleries are destroyed by fire.  In 1873 Taylor rebuilt his first O.F.C Distillery on the same site, Laracuente believes that it was this rush to rebuild and the fact that he built on top of the existing structure as the likely reason for the preservation we’re seeing today.

There are currently plans for this area to be included in tours open to the public sometime in Spring of 2017.  As the recognized leader in bourbon adventures, Mint Julep Tours will be offering those tours when they become available. Please follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram for tour information and industry news.

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/news/state/article108222782.html#storylink=cpy

Mint Julep Tours is the only dedicated tour company focused on The Kentucky Bourbon Trail®.  Based in Louisville, Kentucky we offer Custom and Public Bourbon Distillery Tours as well as unique Exclusive Experiences, Horse Farm Tours, Culinary Tours, and Louisville City Tours. As a truly one-of-a-kind tour and destination management company, Mint Julep Tours also offers transportation and event planning services with a focus on Special Events, Corporate Outings and Bachelor/Bachelorette Parties.

Specialty horse and bourbon-related gifts are available at the Mint Julep Tours retail store inside the Galt House on the third floor of the Rivue Tower at 140 North 4th Street Suite 326, Louisville, KY 40202. 502-583-1433 Ext. 106.

Booking the Perfect Custom Adventure with Mint Julep Tours – We Do It All Y’all!

Booking the Perfect Custom Adventure with Mint Julep Tours – We Do It All Y’all!

3.3 Blog Post 1Recently, a guest suggested that our buses could benefit from a giant sign that reads: “We Do It All Y’All!” And while we prefer to keep our buses just the way they are, the passenger made a good point. When you spot a Mint Julep Tours bus crisscrossing the state, you may not realize that those onboard are often guests who have embarked on a made-to-order adventure. Did you know that Mint Julep Tours offers custom tours every day of the week and nearly every single day of the year? And that all of our custom tours are as unique as different batches of a tasty single-barrel bourbon? Maybe you’re interested in experiencing a bourbon tasting in the middle of a dimly-lit warehouse surrounded by thousands of barrels. Or perhaps a day that involves braving the zip lines at Louisville’s Mega Cavern and then traveling south to the Maker’s Mark distillery to tour, taste and dip a bottle in that signature red wax is more your speed. Or you might prefer an outing that combines a visit to a beautiful Kentucky thoroughbred horse farm, a leisurely upscale lunch in the town of Midway and then a stop to shop at the famed Zappos Shoe Outlet. In short, if you can imagine a specific, custom touring experience in Kentucky, Mint Julep Tours can make it happen! We are proud to be one of the top full service destination management companies in Kentucky. And the fun all begins with a phone call.

3.3 Blog Post 2Many of the calls to Mint Julep Tours start out the same way. An excited voice on the other end of the line makes an enthusiastic yet cautious and curious declaration: “I want do the Bourbon Trail!” Each and every custom tour booking starts with a detailed conversation with one of our coordinators. Many first-time visitors to the area have endless questions based on bits of information they’ve read, a detailed inspection of our Trip Advisor reviews or second-hand stories from friends who have taken similar treks to The Kentucky Bourbon Trail ® , Horse Farms, Louisville and beyond. Our staff’s first priority is to fill in those knowledge gaps and better understand the precise type of outing our guests want to experience. From bachelor/bachelorette parties to corporate outings and everything in between, Mint Julep Tours can accommodate groups of all sizes by creating a tour with the right itinerary, length, style and tone.

3.3 Blog Post 3One common pitfall among visitors is learning the hard way that Kentucky’s geography and state routes can be a touch confusing (just ask anyone who has attempted to travel to Loretto, KY without a quality map), and the perceived distances between major distilleries are sometimes much greater than anticipated. When you book a custom tour with Mint Julep Tours, we make sure that you don’t end up spending more time in the bus than you do at the distilleries. We also work to ensure that your planned stops are the best fit for your crew. With nearly two dozen top-notch bourbon distilleries scattered throughout the state, it can be a daunting process to choose the best options for you. Those who have a soft spot in their heart for Booker’s bourbon may be surprised to learn that the product is distilled at the Jim Beam American Stillhouse. Or maybe you want to up your dinner game and enjoy a private dinner in the Stone Room at Captain’s Quarters located smack dab on the Ohio River. We can even set up private bourbon tastings for groups ranging in size from 5 to 500! But custom tours with Mint Julep Tours are so much more than just bourbon.

Over the last eight years, our buses have logged more miles on Kentucky interstates, highways and back roads than we can count. We’ve created experiences for guests at the iconic Keeneland Racecourse just outside of Lexington, sessions at The Knob Creek Gun Range and scheduled visits to both the Independent Stave Cooperage in Lebanon, KY and the Brown-Forman Cooperage next door to the Louisville International Airport. Kentucky is home to everything from Mammoth Cave to the National Corvette Museum to Abe Lincoln’s Childhood Home – all places you can visit on a Mint Julep Tours excursion as part of a custom tour.

3.3 Blog Post 4In 2015, Louisville was named among the “Friendliest Cities in America” by Travel + Leisure Magazine and we’ve helped guests experience that first hand. We’ve booked reservations at iconic Churchill Down’s Turf Club and set up tours at new attractions making waves like brandy distillery Copper & Kings. Mint Julep Tours can take you to the Falls of The Ohio State Park, Schimpff’s Confectionery, Bourbon Barrel Foods or we can even take you bowling at Vernon Lanes! If you want to go even further off the beaten path, we’ve set up Segway Races (complete with obstacle course, of course) and scavenger hunts that will have your group scurrying madly across town. Our staff can suggest the perfect restaurants and hotel as well as book reservations when needed. If you’re more interested in exploring some of the best Louisville has to offer, you’ll be hard pressed to find a staff that knows Derby City better.

A custom adventure with Mint Julep Tours is so much more than just bus a ride around Kentucky. Combine the strength of a custom tour with our professional, knowledgeable and award-winning Mint Julep Tours guides and drivers, and you’ve got the recipe for one amazing day…or maybe more! We may book tours, but we specialize in creating custom experiences and one-of-a-kind memories. And that’s why we believe “the purpose of fun is to have some.” Want to get started? The fun starts with a phone call to Mint Julep Tours today.

As one of Kentucky’s top destination management company, Mint Julep Tours can create an itinerary for the perfect custom. Call 502-583-1433 or visit us online today to begin planning your adventure.

Vendome Copper & Brass Works – Crafting Custom Copper Stills for over 100 Years

Vendome Copper & Brass Works – Crafting custom copper stills for over 100 years

The smiling tour guide at the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience stopped walking and gestured to a shining structure displayed prominently on the other side of the glass. “And this is our copper pot still,” she beamed proudly. “This critical component of our artisanal distillery can produce around a barrel of bourbon a day.” Her smile widened as her cheery tone took on just a hint of bragging. “And it was custom made just for us by the Vendome Company.” Similar scenes play out countless times across The Kentucky Bourbon Trail ® and beyond. One common name that you’ll find at more and more bourbon distilleries is the one that’s imprinted on the face of their stills, tanks and other distilling equipment: Louisville’s own Vendome Copper and Brass Works.

IMG_4624Vendome’s headquarters and manufacturing facility is a sprawling urban set up that is surprisingly easy to miss. Located just two blocks off busy Main Street and less than 300 feet from Thomas Edison’s 1866 Kentucky residence, Vendome Corp’s five buildings sit snugly between a city skate park and an imposing Ohio River Flood Wall. The manufacturer is almost always bustling with activity these days. The sound of constant hammering, pounding, and grinding of various components echoes across the street, while workers sporting shirts with the logo “The Power of Our Stills” move swiftly from one building to another. Beneath the downtown skyline, an open garage offers a sneak peek to half a dozen gorgeous, new copper stills of various sizes that are in various stages of completion. Business at Vendome is indeed good.

IMG_7037Building in-demand gear is nothing new to Vendome. The company was formed by W. Elmore Sherman, Sr. at the turn of the last century and has been family owned and operated for well over a hundred years. Vendome has had their share of challenges over their long history including significant downturns in whiskey production, The Great Flood of 1937, and even Prohibition. Over time and with some perseverance, the Sherman family name has become just as familiar among Bourbon aficionados as other industry lineages like the Beams, Samuels, and Boswells of the Independent Stave Company. Vendome’s prolonged success can be attributed to their craftsmanship, flexibility and service. Every single still is custom designed; no job is too big and no craft distillery’s needs are too small. Customers can even choose one of three different finishes for their still including an acid clean, satin finish or a labor-intensive high-polished mirror finish for that perfect distillery tour shine. Beyond visual appeal, copper has been the preferred metal since the time of even the earliest whiskey distillers. The copper generates a chemical reaction between the mash and the metal which pulls out unwanted sulfates and Sulfur. Today, new stills are regularly being installed at distilleries across the country. When The Old Taylor Distillery outside of Versailles, KY needed new equipment last summer as part of its ongoing complete restoration, Master Distiller Marianne Barnes commissioned Vendome. The result? A massive 24-inch copper column still coupled with a 375-gallon copper doubler. Today, far beyond The Kentucky Bourbon Trail, Vendome’s copper stills can be found in Guatemala, Canada, Ireland and even Romania. And while Vendome may be best known for their stunning stills, the company also produces stainless steel fermenters, cookers, condensers, coolers, receiving tanks and more. It could be argued that Vendome can build just about everything you might need to start a distillery except the corn, rye, barley and yeast.

IMG_7016Vendome’s roster of clients over the years reads like a who’s who in the world of Bourbon and American Whiskey: Michter’s, Evan Williams, Jim Beam, Angel’s Envy, Maker’s Mark, Four Roses and Buffalo Trace just to name a few. Vendome’s customers further extend beyond alcohol to pharmaceutical companies, confectionary businesses and dairy operators. Today, the waiting list for a custom still may be close to a year. All of this has made Vendome one of the most in-demand brass and copper fabrication plants in the nation.

Next time you visit a bourbon distillery, be on the lookout for Vendome’s signature plaque on new and old gear. Beyond Kentucky’s beloved limestone filtered water and the charred oak barrels, one common element that an increasing number of distilleries are sharing is custom gear from Vendome Copper and Brass Works. And, just maybe, the robust copper construction and a century of craftsmanship could make the bourbon that ends up in the bottle taste a little bit better than others.

 

Vendome Brass and Copper Works is located at 729 East Franklin Street Louisville, KY 40202 and currently does not offer tours to the public. A visit to the exterior building of Vendome may be requested on a personalized, custom tour with Mint Julep Tours. Many of Vendome’s stills and other equipment can been viewed at distilleries on and off The Kentucky Bourbon Trail ®. Call 502-583-1433 or visit us online for more information and to book a tour today!

Welcome to our refresh of MintJulepTours.com

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Welcome.  Have a look around and see all the great new tours, experiences, info, and beyond.  We hope you get a little education in all things we love.  Here in Kentucky, the old saying goes, “Come as a friend… Leave as family!”  Pull up a chair and see all the fun we’re having at Mint Julep Tours.

Don’t forget to check out our social media channels in the upper right, as we post pictures and stories from all our adventures!  Cheers!

Ultimate Guide to Barreling through Bourbon Country

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8.

What is bourbon anyway?

Bourbon is a type of American whiskey – a barrel-aged distilled spirit made primarily from corn.

By law, bourbon must be:

  • Produced in the USA
  • Made of a grain mix of at least 51% corn
  • Distilled at less than 160 proof (80% ABV)
  • No additives allowed (except water to reduce proof where necessary)
  • Aged in new, charred white oak barrels
  • Aged for a minimum of two years* (*to be called Kentucky Straight Bourbon)

Since 98% of the worlds Bourbon is produced in Kentucky, Louisville is a great spot to jump on the Bourbon Bus.  Ranked as a Top 10 US travel destination for 2013, Louisville is a great spot to explore all things bourbon during the day on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail and at night on the Urban Bourbon Trail.

7.

How much time do we need?

If you’re looking to hit all the spots on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® and beyond, you’ll need several days to get the most out of your exploration.  A great two day option is THE ULTIMATE 2 DAY TOUR, offered on Thursday/Friday or Friday Saturday.  If you only have one day open, you can experience a great day with a PUBLIC BOURBON TOUR that visits 3 distilleries.

6.

Where to stay?

THE GALT HOUSE HOTEL is a great spot to stay, centrally located in downtown Louisville by the Ohio River.  Plus it’s a convenient spot to jump on the PUBLIC BOURBON TOUR, since our tours depart from the 3rd floor RIVUE TOWER side of the GALT HOUSE HOTEL.

5.

What to wear?

Tasting bourbon in Kentucky is all about relaxation, so wear light clothing and comfortable walking shoes.

4.

What to bring?

For the bourbon and photography lover, bring along a camera to document your explorations at each distillery.  Check out the scenery our guests have found to be great for photo ops.

3.

What to buy?

We know some great spots for finding bourbon that you can’t find in your neck of the woods.  Since almost 98% of the worlds bourbon is made right here, you will find some great bottles you won’t find anywhere else.  You will also find unique bottles and gifts only offered at each distillery’s gift shop.  A unique experience is to dip your own bottle of Maker’s Mark® in the signature red wax or get your bottle etched with a message as a gift for the bourbon lover in your life.

2.

What to look for?

If you have visited our Bourbon Heaven before, look for the specialty tours that provide EXCLUSIVE experiences.  The highlight of the Jim Beam® Super Premium Tour is a private experience with the Master Distiller & 7th generation Beam family member, Fred Noe.  Or explore the BE THE BOURBON TOUR at Maker’s Mark®  Distillery to experience a behind the scenes look and taste from the folks behind the signature red wax.

1.

When to visit?

What are you waiting for?  Our Bourbon Tour Experts are waiting to tell you about our Bourbon Hospitality.  Visit our website at www.MintJulepTours.com to learn why we are the #1 activity in Louisville, according to Trip Advisor!