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.

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!

Mint Julep Tours presents Derby Eve Distilled

Mint Julep Tours presents the Derby Eve Distilled Experience on May 6, 2016

An Exclusive Bourbon and Culinary Event at Buffalo Trace Distillery  

Louisville, KY – February 2, 2016 – Mint Julep Tours is pleased to announce the inaugural Derby Eve Distilled Exclusive Experience to be held on May 6, 2016, which is the night before the 2016 Kentucky Derby. This unique event includes an after-hours private distillery tour and tasting at Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky. After the tour, guests will enjoy signature cocktails, a bourbon inspired dinner, live bluegrass music, and cigars on the porch.

Mint Julep Tours owner and co-founder Sean Higgins explains what went into the planning process for this inaugural event: “We wanted to build on our existing Kentucky Derby Week Public Tours that showcase both bourbon distilleries and horse farms and create something unique that will be a memorable evening for those looking to have a more laid back, true Kentucky experience before the big race.”

Derby Eve Distilled Final Pricing-01The cost is $289 per person, which includes transportation from Downtown Louisville, the private after-hours Buffalo Trace Distillery tour and tasting, bourbon inspired dinner, cigar or mini julep cup, and two signature cocktails (cash bar also available). There is also a lower ticket price of $239, which doesn’t include transportation. For those that go with the transportation included, the tour will depart from the Mint Julep Tours Gift Shop, located in the Galt House Hotel (Third Floor Rivue Tower), 140 N. Fourth St. in Downtown Louisville. The tour departs at 3:45pm on Friday, May 6, 2016 and returns at approximately 10:00pm.

Tickets and more information are available at www.mintjuleptours.com or by calling 502-583-1433.

Note: Adult beverages are allowed on the bus, however we ask that they be consumed in moderation. It is against the law for any passengers under the age of 21 to consume alcohol.

 

 

ABOUT MINT JULEP TOURS – Mint Julep Tours is a recognized leader in Bourbon and Kentucky adventures as well as the only dedicated tour company focu­sed on The Kentucky Bourbon Trail®.  Based in Louisville, Kentucky they 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 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.

For more information, please visit us online at www.mintjuleptours.com or call our offices at 502-583-1433.

Upcoming Bourbon Events…Stay Thirsty my friends!

Stay Thirsty my friends.  There are a slew of bourbon events coming your way.  Here are a few to pencil in your calendar, so you can spread out the fun.  Always remember, be safe and designate a driver while you’re enjoying bourbon in the New Year!

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Buffalo Trace – Legendary Craftsmen Dinner Series – Blanton’s Dinner 1/24/14

A one-of-a-kind dinner event featuring hard-to-find tastings of our Legendary Craftsmen’s namesake bourbons, a Distillery tour, and glimpse into the history and heritage of the fine gentlemen that helped build the World’s Most Award-Winning Distillery.  6:00 p.m. – Optional Tour. 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. – Dinner/Event. $50 per person.  For reservations, email events@buffalotrace.com or call 502.696.5930.

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The Bourbon Affair

The Derby City will host an exclusive four-day Bourbon showcase to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Congress declaring Bourbon “America’s only native spirit.”

From May 14-18, Kentucky Bourbon Affair attendees will savor extraordinary experiences at the most iconic Bourbon distilleries in the world, capped by evening events featuring the cosmopolitan allure of Louisville, the heartbeat of Bourbon cuisine and culture.  To find out more info, check out www.kybourbonaffair.com.

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Jim Beam Super Premium Tours – Returning in 2014

Returning in 2014, the popular Jim Beam Super Premium Tours with Fred Noe are being announced.  February 14th, 2014 will be the first opportunity of several dates in 2014.

The highlight of this exclusive tour, a is private experience with the Master Distiller Fred Noe, 7th generation Beam family member.

The quick-witted, sociable, and knowledgeable Fred Noe introduces people around the world to his family’s bourbons.  Fred’s stories of growing up on the distillery grounds are legendary, and people come in droves to see this real Kentucky bourbon legend talk about his family’s heritage.

Tour includes:

Tour the American Still House, bourbon barrel dumping station and one of the largest barrel warehouses in the industry.  For you mixologists and culinary fans, we will host a private sampling of the Beam Brands with a Beam bourbon expert and then you’re off to experience a bourbon themed meal on the porch of the Knob Creek house on the scenic grounds surrounding the distillery. Other behind the scenes spots will be offered.Top off your experience with a commemorative etched bottle making it a collectable.

To find out more info, head over to our website.

The Bourbon Classic

After the successful inaugural Bourbon Classic in 2013, the Bourbon filled event returns for 2014.  The Friday night kickoff is the Bourbon Classic Cocktail Challenge from 7 until 10 p.m. Teams of bartenders and chefs join forces with sponsoring distilleries to create luscious drinks and small-plate dishes

On Saturday afternoon for an hour-and-a-half beginning at 2:30, a panel of master distillers will discuss and field questions about “The Bourbon Boom: Examining the Rising Price of Popularity.”  Afterwards at “Bourbon University, Taught by Experts,” you get to expand your knowledge at classes that include “The Bottle and the Board: How Bourbon Pairs with Cheese,” “How to Entertain Your Guests with Bourbon Tastings,” “Know Your Bourbon Flavor Profiles,” “Five Essential Ingredients for Your Home’s Bourbon Bar,” and “Bourbon and Beer – A Beautiful Marriage.”

For a full list of the Bourbon Classic Events, head over to www.bourbonclassic.com.