Buffalo Trace distillery is America’s oldest bourbon distillery, and is actually a historic landmark. A distillery known for such great products such as Blanton’s, Elmer T Lee and of course it is where Old Rip Van Winkel products are made. These bourbons alone are a reason to tour this facility. Upon arrival to the distillery you will notice a great water tower and ancient still houses. This really is a site to be seen, and not to mention a tour here is free so who doesn’t like free? Anyways the story begins for myself and some friends. Obviously not really sure what to expect with a distillery tour because it was my first time. As we entered the distillery we were greeted by two main registers one for booking a tour and another for gift shop checkouts. So we went to the tour register and received a cool little rubber bracelet that said buffalo Trace tour 8. Staff there instructed us to wait at a certain part of the lobby and our tour guide would meet us there. Now this is when the experience became very memorable. Our tour guide came and introduced himself as Freddie Johnson he is a 3rd generation Buffalo Trace man. This was very cool to begin with let alone having a tour guide that had a wealth of bourbon knowledge. The tour started with an introduction from him and a big message about the history of the distillery and so forth very interesting stuff. Anyways a huge amount of respect goes out to Freddie. The tour started with a presentation about bourbon in a room in just one of the many warehouses. This was then followed with a presentation by Freddie about the grains used for bourbon and all the things that make bourbon a bourbon. After that it was followed by a barrel age diagram representing each stage of a barrel going from new all the way to 19 years. This allowed a person to understand the concept of evaporation and what is known as the angels share. Needless to say Freddie let us know when you have a barrel with 23 years of age that Pappy would be gone. I personally followed his comment with a childish scream of No! Anyways the tour continues thru a hidden door that led to a barrel house. Now this was very unique to see all the barrels and the distinct smell that the barrels release in this house. Our tour guide explained this whole process and even asked that we looked for barrels that had almost a tar like texture on them. As a group we were asked to smell this tar like substance leaking from the barrels and surprisingly this stuff smelled good
. After this part of the tour we moved to observe the bottling of some Blanton’s. This was truly a neat experience. Finally after bottling we moved on to the tasting.
Now Freddie was simply the man for the job for this. The group of people got very well educated on many things such as the white dog and how to wake the dog up! A truly fun time on this tour and I would highly recommend anyone to go and specifically ask for Freddie to be your tour guide.