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Published: February 26th 2014
Now, the hunt for a bargain is something of legend in the Cirillo house, so after much research, we were able to find a hotel in the downtown within our price range, that offered a free a continental breakfast and wifi. On a side note, I feel that outside the New York area whenever we order eggs they are always wet and buttery, but when they are free how much can one really complain? While we were fueling up for a long day ahead of us the hotel had the news on the TV, which was following the controversial "government shutdown." Today was the deadline for the government to shut down and my father and I were a little nervous about what the effects of this would have on our vacation. Surely our elected officials would not really shut down the government though right...Anyway fueled by our buttery eggs, we headed to our first distillery of the trip which was also a brewery!
Town Branch was a small distillery and the beverage arm of Alltech...an animal health and nutrition company. I assure you the whiskey was good though! The tour was just my father and I which was a nice personal
This is known as distiller's beer. Truthfully, not that bad.
touch. Town Branch also had the most tastings of any of the distilleries. There bottling machine was so old that when it bottled the beer some bottles would be short. This was monitored by some strikingly beautiful English woman, who was unfortunately not working that day, but the tales of her beauty lived on in her absence. Apparently, the workers got the under filled bottles on the house as a perk of working there, which explains the lack of urgency to upgrade the equipment. The bourbon barrel ale and stout where my favorites of the beers. They store the beers in old bourbon barrels for a 6 week period to give what can only be described as perfect union between two distinct flavors. Their bourbon was ok but their best spirit product was a bourbon coffee flavored liquor called, "Bluegrass Sundown." Cut with hot water and a nice layer of cream on top this was a delicious treat to help the digestion process after a great meal.
Our next stop on the trail was Wild Turkey. Now, Wild Turkey is not called wild for nothing, as it is the strongest in alcohol content and in flavor using a level
five char on the bourbon barrels, level five being the highest level of char possible. It got its name when the original owner of the brand brought some whiskey on a turkey hunt. The men on the hunt liked it so much due to its strength and strong flavor that they said don't come back without any of that wild turkey whiskey. Thus the brand was born!
Our tour was rather crowded, as Turkey was a larger industrial complex compared to the, "mom and pop" experience at Town Branch. Unfortunately, the distilleries were down that day but we did stumble upon a video documentary with Mr. Jimmy the CEO of Turkey and Mr. Jimmy the CEO of Four Roses. We got to ask them a few bourbon questions as part of his documentary, which was fun. The tasting was pretty generous as we were allowed to sample their premium brand known as Russel's Reserve, but both the Turkey and the Russel's blend was too bold for my personal tastes.
After Turkey we headed over to Four Roses. This tour was free and one of my favorites on the trail. The brand got its name from the original owner's
wife. As the story goes, he proposed to his girlfriend and she said if her answer was yes that she would arrive at an evening party wearing a rose. When she arrived to the party she was wearing four roses in a corsage and thus history was made! The grounds was a nice size. Bigger than Town Branch, but much less industrial than Wild Turkey. The tour gave us a lot of history into the brand as well, which I loved.
At one point Four Roses was the leading seller of bourbon in the United States. However, the company was purchased by Seagram's and afterwards they placed the brand on cheap bottom shelf booze as to not eat into their Seagram's sales. The original recipe was still produced in Kentucky and shipped abroad leading to Four Roses being the number one selling bourbon in Japan! Seagram's ended up selling the brand when it hit financial trouble a few years ago, and now the original recipe has been restored in the US! Bourbon drinkers rejoice, and for good reason, because it was a rather tasty bourbon. It gets its unique flavor, by mixing a combination of ten different mash bills I liked the small batch the best out of the three varieties we sampled, the other two being yellow label and single barrel. We even picked up a nice commemorative rocks glass. Four Roses will always have a welcomed space in my liquor cabinet.
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