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Kentucky

imageOn a recent trip to a few Kentucky Distilleries my wife and I took a break for a night’s stay at the beautiful Beaumont Inn. We both loved our stay but my wife loved it so much that she decided to share her thoughts on this lovely Inn.

The Beaumont Inn: A True Slice of Kentucky!

The Beaumont Inn is the perfect mix of historical and contemporary. The grand Inn has been nestled among the hills and bourbon distilleries of Kentucky since 1845. With its front porch pillars and majestic trees, the Inn and grounds provide a quaint getaway to a simpler time. And yet: The Inn is ranked #1 on Trip Advisor and features wi-fi service. Some rooms have electric fireplaces and whirlpool tubs. And visitors can easily make reservations online.

On a recent trip on which we visited all nine Bourbon Trail distilleries in a day and a half (whew – not necessarily recommended), we enjoyed the Inn’s accommodations, food, anddrink. And then there’s the all-important atmosphere – or what I call that oh-my-deep-sigh-this-is-peaceful-and-beautiful-and-I-want-to-sit-on-the-porch-and-pretend-that-it’s-the-1800s-while-I-check-Facebook-on-my-phone-feeling.

Main Inn at The Beaumont

Main Inn at The Beaumont

Since the Beaumont is first and foremost a bed and breakfast, food, drink, and shelter are of utmost importance. Again, there’s that blend of old and new, historical and contemporary. In the rooms, the ceilings are high and the furnishings hearken back to the glory days of Southern décor. You’ll find lots of real wood, ornate wallpaper, and era-appropriate art. On the other hand, you’ll also find firm beds, clean bathrooms, and flat screen TVs. Likewise with the restaurants: Do you want to dress up and dine like a Southern lady or gentleman? Then make a reservation in the main dining room. Would you rather continue your day of bourbon tasting with a casual meal? Then check out the Old Owl Tavern or the Owl’s Nest Lounge. Regardless of where you dine, you’ll find the charm of good, old-fashioned, Southern cooking and the convenience of fast and friendly service.

 

The Owl's Nest & The Old Owl Saloon

The Owl’s Nest & The Old Owl Saloon

For evidence of the Beaumont’s commitment to the needs of its contemporary visitors, simply see their website. Room descriptions and features are thoroughly explained, including photos. Visitors can easily see prices and availability, and can make reservations right online. However, you can also call and get a helpful person on the phone – a rarity these days. The restaurants offer full menus and extensive lists of bourbons, cocktails, and flights, all right online.

So the next time you’re planning a trip to Kentucky’s famous Bourbon Trail, start with the Beaumont Inn. You won’t be disappointed with your room or the food and drink. And you will be right at home with elements of both the past and the present.

Goddard Hall (Left)  and  The Greystone House (Right)

Goddard Hall (Left) and The Greystone House (Right)

For reservations visit http://thebeaumontinn.com

by: Lisa Beckelhimer

 

 

 

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Every now and again, we have the opportunity to try something new. What does not happen every day is experiencing a resurrected brand that has been dormant for 95 years.

Orginal Kentucky Owl Bottle - Photo courtesy of Dixon Dedman

Orginal Kentucky Owl Bottle – Photo courtesy of Dixon Dedman

The story of the Kentucky Owl dates back to 1879 in north Mercer County. The original distillery was started by C.M. Dedman, an orphan who was adopted by a judge that gifted Dedman the distillery as a wedding present. Dedman operated the distillery until 1916 when the government shut down the operation and confiscated around 250,000 gallons of bourbon aging at the time. Sometime in 1919, after the passing of the Volstead Act, a mysterious fire destroyed the warehouse. It is speculated that the fire burned only bright enough to make the warehouse unusable and that a great deal of the bourbon made it out unscathed before the fire was set: It is thought that the bourbon made it into the hands of those that would sell it in speakeasies across the country. T.C. Dedman, the son of C.M. would fight tooth and nail to receive compensation for the loss, but never saw a dime. Despite insurmountable odds, the family came into ownership of the Beaumont Inn in Harrodsburg, KY, which is run by the Dedmans to this day.  

Fast forward five generations, and the Inn is now operated by Dixon Dedman, 33, whose hands-on approach to the management of the Inn speaks volumes of doing things “the proper way” (Beaumont Inn). Several years ago, Dixon met Mark Carter, fellow innkeeper and proprietor of Carter Cellars in Napa Valley, California (Carter Cellars). After long discussions (and a few drinks), plans to bring back the Kentucky Owl, “the Wise Man’s Bourbon,” started taking shape. Dixon and Mark wanted to make sure that this first batch was done correctly and in a way that would pay tribute to the many generations that came before them. With that philosophy in mind, they decided that the first batch would come in at barrel proof and be uncut/unfiltered. Dixon and Mark believe that “the consumer should decide how they want to drink it.”  After several iterations and consultation with some of the most respected folks in the bourbon industry, they decided on a blend of five hand-selected barrels that would yield a little more than 1,500 bottles.  

We were thrilled and honored to have the opportunity to be one of the first to review this bottle.    

IMG_3740.JPGKentucky Owl

Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Batch 1 Bottle 1366/1506

ABV: 59.2% 118.4 Proof

Price: TBD

We allowed the bourbon to sit for about twenty minutes and did not add water to the first part of the tasting.

Nose: The nose was complex and evolved the longer the pour was in the glass. The aromas of vanilla custard/creme brulee/caramel, mandarin orange, dried apricot and ginger were well represented.

Palate: The palate was remarkably different than the nose. The initial hit to the front palate delivered a viscous mouthfeel that carried flavors of cinnamon candy, savory wood, evergreen, and molasses with an oily disposition.  

There was little burn that did not make itself present until the finish. The finish is long lasting and pleasant with evolving citrus and candied fruit flavors. After adding a bit of water, we found that the savory wood was diluted, leaving more pronounced corn sweetness. If one were to use this in a cocktail, it would likely hold up well to ice and bitters. 

Concluding thoughts: Overall we enjoyed this pour. One would not think this to be the first batch as the quality of the bourbon spoke volumes of the time that was invested to resurrect this brand. While we believe there is always some room for improvement, this pour was very nice. The bottle should be available in limited quantities in August and will be released only in Kentucky.  

Overall grade: 90/100,  Buy if you can find it.

If you want to experience Dixon’s hospitality, make a point to venture to Harrodsburg and stay at his Inn. There you can experience a variety of bourbons at the Old Owl Tavern, enjoy the historic charm of the Inn, and even make arrangements to have a bourbon tasting with Dixon. 

 Thank you to Bill Whitlow and the staff at Wiseguys Bar and Lounge for allowing us to use their venue. (http://www.goodfellaspizzeria.com/wiseguy.php

 

ETL_710KHe’s back! Long awaited and much anticipated, Elmer T. Lee has returned to store shelves, even if it’s just for a short while. Today, The Bourbon Guys were fortunate enough to lay our hands on a bottle of 1919-2013 Elmer T. Lee, Single Barrel, Sour Mash, Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey! A commemorative, limited edition, this offering comes in at 93 proof (in honor of Elmer’s 93 years spent making this world a better place), slightly higher than the traditional Elmer T. Lee. At just a couple of dollars more than its 90 proof brother, 1919-2013 is worthy of a far higher price tag. Continue reading

So you say you want good bourbon?

So you say you want to meet others who appreciate good bourbon?

So you say you want the inside scoop on what’s coming next in the world of bourbon?

Well The Bourbon Guys have news for you!

We are excited to tell you abouTheBourbonSocietyofGreaterCincinnatit the 2nd meeting of The Bourbon Society of Greater Cincinnati, an organization dedicated to providing a forum for people who love bourbon to connect and collaborate. Hosted by Todd Carnes, Chad Finni, Marc Collins and Butch Wilburn, the upcoming meeting will be held on April 14, 2014 at Summit Hills Country Club in Crestview Hills, KY, just 15 minutes from downtown Cincinnati. The Bourbon Guys were fortunate enough to catch the very first meeting of The Society, and what a great night it was. Continue reading

20130930-225322.jpgBourbon distilleries pride themselves not only on filling their bottles with quality spirits, but on designing the bottles so that they distinguish themselves from other brands. Consider the rustic-inspired Bulleit bottle, the winged elegance of Angel’s Envy, the horse and rider atop the round Blanton’s, and the majestic Willett pot still.

20130930-225407.jpgNo doubt the bottles are more valuable full than empty, but what do we do with them when we do enjoy the last of their contents? Nelson County, Kentucky artist Donna Cheek doesn’t throw them away – in fact, she ventures around the state of Kentucky every week, looking for bottles that might otherwise be on their way to landfills, and transforms them into Kentucky Bourbon Recipe© oil lamps.

20130930-223144.jpgThe Bourbon Guys witnessed Donna’s artistry first-hand during the Kentucky Bourbon Festival in September. We walked into a Bardstown store called At Mary’s (http://www.atmarys.com/) with our wives, who oooooed and aaahhhed over Donna’s creations. In addition to antiques and unique gift items, At Mary’s sells the work of local artists like Donna Cheek.

Donna’s art is far more than home décor. She and her family now own and operate a farm that dates back to the 1830s. They still grow many of the ingredients in bourbon, including corn, rye, wheat, and barley. Donna recycles empty bottles and fills them with these home-grown products and candle oil. She includes a wick that can be burned like a candle, and you can simply refill the bottle when the oil runs low, making them functional as well as beautiful. She also sometimes displays particularly breathtaking bottles on lighted stands. (Just imagine that Blanton’s bourbon bottle!) Each creation has a barrel sliver lazered with Donna’s trademark Kentucky Bourbon Recipe© hanging around the neck of the bottle.

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The Bourbon Guys with Donna Cheek of Kentucky Bourbon Recipe©

September is an important month for the State of Kentucky! It’s the month when the entire state comes together to celebrate its Bourbon heritage. The epicenter of this celebration takes place at the Kentucky Bourbon Festival in Bardstown, Kentucky. Bardstown is a great little city – once named “Most Beautiful Small Town in America” by Rand McNally – best-known for its Bourbon heritage. But many visitors may not be aware that it’s also a town with some excellent restaurants. The Bourbon Guys would like to introduce you to what we feel are some the best and most unique eats in Bardstown:

Best Breakfast

Mammy’s Kitchen

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We ate breakfast at Mammy’s Kitchen on our way out of town after our visit to the Kentucky Bourbon Trail because we were sick of the hotel buffet. Mammy’s did not disappoint! The eggs benedict (pictured) were fantastic and the breakfast hot brown… all I can say is “Oh my gosh!” The overall atmosphere was quaint and friendly and the server kept our coffee cups full at all times. Mammy’s also serves a great lunch and their pies are amazing if you just want a snack (or pie for lunch!).

Check out Mammy’s Kitchen on Facebook:

Mammy’s Kitchen Facebook page

 

Best Lunch

Susie Q’s

20130916-224057.jpgSusie Q’s is our choice for the best all around lunch place in Bardstown. The service we received was outstanding and the food was even better. We had their signature items, the famous slaw burger (pictured on right) and the fried green tomato BLT (pictured on left). Both were very good and unique, but the slaw burger was absolutely divine.

Then it came time for dessert! Owner Connie Nalley makes her own homemade desserts and you can’t go wrong with any of them. But we had to try Connie’s famous bourbon bread pudding, which was hands-down the best bourbon bread pudding we’ve ever had. Don’t miss Susie Q’s!

Check out Susie Q’s on Facebook:

Susie Q’s Facebook page

 

Best Dinner

The Rickhouse Restaurant

20130916-224031.jpgIf you like good food and bourbon you’ll really enjoy the Rickhouse Restaurant! Located literally underneath the Bardstown Whiskey Museum, the small but welcoming entrance makes you feel as if you are entering a real bourbon rickhouse.

The food at the Rickhouse was delicious and their bourbon selection wasn’t bad either! They have excellent steak, chicken and fish, and their sides are creative and tasty, especially the 7 cheese mac-n-cheese. They offer many different bourbon flight options which of course is a plus not found at many restaurants. Enjoying a nice flight of five – yes, five, not three – different bourbons with your dinner is an experience that any bourbon lover would enjoy.

If you are in Bardstown and are looking for a great dinner, check out The Rickhouse Restaurant.

Check out The Rickhouse Restaurant Online:

The Rickhouse Restaurant website

 

Most Unique Dining Experience

The Kentucky Bourbon House

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The Kentucky Bourbon House, also known as the Chapeze House, is the type of place you go if you have an entire evening to spend. The host, who is named “The Colonel” is a unique guy who is apparently not only locally famous but nationally known as well.

Reservations must be made at The Kentucky Bourbon House because they serve dinner to everyone at the same time each evening. Seems like sort of a strange concept but it is very unique. Upon arrival you make your way to the bar area where “The Colonel” makes up some mighty fine drinks and then tells some pretty good stories.

Dinner is the best part of the evening! You are served a delicious dinner consisting of pork chops, butter boiled corn, green beans, potatoes and the best corn bread you will ever taste in your life. If you have an entire evening free, love good food, love good whiskey, and can tolerate a lot of story telling you will not be disappointed in The Kentucky Bourbon House.

Check out The Kentucky Bourbon House online:

The Kentucky Bourbon House website

 

Best Distillery Lunch

Toll Gate Café (at Maker’s Mark)

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Though it’s a few miles away from downtown Bardstown, The Toll Gate Café (at Maker’s Mark) is a great place to grab a quick lunch while visiting the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. Located right at the entrance of the beautiful Maker’s Mark Distillery, you will find a quaint little building with quick lunch eats. The bourbon pulled pork is amazing and their other sandwiches are excellent as well. If you get hungry while touring the Kentucky Bourbon Trail and don’t have time for a long lunch the Toll Gate Café (at Maker’s Mark) is a cool little place.

Check out the Toll Gate Café online:

The Toll Gate Café website

Not only is September the month that celebrates Bourbon Heritage, it’s also the month when the annual Bourbon Festival takes place in Bardstown, Kentucky. Whether you plan on attending the event this year or you just plan on visiting Bardstown in the near future, here is a great article about our visit to the Bourbon trail with a unique perspective.

Click here > Forget the Cake :Here’s how to make your wife happy and have your bourbon!

Special thanks to guest contributor: Lisa Beckelhimer

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