I tend to really bond with the places that enliven my taste buds and weave a flavor on my tongue to accompany the vision I capture in a camera. Kentucky was destined to become my summer crush.
It was Willett Distillery that sealed the bond. It wasn’t even originally in our carefully planned trip book agenda, but with time to kill and positive Yelp reviews, we added a morning tour at the last minute. Anyone with time to take in this tour should definitely do so. While other distillery tours may feel a little mass produced and slightly fanciful, this one is authentic, visually wonderful, and tasty. It is the flavor memory that will keep me pining away for the hills of Kentucky.
Each turn on the grounds provided a different lesson–visual, olfactory, or taste. There were workers rolling barrels to their rickhouse resting places. The distillery cats roved. The smell of mash fermenting permeated. Our cheery guide told us details of Willett history while wetting our tongues with a bit of the mash, a splash of the white dog, and a delightful old fashioned.
There’s a beautiful thing about bourbon. It’s an agricultural product with a long history. The process is a wonderful chemical and microbiological act of nature and human to create a liquid that slides over the tongue and warms the soul.
Our bottle of rye made it home. It even survived a few weeks here at 5794 feet in Colorado. I’d like to blame altitude and evaporation for its disappearance, but some souvenirs go quickly. Especially the ones that glide over the tongue and remind you of a morning well spent in Kentucky.
I am not sure when we will make it back to bourbon country, but I am looking forward to another bottle of Willett finding its way into our life.