Meeting the Master Distiller at Woodford Reserve and Bourbon Sweet Potato Biscuits
Kentucky certainly comes to mind as the bourbon making capital of the world, although there are distillers in several other states. In fact, there are only ten distillers in the entire country that produce over 300 different brands of bourbon.
One of our favorites is Woodford Reserve, so we were thrilled to be able to meet with Chris Morris, the Master Distiller at Woodford Reserve, while we were in Lexington, Kentucky last month. Woodford Reserve is also the official bourbon of the Kentucky Derby, so we could not have visited at a better time, considering Derby Day is today!
Bourbon making is an art that dates back as far as 2,500 years ago and was first discovered by the Venetians (and we thought they just knew how to make wine!). It is a complex process and hasn’t changed too much over the years. In fact, Woodford Reserve is making bourbon today much the same way they did when the distillery was first started in 1812.
The property that Woodford Reserve sits on was at one time a 500 acre working farm with cattle. Today they have a total of 72 acres just outside of Lexington in Versailles, Kentucky. It is known as the most beautiful bourbon facility due to its picturesque setting and historic stone buildings surrounded by thoroughbred horse country. The property is also a National Landmark. Nothing but bourbon has been made there since 1812 (although there were periods when the facility was idle, especially during prohibition).
The current owners, Brown-Forman, purchased the property for quite the deal in 1940 (six years after prohibition). They bought it from the Lebrot family knowing there were 25,672 barrels of bourbon untapped on the property which made the purchase price for the property $3.25 per gallon! 🙂
Brown-Forman’s other bourbon labels include Jack Daniels, Old Forester, Gentleman Jack, Early Times and Canadian Mist. Woodford Reserve is the only small batch bourbon that they make. There are only 21 barrels produced a day compared to their sister bourbon Jack Daniels which produces 2,100 barrels a day.
Oh wonderful post! I am new to your blog…so glad I found it!! Lovely!
looked like a beautiful trip, very interesting video of tapping the keg.
Oh this looks like so much fun and yes, perfect day! Thanks for sharing 🙂
Wish we all could be at Churchill Downs today, but second choice would be together, at your place or ours, eating country ham and sweet potato biscuits, Midnight Interlude/Chocolate Yummy, and sampling various bourbon cocktails from our respective bourbon bottles! Fantastic and interesting post! Tell Roger I’m sorry his horse got scratched!
Denise. Since my Uncle Mo can’t make it I have to go with my second, Macho Mucho is my Man.
These biscuits look so good & do not seem too difficult to make. What kind of shortening did you use ?? Thank you !! Happy Derby Day today & hope you & all your followers have a beautiful Mother’s Day.
Sounds like a blast and a trip my husband would LOVE to take. He is the whiskey drinker in the family.
Gwen, my husband loves bourbon, so I can so imagine us enjoying a trip to that establishment.
And your red coat is faboo. Just sayin’!
Woodford is one of the three bourbons I detailed as a “Sure Bet.” For sipping, for cooking, for cocktials…if you are new to Kentucky Bourbon Woodford Reserve is a great starting point.
With over 300 bourbons to chose from, a lot of this has to do with individual taste and personal preference. Woodford Reserve is one of the highest rated bourbons and its facility is strikingly beautiful.
Over the years we have probably enjoyed too many of the 300 different bourbons, but Woodford remains one of our favorites.
Looks like you had a fun trip. wonderful photos to go along with a great post.
i tried one using sweet potato in my bread and loved it. these biscuits sounds so easy to make and have the feeling they disappear in a heart beat. Thanks for sharing Gwen
Tap that keg! This looks like a fun day. I’d skip the race and watch the mash… GREG
I’m catching up on your blog and hadn’t realized you were so close! I wish we could have met up. It looks like you had a wonderful time in the Lexington area. We missed you by a day at Keeneland. We consider Woodford Reserve the absolute best. Not only for the quality of the bourbon, but I think it has the most unique history of all the bourbons around here. Loving all your travels in and out of KY!
I am literally DROOLING over here. I flipped through this cookbook at your house while you guys were on the computer with Lindsay. As a native Kentuckian, I am embarrassed to say I’ve never been to any of the distilleries! What a great post you’ve written about one of my FAVORITE subjects! 🙂