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My Handcrafted Opinions on Whiskies, Distilleries and Other Related Stuff

Woodford Reserve, Kentucky, USA

A distillery was opened on this site by Elijah Pepper in 1812 and according to legend (or the marketing department) is the site where Dr Crow "perfected" bourbon.  Now owned by Brown Forman (of Jack Daniel's fame) you could literally pick up this distillery and drop into Speyside and it would not look out of place, with it's picturesque setting, stone stillhouse and copper pots stills from Forsythe's of Rothes.  This was exactly what I had imagined a bourbon distillery to be.  They had picked up a  few other ideas from Scotland as well, such as charging $7 for a tour, the first and only time I was charged on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, and having a convenient lunch / coffee shop in the visitors center.  The tour was well organized with a short video and then a bus ride from the plush visitor center down to the actual distillery and a guide equiped with a mini PA system so all could hear him.  The tour focussed on the components that make up the distinctive sweet taste of Woodford Reserve, the grains, the yeast (one of many distileries that mentioned criticality of yeast) the stills and distillation process (Woodford Reserve uniquely triple distills their bourbon), the casks and of course the maturation.  Seeing the still house wtih three pot stills was definately unique on the KBT.  Another highlight was seeing the fermentation process because the day we toured they were actually making an unusual mash which will be part of a future Masters Collection and included chocolate roasted rye so it was much darker than usual yellow corn mashes I saw on the tours.  Then the mandatory bottling hall part of tour to watch Collingwood Canadian Whiskey being bottled... (something to do with similar bottle shape and Borwn Forman plant capacity).  After the highlight of watching and hearing some Canadian whiskey being bottled the tour concluded back in vistor center with a shot glass of Woodford Reserve (you get to keep the plastic shot glass!) and a chocolate!  All in all a very good tour and along with Maker's Mark was one of the highlights.

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Hull Distillery Company Ltd, Hull, England

Hull Distillery Company Ltd, Hull, England

You won't find this mentioned on very many whisky blogs because it is not a whisky distillery.  In fact it doesn't even exist anymore, but over time the site has transformed into the Saltend Chemicals Park (or SCP) operated by BP.  The site is not open to the public (or even part of a "British Petrochemical Trail") but because of my job (Amazingly I am not a full time whisky blogger!) I was able to get a tour of SCP which still produces industrial alcohol / biofuel today from grain in August 2016.  The history of the Hull Distillery Co Ltd  goes back to 1924 when Herbert Green opened an industrial distillery and in 1925 he sold it to DCL.  By 1963 DCL had three divisions, a Drinks Group that manufactured Scotch Whisky, Gin and Vodka, a Food Group that included United Yeast Co, and Peerless Refining Co. and an Industrial Group principally involved in chemicals and plastics.  In 1967 sold their Chemcials and Plastics business to British Petroleum (BP) including the Saltend Distillery.

Now an interesting footnote in UK distilling history but no samples on this tour... which was probably for the best.

Ref: http://saltendchemicalspark.co.uk/history

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