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My Handcrafted Opinions on Whiskies, Distilleries and Other Related Stuff

St Nicholas Abbey, Barbados

I know you probably haven't heard of this one, it is a tiny rum distillery that was only opened in 2006.  It is located in the grounds of a house that was built in 1658, one of only three genuine Jacobean mansions in the western hemisphere, that we visited while on vacation in Barbados in October 2011.  The small distillery produces rum from fermented sugar cane juice (rather than the usual molasses - which is what is left after they remove the sugar crystals from the cane juice) and they distill in small pot still and then mature the rum in bourbon casks in their own bonded warehouse.  They offer free tastings and if you want to buy a bottle they even specially engrave the bottle in the distillery while you wait.  Recently found out via Twitter than you can buy the rum at Master of Malt website as well.... http://www.masterofmalt.com/rum/st-nicholas-abbey-10-year-old-rum/

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Heaven Hill Bourbon Heritage Center, Kentucky, USA

Heaven Hill Bourbon Heritage Center, Kentucky, USA My third stop on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail was not the actual distillery tour, but a visitor's center in the midst of their warehouses dedicated to the numerous brands produced at Heaven Hill.  At least I didn't have to stand in a noisy bottling plant.  Our knowledgable guide mentioned Heaven Hill currently produces 83 different brands including the Evan Williams, Elijah Craig and Old Fitzgerald lines.  Most of these are made from the standard corn / rye / malt recipes but they did make  5 wheated bourbons which I believe would be the Old Fitzgerald whiskies. The tour I chose was brief and focussed on the history of bourbon (as you might expect for a heritage center) rather than the specifc brands of Heaven Hill (unlike Beam and Maker's) and again was free and concluded with a tasting of Evan Williams Single Barrel.... which I really liked.  The guide tried to give a mini lesson in tasting bourbon, adding water or ice etc but to be honest was a little hampered by use of plastic cups and very small pours.  Interestingly the Beam family made another appearance... Jim's Beam's brother, Earl Beam, was hired by Heaven Hill as Master Distiller and Craig Beam is the current Master Distiller.  That made it 3 distilleries out of 3 with a Beam connection.
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