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My Handcrafted Opinions on Whiskies, Distilleries and Other Related Stuff

Buffalo Trace (Virtual Tour), Kentucky, USA

This was my 7th virtual distillery tour (VDT#7) and the most sophisticated and detailed to date.   I had to download an app from Apple store to check this out and in fact the app offers 4 virtual tours; Hard Hat, Distillery Tour, Barrel Tour and Time Machine. The tour(s) include full production and distillation process breakdown as well as access to distillery grounds and lots of information on the different whiskies produced at the distillery (which you get by clicking on the bottles you find as you explore the site). Plenty of site history and other details provided along the way as well.

While it is a computer generated 3D animation of the distillery and grounds that you are exploring (think of an interactive computer game but with booze to collect rather than goblins to kill), I can say having been to Buffalo Trace it is indeed a very reminiscent of the real thing and gives you a true sense of the place. While other virtual tours have taken a little as 3 or 4 minutes to complete, there is enough content here to spend at least 1 or 2 hours exploring the site.

Grab your anorak, pick up your note book and get your “whiskey geek” on. This has been the closest thing so far to an actual tour. Very cool and I would love to see others do something like this.

https://buffalotracedistillery.com/virtualtour/

What is this:  https://www.somanywhiskies.com/item/894-distillery-tours-from-my-couch-1

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Jim Beam, Kentucky, USA

Jim Beam, Kentucky, USA My first major US distillery and the first stop I made on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail in May 2012.  To call this a distillery visit is a bit misleading... as the official name is the Jim Beam Heritage Tour and you don't get to see any of the actual working distillery (except for one warehouse).  Instead the focus is on the Beam family distilling history (which begins with Jacob Beam.... not Jim) and and also learn about their product range.  This is not the artisanal style of distillery I have been used to seeing in Scotland, this is a major whisky factory wth over 475 employees (thats about 450 more men than you find in Tain and 472 more than Benromach).  I learned that 95% of the world's bourbon is made in Kentucky and 50% of that is made by Jim Beam.   Their range is a bit of a mixed bag for me... I like Jim Beam Black (but not the standard White label), I like Booker's but not Baker's and I love Knob Creek but don't like Basil Hayden.  All of these Beam brands are made at this facility and interestingly all made with the usual suspects of corn, rye and malted barley... not a wheated bourbon in the range.  Highlight of tour was probably learning our guide was 8th generation Beam family and seeing the pride and passion in her for bourbon (and she was cute which also helped).  The tour was free and included a short video and samples of Jim Beam Black and Baker's small batch bourbon (and a sample of choclate to try with the Baker's... a recurring theme on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail).  The facility is currently undergoing an upgrade with a new store and a cafe and will in the future the tour will include the actual distillery.... so I will have to come back and revisit when that is complete and hopefully get the same guide.
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