New Old Forester barrel on the way to Bin110

Bourbon doesn’t have to be made in Kentucky, but it damn sure helps!  Tallie and I met up with some friends and fellow bourbon aficionados, and made the pilgrimage to Bourbon Country last week, to pick our next Bin110 exclusive barrel from our friends at Old Forester. We aren’t going to make the trip without planning some other key stops, however, so in this edition of Bourbon & Beyond, I thought I’d talk about our itinerary, as a guide to you on your next trip to Louisville!

Our first stop was Hotel Distil on Whiskey Row.  Hotel Distil is a Marriott Autograph property in the heart of all things whiskey, and is truly my go-to place to stay when I visit. Not only is the location prime, but the accommodations are first class.  Repeal, the restaurant/bar located on property, is fantastic.  We kicked off the weekend with some single barrel pours picked by Repeal, paired with some fantastic culinary offerings we all shared:  Truffled Burrata, Crab Cakes, and a Prime Rib French Dip.  Pro Tip:  Make sure to try single barrel picks from establishments when you travel.  It’s an opportunity to taste something that you can’t get anywhere else!

Bin 110 to Kentucky
Bin 110’s pilgrimage to Bourbon Country

Next stop:  Michter’s at Fort Nelson.  I can’t remember the last time I visited Louisville, and didn’t make a point to stop here.  Michter’s (a name that is a blend of the founder’s two sons, Michael and Peter) has a long history dating back to Pennsylvania distilleries Shenk’s and Bomberger’s, and boasts a unique process that truly turns out some of the best toasted barrel and rye whiskies in the entire industry.  Nearly as impressive as the juice, the hospitality afforded by the team there is second to none.  Pro Tip:  Don’t forget to visit their bar on the 2nd floor for some fantastic cocktails!

For dinner, we journeyed outside the city to the famed Watch Hill Proper.  WHP boasts a whiskey library 1900 strong.  Yes, nearly 2000 whiskies!  It can be a little overwhelming, but you will truly find so many pours that you just can’t find anywhere else.  I had a pour of 2016 Booker’s Rye, which in my humble opinion, might just be the best rye on the planet! Pro Tip: The Pasta Bolognese is a must!

Tasting Session in Kentucky
Bin 110’s pilgrimage to Bourbon Country

On Friday, we had a leisurely lunch (and a couple of pours to get our palates right!) at Merle’s Whiskey Kitchen before we walked across the street to Old Forester.  Our visit began with an outstanding tour, showing the both the history and the processes that take Old Forester from grain to bottle.  Right in the middle of the rickhouse, they had an awesome tasting setting prepared for us to pick our next Single Barrel.  We are super excited for our nearly 126 proof pick to arrive in the coming months! Pro Tip: Make sure to grab some Modjeskas in the gift shop.  Modjeskas are marshmallow wrapped in caramel, dipped in dark chocolate, then finished with a dash of smoked sea salt.  Trust me.  One of a kind treat!

We closed out the week with visits to the historic Stitzel Weller Distillery as well as a MUST STOP visit to whiskey bar, Neat.  Not a lot of production goes on at Stitzel Weller any longer, but the history is incredible … as is the Garden & Gun bar upstairs! Neat features an extensive list of current release as well as antique whiskies … and the prices are some of the best I’ve seen anywhere!  Despite the incredible selection, this place has the feel of a local neighborhood pub where everyone knows your name.  You will feel right at home! Pro Tip:  They have a bottle shop next door so you can purchase some very nice to-go bottles!

As much fun as it is, 2 ½ to 3 days is a solid trip to bourbon country.  Sampling all of those fine Kentucky whiskies takes its toll … on your wallet and your liver!  That being said, I can’t wait for the next trip back. Stay tuned for the arrival of our Old Forester Single Barrel/Barrel Proof offering!