Kentucky Artisan Distillery (#9 of 19) is the home of Jefferson Reserve, Oceans at Sea and Whiskey Row. You'll find this to be one of the most experimental distilleries in Kentucky.
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ABOUT THE KENTUCKY ARTISAN DISTILLERY TOUR
- Location: Crestwood, KY (East of Louisville)
- Impression: A cozy little distillery that is the home of Jefferson Reserve and Ocean At Sea bourbons.
- Website: Tour Information (Requires Age Verification)
- Cost: I paid $11 for the tour.
- Samples: 4 Selections including Whiskey Row, Jefferson Reserve Very Small Batch, Jefferson's Ocean at Sea, Manhattan
- Perks: No keepsakes but some great conversations.
- My Kentucky Artisan Instagram Photos
Just for interest's sake (and since I haven't shown any in-house action videos to this point!) here is what it looks like as they bottle Jefferson's.
My Thoughts on Kentucky Artisan Distillery
And as I drove away, here are my thoughts about the tour...(sorry, I learned after the fact that the air conditioner in my car was blowing straight into the microphone...again, my first time doing this sort of thing, so my apologies!). A pretty cool tidbit in here about how Oceans at Sea is made and where it may tie into Thomas Jefferson in ways the distiller may not have even known.
- I was ill informed before heading to this distillery. It was suggested to me that this was just a blending facility. It IS a fully functioning distillery. The warehouses are off-site, but everything else is here.
- They said they do about 2000 barrels a year versus Jim Beam's 2000 barrels a day.
- Very small batch according to the distillery is about 20 barrels, vs bigger distillers that can claim small batches that include hundreds of barrels. There is no legal definition of "small batch."
- We got some back story on the history of bourbon itself, although they offer up just one of the theories (a theory that fits their experimental process of using water for aging). There are many theories as to how bourbon came to be and where it got it's name and aging process.
- They actually use stainless steel mostly for their stills, which I found unique. But they do use a copper still in the process, so no sulfites!
- Here, they mention double stilling the product and that doing it more than that hurts the product. However, at Woodford Reserve we were told the exclusivity of using a three still process (and that it made the whiskey better). Okay, who you gonna believe?
- They buy their barrels locally and toast them, unlike most distilleries that purchase from Kentucky Cooperage (in Lebanon, KY) or Kelvin Cooperage (in Louisville, KY).
- While watching the AMC show Turn: Washington's Spies, I became very interested in the port wine called Medeira, which was a popular drink with our colonial forefathers. Totally by accident they discovered that if they aged it at sea, it improved the product. You can still find Medeira Port Wine in stores, but only a few brands actually still set their wine adrift. Read the bottle to make sure. It's very sweet and thick, like a sherry.