Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A Lesson in Burbon Whisky - Makers Mark Distillery

I'm still in the US, actually in Kentucky visiting my mother and grandmother (who is 102 years old!!). Kentucky gets a bad wrap for being a backward state filled with country folk. Ok...that is true to some extent, but not entirely true!!! It is beautiful, filled with trees and rolling hills and among other things has many historic whisky distilleries like Maker's Mark which are still in production.

My mother and I drove up to the Makers Mark Distillery this morning to take the factory tour and see how Kentucky burbon whisky is made. I'm not a big whisky drinker, but I made have been converted after today! The tour was facinating and to call the Makers Mark site a factory is just not totally acurate. It's just beautiful - they're still using the original buildings but everything has been restored.

The whisky making process is really interesting, Markers Mark uses a mixure of grains a majority of which is corn (something like 70%). They barrels that are over 100 years old to fermet the grains and then they turn it into moonshine (basically un-refined whisky) then it gets put into white oak barrels for 6 years while it ages to perfection. Finally it all gets bottled, packaged and shipped out to re-sellers. I should add, all of the bottling and packaging still happens on site, they still print the labels for the bottle on site as well. Amazing.

Really really facinating experience, I'm sure I've managed to muck up the explantaion of how it's
made, but hopefully you can get a better idea of the process from the photos below.

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