It may be a big multinational, but Brown and Foreman did everything right for its brand, Woodford Reserve. The company imported not two but three copper pot stills from Scotland (Naturally I think we can assume this is a concession to the superiority of single malt over bourbon.) and resurrected a distillery that had lain dormant for decades. It’s an absolute gem.
You begin your trip with a fairly long drive through farms and fields that ends with a stone distillery and stone warehouses connected by rails to roll the whisk(e)y barrels. You feel that it’s just as it was at the turn of the last century. They use a blend of corn, rye and malted barley that is fermented in open wood vats. The distillation takes place in batches in three separate stills. Most bourbons are made continuously in column stills even if they say small batch on their labels.
Conor O’Driscoll, Woodford’s distiller, explains that the company takes wood very seriously and allows its new barrels to dry before using them. The warehouse is heated and cooled to achieve the extremes they’ve found to be ideal for their bourbon.
The visitor’s center features lots of gear, tastings and free bourbon chocolates for guests and a restaurant with a view of the distillery. If you’re in Kentucky, go!