Tag: bourbon springs

Lincoln Homestead State Park

If you live in Kentucky, you live with visual reminders of the legacy of Abraham Lincoln every day. He is our ubiquitous icon: statues, murals, and signs dot the state attesting to his connection to the Commonwealth.

There’s a small and relatively unknown yet historic spot related to him: the Lincoln Homestead State Park.

The president’s grandfather, Captain Abraham Lincoln, settled here with his wife and sons after the Revolutionary War. Thomas Lincoln, the president’s father, allegedly proposed to Nancy on the site in front of a fireplace; the original cabin still stands. The park has a few original structures as well as replica buildings. The original home owned by Moredecai Lincoln, the president’s uncle, still stands here as well.

Below is a shot I took of one of the historic buildings. Not that great, but shows you a little of what it looks like. Beyond this area and below it is a small creek, which is probably a feature that attracted settlement in the area.

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This is not a big place–its main attraction is really a golf course to the south of the historic sites. There is also a picnic area slightly to the north of the historic area, along with a playground. This was the view a few summers ago across the road from the picnic/playground area: a vineyard!

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Looking east from playground area north of main part of Lincoln Homestead Park

 

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I noticed the park on a map a few summers back and visited. It is not far from where I live (within an hour), but it is definitely off the beaten path. The physical address for the park is Springfield, Kentucky, a few miles to the southeast.

As it turns out, the park is just west of where Bourbon Springs would be if it existed–slightly south of Willisburg.

Bourbon Springs would be about where the marker for Route 555 appears on this map (above the road marked Route 438).

More Free Reads!

Here’s another mystery promo I’m participating in.  Over thirty authors! Stock up on some fun, free mystery reading during these dark cold days of winter (at least up here in the Northern Hemisphere; if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, great for outdoor leisure reading!)

Click here to go to the promo page for January Keep Warm and Cozy promo on Book Funnel. (mailing list sign up could be required)

Free and Fun

  • Bourbon Springs Box Set I is still free–that’s three books (Secret Blend, Filtered Through Blue, and Angels’ Share) plus a short story (Secret Sauce) all in one for zip. Nada. Zero. Nothing.

          

Join the Old Garnet Sipping Society, my Facebook readers’ group, to get a free short story and background info about the stories.

A Spicy, Wintry Trip to a Cooperage (and a distillery, of course)

Limestone Branch and Kentucky Cooperage

One of my best memories of recent years was traveling to Lebanon, Kentucky on a snowy day to visit a cooperage, a place where they make barrels. It was all in the name of research for one of my books (Toast and Char), where the hero owns a cooperage.

The main independent cooperage in Kentucky is Kentucky Cooperage, operated by Independent Stave Company in Lebanon, Kentucky. I had heard about the cooperage from visits to Bourbon Trail distilleries and had checked out their website. But since I was writing about a guy who was part owner of a cooperage, I knew I needed to go and see the place for myself.

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From the Independent Stave website

I watched a few videos online, but it wasn’t enough to satisfy my nerdly brain. So one snowy winter day I headed south—and, not coincidentally, directly through the area where Bourbon Springs would be if it really existed. I do take a few geographic liberties in describing a few things—Bourbon Springs is fictional, after all—but I saw the sights I anticipated—rolling hills of the outer Bluegrass region mixed with the pointed Knobs to the south and west.

The tour at Kentucky Cooperage started in an employee breakroom—really. Part of the room had a little sitting area where the visitors were shown the same video that’s available online. After watching that, we got a headset with speaker in it; we were going into very loud places. We started in the area where the barrels were assembled or raised, and saw a cooper do this. We then went to the area where the barrels were charred, five at a time. That day they were making barrels for Maker’s Mark. The guide told us that they run one brand every day and that’s all they’ll run. After that, we were taken to inspection, where a field of new barrels, stacked two-high spread out through the warehouse. A cooper came and gave a demonstration of how to remove a defective stave (quite the mysterious puzzle to me). They seal any extra cracks or gaps with dried cattails! At the Kentucky Bourbon Festival in Bardstown in September 2015, I saw coopers from Kentucky Cooperage repairing barrels with cedar plugs in addition to cattails.

Then it was over. The tour was only about fifteen minutes long but interesting.

And what was the best part?

The smell!

All that wood—they steam it and, of course, set it on fire to char it (and, yes those barrels really burn). The scent was wonderful, like the most perfect fire you could possibly build in your own hearth. It was a deep, spicy, even food-like aroma that clung to me, through my hair and my clothes. It wasn’t the same kind of scent one gets after being around a campfire. It was more akin to the kind of smell one has after cooking a really big dinner, like Thanksgiving, after roasting a very large piece of meat. It was that good.

Having time on my hands and knowing that a distillery was nearby, I hastened to Limestone Branch Distillery across town—the tour, like at the cooperage, was free. The distillery was new and small, but a veritable temple to bourbon. The place is owned by a couple of Beams and, as they are very proud to say, they are the only distiller-owner Beams at present. Limestone Branch was only opened in 2012.

Not only are the owners direct Beam descendants, they are direct Dant descendants, another legendary bourbon making family. The tour took as long to talk about history (there were two glass cases crammed with the coolest memorabilia—lovely old bottles! A copper yeast jug!) as it did to show us the operational distillery itself. These people revere their past, and it shows. As a history nerd, I was in heaven.

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The distillery makes a lot of flavored products (they’ve partnered with Moon Pie to market flavored moonshines), which isn’t my thing. So when it came to tasting, there was a bunch of flavored stuff. I was the only woman in the small group; several of the men along were in the area for a national farm equipment show in Louisville.

So what did these burly fellows drink as their free sample shots?

Yeah, the “girly” stuff: the flavored moonshines—banana, caramel, chocolate, apple, whatever. I got nothing against that stuff, but I wanted some straight corn. No straight bourbon was offered.

Who was the first to ask for the straight ‘shine?

Yeah, ME.

Only after that did the guys ask for the ‘shine. Insert eye-roll here.

The guide said the ‘shine should go down smooth and then I should feel a warmth in my chest. Well, I felt the burn on my lips and in my mouth—not as smooth as claimed, but still pretty darned smooth for ‘shine.

Before I left, one of the Beams came and talked to the group. I went out back and took a few pictures of the Knobs to the south. Very pretty country.

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Looking south from Limestone Branch Distillery, winter 2015

Limestone Branch Distillery is on the Craft Trail Tour, so I got a passport and got my first stamp. On my way to getting my Julep Cup—someday (the prize for completing the Craft Trail Tour).

I really want to get back to Kentucky Cooperage for another tour very soon. The problem is the heat. Summertime is not the ideal season to visit. Add the steamy environs of a cooperage to that kind of weather, and I’m not sure I can handle a tour. Maybe I can sneak down there on some rainy day.

Note:  This piece originally appeared (without images) in the back matter of Secret Sauce, the short story immediately following Secret Blend (Bourbon Springs Book 1).

***

Free and Fun

  • Bourbon Springs Box Set I is still free–that’s three books (Secret Blend, Filtered Through Blue, and Angels’ Share) plus a short story (Secret Sauce) all in one for zip. Nada. Zero. Nothing.

          

Join the Old Garnet Sipping Society, my Facebook readers’ group, to get a free short story and background info about the stories.

A Familiar Sight in Bourbonland: Distillery Cats


Noah, a distillery cat at Willett in Bardstown, Kentucky

Woodford Reserve had a revered distillery cat, Elijah, who passed away a few years ago. He had his own special spot at the distillery, outside a building between the Dryer House and the old warehouse. I took these pictures in September when I was on a tour.

 

Why was the cat named Elijah? He was named for Elijah Pepper, the man who came to Glenns Creek in 1812 to farm and distill.

When I was at the gift shop at the distillery in the visitors’ center one day, I got to meet Elijah’s successor, Oscar. He was in a shopping basket underneath a wall of bourbon on top of a used bourbon barrel. He meowed once and was happy to be petted, but wasn’t interested in raising his head beyond the edge of the basket. I didn’t notice him at first. When I was checking out, the clerk kept turning around and looking at the wall. She finally said something about how the noise “doesn’t bother him,” and I finally spotted the cat.

Oscar wasn’t interested in raising his head up for a picture; he was only nine months old in these pictures

 

According to the clerk, Oscar stays at the administrator’s house on the grounds. When he wants to leave the visitors’ center, he goes to the backdoor (leads out onto the side porch) and waits to be let out.  He was a rescue cat.

And how did Oscar get his name?

Because Elijah Pepper’s son was named Oscar. Oscar Pepper took over the distilling business after his father’s death and built part of the original distillery building, which dates to the 1840s. The distillery was once known as the Old Oscar Pepper Distillery.

So does Old Garnet have a distillery cat?

Yes. In the Epilogue of Cedar and Cinnamon, the existence of the Old Garnet distillery cat is revealed, as well as the reason why there hasn’t been a distillery cat in the series to date. The cat’s name is revealed in Distilled Heat, and he makes one brief appearance in the book.

Sadly, one of us in the house is allergic to cats, so we can’t have one. I’ll just have to make do by visiting a few distilleries from time to time.

 

Free and Fun For You

  • Bourbon Springs Box Set I is still free–that’s three books (Secret Blend, Filtered Through Blue, and Angels’ Share) plus a short story (Secret Sauce) all in one for zip. Nada. Zero. Nothing.

                

Join the Old Garnet Sipping Society, my Facebook readers’ group, to get a free short story and background info about the stories.

SHARP PRACTICE–a milestone and some thoughts

I just realized that when Sharp Practice releases on March 28, 2017, that will be the tenth book I’ve published!

There’s lots more Bourbonland on the way–Single Barrel and Sharp Practice are just the beginning. I’ve been writing a lot this winter–books as well as short stories and novellas. This series is tied together just like Bourbon Springs–and you’ll get to see Bourbon Springs characters from time to time.

Welcome back to the Land of Bourbon and Bluegrass… welcome to Bourbonland.

Celebrating January’s Birthstone: Garnet

As mentioned in the backmatter of Secret Blend, the name for Old Garnet came to me because it simply sounded like a bourbon. I also happen to like garnets, with their deep, almost bluish red color they possess. I do have several pieces of garnet jewelry, all of them acquired before I even thought of the Bourbon Springs Series.

The word’s origin derives from granatum, latin for seed, and further derived specifically from  the appearance of pomegranate pips or seeds.

 

Antique pomegranate print

Antique pomegranate print; note the seeds in the cross-section image in the lower left corner

Strangely enough, when I was in Louisville in November 2015 to see the Prohibition Exhibition at the Frazier Museum, just across and down the street a little I saw an entire limo dedicated to the glory of the pomegranate. This was parked in front of 21C, a hotel. Affixed to the surface of the vehicle were small red jewel-like red discs; I wish I could’ve caught a picture of this thing in the full sun.

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Sharp!

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Yep, that’s a pomegranate

As a birthstone, the garnet can symbolize many things. For me, the most important concept the stone represents is a crucial theme throughout the Bourbon Springs Series.

Loyalty.

When I think of that trait, I think of the Bourbon Springs characters, and how they are loyal to each other and their home. Home, and a sense of community and purpose found in a place and with particular people,  is a recurring idea in the books.

A Year in Pictures in the Land of Bourbon and Bluegrass

I’ve posted many pictures to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter over the past year, but here’s a year-long compilation of 2015–which actually begins at the very end of 2014. This will be a looooong post, chock-full of pictures of the Land of Bourbon and Bluegrass. I love where I live, and I hope it shows. If you have seen the Pinterest boards for the books, some of these pictures will look familiar. If you haven’t checked out the Pinterest boards, links to the boards are on the book pages here on my site.

One note: I’ve been to all the distilleries on the Bourbon Trail now except for one, Bulleit (it actually wasn’t on the Trail when I started; I’m supposed to be able to still get my shirt despite not having gone there, but I want to get there soon). Anyway, I have a lot of shots of other distilleries beyond those you’ll see below, including Maker’s Mark and Wild Turkey. It’s just that those trips were earlier in 2014 and thus not appropriate time-wise for what I consider a year-end round up.

Also, you won’t find a lot of references to the books below. You’ll find some, but my goal with this post is to show you the wonderful places I’ve been this year and the place I call home: Kentucky.

Note: this post is best viewed on a desktop. On mobile, I’ve noticed the pictures get rather confused and don’t match captions.

 

December 2014

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Town Branch Distillery

 

 

During the week between Christmas and New Year’s last year, I took the tour at Town Branch in Lexington and checked that stop off on my Bourbon Trail Passport. Located within spitting distance of Rupp Arena, the spot is Lexington’s only distillery. Town Branch is named after the stream running through that area of Lexington and through the local old distillery district. It is owned by Alltech.

 

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Tasting at the end of the tour at Town Branch

At the end of any distillery tour, you’re going to get the chance to taste the wares. Town Branch was no exception. Look at that awesome still in the back!

 

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The devil’s cut

Town Branch had this lovely on display: a used barrel stave showing how far the bourbon had soaked into that oak. Trapped bourbon is called the devil’s cut.

 

 

The mash tubs at Town Branch

The mash tubs at Town Branch

 

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The bourbon flavor wheel at Town Branch

Note that cedar and cinnamon are opposites on this wheel; also note that stone–that’s limestone, a very deliberate construction choice. Town Branch has been around less than ten years and the distillery building itself is very new.

 

 

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Honoring the past

This was on a decorated barrel–“Old Tarr” is actually an old bourbon brand, made in Lexington’s distillery district (not anymore). In fact, across High Street and very close to Town Branch in the distillery district is a dead-end street called “Tarr Trace.”

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January 2015

A trip to Jim Beam in Clermont, Kentucky: heart of a bourbon empire nestled in the Knobs, about fifteen minutes west of Bardstown.

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This barn greets guests after turning off the main road and going toward the distillery and visitors’ center

 

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The American Stillhouse at Jim Beam

 

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The grains and their flavors…

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…and the grains themselves; the panels rotated to reveal the actual grains (think how they do it on Wheel of Fortune and you’ll get the idea)

 

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Gotta protect your water source–a sign in the distillery

 

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The Jim Beam yeast jug, containing their proprietary and historic strain

 

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The barreling porch with milestones noted

 

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Devil’s cut at Jim Beam

Jim Beam makes a brand called “Devil’s Cut”–they extract that bourbon from the wood! More on that below in another picture.

 

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Alligator char: the inside of a barrel

 

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Filling a barrel; it’s a lot like pumping gas

 

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Steam in the sky

The distillery in the bright winter sun; it was a beautiful day.

 

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White dog!

 

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Time to release the bourbon!

 

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Used and split bungs

 

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Barrel dump

Dumping the bourbon; this was Knob Creek; note the incredible color and the discarded char.

 

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Jim Beam bottling line; since they were dumping Knob Creek that day, that’s what they were bottling.

 

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Little bench made of old staves

 

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Really big bottles

If these look big, that’s because they are. The biggest bottles of Jim Beam I’ve ever seen. Not available in the U.S. Apparently they sell this stuff to cruise ships and overseas.

 

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Look familiar? That’s Jeannie’s bottle from the TV show. It was a painted Jim Beam decanter.

 

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Booker sees you!

A mosaic of bottles used to create the image of the late, great Booker Noe, Jim Beam’s grandson and the man who created the small batch revolution.

 

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Gorgeous views of the Knobs were all around

 

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A rickhouse at Jim Beam; we went inside this one

 

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My taste (one of three)

 

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Four centuries of a bourbon dynasty

The Beam Bourbon Dynasty, from 1795 to the present,  inside the American Stillhouse just above the front entrance.

 

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The ticket for the tour has the same images

 

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Old Crow is a Beam brand and they still make it to this day; wish I’d bought this sign

 

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The tasting bar–so many choices!

 

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Take your pick

The dispenser for your taste–insert a card they give you, make your selection. Note the Devil’s Cut. One selection was experimental (second from right).

 

I am lucky enough to live minutes away from Woodford Reserve and some of the prettiest horse country around. Sometimes I go out to the distillery just because I can.

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Winter scenes at Woodford

Distillery to the left; old rickhouse to the right; old Pepper farmstead on the hill across Glenns Creek; note the large new rickhouses in the distance. The visitors’ center (first picture above in the snow) is out of shot to the left.

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Movin’ on

Roll out the barrel! A newly-filled barrel on the barrel run moving from the distillery to the old warehouse; shot taken from the porch on the visitors’ center.

 

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Looking from just outside the visitors’ center down toward the terra cotta brick warehouses

 

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A chunk of snow suspended in a tree

 

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Yes, it’s huge

Shot of a huge horse barn taken along New Cut Road, the road I took to and from the distillery; looking south.

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Another horse barn; you can see a few thoroughbreds to the left

 

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Oops…

Yeah, the shot isn’t centered. I had to climb a little hill off the road to get this picture. I can proudly say I didn’t fall.

 

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Pond fronting US 60 at Ashford Stud–now the home of Triple Crown Winner American Pharoah

 

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A creek on Stonestreet Farm, just south of Ashford Stud

 

February 2015

In February, I took a trip to Lebanon, Kentucky (fictionalized in the Bourbon Springs Series as “Littleham”), home to Limestone Branch Distillery and Independent Stave Company.


At Limestone Branch, which is owned by a couple of Beams, they had a great display of bourbon memorabilia.

 

 

 

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The Beam owners were also related to the Dants, another legendary bourbon-making family

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I love this bottle–look at the sunbursts on the glass!

 

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The still at Limestone Branch

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Mash at Limestone Branch

 

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Bourbon Springs?

Looking south from Limestone Branch; the Knobs are in the distance at the left. This is my mental image of the land around Bourbon Springs and Craig County, Kentucky.

 

March 2015

 

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Bluegrass sunset on Selection Sunday 2015

 

April 2015

Got out to Woodford Reserve twice.

 

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Door to the tasting room

 

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Looking from the distillery toward the visitors’ center; those panes are the back of the tasting room

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Split bungs among the char after a barrel dump

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The tasting room

 

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Along a country road in the Bluegrass in springtime

 

May 2015

Warmer weather means picnics for me. And that means a trip to Perryville, Kentucky, the site of Kentucky’s largest and most important Civil War Battle.


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To the left of the cannon is a historical marker on the spot where a Union general was killed

 

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Clover on the battlefield

A trip to Kentucky’s capital city, Frankfort!

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Home of the original bourbon balls–Rebecca Ruth Candies in Frankfort, Kentucky

 

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The real deal

 

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Sign at Rebecca Ruth 🙂

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A planter on St. Clair Mall in downtown Frankfort

 

June 2015

 

A trip to Four Roses, south of Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, and along the Salt River.

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Single barrel is my favorite Four Roses expression

 

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Mash tub

 

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Four Roses tasting bar; you get to keep the glass

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Can you see the legs?

 

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One of the pillars at the distillery entrance

July 2015

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A view of the Ohio River from an overlook at General Butler State Resort Park in Carrollton, Kentucky. Carrollton is the site of the confluence of the Kentucky and Ohio Rivers. In this picture, if you look closely, you can see a blue bridge to the center-left of the picture. That bridge spans the Kentucky River, and the confluence is slightly north of it at a local city park.

 

A small-town Fourth of July in Versailles, Kentucky!


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Got the honey from a street vendor, Kentucky Honey Farms, at the Fourth of July celebration in Versailles. When I asked which bourbon was in the honey, he replied, “Well, we are in Woodford County.” 🙂

 

Another picnic trip to Perryville…

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This is a wall of huge hibiscus outside the museum at the park.

 

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I experimented with bourbon vanilla ice cream and created this concotion using Woodford Reserve. The recipe is in the back matter of Cedar and Cinnamon.

 

A short trip to Wild Turkey. Just because. This is the visitors’ center, opened in June 2014, made to resemble a rickhouse. You can see this building from across the Kentucky River as you approach the bridge.

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Not sure whether this is a distillery cat, but I discovered him on the prowl outside the visitors’ center.

 

A quick day trip to Harrodsburg, Kentucky, in Mercer County.

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We went to  Kentucky Fudge Company, in an old drug store. This is an Ale81 float. Don’t know what Ale81 is? Think of a spicy, caffeinated ginger ale and you’ll get the idea. It is a Kentucky soft drink, a Bluegrass tradition. This float was sooooo good on a hot July day.

 

August 2015

A trip to Lake Barkley State Resort Park in far western Kentucky, at Land Between the Lakes.

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The lodge. The outdoor swimming pool is on that concrete terrace, providing awesome lake views.

 

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The butterfly garden below the pool and lodge was full of large butterflies.

 

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Views from along the path skirting the lake below the lodge.

 

 

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Taken at my house. This large butterfly or moth seemed to be posing for me. I had to wait for this shot a few minutes; it finally decided to land and be still.

 

A daytrip to Danville, Kentucky, in Boyle County, home of Centre College, my alma mater.

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The Boyle County Courthouse, dating from 1862. The building was used as a hospital after the Battle of Perryville after Union troops retreated from Perryville, about ten miles or so to the west.

 

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Taken near Parksville, Kentucky in southern Boyle County, where the Knobs meet the Bluegrass.

 

August means a trip to the Kentucky State Fair in Louisville.


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Yes, there was a bourbon tent! Jim Beam was the brand represented.

 

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The painted horse has an image of Louisville’ Whiskey Row in downtown Louisville, along with old labels and a map of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.

 

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A coloring wall at the Fair. See that building colored yellow? That’s a distillery. Those columns to the right? Silos for grain.

 

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Fair delicacies. I did not partake, although the hot brown on a stick did intrigue me.

 

September 2015

Trips to Shakertown and the Kentucky Bourbon Festival in Bardstown.

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The Centre Family Dwelling, at one time one of the largest stone structures in the state. Two entrances for the two genders.

 

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Candle made on-site at Shakertown on sale in the gift shop.

 

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The side of the Trustees’ House. We sat here on this perfect late summer day. The sky was amazing.

 

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The top of the Centre Family Dwelling (it was SO HOT UP THERE!).  One of the highest views in Mercer County, Kentucky.

 

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The old lock on the above window. Talk about sturdy. This thing was the very definition of the word.

 

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The window opposite the one above; another gorgeous view of the surrounding countryside.

 

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Lots of feline friends at Shakertown. This guy was in the window at the gift shop.

 

The major event in September was at the Bourbon Capital of the World ™, Bardstown. The Kentucky Bourbon Festival.

 

 

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The great lawn outside Spalding Hall in downtown Bardstown saw every major distillery represented.

 

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Spalding Hall is home to the Getz Musuem of Whiskey History, which really deserves a long blog post of its very own.

 

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I attended a luncheon and history lecture at Wickland, home of three governors (two Kentucky, one Louisiana). This rambling Georgian mansion is almost two hundred years old and owned by the city of Bardstown. I have a book in mind where one of the characters lives in a place inspired by this mansion.

 

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Looking out the front door. The window over the entrance was a symbolic sun–supposedly it never set on the good fortunes of the house’s inhabitants.

 

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Looking down the main staircase into the wide hall. That sofa to the right is a piece original to the house (that white sheet of paper is telling visitors not to sit).

 

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Looking out a second floor window to the fields beyond.

 

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Took a trip to Willett Distillery, a member of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour.

 

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Looking from the hillside at Willett to the rickhouses over at Heaven Hill, site of the devastating 1996 fire. Note the Knobs in the distance.

 

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Front doors of the distillery at Willett, with the stylized door handles crafted to represent the Willett pot still.

 

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And here is the very same pot still!

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A barrel stencil at Willett on the floor of the barrel filling area.

 

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The Old Talbott Tavern, where we had a lovely lunch.

 

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The old Nelson County Courthouse in the middle of Bardstown, now a tourist information center.

 

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On the Great Lawn again–coopers from Independent Stave Company demonstrating how to fix barrels.

 

October 2015

Another outing to Shakertown, but this time we ate at the Trustees’ House.

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The quintessential Kentucky Hot Brown. Of course it was good!

 

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One of the wonderful staircases in the Trustees’ House.

 

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Front door of the Trustees’ House.

In addition to walking around the village, we took a riverboat ride on the Dixie Belle.

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On the Kentucky River looking at High Bridge, a wonder of the age. People from Cincinnati used to take the train for the day just to see the bridge.

 

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Beneath High Bridge with an October sun behind the clouds.

 

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October saw the Bluegrass host the Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland. The winners’ garlands were crafted at my local grocery, Kroger. The incomplete garland in the foreground eventually graced the form of Grand Slam Champion American Pharoah, who won the Classic.

 

November 2015

A trip to Old Friends Farm, the retirement facility for thoroughbred horses, outside Georgetown, Kentucky. The farm inspired my vision of GarnetBrooke, which plays a major role in Distilled Heat (Bourbon Springs Book 6, to be released in early 2016).

 

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Exceller and Ferdinand (1986 Kentucky Derby Winner) both died overseas in slaughterhouses. Their memory is honored at Old Friends in this logo over the main entrance of the visitors’ center.

 

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Sarava, 2002 Belmont Stakes Winner. Ornery and actually rather small.

 

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Silver Charm, the 1997 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Winner. Sweet horse, loves people. He came back to Kentucky and Old Friends in December 2014. He was the first Derby Winner at the farm. It also now houses War Emblem, the 2002 Kentucky Derby Winner. He was in quarantine when we visited.

 

December 2015

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The Kentucky State Capitol at dawn on a December morning.

 

 

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And of course I went back out to Woodford Reserve in December. In fact, I went twice. This shot is from the first visit.

 

If you scrolled all the way through this post, thank you! I hope you enjoyed a virtual trip to my little corner of the world.

Happy New Year!

The Land of Bourbon and Bluegrass and the Series Name

Today’s topic–the series name, Bourbon Springs.

When I got the idea for the series–small town romance set in a community with an old bourbon distillery–I knew the town needed a great name. I mulled over several different names and the name Bourbon Springs finally hit me very hard. As explained in the back matter of one of the books, the name immediately connects the town to not only what is made there (Kentucky bourbon whiskey), but one of the most important ingredients needed to make it: water.

Central Kentucky (what I call the Land of Bourbon and Bluegrass) sits atop a large limestone dome. It is this limestone which transforms the water–by removing the iron and imparting calcium and magnesium. This same limestone puts the calcium not only into the water, but into the grass, thus producing strong thoroughbred horses.

The importance of water is reflected in the series name as well as the series logo. The blue line or brush underneath the series name is meant to invoke moving water.

The history of the name Bourbon Springs is explained in the first three books, with more detail provided in Angels’ Share, Book 3.

After I came up with the name, I discovered that there was not only a real place in Kentucky called Bourbon Springs, but that there were two such sites, both in Nelson County, Kentucky. The county seat of Nelson County is Bardstown, home to My Old Kentucky Home and several legendary distilleries. It is also known as The Bourbon Capital of the World ™ (yes, it is trademarked). On the map, you can see one Bourbon Springs to the northeast of Bardstown next to Nazareth, Kentucky. The second Bourbon Springs is directly north, then east of Route 31E/150, along Cox’s Creek. Four Roses, which has a distillery in Anderson County Kentucky outside Lawrenceburg, bottles and warehouses its bourbon at its Cox’s Creek facility (click image to enlarge):

Double Bourbon Map

There is also an old bourbon brand called Bourbon Springs.

If Bourbon Springs existed, it would be right smack in the middle of the Land of the Bourbon and Bluegrass, and surrounded by the distilleries on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail ™. If it were real, Bourbon Springs would be slightly south of Willisburg, Kentucky, along Route 555 which heads toward Springfield, Kentucky. Here is a map of the area  (click image to enlarge):

Map

 

I hope to visit the real Bourbon Springs (both of them) some day in Nelson County. Until then, I’ll have to keep imagining my fictional version of Bourbon Springs in fictional Craig County, Kentucky.

 

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