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.
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.
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!
Looking east from playground area north of main part of Lincoln Homestead Park
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!)
Since it’s the holiday season, I’m seeing tons of articles and posts on what is a good bottle of bourbon to give as a gift–or to keep for yourself. Recently, I had a reader ask me for some advice regarding what I thought was a good bottle of bourbon. I do get this question occasionally, and I love it.
Before I get started answering that question, however, I need to point out the crucial fact here: I live in Kentucky. I have access to many bourbons that are hard to find outside the state. Additionally, I do live within minutes of several distilleries where special bottles are often offered. The closest distillery to me is Woodford Reserve.
Woodford often has special bottles. They even offer engraving services for their flagship bourbon, Distiller’s Select. I have bought gift bottles there for my father and folks at work.
Recently, I left work a little bit early to get to the distillery (it closes at 5 o’clock) to find something for my husband for Christmas. I was in luck.
Or, rather, he will be.
The bottle that had lured me to the distillery was a new offering: a bottled-in-bond version of Woodford Reserve. Price: $50.
Bottled in Bond label
But that’s not my husband’s big gift.
He’s also getting a bottle of Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection Select American Oak. This bourbon was matured in a specifically sourced oak: Ozark. According to the information that came with the bottle: “Having barrels that share a common wood structure gives this Special Master’s Collection Woodford Reserve a distinct nutty and sweet aromatic character that will remind you of warm baked goods.” Sounds like the perfect poor for the holidays. Price: $130.
I think he won’t try to return this.
And now for some advice. I offer this information based upon my own likes, and on the assumption that the reader does not otherwise have an extensive knowledge of bourbon (which I don’t claim myself!).
So here are some tips if you are looking for a good bottle for the holidays or to give as a gift.
Woodford Reserve Distiller’s Select: This is my go-to bourbon. For me, it perfectly hits that point between spicy and sweet. Price for a bottle is around $30-$35 (note: in Kentucky; not sure outside the state).
Guess what we like to drink. Don’t worry. We have another unopened bottle. 🙂
Four Roses Single Barrel: This is a high-rye bourbon, which I usually do not like. However, unlike many high-ryes, this one is exceptionally smooth. When I took the tour at this distillery, the guide called this bourbon “your all-day Sunday sippin’ bourbon.” I agree. Price for this bourbon is also around $30-$35.
Woodford Reserve Double Oaked and Four Roses Single Barrel
Henry McKenna ten-year-old bottled in bond: very good and hard to find, even in Kentucky. It used to be easier to locate here in my state, but it got on some list that it is a great value for bourbon so now everyone knows about it and it’s hard to locate. Not sure of the price these days. Was recently comparable to the bourbons above.
McKenna ten-year bottled in bond
Woodford Reserved Double Oaked: This bourbon is a bit sweeter, although not by much, than the flagship Woodford Reserve Distiller’s Select. And as its name says, it is aged in more than one barrel to get that extra flavor from the Oak. Sometimes this is called a “dessert bourbon.” We’ve had it with Christmas dinner (the meal itself, not just with sweets). Price around $40.
Old Weller Antique: I’ve heard this sometimes called “poor man’s Pappy,” referring to Pappy Van Winkle, that bourbon that’s now crazy expensive. Antique is made by the same family at the same site and is difficult to find. We made a special stop in Bardstown at a liquor store for our bottle–and that was over 3 years ago and I don’t think I’ve encountered one since. If you find a bottle and it’s not ridiculously expensive, go ahead and grab it.
Old Weller Antique
Your best bets as far as availability beyond Kentucky are likely Woodford Reserve Distiller’s Select and Double Oaked and Four Roses Single Barrel.
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.
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 Barreland 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.
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):
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):
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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