On Friday, we drove to Louisville, met up with Adam and Courtney, and headed south through the winding roads of Kentucky to the little town of Loretto. It was an absolutely beautiful fall day for our tour of Maker's Mark Distillery, which Courtney had planned as part of Adam's Golden Birthday celebration.
Carol came along, too, so that she could meet up with Barry later in the afternoon, and she took this photo of our group before we started the tour. Isn't that tree gorgeous?
Courtney made friends with the distillery cat,
whose name was Whisky Jean.
We learned that the distillery was built by the Samuels family, and that Margie Samuels is responsible for some of the unique features of the business, including bottle's shape, the label, and the trademark red wax dipped bottle. The property looks more like a quaint village than a manufacturing facility, with many attractive architectural features. The bright blue sky made a beautiful backdrop.
The shutters have cut-outs in the shape of the Maker's Mark bottle.
It was interesting to see the bottling line. The bottles are rinsed in a shot of their own bourbon to sterilize before being filled.
They are capped and labeled, and then each is hand dipped in their trademark red wax. Every single bottle. Hand dipped. Wow.
The 'dippers' are clad in protective sleeves, aprons, and eye protection, and they rotate jobs every 30 minutes, so no one spends all day dipping.
After the bottling room, we found another pretty tree and I took a photo of Jim and his sister Carol.
Dale Chihuly. Sure enough, our guide soon told us that is was a Chihuly creation, commissioned to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the distillery.
photo here to show it a little better.
After the tasting, we moved to the gift shop, where you can dip your own bottle. But first, we have to get suited up in protective gear.
We receive our instructions.
And dip away.
The birthday boy, dipping his commemorative golden birthday bottle of bourbon.
One last photo in front of the barrels before leaving to drive back through the hills to Louisville.
We were joined by a few of Adam and Courtney's friends, and enjoyed dinner at Eddie Merlot's.
The birthday dinner group.
Jim, Susan, Darci, Andrew, George.
Chellsey, Courtney, Adam, Kyle.