Monday, October 26, 2015

Marking a Birthday

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.
 Of course, there are different ways of dipping. :)
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.
 The 5-story still even has the red bottle shutters on the tower.
In the warehouse, where we saw barrels and barrels of bourbon, we also immediately noticed the beautiful glass ceiling. Courtney said it reminds her of the Children's Museum glass sculpture, which we knew was a creation of Dale Chihuly. Sure enough, our guide soon told us that is was a Chihuly creation, commissioned to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the distillery.
 So beautiful.
It is called The Spirit of the Maker. It is tricky to photograph, especially when the narrow passage is filled with a tour group, so I found a photo here to show it a little better.
Nest stop, the tasting room.

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 met up with Barry on the way back, and he and Carol headed for Texas.

We were joined by a few of Adam and Courtney's friends, and enjoyed dinner at Eddie Merlot's.
 Happy Birthday, dear Adam.
Happy Birthday to you! He blew out his candle, then shared the cheesecake with the whole table.
Chellsey and Courtney enjoyed their own (huge) dessert. (They also shared.)

The birthday dinner group. 
Jim, Susan, Darci, Andrew, George.
Chellsey, Courtney, Adam, Kyle.
Jim and I headed home, while the rest of the group continued the birthday extravaganza at Fourth Street Live. A very merry birthday indeed.


Cathy said...

Happy Birthday to your son!!!

Terri D said...

What an absolutely perfect birthday celebration! The Chihuly ceiling is wonderful. Love his work! How fun to dip your own bottles of Makers Mark!