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Kentucky, and the joy of Bourbon (Chapter 1)

Written by: Josh Abebe

This is the second time I’ve been to Kentucky, and along parts of the “Bourbon Trail.” I am by no means a bourbon or whiskey connoisseur, but I’ve learned a lot over these last two trips, and I’ll share you some reviews of the distilleries, and what I can recall of the bourbons that I’ve tasted. I took some pictures along the way, they’re pretty good, and the company that we kept is always great. First, let’s learn what bourbon is. Every distillery that I’ve been to is passionate about the bourbon making process, it’s craft, and what makes it distinct. All bourbon is whiskey, but not all whiskey is bourbon. Here are the rules that make a whiskey a bourbon.

  1. It must be made in the United States - Although 95% of the world’s supply of bourbon is made in Kentucky, it doesn’t have to be. Ask most Kentuckians, if it’s not made there, it’s not really bourbon :)

  2. The bourbon must be aged for a minimum of 2 years before it can be3 called a straight bourbon. Note: If it’s aged less than 4, it has to state how long it has been aging on the label.

  3. The bourbon must be aged in a new, charred, oak barrel. It cannot be infused with artificial colors or flavors.

  4. The mixture or mash must contain at least 51% corn.

  5. The whiskey cannot enter the barrel at higher than 125 proof, and is distilled at no higher than 160 proof. Water can be added to lessen the proof of the distilled product, but as mentioned previously no other flavors are allowed. When bottled, the bourbon must have at least 80 proof (40% ABV).

The first trip I did was back in February of 2020, and the most recent was October of 2022. I’m going to rate the distilleries in a simple format, atmosphere, education, and overall ratings of the bourbon tastings. Three categories, with a good (1-2), better (3-4), best rating (5), and some notes that I took. Please feel free to start a dialogue in the chat rooms, there are so many more places I look forward to going.

Kentucky Peerless Distilling Co., DSP-KY-50

Atmosphere - 3

The story behind Peerless is really cool (, I recommend checking it out.

As for the atmosphere, the family restoring one of the original distilleries is cool in itself. The building, the tour, the bottling area, and cask storage provide stunning visuals. An added feature is looking for celebrity names on the casks.

Education - 3

The educators were good, but it felt as if there was more about the distillery history versus the distillery and their bourbon history. The background of the story of a bourbon that was forgotten, and then revived by the great grandsons is the best part.

Overall Rating - 3

I recommend Kentucky Peerless Distilling Col, for anyone doing bourbon tours, taking vacation, or spending time in or around Louisville. If you’re a bourbon historian, you will love the story of a grain to bottle distillery, and you’ll love the story of Peerless.

Oh, and the bourbon’s not bad either.

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