Day Two started out at Ambassadors Day at Makers Mark. More than 5000 brand ambassadors showed up for a special day of self guided touring and the first annual Handcraft Festival showcasing local artisans from Louisville to Lexington and all points south and between.
It was a great event. Several food vendors were onsite, and attendees were treated to food, ice cream, and tastings of Maker's new 46 Bourbon.
It was a great time at Makers Mark. They really rolled out the red carpet for us. Great Food, classic Bourbon, and some great handcrafted items from all over Kentucky made this a fun time for all invited.
From Makers Mark we headed back towards Bardstown and visited Willett Distillery. Willett is one of the smaller distilleries we visited, but was a great chance to see an old distillery coming back to life. They have been making a name for themselves for quite a while with their Johnny Drum line, but until last year it was distilled for them at an unnamed distillery using the original mash bill (recipe), along with all of their other bourbons while the family was rebuilding the still house operations at the original site just down the hill from Heaven Hill distillery.
Willett has a great history. The original stillhouse built in 1936 is still standing, but was gutted in the early 1980's by an ethanol company that owned the property before the family was able to buy it back in 1984. At that time the Kentucky Bourbon Distillers, Ltd., registered distillery DSP-KY-78 started operations under the ownership of Even G. Kulsveen, the son-in-law of original founder Thomas Willett. Today Evan's son Drew serves as master distiller, and he oversaw the distilling of the first bourbon actually made on site just over a year ago.
We had a chance to try two great bourbons while we were at Willett. The first was Willett Potstill Reserve, their flagship. The second I tasted was a bourbon I have heard about for years, but never had a chance to taste, Johnny Drum Private Reserve.
Our third and final stop of the day was the Barton 1792 Distillery near downtown Bardstown. We arrived too late for a tour, but it was great to see this old distillery, the only active distillery still in the city limits of Bardstown.