Embracing the Aroma at the Buffalo Trace Distillery – Kyle Kelley

Embracing the Aroma at the Buffalo Trace Distillery
Words and photos by Kyle Kelley

Last winter, while I was home in Indiana for the holidays, my parents and I decided to head across the Ohio River to Bourbon Country for a visit to Buffalo Trace. Unlike many of the other touristy distilleries in Kentucky, Buffalo Trace is not fancy and they sure as hell don’t pump perfume into the air to mask the smell of the sour mash.

The Buffalo Trace Distillery has been around for 200 years in one form or another. If you like bourbon then you’ve definitely heard names like these before: Taylor, Blantons, Weller, Stagg, and Van Winkle. Pappy Van Winkle has even become the most sought after bourbon on the market at the moment (who cares the age, you ain’t gettin’ none).

We arrived late in the evening, just before sunset. The last tour was already underway, so my parents and I were playing catch up. After talking to a few employees at the distillery about where to meet the tour they sent us down the Single Barrel Trail. We saw charred barrel marks on the floor and learned about the “angel’s share” (look it up). From there we were ushered into one of the oldest buildings on the grounds.

It was the perfect place to hear about the history of the distillery and the notable whiskey men who made their names at Buffalo Trace. After that we visited the aging warehouse. And no, not the one with the Pappy or Taylor – those facilities are off limits to the public. While walking among the thousands of charred oak barrels filled with sleeping bourbon I was overcome by the aroma.

Its like I could smell the age. The final stop on the tour was the Blanton’s Bottling Hall where we meet some of the hardworking men and women who bottle these wonderful bourbons for their long journey to the Radavist Headquarters.

My parents and I ended our visit to Buffalo Trace with a few sips of white mash and a sunset stroll around the grounds. While I’m still no expert on bourbon, I definitely walked away with some new knowledge and a deeper appreciation for this timeless American tradition.


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