Bourbon, Blackout and the Blues

1/23/18

Started out today in Elizabethtown, Kentucky.  It was absolutely pouring when we left the motel and of course we had not packed an umbrella.  We stopped in a little coffee shop in town and ordered two Americanos.  The friendly middle-aged server looked past us to the menu on the wall and read out “Oh, Americano, espresso with water, ok”.  We were pretty worried at that point that after braving the shower like rain to get into this place, that they had never made an Americano before.  We were pleasantly surprised when served two very nice mugs of liquid closely approximating what we had ordered.

On we went to Louisville.  I was interested in a distillery tour of Angel’s Envy bourbon and we had no trouble finding the downtown location.  The building is over 100 years old and they bought it and remodeled the interior for their distillery in 2013.  You are supposed to register in advance for tours but we were hopeful that due to the terrific rain and early hour we would be able to get in.  We got there about 11:20 and they had 2 spots left for the 11:30 tour so we were in luck.  The tour lasts about an hour and ends with a tasting of their very nice bourbon which is finished in port casks. Our guide Julie was very informative and funny as well.  I enjoyed the story of how the bourbon got it’s name.  After aging the bourbon in oak casks for 4 years, they are brought in small batches to be tasted and then blended before the final finishing in the port casks. Sometimes up to a quarter or more of the liquid in the casks is lost over the 4 years to evaporation and that is known as the “Angel’s share”.  After tasting the bourbon, the founder said “We may have lost some to the angel’s but they are going to envy our share”, and thus the name Angel’s Envy.

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After the tour, we went to a nearby downtown restaurant named Harvest for lunch and then headed south towards Tennessee.  On the way, we saw signs for Mammoth Cave National Park and never ones to let a cave opportunity go by, we pulled up at 2:50 for the last tour of the day at 3pm.  This cave is enormous, it is the longest cave in the world with 412 miles of known continuous cave (so far).  They have several different tours of various areas, we went in one featuring curtain formations in the rock. It was a walking tour as opposed to the jeep one we had taken in Missouri.  There were several areas where Jack and I had to stoop due to low walls and one spot where you had to squeeze to get through the rock into the next area.  They turned the lights off to show us the environment when it is not lit (standard cave fare but quite impressive as you can’t see your own hand waving in front of your face). Very dramatic and fun and worth the stop.

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We then headed off to Nashville with the intention of some dinner and some music and unfortunately our nice day took a turn for the worse.  In hindsight, we had insufficiently researched where the best area was to hear live music and we ended up hungry and jumping into the first decent restaurant we saw.  Luckily the food was good although overpriced but there was no live music and we quickly realized we were the only ones over 30 or so in the whole place.  When we left we walked down the street a bit and saw two places that were mellow looking with live music being played at a reasonable volume and we were sorry we hadn’t looked a bit more before making our choice.  After  walking around for awhile and not finding any other music options in the area, we bagged it and left downtown to find a more reasonably priced motel out of downtown.

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