On a recent trip to beautiful Frankfort, Kentucky, I got to take quite possibly the greatest distillery tour I have ever been on. Buffalo Trace has been operating since 1775, that’s right, before this was even a country, and is the oldest continually running distillery in the United States, so you best think they know a little about what they are doing.
If you needed more of a reason to wet your whistle, here are a few wild facts about Buffalo Trace that make them legendary:
Buffalo Trace is a “thing” – A buffalo trace is the path that a heard of wild buffalo make when they move across land. In this case the distillery was set up next to a buffalo trace in Kentucky, and lent the name to this legendary distillery.
Buffalo Trace is an historic landmark – in 2013 it entered the registry as an historic landmark, being the oldest distillery in America I would hope so.
Buffalo Trace basically invented bourbon – Colonel E. H. Taylor (a descendent of Presidents Madison and Taylor); George Stagg (the business-savvy bourbon innovator for whom the distillery was named for about a century); Albert B. Blanton (who kept the distillery running through Prohibition and was in many ways responsible for turning the distillery itself into a focal point of bourbon culture), even Pappy Van Winkle which is one of the most sought after bourbons in the world.
Buffalo Trace beat prohibition – it was one of the only distilleries that continued alcohol production during the ban on booze having obtained a special “medical license” to continue production.
Buffalo Trace make the most expensive booze on the market – There is a special off-market secret bourbon called “the last drop” which are barrels that were found after WWII and are literally the last version of bourbon on the planet. One drank, they are gone, and bottles can sell well into the tens of thousands of dollars.
As a side story … I found it interesting that the lore of the name “bourbon” comes from the area which Buffalo Trace calls home. This was the land of the Bourbon Family, a french aristocratic house that was here pre-federation. They would produce a type of whiskey that was then floated downstream to the port of New Orleans. The French would go crazy for this elixir, and began to call it “bourbon” after where it was coming from.
Regardless of the history, the future of this amazing place is definitely secured as Buffalo Trace remains one of the largest and most prolific producers of liquor in the world. Their portfolio of brands is far more extensive then you could possibly imagine, so a trip here is like entering a universe of booze. It is truly a unique and wonderfully rich experience, I highly suggest you go.