"When we cook bourbon, we use ground water from a deep well that filters through the limestone strata that is predominant in this area," says Dave Scheurich, plant manager at Labrot & Graham Distillery, just outside the town of Versailles. "As water filters through the limestone, it filters out iron and other ferrous materials that are bad for distilling alcohol, and it adds minerals such as calcium that provide a good environment for the yeast. So distillers really like to use limestone water."
The oldest distillery in the state, lovely Labrot & Graham sits beside a rushing creek in a narrow valley in the midst of some of the commonwealth's most famous horse farms. Thousands make the trek each year to tour the distillery, enjoy a picnic prepared by the in-house chef, and take home a sample of the premium Woodford Reserve bourbon.
"I fell in love with this place the first time I saw it, but you have to be careful driving these roads," Dave says. "You can easily come upon someone stopped in the middle of the road taking a picture. We like to say this is the only place in the world you can see two of Kentucky's most famous products maturing side by side."
For more information: Lexington Convention and Visitors Bureau, 301 East Vine Street, Lexington, KY 40507-1513; (859) 233-7299, 1-800-845-3959, or www.visitlex.com.
Hats Off to Horses
Blue Grass Tours: (859) 233-2152, 1-800-755-6956, or www.bluegrasstours.com. Tours: 9 a.m. daily. Additional tour at 1:30 p.m. during high season, if needed. Pickup at local hotels. Price: $25.
Horse Farm Tours, Inc.: (859) 268-2906. Tours: 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. daily. Pickup at local hotels. Price: $24.
Keeneland Race Course: 4201 Versailles Road, Lexington, KY 40510; (859) 254-3412, 1-800-456-3412, or www.keeneland.com. Hours: Grounds open year-round 6:30 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. Live racing takes place Wednesday-Sunday in April and October. First post time is 1:15 p.m.
Kentucky Horse Park and International Museum of the Horse: 4089 Iron Works Parkway, Lexington, KY 40511; (859) 233-4303, 1-800-678-8813, or www.kyhorsepark.com. Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily March 15-October 31, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday November 1-March 14. Admission: $9 November 1-March 14, $12 March 15-October 31. Special exhibitions cost extra.
A Toast to Bourbon
Labrot & Graham Distillery: 7855 McCracken Pike, Versailles, KY 40383; (859) 879-1812 or www.labrot-graham.com. Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. Guides offer tours at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 2 p.m., and 3 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. Tours on Sunday are at 1, 2, and 3 p.m. April-October. Picnic on the Porch: Enjoy gourmet sandwiches, salads, and desserts at the Visitors Center, 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. April-October.