In what is surely the biggest bourbon story of its time, the esteemed maker of Rebel Yell, Ezra Brooks, David Nicholson, and Blood Oath bourbons has opened a distillery in Bardstown, Kentucky, better known as the Bourbon Capital of the World. Called Lux Row Distillers, the sprawling, 18,000-square-foot facility is the latest — and greatest, if we do say so ourselves — destination along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.
For those who love Kentucky bourbon, making a pilgrimage seems imperative. Here are five reasons why you should plan a visit to Lux Row Distillers:
No. 1: You’ll learn about the whiskey-making process.
Lux Row Distillers was built with whiskey pilgrims in mind. That includes walking tours of the distillery that reveal every behind-the-scenes step of the whiskey-making process — from fermenting to distilling to aging. You’ll also learn about the two mash bills that Lux Row uses: wheated, which provides a smooth flavor for flagship brands like Rebel Yell and David Nicholson 1843, and the spicier ryed, which is used for Ezra Brooks and David Nicholson Reserve.
No. 2: You’ll get to see a historic 200-year-old home. And a peacock (or two).
The distillery sits on a 90-acre site that was previously the Ballard farm, and you can drink in that history via the Ballard House, a stone structure built in 1795 that remains on the property. The home has a spot on the National Register of Historic Places, and Lux Row Distillers is renovating it with a new roof and a refurbishing of the stone exterior. Also keep an eye out for the roaming peacocks. There are seven on property.
No. 3: You can shop for gotta-have merch.
Lux Row Distillers includes a visitors center and retail shop boasting a plethora of bar gizmos, books about bourbon, and, yes, bottles of whiskey from all four brands: Rebel Yell, Ezra Brooks, David Nicholson, and Blood Oath. The merchandise includes the requisite line of T-shirts and caps, and although everyone has their favorite takeaway, here are a few highlights: the Lux Row-branded copper mugs, the hand-crafted wooden Rebel Yell flasks made out of recycled bourbon barrels and buffalo leather, and the Blood Oath snifter glasses. And no coffee table is complete without a set of Ezra Brooks-branded leather coasters.
No. 4: It’s a once-in-a lifetime experience.
Distilleries of this scale don’t open every day — especially one that operates at a state-of-the-art level. The gleaming, 43-foot-tall Vendome Copper & Brass Works copper column still has to be seen to be believed.
No. 5: You can enjoy numerous samples of bourbons in the Lux Row family.
Saving the best for last is your final stop on a Lux Row tour: a visit to the tasting room, where you get to indulge in an educational tasting seminar that includes samples of three of the distillery’s award-winning bourbons: Rebel Yell Kentucky Straight Bourbon, Ezra Brooks Kentucky Straight Bourbon, and David Nicholson Reserve. Learning never tasted so good.