Jefferson’s Bourbon is produced just 5 miles from Foxhollow in Crestwood, Kentucky. We were delighted when our neighbor and Jefferson's founder, Trey Zoeller invited us for a behind the scenes tour with his team at Jefferson's.
Mollie started us off in the tasting room (cruel, right?) for a brief introduction to the business. Jefferson’s is a blended bourbon, produced at the Kentucky Artisan Distillery, home to several craft beverages. We had the opportunity to see these made as well as learn more about Jefferson’s history.
First we saw where each Jefferson’s product is hand bottled. These are truly small batch! Then on to the distilling room, which was boiling hot considering the mild weather outside.
We saw the local grains used for KAD’s beverages, pots of mash cooking, and unique historic stills on the floor. Then we were led to the testing room, and as luck would have it, we had the opportunity to meet and quiz KAD’s master distiller with our burning questions about bourbon.
After the tour with Mollie, we met up with Trey for the tasting. Jefferson’s is Trey’s brainchild and he is the master blender who makes the magic happen. What I liked about Trey was his excitement about each project of Jefferson's. As he introduced each bourbon, it felt like he was describing a beloved child, as he waxed lyrical about their unique stories and profiles.
You may have heard of some of Zoeller’s self described “mad science” experiments. We were able to taste Jefferson’s Ocean: Aged at Sea, which is blended then sent out to sea to age on a friend's research ship. Trey described this as the “caramel popcorn” of the group, with caramalized sugars and brine picked up at sea for a one-of-a-kind tasting profile. Our host eagerly segued to his current project, Jefferson’s Journey. This June, he sent two barrels on a journey mimicking the 19th century trade trek that created bourbon. The small vessel started in Kentucky, and will head to New Orleans, Key West, then up the eastern seaboard to New York. For the sake of authenticity, the barrels hit the water in the same season and travel at the same speed as those boats more than 100 years ago. Trey expects the profile to reflect some brine as Ocean does, but the yield is at the hands of the bourbon gods - hurricane season may wreak havoc or lend calm sea.
We tasted four variants but the team was divided on our favorite bourbon- and Trey refused to take sides. Jefferson’s Groth Cask Finish was terribly smooth and a definite favorite. Jefferson’s Very Small Batch is the cornerstone of our signature drink at the Concert Series - the Sunset Tea, but it sure was easy to drink neat. We couldn’t go wrong really.
The last project we heard about was a bourbon aged in antique barrels that once housed Tabasco. Trey promised the bourbon to come would be just as smooth, with a lingering heat. A few of us are pepper freaks, and really looking forward to that one.
Thank you to Trey and team for a wonderful afternoon! We loved learning about our neighbors!
And if you are suffering from serious FOMO - our friends at Jefferson’s have extended the invitation to you - present a ticket receipt from a 2016 Sunset Concert Series event, and get $2 off admission to your own tour and tasting. Make a reservation by clicking here.