So what makes a visit to an Area of Outstanding Alcoholic Significance (AOAS) an exceptional experience? Why would you want to give up your precious holiday time for a busman’s holiday? Would it really be worth your time to travel half way around the world to have a booze related holiday?
I guess for me the answer depends on how seriously you take your interest in spirits. If you are a bartender who likes to party hard then visiting a small city with a small nightlife may not be your scene. If you are a cocktail snob, then visiting the places where drinks were once made famous can be a disappointment when you realise their glory days are long since over. If however you are willing to invest a little time to meet a few interesting characters and can have an open mind about learning a thing or two about your favourite spirit, then the idea of visiting an AOAS might not be so crazy!
I know I promised daily updates during our stay in Kentucky, but between spending the days seeing bourbon being made, learning about bourbon’s history, tracking down hard to find bourbons to bring home and then going out and drinking bourbon… well there has hardly been a moment to spare!
Our goal of visiting all the major distilleries is still (just about) on the cards, but our time here has led us to realise that we are going to have to make another trip out here. There are two more distilleries gearing themselves up for visitors and there are a few bourbon history experts who are worth sitting down and chatting with… but our time here is almost done.
With Tales over, hangovers recovered from and New Orleans left as a distant memory in the rearview mirror, we have finally made it into the heart of American Whiskey country. As we drove from New Orleans the countryside slowly changed from monotonous swampland (how and why anyone settled this area is a mystery to me) to heavily forested flatlands, to wooded hills and finally to more open farming land with rolling hills stretching as far as the eye can see.
Our original plan was to hit Kentucky and do ‘the bourbon trail’ but someone told us that we might be pleasantly surprised if we stopped in at Lynchburg to check out Jack Daniel’s. So that’s where we find ourselves on a hot and sunny Tennessee afternoon. After a quick pit stop in town for a bite to eat at the bbq caboose (if you get there try the pulled pork sandwich!) and to stretch our legs it’s up the road to the main attraction.