Article Written by Braxton Caudill
Kentucky is obviously home to timeless distillers such as Woodford Reserve, Makers Mark and Jim Beam. Names like these, known as the classics, have become household around the globe. One thing is certain, these distilleries have captured the taste buds of spirit drinkers in such a manner that the market shows no sign of waning, purely signs of continuous growth. There is, simply put, such a high demand for bourbon that the opportunities to open a new facility are seemingly endless. This is precisely why amazing new distilleries such as Lux Row have begun popping up around Kentucky, making a name for themselves on the Bourbon Trail.
I had the pleasure of recently touring the new Lux Row Distillery in Bardstown, Kentucky. This tour, similar to many, was filled with amazing sights and tons of information regarding the facility. Knowing this, I bit the bullet and carried around a notebook to record some of the information. I surely looked like a real bourbon nerd... Nevertheless, here are some of my takeaways from the tour and tasting!
Let's start with the appearance of this place; wow is it beautiful! The distillery and aging houses are settled upon 70 lush bluegrass acres. The winding, tree-lined driveway is an alluring sight, and perfect set up for the rest of the tour. Every building is copper-roofed, accompanied by dark shades of wood. The distillery, along with six 18,000 square foot barrel houses, were constructed in 2016, giving this place a real state-of-the art facade. Lux Row built the touring barrel house with visitors in mind, leaving a portion where one can see floor to ceiling barrels, something that has not been done in other distilleries. This was a clever touch, one that I assume will be duplicated in other facilities.
Although Lux Row is new to Kentucky, its roots run deep. Their parent company, Luxco was founded in 1958 in St. Louis, Missouri. Luxco produces bourbons such as Blood Oath, David Nicholson, Daviess County, Ezra Brooks and Rebel Bourbon. Each brand was created in the mid to late 1800’s by small companies, and bought out by Luxco in the late 1900’s. They then decided to build a facility in order to distill all of these historically significant recipes in one location. Luxco chose wisely by setting up shop in the center of bourbon country, Central Kentucky.
Taking in the scenery and learning about the history is all fine and dandy, but tasting the fruits of their labor is easily the best part. Although this is not a brand that has completed a full integration into Kentucky culture, they make some pretty darn good bourbon. Lux Row attributes their flavor profiles to the stage 4 char given to the aging barrels, meaning each one sustained an intense internal flame for 45 seconds before being filled. Here are some flavor profiles my taste buds perceived during the final part of the tour:
Rebel 100 Proof Straight Bourbon - Sweet oak and vanilla notes at the front of the palate. Slight spice at the back of the palate, oak finish.
Daviess County Straight Bourbon - Brown sugar notes in front of the palate. Spice from front to back of the palate.
Ezra Brooks 99 Proof - Spice and rye flavors at the front of the palate. Vanilla and caramel notes to finish.
David Nicholson Reserve - Maple and vanilla from front to back of the palate. Light spice notes at the back of the palate.
If I had to choose a favorite it would be the David Nicholson Reserve. It is one of the smoothest bourbons I have tasted, making it perfect for sipping.