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entucky K We’ve gone and come back with some amazing stories to tell about Kentucky. If y’all haven’t visited the old Kentucky home lately, you should discover what you’ve been missing.

Stories by Donna Rand and Mark Bradley JUNE 2008 • Y’ALL

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ouisville L by Donna Rand

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ooavul? Luhvul? Loueville? Looaville? Looeyville? Louisville? Any way you say it, Louisville is your kind of place. The Commonwealth of Kentucky’s economic and cultural leader should be on your bucket list. Come discover, or rediscover, all that awaits you in Louisville.

DOWNTOWN’S A HAPPENING PLACE Louisville’s revitalized downtown area near the Ohio River is home to many top-notch attractions. Main Street is home to America’s second largest collection of cast-iron storefront facades, second only to New York City’s SoHo District. Start your tour at the high-tech Louisville Visitor and Information Center to get all the information you need. Enjoy the area’s attractions on foot or hop aboard the Trolley Hop & Shop. Amazing discoveries abound at the Louisville Science Center. Reveal how much fun learning can be by exploring math and science outside of the textbook. Crawl through a cave, examine a replica of the human body, simulate a space mission, or experience the water cycle in a unique pinball-style game. You can’t miss the Louisville Slugger Museum and Bat Factory. Just look for a bat. The museum’s entrance is home to the world’s largest baseball bat which measures 120 feet long and weighs 68,000 pounds. As if that isn’t enough, the atrium houses the world’s largest baseball glove, a 21-ton limestone sculpture. Take a walk through an underground lockerroom to a full-size dugout while listening to some of baseball’s greatest plays. You’ll arrive at the museum’s main section where rare baseball equipment and memorabilia are displayed. Hands-on activities include selecting one of six major league pitchers and learning what it feels like to have a 90 mph fastball aimed at you. On weekdays, the last part of the tour is a walk through the manufacturing facility at Hillerich and Bradsby, where each visitor receives a miniature souvenir bat. Speaking of baseball, check out the schedule for the Louisville Bats to see if they have a home game at nearby Louisville Slugger Field during your visit. The Frazier International History Museum helps visitors gain a better understanding of world history through riveting displays of 1,000 years of weaponry. This stateof-the-art facility houses real American treasures, including the rifle Teddy Roosevelt took on an African safari in 1909,

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a pair of General Custer’s ivory-handled pistols and Daniel Boone’s family Bible. There are also 350 items on longterm loan from the British Royal Armouries Museum. Don’t miss the details in life-sized tabloids depicting historic British battles and check out a performance arena where costumed reenactors stage a sword fight. Opened in 2005, the Muhammad Ali Center is a tribute to the boxer born Cassius Clay in Louisville in 1942. This facility serves as an international education and cultural center as well as a museum with Ali’s boxing memorabilia. Louisville offers a dazzling array of refined performing arts that exemplify the finely tuned talents of some incredible individuals. Actors Theatre of Louisville has employed famous thespians, including Holly Hunter, Kathy Bates and Kevin Bacon. In its 55 year history, the Louisville Ballet has a repertoire of more than 100 works and 60 world-premiere ballets. Five concert series that range from classical music to family programs are offered annually by the Louisville Orchestra, a full-time symphony that employees 70 musicians. The Kentucky Center for the Arts and the Louisville Palace host many nationally renowned concerts and productions.

and national artists. Kiln casting and sand casting lessons are available. Glassworks is the only facility of its kind that brings together an array of glass artists and galleries so that glassblowing, flameworking and architectural glass studios are all together in one location. Contemporary studio glass creations are available from national and international artists. The Kentucky Museum of Art & Craft, a non-profit organization founded in 1981, is dedicated to promoting the art and craft heritage of Kentucky by supporting craft artists and educating the public through programs and art exhibits. Visitors celebrate the tradition of functional art and shop for authentic handmade works of art from regional and national artists. There are two exhibition galleries: hands-on workshops and a sales gallery with items from more than 200 Kentucky artists. Muth’s Candy has been a family tradition located downtown since 1921. Using only the finest ingredients and recipes passed down for generations, the Muths still make dozens of varieties of decadent and delectable treats.

SHOPPING KENTUCKY STYLE

No visit to Louisville is complete without a visit to Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby. Kick up your heels and enjoy a day of racing at Churchill Downs during the 2008 Spring Meet, which runs until July 6th. The color and pageantry continues year-round at the Kentucky Derby Museum, which is located at Churchill Downs’ Gate 1. Watch the museum’s most vpopular feature, a dynamic multi-media show on a 360-degree screen using nine high definition projectors with three million mirrors in each projector. You’ll become immersed in the pomp and pageantry of Derby week at Churchill Downs as you see an overview of the life of a Derby horse from foal to winner’s circle. Board a model horse and try to maintain a jockey’s position while viewing a video of a race as a horse and jockey see it. Step on the scales and see how close you are to a jockey’s weight, if you dare. Learn about the lives and times of past Derby winners and the people who helped make their victories possible. And don’t miss showcases of racing silks, trophies and glasses from past Derby Days. Weather permitting, barn and backside tours of Churchill Downs are available from museum tour guides.

A Taste of Kentucky offers foods and crafts along with exceptional gift baskets. Quality Kentucky-made items found here include stoneware, jewelry, clothing, candy, art, music, books plus Kentucky Derby items. One of their three retail locations is downtown. All items can also be ordered online. Internationally known Louisville Stoneware and Hadley Pottery are both housed in historic old buildings near the downtown area. Both offer tours that show visitors the entire process from potter’s wheel to kiln. There’s also a chance to buy unique pottery pieces ranging from dinnerware to birdhouses. Louisville Antique Mall moved to a newly renovated 1920s Art Deco building earlier this year. It’s now conveniently located on the eastern edge of the downtown area just a few blocks from Louisville Stoneware. Shoppers can search for treasures throughout the five floors of quality antiques, collectibles, toys, paper ephemera, furnishings and more from 200-plus dealers. The main floor holds a showcase area with an array of items including jewelry and fine china. The Colonnade Café offers home cooked blue plate specials and weekend brunches served on fine china. Flame Run is the region’s largest hot glass studio and gallery. Visitors may meet the glass artists, see blown glass demonstrations, see fused glass, take glass blowing classes, tour the Gallery and purchase beautiful glasswork by local

HORSING AROUND

For more information: Louisville Convention & Visitor Bureau 888-Louisville www.gotolouisville.com

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WWW.YALL.COM


ourageous C Kids by Donna Rand

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hildhood camps kindle images of fishing, swimming, horseback riding and other outdoor pastimes that most kids love to do. Critically ill and disabled children do not often have a chance to enjoy these activities due to their medical limitations. Located on 168 acres along I-65 in Scottsville, Ky., (about 40 miles north of Nashville, Tenn.), the Center for Courageous Kids changed all that when it opened its doors in February 2008. This world-class facility is a state-of-the-art therapeutic camp that offers medically supervised recreational activities for children with chronic or life threatening illnesses. It is a safe and fun camping experience for critically ill and

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disabled children to enjoy with their peers and with their families. And, no child or family pays to attend the camp. The Center for Courageous Kids’ mission is to uplift seriously ill children by creating positive and memorable encounters that help build self-esteem while keeping them in a physically safe and medically sound environment. They are able to serve children who receive care from the finest children’s hospitals in the region including Kosair, Vanderbilt, Le Bonheur, St. Jude’s, University of Kentucky, East Tennessee and T.C. Thompson. Projected annual attendance for The Center for Courageous Kids is 4,000 seriously ill children and family members, 1,000 volunteers, and 1,500 conference attendees and visitors. Their slogan reads “The Center for Courageous Kids...We Prescribe Fun!” – and they truly mean what they say. “We do not fool ourselves by thinking we can cure these children, but we can uplift them for a day,” explains Stormie Murtie, vice president of communications and operations. “That is pretty magnificent. We are here for you. We want to get your child here. Let’s find out how to make that happen.” Children between the ages of 7 and 15 with asthma, cancer, blood-related disorders, Cystic Fibrosis, diabetes, epilepsy, heart/cardiovascular disease, hemophilia, HIV/AIDS, kidney disease, rheumatic disease, sickle cell anemia, spina bifida and transplants are eligible to attend this camp. Children requiring medications, chemotherapy, dialysis, transfusions or other essential medical procedures will get the care they need from highly trained pediatric professionals in an on-site medical center. Parents and caregivers can be assured that their child will receive proper care and personal attention needed while being able to enjoy the complete camping experience. There are two types of camping experiences offered at this unique medical camping facility. During the summer months, nine separate week-long camping sessions for seriously ill children are available. Up to 130 children with the same medical condition may attend sessions specifically designed to meet their physical needs. These sessions give parents and families a well-deserved break from caring for critically ill children, so they can spend some time focusing on themselves and/or other children. During the school year, 20 Family Retreat Weekends are available so that parents, ill children and their siblings may participate as a family. These sessions provide respite, recreation and support programs for the entire family. They also introduce families who are facing the same challenges.

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The camp has a circular design to give it a town square atmosphere with covered pathways between buildings. The 18 building complex includes a medical center with Helipad, camper lodges, dining hall with theater, arts and crafts areas, beauty shop, gymnasium, indoor pool, bowling alley, equestrian center with stable and archery center. The swimming pool has a gentle slope to make it accessible to those in wheelchairs. Elizabeth Turner Campbell, daughter of the late Cal Turner (who founded the Dollar General Store Corp.), lost her own son after a 17-year battle with cancer. In 2004, Campbell visited one of Paul Newman’s Hole in the Wall Camps in Florida. She was inspired to build a similar facility in her hometown of Scottsville, so she could bring respite and laughter to families facing acute medical issues. She wished there had been a facility like this available when her own family went through their personal experiences. The Center for Courageous Kids is a tax-exempt, not-for-profit corporation founded by Campbell to meet the growing need for therapeutic camps for children with chronic diseases. She and her husband, Jimmy, gave land and significant financial support to this project. Construction began in November 2005. Estimated building costs were around $18 million, with another $1.8 million needed to furnish and equip the facilities. Annual estimated operating costs are $3.2 million, which will come solely from individual, foundation, and corporate donations. So far, The Center for Courageous Kids has received donations from at least 25 states. Corporate level support has come from Dollar General, South Central Bank, and Air Evac Life Team among others. Kirkland’s donated more than $30,000 in furniture. Campbell summarized it best in the Center for Courageous Kids Fall 2007 newsletter: “We all have our stories and our mountains we must climb. We will make it together. Our reward is watching the happy faces come and go. We realize God will help us build our courage up for the next group, no matter how tired we feel. He gives us the courage to go on. These children are all our children. They give us an attitude of bravery. Let’s give it back.” For more information: Center for Courageous Kids 1501 Burnley Road Scottsville, Kentucky 42164 (270) 618-2900 www.courageouskids.org


urtle an T M The Saga of TurtleMan —Kentucky’s Real-Life Crocodile Dundee

by Mark Bradley

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eep amongst the wooded green hills, knobs, and hollers of Central Kentucky lives a mild-mannered, 41year-old barrel maker who is known by most as simply Ernie Lee Brown, Jr. He regularly works his grueling 12-hour shifts from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the cooperage making wine and whisky barrels; but when the whistle blows signaling the end of his workday he looks for the nearest pond to transform himself into his self-proclaimed alter ego, “TurtleMan.” Brown’s passion is for snapper turtle hunting, and he began at the tender age of seven when his father and uncle first introduced him to the sport. He has been known to pull 20 or more turtles out of a single pond in a matter of minutes (some as big as 40 pounds). “I don’t do it for fame and fortune,” Brown stated after I witnessed him dive down and emerge from a farm pond dangling a healthy snapper by the tail like it was a goldfish. “I do it because I like catching turtles.” I had first been introduced to this real life Crocodile Dundee at the weekly Sunday afternoon get together at Penn’s Country Store, near Gravel Switch, Ky. It seems Brown had come into the store a few weeks earlier and told owner Jeanne Lane and her daughter, Dawn Osborn, about his unusual hobby and they invited him to test his skills at their farm pond just down the road. Soon he had hit the jackpot, flinging over twenty snapping turtles of all shapes and sizes up on the bank to the amazement of those watching. When Jeanne excitedly wrote to me about TurtleMan, I knew I had to meet him. Earlier, Jeanne and Dawn had introduced me to their friends and neighbors who gather at the store each Sunday

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for musical jam sessions and to catch up on the week’s news and gossip. But the honored guest of the day had quietly found a shady spot under a tree away from the limelight. From a distance, under the brim of an Australian Outback hat, I couldn’t make out his facial features. But as I approached him, he cautiously peered out at me with inquiring eyes and after introducing ourselves shook my hand with a bone crushingly firm grip. He was an average sized man dressed in camouflage hunting pants and shirt and had a large hunting knife hanging from a leather scabbard on his belt. He looked every bit the role of the outdoorsman. But this was no actor in a play–this was his reality. He was the real deal – I concluded after talking with him and his lovely girlfriend, Sherry Rice, for a few minutes, and I could tell he was as genuinely warm and kind-hearted on the inside as he was tough and rugged on the outside. When I got him to smile he revealed a mouth missing a few teeth – which he explained had been knocked out in a series of unrelated accidents – each occurring on July 7th. Once he

“I don’t do it for fame and fortune,…I do it because I like catching turtles.” had been accidentally swiped across the mouth with a chainsaw and nearly bled to death; another time he had hammered a nail into himself; and the third time he was involved in an auto accident. “I got hurt another time on July 6, but figured it must have been a leap year,” he laughed, characterizing his tongue-incheek sense of humor. But it seems Brown’s life had been full of hard knocks. Back in the harsh winter of ’94, he had developed a case of pneumonia and his then wife of 14 years had decided that the record snowfall, cold, and lack of food in the house necessitated making her exit to Louisville. As a final token of her affection, she gave Brown a big chocolate chip cookie and a kiss for good luck before she drove away. Undeterred, he got up off his sickbed, grabbed his hunting rifle and headed into the woods in search of game. He was able to bag a turkey and then saw another nearby. Just as he shot it, the sound of the gun triggered a huge, ice covered tree to come crashing down missing him by inches. Still shaking, he drug himself back to his house where he roasted the turkey on a stick in the oven and survived. During the turtle hunting season (May-October), he is always on the lookout for new ponds (the muddier the better), and when he finds one he begins his ritual by wading in and “stirring up” the water to get the turtles moving from the bottom. He patiently works the perimeter of the pond first and when he spots air bubbles rising to the surface he reacts like a bird dog on point. He slowly approaches feet first and feels for their hard shells with his toes. He then dives underwater with his knife clenched in his teeth and wrestles them to the surface proudly holding his prey by their tails and emitting a yelp that sounded to me like a 34

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cross between a Rebel yell and a person who had just stuck their finger in a live electrical outlet. Brown has lived his whole life in Central Kentucky and met Sherry at an Indian artifacts show there. However, she lives in Ohio, and when he decided to go visit her one day, he ventured towards the bustling city of Lexington, where he became hopelessly lost on New Circle Road. True to its name, New Circle Road is a loop and it seemed Brown couldn’t find the turnoff so he circled 23 times like an airline pilot in a holding pattern. He checked in each time at the same gas station where each time they instructed him to drive straight at a certain intersection. Finally, in exasperation, the clerk asked him where he was going and told him the only way he would find it is if she rode him. He eventually did make it to Ohio, albeit a few hours late. But in the dense woods and winding streams of Central Kentucky, Brown finds himself at home. One night, Miss Jeanne, Miss Dawn, and neighbor Mike True invited him to go with us on a “Mule” ride (Kawasaki ATV brand name) up a stream to True’s cabin, well off any road and he eagerly hopped on-board. The limestone creek bed served as the “driveway” to the cabin and when we arrived the sun had set and fireflies filled the darkened woods. Somehow, Brown managed to find a blue wasp that he had never seen and his curiosity for the natural world was evident as he carefully bagged it and took it with him. I had also heard that Brown had been known to kick up his heels at the American Legion hall on Friday nights, and once inside the cabin I asked him for a demonstration of the “Turtle Two Step” with the ladies. Before they knew what hit them, TurtleMan was moving around the dance floor faster than a spinning top and gave them each a thrill as he picked them up and dipped them headfirst towards the floor. “I’ve been known to wear out four or more dance partners a night,” Brown smiled as the ladies gasped for breath. There was no doubt in my mind that this strong but gentle man could back up his statement. The next day, he had made arrangements to take a 40-pound snapper he had recently caught in a local pond to the Louisville Zoo, where it would be permanently on exhibit. He had been housing it in a 50-gallon plastic drum feeding it cabbage, and estimated it to be over 120 years old. It was one of the largest he had ever caught and he thought it only right it enjoy its final years in the comforts of a zoo. Not all the turtles Brown catches are so lucky, and turtle meat is considered a delicacy. Turtle soup in particular is a rare treat but even after eating the turtle he preserves the shell in artistic fashion by crafting “warrior” masks. He generously presented me with one before I left. At first impression, the “warrior” reminded me of the masks of the fierce headhunters on New Guinea, complete with vermilion war paint, broad nose, and a feathered headdress with beaded feathers at its side. It was truly one of a kind, and so was Ernie Lee Brown, Jr., the TurtleMan of Kentucky.


aymond raf R G by Donna Rand

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s a boy, Raymond Graf used to enjoy pouring hot lead into molds with his brother. Graf never thought his fascination with melted metals would turn into a lucrative and rewarding career. Forty years later, his works are sprouting up all over Kentucky. The public is taking note of his extraordinary bronze sculptures that look as if they will come to life at any moment. The sculptor, who now lives in Louisville, has an uncanny ability to create stunning pieces of art from nearly anything he sees. A 1986 graduate of Murray State University, Graf ’s background in art includes drawing, ceramics, sculpture and stone carving. His professional career began when he worked under the tutelage of Kentucky sculptor Barney Bright. Over the past two decades he has focused his attention on cast-bronze sculptures. His first official commission for a public work was to create a Cardinal mascot in 1993 for the University of Louisville. An extraordinary collection of his works can be seen throughout Henderson, Ky., which is the hometown of John James Audubon. Since 2002, Graf has been working on a series of bird sculptures based on the Audubon’s Birds of America paintings. The project began with eight of Graf ’s sculptures. Great care in selecting birds for the project was taken since only birds native to the area were considered. The osprey, ivory billed woodpecker, passenger pigeon, purple martin, pigeon hawk, hooded merganser, great blue heron and wild turkey cock were chosen. These works can be enjoyed along the Downtown Walking Tour in Henderson. Limited Edition Audubon Miniature Series bronze sculptures of the blue heron and wild turkey cock are available The Downtown Henderson Project. In 2005, Mourning Doves was dedicated and placed by the entrance of the city’s First United Methodist Church. A Pair of doves, great horned owls and a $97,500 life-size sculpture of John James Audubon gazing at a white pelican have also been added to the growing collection of bronzes. The pelican was chosen to compliment the John James Audubon statue based on a passage in Audubon’s own writings. It described how he frequently saw white pelicans on the Ohio River in the vicinity of Henderson around the JUNE 2008 • Y’ALL

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time that he first moved to Kentucky in 1807. The newest addition to Henderson’s collection honored the 223rd anniversary of John James Audubon’s birth on April 26th. The white-headed eagle sits perched atop a catfish appears as if he will lift into flight at the slightest provocation. “The town wanted to create a unique way to attract tourism and show admiration to a wonderful artist,” says Julie Martin, executive director of The Main Street Renaissance Program and The Downtown Henderson Project. “The sculptures are a signature trademark for the town and the bronze images create a dramatic and lasting legacy for the community” Graf ’s works are so life-like and exact in appearance when compared to Audubon’s prints, however, the artist does leave his own personal mark on each piece. For example, look very closely on the backside of his great blue heron sculpture and you’ll see a small frog sitting among the reeds that was not part of the original print – or if it had been we just couldn’t see that part. Graf jokes, “It was on the back of the print but others just didn’t see it.” This is a fun fact to know about Graf ’s works and many people enjoy searching for the “extra detail” in each piece. Some are quite subtle but it helps admirers examine the art with a more discerning eye. In the first stage of creating a bronze sculpture, Graf makes a small clay figure, then makes a larger life-size model of styrofoam that is covered in clay to help keep the model light, yet still somewhat flexible during the creation phase. A caliper is used to attain the proper scale and size. Meticulous attention to detail is exhibited in all of Graf ’s works. The soft clay used never gets hard so continual modifications can be made if necessary. A rubber mold is made over the clay form. A wax figure is created from the rubber mold and then another mold of ceramic is made. The remaining wax must be completely removed from the ceramic mold in what is called the lost wax process. Before the molten bronze can be poured into the ceramic mold for casting it must be heated to a temperature of 2,100 degrees Fahrenheit. The ceramic mold must be heated to a temperature of about 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit so the bronze will completely fill the mold and not cool too quickly. As the bronze cools and the ceramic mold chills, cracks form in the ceramic and popping sounds are heard. The ceramic is chipped away and then sandblasted. Often these bronze images are cast in pieces and must later be assembled by welding and smoothing the pieces together like a jigsaw puzzle. This is very delicate work and much care must be taken to eliminate any seams during the assembly process. Most projects take Graf an average of six months to complete. Pricing depends on the complexity of the project, in-

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cluding size, materials and length of time to complete. While Graf ’s bronze sculptures are expected to last many generations, his personal guarantee is 3,000 years. Graf ’s latest work is a $150,000 project for former Indiana Gov. Frank O’Bannon, which includes limestone benches and columns portraying O’Bannon, his father and his grandfather and their service to the community of Corydon, Ind. It is scheduled for dedication this summer. Graf is also working to market a magnificent Abraham Lincoln bust. He’d also like to create a horse sculpture in the future. Graf feels his art is an indelible mark that he can leave future generations to tell them about the world we live in today. “Much can be learned about our past from what is left behind,” Graf concludes. For more information: The Downtown Henderson Project 866-524-2467 audubonsculpture.com

Where can Graf’s works be seen in Kentucky? Colonel Harland Sanders, founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken – Jewish Hospital, Shelbyville Two identical statues of former Kentucky Gov. Bert Combs, one at each end of the Bert T. Combs Mountain Parkway – Stanton and Prestonsburg Firefighter making a dramatic rescue – Burlington (Ky.) Fire Department U of L “Cardinal” mascot – University of Louisville Jockey Pat Day – Churchill Downs, Louisville Hall of Fame baseball player Pee Wee Reese – Louisville Slugger Field Hall of Fame football player Paul Hornung – Louisville Slugger Field Al Scneider, Louisville business leader – Galt House Hotel, Louisville J. Graham Brown, founder, The Brown Hotel; and Tom Simmons, Louisville business leader – The Brown Hotel, Louisville


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ourbon B rail E T by Donna Rand

xploring Kentucky’s Bourbon Trail is your passport to world-class taste, a lesson in history and plenty of down home hospitality. Each of the seven distilleries offer tours that highlight the pride and time honored traditions that flow into the modern distilling processes. Relax and enjoy the Kentucky countryside as you meander along the winding back roads. Inhale the history and aroma provided with the distillery tours and enjoy the sumptuous samplings of liquid libations. The Kentucky Bourbon Trail is a five-star experience you don’t want to miss. In 1964, Congress declared bourbon to be America’s Native Spirit. By law it must be made in the United States, consist of at least 51 percent corn, be distilled to no more than 160 proof and be 100 percent natural (with nothing but water added). It must also be aged a minimum of two years in a new charred barrel made only from white oak. Kentucky Bourbon tastes different from other whiskeys due to its quality grains, aging and pure limestone-rich spring water. Unique flavors resonate from age-old recipes and meticulous methods that perfectly blend to form fine Kentucky bourbons.

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Buffalo Trace Distillery

One of the oldest distilling sites in America, Buffalo Trace is located along the Kentucky River near Frankfort at the site of an ancient buffalo crossing. The structures represent three centuries of American history. The first modern distillery was built here in 1857; however, bourbon is said to have been distilled at this location as early as 1787. In 1984, Buffalo Trace was the first distillery to sell single barrel bourbon. Kentucky’s only distillery to produce vodka is also the only distillery in the world to produce vodka from 100 percent organic corn. Buffalo Trace Distillery 502-223-7641 www.buffalotrace.com

Four Roses

This brand has been around for more than 140 years. Its founder, Paul Jones Jr., named the company after a corsage of four red roses worn by a Southern Belle who accepted his proposal of marriage. Nestled in the quiet countryside near Lawrenceburg, the historic Four Roses distillery exhibits 19th Century Spanish mission style architecture. It is on the National Register of Historic Places. Four Roses was the top-selling bourbon from the 1930s to the 1950s, before it began to market its product exclusively overseas where it is currently a top-seller in Japan. It was recently reintroduced to American markets. Four Roses Distillery 502-839-3436 www.fourroses.us

Heaven Hill Distilleries

This Bardstown distiller began making bourbon in 1934. It has grown to become America’s largest independent family-owned producer and marketer of distilled sprits. Master distillers Parker and Craig Beam are the sixth and seventh generations of their famed bourbon making family, which includes Jim Beam. Good times happen at the Bourbon Heritage Center, where you can discover the history and making of bourbon, experience what

goes on in a working house, create your own personalized bottle to take home as a keepsake, or sip some of your favorite brands in the barrel shaped tasting room. The Heaven Hill Trolley shuttles visitors on a city tour of Bardstown. Heaven Hill Distilleries, Inc. 502-348-3921 heaven-hill.com Bourbon Heritage Center 502-337-1000 www.bourbonheritagecenter.com

Jim Beam’s American Outpost

Located in Clermont, this distiller allows visitors to take selfguided tours that give a brief glimpse into the processes of making bourbon. The history of Jim Beam dates back seven generations and more than 200 years. During Prohibition, the operations ceased until Congress lifted the ban on booze and production could resume. Jim Beam Outpost 502-543-9877 www.jimbeam.com

Maker’s Mark Distillery

This brand is situated on 850 acres of picturesque woodlands in Loretto. In 1780, Robert Samuels brewed his first batch of bourbon for personal use. The first commercial distillery was built on the family farm 80 years later. The name Maker’s Mark derived from an English tradition where artisans placed their mark on only their finest pewter pieces. The family bourbon recipe was modified 50 years ago, and then it was burned after production of the first barrel of the new formula. The bottle design with a hand-dipped red wax seal was designed to project an element of class. Maker’s Mark Distillery 270-865-2099 www.makersmark.com

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Wild Turkey

John Ripy came to Kentucky from Ireland and opened a general store in 1851. It was originally called the Ripy Distillery and kept a steady business until Prohibition. Then it continued only a moderate production for “medicinal uses.” The name Wild Turkey Bourbon evolved around 1940 from executive Tom McCarthy’s love of hunting wild turkey. His friends requested more of that “wild turkey bourbon” for a hunting trip. Legendary traditions and modern production equipment blend together to form a “Rare Breed” of barrel proof bourbon. Distillery tours at the Lawrenceburg site provide great “Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon” lessons. Wild Turkey 502-839-2182 www.wildturkeybourbon.com

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Kentucky’s Bourbon Trail Kentucky is becoming what the wine industry is to Napa Valley in California – a signature trademark and a thriving industry. Approximately 95 percent of

Woodford Reserve Distillery

This popular brand is located in Versailles, where Elijah Pepper first developed his bourbon formula in 1812. Labrot & Graham purchased the distillery in 1878 and then sold it to Brown-Forman in 1940. In 1972, the distillery was retired and it sat idle until 1994, when it underwent major restorations. The $14 million complex rests on 78 acres and is a National Historic Landmark. Operations resumed with production of Labrot & Graham Woodford Reserve Distiller’s Select. Copper pots seen in the distilling room today resemble those originally used. Enjoy natural beauty and scrumptious creations with a bourbon flavor with a “Picnic on the Porch.” Chef-in-Residence David Larson prepares seasonal favorites April through September. The Rebecca Ruth Bourbon Ball samples are decadent delights. Woodford Reserve Distillery 859 -879-1812 www.woodfordreserve.com.

the world’s supply of bourbon is painstakingly crafted throughout Central Kentucky’s countryside. Kentucky’s Bourbon Trail brings in more than 500,000 visitors annually, according to Eric Gregory, president of the Kentucky Distillers Association. The 16th annual Kentucky Bourbon Festival is a time to savor the tranquility of a leisurely tour, and to drink up the excitement of dozens of special events. This year’s theme is “A Splash Around the World,” with events scheduled for September 1621, in and around Bardstown. Record crowds of more than 55,000 people from 40 states and 14 countries have attended, according to Milt Spalding, executive director of the Kentucky Bourbon Festival. The Kentucky Bourbon Festival 1-800-638-4877 www.kentuckybourbonfestival.com   JUNE 2008 • Y’ALL

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kentucky feature article