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My Handcrafted Opinions on Whiskies, Distilleries and Other Related Stuff

Stitzel-Weller, Kentucky, USA

There is no tour here and in fact the distillery has been closed since 1992, although the warehouses and office are still used by one of Diageo’s brands, Bulleit, and it seems it may re-open in some fashion (at least as a vistor center if not a working distillery) in the future.  Located near the Louisville airport I paid a visit (to be precise I stood outside and took photos) because if you like bourbon the chances are you like the Van Winkle line (now made at Buffalo Trace) and this is their spiritual home.  Opened after prohibition in 1935 and acquired by Julian "Pappy" Van Winkle (you couldn't make that name up if you tried) it produced wheated bourbons like Old Fitzgerald, that name is painted on the brick chimney still standing in the grounds of the S-W distillery and which is now made by Heaven Hill, and the W L Weller line after which the distillery is named, and is also now made at Buffalo Trace.  I had the pleasure to meet Preston Van Winkle at WhiskyLive London in 2010 and wheated bourbon, specifically Maker's Mark (which uses same recipe as Julian Pappy Van Winkle used) was my entry into bourbon, just as Ardbeg Blasda was my entry into Islay whisky.  So this was somewhere I needed to see, my bourbon ground zero if you like, and a fitting last stop as I completed the Kentucky Bourbon Trail in May 2012.  Perhaps I will be able to come back soon and step inside when it opens as the Diageo or Bulliet Bourbon Center.  The good news is of course it was free to stand outside and there was no bottling hall visit to endure! 

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Old Pulteney, Wick, Scotland

Old Pulteney, Wick, Scotland Just like the girl in college who broke your heart and you never quite got over, this is the distillery that got away.  As I mentioned in Reviews I really like this whisky and I decided in May 2011 to go and visit Wick and the far North of Scotland and take in Glenmornagie and Old Pulteney.  Unfortunately it was not to be.  Traffic, single lane highways and poor planning meant I finally got to Wick at 4:10pm in the afternoon that day, and the visitor's center closed at 4:00.   Now I will never her see her stills.  I peered through some windows, took my photos and drove on to John O Groats, the northerly tip of Scotland where the UK mainland, like my luck, ended.
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