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  • June 13, 2018

Buffalo Trace Bourbon Pompeii Tour

Lexington Bourbon Society members visited Buffalo Trace and enjoyed the historical E. H. Taylor Tour, which included a stopover in their “Bourbon Pompeii.” site.

[Image: Inside the O.F.C. Building at Buffalo Trace, better known by its nickname “Bourbon Pompeii.”]

On Sunday, June 10th 2018, several members of the Lexington Bourbon Society took a private E.H. Taylor tour at the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky. The tour was led by one of our society members—and a very knowledgeable Buffalo Trace tour guide—Mr. Fred Mozenter. This particular tour, introduced by the distillery in August of 2017, focused on the man who revolutionized bourbon production after the Civil War: Colonel Edmund Haynes Taylor, Jr.

We began the visit in the E. H. Taylor house, a structure dating back to the late 1700’s. It was filled with various artifacts to read about and awe in wonder. A museum all on its own, this home still stands as a recognition to Bourbon Trace's long heritage and importance to the bourbon community.

The next part of the tour was easily the most anticipated: Our group entered the space that once held the original distilleries dating back to the mid-1800’s. Buffalo Trace had taken us into the area they have nicknamed "Bourbon Pompeii." And, there is no doubt as to why it is named as such.

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[Photo: Large steel beams support the walk area over the O.F.C. ruins below]

Suspended on metal gang-planks, we were able to walk over the ruins of distillery walls and fermentation tanks dating back almost 150 years. Fred went into detail about how Taylor developed a unique sour-mash technique in this space in the 1870’s, and how, in the late 1940’s, the whole area was covered with a cement floor and forgotten.

This has been the second tour out to the site sponsored by the Lexington Bourbon Society. Our previous group visited back in September of last year. And, it was still amazing to see the historical significance of the space was striking on both tours. Our group completed the outing with a tasting of Buffalo Trace's signature products. We laughed and enjoyed the time together discussing the remarkable history that is still be uncovered in today's time. Who knew that such mysteries could lie beneath our very own feet?

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[Photo: Visitors from Lexington Bourbon Society after the tour and tasting]

ABOUT THE AUTHORBen McWhorter is a Lexington Bourbon Society board member and advocate. He lives in Lexington, Kentucky.

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