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Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Get to Know Castle & Key Distillery

One of the cool things about bourbon is there are a ton of new distilleries and brands coming every year. One of the newest is called Castle & Key Distillery located in Frankfort, Kentucky.

To make their bourbon, Castle & Key purchased and renovated the historic site of the former Old Taylor Distillery. This 113 acre property includes a european-inspired castle, peristyle springhouse, and sunken gardens. The renovation started in 2014 and Castle and Key began hosting curated experiences for bourbon tourists starting on September 19, 2018.

The property is unique in that is was created by Colonel E. H. Taylor in 1887 and features many historic and restored elements. Some of which include:
  • The property’s Sunken Gardens, which were originally designed by Col. Taylor based on those at Windsor Castle and restored in 2014 by famed landscape designer Jon Carloftis
  • A quarter of a mile long Botanical Trail featuring ingredients used in Castle & Key’s Restoration Release Gin
  • A train depot once used to move product and Col. Taylor’s guests, which is being transformed into a tasting room and, eventually, a cafĂ©
  • The longest aging warehouse of its design in the world, measuring 534 feet from end to end with the capacity for 35,000 barrels
As you can see in the pictures below, this property looks stunning and will make an amazing backdrop for weddings and corporate events.

Castle and Key has hired Marianne Eaves, Kentucky’s first female to hold the title of Master Distiller of bourbon since Prohibition. Marianne is a graduate of the University of Louisville (2012) with a degree in chemical engineering. Marianne came from Brown Forman (Woodford, Old Forester, Early Times, etc.) where she started in a research and development co-op while in college and worked her way up to the title of Master Taster.

While they are waiting for the bourbon to mature, they have created Restoration Release Gin and Vodka. Using seven Kentucky-native botanicals and juniper, the gin is bottled at 106 proof, rather than the typical 80 proof, in order to bring out unique flavors. The vodka uses whiskey base recipes that they say 'has an interesting texture and flavor essence which provides a base that contributes character and a more interesting profile to build on for cocktail creation.' The spirits are available for sale at the distillery and select locations throughout Kentucky and Tennessee (thanks Ohio).

Castle & Key will be producing four styles of bourbon using two mash bills and two yeast strains inspired by a 1917 bottle of Old Taylor. This bottle was analyzed in a lab and showed used white corn and heavy on the barley. The four styles will be inspired by the 1917 bottle and will feature the following mash bills and flavor profiles:
'Bourbon Mash Bill: 73% white corn, 10% rye and 17% barley
Wheat Bourbon Mash Bill: 73% white corn, 10% wheat, and 17% barley
Target flavor profile for Castle & Key Bourbon offers the butterscotch, spice and earth of that historic 1917 Old Taylor sample, with some fruit and floral complexity that adds the balance and nuance'
The bourbon will be barreled at 107 proof. Once bourbon production is up and running, they expect to have an annual capacity of 12,000 barrels per year.

The distillery is owned by founding partners Will Arvin and Wes Murry, two industry outsiders as well as Louisville businessman Brook Smith who joined the partnership in 2016.

Next time we're near Frankfort, this is definitely a distillery at the top of our list!

Castle & Key Distillery
4445 McCracken Pike
Frankfort, KY 40601

We'd love to know what you think. Drop us a note in the comments.

Source: Castle & Key Distillery
Photos courtesy of Castle & Key

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