Jason called me one day from work and said, "What do you think about going to Nashville for New Years?"
I had one word. YES.
Everyone knows Nashville is the place of my heart and I'd be hard pressed to turn down a trip to go there! It meant seeing my family, dropping off the kids and 3 kid-free days in the place I LOVE.
There was more to his motive. He had his "golden ticket" to the Makers Mark Distillery. He signed up to be an ambassador for his favorite bourbon brand while we still lived in NC. Every year they send him swag of some form and updates and such. They also put his name on a barrel of bourbon. One that would take 5-7 years to become mature. Well...that day had finally arrived. He could go to the facility and get a bottle (or three) of HIS bourbon with his name engraved on a plate. We also got a VIP factory tour while we were there. We meant to do the bourbon trail the whole time we lived in Nashville and didn't get around to it. This was our chance!
We drove the 14 hours with 3 kids and a dog to my parents house. It was a LONG day! After a day or two we headed to Kentucky for the deeds! We were cutting it closer than I wanted on the last tour of the day. We were set for the 2:30 and the last one was 3:30. UNTIL, we crossed over into the EASTERN time zone and realized we would be on the 3:30 tour. AH! I called them frantically and told them we were 20 mins away but Not to leave us, we'd driven from Texas for this!
We made it in plenty of time for the last tour but we really know how to cut it close!
The tour was awesome. Both Jason and I love this kind of thing, how things work etc. The process is cool, and timeless. I kept telling Jason when we arrived that I smelled something bad, like vomit. Yeah, that'd be your fragrant bourbon smell I kept getting a drift of.
The vats of corn mash were cool. There were 8 in this room and all were HUGE wooden vats at different stages of fermentation. You could actually stick your fingers in it and taste it. So weird! They said that was the secret ingredient, lots of fingers in the bourbon making process.
We got to do bourbon tasting next to the barrel storage rooms. I'll be honest, this wasn't my favorite part. I'm not a bourbon connoisseur but it was RIGHT up Jason's alley. He got to taste some products only sold at the distillery even.
The Makers WHITE is the higher proof PGA that is before it is aged into barrels. The 46 is a newer product for them and the small bottle is a cask strength that is before any water is added to it.
This isn't Jason's name plate but one similar to the one his would have been on. There are 33 other names on each plate that he would share the barrel with.
I love Chihuly art and I knew the instant I saw this that it was his work!
One of the coolest things we got to do was dip our own bottles with the signature red wax. All the bottles that we purchased and the ones with his name on them he got to dip in the red wax. There was really an art form to getting it just right. They said the perfect dip had 6 tendrils of was running down it. I think our best had only 5 but not bad for our first go!
When we left KY we headed into Nashville to stay with some of Jason's grad school friends. It was sure to be a good weekend with great friends and lots of laughs but the guys took on ALL the cooking and cleaning also. That was the icing! They were pretty awesome at it too! All I had to do was shop and wear sparkles! If you know me at all, you know I LIVE to wear sparkles!
I mean that is one GOOD LOOKING...standing rib roast! The guy holding it isn't half bad either!
The Childers had a pretty fancy set up for just a bunch of grad school friends, who just so happened to all come from TEXAS to visit!
I was even able to sneak away one morning for a fabulous brunch with my FAVORITE and much missed running partner Stephanie. I miss her (almost) every Tuesday and Thursday mornings because we ran at 6am sharp! It wasn't all about the running. It was the best hour of sounding board I've ever had. Miss this girl!!
We ended the weekend with a not-so-great football game. I tried to go to bed several times but kept getting up to see the score. I guess I cared more than I said I did about Alabama football. As you can see from the look on his face...they LOST.
Its the place I love.
Where I left half my heart.