The Jeptha Creed Distillery and Mint Julep Tours have partnered together to create a new Bourbon tasting experience. This experience is only available through Mint Julep Tours in Louisville. Contact Mint Julep Tours to book this experience.
Rosemary and I were invited out to the distillery by Master Distiller and owner Joyce Nethery. She and her daughter, Autumn, own the Jeptha Creed Distillery making it a fully woman-owned distillery for now. I say for now because when Joyce’s son Hunter becomes 21, he too will own a share of the distillery. This tasting experience is all about the family business and the story behind the distillery. We invited Matt Kohorst, our future nephew-in-law along to the experience.
We met Joyce and Autumn in the visitor’s center and then boarded the distillery bus to go out to the warehouses. The warehouses sit on the edge of their corn fields behind the distillery, across a small creek and through some woods. They are single story, ironclad style rick houses. We pull up to the rick houses and leave the bus to be greeted by a wonderful site. In the middle of the barrel racks were very nice leather chairs arranged around some tables with Glencairn glasses and water and a barrel with a whiskey thief next to it.
We sit down and Joyce tells her story as to how she got involved in the distilling business. I will not tell the whole story here, but in a nutshell, her husband was looking for ways to use products grown on the farm and talked Joyce into the distilling business. She was reluctant to get into the whiskey business, but she is very qualified with a degree in chemical engineering from the University of Louisville’s Speed School. She worked for a chemical plant in Louisville for years distilling other products. Her husband wanted to get into the distilling business so she signed him up to take the week long course at Moonshine University. He backed out at the last minute and since they had already paid the tuition, she took the class instead. She was hooked and Jeptha Creed Distillery was started.
The tasting started with Joyce pulling a sample of their traditional Bourbon made with rye from the barrel sitting nearest to the tables and chairs. The color is a rich amber which is unusual for a two year old Bourbon. The taste had lots of berry and cherry fruit, vanilla and a hint of baking spices. Joyce plans to wait until it is four years old before bottling the traditional Bourbon so, I suspect it will get even better in the next two years. It is made with Bloody Butcher corn raised on the farm, with malted rye and malted Barley. It is barreled at 119 proof in 53 gallon barrels with a number 3 char. This is her husband’s favorite recipe.
Next, Joyce pulled a sample from her favorite recipe – a wheated Bourbon. It is the same mash bill and barrel proof as the traditional Bourbon except malted wheat is substituted for the malted rye. It too has a rich amber color. The taste was apple fruit with some hazel nuts and pepper spice. This too is destined to be bottled at four years old and I think will get even more complex as it ages. The preview of these two whiskeys make the experience special, but the best is yet to come. The tasting of their four grain Bourbon.
Joyce pulled the sample from the barrel of Four Grain Bourbon and we thought it was the best of the best. It has a mash bill of Bloody Butcher corn, malted rye, malted wheat and malted barley. This is a product that they are bottling now and will be in the stores starting on May 10, 2019. I was lucky enough to get a hold of a bottle of this two year old Bourbon and you can read my review here, but this was even better at barrel proof. There were lots of cherry and berry fruits with a little orange zest, baking spices and oak. The color is rich amber with long legs coming down the side of the glass. The finish was long and with a great balance of oak and spice.
After tasting, Joyce and Autumn get everyone on the bus and we were driven the long way back to the distillery visitor center, giving us a tour of the fields and explaining all of the crops they raise for the distillery. It was an excellent tasting experience and I highly recommend it to those wanting a unique tour of a Kentucky artisan distillery. Joyce is a true artisan and Master Distiller. Her two-year-old products prove that fact. Come to Kentucky and see for yourself.
Photos Courtesy of Rosemary Miller