Rosemary and I recently completed a Bourbon cruise on the American Countess. It started in Cincinnati, Ohio and ended in Clarksville, Tennessee. It was a very good cruise. It was our first trip on the American Countess. The boat has only been operating for a couple of years. It is a very impressive steamboat. It has four decks with the first deck being dedicated to the dining room, bar, and theater. The second deck has passenger cabins, a dining area and bar, a library and, a game room. The third deck is a passenger deck with a walkway that circles the deck. The final deck is the sun deck with comfortable chairs and couches with awnings for passengers to sit.
We boarded the steamboat on Tuesday and left Cincinnati. The first stop was Madison, Indiana where they offered an excursion to the Neeley Family Distillery. It was sold out and because we had been there before, we did not go on this excursion. However, the other passengers really enjoyed this trip. The second stop was at Louisville, Kentucky. There the excursion was to Churchill Downs and the hop-on, hop-off bus allowed the passengers to visit the many distilleries on Main Street. The third stop was at Brandenburg, Kentucky. There the excursion was to the Lincoln Birthplace State Park. The fourth stop was in Henderson, Kentucky where the excursion was a tasting with the new owners of the Henderson Distilling ompany.
The fifth stop was in Paducah, Kentucky. There the hop-on, hop-off bus toured the city. Being it was a Sunday, there was not a distillery tour as the Silent Brigade Distillery was closed for the day. However, I did make a trip to shore to have a couple of drinks at Barrel and Bond, one of the finest Bourbon bars in Kentucky. The sixth stop was in Dover Tennessee. There, Rosemary and I took the excursion to the Old Glory Distillery in Clarksville, Tennessee and to the M B Roland Distillery just across the border in southern Kentucky. The Old Glory Distillery was a small distillery making Bourbon and Tennessee whiskey, both of which I found to be very good products. At M B Roland we had a tasting of their products with Mary Beth and Paul Tomaszewski, the owners of the distillery. The last stop was in Clarksville, Tennessee where we left the boat and drove home.
I gave three talks with tastings during the trip. I discussed the history of Bourbon over the three talks and they were well attended. I also held a Manhattan Cocktail contest where the two bartenders each made a Manhattan Cocktail to be judged by myself and two other passengers. Luke, the bartender for the first deck bar won the contest. It was a fun event and I rewarded him with a signed copy of Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey: An American Heritage.
We are doing a similar cruise on the American Countess in August. This trip will differ by starting in Louisville, Kentucky and ending in Alton, Illinois. If you are looking for a fun vacation with a Bourbon theme, I highly recommend this trip. The cost includes some excellent dining, river travel, and Bourbon talks and tastings along with distillery tours. It is a very fun week on the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers.
Photos Courtesy of Michael Veach