After Nashville, we drove a bit further north to sleep. Why? Because in Cave City, Kentucky, kitschy Americana awaits.
The first Wigwam Village was built in 1936, and by 1950, six more had popped up across the USA. Three still remain today, including the second of the franchise, built in 1937, here in Cave City, Kentucky.
It was dark as we pulled up the circle of towering concrete teepees (yeah, they’re not wigwams), so we acquired a key at the house on site. We entered the little room inside the towering white cone we’d been assigned. It was small and, well, less-than-clean. There was a rickety space heater struggling to warm the place, a tiny, poorly-lit bathroom with a dark and creepy shower, and then we noticed a cricket. It was a big, dead cricket, just lying there on the floor. Then we discovered another, and another, as well as a few still clinging on to life. This was a bit….unnerving, but we disposed of them and cautiously crawled into bed.
We survived the night, took a few snapshots, and were on our way. If you’re looking for nice amenities, a hygienic atmosphere, and an absence of insect corpses, this place is not for you. But it’s also one of the cheapest options you’ll find at only $40 for 1 double bed, and hey, how many people can say they slept in a weird, white-man’s version of a wigwam? Add two to that list!
Now it was time for bourbon. We’d expected to do a tour of an assortment of local distilleries, but you know what they say about the best-laid plans. A few things were working against us: the drives between each distillery (and the fact that there’s drinking involved), the loss of an hour crossing into the eastern time zone, and the fact that most of these tours end in the early afternoon. Still, we managed to make it to Maker’s Mark, which was high on our list.
We got to see the different stages of the mash, and even got to taste it to see how it changes over time (yes, everyone sticks their finger in the mash and tastes it. My slightly-germophobic self thought, “wow, how many grubby-handed tourists have stuck their fingers into my whiskey???” but then I remembered it’s alcohol. I’m sure it’s fine. ^_^)
Then we were led into the bottling facility, where we could see the whole assembly line at work.
Of course, the best part is the tasting! There were four varieties to try. All are from the same recipe; it’s the aging processes that make each one unique!
Next was the Maker’s Mark Fully Matured. This is the classic we’ve come to know and love. It was interesting to taste it next to the Over Matured, which was there just for the comparison. The Over Matured has a harsher bite at the end, and less smooth sweetness. Lastly, we got to try the Maker’s 46, which is a favourite of mine, though this was the first time I got to compare it to the original. I’m a big fan of its more complex flavours, and since it’s really hard to find in Quebec, it was a special treat.
In case you missed it, here’s the rest of the Blues, BBQ & Bourbon Roadtrip posts!:
Part 3 – Cajun Country, Louisiana
Part 4 - Shacked-Up in Clarksdale, Mississippi (& a bit of Arkansas)
Part 5 – Memphis & Nashville, Tennessee