If you're packing your bags for a trip to the Big Apple, take a detour from the big cities, and savour a sip of one of America's best from Louisville, Kentucky, not just the world's favourite horse centre, but also the world's favourite 'bourbon-playground'.
"We haven't had much rain here since the last few months" said Bill Samuels Jr, as he walked me down the pathway, past the old Till, and towards a black and red cottage nestled amongst verdant greens, shaded by beautiful old trees, that have weathered the test of time. Now if this was the 'green' without much rain, imagine what would have been the hue had there been normal rainfall in these parts!
Louisville.... where the world's biggest baseball bat stands proud, KFC's headquarters, Mohammed Ali, and great bourbon all share a bit of history. The city itself is a wonderful mix of some amazingly well maintained old buildings, some given heritage status, and modern glass-n-chrome, rubbing shoulders without in anyway taking away from the charm of a historical city.
With bridge after bridge spanning the Ohio river, the roads drive you out to some of the most scenic places. Jim Beam, the legendary bourbon maker, had patience to wear the prohibition down, and revived his ancestral business in a pretty setting.
Woodford Reserve, its stark white gift shop, has tourists, who come to pick up souvenirs from one of the widest range of gift items on display. The over 100 year old stone buildings provide the perfect foil, and as barrels roll down railway tracks, without any machinery polluting the pristine air, one realises how man can co-exist in harmony with nature.
Kentucky has been famous for its love of horses, and was the perfect place for the World Equestrian Games to be held. It even had a team from India.
Sitting in the well appointed Maker's Mark Bourbon Village, were athletes, officials, delegates and special guests, who made the most of some exceptional food to nibble and some great bourbon to down it with. Ahhhh... the good life.