A really cool (and historic) place to visit in Bardstown and reflactions on my first trip to bourbon country.

Talbot Tavern and Inn

  • Location: Bardstown, KY
  • Impression: The "oldest" bourbon bar in the world serves up some generous flights.
  • Samples: The flight I had included Bulleit Rye, Kenucky Vintage, Knob Creek Small Batch, Old Grand Dad Bottled-in-Bond and George Dickel 8.
  • Perks: You get to keep the shot glass.

kentucky talbot tavern bardstown


  •  If you stay at the Inn on a Friday or Saturday night, better make sure they aren't putting you in room 4 or 5 if you want to get to bed early. You're right above the bar. I'm pretty flexible, so I just stayed up and enjoyed the show, then passed out at midnight (no noise was going to bother me with as tired as I was!)
  • This was a great way to end up my stay in Kentucky...on to Tennessee to discover the difference in Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey and Tennessee Sour Mash Whiskey!

kentucky talbot tavern tasting

My Wrap Up of Kentucky and My Evening at Talbot Tavern

Time To Reflect on Kentucky and Bourbon

While I cruised down to the cradle of Tennessee whiskey, I decided to take a step back and reflect on my Kentucky experience.

When I came to Kentucky, I admit I was still pretty much a bourbon newbie. I had dabbled in the spirit, but I really had no point of reference when judging a bourbon. If tasting 86 different bourbons in a week did anything for me, it helped me develop a much more trained palate. For the first time, not only can I say that I like something, but maybe even give some firm reasons why. I'm still not competing with some of those amazing YouTubers that can name a hint of hibiscus and a nose of elderberry, but that is fine with me. A trained nose and palate do take time and I'll enjoy the practice over the long haul. The training wheels are off! 

I also learned some of the art of drinking a bourbon.  There are whisky's I tried that, even though the flavor may not have come bursting through, the pleasure came from substantial mouth feel or that warm Kentucky hug on the finish.  There were whisky's that, if I let them set for a while, they got better. Or maybe I added a little water and they opened up like a rose in springtime.  I also had some that I quickly discovered didn't go well with what I was eating and others that matched up nicely. All of these discoveries will help me decide which bourbon or whisky fits the situation. 

It's all a fun education. And while it seemed overwhelming at first, it didn't take long to get in the groove.  So go find your "go to" bourbon. Just a point of reference...a baseline. It doesn't have to be good to anyone else, just you. Then sit with it, examine it. Figure out what you like about it.  Then when you taste your next spirit, think, how does this differ from the one I chose as my baseline? Soon you'll have a much more solid foundation for making a good purchasing decision.  And no longer will have to love Pappy Van Winkle to be a real bourbon drinker. In fact, you might find that isn't even your style. 

Next up, George Dickel's Cascade Hollow Distillery in Tullahoma, TN.