Drew Hannush | Interviewed by Dan Pauley of Friends in the Corner Podcast

While we are stalled and waiting to travel, I've written a new book called Whiskey Lore's Travel Guide to Experiencing Kentucky Bourbon.

Friends in the Corner podcast host Dan Pauley reached out to talk with me about my new book, my love of travel and my love of whiskey. I enjoyed the interview and thought it might have some cool insider information for my listeners, so I am simulcasting the podcast on Travel Fuels Life. I hope you enjoy it.


Show Notes


Drew (00:13):
Hello everybody and welcome to Travel Fuels Life, the show we share stories, tips and inspiration to help you live a travel lifestyle. I'm your host, drew Hennish. It's been a long time since I've heard that theme song. Yeah, I've been working on my Whiskey Lord podcast, but I've been, it's hard to decide how to promote a travel podcast when we're all in lockdown. So while we're all sitting here in neutral, I had to find a little separate project to do. And this has been a really weird year for me because I had decided to push all of my travels into April and I was saving my money to really do it right, going to Spain with my sister, was gonna go to Ireland and start getting some content for a travel book for Ireland. And lo and behold, look what happened. So luckily got all my money back and got all my points back.

Miles and points are all back on. I've pushed the trip out with my sister to October and we're hoping that Spain will open back up. Ireland's just gonna have to wait till next year, unfortunately. But I know you guys are going through all of this stuff too. It is not fun. So we have to find different things to do. Hopefully none of you got caught up in all of this mess, but I know a few people probably did and hope everybody is healthy and happy. So with all this downtime, it gave me time to finish my travel guide and it's a book, it's my first book and it's been sponsored by my other travel podcast, which is also built around whiskey and history, which is whiskey lore. And the book is called The Travel Guide to Experiencing Kentucky Bourbon. And the idea there was to take all that knowledge that I was gathering from going to my 35 plus distilleries in Kentucky and put together a solid planning guide that not only had 32 distillery profiles in it, so you could choose which distillery you want to go to, but also to give some background on whiskey history, tasting techniques and all this stuff that'll get you prepped for the tour.

So the book is out, it's on Amazon, it is right now in a paperback, a Kindle, and I'm running a special on the price on the Kindle right now. And then I have an audiobook version that may not be out until the end of next month because apparently Amazon is really backed up on approving audio books. So we'll see how all of that goes, but there'll be little stories and you get to hear your humble announcer here trying to adjust his style to no background noise, no music, and just doing a book reading. So it was a lot of fun and I hope you guys will enjoy that. But while I was trying to figure out how to promote travel here again on the podcast, I really wanted to put some content out so you guys didn't think that this was a pod fading podcast and that there was gonna be more content coming up in the future.

So I took some inspiration from traveling Jackie because she shared my show, the episode that she was on, she basically simulcasted that over on her podcast and I appreciated her doing that. And when a friend of mine, Dan Polly contacted me and was offering to do an interview with me, he does a Kentucky based podcast that does stories and news from around Kentucky. He contacted me and he said, I, I'd like for you to be a guest on my podcast, talk about your new book. And so I was like, this is great. I gotta do a PR tour and this would be a good way to get started with that. And so he hosts a podcast called Friends in the Corner, and we met at Act actually at his job. He works at Castle in Key Distillery, which is a 19th century distillery that was built in the shape of a castle and sits right there off the road in Kentucky.

And we talked a little bit after the tour and I told him I was working on the book. And so Dan is a great interviewer. He asked me some really good questions and so I want to share that with you. Some of this is whiskey based, some of this is travel based. It's gonna give you a little background on me and how I kind of got started in the whole travel thing, talk about how I fell in love with whiskey and whiskey travel and talk about my impressions of Kentucky. And I just might reveal what my three favorite distillery tours are in Kentucky. So stick around for that. And at the end of the show, I am going to fill you in a little bit more on what's coming up on Travel Fuel's life and also whiskey lore. So stick around for that as well. But for now, let's get into the interview. Here's Dan Polly of the Friends in the Corner podcast.

Dan (05:24):
All right, back with another special guest, drew Hamish, a traveling suburban enthusiast, host of travel fuels, life and whiskey. Lord Drew, how are you doing today?

Drew (05:34):
I'm doing great. How are you doing?

Dan (05:35):
I'm doing good. I'm doing good. All things considered with everything going on in the world. I'm assuming you're probably not doing too much traveling these days?

Drew (05:44):
No, no. Here I'm doing a book about Kentucky Bourbon and I've got, I'm planning out how I'm going to do the launch for it and I'm saying, man, I would love to go up to a Kentucky distillery and do you know the launch of my book? But I'm having to find a South Carolina distillery to do it at. So that still works and it kind of is a shout out to craft distillers of the world. But yeah, I told them, I said, it feels a little awkward doing a Kentucky book in South Carolina, but we're gonna try to pull it off <laugh>.

Dan (06:18):
Well that's something you got into. We're gonna be talking a little bit about your book. You have coming up here a little bit later on in the show. But yes, before the book was starting to come out, you did a few different tours of Kentucky and I know that's how we first met you, came down to Castle and Key Distillery to its tour with me. We got to exchange cards and since then I've been listening to your show really love listening to it and really kind of seeing all the different travels that you've gone through. So just to get things started here, drew, can you tell my listeners a little about who you are and where you're from?

Drew (06:49):
Sure. I was born in Michigan, but I grew up in Asheville, North Carolina and have pretty much hung around North and South Carolina most of my life. I was in radio actually when I started out many, many years ago, but evolved into becoming a web designer and I was a web designer for, and have been for 18 years. I still have a web design business that I run and that actually is what helps fuel my travels is having steady income coming from that already. So that my, that's been my identity for a long time is being a web designer. But what's interesting about that life path is that after being a corporate webmaster for five years, I got laid off right after 2001 when we went through a little recession at that point and I had a decision to make and the decision was do I go into web design or I've really always wanted to be a travel writer, maybe I should just go back to school.

So I decided to go back to school, but also was doing web design to supplement my income on the side. And after a year's worth of going to school, suddenly the web design company just took off and there was nothing, there was no choice really. I had to go where the money was with web design. And so here I am, 18 years later, it's like, wow, okay, it just put that travel on pause for 18 years, but now it's time to start kicking it up again. So that has become much more of what I've been doing over the last two years, is doing a whole lot more travel.

Dan (08:31):
And I've gotten a chance to listen to both of your podcasts, both of your shows and blogs, whiskey lore and Travel Feels Life. They both do a good job of highlighting your passions in your life, including history travel, and whiskey. And I'd love to unpack all those during this episode here, especially since we just started talking about traveling. So what was it that really got you passionate about traveling?

Drew (08:58):
All started with my dad. He also liked to write, he loved to research and he loved history. So I am my father's son. It really all started with us going out while he was doing his research for books on President's families. So we traveled to just about every state east of the Mississippi by the time I was 15 years old. And I'd been to every president's graveyard home, <laugh>, you name it, presidential library. Pretty much covered the gamut growing up. And my father just exuded history. And so anytime you went somewhere, if we went to Colonial Williamsburg, it was like I had my own tour guide. He just was so full of great stories and information that it was exciting to listen to that. So I got both my history and my travel through my dad and I feel more comfortable on the road than I do at home. It's just that. And that makes times these really awkward cause it's like I d know what to do while I'm here. I guess I'll write books, I guess I'll keep podcasting and doing that sort of thing. But that travel bug gets in you and it's hard to let it go.

Dan (10:15):
I know you were mentioning about getting your book started and trying to go up here to Kentucky to a distillery to promote it. But was there any other travels you had planned that kind of got kibo cause of Covid?

Drew (10:26):
Yeah, actually my sister and I were gonna go to Spain and I wanted to go down to the southern region where I could go see where the Sherry casts that everybody's using are coming from. So that was one thing I wanted to do. And I had a week long trip planned for Ireland and I was going to go do Irish distilleries and just circle the island and go to every open Irish had it all planned out, <laugh> and some interviews set up and then along this game. So everything's just gotten put on hold for a while. I'll get there. I just haven't I like everybody, I just gotta wait this thing out. Yeah.

Dan (11:06):
Oh yeah, it's thrown a curve ball in everybody's plans. I wasn't traveling but I was supposed to get married this summer and that all got thrown to his quarter. <laugh> still getting married. It's the wedding aspect's a little influx at the moment. So

Drew (11:19):
Yeah, I hear you. It's interesting how this has caused us all to rethink our lives for at least the temporary period. For sure.

Dan (11:29):
Well before <laugh>, the pandemic took place you've had the opportunity to travel to a number of different places, but what's been some of your favorite places you've traveled to so far?

Drew (11:41):
Man, probably my two favorite countries that I've been to are Czech Republic and Scotland and Scotland's built around whiskey. But I mean, Scotland is just a beautiful place and the people are very down home. And me growing up in the mountains of North Carolina, that whole Scotch Irish influence, it's really interesting cuz when you go to Scotland you almost feel like you're home. It just has that same kind of a feel to it. The people have the same kind of feel to it. And I have Czech in my family history, so I think there's a little bit of a connection there that I feel to when I go to Prague and I've driven around Czech Republican, it's it's a beautiful place. Both places are filled with castles and so that's great too for the history lover and me to be able to go around and learn about these castles and see what they're all about as well.

So those are fun. And my first trip was actually the one that got all of this started for Travel Fuel's Life was James Bond trip that I planned out. I was just building out my office and I got an American Express card and it came with points for however much money I was spending on that office getting it set up. And I thought, well I've got enough points I could go to Paris for free. So I just went ahead and got my ticket booked and I'm like, after I started thinking about it, I can't just spend two and a half weeks in Paris, I have to do something more than that, what can I do? So I started plotting out this drive across Europe, going to every James Bond location that I could find. So that was a great trip cuz it took me to some of the most scenic, beautiful places in Europe. And having a car to rent and do it really just set me off with freedom to be able to go wherever I wanted to go. So that trip was pretty amazing.

Dan (13:46):
So is there gonna be a second? But coming out Kentucky Tours we do Kentucky tours now we're doing James Bond tours.

Drew (13:54):
<laugh>, I thought about that actually had people ask me with travel fuel life if I would actually take people over to Europe and do a guided tour of James Bond locations. And I, that would be really cool to do. But my focus really now over the last year has shifted almost completely to whiskey. So my next whiskey book will be on Scotland because Scotland is just fascinating and there's a hundred distilleries, 130 some odd distilleries there. But there are different things you have to think about in terms of travel. If you're gonna run a car, you gotta drive on the left hand side of the road. I actually did a Travel Feels Life podcast episode around that where I recorded myself during my first 10 minutes of driving, getting into the car, I did this stupid thing, you know, walk up to the car and you immediately try to get in the wrong side <laugh>

Dan (14:50):
Like that's not supposed to be here. <laugh>.

Drew (14:51):
Yeah, what's, where's the steering wheel? I'm not getting, this isn't right. And so it was funny cuz it wasn't actually as hard as I thought it would be. I'm dyslexic and I thought, man, this is gonna be really tough for me. But it was actually a lot of fun. So it's overcoming those kinds of obstacles as well as finding which of these distilleries to go to and planning all of that stuff out.

Dan (15:17):
Yeah, and you kind of talked about too at the start how you wanted to start a blog about travel, but then life got in the way you had to start making a little bit of money into, and then 18 years later you finally revisited <laugh>. Yeah. And started travels feel life. So what was kind of the inspiration to finally say, you know what, it's time. It's time for me to start this show, start this blog.

Drew (15:42):
I have to give a shout out to Tim Ferris because I read his book The Four Hour Work Week and it basically, well there's a lot of stuff in there that I don't agree with in terms of how you run a business for a business owner. Being able to figure out how to optimize your business down to a point where you're really not that necessary to being there all the time is helpful. And so what happened was I really had no plans on starting a travel lifestyle when I read that book, but I started putting some of those different techniques in play and organizing my office and getting it to where I didn't need to be chained to my desk all the time. And I still sat behind my desk, but I was just sitting there going, what do I do? What do I do?

What do I do? And so finally I said, why am I wasting this time with the internet now I can go have meetings online with people and I'm able to disconnect from my desk and still keep in touch with people and do my work on the road. Why don't I just go? So that James Bond trip is what opened my eyes to it because when I took that trip I started thinking I should write about this and I should get, tell people where these places are at and kind of help 'em out. And so I started writing the blog and then I started thinking, wait, I need to do more with this. Cuz it started out as drew hamish.com and it's evolved into travel fuel's life because I thought, man, I could help people with a lot more than just this and I've got the time to go travel, so let me stretch my wings a little bit and see what I can do with all of this.

So it just evolved in a very odd way. And then all of a sudden it slipped into whiskey because I was when I was looking for another theme trip to do, and my friends were drinking bourbon and scotch and I'm like, no, I've been a beer drinker all my life, but I had been wanting something different because I was kind of worn out on beer, but I had had a bad incident with a bottle of Jack Daniels when I was much younger and that I couldn't even smell whiskey for a long time because of that. So that's what kept me away from whiskey for the longest time. But man, once we started doing a little tastings over at my friend's house I got curious about it and I thought, well I should do a theme trip up to Kentucky. So that's when I broke out and said, you know what? All right, I'm just going to pick out 19 distilleries odd number, I'm gonna pick out 19 distilleries to go to in eight days and I'm just gonna learn about bourbon. I'm gonna immerse myself in it and really learn it from front to back. So that's how I ended up evolving from travel then on into whiskey as well.

Dan (18:40):
You saying that you had a bad experience with Jack Daniels? Took me back to college <laugh>, it was Evan Williams me, but yeah

Drew (18:47):
That, yeah, see and Evan Williams was the first one that drew me back into drinking whiskey, which is interesting. But yeah, those first experiences, those bad experiences can sometimes be a bit traumatic and it's amazing how your senses hold onto the memory of that and won't let it go. Cuz I mean that to this day I see people online doing shots, videos and stuff like that. I don't do shots <laugh>, I not throwback whiskey, it will not work. My body will reject it. So in a good way I've become a sipper and really this is the way I enjoyed drinking whiskey is to just sit there and really take some time with it and experience it rather than just kicking it back for a buzz.

Dan (19:39):
Well it's all about moderation, right?

Drew (19:41):
Yeah, absolutely. And this is kind of forced moderation, but it works for me.

Dan (19:46):
I know I got to preview your book and I wanna say thank you for that for letting me have a sneak peek at it before the show started. And I also read that you said you started off as a beer guy first and then you tried to dabble in wine, but wine didn't quite fit your fancy, is that true?

Drew (20:04):
Yeah, wine was, well I'm a single guy and so part of the issue of being single is that I would go out and I'd buy a bottle of wine and then I would drink the bottle of wine. It's like maybe it would last two days, but I'm like, I do not need to be drinking this much. And I enjoyed it, but it never hooked me. It was like, yeah, this is good. I understand why people are into it. But it was actually the movie Sideways if people have seen that movie that got me interested in drinking wine because I was watching that movie and the character Paul gma is so into everything about wine. He knows the grapes, he knows the regions, he knows the process and everything, the flavors. And I thought, man, that's really cool actually if you could appreciate something that much. But I just couldn't do it with wine. And it was interesting cuz whiskey was the perfect switch for me because I can just pour a little glass to whiskey and be fine with that. I don't have to have, I worry about it going bad, <laugh>, it will take year years for it to go bad so I can leave it on the shelf and come back to it when I want to.

Dan (21:23):
What was it about whiskey that really captivated you, I guess to say I wanna learn more about this?

Drew (21:31):
Well, I'll tell you what, after doing, it was 17 distilleries in Kentucky and two in Tennessee on my way home. And the thing is that it really fit me in many ways. It was something that was fitting my desire to go deeper into enjoying a particular drink that I was having into the history side of things. I love going to the different distilleries and hearing the stories that were coming out of each distillery that I went to. There's such a depth of American history and whiskey history and just seeing the evolution that fascinated me. And then on top of that, the process and understanding the nuances between all the different distilleries. And when I started this I said there's a story behind every label. And that's really what I wanted to get at was finding what is it that the marketing department isn't telling me about this whiskey that's really gonna be fascinating and something that will make me appreciate it even more. And what I found was as I was going to distilleries, I'd be on the tours and then all of a sudden I'd hear conflicting historical information and I'm like, okay, this isn't quite right.

Dan (22:55):
I'm sorry that I just deal with I'm, I'm told I'm my bad <laugh>.

Drew (23:00):
Right? And I think that's true for a lot of people, honestly. I think that's the same for historians because I find that as I'm trying to research this, there are so many people that are trumpeting the same things over and over and over again. And it's funny how something can be lore and then all of a sudden it turns into pseudo fact because so many people have repeated it that me, as somebody going to look for the historical factual information, suddenly I start finding that eight different people have said this, but I can't use the old theory that if you can find two sources that corroborate it, that it's the truth that that's so wrong. And I discovered that with the episode I did on General Grant because I was trying to there's a story where Abraham Lincoln was approached when he was deciding that he was gonna make you list's s grant, the head of the Army.

And they were saying, don't, he is a drunk and you don't want to put a drunk in charge of the whole army. And he said tell me what brand of whiskey he drinks and I'll send a barrel to all my other generals cuz they'll fight and he fights and that's what I needed somebody that can fight. And so when I started researching that story back, I found lots of people who were telling that story. But as I got back to the truth of the story, Lincoln was asked the question as to whether he had said that or not and he said, I wish I had cuz it's a great story. But he said, it's actually related to a story about General Wolf and King George the second, I believe it's just a paraphrasing basically, of an old story that came from them. And as I was doing research I'm like, wow, this is interesting because again, everybody will trumpet the same story over and over and over again but in reality it may or may not be true and let's dig in and see whether it is or not. So that that's really kinda where Whiskey Lord came from was man, I'm hearing these stories and I'd love to tell them, but I'd also like to find whether the conflicting stories, which way does it go? Which, what is the true answer? And if there is no true answer, then I I'll say that too. I don't know, there's really no answer. So it's been fun investigating all of that.

Dan (25:31):
It's something interesting as we've kind of talked about here with some of the history and lore. And you may know this better than me since you've been to Europe and you've seen some of these other distilleries, but I've been told overseas with Irish whiskey distilleries and scotch distilleries that they kind of have their history a little bit more down to a tea where they can tell you this is the exact date of when things happen, but bourbon is, bourbon is not quite as well documented. Would you agree with that?

Drew (26:04):
I would not agree with that. I would say that they are fishing as much as that they're trying and they do have a lot more records. For instance, I just went to Glen Turret and they have a woman there who is doing a lot of their history and similar to Kentucky, they are, they're whiskey environments. So the news is gonna report what's happening into distillery a little bit more in Kentucky and Scotland than they will say in South Carolina. Something big would have to happen in South Carolina for a distillery to suddenly show up in the news. But I think it tends to happen a little bit more in Tennessee, Kentucky and Scotland and Ireland. What I found fascinating with Scotland was that their history doesn't really go back much further than ours does. You would think that it would slide way back, but it was going to Lindor's Abbey the spiritual home of scotch whiskey.

That was 1493 when scotch was first mentioned. But Scotch was completely underground until 1823. And then in 1823 it really started to come out of the shadows and become something known and something that people were selling. There were distillers before that, but they paid so high taxes and most of them were blenders. So single malt whiskey was way too rough for people and actually the Irish were considered to be the better distillers at that time over the Scots. So it's <laugh> interesting to trace this because I knew very little about scotch history too. So it's nice to now have a little bit more of a foothold on the differences between the two. But yeah, tours are very similar process is different, and the joy of a scotch distillery is seeing the pot stills because every distillery has a different pot still, and the shape of those pot stills is what defines the character of their single malt.

Dan (28:13):
And so as you've kind of said, you've been going around to these different distilleries up here in Kentucky just to check them out and learn a lot about what might be either be the truth or fiction depending on which tours you're going into here. And it's kind of developed into this podcast, the Whiskey lore podcast as you've presented here where you're kind of tackling a lot of these myths around the whiskey industry. And so just asking as we start talking here about your podcast and your show what are some of the biggest myths that you were wanting to tackle or talk about when you were getting the show started?

Drew (28:54):
Oh, there's some interesting ones. Sometimes I'll just hear things off the cuff while on a tour and it'll set off a little alert in my head that says, okay, go ahead and put down a note that you wanna study that. And one of them is during the tastings is that people will talk about the tongue map and they'll talk about that we have sweet flavors on the front of our tongue, we have bitter in the back. And then you'll hear people actually doing a tasting around that whole concept. And I had always heard that wasn't true, but I didn't know why it wasn't true or where it came from. So I did this whole episode where I dug in and researched all the way back into the 18 hundreds to find out where this concept of the tongue map came from. And it was fascinating because it came down to basically a guy in 1900 creating a graph where he was doing tasting on the tongue and trying to detect if there were any differences or if our taste buds in different areas had different flavor intensities.

And he drew this graph out. But if you know how a graph should be drawn out, if you're looking down the left hand, you should be seeing a meter of some form, some kind of a intensity level, something that says this is 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 it shouldn't just be a wavy line. And you kind of guessed at what the answer is. So what happened was on this graph he said bittersweet salt and sour. And then there's this wavy line showing intensities. And if you read that line, you would just assume that when it was at the bottom that meant there was no suite. And when it got to the top that it was a hundred percent sweet and that's how it got misinterpreted. In reality, it was the slimmest of margins. It was like barely detectable differences in the different sections of the tongue. And then I'm going on tasting tours and people are saying, well, when you taste it, if you put it on the front of your tongue, you'll taste this.

And when you get to the sides of your tongue you'll taste this. And then as I dug into it, I realize that you taste all over your mouth, you even taste as it's going down your throat. There are taste buds as it's going down. And when your mouth is closed and you have that whiskey in your mouth, the fumes are actually going up through something called a, which goes to your nose and helps you detect flavors rather than just tastes as it goes up in your nose as the vapor's going to your nose. So that's just an example. But I mean there's a variety of things that the general grant story, I'd heard that about Old Crow. I had heard where is the origin of the name bourbon? And I've heard many stories on that. And it took me going to New Orleans and talking to somebody in New Orleans to kind of dispel that end of the myth that I had no idea about New Orleans. So it's like these are little gifts. You start chasing one story and then all of a sudden you start learning more about history and regions and everything else. It's all interconnected in many ways.

Dan (32:23):
I know one topic you talked about on your podcast, and we kind of talked about it one on one when you came down to Castle and Key was the myth and lore that James Bon was responsible for the <laugh>, the Bourbon depression. And I know that that might be a little more personal to you since you're a big James Bond fan. Yeah,

Drew (32:43):
Yeah. Well that was interesting because in Scotland it's just a given. They say that everywhere I go and I actually had a chance to talk with a master distiller over there, he's been a 50 year master distiller Richard Patterson. And I asked him about it and he said well yeah, there was probably something behind that. I talked to Al Young of Four Roses here. I asked him that same question. He said that he thought, yeah, maybe it had a little bit of a bearing. And then as I started really digging in and doing the research on it that's when I discovered it's, it's much deeper than that. And in reality, me being a James Bond movie fan, I started reading the books and that's when I learned that Ian Fleming actually was writing about bourbon in the books. And so if you read any of the stuff from the 1950s he wrote about bourbon because his doctor told him that he was drinking too much gin and that bourbon was better for his health. So whatever Ian Fleming was drinking, he was making James Bond drink as well. So it just so happened that the first book Casino Royale was talking about how to make a Vesper martini. And that's kind of how all of that took off with the martinis in the movies. But it was actually, bourbon was his main drink of choice. As I started digging in, I'm like, oh, this is interesting because he gets blamed for the death of bourbon and whiskey over all those years. But in reality he was a bourbon drinker.

Dan (34:21):
So you started whiskey lore and it was kind of a combination of your desire to travel and your desire to learn more about bourbon and it took you to Kentucky you said. And I kind of just wanna know cuz yourself, I'm not from Kentucky, I'm from Ohio. And when I moved down to Kentucky I had a few maybe not positive viewpoints about what Kentucky was like. I came down here, I said, oh boy, missing teeth in Moonshot. I can't wait to come to this state. And <laugh>. Now I've moved down here and I love Kentucky, I've been here for 10 years. But I wanted to ask, what was your thoughts about Kentucky before you came here and how do you feel now that you've traveled through it?

Drew (35:02):
For me, it really started with that first impression being when we would drive as a family from Michigan down to Florida. And the two states that we dreaded the most were Ohio and Georgia because the two were so long and it felt like you would never get through them. And then all of a sudden it was like Kentucky and Tennessee were these two little oasis in the middle you'd have the Kentucky blue grasses and you'd start climbing up into the mountains and as you're kind of rolling down through Tennessee, you've got more mountains as you go along. So it's funny because I always had a very positive impression of Kentucky and then I grew up in the mountains of North Carolina. So I mean I'm used to Appalachian culture and I went to a high school where we lived where said we have the rednecks on in one half of the school and the other half of the school where the built more kids who had all the money.

So we were very have and have not kind of a situation. I'm the one middle class person in the middle of it. So it's never really affected me that much. I'm more look at the scenery and then get to know the people more comfortably I guess. I don't know, I feel like everywhere I've traveled in the world, the people are interesting wherever I go and they all have different personalities and I kind of wanna learn what those personalities are. And people in Kentucky have been very friendly. I've had multiple people while I was going through Bardstown saying, well why don't you just live here <laugh>? And I'm like, well actually the hard part is Louisville is one airport that I'm tied to and if I want to travel a whole lot then the airport matters a lot. So that's the reason why when I think of moving, if I was gonna do it for travel, I would probably end up going to Washington DC or somewhere where there's multiple airports that I'd have choice and be able to travel inexpensively. But it has crossed my mind because that six hour drive up from here to Kentucky is it's a little long but it is very scenic. So

Dan (37:19):
What were some of your fondest experiences from traveling through Kentucky?

Drew (37:25):
Well of course most of my focus has been on whiskey, but part of the focus of my book actually is adding in little side trips and things to do. Churchill Downs was a lot of fun. I threw the museum and I did the tour or through there walking along Whiskey Row and just get down a long waterfront park and all of that is awesome. But a lot of it is driving the back roads. I love the Bluegrass Parkway. Cumberland Gap is beautiful. I love to, it just takes a long time to drive that way to get to Kentucky and usually I'm in a hurry, but taking that scenic little drive through the mountains is pretty impressive. And I went to it's interesting because last time I came up I decided to get off of I 75 and I took us 25 between Corbin and Mount Vernon and that was a beautiful drive I thought take for granted, you're always trying to get somewhere in a hurry and you miss so much just by jumping off on a side road and seeing more of what rural Kentucky looks like rather than forcing yourself to always be in a hurry to get somewhere.

So some beautiful areas. One of my favorite spots in Kentucky is actually that drive down McCracken Pipe where you see the old distilleries from where Glen's Creek is with the old Crow Ruins down to Castle and Key and then onto Woodford Reserve and the horse farms to go out in that direction. I think that's an amazing drive to that. It makes me feel like Scotland a little bit cuz it gets to a single track road there close to a single track road in some spots. And those are very prevalent in Scotland and it's a little hair raising when you're first driving down through there cuz you thinking who's coming over the crest of that hill. But it's actually go do Scotland and then Kentucky won't bother you at all. <laugh>.

Dan (39:32):
I was gonna say I've had a lot of close calls on that road, so had my full on <laugh>, but I think that's true cuz I live around here and sometimes I probably take for granted just how beautiful the scenery is. I'm just trying to get to work or trying to get to where I need to be. You realize just how beautiful some of these horse farms out here are. Oh yeah. And some of this land. So I've been good, been good to me the last 10 years. So

Drew (39:59):

Dan (39:59):

Drew (40:00):
I do my best to try to take some side roads when I can cuz there is a whole lot more to see

Dan (40:07):
Now. I know earlier on in the show you were mentioning about some of the travel snafus you had going overseas mm-hmm With sitting in the wrong side of the car and a few other things. <laugh>, when you were planning your Kentucky trip up here to check out these different distilleries, was there any types of challenges you had when you were traveling? Well

Drew (40:29):
Actually the only real issue, I'm pretty seasoned traveler and have been around for the most part. I do a lot of research, so I try to avoid the snafus as much as possible. But the one thing that I learned was I was going through this thing where I was trying to figure out how to get away from off spray bug spray with deet. So I bought this bottle of this perfume, it's very powdery perfume kind of stuff. It's the version of Off that comes Without De. And I sprayed some of that on myself and I went down to Daniel Boone National Forest and I got outta my car and I started walking down to see the Cumberland River. And as I started walking down, this bee started buzzing around me and then all of a sudden two Bs started buzzing around me and then all of a sudden I had this swarm of bees around me and I'm like, I gotta get outta here.

And they were all attracted to this off spray that I put on myself. It was like never again. And the other S staff who was on that same exact drive, which was I've learned to download maps now on my GPS because, and when you get out in the middle of nowhere, sometimes your phone loses contact and it's like, okay, how do I get outta here <laugh>? So that was a little bit of a challenge. But with the distilleries, I think the biggest challenge that I had in planning all of that out was just figuring out as a solo traveler I, whether I needed to get hotels that were nearby the distilleries because I didn't wanna go drinking and driving and what all the rules were around that. And I couldn't find any blog posts that were talking about it. So I just felt like I was going into it having to be overly cautious because I didn't want to do something wrong. And so I probably planned it around fear of making a mistake more than choosing the distilleries I really wanted to go to the first time. And that's what really inspired the book was if I could make this easier for other people, then how can I do that? How can I give them all the details ahead of time?

Dan (42:44):
So in all this you've kind of mentioned is kind of inspired this book, the book is called Whiskey Lores Travels Guide to Experiencing Kentucky Bourbon McKen. So can you tell us a little bit about that book when we can expect to be coming out and where we can find it at?

Drew (43:01):
Sure. So set May 26th as a hopefully firm date to do the launch of the book. And so it'll be on Amazon, it'll be in the Kindle format. I'm gonna do a paperback as well and an audiobook on top of that. So there'll be multiple formats. It actually has a companion website that goes with it. The whiskey lord.com website. I'll have 32 distillery profiles planning. So it, it's been fun putting this thing together. It's taken a while. It's been about six month process, getting it all together. But I'm excited to get this launch going and help people figure out now that we might be able to travel again soon, <laugh> how to spend some of those traveling hours. So

Dan (43:50):
Will you being there in your audiobook?

Drew (43:53):
I am, yeah. Yeah, that's interesting too because I had to learn how to read all over again. <laugh> funny because as you're reading it, you're going, it sounds like I'm reading this well, and I was gonna say, for me, coming from a radio background, I also have to fight this feeling of going, I'm Mr. Announcer and here's how it <laugh>. So nobody wants to listen to hours of that either. So

Dan (44:18):
I was gonna say one of my favorite things about whiskey lore was actually hearing your narrations. Cuz you just have such a smooth voice that a lot of other history podcasts you listen to, it's like, oh, here's like a college history course. But you have a way of really bringing people into the show, which is something I appreciate. So good job on you man, for just a strong voice to it. Well

Drew (44:42):
Good, I appreciate that. Yeah, it's funny when you're sitting in the studio for eight hours recording and rerecording and did I say that right? And was this correct? You hope it's coming across in people getting the feel of it. And I said, that's great, I'm pleased to hear that.

Dan (45:01):
So as we get ready to wind things down here, I wanted to ask you this question, and I gave you a little bit of time to think on it before the show started but if I was someone who was traveling Kentucky for the first time, what are three distilleries you would recommend me going to during my travels?

Drew (45:20):
Yeah, this would've been a very hard question right out of the blue because you hear people say it's like picking your favorite child. It definitely would be that kind of a situation for me. So if you're gonna go to one distillery and you wanna see everything, I would suggest going to Old Forester in Louisville. And the reason that I suggest Old Forester is because it's the only distillery that has an onsite cooperage. And so if you go, I think Tuesday through Saturday, or maybe Tuesday through Sunday, I'm not sure, but I think it's Tuesday through Saturday when they're in operation, you can actually hopefully catch them firing those barrels and see them shaping the barrels, which is I think is a great part of the whole experience of learning about bourbon. And like I say, the only way you can see that otherwise in Kentucky is to go to Kentucky Cooperage and just do a Cooperage tour.

So old forester's great for that, plus they do bottling and they, they have this little thing where they roll the casts down from upstairs and then they come out and they put them on a truck. And when I was there like noon, they were banging a drum and then they would take this flatbed truck filled with Old Forester whiskey around the city. So I don't know how much that they still do. I was there during the first week when they first opened up, but I think that's a great tour. Another one that I really enjoy is Barton 1792. And that's a distillery that's not, it's in Bardstown, it's not on the bourbon trail. So a lot of people might neglect going there because it's not on their guide but it's worth a trip out to because it, it's really how you see more of the industrial side of bourbon production.

But they also have a history, it was the Tom Moore distillery and so you get some of that history as well. And if you do the estate tour, the estate, all their tours are free. The estate tour is a limited tour that runs once a day at 11 o'clock. You have to sign up for it ahead of time and it is a two plus hour immersive tour through the distillery process and seeing all aspects of it. And you get to see the world's largest bourbon barrel. So that's an added attraction. So that's a good one for number three. Maybe it's a cop out, but it kind of leads into the whole reason for the book as well. I think just like whiskey, there's a distillery for everybody. There's one that's gonna hit your sweet spot. And every distillery I've been to in Kentucky has something to offer.

They all have their own personalities. You won't get bored going to 19 distilleries. They all have subtle nuances to them and things that they focus on. So for me, I say choose a distillery that really kind of fits you. Everybody's got a different personality. If they like history, if they like the process, if you go the Buffalo Trace, they have Warehouse and they focus a lot on that. Or if you want to see Taylor's dream of the Castle Distillery and the show place, then Castle and Key is great for that. Or go see the ruins at Glen's Creek and see how a bunch of really hardcore distillers who wanna be renegades do it over at that distillery. It's, there's a wide variety. So it's kind of just picking the one that fits

Dan (48:55):
You. Very cool. Well definitely some good distilleries to work check out. I've been to hand a bunch of them. They are worth the trip. Everyone's got their own flavor like you said to it. So if you're gonna come out to cast and Key, be sure to book Dan for all your tour experiences.

Drew (49:10):
<laugh>. Absolutely.

Dan (49:11):
Well, drew, it's been awesome having you on, and I'm hoping when things lighten up here a little bit, you'll be able to start traveling again and hopefully you'll come back up and see us up at Kentucky. You still need to come back to Castle and Key when our bourbon comes out.

Drew (49:23):
Well thanks Dan. I appreciate not only the tour was great and everybody does need to go down to Castle and Key and check out and asked for Dan and look for Rick Key. I didn't get to see Rick Key, but I understand you take care of him a little

Dan (49:34):
Bit. A little bit. We all kind of pitch in. He's a little bit of a stinker sometimes. Sometimes he wants attention, sometimes he doesn't. He's got his own personality about him. So <laugh>

Drew (49:48):
The distillery cat was something I learned about while I was on distillery tour is through Kentucky too. So definitely somebody to check out. But no, I appreciate it and thanks for having me on the show and let me talk a little bit about whiskey and history and travel, my favorite things.

Dan (50:03):
Till next time, drew,

Drew (50:05):
Well thanks today. I'm Paul and I appreciate him letting me share this episode with you. And go check out his podcast at Friends in the Corner. You can find it on Apple Podcast, Google podcast, SoundCloud, and wherever you listen to your favorite podcast, he should be out there. Meanwhile, if you want to get Whiskey Lord's Travel guide to experience in Kentucky Bourbon, do some bourbon travel planning and dreaming, you can find it on paperback in kindle amazon.com, or you can go to whiskey lore.com/kentucky book and that'll take you right to the Amazon page. And as for me, returning to podcasting on travel fuels life, well, to be honest with you, I really don't wanna turn the show into a weekly or biweekly reminder of what's going on in the world. So I'm contemplating the mission of Travel Fuel's Life, and I hope to have a single kick Things off again episode coming up in the near future. But meanwhile, I'm gonna start reliving some of the amazing travel that I've done over the last two years on instagram.com/travel fuels life and facebook.com/travel fuels life. So if you want to have a conversation, talk about anything out there, catch me in either of those two spots, and in the meantime, keep making those plans and dreaming of travel. I'm Drew Hamish, be safe and thanks for listening to Travel Fuel's Life.


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