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  • Writer's pictureWes Farno

Lotus Rd - 2020 Sadie Edition

An unexpected stop on our weekend to Kentucky included a visit to the J. Mattingly Distillery and Bourbon 30. Located in a nondescript warehouse in Lexington, Bourbon 30 provides an opportunity like no other.

The visitor center is tiny, stacked with merchandise and the whiskeys they bottle, including the fantastic Flapjack. (review coming soon). We were greeted by a young man who we later discovered was the owners son. What he lacked in explaining the blending experience we would soon undertake, he made up in enthusiasm for sharing with his guests. 

Master crafter Jeff Mattingly grew up farming in a tiny unincorporated village in Western Kentucky. His father, a 4th generation farmer, was also Mayor of Mattingly and an Early Times Drinker. "Bourbon 30. It's that time" was the all-clear signal that the Mayor was occupied, and the boys could sneak away to sip on his stash. Today, Jeff and the brothers still enjoy time Bourbon 30, and they share that experience with their guests.

Jeff is said to be one of the smartest bourbon guys in the industry, and during our visit, he was open and willing to talk bourbon, whiskey, and provide suggestions for our picks.

The Bourbon 30 experience boils down to being able to blend your personalized bottle of whiskey. They give you the run of the barrels, and you are free to sip, taste, and explore various combinations on a path of ultimately building your masterpiece. 

The backroom and a shipping container on the building's side created an adult playground for whiskey enthusiasts. Color-coded barrels provided direction. Blue meant a wheated bourbon, orange was a rye bourbon, pink a rye whiskey, and yellow a corn whiskey. After being handed a whiskey thief, you are on your own. They encourage you to taste, blend, taste, blend, and taste and blend some more before coming up with your concoction. Warning: this can lead to intoxication – small samples add up quickly

Once we agreed on our final product, we handed over our recipe to a staff member who pulls it together from our specified barrels. He provides us with a final proof and then allows us to choose our wax and dip our bottles.   

Angie and I ended up with a blend of four different barrels (127,118,214 & 219) ending with a 117 proof one-of-kind whiskey we call Lotus Rd – 2020 Sadie Edition. We came home with two 375ml bottles and one 750ml bottle of our personalized creation.

Nose: Hint of heat with lots of caramel and vanilla.

Taste: Smooth and sweet lacking the high-rye spicy expected because of the barrels we choose.  

Finish: Short and smooth 

Recommendation: Make a stop at Bourbon30 in Lexington. Tell Jeff the Farnos from Ohio said Hi and blend your bottle. Unfortunately, the only way you will get to try the Lotus Rd – 2020 Sadie Edition is if you stop over and ask. We hope you do!

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