My adventure this week was not at the Post (Redstone Arsenal) or the town in which it is located (Huntsville, AL). Flying into Nashville, TN and driving down to Hunstville, I saw several hot air balloons: Because this was the first Army teaching location that was located off-post and the only location I've been to that did not have a free museum, I did not get to see the actual Post. Redstone was built in 1941 to produce conventional chemical ammunition for WWII, but for over 40 years it has been the heart of the Army's rocket and missile programs. As my class told me, after the war they brought over several German Scientists (rocket experts) to develop the first ballistic missile...which led to the establishment of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in 1960.
Huntsville is home to the spectacular US Space & Rocket Center museum, but at a ticket price of $25, with no senior discount, I decided I'd have more fun at the free Jack Daniels Distillery tour in Lynchburg, TN (on the way to the airport). Each year, around 250,000 people take their free tour which does NOT offer samples (free or otherwise), as it is located in a dry county. The Visitor's Center where the tour begins
The grounds of this distillery is a photographers' delight.
Everywhere I turned, there were artistic images bagging to be captured in my lens.
They put you on a bus, drive you around the corner, where everyone stands in front of a woodshed so the bus driver can take your picture:
After a few days, the photo can be downloaded from their website for free...I'm the one in the white scarf, coyly taking the photo of the bus driver:the white-haired lady on the left was our tour guide...her heavy Tennessee accent and the pattern of speech was a hoot to listen to. The sugar maple we're standing in front of, is turned into charcoal which is used to filter the distilled alcohol before being placed in charred white oak barrels for aging.The charcoal filtering stage, called Lincoln County Process, is what makes it a whiskey not a bourbon.
The distillery is located next to a cool, pure, iron-free cave spring water supply.
Just outside the cave is a statue of Jack, less his hideous full beard.
Born around 1850, Jack became a licensed distiller at the age of 16. Being a bachelor, his business was passed onto a nephew.
Everyone wants their picture taken with Jack:
He died at the age of 61 from blood poisoning from an infected foot, the results of an injury caused by kicking his safe. There are many stories about the number 7, but the real reason was buried with Jack.
They make three types: Original Black Label (a mix from several barrels), Single Barrel and Gentleman Jack (filtered twice through the charcoal). As soon as I left the dry county, I purchased a sample package of the three types. When I got to the hotel, I conducted a taste test before retiring for the evening. The Black Label is harsh but mixes well with code as the cola and sugar enhance its flavor. The Single Barrel is smoother and can be enjoyed on the rocks but the Gentleman Jack is by far the smoothest and best tasting.