Buffalo Trace Begins Bourbon Pompeii Tours At Its Distillery - The Whiskey Wash

Buffalo Trace Begins Bourbon Pompeii Tours At Its Distillery

By Nino Marchetti / August 4, 2017

A little over a year ago workers at the Buffalo Trace distillery were digging in the foundation of the O.F.C. Building, one of the many buildings on this historic whiskey campus in Kentucky. As they worked they unearthed the foundation—and much more—from the original O.F.C. Distillery built there in 1873. Distillery officials decided to preserve what was discovered, and now are ready to turn it into a tour for visitors.

Bourbon Pompeii

The excavated OFC Room at Buffalo Trace (image via Buffalo Trace)

Officially called the E. H. Taylor Tour, the tour will visit three sites, two of which have not been open to the public for touring previously. Information put out by Buffalo Trace indicates these sites will include:

  • The first stop will visit the Old Taylor House, a small white house built in the 1790s, which is the oldest house in Franklin County. Built by Commodore Richard Taylor, E. H. Taylor’s great-grandfather, the Old Taylor House has been a residence, a small hospital and a laboratory.  After it had sat vacant for a number of years, Buffalo Trace restored it a few years ago and now uses it for internal meeting space.  It has not been open to the public for touring until now.
  • The second stop on the E. H. Taylor Tour will be the much talked about O.F.C. Building, better known by its nick name “Bourbon Pompeii.” This building is a true historic gem in the chronicles of American bourbon distilling, with the original foundation wall built by Taylor in 1869, and then a second foundation Taylor built in 1873 when he set out to build the industry’s first “modern” distillery.  The fermenting vats inside were found intact and date back to 1883.  The foundation and the vats were covered with a cement floor when the building was decommissioned in 1958 and forgotten.
  • The third stop on the E. H. Taylor Tour will take guests inside Warehouse “C,” located across from the Visitor Center. This warehouse was built by Taylor in 1884 and is a beautiful brick and limestone structure that holds about 25,000 barrels.  All of the E. H. Taylor, Jr. line of whiskies reside in this warehouse, along with other brands distilled by Buffalo Trace.

This new tour, said to begin August 7th, will run about an hour and is free. It will happen Monday-Friday at 2:30 pm. It is quite an archaeological find Buffalo Trace has on its hands, as far as bourbon making lore goes anyhow, so it is nice to see they are making it available to the public to see at no cost.