The two bottles that I brought for this week’s episode on New Spring and Summer Bourbon Releases are kind of hard to find these days. Those being Larceny Barrel Proof A121 and Lux Row Blood Oath Pact 7 of which both Jim and I enjoyed greatly.  I would not consider either to be allocated, just highly sought after. But this got me to thinking about your bourbon hunting and your future trips to Kentucky. How much thought have you put into this? Every time I travel I want to ensure that I maximize my chances of getting the best bottles possible and to be prepared. While what I find exciting these days is a lot different than others, I still hold true to some basic rules.

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So when is bourbon hunting season:  Most bourbon hunters would consider fall to early winter be the prime bourbon hunting season — that’s when all the rare and highly allocated bourbons release right? However, I would say late spring through early fall is when you’ll have the best luck. This is when the bottles I crave come out so this is why I like this span. Have patients and checkout release dates and keep an eye on social media sites. If media such as You Tube, Instagram and Facebook bourbon sites say it’s about to drop, trust their judgment.

Is Bourbon Hunting any easier in Kentucky: No and Yes, but first let me explain. While you have to compete with every other hunter from across the globe for nice bottles, it is also the place where distilleries release gift shop only bottles and releases. So it can be beneficial to be that first guy in line at the gift shop early in the morning. There are also tours that give you a chance to grab a bottle like Old Forester where you might stumble across a birthday bourbon.

What’s some items you might want to bring with you: A umbrella, rain coat and a chair are always great items to bring along to ensure you are comfortable waiting. While those are nice to have there is one item most people don’t think about which is a cooler/ice chest with ice packs. The hot Kentucky summer sun can heat a vehicle and will pop a cork from a bottle if you don’t take precautions. If you are flying pack a soft sided cooler and find some disposable ice packs. If you driving pack a nice hard side cooler with ice packs. I have been down this road and we almost always carry a cooler/ice chest in our vehicles these days.

Don’t overlook Store Picks: Kentucky liquor stores are loaded down with picks from every distillery here.  If you don’t find those special releases don’t go home empty handed. These stores almost always have an open bottle so you can try a pick. If you don’t see a sample bottle just ask. This way you will know exactly what you’re getting. You might be totally shocked at some of the bottles you can grab. They are often high proof and have been selected by a pretty diverse team that loves bourbon just as much or more then you.

Be Polite: I have the gift of gab, meaning I have never met a stranger. I love to get to know people and talk with them. I guess I get that from my grandfather who always said ” You can win people to your side more easily by gentle persuasion and flattery than by hostile confrontation”. How do I say that you ask? Just don’t be a jerk. Talk to the store employees and the owner if you have the chance to meet them. You might be surprised that they have something setting right under the counter with your name on it. Kentuckians can be a very generous people if you let them.

Hopefully this will help with your bourbon hunting season. With that I say grab a glass, some of your favorite allocated bourbon and relax. Let Jim and I take you on another trip down The Bourbon Road sipping on the some new bourbon releases from this spring.

Mike (Big Chief)