Castle & Key creates and restores Bourbon Co. History

MILLVILLE, Ky. (WTVQ) – Over a century before the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, Col. E.H. Taylor Jr. wanted to create a distillery that would be a place for visitors to explore and enjoy, instead of just a place to produce product. While this might sound like something tourists do all the time in Kentucky, at the time it was a novel and nearly unheard-of concept.

Back in the 1880’s, hundreds of picnickers would arrive to see the landscaped grounds of Old Taylor Distillery. Now, the Castle & Key team has picked up where he left off, and announced on Monday they will be continuing the Colonal’s tradition of making history.


On the Castle & Key team is Marianne Barnes, Chemical Engineering graduate and the first female to earn the title of Master Distiller in Bourbon county since Prohibition.

They began restoration in 2014, and their first production will begin in early summer, with state of the art distillation equipment and the longest bourbon rick house in the world. (Almost two football fields in length!)

The original 1887 formal sunken garden was revived by world-renowned John Carloftis, featuring a koi pond surrounded by southern magnolia and hydrangea. Not just beautiful, but useful as well, Carloftis also designed a quarter-mile botanical garden, from which Barnes will gather ingredients for her gins.

They hope to open the grounds to public tours of the site, tastings of the spirits, strolls through the botanical garden, and picnicking on the banks of Glenn’s creek this summer.


“It’s so encouraging to see how much people want to know about the bourbon they drink, who made it, where and how it’s made,” says Barnes. “Castle & Key is a destination that encourages people to be our guest, taste, see and enjoy a step back into bourbon history.”

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