For the first time in 200 years, average, everyday bourbon fanatics like you and me can stay a night at The Samuels House, a historic home in Coxs Creek, Ky. (just outside of Bardstown), that has been converted into a bourbon museum honoring eight generations of Samuels distillers, including Bill Samuels Jr. and Rob Samuels of Maker’s Mark.
The house was built in 1820 by John Samuels, whose father, Robert Samuels, actually made whiskey for George Washington’s troops in the Revolutionary War. And that’s only the beginning of this home’s story, which is saturated in history and bourbon.
I was fortunate to attend an open house Tuesday evening to check out The Samuels House with Bill Jr. and Rob Samuels. Of course they had a full charcuterie spread for the dozens of guests, plus Maker’s-fueled cocktails, so it was a fun time had by all.
Did I mention it might be haunted, too? More on that in a bit.
The house stayed in the Samuels family until the late 1950s, and it was recently re-purchased by Rob Samuels, Chief Operating Officer of Maker’s Mark. He decided it would be the perfect place for bourbon lovers to stay while they’re tackling the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, and also where the Samuels family could display eight generations worth of family photos, significant artifacts, important documents and dusty old bottles that encompass the original Samuels distillers (T.W. Samuels) and the modern Samuels distillers (Maker’s Mark).
So what’s here?
Well, what I loved seeing the most was the actual deep fryer Margie Samuels used to experiment with when creating the iconic red wax — the same wax that now adorns every Maker’s Mark bottle since her and her husband Bill Samuels Sr. created the brand in 1954. Also on display is Margie’s English pewter collection that inspired her to name the new bourbon “Maker’s Mark.”
The house is a blend of 200-year-old charm and modern updates. Inside the kitchen, for example, there’s a full gas range and a modern sink and cupboards, but across the room is the original fireplace where the residents would cook before electricity and gas lines made it into homes.
The house can accommodate up to eight guests between three bedrooms, and the average nightly price ranges from $1,250-1,500.
Rob and Bill Jr. spoke about how much this home means to their family, and they had a great time filling the rooms with family heirlooms and memorabilia.
“We look forward to sharing this with folks who are traveling here, and even people here in Kentucky who might be interested,” said Rob Samuels. “Folks are drawn to Kentucky culture, and hopefully this can help attribute to that energy and interest.”
Bill Jr. seemed most excited about a pistol that is behind glass in the foyer, which he explained is most likely the very last firearm surrendered in the Civil War.
The weapon was supposedly surrendered in the front yard of The Samuels House by Frank James (of the notorious James Gang), who was part of the last armed group fighting at the end of the war. He turned the gun over to T.W. Samuels, the Nelson County sheriff (and family’s first commercial distiller), and it has remained in the family ever since.
Being in a house that old, we had to ask if anyone had ever experienced something spooky. Of course we were in the cellar, where spooky oozes in most cases, and one of the curators confirmed that indeed there have been incidents of paranormal activity, and that the former owners actually kept a spreadsheet on the encounters.
The only story we got out of him had to do with two construction workers who got spooked while pouring cement and came running full speed out of the cellar doors. They described a demonic roar in the basement, along with lights unexpectedly going out, which made the two grown men exit the basement in 2 seconds flat.
They ended up going back in to finish the job, so it must not have been too disturbing.
Property Info (according to the website):
- Accommodations for up to 8 guests; 3 bedrooms (2 king, 1 queen; 2 additional pullout beds)
- Nearly 3,500 square feet of space (main level, upper level, and basement)
- Set on 2 acres of mature oak trees surrounded by horse pasture
- Parlor room with custom-crafted bar and 50+ historic bottles of family-produced whisky
- Numerous Samuels family artifacts and pieces of bourbon history on display
- Stocked chef’s kitchen with gas range, fridge with premium whiskey icemaker
- Dining room with custom-designed dinnerware and glassware
- Covered porch with outdoor dining area
- Basement media room and game lounge
- Stone patio featuring a gas grill and fire pit
- Whole-home wifi
- Tempur-Pedic mattresses
- Premium ‘Comphy’ brand sheets
- Ensuite bathrooms
- 100% Turkish cotton towels
- Aveda bath products
- Iron/Ironing board
- Hair dryer
- Smart TVs with cable access and streaming capabilities
To book The Samuels House or just read more about it, click here. Booking starts in September!
Below are some photos of the property: