Unbelievable New but Old Destination Soon Opening in Bourbon Country: “The Samuels House”

Samuels House: Living Room
Photo: Seth Thompson

In 1954, Margie and her husband Bill Samuels Sr. founded a little ol’ Bourbon company named Maker’s Mark. I wonder if they had any idea then that their adorable Ma’ and Pa’ startup would someday become a global powerhouse? Perhaps it wasn’t by mere chance that it did. And as it turns out, 67 years is just a mere drop in the bucket of whiskey making for this First Family of Bourbon. Like the bottle’s iconic red dripping wax, the Samuels family name drips heavily with both distilling and American history going back 200 years (and change).

Robert Samuels, great descendent…well…many times over, made whiskey during the Revolutionary War for G. Washington’s troops. His son, John Samuels, would in 1820 build a home nesting just outside of Bardstown on a colossal working farm that eventually would encompass 18,000 acres of land. That same farm in 1844 would host the family’s first commercial distillery – T.W. Samuels Distillery.

Samuels Home, 1870. Photo: Seth Thompson

The T.W. Samuels Distillery would be passed down generation upon generation until 4th gen member, Bill Samuels Sr., decided to be a maverick and start his own distillery with its own name – Maker’s Mark. The captivating red wax, bottle design, and name being the brainchild of wife Margie Samuels. The mash recipe was reinvented by Bill Sr. who sought a softer and more pleasant whiskey vs that made by his preceding bloodline. The rest is history…continued.

Wouldn’t it be something to see the very first vessel used to dip the very first bottle of Maker’s? Or the antique book that was key in inspiring the namesake? How about a timeline of dusties (vintage bottles) from T.W. Samuels Distillery all the way to present day Maker’s?

Rob Samuels, current Maker’s Mark COO and 6 gen going back to T.W., decided it was time to showcase his family’s extraordinary history in its original homestead. Beginning in September 2021, you will be able to not only visit and see this sacred holy land of Bourbon Making History, get this, you’ll be able to stay there during your ultimate Bourbon Pilgrimage to Bourbon Country!

After leaving the Samuels Family ownership in the 50’s, Rob made the plunge on somewhat of a whim and bought the home earlier this year. After a transformation whirlwind of just 4 months, his vision has created a hospitality destination like no other. It now boasts the best of both architectural worlds where breath taking federal style meets just the right balance of modern chic accents throughout the 200+ year old home.

L to R: Bill Samuels Jr., Seth Thompson, Rob Samuels
L: Bill Samuels Jr. M: Seth Thompson (The Bourbon Review) R: Rob Samuels Photo: Dana McMahan

Perhaps best demonstrating is the kitchen with all modern amenities and having this gorgeous original mammoth fire place, original wood floors and exposed brick, with glass works by famed glass blowing artist Stephen Powell and mantle portrait of Rob’s father, Bill Samuels Jr.

Kitchen Fireplace. Photo Seth Thompson

Both bathrooms on the 2nd floor are full-fledged new age swanky, but I have no problem with that:)

In the parlor room, beneath the Margie Samuels contemporary portrait stands a stunning shrine of Maker’s artifacts that helped inspire the bottle design. Margie had a penchant for the craftsmanship of antique pewter and the “mark of the maker” signifying the artist of each hand crafted piece.

Inspiration for Maker's naming.
Inspiration for Maker’s namesake. Photo: Seth Thompson

Total geek out moment – the original deep fryer used to dip the very first MM bottle!

Original deep fryer
Original deep fryer for first Maker’s dipped bottle. Photo: Seth Thompson

In the parlor room, how awesome is this?! A Samuels “Hall of Makers” shrine accompanied by a bad ass vintage time-line of bottles.

Bottle Lineage from T.W. Samuels to Maker's Mark
Samuels “Hall of Makers” and vintage bottle collection.
T.W. Samuels Bourbon
Photo: Seth Thompson
Photo: Seth Thompson
T.W. Samuels Bourbon
Photo: Seth Thompson
Scotch Whiskey
Sold by Bill Samuels Sr. before Maker’s Mark was ready to be sold. Photo: Seth Thompson
Black was 101 proof. Discontinued and was sold exclusively in Japan in the late 90’s. Photo: Seth Thompson

Per Bill Samuels Jr – This gun was surrendered by Frank James (James Gang bank robbers) on the Samuels Home lawn to Bardstown sheriff (and distiller) T.W. Samuels, thus officially ending the Civil War in 1865.

.36-caliber 1851 Navy Colt cap-and-ball revolver that belonged to Frank James, brother of Jesse James. Photo: Seth Thompson

The mother of Jesse and Frank James, Zarelda, married T.W. Samuels older brother Reuben Samuels. The James brothers would go on to make quite a name for themselves in the banking world.

Jesse James
Renown Outlaw Jesse James, 1863, Age 16. Photo Seth Thompson

Property Info: How To Book Your Stay!

  • ADDRESS: 160 South Saint Gregory Church Rd, Cox’s Creek, KY 40013
  • PHONE: 502-999-0203
  • SLEEPS: Up to 8 Guests; 3 Bedrooms (2 king, 1 queen, 2 pullout beds)
  • ~3,500 Sq Ft: Basement, 1st Floor, 2nd Floor
  • Covered porch with outdoor dining area
  • Stone patio featuring gas grill and fire pit
  • Whole Home wifi
  • Ensuite bathrooms
  • Website: thesamuelshouse.com

Architect & Interior Design Info

Architectural Firm: “rc3”. Craig Rushing. Architect + LEED AP. www.rc3.us [email protected]

Space & Visual Curation: Jeffrey James. [email protected] 859-533-3634