There are certainly plenty of reasons to visit the beautiful and diverse state of Kentucky, not least of which is the Kentucky Bourbon Trail®.
The Kentucky Bourbon Trail® is a collection of eighteen bourbon distilleries, which is drawing hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. They are touring the distilleries, learning about the origins of bourbon, and tasting lots and lots of bourbon whiskey. These are the ten stops we suggest you include on your Kentucky Bourbon Trail® route:
- The Heaven Hill Distillery, which owns popular brands Elijah Craig and Evan Williams, is home to the Bourbon Heritage Centre. Here, you can enjoy an immersive bourbon-centric experience, which includes tours, tastings, and a gift shop.
- The oldest and smallest distillery on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® is Woodford Reserve. Don’t let its size fool you, though. This National Landmark property is located amidst the rolling hills of Bluegrass Kentucky and offers visitors a historic, upscale feel to their bourbon-tasting experience.
- While Woodford Reserve is the smallest distillery on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail®, you’ll find the opposite at Jim Beam American Stillhouse – the largest producer of Kentucky bourbon in the world. Their 90 minute tour is one of the longest on the trail, and gives you a glimpse into the bourbon-making process from start to finish, including a tasting.
- Maker’s Mark is a beautiful stop on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail®, and, of course, offers a delicious tasting of their product as well. You can even try your hand at hand-dipping your own bottle in the brand’s signature red wax!
- Four Roses Distillery, once the most popular bourbon in Japan, used to be nearly impossible to buy in the United States. Now, you can enjoy a tasting at their distillery, and/or a tour of their facility, all while admiring their Spanish Mission-style architecture.
- Bulleit Distilling is a relative newcomer to the Bourbon scene, with their distillery opening to the public in 2019. Even so, the bourbon is based on family traditions that date back centuries, making this an excellent stop to make along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail®.
- Wild Turkey is home to one of the most popular bourbons in the world. Their tour includes not only some great tastings of their products but a fascinating tour of their barrel rooms inside their rick houses. You’ll also enjoy a beautiful view of the Kentucky River from here.
- With a legacy dating back to the 1700s, Buffalo Trace Distillery is another “must” on any Kentucky Bourbon Trail® itinerary. This distillery is also on the National Register of Historic Places, and tastings here include not just bourbon, but rye and vodka as well.
- Castle & Key Distillery was recently ranked as the number one distillery in the country. Enjoy tours and tastings in this renovated and historic building, and taste their bourbon, gin, and vodka.
- Old Forester Distillery is the only bourbon distillery to offer continuously produced bourbon before, during, and after the prohibition era. Their tour includes a walk through their cooperage where you can see how barrels are made and a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the bottling operation.
Think you know Bourbon? Well did you know…
- 95% of the world’s bourbon is crafted in Kentucky, which has been considered an indigenous product to the United States since 1964.
- In order for whiskey to be Bourbon, it must be made with a minimum of 51 percent corn, aged in new, charred oak containers, stored at no more than 125 proof and bottled at no less than 80 proof.
- In 1964, a Congressional Resolution declared Bourbon an indigenous product of the United States—meaning that no other country can make a product and call it Bourbon. This is why Bourbon is revered as “America’s Official Native Spirit.”
- There are now almost 11 million barrels of Bourbon aging in Kentucky, which is 2+ barrels for every person living in the state.