Out of all the places in the world, Kentucky holds a special place in my heart. The horses at Keeneland, the Hot Browns, and the delicious beers have a bit to do with this obsession. But… my husband’s proposal to marry me is the cherry on this cake! I’ll share these lovey-dovey pictures and then I’ll get on with my top 3 Bourbon distilleries.
Now on to the Bourbon…
#3 – Woodford Reserve
My husband often says, “If a Colorado ski lodge and Apple had a baby, it would be Woodford Reserve.” When you walk in, it feels warm and cozy, but also established and more technologically advanced than nearby distilleries. The tour takes place partially on a charter bus and partially by foot. Each person on the tour is given an individual set of headphones and speaker, so that you can hear the guide from wherever you are. This was an educational tour from start to finish. Speaking of finish, the tour concluded with a tasting lesson. Each person went into their quaint tasting room and was given a few chocolates and a few Bourbon samples. The chocolates were locally-made and assisted us with arriving to each specific note of the Bourbon. My recommendation for Woodford is to go during an off-time so that it won’t be too crowded.
Tour cost: $14/person
#2 – Alltech Lexington Brewing and Distilling (Town Branch Distillery/Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale)
This was the smallest and least known of the distilleries that we had visited, although we had known about it for quite some time. Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale has always been one of my favorite beers (my shameless plug: follow me on Untappd @maecassel). Needless to say, my husband and I were very excited to find out that the tour included both the brewery and distillery. This was a very fun and interactive tour. The groups were small which allowed us to ask questions and chat with the employees. The tasting was also plentiful, as we had 4 tokens that we could spend on sampling the beers or Bourbons. The only downside is that they did not have a tasting room to continue our day-drinking. 😉
Tour cost: $10/person
#1 – Buffalo Trace
Yes, this is where I got engaged. And yes, this makes me love it even more. But… even if I hadn’t had a significant life event happen here, it would still be #1 on my list. As you drive into Buffalo Trace, imagine being transported back to the 1800s. Perhaps it’s because they claim to be the oldest operating distillery in America. This was the most fun tour that we had on our trip! Our tour guide, J.W., really made it! He was animated and informative the entire time. The tasting was great and was held in a beautiful bar atop their facility. We also enjoyed that we were able to walk around the facility after the tour, which is not typical of other distilleries. If you only get to visit a few distilleries while in Kentucky, I highly recommend visiting Buffalo Trace.
Tour cost: complimentary
Please feel free to comment below with Kentucky distilleries that you’ve enjoyed. I’d love hearing about them and taking a visit next time we’re there!