The Kentucky Bourbons Trail, popularly known as the Bourbon Trail, is a collection of 18 distillers located in and around Louisville. The trial was launched in 1999 by the Kentucky Distiller Association (KDA) as a way to market the bourbon whiskey industry in Kentucky. About 95% of the world’s bourbon is made in Kentucky, which is considered a native product to the USA.
The Kentucky Bourbons Trail now consists of 18 whiskey distillers. Some of them are relatively new while others have been around for a long time. The distillers are located in nine different towns, but a majority of them are clustered between Louisville and Lexington.
Touring the Kentucky bourbon trail will give you an up-close look at how bourbon is distilled, the art behind the rich bourbon tasting, and the rich history of making bourbon in Kentucky.
What are the stops on the trail?
Below is a list of the most popular stops on the Kentucky bourbon trail (https://kybourbontrail.com/map/).
The Heaven Hill Distillery
This is the home of popular brands like Evan Williams and Elijah Craig. Popular attractions on this stop including tasting, tours, and a gift shop.
This is another top whiskey distillery worth visiting on the trail. Woodford reserve is the smallest and the oldest distillery on the trail and it is a great place to enjoy bourbon tasting and well as learn the rich culture of making bourbon.
Jim Beam America Stillhouse
This is the largest producer of Kentucky bourbon in the world. The 90 minutes tour to this incredible distillery is the longest on the trail, and it will educate you about the bourbon-making process from start to end and also enjoy a tasting.
Makers Mark is also a great stop on the Kentucky bourbon trail. Here, you will get an opportunity to dip your bottle to their signature red wax as you enjoy the scenic view of lush green pasture and rolling hills.
Four Roses Distillery
Four Roses distillery was once one of the most popular bourbons in Japan. You will enjoy tasting when you make a stop at this distillery as you admire their unique Spanish mission-style architecture.
Angel’s Envy is relatively new to the world of bourbon. However, this distillery is currently ranked the best. They take a personalized approach to their production. Each barrel is tasted by experts to ensure it meets the set standards.
Castle & Key Distillery
Castle & key distillery was once ranked the top distillery in the United States. Make a stop here to enjoy tasting their vodka, gin, and bourbon as you admire their historic building.
Other Must-visit Stops Along the Trail Include:
- Wild Turkey- home to one of the most popular bourbons in the world
- Bullet distilling, - it is relatively new but has one of the finest bourbons
- Buffalo Trace distillers -Besides their amazing bourbon, you will also taste their popular vodka and rye.
Do you need reservations for the bourbon trail?
A majority of the distilleries in the Kentucky bourbon trail require visitors to make reservations. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you book your tours in advance. Most distilleries have an online booking option where you can make a reservation. You can also make a reservation through a local tour company.
How many days does it take to do the bourbon trail?
On average people tour 2-3 distilleries per day. The average time spent on each distillery is between 30 minutes -2 hours. So, on average, it will take between 7-10 days to tour all eighteen distilleries in Kentucky bourbon trail. However, if you have limited time, you don’t have to visit all distilleries on the rail. You can map out preferred stops that suit your schedule.
What makes Kentucky bourbons special?
What makes Kentucky bourbons so special is the way it is manufactured and aged. Kentucky bourbons are usually aged in new charred oak barrels and do not have any coloring or additives, as is the case with other whiskeys.