Thousands of years ago, humans discovered and began growing corn, utilizing all the parts in various ways. The crop remains a big part of everyday life. An individual dressed in clothing containing corn fibers can hop within their corn-fueled car and drive to the store to pick up a bottle of the favorite barrel-aged, rye, and corn-based liquid: bourbon.
The distinctly American liquor is a big part of Kentucky culture. Each year, people go to the Southern state to complete the Bourbon Trail, learning about a brief history of the amber-colored liquid and, obviously, drinking some divinely smooth samples produced by the most famous bourbon distilleries in the country. Every barrel-aged, corn-based liquid lover needs to add these Kentucky distillery tours for their bourbon bucket list.
Updated by Joshua Chiedu, February 28, 2022: Kentucky is unarguably more of bourbon whiskey than it is of fried chicken as generations have carried on this liquor-making business that first started in this area within the late 18th century. With increased distilleries being unveiled in this liquor-making state, here are some more distilleries to incorporate in your bourbon tour.
11 Buffalo Trace Distillery
- Address: 113 Great Buffalo Trace, Frankfort, KY 40601
According to them, Buffalo Trace is “the oldest continuously operating distillery in America,” allowed to continue brewing even during prohibition after citing the medicinal uses of their bourbon. Notes of toffee and vanilla linger around the palate long afterwards the final sip, a flavor so smooth and delicious it's easy to realise why Buffalo Trace has won the title of “Distillery of the Year” seven times.
Buffalo Trace offers ten unique experiences crafted to entertain every make of bourbon lover. The “Trace Tour” takes guests on a get a hearty the ability to understand the science of their brews, as the “Botanical Gardens Tour” includes tastings around the beautifully landscaped grounds of the facility. The distillery even offers haunted tours that examine the spooky lore that insists spirits linger on the grounds.
10 Four Roses Distillery
- Address: 1224 Bonds Mill Rd, Lawrenceburg, KY 40342
An interesting legend surrounds Four Roses' recognizable logo, that has graced the bottles of its high-end bourbons for more than 125 years. Based on the story, founder Paul Jones Jr. was enamored with a woman who donned a corsage made of four roses to a ball. The logo born from love resulted in a bourbon crafted with passion.
Four Roses routinely brews four varieties, extending their craft into delicious small-batch, special edition bourbons. Tour-goers can expect a small sample of countless products, a commemorative souvenir glass, as well as an in-depth description from the process and history of the company.
9 Maker's Mark Distillery
- Address: 3350 Burks Spring Rd, Loretto, KY 40037
The trademark red wax dripping down the side of the bottle of Maker's Mark is just one thing which makes it unique. The notably sweet taste from the bourbon was created from Bill Samuel Sr.'s desire to brew a smooth finish he could tell family and friends. The quest became a family affair, and Bill's wife, Margie, designed the initial bottle to enhance the initial flavor of the bourbon.
The distillery itself is listed as a National Historic Place. Hour-long tours cover the causes, where an expert can give the business's history on a quarter-mile walk. At the end, guests will participate in a guided tasting of several bourbons and determine what goes into each to produce their distinct flavor profiles. If visitors haven't had enough Maker's Mark, they can dig into seasonal dishes and cocktails at the on-site restaurant after their tour.
8 Angel's Envy Distillery
- Address: 500 E Main St, Louisville, KY 40202
It appears to be a common theme that the whiskey business requires the whole family, a labor of love handed down from generation to generation and fine-tuned with time. The folks at Angel's Envy craft small-batch brews in a variety of barrels that increase the bourbon's signature flavor.
The hip location in the heart of Louisville is renowned for its top-notch tours diving right into a history that spans several generations. Guests will finish their lesson with A+ tastings of two liquors combined with chocolates to complement the flavor. Weekend visitors have the opportunity to reserve an unforgettable experience where they are able to pour and collect their own bottle of Angel's Envy Kentucky Straight Bourbon.
7 Jim Beam Distillery
- Address: 568 Happy Hollow Rd, Clermont, KY 40110
Jim Beam has been in the business for more than 220 years, formulating their namesake white-labeled whiskey along with some top-shelf bourbon favorites like Basil Hayden's and Old Crow. The distillery is located in an excellent small town, adding to the intimate experience tourists can expect stay.
The Jim Beam Distillery offers several adventures, many of them interactive. Guests will earn their samples by spinning the barrels with the family on the “Beam Made Bourbon Distillery Tour and Tasting.” They'll walk-through the barrel aging process within the warehouse around the “Maturation Matters” tour and revel in a hands-on lesson during the “Noe Your Cocktails Mixology Experience.” Visit Jim Beam's website for a complete listing of current and upcoming experiences.
6 Green River Distilling Co.
- Address: 10 Distillery Rd, Owensboro, KY 42301
The folks at Green River Distilling Co. had to change their slogan to “The Whiskey Without Regrets” after their old catchphrase, “The Whiskey With no Headache,” was questioned by the federal government. Four comprehensive tours take visitors on a behind-the-scenes get a hearty the facility. Every sense can come alive as tourists marvel in the expansive operation, catch whiffs from the aging bourbons, hear the machines going in the production areas, feel the glass within their hands, and tickle their taste buds with samplings of delectable liquid magic.
5 Woodford Reserve Distillery
- Address: 7785 McCracken Pike, Versailles, KY 40383
Woodford Reserve is an additional Kentucky distillery that earned the title of National Historic Landmark. The company has adapted to modern trends and it is dedicated to sustainability, recycling a majority of their waste to ensure they leave a more ec0-friendly footprint.
There are several tours to select from and countless flavor notes to discover. Guests can choose a more budget-friendly experience on the “Path to Flavor Tour,” where they will learn the brand's background and abide by it up with a sampling of award-winning craft bourbon. Those who'd prefer to go full-scale can book the “VIP Master Distiller Tour Experience” led by the experts behind everything which includes a special bottle of bourbon that hasn't been released to the public.
4 Castle and Key Distillery
- Address: 4445 McCracken Pike, Frankfort, KY 40601
The Castle and Key facility could well be probably the most visually pleasing of all of the distilleries in Kentucky. People will feel royally blessed before they even step inside, noticing the castle rising from the rolling green hills and the grounds colored by beautiful botanic gardens. Luckily, the exterior matches the interior, as Castle and Key provide top-shelf, impeccable flavors.
Unique experiences abound, and visitors can also enjoy a totally free self-guided tour from the nature-heavy grounds at their own pace. Which are more well-rounded adventure, guests should browse the “Guided Distillery Experience,” including the facility's history, a sampling of Restoration Rye Whiskey, concluding having a delicious cocktail of their choosing.
3 Bulleit Distilling Co.
- Address: 3900 Benson Pike, Shelbyville, KY 40065
The company points out that the “charred American oak barrels lend a smoky backbone” to Bulleit bourbon's bold, high-rye flavor. Whiskey lovers may have the opportunity to taste it for themselves when they go to the historical yet contemporary location around the “Frontier Whiskey Experience.” The entire tour covers the causes and distillery and includes sensory samplings within the gorgeous tasting room. Bulleit also provides an immersive tour called “Unlocking the Senses,” where eager tasters will enjoy the flavors on an entirely different level, amplified by special scent bulbs and sounds.
2 Heaven Hill Distillery
- Address: 1064 Loretto Road, Bardstown, KY, 40004
Heaven Hill has been in the business of distilling soul-lifting whiskey since 1935. This family-owned distillery may be the largest (toured) distillery in the world. Tours offered here present visitors the flavour of various well-known American Whiskeys while taking them car whiskey-production process as well as educating them about the history of the original American Whiskey.
1 Old Forester Distillery
- Address: 119 West Main Street, Louisville, KY, 40202
Enjoy an in depth explanation of bourbon making at Old Forester Distillery. Here, from the fermentation and distillation to the making of the barrels and more. There are many tours offered by Old Forester that ensure guests possess a satisfying experience which includes tastes of a few of the World's finest wine.