KY bourbon trail

I have a brother in STL and one in Chicago and we’re looking to meet at the bourbon trail. I’m sure someone here has done this before….

Wondering about accommodation recommendations….and am always looking for a “you gotta try this stuff….”

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…I recommend the bourbon

I’d recommend staying in Bardstown as a home base. Plenty of distilleries near there. My personal favorites are Maker’s Mark, Four Roses and Labrot & Graham (Woodford Reserve). You’ll want to map out where you want to go and get tour/tasting reservations in advance.

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and a driver!

My number 1 tip is hire a driver! Don’t rely on Uber, some places you won’t get service and won’t be able to access the apps. Our first uber driver ended up being a local to Frankfurt, and he gave us his number to reach him directly for the rest of the day.

Get reservations where you can, and get them early.

Start your day early, and plan for 3, maybe 4 distilleries in a day. Most close up about 5pm.

Castle and key is a must do. Great bourbon, great setting, great people, great cocktails, and also good gin. We didn’t tour here, only drank.

Buffalo Trace, only way you can taste is to do a tour with tasting at the end. They don’t have a regular bar set up. We got there early and got in a tour without a reservation. They also have some special tours you can reserve. Also buy the allocated bourbon of the day, usually can’t go wrong with that. We got the EH Taylor.

Woodford Reserve. I could have done without the tour, but still pretty interesting. They do have a bar where you can buy cocktails and snacks.

Can’t comment on accommodations, we stayed in Lexington b/c of the Miami v UK game. I’d recommend Louisville as I hear they have more tasting rooms downtown that would be open in the evening. (Old Forester, Rabbit Hole, Michter, Angel’s Envy, and Peerless have tasting rooms downtown)

Other places that were recommended to me were Willett, Preservation, and Heaven Hill.

If in Lexington, we also did James Pepper distillery tasting, which I would recommend. There’s also a restaurant next door that was pretty good.


I will echo Olaf with regard to Four Roses and Woodford Reserve. I did not go to his other two recommendations. I would add Angel’s Envy in downtown Louisville, and Willett as excellent tours. Willett also has a fantastic restaurant upstairs, where you can also buy individual shots of extremely old and rare bourbons.

Oh, and Miss Miami is right: Buffalo Trace is a must.

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Thanks missmiami! EH Taylor would be the highlight out of my trip……can’t get their rye anymore where I live

I’ve heard Willett is a good one too!

Colonel E.H. Taylor is my favorite bourbon and rye. Great minds . . .! It is a Buffalo Trace brand, as are Blanton’s, Eagle Rare, Pappy van Winkle, et. al.

I did it with a couple friends a few years ago. We did it over two days. We started at Buffalo Trace and worked toward Louisville, hit Four Roses, Wild Turkey and Woodford. Ended at the Evan Williams Experience and hit some bourbon bars in downtown.

BT is a must. They have some extended tours that sell out way in advance, so try to pre-book. I’m not sure if the old guy Freddie Johnson is still guiding tours, but try to get him as your guide. “Wheat is sweet, and rye is robust!”

Sometimes the liquor control board, here in PA, gets a small allotment for the Rye……last one I bought for $61!!! Now easily $350+ online

I did get an 18yr Elijah Craig for $90……I think my brother spent $125 in STL……so sometimes the buying power comes in handy

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Brilliant!!! I’m definitely a rye drinker first

Go to Scotland.

Yes! Don’t get me started or we’ll be here all day!

Louisville is a good starter, “ Angels Envy” needs to be booked well ahead it’s high end, then go to picturesque Bardstown,Ky. 2-3 distilleries in that area.,more depending on your travel radius. Makers Mark is a must do. We stayed at air b n b in Bardstown. Some tours by van are available,or you can do your own. You can book tours ahead if you’re on your own. Some can be sold out. Check the bourbon trail web site. They’re all over Ky. Enjoy.

Agree with preplanning and reservations as tours frequently sold out, especially weekends. You can do three distilleries a day if you plan well. There seem to be three main regions and can usually do a region in a weekend. Lexington/Frankfort has Woodford, Wild Turkey, Three Roses and Buffalo Trace all worth a visit. Louisville has several including Angels Envy, Evan Daniel’s and Jim Beam not far. Hotel Distil is a boutique bourbon hotel with a nice bar and restaurant. Everybody meets in the lobby at 7:33 ( the exact time prohibition was repealed) for a complimentary old fashioned. Bardstown is a fun historic town with many distilleries including Willett and Heaven Hill. A little drive from there gets you to Loretto home of Makers Mark, perhaps my favorite tour. Enjoy. Pack some food as some of the distilleries are rural with no close by eating options. Some water to stay hydrated is helpful.

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Complimentary old fashioneds……now we’re talking!

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Agree on buffalo trace and getting there early to make sure you get the good stuff we got eagle the time we were there. We also liked bardstown, willet, woodford (do a tasting/book a tour), makers (beautiful grounds).

Lux row, heaven hill and castle and key were others we hit and enjoyed.

Definitely want to hit castle and key…,if nothing else to see where the colonel started!

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Unfortunately, when we were there they were only selling gin. The bourbon had not aged sufficiently. But a very gorgeous building/setting.