Not a member? - Register and login now.
All registered users can read our entire magazine archive.

Bourbon distillery tours

All your whisky related questions answered here.

Bourbon distillery tours

Postby MGillespie » Fri Jul 15, 2005 2:40 pm

I'm heading back to the Midwest for a few days soon, and may decide to drive down to Kentucky and hit a couple of bourbon distilleries. Any thoughts on which ones are the best to visit?

Mark
MGillespie
Double Gold Member
 
Posts: 1704
Joined: Tue Dec 28, 2004 10:17 pm
Location: New Jersey, United States

Postby DaveM » Fri Jul 15, 2005 5:15 pm

Mark, it depends what sort of experience you're after (immaculate grounds, quality of tour, free tasting!) so it's hard to say which ones YOU might like best, but here's my favourites.

Buffalo Trace (Frankfort)
Great bourbon, great staff, eager tour guides, massive facility, free tasting.

Woodford Reserve (previously Labrot & Graham, Versailles)
Beautiful countryside, wonderfully recently restored historic buildings, comprehensive tour. But possibly crowded and busy.

Heaven Hill Visitor's Centre (Bardstown)
Brand new facility has been highly recommended. Limited tours but good museum/history section and giftshop. The centre of bourbon country.

Maker's Mark (Loretto)
Beautiful setting, Unique distillery equipment, good giftshop. Arrive early.

And while you're in Bardstown, try and make it to the Getz Museum.

http://www.visitbardstown.com/tourism/

Have fun.
DaveM
New member
 
Posts: 49
Joined: Thu Mar 17, 2005 8:00 pm
Location: Victoria Canada, Whistler, Maui

Re: Bourbon distillery tours

Postby JimHall » Fri Jul 15, 2005 5:30 pm

MGillespie wrote:I'm heading back to the Midwest for a few days soon, and may decide to drive down to Kentucky and hit a couple of bourbon distilleries. Any thoughts on which ones are the best to visit?

Mark


I wish I had to make such hard decisions in life. :lol:

I'm sure you ill enjoy the experience what ever you do. :wink:
JimHall
Bronze Member
 
Posts: 181
Joined: Wed Dec 15, 2004 7:51 pm
Location: Alloa Scotland

Postby Deactivated Member » Sat Jul 16, 2005 1:44 am

The bad news is that aside from Heaven Hill's Bernheim plant in Louisville (which does not offer tours), none distills year-'round -- and summer is the off-season.
That said, the two most scenic are Maker's Mark and Woodford Reserve, both located in the countryside in lovely settings.
While Buffalo Trace is historic, has very friendly folk, and produces probably the best stable of premium bourbons (think George T. Stagg, the Van Winkles, Blanton's) today, its standard tour isn't that great unless you can go during distilling season, when you're more likely to see activity around and between warehouses. They offer a 'hard-hat' tour during distilling season which is well worth the trip, but it's not distilling season.
Heaven Hill's Bourbon Heritage Center is a fine exhibit, but you don't see anything of the bourbon operation itself except for a single warehouse. You do, however, get to sample the Evan Williams Single Barrel and Elijah Craig 18yo at no cost (except on Sunday, when they can't serve). It's a convenient waypoint between Woodford and Maker's Mark (try the bourbon balls at all stops!).
Skip Beam's "American Outpost" -- it's little more than a gift shop located next to the distillery. The tour consists of Jim Beam's former house and a peek into a warehouse.
Wild Turkey also is pretty mundane unless you happen to catch Jimmy Russell for a tour guide :D . Nearby Four Roses is worth a look, but call ahead -- they've only recently begun public tours, and the schedule is spotty.
Deactivated Member
 

Postby MGillespie » Sat Jul 16, 2005 1:44 am

Thanks, guys...I was thinking about Maker's Mark and Woodford...seems like it might be possible to hit Buffalo Trace and Woodford on the same trip...

Mark
MGillespie
Double Gold Member
 
Posts: 1704
Joined: Tue Dec 28, 2004 10:17 pm
Location: New Jersey, United States

Postby bjorn » Sat Jul 16, 2005 10:32 pm

i haven't had the pleasure of touring any of these distilleries, but the reviews are kind of fun to read and might be helpful
http://www.ellenjaye.com/distilleries.html
bjorn
Bronze Member
 
Posts: 160
Joined: Fri Apr 29, 2005 2:58 am

Postby DaveM » Sun Jul 17, 2005 5:14 am

Mark, one more thing. Depending on how you're entering "bourbon country", Four Roses has a bottling plant in Lotus which was doing tours (a couple of years ago), and would be the real McCoy. Just an added thought.
DaveM
New member
 
Posts: 49
Joined: Thu Mar 17, 2005 8:00 pm
Location: Victoria Canada, Whistler, Maui

Postby Elliot » Wed Jul 20, 2005 8:25 pm

Buffalo Trace is by far my favorite. Maker's Mark is also very good, though it's off the beaten path. Wild Turkey is an interesting tour though they don't offer tastings. Woodford Reserve has a beautiful facility but they charge for the opportunity. The Heaven Hill Visitor Center is nice though the tour is lacking, and the tasting there is guided and a bit simplistic for a neophyte. The Jim Beam American Outpost is simply not worth your time.
Elliot
Bronze Member
 
Posts: 116
Joined: Fri May 06, 2005 5:17 am
Location: Columbus, OH, USA

Return to Questions & Answers

Whisky gift and present finder