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  • Danielle Belyeu

KENTUCKY BOURBON TRAIL

Kentucky is washed in whiskey, with 95% of all the bourbon produced in the U.S. originating in the Bluegrass State. Liquor only earns the title of “bourbon” if it’s made up of 51% corn and aged in new, charred-oak barrels. The Kentucky Bourbon Trail has woven together 42 innovative distilleries, while tasting rooms and bottle shops have brought the spirit to buzzy downtown areas. Carve a bourbon-soaked path across Kentucky, uncovering the traditions and tastes of the Southern state.


Bardstown Bourbon Company, Bardstown

BARDSTOWN BOURBON

COMPANY, BARDSTOWN

Bardstown, dubbed the Bourbon Capital of the World, has 11 distilleries. One, Bardstown Bourbon Company, is a vast operation spread over 100 acres of farmland, where soaring glass buildings reveal glittering stills. Come here to shake a bourbon cocktail, “thieve” the spirit straight from a barrel in the rickhouse or take a tour to learn about mashing or aging. The distillery’s restaurant serves refined Southern-style food.



Revival Vintage Bottle Shop, Covington

REVIVAL VINTAGE BOTTLE SHOP,

COVINGTON

Head to Covington, a laid-back city right on the border with Ohio. It’s home to Revival’s second outlet, a shop dealing in rare and vintage liquor. Cofounder Brad Bonds digs out dusty bottles at garage sales and similar troves and sells them or cracks them open for tastings at the shop’s tiny bar. This treasure trove for spirit-lovers hawks everything from 19th-century bourbons and rare bottles of Pappy Van Winkle whiskey to 1960s Puerto Rican rum.



Evan Williams Bourbon Experience, Louisville

EVAN WILLIAMS BOURBON

EXPERIENCE, LOUISVILLE

Louisville is home to the historic Whiskey Row, formerly known as the “Wall Street of Whiskey.” Back in 1783, Evan Williams established Kentucky’s first commercial distillery on this block. The original distillery closed, but the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience, operated by Heaven Hill, continues its legacy. Here you’ll find a compact artisan distillery and a museum that offers a multimedia deep-dive into bourbon production from the 1700s to the present day. Finish with a tasting flight in stylish loft bar ON3.



Buffalo Trace Distillery, Frankfort

BUFFALO TRACE DISTILLERY,

FRANKFORT

Though it isn’t one of the 42 distilleries on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, Buffalo Trace is an essential stop. It’s the oldest continuously operating distillery in the U.S. Explore “Bourbon Pompeii,” a series of 19th-century foundations and 18th-century fermenters that have been excavated and preserved. Beyond the history, the distillery pioneers aged bourbons in a high-tech, climate-controlled warehouse and also runs various tours.



Fresh Bourbon Tasting Room, Lexington

FRESH BOURBON TASTING

ROOM, LEXINGTON

Lexington is in Kentucky’s Horse Country, known for its rippling hills and neat white fences. Downtown, you’ll find the Fresh Bourbon Tasting Room, where owners Sean and Tia Edwards are recognized by the state as the first African Americans to produce Kentucky bourbon since slavery, and their product is a departure from tradition. Great for bourbon beginners, its primary grain (after corn) is honey malt, giving it a sweeter flavor. The tasting room, with its chandeliers and sleek marble bar, is ultra-modern, too.


Written by Guest Contributor


Comments


8 top tips for visiting wineries & distilleries

Is there a better time to visit a winery? What about that spit bucket I always see, should I use it? How about tasting etiquette for whiskey? How can I tell that this bottle is truly exclusive?  
These are just some of the questions many travelers have.  Let me share the 8 top tips for visiting wineries & distilleries.  You can listen to them on my podcast or download below.

8 Top Tips Wineries & Distilleries_edite
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Danielle Belyeu

TRAVEL ADVISOR

I absolutely love to travel.  My husband always says I'm in planning mode, so even when I'm on a trip, I'm planning for the next one. 

 

This has led to some amazing destinations for our gastro experiences.  Some of our favorites have been Melbourne Australia, Auckland New Zealand, Milan Italy, Columbo Sri Lanka, and Lisbon Portugal.  And of course, I'm already planning for the next one.

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