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“A great way to spend a few days of your life” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Kentucky Bourbon Trail

Kentucky Bourbon Trail
KY
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Ranked #9 of 177 activities in Kentucky
Type: Trails, Factory Tours
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Attraction Details
Owner description: Where the Spirit Leads YouFor more than 200 years, Kentucky’s legendary distilleries have crafted the world’s finest Bourbons, using secret recipes and a time-honored process passed down from generation to generation.Now you can explore the rich tradition and proud history of “America’s Official Native Spirit” on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® tour, featuring six signature distilleries nestled among the most beautiful scenery the Bluegrass has to offer.Discover the art and science of the Master Distiller…savor the distinct, mellow flavor…and see how Kentucky’s perfect natural mix of weather and pure limestone water produces the classic taste and deep amber color.World-renowned Bourbon.Winding country roads.Inviting historic towns.Rolling green hills.And Bluegrass hospitality at its best.The Kentucky Bourbon Trail® tour - where the spirit leads you.
Milton
Top Contributor
105 reviews 105 reviews
52 attraction reviews
Reviews in 48 cities Reviews in 48 cities
45 helpful votes 45 helpful votes
“A great way to spend a few days of your life”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 8, 2012

Scenic travels and nice people will welcome you as you venture from one distillery to the next. The tours do tend to get repeatative after a while but each distillery offers a piece of history unique to them. Woodford Reserve and Maker's Mark were our personally favorites.

Visited November 2012
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Indianapolis, Indiana
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“True Kentucky experience and hospitality”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 21, 2012 via mobile

The Bourbon Trail shows all of the things that make Kentucky special: Friendly people, pride in the commonwealth and opening the door on one of the state's most important industries. The trail hasn't been around too long, but it is already established as a must-do for bourbon enthusiasts -- and I'd think it would be interesting even if you don't care much.

The best tours, after seeing most of them, were at Maker's Mark (a must), Four Roses, Jim Beam and Woodford Reserve. Wild Turkey was OK -- didn't tour there due to some other needs (may or may not have included Keeneland's post time...). Of these, my favorites were Maker's and Four Roses. Beam has put a lot of money into their grounds and we didn't do their tour -- so hard to judge fully. They do have a cool tasting room that is free, so definitely do that.

There are other distilleries and tours that aren't on the tour officially ... haven't checked those out yet.

I will say this -- all of the tours will tell you what it takes to be a bourbon, what the process is and most show you the process. A few tips: Call ahead to see if there's a best time to visit -- for example, we visited Maker's on Saturday and the bottling line only runs Monday-Friday ... so we didn't get to see that in operation. Guess that means we'll have to go back. Also, most distilleries will go dark at some point during the year for maintenence/cleaning -- good idea to make sure you know what kind of tour will be available.

We did talk to a group that tried to do all of the tours in one day ... it seemed like it was way too much, especially if you want to do all of tours. We did the tours around Frankford/Lexington, went to Keeneland and then drove to Bardstown and stayed there. Then did the Bardstown-Makers tours and it was great.

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cincinnati, Ohio
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
8 attraction reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
“Good experience”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 20, 2012 via mobile

The bourbon trail is an awesome experience. I have lived in the Cincinnati region for about three years and I've been to the Bourbon Trail at least once a year. The only drawback is that every distillery has a different characteristic and provide for a different experience. My favorite distillery is Woodford Reserve. It is nestled in the middle of lush sprawling horse farms.
The tour here is a paid tour. The premises are beautiful and very well maintained, much better than most of the other distilleries on the trail. The tour is also one of the most detailed tours in the entire Bourbon Trail. All in all, a trip to Woodford Reserve is well worth it.

My next favorite distillery is Makers Mark. It also has a very well maintained campus. Truly a sight for sore eyes. I like their gift shops the most as well. One distillery I would completely away from is Wild Turkey. It is Unimaginative and lack luster. I don't think there were any trees on the premises. It reminded me of a mirthless army barrack.

A lot of people talked about Buffalo Trace distillery. I have been there but there is nothing great about the place. It's not bad, but its not something to go out of your way over. I think the other distilleries do a better job of presenting their history and heritage to you.

But as far as show stealers are concerned, you NEED to visit the ruins of the Old Taylor Distillery. It is near Woodford. It is simply breathtaking. Eerie and enigmatic , the magnificent architecture tells a story of better days that have gone by, and the dilapidated buildings leave you with a haunting feeling. A must see before they tear the place down!

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FL
Top Contributor
116 reviews 116 reviews
20 attraction reviews
Reviews in 54 cities Reviews in 54 cities
51 helpful votes 51 helpful votes
“Fun tour even for non-Bourbon drinkers!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 11, 2012

I can highly recommend taking the tours of the distilleries on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. Every distillery was educational and fun, as well as historical. I am not a bourbon drinker, but I did try a sip or two at each distillery, and even found a couple that I enjoyed! Some tours are basic, some offer a more enhanced tour (which I would also recommend, if you have the time/interest).
The only negative is that the trail has recently added a seventh distillery in Lexington called Bourbon Town Branch. This was a waste of time and money - it is a brand new facility, and wasn't even operational when we went in early Oct.
My advice is to get one of the "passports" (which you get stamped at each distillery, and then mail in later for a free t-shirt) that has only the six historical distilleries in it, and excludes Bourbon Town Branch.
As others have mentioned, I would also highly recommend adding Buffalo Trace, in Frankfort, to the distilleries you visit. It's not on the "trail" (I understand it used to be, a couple of years ago, and then decided to withdraw from the program), but it was one of the best tours we did - well worth the trip.
Either way, plan on a very short trip to Lexington for Town Branch. Save your time and money for the professional distillery tours.

Visited October 2012
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Dayton
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Fun Weekend for All”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 6, 2012

Experienced the Bourbon Trail two weeks ago - this was the weekend after the Bourbon Festivals. Intentionally avoided Festival weekend. Still could not get a hotel in Bardstown. So, we spent two nights in Lexington and one night in Louisville. Headed to Lexington Thursday evening, after work, so that we could easily be at Four Roses Friday morning when they opened. We missed the first tour. When they say open at 9:00, tours on the hour - 5 after 9:00 was too late. We could have joined that first tour. They were still watching their introductory movie - which was excellent. We could have caught the movie at the end of the tour. But since it was our first stop, we decided to wait for the second tour. The first three distilleries were close together, so starting a little late was not a big deal the first day. Headed to Wild Turkey next. Just missed a tour there, so we decided to head to Woodford Reserve. Garmin took us on really, really backroads. Drive was beautiful. Was able to eat lunch at Woodford before heading back to Wild Turkey. That was it for day one. On day two we decided to start at Heaven Hill because they open earlier than Maker's Mark. Just so you know, Heaven Hill's distillery is no longer on this site. It burnt down years ago and was rebuilt up North. Next was Maker's Mark, then it was on to Jim Beam. One reviewer said to pack your lunch. This is almost a must for day two. Yes, there are places to stop in Bardstown, but stopping for lunch could make it impossible to do three distilleries on that second day. So we were famished when we arrived in Louisville. Going in I was a little concerned about the tours becoming repetitive, but no worries. Even though the process is the same, each tour provides a unique experience. This makes the trip enjoyable even for the non-Bourbon drinkers.

Visited September 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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