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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