A Bucket List Must: Itinerary For The Kentucky Bourbon Trail
on 30/08/11 at 12:07 pmSpirits
No doubt about it—central Kentucky is Bourbon Country. Steeped in over 200 years of history, the essence of Bourbon flows from the area’s limestone-rich water, which is essential to its production. It springs from the ground, in the corn required to constitute at least 51% of the spirit.
The spirit of Bourbon, however, is most deeply rooted in people—the distillers who make the stuff, the bartenders who mix it and, of course, the visitors who drink it.
For travelers to Bourbon Country, finding the best place to taste is the real adventure.
Perhaps choose a quaff straight up while winding down a distillery tour, the caramel fragrance of the rickhouse still lingering in the air. Maybe Bourbon is best enjoyed on the rocks at one of the historic hotel bars. Or perhaps it’s shaken into a cocktail, flanked by a plate of locally made duck prosciutto.
Here’s a potential itinerary for a Kentucky Bourbon Trail journey, with a singular goal: capturing the history, character and diversity of what makes Bourbon and the place in which it’s made so special.
Day 1: Bardstown and Loretto
Starting from downtown Louisville (recommended as the home base for this outing), head to Bardstown and make your first distillery stop Heaven Hill. It offers a large Bourbon Heritage Center, a comprehensive exhibition on the history of the spirit and a tasting room that’s shaped like a Bourbon barrel. This is a great place for an orientation, either with a complimentary 30-minute Mini Tour, or if you can spare the time, the (also complimentary) 90-minute Deluxe Tour of the indoor and outdoor facilities. Both conclude with a tasting session, as most of the distillery tours do. Even if you skip the tour, the gift shop is one of the best you’ll find, with a wide array of rare and unusual bottlings.