The bluegrass state is known for great music, horse racing and bourbon. While Bourbon Street may reside in Louisiana, it’s Kentucky that owns the rights to the ancient craft of American bourbon tradition. So it’s only fitting that the Kentucky Bourbon Trail is a place you can explore over days or weeks, getting to know the beauty of this region on a paid tour or DIY adventure.
You can begin or end in Louisville, your best bet for a flight, but the trail touches on two other larger cities: Lexington to the east, and Frankfort in the middle of the state. The Kentucky bourbon trail can be done east to west or vice versa, but we recommend taking a look at a map of the region before planning how much time you’ll devote.
The Kentucky Bourbon Trail Will Show You a New Side to the Bluegrass State
Destinations along the trail include any, or all, of the following bourbon-centric hang outs. Kentucky has 37 distilleries, but these are some of the largest which tend to offer better tours, and more sampling of the product.
1. Angel’s Envy
In Louisville, Angel’s Envy offers $20 tours throughout the week, except Tuesdays and Sundays. This stop on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail is a great place to start, as they offer finishing dinners, cocktail classes and behind-the-bar classes once per month. Every Friday, Angel’s offers a bottle your own option.
2. Rabbit Hole
Before heading out of the big city, we recommend a second pull-over on the bourbon trail, to the Rabbit Hole. Hours for tours are a bit more limited, but you’ll be rewarded with a beautiful view of the city from the Overlook Lounge. This distillery is closed Monday’s but when paired with Angel’s would be a good Tuesday choice.
In your car or rental, take a short trip down to the smaller climes of Bardstown. Enjoy lunch or dinner and sample bourbon at the tasting bar, open six days a week. Check out the Bardstown Brewery library that keeps a huge trove of books and literature on the art of bourbon making.
4. Four Roses
As you travel east toward Lexington, take a stop for an afternoon or full day at Four Roses, in the heart of the Kentucky Bourbon trail. This is one of the most beautiful locations for sipping a fine whiskey, as is located along the Salt River in Lawrenceburg, KY. Tours happen every hour for an affordable $10, and on Sundays afternoon tours are offered. The Four Roses also hosts a Taste of History experience for another $7.
5. Wild Turkey Factory
Before you get to Lexington, take a detour up to the Wild Turkey Factory. This famous brewery is run by two master brewers who combine 100 years of brewing experience. Tours are available seven days a week and are affordable. If you are military, you receive free admission with proper ID.
6. Woodford Reserve
Woodford Reserve lies in a small town just west of Lexington, and offers 7-day-a-week touring. Prices here are a little higher but this National Historic Landmark dates back to 1812. It’s a definite must-see for bourbon lovers and a perfect way to end your journey on the Kentucky Bourbon trail.