Top Experiences on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail

Top Experiences on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail

The Kentucky Bourbon Trail is made up of 18 distilleries located throughout the state of Kentucky.  Developed in 1999, The Kentucky Distiller’s Association created a road trip style tour, taking visitors to some of the best bourbon distilleries in Kentucky.  The creation of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail has brought an influx of visitors to Kentucky, with millions of tourists visiting annually.  

As of 2023 there are 18 distilleries on the official Kentucky Bourbon Trail.  Mike and I recently completed the entire Kentucky Bourbon Trail and came away with a few favorites which we share in this article. 

For a full, in-depth article, higlighting all 18 distilleries, check out our Complete Guide to The Kentucky Bourbon Trail.

And now for the best of the best of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail!

Best Overall Experience

Bardstown Bourbon – Shaken & Stirred Cocktail Class

This one was so much fun that we have been back a few times, bringing friends!  

To start, the building is beautifully designed.  With a large area for dining and a beautiful bar area, you have a great way to pass time before or after your tour.  

Bardstown Bourbon | Best Overall Experience

The mixologist running the class was so much fun.  She taught us how to make two drinks, an Old Fashioned and a Manhattan. 

The Cocktail Class Set Up | Best Overall Experience

In between making drinks, we could take the drink we just made and wander the adjacent rickhouse.  It was a fun, engaging, and awesome experience.

Wandering the rickhouse in between cocktail making | Best Overall Experience

Best With Kids

Woodford Reserve

Have the kids in tow?  We really enjoyed our experience at Woodford Reserve.  The history is great for kids to learn about, especially in terms of how Kentucky’s economy is majorly supported by the bourbon industry.  The buildings are historic and the pot stills are a work of art.

Woodford Reserve | Best With Kids

After the tour, the tasting offered lemonade and chocolate for kids while the adults sipped bourbon and enjoyed delectable bourbon balls.

Best Tour Guides

Tie:  Old Forester, Town Branch, & Stitzel-Weller

Of course, you never know who you’ll have guiding your tour but we predict that these places hire great guides to bring their brand to life for guests. 

Old Forester | Tie – Best Tour Guide

We learned a lot on these tours and enjoyed the friendly, engaging manner of these guides.

Most Beautiful Distillery 

Maker’s Mark

Maker’s Mark is set among rolling hills on Star Hill Farms, deep in the Kentucky countryside.  We visited in the fall so it was especially beautiful.

Maker’s Mark | Most Beautiful Grounds

Favorite Tasting Experience

Town Branch

Town Branch was a surprise all around – this ended up being one of our favorite distilleries on the entire KBT.  The tasting was especially great.  Each guest was given four tickets to “spend” as they wished – you could choose between beer at their onsite brewery or bourbon in the distillery.  After this portion of the tasting was over, the guide surprised us all with a coffee & bourbon cream drink – it was overall wonderful!

Town Branch | Best Tasting

Honorable Mentions

Copper & Kings and Buffalo Trace

These two distilleries are not officially part of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail but still warrant a visit.

Copper & Kings is known for its brandy, which was a nice change from bourbon. 

Cooper & Kings | Honorable Mention

During the tour, a fun fact we learned is that they play music in their rickhouse.  Yep, they believe the slight vibrations the music emits helps distill the bourbon in the barrels! 

These barrels like to jam! | Copper & Kings

After our tour here, we dined at their on-site restaurant, which is on the rooftop and comes with great city views.

Buffalo Trace is probably one of the most famous distilleries, even if not a part of the official Kentucky Bourbon Trail.  It is a very large facility with a massive gift shop. 

Buffalo Trace Distillery

The tour we went on is the largest tour we have been on on any of the distillery tours, which says a lot about the popularity of the brand.  Even though it is not part of the official Kentucky Bourbon Trail, it definitely warrants a visit!

BONUS:  After visiting Buffalo Trace, we highly recommend dining at Bourbon on Main.  Located in a cute, historic building.  And the food was delicious!

Bourbon on Main

DRINK RESPONSIBLY! AS THE KENTUCKY BOURBON TRAIL SAYS: Know Your Facts | Set Your Limit | Bring Your ID | Plan Your Ride

Read more!

We have a full guide, sharing all 18 distilleries on the official Kentucky Bourbon Trail:  The Complete Guide to the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.

Just interested in Louisville’s distilleries?  We have a guide on those six distilleries, also on the official Kentucky Bourbon Trail:  Louisville’s Distilleries on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.

And for more things to do in Louisville, Kentucky’s largest city, check out our article, Ten Great Things to do in Louisville.

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