Kentucky might not be known as much of a tourist destination, but perhaps that’s part of the charm. Distillery tours are a great way to share part of Kentucky’s rich culture and history and have a blast doing it.
The Kentucky Bourbon Trail is a collection of distilleries around the state that offer tours and tastings. They have a passport that you can pick up at any participating distillery. This can be stamped at each location for a prize at the end, mostly centered around central Kentucky and Louisville.
There are all kinds of basic facts about bourbon just about every tour tells you. Things like:
- Bourbon doesn’t have to be produced in Kentucky, but they do make 95% of the world’s bourbon
- Bourbon must be made from at least 51% corn
- The amount of rye controls how ‘spicy’ it is
- Bourbon must be aged in brand new charred oak barrels
- There are more barrels of bourbon in Kentucky than people
You’ll learn many more facts as well. Discover why the barks of trees turn black and how an aging barrel’s location affects its flavor. Also, find out why Kentucky’s water is perfect for making bourbon.
While the tours inevitably start to sound the same, they do have some variations. The guides themselves bring their unique experience and personality to each tour. Most tours take you into rickhouses to see where barrels age. Some tours let you taste the different distillation stages (mash, low wine, high wine). Some let you see a bottling line in operation. Some might actually let you fill and label your own bottle.
It’s also amazing to see the technological differences between different distilleries. Of course, the history of each place is explained, especially through prohibition. One of the best things about the tours can be the smell. That might sound odd, but the smell of the “angel’s share,” or evaporating bourbon, has this wonderfully sweet aroma that you’ll never forget.
Most people agree that the tasting is the best part. Tastings are often in a quaint room with wooden beams and handcrafted furniture, sometimes with a nice view of the grounds. Your guide will walk you through exactly how to sip bourbon. Soon you’ll be able to determine the ratios of grains by the taste alone. Be amazed at how a drop of water changes the taste of a shot. Some distilleries also offer bourbon balls as a palate cleanser. Some places have bars, and all of them have gift shops so bottles can be brought home. Each distillery has its own unique attributes. Your favorites will probably depend heavily on your experience and personal preferences.
Traveling the Bourbon Trail is fun in any circumstance, but made more so by leaving the planning up to us! Let Tour With Us KY take you on a journey to explore all Kentucky bourbon country, in safety and comfort. Visit www.tourwithusky.com for more information including the different routes we offer.
Northern Kentucky Bourbon Tours
Original Blog Source: https://medium.com/world-travelers-blog/exploring-the-kentucky-bourbon-trail-92a65a23902