Taste Kentucky’s Finest Bourbons with Bourbon Barrel Tours

** PLEASE NOTE: Changes to the Miller Transportation Bourbon Barrel Tours Below **

 Are you ready to explore all that Kentucky has to offer in the way of Bourbon Barrel Tours? Ever wondered about the importance of the bourbon barrel itself? Immerse yourself in the history of America’s only native spirit. 

Let’s look at not only the Bourbon Barrel Tours but the importance of the bourbon barrel.

How is a Bourbon Barrel Made?

Bourbon barrels are integral in the world of whiskey making. Different distilleries use their bourbon barrels to impart an important taste to their unique bourbonMost often, bourbon barrels are crafted out of oak. Oak barrels are more durable, stronger, and more porous.

In addition, before any bourbon ever gets poured into a barrel, the wood is seasoned. The oak is left outside to dry, which takes anywhere from six to 24 months. After the oak dries, it’s shaped into a barrel, and they move to the burning and charring stage.

First, they burn their bourbon barrels for a specified length of time. During this burning stage, you’ll find that some elements of their chosen wood change. Each bourbon maker gets their signature taste and smell based on this burning. What’s more, each bourbon has a distinct caramel color that comes from this charring process.

Bourbon is unique from other spirits in that it needs to sit in a barrel for a specific amount of time after the fermentation process. This is unique to each distiller.

Finally, there are four levels of char in the United States. The darker the char, the more caramelization, and drinkers note a sweeter, smokier taste in their bourbon. The amount of time they torch the wood determines the level of char.

Now, let’s uncover the Bourbon Barrel Tour.

** NOTE: Miller Transportation no longer offers its Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Tours, where it hosted a guided tour of a different Kentucky Bourbon Trail distillery each day. However, the nearby distilleries once associated with this tour are still open. See them here and create your own magical tour.

Start at the Frazier Museum in Louisville, Kentucky

Many people begin their Bourbon Barrel Tour at the Frazier Museum, where you’ll find the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® Welcome Center. Here you can find trail maps and field guides. Their concierge services are especially helpful! You can also view The Spirit of Kentucky® exhibition celebrating the history, craft, and culture of Bourbon whiskey. While you’re at the museum, you can view every bottle of bourbon that is currently available today.

Moving on from here, choose from the following distilleries.

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Four Roses Distillery in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky

Enjoy their historic Spanish mission-style distillery along with several different tour offerings. Spend some time in their Visitor Center in Bar 1888, where you can sample their 10 distinct recipes. Learn how they craft their bourbon, their heritage, and their distillery tour. And don’t forget your tasting!

The name Four Roses has an interesting story. Their founder fell in love with a Southern Belle, and he sent her a marriage proposal. She replied that if her answer were yes, she’d wear a corsage of roses on her gown to an upcoming ball. When she replied, she indeed wore a corsage of four red roses. So, the founder called his bourbon Four Roses, a symbol of his devout passion.

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Maker’s Mark in Loretto, Kentucky

See the place where they hand-rotate every barrel and hand-dip every bottle! Nestled in a charming spot right on Hardin’s Creek, it’s an enchanting setting. 

Enjoy their popular outdoor tour, or go beyond bourbon basics! Get more detailed and encounter all aspects of production, access far reaches of the distillery, warehouse, cellar, cistern, and bottling, and then a tasting.

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Woodford Reserve Distillery in Versailles, Kentucky

Another gorgeous location on the Bourbon Barrel Tour, you’ll love your guided experience on the tranquil grounds of Woodford Reserve, where the distillery is a National Historic Landmark. 

Enjoy one of their tours, a behind-the-scenes tour of the distillery, lab, and warehouse, ending with a family of bands tasting.

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Wild Turkey Distillery in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky

Another great spot, this distillery sits on the Kentucky River. It’s also a historic spot, as it began in 1855. Incredibly, the name Wild Turkey comes from an actual turkey hunt.

During one of their tours, you’ll enjoy watching employees pour bourbon into their hand-crafted oak barrels. They show you how it’s done and take you through a tour, including the 40-foot high column still and warehouses.  

Jim Beam American Stillhouse in Clermont, Kentucky

They offer several tours here, but one stands out. Learn about the 225-year tradition of making bourbon at Jim Beam.

 Your personal tour includes their distillery and the historic rackhouses. Experience all the pieces that go into making bourbon, from distillation to aging to barrel selection.

Finally, hear stories and enjoy a tasting with a seventh-generation Master Distiller who happens to be the great, great-grandson of Jim Beam. In addition, you can taste their finest whiskies, followed by a Kentucky-inspired lunch at their own restaurant.

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FAQs About Kentucky’s Famous Bourbon Distilleries

If you’re planning to hit a Bourbon Barrel Tour, you may have some questions about some important details. Check out the questions and answers, so you feel comfortable on your next tour. 

What do you wear to a Bourbon Barrel Tour

Most distillers recommend that you wear something casual and comfortable for attire and shoes. Don’t wear vulgar or profane attire. It’s very hot and humid in the summer: expect temperatures above 90 degrees. Closed-toe shoes are best and often required. 

When should I do a Kentucky bourbon barrel tour

One of the nicest times is spring when the weather is pleasant. The bourbon-making is in full swing. If you want to bypass the crowds, try the end of November through March. 

Is there an age restriction? 

You have to be 21 to drink in Kentucky, so make sure you have a valid ID with you. Many distilleries allow underage guests to take the tours. In addition, you can take the tour without drinking. You’ll enjoy the distillers and their history without ever having a drink. It’s up to you!

May I bring something with me? 

Some are okay with a small cooler with drinks and snacks. For others, outside food and drink are not allowed. There are often designated smoking areas at the distilleries. You can bring a camera, and your guides will let you know what you can and can’t photograph. Check your tour website for guidelines from distilleries

How far in advance should I book?

Tours sell out in peak season, so we always recommend booking well in advance.

To Conclude

At Distillerynearby.com, we are your ultimate guide when looking for bourbon barrel tours in Kentucky, especially Bourbon Barrel Tours. Count us to find just what you’re looking for.

It’s time to plan your tour and learn more about the history of bourbon, taste samples along the way, and enjoy all that Kentucky has to offer.

Let’s hit the road!

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