A Tour of Kentucky and Tennessee
This is a five day, four night itinerary for a tour designed for whiskey and bourbon connoisseurs and those who want to learn a little more about the history, production and variety of genuine Kentucky bourbons and Tennessee whiskeys.
The heritage and culture of the stops on this itinerary are steeped in the amber-hued libations that are being crafted to this day. Centuries of legend and lore and some of the most exquisite flavors you’ll ever experience await you on the America’s Great Distilleries Tour of Kentucky and Tennessee.
Buffalo Trace Distillery
1001 Wilkinson Boulevard
Franklin County, KY
Hours: Monday-Friday 9am-3pm, Saturday 10am-2pm.
(502) 696-5926 or (800) 654-8471
Our tour begins in Frankfort, Kentucky, in the Bluegrass Region of Kentucky. Famous for champion thoroughbred race horses, this region is also equally well known for producing some of the finest bourbons on earth.
Frankfort’s Buffalo Trace Distillery is the perfect place to begin our tour. The distillery takes its name from the ancient “Buffalo Crossing” that served as a pathway for the explorers and later pioneers moving west. It is the oldest distilling site in the U.S., with a history dating back over 200 years. You’ll see twelve of the largest fermenters in the distilling industry, as well as taste some of the finest bourbons on earth.
Woodford Reserve Distillery
7855 McCracken Pike
Open Tuesday–Saturday, 9am–5pm (Closed major holidays)
Open Sundays from April to October, 12:30pm–4:30pm
Our next stop is the Woodford Reserve Distillery in Versailles, just a short 25 minute drive from Frankfort. The Distillery site is a National Landmark and is the only bourbon distiller using the traditional copper pot method of bourbon production.
We’ll be taking the fascinating “Woodford Reserve Corn to Cork Tour,” a one- to twohour session that delves into the fine craftsmanship involved in the production of fine bourbon. The tour guide will cover all mechanical, chemical, technical and sensory aspects of producing bourbon.
Wild Turkey – Austin Nichols Distillery
1525 Tyrone Rd
Tours are available Monday through Saturday at 9am; 10:30am; 12:30pm; and 2:30pm. Advance notice is requested for groups of more than ten.
The next stop on our tour is just a few minutes west of Versailles in Lawrenceburg—the Austin Nichols Distillery, makers of the famous Wild Turkey bourbon. We’ll tour the “Home of Wild Turkey” and learn about the production techniques that produce the unique flavors of this famous 101-proof bourbon. We will spend the night in Frankfort, which offers a number of accommodations options, as well as excellent dining. Frankfort is the capital of Kentucky and features a number of historic homes and museums.
Maker’s Mark Distillery
3350 Burks Spring Rd.
10:30am to 3:30pm, Monday-Saturday. Also open on Sunday from March to December for tours at 1:30, 2:30 and 3:30pm. (Closed on Sundays in January and February.) Open holidays except for Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.
From Frankfort, we’ll travel southwest to the small town of Loretto, one and a half hours away. Loretto is home to Maker’s Mark Distillery, a National Historic Landmark. Marker’s Mark is beloved among bourbon drinkers. Tour the brewery on a guided tour and visit the gift shop, where you’ll have a chance to hand dip your own bottle using Maker’s Mark trademark red wax.
Heaven Hill Distilleries—Bourbon Heritage Center
1311 Gilkey Run Road
Tuesday – Saturday: 10am–5pm, Sunday: Noon–4pm (March–December only)
Monday: Closed. Last tour starts one hour before closing. Admission is free.
The next distillery on our tour is located just a half an hour north in Bardstown, also known as the “Bourbon Capital of the World.” The Heaven Hills Bourbon Heritage Center is the perfect place to immerse yourself in the history and rich tradition of bourbon making in Kentucky. A visitor-favorite is the tasting room in the shape of an oversized bourbon barrel.
Jim Beam Distillery
149 Happy Hollow Road
Closed January 1, Easter, Thanksgiving Day and December 24 and 25.
We’ll take the short drive north to Clermont, KY, home of the Visitor Center for the world-famous Jim Beam Distillery, makers of several varieties of the world’s most popular bourbons. You’ll step back in time as you hear about the history of one of America’s most famous distilling families. Exhibits feature moonshine stills as well as a 1800s Cooperage Museum. You’ll also have a chance to sample Jim Beam bourbons.
From the Jim Beam Visitor Center, we’ll head back to Bardstown to stay for the night. Many of Bardstown’s most beautiful homes were built by the area’s earliest distillers. In addition to historical attractions, Bardstown offers a number of excellent restaurants.
We’ll spend the morning driving down scenic Interstate 65 to Kelso, Tennessee. The four hour drive will take us through the picturesque central Kentucky and south through west central Tennessee to a region that is famous for Tennessee whiskey production. But before we delve into the ins-and-outs of whiskey, we’ll take a short detour into another type of distilled spirit.
11 Kelso Smithland Rd.
The first stop will be the Prichards’ Distillery, makers of a number of fine rums. Reviving age-old techniques, Prichard’s produces rums of unique character and exceptional quality. Take a guided tour and learn about the small batch production process and classic copper pot still techniques that produce Prichards’ rums.
We’ll spend the night in nearby Fayetteville. Fayetteville features a beautiful historic courthouse square as well as historic homes along Washington Street and Mulberry Avenue.
George Dickel Distillery
1950 Cascade Hollow Rd.
(931) 857-3124 ext. 230
Open Tuesday to Saturday, 9am–4pm, except major holidays. Last tour starts at 3:30pm.
From Fayetteville, we drive an hour northeast to Normandy, home of the George Dickel Distillery in Cascade Hollow. The distillery dates back to 1870 and produces whiskey today using many of the techniques developed by the founder. On the tour, you’ll learn that one of the George Dickel Distillery’s secrets is cooling down the whiskey before putting into the charcoal mellowing vats, something which helps give the final product its characteristic mellow flavor.
Jack Daniels Distillery
280 Lynchburg Hwy
Tour hours: 9am–4:30pm everyday, except Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day.
Our next stop will be Lynchburg, home of the Jack Daniels Distillery. The Jack Daniels Distillery Tour is not to be missed. You’ll learn about the time-honored traditions of this storied distillery.
We will spend some time exploring Lynchburg. The town features a beautiful Main Street and several museums, shops and restaurants. Despite the town being the home of one of the world’s most famous distilleries, Lynchburg is the county seat of a county that has been completely dry since Prohibition.
We will take the short drive back to Fayetteville to stay for the night.