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  1. #1
    Apprentice
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    What is THE thing to do in Kentucky?

    I am in the planning stages of a rather lengthy motorcycle trip that will take me and a friend into the heart of bourbon country - north/central Kentucky. I am anticipating that we will have a day to spend doing some kind of bourbon sight seeing. With that in mind, what is THE thing to do or see?

    Also, any of you native Kentuckians have an opinion of the Bert Combs Highway leading to the Va. border. Looking for a scenic route..... thanks

  2. #2
    Taster
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    Re: What is THE thing to do in Kentucky?

    When are you going?

    Just about any of the distillery tours are enjoyable (keep in mind that they shut down during the summer months) but the "hard-hat" tour (vs. the regular hourly tour) of Buffalo Trace is my new favorite. 2.5 hours of seeing just about everything except the grain mill and high-speed bottling line up-close and personal. It's a large-scale industrial operation compared to the quaint charm of some of the others, but they lay it all out for you to see. Another thing that sets this tour apart is the people working everywhere throughout the facility...I've hardly seen anybody except the guides on my other tours.
    Dave

  3. #3
    Bourbonian of the Year 2010 and Guru
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    Re: What is THE thing to do in Kentucky?

    Of course working people depends on when you go...I've had tours there that ranged from seeing nobody other than your tour guide to being locked in to where you had to step over barrels to leave the warehouse to not being able to hear what the tour guide was saying...but then I go twice a year just to smell the place.

    Four Roses is a nice place to visit, tiny, few visitors (at least the couple times I've gone, a really complete tour. very nice.
    2010 Bourbonian of the Year

    As long as you have good whiskey you're not "unemployed", you're "Funemployed!!!"

    I'm no Pappyophile

  4. #4
    Enthusiast
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    Eastern MA
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    Re: What is THE thing to do in Kentucky?

    Quote Originally Posted by barturtle View Post
    Four Roses is a nice place to visit, tiny, few visitors (at least the couple times I've gone, a really complete tour. very nice.
    I agree that if you only have time for one stop, Four Roses is arguably the best pick. The people are excellent, you get a great tour, and it isn't too busy. The only down side is you wan't see a barrel house.

    Every distillery and tour is different, so you can visit them all and see a different side.

    I have a short writeup and pictures of most of the KY distillery tours on my website:
    http://www.mkellstrand.com/whiskey/ky_adventure

    Hopefully this will give you a flavor of each tour so you can pick the one(s) that would most appeal to you.

    Enjoy!
    Mike

    "You're the best bourbon drinkers ever!" - Margo (waitress at Bourbon's Bistro in Louisville)

  5. #5
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Chicago
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    Re: What is THE thing to do in Kentucky?

    Unfortunately, everybody probably has a different favorite. I recommend Woodford Reserve. Very scenic in its own right and in a scenic neighborhood. You'll probably want to spend some time cruising around the horse farms in the greater Lexington area too. That's something I certainly enjoy. Maker's Mark also is very good and, again, in a scenic area well off the beaten path.

    As much as I'd like to think bourbon is THE thing in Kentucky, THE thing really is horses, so you should experience some of that.

  6. #6
    Taster
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    Re: What is THE thing to do in Kentucky?

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeK View Post
    I agree that if you only have time for one stop, Four Roses is arguably the best pick. The people are excellent, you get a great tour, and it isn't too busy. The only down side is you wan't see a barrel house.
    While I love Four Roses (the people are terrific, plus there's the fact that most of their comparatively small tanks are still cypress), that's not quite the only downside. Along with no barrel house, you won't see a bottling line. And current of last summer at least, we were told that they had accidentally let their pouring license lapse and were unable to offer tastings at the visitor center. I'd still absolutely want to go, but it's just not my top pick.

    Woodford Reserve's tour is quite good, plus you get to stand on the same hallowed ground where James Crow invented bourbon as we know it. Instead of putting you up-close with new whiskey, they pour a sample to sniff from a fresh aged barrel hovering over a dump tank. Their product isn't one of my regular tipples, but they do give good tour IMHO.
    Dave

  7. #7
    Enthusiast
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    Re: What is THE thing to do in Kentucky?

    Good call on the horse farms Chuck. The other nice thing about Woodford is that they offer a number of different tours, depending on how much time you have to spend and what you want to see.

    And again, you can visit every distillery that offers tours, and not get the same experience twice.

    Cheers,
    Mike

    "You're the best bourbon drinkers ever!" - Margo (waitress at Bourbon's Bistro in Louisville)

  8. #8
    Bourbonian of the Year 2010 and Guru
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    Re: What is THE thing to do in Kentucky?

    One thing that I like to recommend for people to do is to go for a ride on the Belle of Louisville, a classic steam wheeler. Possibly the most leisurely activity you can think of.
    2010 Bourbonian of the Year

    As long as you have good whiskey you're not "unemployed", you're "Funemployed!!!"

    I'm no Pappyophile

  9. #9
    Disciple
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    Mar 2005
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    Sweden
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    Re: What is THE thing to do in Kentucky?

    If you are visiting Louisville there are at least 4 brewery pubs that serve excellent beer and in most cases excellent food as well. Its well worth the effort to visit one or several of them.

    Leif
    Swedish lover of American whiskey

  10. #10
    Advanced Taster
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    Jan 2007
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    Montgomery County, Md.
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    Re: What is THE thing to do in Kentucky?

    I'm also trying to plan a drive through Kentucky, hitting the distilleries as I go. I really need to stitch together some kind of travel plan, though. You'd think somewhere there'd be a tourism board just for folks like me...

 

 

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