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georgemoe

1st Kentucky trip planned for May 2019 - any further suggestions?

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georgemoe

Hi,

 

DW and I have finally planned our first trip to KY for distillery visits. This trip is just to get our "feet wet" so I know we have omitted some good stuff. I didn't want the first trip to be during big bourbon events so I'm not concerned with missing anything. We are not that interested in extravagant lodging. Something simple with breakfast and wifi included is all we need. Our selections are geared around that and convenient to the locations we are visiting. I'm sure I could refine this a bit further but unless you see anything glaringly amiss we will probably go with this plan. Our main must visits are Jim Beam (wifes bourbon of choice is JB Black), Wild Turkey (I'm a 101 and RR guy), and BT because I need to do the HHT and hopefully meet Freddie J. I'm also limiting tours/visits to two per day. So here is our plan.

 

Tue 5/14 - Arrive in Louisville midday. We are staying at the HI Express on West Market. I understand parking is fee based. We are staying here two nights. We will most likely do Evan Williams and JB Urban Stillhouse. Will have to skip Angel's Envy as they don't tour on Tuesday. We plan to have dinner with friends across the river this night and maybe check out the Old Seebach Bar after that. We will walk to where we can from our hotel as it seems pretty convenient to a few things.

 

Wed 5/15 - Will tour JB in Clermont early (9:30), grab at bite at Fred's Smokehouse then head to Heaven Hill for tour 2 in Bardstown. If we have some time and are not tired of touring, we might stop at Four Roses in Cox Creek as it's on the way back to the hotel. Another option is try to get into a 3rd tour at Angels Envy back in Louisville. For dinner we planned either Mussel & Burger Bar or Bristol Bar & Grill close to the hotel.

 

Thu 5/16 - Maker's Mark in Loretto early probably 9:30 1st tour. After this we will head to Lawrenceburg and Heavens to Betsy for lunch. We will (pre) book the last tour at Wild Turkey then head to Best Western Lawrenceburg Inn for check-in. Dinner we plan for the Beaumont Inn in Harrodsburg and hope to do a tasting with Dixon Dedman.

 

Fri 5/17 - Buffalo Trace. We are hoping to do the first regular tour at 9 and then the 1st HHT at 10:30. Grab a bite at the Firehouse Sandwich Shop then head to Woodford Reserve. Maybe do the Corn To Cork tour or just  a visit. No idea's yet for dinner so will hopefully get a recommendation. We might even have to move Beaumont to tonight depending on Dixon's schedule.

 

Sat 5/18 - Last tour will be the Four Roses Distillery. We originally had scheduled this during the week but moved it here to add Maker's Mark. We weren't going to do MM this trip as DW and I are both Ambassadors and were going to save our visit for a different trip. This was before Top Chef Kentucky started and then the wife insisted it be part of this trip.

 

The rest of our trip will be a visit to my daughter and her family in the Knoxville, TN area. Will spend a couple nights there until we return to Louisville for our flight back to New England. Really looking forward to this. Flights are already booked (got the last two seats on one flight) and now to just tweak if needed.

 

Please let me know if you see anything odd. I appreciate the input. Thank you!

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Richnimrod

It sounds like a lotta nice stuff, and likely good times everywhere. 

The only suggestion I'll make is for the "Wednesday itinerary".    You mention time in the afternoon and possibly heading over to Cox's Creek for the 4-R Warehouse Tour and tasting.   If it were my first trip to The Motherland, I'd skip that and instead do the rather informative, and still FREE  (if they haven't wised up yet) at 1792 Barton.   It's barely 5-minutes from the Heaven Hill Gift Shop (It's right in B'town) and will give all you folx a real feel for what used to be the 'standard distillery tour' forever (before Bourbon tourism made it a 'thing')    Barton is very much an industrial plant, as they all were (and still are behind the pretty curtains).   You won't get that experience in L'ville, or at HH.     The Buffalo is somewhat that way, though.    Barton's tour, aside from a decent tasting and being free, is really one that doesn't gloss over the old industrial feel at all.    In any case Have FUN!!!!

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dad-proof

Sounds great! Enjoy. And grab a bit to eat at Litton's Market in Fountain City on your way into or out of Knoxville. 

Edited by dad-proof
right neighborhood, wrong restaurant
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PowderKeg

Sounds like a well thought plan without risking an overdose on bourbon touring.  That said, a few observations and maybe an alternative or few to consider: 

 

-  Tues definitely consider the Evan W. Speakeasy tasting and not the tour.  The tasting is done in a unique setting not experienced elsewhere, and also gets you a fun history lesson on Louisville during the Dark Ages (Prohibition).  Also might consider the Old Forester Distillery tour, which is walking distance on Main St from EW, and offers another unique experience of a cooperage operation/demonstration during the tour.  Currently has one of the best tour schedules (Tues-Sat) starting every 15 minutes with the last tour at 5 pm.

 

- If you decide to visit both 4 Roses facilities, do not plan on the 10, noon, or 2pm Coxes Creek facility tour - these fall during the lunch and union specified break periods so you won't see the bottling room running.   Otherwise, hitting both sites within the same 60 day period gets you two tours, two tastings (same products), and two souvenir glasses (same glass, but that makes it a pair), for one $5 ticket - by far the best bang for the paid tour buck.  

 

- Unless HH is a must-tour/taste, you might consider Willett (A+++) or even LuxRow/Rebel Yell instead while in Bardstown, as they are smaller/newer craft/industrial distilleries that aren't on your itinerary.  The HH Heritage Center is worth a quick stop to surf the bling and free exhibits, but I personally wasn't impressed with the Con tasting and the tour is only of a rickhouse which you'll experience elsewhere.   While I heartily second Rich's recommendation of Barton (my favorite distillery tour stop along with C&K), since you already have two other must-stop large industrial plants on the plan (BT & JB) Barton would be a great next-time stop.  

 

- Instead of the regular tour at BT before the HH tour, you might consider reserving the Bourbon Barrel tour instead.   Some don't realize the HH tour only covers 1/2 the process (thru distilling) - the BB tour covers the rest - barreling, moving, aging, dumping, and Blanton bottling line stops.  The down side is that you might have to drop out of the BB tour early to get back in time for the morning HH tour start (a small group did this when I did the BB 'cause the tour ran long).  The up-side is seeing far more of the 2nd half of the process than you'll see on the "meh" standard tour.   On the other hand, if the only BB thing you'd like to see is the Blanton bottling room, that was covered on the standard tour IIRC.  Also, BT will only allow you to have one tasting (if they know you're doing multiple tours...)

 

- A few more misc comments - AE was a far better tour than I expected, but as you noted isn't touring on your Tues stop in L-ville.  Would make another great return trip stop though...  Castle & Key (C&K) is my other top favorite repeat tour stop (been 3 times so far, 2 Resto tours and 1 current tour, and can't wait to do another tour this spring/summer during leaf-out/flowering), and it's absolutely amazing what they've done with an historic distillery long falling into major deterioration that miraculously escaped the final wrecking ball on several occasions.  It could be substituted for Woodford, but WR is worthy of a stop too, so either would make fantastic return trip stops.  You can stop at C&K and visit the garden area/walk & gift shop for free, it's the 1.5 hr tour through the rest of the facility that is covered by the fee.  Finally, don't expect every tour to end exactly when expected, many can run over, and occasionally under, not to mention bling surfing time.  But it looks like you've considered this with your plans that aren't crammed and timed down to the minute.

 

Enjoy!  I've done well over 20 tours - some repeats - and just can't get enough...

 

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georgemoe
On 12/15/2018 at 2:25 PM, Richnimrod said:

It sounds like a lotta nice stuff, and likely good times everywhere. 

The only suggestion I'll make is for the "Wednesday itinerary".    You mention time in the afternoon and possibly heading over to Cox's Creek for the 4-R Warehouse Tour and tasting.   If it were my first trip to The Motherland, I'd skip that and instead do the rather informative, and still FREE  (if they haven't wised up yet) at 1792 Barton.   It's barely 5-minutes from the Heaven Hill Gift Shop (It's right in B'town) and will give all you folx a real feel for what used to be the 'standard distillery tour' forever (before Bourbon tourism made it a 'thing')    Barton is very much an industrial plant, as they all were (and still are behind the pretty curtains).   You won't get that experience in L'ville, or at HH.     The Buffalo is somewhat that way, though.    Barton's tour, aside from a decent tasting and being free, is really one that doesn't gloss over the old industrial feel at all.    In any case Have FUN!!!!

 

Thanks for the suggestion Rich. It actually sounds like a better plan. I'll still give wifey the right to nix a 3rd stop but who knows she might surprise me.

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georgemoe
On 12/15/2018 at 10:48 PM, dad-proof said:

Sounds great! Enjoy. And grab a bit to eat at Litton's Market in Fountain City on your way into or out of Knoxville. 

Great suggestion. I've added it to the list. TY 

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georgemoe

Powderkeg thank you for those great tips. Will be sitting down tonight after my run to adjust my plan. All these tips are really helpful.

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Paddy

My advice...order something with the country ham, at the Beaumont.  I get it with the fried chicken and its crazy good!  

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