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Bourbon_Jeeper

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Bourbon_Jeeper

Hey everyone, 

 

My wife and I are going to Kentucky in about 2 weeks to see some distilleries. We are going to take some tours and then buy some bourbon wherever we can. For those that have taken tours, are there special bottles that can be purchased while on a tour or directly from a Distillery? Also, where is the best place to look for bourbon to buy in Kentucky? Grocery stores, liquor stores, bars? I definitely want to be driven to and from the tours. Is there a bus that takes care of people in the tours? Thanks for the help, guys. 

 

Lin

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PhantomLamb

I've only been on 1 tour before the pandemic, Old Forester on Whisky Row was wonderful.

 

As far as where to buy, The Party Source on the Kentucky border right by Cincy is a must.  Even if you aren't looking for bourbon, definitely a cool stop and New Riff distillery is right next door.

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smokinjoe

Evan Williams Experience on Whiskey Row is good.  I really enjoyed it much more than I thought I would.  There are a couple different tours you can do.  there.  Both seem to get positive reviews.  They have distillery only bottles available, as well.  
 

If there is only one overall tour to take, I always recommend Maker’s Mark.  My favorite by far, and offers something for everyone, including non-whuskey drinkers.  

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fishnbowljoe
27 minutes ago, smokinjoe said:

Evan Williams Experience on Whiskey Row is good.  I really enjoyed it much more than I thought I would.  There are a couple different tours you can do.  there.  Both seem to get positive reviews.  They have distillery only bottles available, as well.  
 

If there is only one overall tour to take, I always recommend Maker’s Mark.  My favorite by far, and offers something for everyone, including non-whuskey drinkers.  

Does EW charge for their tours? Not that I’ll be visiting there anytime in the near future. 🙄 Just wondering.

 

Biba! Joe

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smokinjoe
27 minutes ago, fishnbowljoe said:

Does EW charge for their tours? Not that I’ll be visiting there anytime in the near future. 🙄 Just wondering.

 

Biba! Joe

Yes.

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7 hours ago, Bourbon_Jeeper said:

Hey everyone, 

 

My wife and I are going to Kentucky in about 2 weeks to see some distilleries. We are going to take some tours and then buy some bourbon wherever we can. For those that have taken tours, are there special bottles that can be purchased while on a tour or directly from a Distillery? Also, where is the best place to look for bourbon to buy in Kentucky? Grocery stores, liquor stores, bars? I definitely want to be driven to and from the tours. Is there a bus that takes care of people in the tours? Thanks for the help, guys. 

 

Lin

 

 

Honestly, they give you so little (samples) and there is usually 2 hours between each sampling (if you really haul ass around), you don't need to be driven around.

Also, you don't have to drink all 1.5 oz total of liquid they give you.  I usually pass on things I've tried before or don't care about (white dog I've already tried/vodka/etc/).

 

KY is so overshopped, that it will be very similar to shopping in your home state.

Desirable bottles will likely be significantly overpriced, hidden in the back, or out of stock.

 

Things to look for are bottles that you cannot get at home.

Examples:

-Very Old Barton

-Heaven Hill 90p 6year green label

-Early Times Bottled in Bond

-JTS Brown bottled in Bond

etc.

 

Gift shops sometimes have special offerings that vary by the week/day/hour, etc.

A lot of it is just luck.

 

I would say focus on enjoying yourself and touring the distilleries at a leisurely pace and put bottle hunting at the end of the list.

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fishnbowljoe
1 hour ago, 0895 said:

 

 

Honestly, they give you so little (samples) and there is usually 2 hours between each sampling (if you really haul ass around), you don't need to be driven around.

Also, you don't have to drink all 1.5 oz total of liquid they give you.  I usually pass on things I've tried before or don't care about (white dog I've already tried/vodka/etc/).

 

KY is so overshopped, that it will be very similar to shopping in your home state.

Desirable bottles will likely be significantly overpriced, hidden in the back, or out of stock.

 

Things to look for are bottles that you cannot get at home.

Examples:

-Very Old Barton

-Heaven Hill 90p 6year green label

-Early Times Bottled in Bond

-JTS Brown bottled in Bond

etc.

 

Gift shops sometimes have special offerings that vary by the week/day/hour, etc.

A lot of it is just luck.

 

I would say focus on enjoying yourself and touring the distilleries at a leisurely pace and put bottle hunting at the end of the list.


I agree with Eric. Sadly, even in the motherland, it’s pretty much SOSDD.
 

I’ve used this example before, but it’s worth repeating. In 2018, I bought a Weller SR at a store for $29.99. The very next year, the same store had it priced at $59.99. 🥺

 

Biba! Joe

 

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Bourbon_Jeeper

Thanks for all the information and advice, guys. I really want to take some tours and try to find the bottle that Georgia can't get more than anything else, and have a good time with the wife. 

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My OCD is getting the best of me.  Please someone redirect this new post over to the Distillery Trips category, Lol 🧐

 

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geclbxf
5 hours ago, Kepler said:

My OCD is getting the best of me.  Please someone redirect this new post over to the Distillery Trips category, Lol 🧐

 

Lots of great thoughts already.   I would look at spending my time in Bardstown.   Between BBC and Willet, two great places to eat too!

 

I would avoid the buses, they take you where THEY want to go, and are very expensive.   Agree if you moderate that you will be fine, but if you like the extra pour you should have a DD.   Sometimes my wife and I alternate finishing the glasses on a 3 tour day - balances out consumption and safety.

 

The most important thought I have - book NOW - most of the distilleries are booked full due to reduced capacity  weeks in advance on the weekends.   Weekday trips are still much better for everything from hotel rates to availability.

 

 

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fishnbowljoe
9 hours ago, Kepler said:

My OCD is getting the best of me.  Please someone redirect this new post over to the Distillery Trips category, Lol 🧐

 

You owe me Kepler.😉

 

Biba! Joe

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4 hours ago, fishnbowljoe said:

You owe me Kepler.😉

 

Biba! Joe

Whew i feel better already.  Thanks Joe! 😆

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fishnbowljoe
5 hours ago, Kepler said:

Whew i feel better already.  Thanks Joe! 😆

You’re welcome, but you still owe me. :lol:

 

Biba! Joe

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Skinsfan1311
On 4/10/2021 at 11:43 AM, smokinjoe said:

Evan Williams Experience on Whiskey Row is good.  I really enjoyed it much more than I thought I would.  There are a couple different tours you can do.  there.  Both seem to get positive reviews.  They have distillery only bottles available, as well.  
 

If there is only one overall tour to take, I always recommend Maker’s Mark.  My favorite by far, and offers something for everyone, including non-whuskey drinkers.  

Take the Speakeasy tour at the Evan Williams Experience.  It's was a hoot! We enjoyed it enough that we did it on  two separate trips  and, we will do it again when we return. It was fun and entertaining.  If memory serves, you get 5 pours.

They have a couple offerings that are only available for purchase there. The Red Label and some type of Masters Blend, (or something similar). The red label is very good.

The blend was okay, but I'd never buy it again.  Last time we were there, a couple years ago, they had one of the master distillers signing bottles of McKenna 10-year that were purchased in the shop.  I don't remember who it was, and we ended drinking it 😉

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2 hours ago, Skinsfan1311 said:

Take the Speakeasy tour at the Evan Williams Experience.  It's was a hoot! We enjoyed it enough that we did it on  two separate trips  and, we will do it again when we return. It was fun and entertaining.  If memory serves, you get 5 pours.

They have a couple offerings that are only available for purchase there. The Red Label and some type of Masters Blend, (or something similar). The red label is very good.

The blend was okay, but I'd never buy it again.  Last time we were there, a couple years ago, they had one of the master distillers signing bottles of McKenna 10-year that were purchased in the shop.  I don't remember who it was, and we ended drinking it 😉

We did the Speakeasy tasting as well and had a great time. Learned that Mrs. Clueby really likes Pikesville. Who knew? I like the red label 12 year a lot, I just wish it wasnt $130.

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Skinsfan1311
16 hours ago, Clueby said:

We did the Speakeasy tasting as well and had a great time. Learned that Mrs. Clueby really likes Pikesville. Who knew? I like the red label 12 year a lot, I just wish it wasnt $130.

Yikes!!!!    I like it a lot, but not for $130.00.    I think it was less than that our first time, (2018), I think it was around $105.00.     Mrs. Skinsfan loves the Pikesville, (so do I!)

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PowderKeg

Hopefully not too late, but a few more thoughts for your consideration - also no idea on current availabilities due to Covid, so def check websites for latest times/status:

 

- Try to group your daily tours/visits as close as possible to minimize time lost to travel.   Can generally separate into sub-regions - Louisville, Bardstown/Clermont, Frankfort/Millville or Millville/Lawrenceburg, Loretto/Lebanon.  

- Unless you plan/want to generously imbibe between stops you're not going to need a driver/bus tour service (pretty darn expensive).  Either pack along some snacks/munchies/water or stop a few times at fast food joints for a small fry or apple pie to keep some food in the mix if you have some concerns.

- if a Sunday will be a tour day, spend it in Louisville.  Most tours, if even open, start late (@ noon) and often end early - skip the long countryside drives and walk up/down Main St to maximize what you might take in - street parking should be free (at least used to be) and no work traffic.  Also consider the Frazier Museum as a possible stop for the Bourbon Trail Welcome exhibit as well as paid exhibits on the inner/upper floors.

- As others have said, EW Speakeasy Tasting is fantastic and really is a must go if available - a unique setting and presentation you will not find anywhere else.  The EW tour on the other hand is meh at best - you'd be much better off doing any other tour along Main St, or Rabbit Hole or Bulliet/Stitzel-Weller a short drive east or west. 

- Multiple Total Wines and Liquor Barns in Lou & Lex will have the best prices and widest selections - all LBs are not alike so check several.  A few other good shops to stop in Lou for possible store picks are Westport W&W and Party Mart (on  Brownsboro Rd).  Party Mart has always had the best prices on Rebecca Ruth Bourbon Balls - take some home, you will not regret it (and they're def NOT something found in GA or anywhere much outside KY.)

- DO NOT SHOP Bardstown for bourbon except at the distilleries - the crooks ("Toady's" and at least one other that's changed their name a handful of times) located close to the square are some of the most egregious price gougers around (Justin's HoB has taken that mantle of notoriety for Lou & Lex areas) and revel in screwing bourbon tourists out of every penny they can.  There are a few others farther out on the outskirts of town that are better (or at least they were), but buyer is best to beware of Bardstown.

- My personal pre-pan tour favorites (out of 30+/- over the years) have been Old Forester, Castle & Key, Woodford (Corn to Cork tour), Barton/1792 (choose one of the longer tours), Buffalo Trace EHT Bourbon Pompeii, Willett, Peerless, Four Roses Distillery, Independent Stave, and of course the EW Speakeasy Tasting.  Honestly have never had a bad tour anywhere, but these have stood out for me above most others and give a pretty good variety in what you'll see and experience (if they're available under current Covid situations).

 

Good luck and have fun!

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geclbxf
On 4/18/2021 at 1:07 PM, PowderKeg said:

Hopefully not too late, but a few more thoughts for your consideration - also no idea on current availabilities due to Covid, so def check websites for latest times/status:

 

- Try to group your daily tours/visits as close as possible to minimize time lost to travel.   Can generally separate into sub-regions - Louisville, Bardstown/Clermont, Frankfort/Millville or Millville/Lawrenceburg, Loretto/Lebanon.  

- Unless you plan/want to generously imbibe between stops you're not going to need a driver/bus tour service (pretty darn expensive).  Either pack along some snacks/munchies/water or stop a few times at fast food joints for a small fry or apple pie to keep some food in the mix if you have some concerns.

- if a Sunday will be a tour day, spend it in Louisville.  Most tours, if even open, start late (@ noon) and often end early - skip the long countryside drives and walk up/down Main St to maximize what you might take in - street parking should be free (at least used to be) and no work traffic.  Also consider the Frazier Museum as a possible stop for the Bourbon Trail Welcome exhibit as well as paid exhibits on the inner/upper floors.

- As others have said, EW Speakeasy Tasting is fantastic and really is a must go if available - a unique setting and presentation you will not find anywhere else.  The EW tour on the other hand is meh at best - you'd be much better off doing any other tour along Main St, or Rabbit Hole or Bulliet/Stitzel-Weller a short drive east or west. 

- Multiple Total Wines and Liquor Barns in Lou & Lex will have the best prices and widest selections - all LBs are not alike so check several.  A few other good shops to stop in Lou for possible store picks are Westport W&W and Party Mart (on  Brownsboro Rd).  Party Mart has always had the best prices on Rebecca Ruth Bourbon Balls - take some home, you will not regret it (and they're def NOT something found in GA or anywhere much outside KY.)

- DO NOT SHOP Bardstown for bourbon except at the distilleries - the crooks ("Toady's" and at least one other that's changed their name a handful of times) located close to the square are some of the most egregious price gougers around (Justin's HoB has taken that mantle of notoriety for Lou & Lex areas) and revel in screwing bourbon tourists out of every penny they can.  There are a few others farther out on the outskirts of town that are better (or at least they were), but buyer is best to beware of Bardstown.

- My personal pre-pan tour favorites (out of 30+/- over the years) have been Old Forester, Castle & Key, Woodford (Corn to Cork tour), Barton/1792 (choose one of the longer tours), Buffalo Trace EHT Bourbon Pompeii, Willett, Peerless, Four Roses Distillery, Independent Stave, and of course the EW Speakeasy Tasting.  Honestly have never had a bad tour anywhere, but these have stood out for me above most others and give a pretty good variety in what you'll see and experience (if they're available under current Covid situations).

 

Good luck and have fun!

Great job Powderkeg!    I agree with all of your tour recomendations, and would add a day down south to Maker's and Limestone Branch as being a great day of tours, too!

Would also add Peerless to the list while in Louisville.

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Skinsfan1311
On 4/18/2021 at 1:07 PM, PowderKeg said:

Hopefully not too late, but a few more thoughts for your consideration - also no idea on current availabilities due to Covid, so def check websites for latest times/status:

 

- Try to group your daily tours/visits as close as possible to minimize time lost to travel.   Can generally separate into sub-regions - Louisville, Bardstown/Clermont, Frankfort/Millville or Millville/Lawrenceburg, Loretto/Lebanon.  

- Unless you plan/want to generously imbibe between stops you're not going to need a driver/bus tour service (pretty darn expensive).  Either pack along some snacks/munchies/water or stop a few times at fast food joints for a small fry or apple pie to keep some food in the mix if you have some concerns.

- if a Sunday will be a tour day, spend it in Louisville.  Most tours, if even open, start late (@ noon) and often end early - skip the long countryside drives and walk up/down Main St to maximize what you might take in - street parking should be free (at least used to be) and no work traffic.  Also consider the Frazier Museum as a possible stop for the Bourbon Trail Welcome exhibit as well as paid exhibits on the inner/upper floors.

- As others have said, EW Speakeasy Tasting is fantastic and really is a must go if available - a unique setting and presentation you will not find anywhere else.  The EW tour on the other hand is meh at best - you'd be much better off doing any other tour along Main St, or Rabbit Hole or Bulliet/Stitzel-Weller a short drive east or west. 

- Multiple Total Wines and Liquor Barns in Lou & Lex will have the best prices and widest selections - all LBs are not alike so check several.  A few other good shops to stop in Lou for possible store picks are Westport W&W and Party Mart (on  Brownsboro Rd).  Party Mart has always had the best prices on Rebecca Ruth Bourbon Balls - take some home, you will not regret it (and they're def NOT something found in GA or anywhere much outside KY.)

- DO NOT SHOP Bardstown for bourbon except at the distilleries - the crooks ("Toady's" and at least one other that's changed their name a handful of times) located close to the square are some of the most egregious price gougers around (Justin's HoB has taken that mantle of notoriety for Lou & Lex areas) and revel in screwing bourbon tourists out of every penny they can.  There are a few others farther out on the outskirts of town that are better (or at least they were), but buyer is best to beware of Bardstown.

- My personal pre-pan tour favorites (out of 30+/- over the years) have been Old Forester, Castle & Key, Woodford (Corn to Cork tour), Barton/1792 (choose one of the longer tours), Buffalo Trace EHT Bourbon Pompeii, Willett, Peerless, Four Roses Distillery, Independent Stave, and of course the EW Speakeasy Tasting.  Honestly have never had a bad tour anywhere, but these have stood out for me above most others and give a pretty good variety in what you'll see and experience (if they're available under current Covid situations).

 

Good luck and have fun!

Great advice!

If I can piggyback, (well...I am😄), try to book the "Hard Hat Tour" at Buffalo Trace.    It's a "behind-the-scenes" tour and you see a lot of cool stuff, that the regular tour doesn't offer.    It was one of our favorites.  It's free!   In the same vein, the also offer a "Ghost Tour"    We were all pretty underwhelmed with that one.    

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