Kentucky Bourbon Experience- Second Loop
A little longer than Loop One, you'll enjoy the "angels share" at these four bourbon distilleries in Kentucky located about 70 miles from Lexington. Each with its own distinct personality and taste, Maker's Mark, Heaven Hill, Jim Beam and Barton 1792 round out the distilleries.
For your first stop in bourbon country, take the Bluegrass Parkway west to the first Bardstown exit and follow the signs to Maker's Mark. It will take approximately 20 minutes after you exit the parkway. That world famous bottle with the neck dipped in red wax?? It's the distinct trademark of Maker's Mark. Located in the tiny town of Loretto, dip and take home a one-of-a-kind souvenir. The Toll Gate Cafe at the distillery entrance is the perfect stop to relax after the tour.
Head back to Bardstown where the Heaven Hill Bourbon Heritage Center and the Heaven Hill Distillery is on your left just before you reach town. With a fantastic tasting experience (yes, you are inside a replica of a huge bourbon barrel), a Heaven Hill Distillery Tour and so much Kentucky bourbon history, you will become a bourbon expert.
Historic Barton 1792 Distillery is on the site of the historic Tom Moore bourbon distillery and is renowned for their 1792 Bourbon. Their free tours Monday through Saturday provide the only total distillery tour in Bardstown–see how the Barton Distillery began on the grounds of the historic Tom Moore bourbon distillery, established in 1879. Once back on U.S. 150/62 head into Bardstown and take the roundabout and turn on the second exit onto West Stephen Foster Ave/U.S. 62. Turn left on Barton Road and the distillery is on your right.
Our next distillery is located northwest of Bardstown, so before you leave, stop by the Old Talbott Tavern which is thought to be the oldest western stagecoach stop left in America. Since the late 1700s, it has provided food and shelter to early frontiersman and now modern-day travelers. Backtrack and turn right onto West Stephen Foster Ave/U.S. 62, the Tavern is on your right just before you enter the roundabout.
The final distillery on this loop is Jim Beam. Start your tour at the Jim Beam American Stillhouse. From the family tree pictured on the interior walls you can follow the seven generations of distillers and just may run into Fred Noe, the current Beam family distiller. Book a tour and learn the bourbon-making process from start to finish, visit the gift shop and don’t forget the tasting. From downtown Bardstown take North 3rd Street/U.S. 150/U.S. 31E. to KY-245, turn left on KY-245 and drive about 14 miles. Turn right onto Sleepy Hollow Road.
The easiest way to return to Lexington is to take KY-245 back to the scenic Bluegrass Parkway and then northeast back to Lexington. Follow the signs.
From Jim Beam to Heaven Hill, distillery tour patrons are in for a treat on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. Don’t forget to check out the first loop as well!