Kentucky Bourbon Experience - First Loop
Today nine distilleries offer the Kentucky Bourbon Experience but this loop includes the four that are clustered within a 40-mile radius from Lexington west. Cruise through picturesque scenery to Woodford Reserve, Buffalo Trace, Four Roses, Wild Turkey and Town Branch Bourbon distilleries via I-64, just a short drive around the Bluegrass Region. Plenty of gorgeous horse farms and historic towns are along the way.
Town Branch Bourbon. Start your tour in Lexington at the newest distillery, Town Branch Bourbon, located just a couple of blocks from Rupp Area on West Cross Street near the intersection of Versailles Road and W. Maxwell. All tours begin at their Welcome Center which is reminiscent of an Irish Pub and start on the hour lasting approximately 45 minutes. Town Branch Bourbon is the newest line produced by Alltech’s Lexington Brewing and Distilling Company – better known as Kentucky Ale®.
Woodford Reserve Distillery on Glenn's Creek is surrounded by prime thoroughbred country. Head west on I-64 and exit at Frankfort (exit # 58). At the end of the ramp, turn left and motor along U.S. 60/Versailles Road (speed limit 55) approximately two miles to Grassy Springs Road. Watch for brown historical maker on the right, turn right, and follow the signs to distillery. This boutique producer of bourbon is part of the Brown Forman family of spirits.
Retrace your route to U.S. 60 to move on to Buffalo Trace Distillery. Located in Kentucky's capital city Frankfort--at the point where Kentucky River shoals allowed shallow crossing to roaming buffalo and later to settlers, Buffalo Trace was one of very few that produced during prohibition (for medicinal purposes). At U.S.60/Versailles Road, turn left and follow 60 north (under I-64) into Frankfort. At the four-way intersection (at the junction of 421, 127, 460 and 60), rather than follow 60 to the left, go straight on U.S. 421/127. As you descend into the Kentucky River valley, Buffalo Trace is on the right with stone fence and sign out front.
Two more of Kentucky's world-famous distilleries are located in Lawrenceburg just south of Frankfort near U.S. 127.
Bag some Wild Turkey (we don't mean the bird) to sip by driving south on U.S.127 for approximately 11 miles. Turn left on U.S.62 and continue for 2.3 miles. Make a right onto Tyrone Rd where this distillery also overlooks the Kentucky River.
Continue on U.S. 127 South to Four Roses Distillery which is about another six miles to the south. Go south to Ky. 513 (west), turn right and travel for one mile to the distillery. The distillery's beautiful Spanish architecture is a rarity in Kentucky which sometimes leans more towards Colonial and Italianate architecture. Four Roses was the top selling Bourbon in the U.S. in the 30s, 40s and 50s and is back to distilling the bourbon originally produced here.
If your taste runs more towards the fruit of the vine (we won't tell as Kentucky was the site of the first commercial vineyard in the U.S.), while in Lawrenceburg stop at Lover's Leap and taste their fine wines. Head north on U.S. 127 until you see the Lovers Leap Winery sign on the right. Turn right on McCormick Rd which makes a sharp right and becomes Hammond Rd. After 1.2 miles and about 20 yards BEFORE the stop sign, turn left on Ninevah Rd (Rt. 326 at Ninevah Christian Church). Go 1.7 miles to Lanes Mill Rd. (second road on left) and turn left. Go about 1 mile and look for Lovers Leap Winery and their vines on the right.
Tasting is ok but please use a designated driver if necessary.