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How Long It Takes To Do The Entire Kentucky Bourbon Trail

bourbon bottles over kentucky map
bourbon bottles over kentucky map - Static Media / Shutterstock / Getty

For whiskey enthusiasts, the Kentucky Bourbon Trail is a pilgrimage — a must-do experience, perhaps even a rite of passage. To tour the trail means driving through Kentucky (around the Louisville area) and visiting all 46 of the most popular bourbon distilleries in the state. These are typically distilleries that are part of the Kentucky Distillers' Association, with some names you might recognize — like the Evan Williams Experience shop in Louisville and Maker's Mark distillery in Loretto.

Most of the distilleries are located in the Louisville area, so if you're short on time, drive here first and see everything that the shops here have got to offer (Old Forester, Angel's Envy, etc.) But many legs of the trail will bring you out as far as a hundred miles west, which will be the case if you want to visit Green River Distillery in Owensboro.

For the standard touring experience, expect to stick around the area for a week, which will give you enough time to visit and enjoy the samples from the most interesting spots that are part of the trail. However, if you want to do the entire trail, it can take up to a month. Not just because distillery tours are often packed and you'll have to book ahead for weeks at a time, but it's also because there are notable distilleries, such as Buffalo Trace in Frankfort, roughly 60 miles east of Louisville, which, while not officially part of the trail, may warrant a detour!


Read more: The 27 Best Bourbon Brands, Ranked

Is It Really Worth It To Do The Whole Trail In The First Place?

Bourbon barrels along the trail
Bourbon barrels along the trail - thomas carr/Shutterstock

If you're a hardcore whiskey fan and want to have a look (and a taste) of Kentucky bourbon's heritage, then it might be worth it to spend the time and effort to run the circuit around Louisville and its vicinities. Just make sure to draw up a solid itinerary using the trail's official webpage as a resource and book your tours at least a month in advance and we're sure you'll have a blast!

However, for most people, doing the full tour may not be worth it. After two or three days of tastings, your palate may begin to experience fatigue. Plus, considering how bourbons are aged in barrels across the nation, partaking in a number of "How It's Made-style" tours (on top of the travel) can really help the exhaustion settle in for some.

A better idea might be to choose a single distillery you're most interested in and book a full tour there. Then, do a couple more tastings until you start to feel a bit bored of the same old routine. When that happens, do something different like hop by a bourbon bar, or book a "You-Do-Bourbon" experience at Heaven Hill. There, you can make your bourbon bottle fresh from the production line, which adds some fun to the mix, and cures some of the tedium!

Read the original article on Tasting Table.