In the Kentucky backcountry nestled somewhere in the midst of the state’s beautiful Bluegrass Region is the town of Versailles. Visitors to this area will not only enjoy the historical Lexington-Fayette area known for two of Kentucky’s most notable contributions to the United States and the world – thoroughbred horses and the finest craft bourbon. If you’re a fan of the latter, then make sure that Woodford Reserve Distillery tours are at the top of your list of things to do while visiting the area. The distillery is just as fascinating if you aren’t a big bourbon drinker, as the technology and craftsmanship that goes into every bottle are both inspiring and surprising.
Woodford Reserve Distillery Tours
The distillery offers tours 7 days a week on which guests can learn about the craft and craftsmen of making this fine bourbon, as well as enjoy the romantic landscape of a historic Kentucky bluegrass farm. Woodford Reserve Distillery is among the oldest bourbon distilleries in the country, having had centuries to perfect its exquisite bourbons, which have been in production onsite since 1780! The distillery is a National Historic Landmark, meaning that your tour will be educational both on distilling and history, as well as incredibly scenic.
You can be sure to learn about the five elements that go into the flavor of bourbon from the water to the grain and the fermentation. The scientific process of distilling is incredibly simple, but won’t fail to confound even the most scientific-minded person, especially when you imagine someone doing it nearly 200 years ago! The tours feature what makes Woodford bourbons so unique, namely that they are the smallest batches produced in the entire country, giving distillers the ability to fine-tune every aspect of their flavor. Each glass is unique, and drinkers will never fail to be impressed with the ever-changing and impossibly high quality bourbons produced by Woodford Reserve.
Tours are available Monday through Saturday from 10 AM to 3 PM, and Sunday from 1 to 3 PM. There are no reservations available, so be sure to arrive about an hour before the time you would like to tour to give yourself plenty of time and ensure your spot. Here are the tours available:
- Bourbon Discovery Tour – This daily tour is the most common among visitors and gives them a general history of bourbon, as well as what makes Woodford reserve unique. The tour will end with a tasting for all people of age.
- National Landmark Tour – This special two-hour two tour educates guests in the entire cultural and architectural history of the Woodford Reserve Distillery. You will leave with a full understanding of the property’s evolution as well as its preservation and its impact on Kentucky heritage and vice versa. While the grounds themselves are historical, so is the process of distilling, and the deep-rooted taste of bourbon in the Bluegrass Region.
- Corn to Cook Tour – This two-hour session is an immersion tour into the mechanical, chemical and technical details of making bourbon. All five sources of flavor will be unpacked excessively for those visitors that really want to nerd out, and perhaps make their own someday! If you’re a sucker for the details, this is the tour for you.
Whether or not you’re a whiskey, bourbon or rye drinker, the Woodford Reserve Distillery tours are fascinating. Come learn about how they craft their distinct products, and about Kentucky’s oldest pastime.
A Story Book Inn
If you are a bourbon lover and have come to explore the area’s famous Bourbon Trail, consider staying at this charming Versailles bed and breakfast, A Storybook Inn. This restored Victorian-style mansion is gorgeous, but not pretentious, making it the perfect country retreat. Guests can enjoy the peace and quiet of Kentucky while being within walking distance of the charming shops and restaurants of the main street. The staff are more than prepared to point in the right direction of the local distilleries, horse farms, and best restaurants. Bourbon or not, this Versailles inn is a dream vacation waiting to happen.
Photo: Adam Sonnett via Flickr.