Thousands of years ago, humans discovered and began to cultivate corn, utilizing all the parts in various ways. The crop continues to be a big part of everyday life. A person dressed in clothing containing corn fibers can hop in their corn-fueled car and drive to the store to pick up a bottle of their favorite barrel-aged, rye, and corn-based liquid: bourbon.

The distinctly American liquor is a huge part of Kentucky culture. Every year, people head to the Southern state to complete the Bourbon Trail, learning about the history of the amber-colored liquid and, of course, sipping on some divinely smooth samples produced by the most famous bourbon distilleries in the country. Every barrel-aged, corn-based liquid lover needs to add these Kentucky distillery tours to their bourbon bucket list.

Updated by Joshua Chiedu, February 28, 2022: Kentucky is unarguably more of bourbon whiskey than it is of fried chicken as generations have carried on this liquor-making business that first began in this region in the late 18th century. With more distilleries being unveiled in this liquor-making state, here are some more distilleries to include in your bourbon tour.

11 Buffalo Trace Distillery

  • Address: 113 Great Buffalo Trace, Frankfort, KY 40601

According to them, Buffalo Trace is "the oldest continuously operating distillery in America," allowed to continue brewing even during prohibition after citing the medicinal uses of their bourbon. Notes of toffee and vanilla linger on the palate long after the final sip, a flavor so smooth and delicious it's easy to understand why Buffalo Trace has won the title of "Distillery of the Year" seven times.

Buffalo Trace offers ten unique experiences crafted to entertain every brand of bourbon lover. The "Trace Tour" takes guests on a journey through the facility to learn the science of their brews, while the "Botanical Gardens Tour" includes tastings on the beautifully landscaped grounds of the facility. The distillery even offers haunted tours that examine the spooky lore that insists spirits linger on the grounds.

Related: The 10 Oldest Bars In America (From Newest To Oldest)

10 Four Roses Distillery

  • Address:  1224 Bonds Mill Rd, Lawrenceburg, KY 40342

An interesting legend surrounds Four Roses' recognizable logo, which has graced the bottles of its high-end bourbons for over 125 years. According to the story, founder Paul Jones Jr. was enamored with a woman who donned a corsage made of four roses to a ball. The logo born from love led to a bourbon crafted with passion.

Four Roses routinely brews four varieties, extending their craft into delicious small-batch, limited edition bourbons. Tour-goers can expect a small sample of several products, a commemorative souvenir glass, and an in-depth description of the process and history of the company.

9 Maker's Mark Distillery

  • Address:  3350 Burks Spring Rd, Loretto, KY 40037

The trademark red wax dripping down the side of a bottle of Maker's Mark is only one thing that makes it unique. The notably sweet taste of the bourbon was born from Bill Samuel Sr.'s desire to brew a smooth finish he could share with friends and family. The quest became a family affair, and Bill's wife, Margie, designed the unique bottle to complement the unique flavor of the bourbon.

The distillery itself is listed as a National Historic Place. Hour-long tours cover the grounds, where an expert will give the company's history on a quarter-mile walk. At the end, guests will participate in a guided tasting of several bourbons and learn what goes into each to create their distinct flavor profiles. If visitors haven't had enough Maker's Mark, they can dig into seasonal dishes and cocktails at the on-site restaurant after their tour.

8 Angel's Envy Distillery

  • Address:  500 E Main St, Louisville, KY 40202

It seems to be a common theme that the whiskey business involves the entire family, a labor of love passed down from generation to generation and fine-tuned over time. The folks over at Angel's Envy craft small-batch brews in various barrels that add to the bourbon's signature flavor.

The hip location in the heart of Louisville is known for its top-notch tours diving into a history that spans several generations. Guests will finish their lesson with A+ tastings of two liquors paired with chocolates to complement the flavor. Weekend visitors have the opportunity to book a memorable experience where they can pour and take home their own bottle of Angel’s Envy Kentucky Straight Bourbon.

Related: Destination Louisville: The Best Things You Can See In This Historic Baseball City

7 Jim Beam Distillery

  • Address:  568 Happy Hollow Rd, Clermont, KY 40110

Jim Beam has been in the business for over two centuries, formulating their namesake white-labeled whiskey along with some top-shelf bourbon favorites like Basil Hayden's and Old Crow. The distillery is located in a super small town, adding to the intimate experience tourists can expect during their visit.

The Jim Beam Distillery offers several adventures, many of them interactive. Guests will earn their samples by spinning the barrels with the family on the "Beam Made Bourbon Distillery Tour and Tasting." They'll walk through the barrel aging process in the warehouse on the "Maturation Matters" tour and enjoy a hands-on lesson during the "Noe Your Cocktails Mixology Experience." Visit Jim Beam's website for a complete list of current and upcoming experiences.

6 Green River Distilling Co.

  • Address:  10 Distillery Rd, Owensboro, KY 42301

The folks at Green River Distilling Co. had to change their slogan to "The Whiskey Without Regrets" after their old catchphrase, "The Whiskey Without a Headache," was questioned by the federal government. Four comprehensive tours take visitors on a behind-the-scenes journey through the facility. Every sense will come alive as tourists marvel at the expansive operation, catch whiffs of the aging bourbons, hear the machines going in the production areas, feel the glass in their hands, and tickle their taste buds with samplings of delectable liquid magic.

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5 Woodford Reserve Distillery

  • Address:  7785 McCracken Pike, Versailles, KY 40383

Woodford Reserve is yet another Kentucky distillery that earned the title of National Historic Landmark. The company has adapted to modern trends and is dedicated to sustainability, recycling a majority of their waste to ensure they leave a more ec0-friendly footprint.

There are several tours to choose from and hundreds of flavor notes to discover. Guests can opt for a more budget-friendly experience on the "Path to Flavor Tour," where they will learn the brand's history and follow it up with a sampling of award-winning craft bourbon. Those who'd like to go all out can book the "VIP Master Distiller Tour Experience" led by the experts behind it all that includes a special bottle of bourbon that hasn't been released to the public.

4 Castle and Key Distillery

  • Address:  4445 McCracken Pike, Frankfort, KY 40601

The Castle and Key facility is arguably the most visually pleasing of all the distilleries in Kentucky. People will feel royally blessed before they even step inside, noticing the castle rising from the rolling green hills and the grounds colored by beautiful botanic gardens.  Luckily, the outside matches the inside, as Castle and Key are known for their top-shelf, impeccable flavors.

Unique experiences abound, and visitors can enjoy a free self-guided tour of the nature-heavy grounds at their own pace. For the most well-rounded adventure, guests should check out the "Guided Distillery Experience," which includes the facility's history, a sampling of Restoration Rye Whiskey, concluding with a delicious cocktail of their choosing.

Related: 10 Amazing Distilleries You Have To Tour In The Midwest

3 Bulleit Distilling Co.

  • Address:  3900 Benson Pike, Shelbyville, KY 40065

The company points out that the "charred American oak barrels lend a smoky backbone" to Bulleit bourbon's bold, high-rye flavor.  Whiskey lovers will have the chance to taste it for themselves when they visit the historical yet contemporary location on the "Frontier Whiskey Experience." The full tour covers the grounds and distillery and includes sensory samplings in the gorgeous tasting room. Bulleit also offers an immersive tour called "Unlocking the Senses," where eager tasters will enjoy the flavors on an entirely different level, amplified by special scent bulbs and sounds.

2 Heaven Hill Distillery

  • Address: 1064 Loretto Road, Bardstown, KY, 40004

Heaven Hill has been in the business of distilling soul-lifting whiskey since 1935. This family-owned distillery is the largest (toured) distillery in the world. Tours offered here present visitors the taste of different well-known American Whiskeys while taking them through the entire whiskey-production process and also educating them about the history of the original American Whiskey.

1 Old Forester Distillery

  • Address: 119 West Main Street, Louisville, KY, 40202

Enjoy a detailed explanation of bourbon making at Old Forester Distillery. Here, everything from the fermentation and distillation to the making of the barrels and more. There are several tours offered by Old Forester that ensure guests have a satisfying experience which includes tastes of some of the World’s finest wine.

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