Our first stop on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail for the last couple years has been Lexington, KY. There are several stops on the Bourbon Trail within twenty miles of Lexington, including well known stops at Four Roses, Wild Turkey, Woodford Reserve, and Buffalo Trace distilleries. Other local distilleries include Glenns Creek at the old Old Crow distillery, Town Branch, and one of the newest – Castle & Key. And for bourbon purests, there’s Hartfield & Company Distillery, which is actually in Bourbon County, KY.
The many distilleries in the area are prepared for bourbon fans, and are among the most scenic distilleries on the Bourbon Trail. From the bridge that leads you into Wild Turkey and the horse farms that take you to Woodford Reserve, the distilleries in this area know how to welcome you.
During our first trip to the Bourbon Trail, we tried to tick off as many distilleries as we could, with our main focus being a hard hat tour at Buffalo Trace.
During our second trip, we were sure to stop at Wild Turkey for a tour, but our main focus was the newly opened Castle and Key Distillery. The grounds at Castle and Key were incredible, and it was obvious that it was built for bourbon tourists. The owners have done a great job fixing up the place so far and have great plans for the property.
If you’re planning to have a good meal during your bourbon trail trip, you may have been disappointed, but during our last trip, we were able to stop in at Woodford Reserve and enjoy a decent lunch.
We wanted to stop at a true Bourbon County distillery, and made the trek out to Paris, KY to see Hartfield & Co. Distillery. It’s truly a bootstrap operation that’s just getting started, and it felt a bit like a legal moonshine operation, but they cling to their Bourbon County roots.
On all of our trips to Lexington, we’ve ended the day in the Distillery District, stopping at James E. Pepper Distillery and Barrel House Distilling. The area is a great place for both a tasting and a meal, as well as craft beer at Ethereal Brewing.
Finally, if you’re looking for a drink and a meal in the area, we have had great success at the Hopcat – primarily for a burger and craft beer – and Oscar Diggs for a late night burger, beer, and bourgon. If you’re looking for nicer dining, we’ve heard OBC Kitchen is quite nice for both food and bourbon.
If you only have one day to enjoy the Bourbon Trail, we’d recommend making Lexington that stop, as the distilleries in the area are top notch, and are among the most reputable stops on the trail.