Bourbon, Things to Do

A Stop on the Bourbon Trail: Heaven Hill

heaven hill distillery

In the same weekend that we went to Maker’s Mark (which I mentioned in a post earlier this week), we decided to go to Heaven Hill, since it was approximately 18 miles away from Maker’s Mark. Heaven Hill is in Bardstown, Kentucky and is around 65 miles, if you are coming straight from Lexington. Bardstown is Kentucky’s second oldest city and was named one of the best small towns in America. Bardstown has been the site of bourbon distilleries since 1776 and is known as the ‘Bourbon Capital of the World.’

Heaven Hill offers two different tours; the Mashbill Tour and the Whiskey Connoisseur Experience. We decided to do something different and take the Connoisseur Experience tour, because we are already very familiar with the process of making bourbon. However, if you are not and the whole bourbon making process is new to you, then I would highly suggest you take the other tour (Note: Heaven Hill is aged and bottled in Bardstown, but it is distilled in Louisville).

Fun Fact: In 1996, seven warehouses and 90,000 barrels of bourbon caught on fire. Flames were high as 35 stories. The company survived the next couple of years by fellow bourbon companies; Brown-Forman and Jim Beam, until they were able to purchase a new distillery. Even though they are competitors, they still helped them out. That’s how huge and important and the bourbon industry is, especially to us Kentuckians.

“Heaven Hill Distilleries is America’s largest independent, family-owned and operated producer and marketer of distilled spirits.

Heaven Hill is America’s seventh-largest supplier of distilled spirits.

Aging in its facilities is the second largest inventory of aging Kentucky whiskey in the world, with over 1,000,000 barrels. This accounts for nearly 17 percent of the world’s future supply of Bourbon.

Heaven Hill has filled over seven million barrels of Kentucky Bourbon since it was founded after the repeal of Prohibition.—Heaven Hill Key Facts”

With the Connoisseur Experience, we got a brief history of bourbon and Heaven Hill. Afterwards, we got to go into the tasting room and try four of their spirits. We got to try Heaven Hill Select Stock, Bernheim Original, Larceny, and Henry McKenna. You then were given a complimentary tasting glass as a souvenir to keep. The other tour, which we didn’t do, is different, and it goes more in depth with the whole bourbon making process rather than mostly focusing on the tasting. This is one of the main reasons that I don’t have as many pictures as I do from the other distilleries, since we didn’t do the regular tour.

bourbonheritagecenter_heavenhill

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Important Information:

  • Sunday and Monday closed in January and February.  Tuesday through Saturday in January and February from 10am to 5pm..
  • Monday through Saturday from 10am to 5:30pm in March through December. Sundays 12pm to 4pm.
  • Last tour is offered one hour before closing.

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  • Pete Cataldo

    You know you are a huge fan of bourbon when that Fun Fact (the fire and the 90,000 barrels going up in flames) brings a tear to your eye. LOL. This is awesome. I’m a huge fan of quite a number of the labels from this distillery (Larceny in particular). Ugh. It’s too early to open up my bar cabinet, but I may have to do that anyway after reading this. Haha. Thanks for sharing!

    • Hahah… It’s 5 o’clock somewhere, am I right? lol 😉

      Also, a news article mentioned that someone from out of state called the fire department and said, “Heaven Hill bottles the whiskey I drink and I want to know if it is all burning up” hahah!!

  • Karen Yannacio Morse

    What an amazing experience! I’ve done wine tasting and brewery tours, but this looks really unique!
    Karen | GlamKaren.com

    • We have quite a few wineries here too, but I’ve never been. I’m not much of a wine girl. I prefer bourbon 🙂

  • Jessica Hughes

    What an awesome experience! This looks like such a fun stop and trip!

  • Rachel Zampanti Langer

    Looks like you guys had a great trip with cool stops! I had no idea there were this many distillities in KY.

    • Yep! There’s nine distilleries on the trail (and that’s not even including the ones not on the trail. Not every distillery gets to be on the trail. That’s also not including the micro distilleries and whatnot).

      After all, Kentucky is responsible for 95% of the world’s bourbon 🙂

  • Vicky Perreault

    Looks like a great place! I would love to go on those tours.

  • My parents took a trip and did the Bourbon trail and they said it was one of the hidden gems of travel (and they’ve traveled a lot). The more I hear about it the more I think I’m going to have to schedule a trip for sometime soon.

    • That’s awesome!! Some people make a whole weekend out of it! I think if you can plan it right, it would take three days (I wouldn’t do more than two per day! There’s also lots of information about planning a trip online; where to start, where to go next, where to finish, etc).

      There were some people on our tour wearing their ‘Bourbon Trail’ shirts that they got from completing it from a previous year. They were doing it all over again to get another shirt and because it’s fun! (also, the shirts are different every year!)

  • jillconyers

    This sounds like a trip my father in law would love. He would definitely want to take the tours.

  • Rebecca Bryant

    What a cool experience! This looks like such a fun stop and trip!

  • Michelle Myers

    I love unique experiences and product tours! I always learn so much!

    • We got to learn that all of the Master Distillers at Heaven Hill since its founding (in 1935) have been members of the Beam family. The original Master Distiller was Joseph L. Beam, Jim Beam’s first cousin (Jim Beam as in Jim Beam bourbon). Pretty crazy, huh?

  • Debra Hawkins

    What what an experience! Those pictures are absolutely stunning. I love the contrast in them!

  • I read your other post and what an experience this one was as well. I have to say that if I’m ever in Kentucky I want to tour some of these places too.

    • Just wait until you see the others!! (If you scroll back about a year into my Instagram, you can find pictures on others I have been too. I had stopped blogging at that time, but we plan on going back to the ones we have already been to!)

      There’s tons to do! Also, there’s tons of special Bourbon Events going on throughout the entire year!

  • tp keane

    wow, it’s so interesting to learn about the history of bourbon. And what a place to do it. So beautiful.

  • Megan McCoig

    This sounds like such a cool day out – I would love to take this tour. Cool that you got to try 4 of the different flavours to!

  • I love touring wineries, breweries and distilleries! They are so cool and the free samples don’t hurt either 😉

    • I love trying different stuff, especially stuff that is super expensive or only available at the distillery (and not available for purchase anywhere else!)

  • I love touring wineries but I’ve never been to a distillery before. Looks like fun!

  • My husband would love this place because of the free samples and the opportunity to sample bourbon and different liquors. It looks like an interesting location.

    • You guys should come… Kentucky is responsible for 95% of the world’s bourbon, so there will be plenty of distilleries to pick from! 🙂

  • What a fun outing! We have a new distillery not far from us and we have been talking about checking it out some time. I love how your tour covered history and the whole bourbon making process!

    • Our tour didn’t cover that, because ours just focused mostly on the tasting. We just already knew about the history and process from the other four distilleries that we’ve been to and from being fans of bourbon 🙂

  • Denea Duran

    This looks like a place I need to bring my husband because he loves Bourbon! I am more of a wine type of girl but I am pining this!

    • He would love it in Kentucky… Bourbon is one of the things we are known for! (Well, besides bluegrass, basketball, and horses!)

  • Chauncey would really love this! He’s been to several of the local distilleries, but not this one.

    Tif
    http://www.brightonabudget.com

    • The other ones we’ve been to was Woodford Reserve, Wild Turkey, Town Branch, Maker’s Mark, and this one! He should go, so he can get a stamp in his passport!

  • Laura Londergan

    what a fun place to have an adventure! It is so much fun to see how everything works at a place like this

  • Amber Nelson

    This sounds like a great place to take my husband. He would love it!

  • CourtneyLynne Storms

    Oooooo now this would be one fun place to visit!!!! I love talking tours like these. So need to make a visit with hubby!

  • This sounds like such a fun outing! I love visiting places like this to learn who how they make different drinks.

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  • Wendy Polisi

    This looks like such a fun time!!! I love going new places and drinks are always fun!