A Stop on the Bourbon Trail: Jim Beam

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A few weekends ago, my husband, some friends, and I took an impromptu trip to the Jim Beam Bourbon Distillery in Clermont, Kentucky. Us four are visiting the entire Kentucky Bourbon Trail, so we can complete our passport and get our t-shirt for this year.

Each distillery offers various types of tours. Just like with Heaven Hill, we just did the tasting. So, we didn’t get to see the interworking of the distillery. I would recommend taking an entire distillery tour, especially if you haven’t and you want to see the whole bourbon making process (a tasting is included). With just tasting tours, you get a brief history and get to try a few of their spirits. The distillery tour  is around 90 minutes and just the tasting tour is 15 minutes.

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Since we weren’t able to take an actual distillery tour, because all of the tours were booked up and we would’ve had to wait two hours, we just the tasting. Instead after the tour, we walked around a little bit and then drove around and took some pictures. Most of the pictures that you see are from the tasting and the visitor center and the pictures that were outside are from us walking around. However, we plan on going back, because it’s such an iconic brand, so how could we not?

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Some fun facts that people may or may not know:

All of the Master Distillers at Heaven Hill since its founding have been members of the Beam family (Yes, ‘the’ Jim Beam). The original Master Distiller at Heaven Hill was Joseph L. Beam, which was Jim Beam’s first cousin. He was followed by his son, Harry, who was followed by Earl Beam, which is the son of Jim Beam’s brother, Park. Earl Beam was then succeeded by the current Heaven Hill Master Distillers, Parker Beam and his son, Craig Beam.

-Jim Beam is one of the best selling brands of bourbon in the world.

-It was introduced in 1795.

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Now that we have visited Jim Beam, we have to visit Bulleit, Evan Williams, and Four Roses.

In an upcoming post, I’ll go into detail about the differences between bourbon and whiskey, because they are not synonymous. A little tidbit for you: Bourbon gets 50 to 60 percent of its flavor from the barrel itself (which has to be brand new white oak barrels), and absolutely nothing can be added to it except water (so no additives). If there is something added to it, then it is not a bourbon; it’s a whiskey.

I know I may sound like a broken record, but

“All bourbon is whiskey, but not all whiskey is bourbon.”

Other Places I’ve Stopped on the Bourbon Trail (Woodford Reserve, Wild Turkey, and Town Branch don’t have posts, because I didn’t have this blog when I visited them last year):

Maker’s Mark

Heaven Hill

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  • We are hoping to do this trail this fall with some friends. I’ve bookmarked your post to share with them when its time to plan. Looks like a lot of fun!

  • Rebecca Bryant

    this looks fun. I need to add this to my travel list. I do enjoy a good tour.

  • Allie

    This looks so fun! We did the Jameson Distillery in Dublin and it was awesome! Not only was it fun, but a lot of cool history too.

  • I love learning the history behind brands. It is crazy to think that the Jim Beam brand started back in 1795! This is definitely on my to-visit list.

  • Di Hickman

    How fun was this trip! We aren’t bourbon drinkers but we do the same with beer. My hubby started brewing his own and since then we do brewery tours occasionally.

  • This would be right up my husband’s alley! What a fun, unique date idea! Amber N

  • Carolyn

    I would love this tour as I like burbon. We just did a vodka tour and I just can’t handle straight vodka even if it is flavored. 🙂

  • Great photographs! It’s not easy to take good quality shots inside, but you did a good job!

  • I love scotch, which is a close “cousin” to the bourbons. It was super fun getting to go to a few scotch distilleries in Scotland when I visited with my parents. Your photos are great and it looks like you guys had a lot of fun!

  • Reesa Lewandowski

    I actually have never had Jim Beam! What a fun tour, we love going on factory tours! Looks like a great day out together!

  • I went years ago on a tour! Unfortunately, we went on a Sunday so we weren’t able to do any tastings but it was still an interesting tour!

  • Such a historic and wonderful place to visit. Love this place too!

  • Debra Hawkins

    It is absolutely fascinating to me to see how it all works. I don’t drink but I would still love to do a tour someday!

  • Terryn Winfield

    You look like you both had so much fun! I have never been to a tasting before.

  • Distilleries are great places to visit. I love Jim Beam Whiskey.

  • Sara Buckner

    That looks like so much fun! I’m sure it was a fun date for you and your husband!

  • Wow! How awesome is that! Jim Beam Whiskey is a staple in our home bar and at our parties. Would love to see that place too! Thanks for sharing your experience!

  • Rachel Catherine

    What a great tour! I love all the pictures too. You guys sound like you had fun.