A Stop on the Bourbon Trail: Heaven Hill

May 26, 2016

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.


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.
  • Pete Cataldo May 26, 2016 at 11:11 am

    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!

    • Whitney @ Fabulous in Fayette May 26, 2016 at 1:34 pm

      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 May 26, 2016 at 12:54 pm

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

    • Whitney @ Fabulous in Fayette May 26, 2016 at 1:35 pm

      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 May 26, 2016 at 1:01 pm

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

  • Rachel Zampanti Langer May 26, 2016 at 2:27 pm

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

    • Whitney @ Fabulous in Fayette May 26, 2016 at 2:35 pm

      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 May 26, 2016 at 4:44 pm

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

  • Brittany May 26, 2016 at 6:36 pm

    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.

    • Whitney @ Fabulous in Fayette May 26, 2016 at 7:28 pm

      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 May 26, 2016 at 7:44 pm

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

  • Rebecca Bryant May 26, 2016 at 8:55 pm

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

  • Michelle Myers May 26, 2016 at 9:43 pm

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

    • Whitney @ Fabulous in Fayette May 26, 2016 at 10:18 pm

      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 May 26, 2016 at 11:09 pm

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

  • Amanda Love May 27, 2016 at 1:19 am

    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.

    • Whitney @ Fabulous in Fayette May 27, 2016 at 1:25 am

      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 May 27, 2016 at 9:37 am

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

    • Whitney @ Fabulous in Fayette June 1, 2016 at 12:26 am

      There’s so much I could say about the history of bourbon, but I don’t want to bore anyone heheh 😉

  • Megan McCoig May 27, 2016 at 12:52 pm

    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!

  • Rebecca @ Happily the Hicks May 27, 2016 at 2:46 pm

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

    • Whitney @ Fabulous in Fayette June 1, 2016 at 12:27 am

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

  • Nikki Stevens May 27, 2016 at 5:37 pm

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

    • Whitney @ Fabulous in Fayette June 1, 2016 at 12:28 am

      We have wineries here too! I’ve never toured one, but I have been to one for dinner though!

  • Maria - Tough Cookie Mommy May 28, 2016 at 12:08 am

    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.

    • Whitney @ Fabulous in Fayette June 1, 2016 at 12:28 am

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

  • Kid Minds May 28, 2016 at 8:45 pm

    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!

    • Whitney @ Fabulous in Fayette June 1, 2016 at 12:29 am

      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 May 28, 2016 at 8:58 pm

    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!

    • Whitney @ Fabulous in Fayette June 1, 2016 at 12:30 am

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

  • Tif @ Bright on a Budget May 28, 2016 at 10:14 pm

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


    • Whitney @ Fabulous in Fayette June 1, 2016 at 12:31 am

      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 May 29, 2016 at 12:32 am

    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 May 29, 2016 at 12:09 pm

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

  • CourtneyLynne Storms May 31, 2016 at 3:46 pm

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

  • Crystal @ Dreams, etc. June 6, 2016 at 4:57 pm

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

    • Whitney @ Fabulous in Fayette June 15, 2016 at 1:25 am

      We always have a good time visiting distilleries, even though the process is pretty much the same 🙂

  • […] 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 […]

  • Wendy Polisi November 2, 2016 at 7:03 pm

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

  • About Me

    About Me

    Hi, y'all!

    Hey y'all! My name is Whitney, and I'm the founder of Fabulous in Fayette. I've been living in Lexington since 2008. I'm in love with my city of Lexington and love all the amazing local businesses and restaurants. It's seriously one of the best places to live!

    Not to be confused with Fayetteville, North Carolina. Fabulous in Fayette celebrates the fabulous city of Lexington, the great state of Kentucky, and Southern Living. In case you are not from here, Fayette refers to the county where Lexington is located!

    xoxo, Whitney

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