Woodford Reserve Distillery Tour in Kentucky

Kentucky is known for horse racing and bourbon whiskey. During our trip to Kentucky a few years ago, we visited the Woodford Reserve Distillery. Located a little over an hour away from Louisville, Kentucky, the distillery is located in the heart of horse country in the town of Versailles. The tour starts with a history of bourbon in general as well as Woodford Reserve itself. Unlike some other distilleries that create thousands of barrels per year, Woodford Reserve produces a limited number of barrels per year. Even if you are not a fan of whiskey, the tour is fascinating and the scenery is beautiful.

The Start of the Tour
Barrels Stacked to the Ceiling

As you wait for the tour to begin, you can walk through the museum with the history of bourbon and its relationship to Kentucky. There are displays that include a miniature representation of the distillery as it existed when it was first built. The stone distillery buildings are hundreds of years old and add to the ambiance of the tour. Seeing the large copper vats and learning about the distilling process is very educational. From how the barrels are charred to create the unique color and enhance the flavor to the “angel’s share”, which is the evaporation of a portion of the whiskey, you will learn everything about distilling bourbon.

Standing Outside of the Historic Distillery
The Distilling Process

At the conclusion of the tour, you are treated with a tasting of some of the Woodford Reserve bourbons. We are not bourbon experts by any means, but we did find the Woodford Reserve to be extremely smooth. Having gone to other distillery and brewery tours, this is definitely one of the nicest tours that we’ve taken.

You Can Buy Your Own Barrel


Old New Orleans Rum Distillery in New Orleans

One of the places that we visited during our trip to New Orleans, Louisiana was the Old New Orleans Rum Distillery. They offer several tours a day during the week and a couple of tours on the weekend and the cost is extremely reasonable at $15 per person. It is the oldest premium rum distillery in the United States, which has more to do with the fact that the previous distilleries all closed in the 1970’s, so when they opened in the 1990’s, they became the first to reestablish a presence once again. Now there are more than 200 distilleries making rum once again, but the Old New Orleans Distillery is not only the oldest, but probably one of the best, winning several awards.

Cranberry Lime Punch
Preparing for the Trivia Game
Describing the Distilling Process

We were greeted with a cranberry lime punch with their Cajun Spice Rum. It was absolutely delicious and certainly a great start to our tour. Then our guide, Bob, began explaining the history of the distillery, as well as rum in general, while pouring several shots into cups in front of him. He then engaged our group with a quiz where the person who answered the question correctly was rewarded with one of the shots of rum. We answered a couple of questions, but stopped answering anymore since we knew that there was still a tasting to come later in the tour. It was a fun and lively way to get the entire group to participate and learn some interesting facts.

Distillery Vats
Katrina Flood Line Marker
Explaining the Tasting Process

We then entered the distillery itself and learned about the process of distilling rum. Interestingly, it doesn’t take as long to make excellent rum as it does other types of alcohol. We were shown the marks on the wall that showed how high the floods of Hurricane Katrina had reached within the distillery causing them to lose a majority of the oldest rum. Today, they keep the oldest rum on the highest shelves in order to avoid that from ever happening again. As with any distillery tour, it was informative and interesting to learn what makes them so passionate about their product. They are very proud of the fact that they take the extra step to filter the rum with activated charcoal, which makes it even smoother and enhances the overall flavor.


Charcoal to Filter the Rum
Oldest Rum Up High
Barrels of Rum

After the tour, we ended with a tasting of all six varieties of rum that they produce. We were certainly warm inside by the time our tour had concluded. Obviously there is the option to buy bottles of rum at a discount, but since we were traveling with carry-on bags only, we chose not to purchase anything at the time. We will, however, definitely look for them at our local liquor stores and certainly buy one of them the next time we are need of some rum for a party. If you have a few hours to spend while you are in New Orleans, taking a tour at the Old New Orleans Rum Distillery is certainly a worthwhile activity.