Bourbon tours: discover the art of bourbon whiskey

Our bourbon tours will take you on an unforgettable journey to discover America’s favorite spirit. Combining incredible gourmet experiences and captivating history with expert tastings, we can design a holiday that tantalizes and inspires.

Our bourbon whiskey tours take you to the best distilleries in America, including historic distilleries and smaller micro-distilleries known for their charm and character. You’ll get to traverse scenic roads and byways as you go from each destination and enjoy amazing food that goes hand in hand with your drink. Our tours also include historic landmarks and sightseeing, as well as local music and other cultural activities.

Travel to unknown corners, stay in exclusive accommodation, and dine in the most authentic restaurants. We’ll help you sample the highlights of local life on the USA’s famous Whiskey Trail, so you’ll really be able to capture the soul of the land. Bourbon is one of America’s proudest exports, one that is loved by whiskey drinkers worldwide. With its unique production process, there’s nothing else like it anywhere.

Join us on our luxury bourbon tours and find out why bourbon making is such an art form and exactly what is involved to ensure perfection with every single sip.

Unfold the mystery of bourbon: explore the USA

Despite the popularity of bourbon around the world, the spirit remains a mystery to many. Our exclusive tours aim to unravel the secrets of the industry and make bourbon accessible and easy to enjoy for everyone.

Bourbon whiskey is an all-American barrel-aged distilled whiskey and it’s made primarily from corn. It is very similar to Scotch whisky in many ways, which is made mostly from malted barley. But what makes bourbon so special is its distinct flavor profile. Whether enjoyed in a cocktail, on the rocks or neat, it offers the palate a unique taste that has been created through its distillation and aging process.

Even more significant though is the strict production process in the USA. Bourbon manufacturing is heavily regulated, and that is how the unique flavor of Bourbon has continued to be upheld for centuries. In 1964, the United States Congress passed a decree that made bourbon an official product of the United States. Under the legal resolution, any bourbon whiskey produced must conform to the highest standards and must be manufactured in accordance with regulations.

To this day, bourbon retains its special characteristics and exceptional flavor profile, making it one the most wonderful drinks to get to know.

Learn about where it all began on our bourbon tours

One of the things that makes our tours so interesting – even for new bourbon drinkers – is our dedication to exploring history and culture. Our spirit experts will journey you back in time to where it all began. We’ll be unfolding each part of the story with exciting destinations, exclusive distilleries and incredible gastronomy. There’s so much more to a bourbon tasting holiday than just drinking, making it ideal for everyone from whiskey connoisseurs to beginners.

Distilling is believed to have been brought to the USA in the late 18th Century by the Scots as well as Irish and English settlers. Production was, and still is, primarily in the south, with 95% of all distilleries today being located in Kentucky, and many also in neighboring Tennessee. While the production of bourbon as a distinct form of whiskey has not been well-documented over the years, there are many legendary tales, of which you will learn on your tour with Wine Paths.

Locals believe the first ever bourbon to be distilled was by Elijah Craig, a Baptist minister who aged the product in charred oak casks, a process which gave bourbon its distinctive color and taste. The first ever commercial distillery was opened by Evan Williams in 1783 on the banks of the Ohio River in Louisville – and the brand of Evan Williams Bourbon is still very much loved by drinkers today.

Finding the best bourbon distilleries

Bourbon is only made in the USA. Any whiskey manufactured outside of the United States cannot be classified as bourbon. Although bourbon can be made anywhere in America, almost all of the country’s producers are found in the South or Deep South. Kentucky is home to the famous Bourbon Trail, and Tennessee’s Whiskey Trail includes a number of makers who specialize in bourbon too.

Other spirit varieties made in these parts include whiskey, single malt whiskey, gin and vodka. For the biggest concentration of distilleries, Kentucky holds the crown. But some of the most interesting bourbon distilleries are found all along the TN Whiskey Trail instead, including parts of East Tennessee, Middle Tennessee and West Tennessee.

Join us on our journey on the American Whiskey Trail

At Wine Paths, we have devised a number of different tours that will take you round iconic distilleries, with unforgettable tasting experiences led by the experts. Our chosen location for tours is Tennessee; a place known for its craft beers, whiskey and BBQ food – a match made in heaven and perfect for culinary adventure.

We create tours and holidays with an insightful approach, so our clients get to experience authenticity in this unique craft and discover the fascinating alchemy behind whiskey making. Meet the producers, many of which are well-known whiskey making families with a heritage dating back over a century or more. And talk to experts who will share their distilling and ageing secrets, while also educating tasters on the best way to use their nose when comparing bourbon varieties.

As well as exploring tastings and cellar visits, our tours will also include visits to local monuments, landmarks and popular towns. Get into the country music scene and wind down in the best cocktail bars in the state.

See some sample itineraries below to whet your whistle.

 

FAQs

What are the flavor distinctions between whiskey and bourbon?

Bourbon’s main characteristic is its sweet flavor, but you’ll also be able to taste hints of smokiness due to the charred oak aging process. The higher the corn proportions (to be a bourbon there needs to be at least 51% corn), the sweeter it will taste. Bourbon is also heavier in texture and will have other interesting notes such as vanilla or toffee.

Does bourbon improve with age?

Like other whiskies, bourbon tends to be better with more time in the barrel. Flavors from the wood fuse into the alcohol, making it taste more complex. However, too much ageing can create a woody taste that is unpleasant. Expert bourbon producers have to find the right balance to mature their products to perfection.

Why is bourbon so expensive?

The process and raw materials used to make bourbon make it costly to produce. The oak barrel used to age bourbon can only be used once, while other spirits can be made in the same barrel several times. There’s also a long labor process of mashing, fermenting and distilling grains. Generally, the older a bourbon is, the more expensive it is, but that doesn’t mean that younger bourbons aren’t as good. They can be just as tasty, while also being lighter on the wallet.

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