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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Review of Mint Julep Tours - Bourbon Trail Tour

Last weekend, my husband and I got a babysitter and departed early for the Galt House! We were headed to Mint Julep Tours to jump on one of their comfy buses and tour some bourbon distilleries.

We parked at the Galt House for convenience and headed up the west side of the hotel to the cute Mint Julep Tours shop.  They gathered our little tour group and welcomed us and we all went downstairs for the bus. It was a small tour bus that sat about 14 people.  We had a group of 8 along with the driver, some guides and a media person.

The tour guide was really personable and funny.  He was informative and easy going so people felt very comfortable asking questions and opening up conversations with each other. We didn't know anyone so that was important for a fun tour!  We were the only local couple on the tour; I am shocked more Louisville residents aren't going on these tours and that its mostly attractive to out-of-town visitors.   It's such a nice way to get away without a big hassle or expense of flying, hotels and finding someone to care for kids/pets for overnight.



Our first stop was at the Maker's Mark Distillery.  There were many other people there but our Mint Julep Tours guide took us around the property so we could stay in a smaller group.  This was a nice feature of the tour.  It was interesting to see the bourbon-making process and the grounds were so picturesque.  We toured the bottling area, the distillery and the tasting took place in the gift shop.  Part of the facility was under construction so we did not get to see an aging warehouse.  I felt like we got more of a behind-the-scenes tour with this group that the standard visitors did not get.

Then, we boarded our bus and some of the couples shared some drinks with the other members of the tour. Everyone was so friendly!  We went back to Bardstown and at the Old Talbott Tavern, circa 1779.  It was crowded with a few large groups, so the lunch took longer than expected, the the tour guides made sure the tour didn't miss a beat.  We all enjoyed some traditional Kentucky fare from burgoo to hot browns and sweet tea or some bourbon ale.  Everyone was pleased with the food.

Back on the bus for the last stop, the Jim Beam Distillery.  With our full bellies, this was a quiet leg of the tour as people sat back and relaxed.  The tour guide played some music and we all rode and took in the scenery.  Since when did you ride in comfy leather seats with someone else driving after a great meal and no kids were arguing????  Awesome!

We arrived at Jim Beam and our tour guide arranged a tour immediately.  We did not have to wait for the next standard tour with a large group.  She took us down to the aging warehouse that holds 20,000 barrels and she told us about the new visitor's center that they are building that will open in the fall (**hint hint for a great time to take the tour!**).  The warehouse was so interesting!  It was cool in temperature and had a distinct bourbon smell, my husband loved it.  There were rows and columns of barrels and the Jim Beam guide told us about the markings on the barrels and our guide told us about the system for loading the barrels on the shelves.  Finally, we headed back to the gift shop for tasting and some shopping.

We headed back to the Galt House to drop everyone off and we hit major traffic on 65.  Luckily I was not driving because the driver and the tour guide knew just where to jump off the highway and weave us back to downtown with ease. And, the out-of-town visitors got a nice trip through the Highlands.

All in all, the tour was wonderful. It was totally worth having a babysitter for the day because I would have been so stressed out leaving my kids and dogs overnight that I don't think I could enjoy a long trip away as much a simple day trip. It's a start and maybe I can build up to leaving them overnight for a weekend getaway! But, I truly felt like I had a little day-cation and can't wait to go with some girlfriends on a horse farm-winery tour!

Stephanie

PS- You should follow Mint Julep Tours on Facebook because I have seen them post specials! Or Twitter @mintjuleptours

1 comment:

caryn said...

My husband and I decided to do the Mint Julep Tour because of this review. We saw some totally different distilleries, but the tour was FABULOUS! Thank you for the review and suggestion!