Heaven Hill You Do Bourbon Experience
Heaven Hill Bourbon Experience, Bardstown, Kentucky
$40, advanced reservations recommended
Please enjoy our Heaven Hill You Do Bourbon Experience Review!
The Heaven Hill Bourbon Experience
Heaven Hill recently performed a huge renovation and expansion of their visitor center. They also did a bit of rebranding. The visitor center was formerly known as the Bourbon Heritage Center, a name which frankly, I found confusing. It took me a while to realize that it was actually Heaven Hill’s visitor center. The new name, Heaven Hill Bourbon Experience, is much more suitable, and definitely more self-explanatory.
You Do Bourbon Experience
One of the three current “experiences” that is available at the new interactive visitor center is “You Do Bourbon”. The name pretty much says it all. The experience is described on the website as “At this interactive, elevated tasting experience, you can taste, bottle and personalize your very own bottle to take home.” And that is exactly what you do.
Education and Bourbon Tasting
Our You Do Bourbon Experience started in the classroom. Each “student” took a seat in front of a set of tasting glasses, each filled with a sample of the day’s whiskeys. We had four. We were also provided with a notebook, pen and small dropper bottle of water. Our guide/teacher, Herb, introduced himself and we didn’t waste any time getting right into the bourbon. After all, it was already 11:30AM and we were burning daylight!
Herb explained each whiskey that we tasted in great detail. This was something I really enjoyed about the You Do Bourbon tasting, and was one aspect that really made it special. While three of the four whiskeys we would sample came from Heaven Hill’s main brands, the versions we tried were unique and only available at the You Do Bourbon Experience.
The Bourbons and Wheat Whiskey
Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Bourbon
We started with Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Bourbon, making our first sip of the day a gentle 131 proof pour. Elijah Craig Barrel Proof, or ECBP to its friends, is a 12 year old bourbon, which is released 3 times a year. The batches are named based on the month and year that they are released. For example, the 2021 releases were A121, B521 and C921, released in January (1), May (5) and September (9). The release that we tasted was Y521, specially selected and mingled for the You Do Bourbon Experience.
Larceny Barrel Proof Bourbon
Next, we moved on to Larceny Barrel Proof Bourbon. Larceny is one of Heaven Hill’s wheated bourbons, meaning that in addition to corn, wheat is also used in the mash bill, rather than the more common rye. Like the Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Bourbon, this was also mingled specially for the You Do Bourbon Experience. It is also batch Y521 and comes in at a refreshing 126.6 proof.
Bernheim Original Wheat Whiskey Barrel Proof
Taste number three was Bernheim Barrel Proof, or Bernheim Original, as it says on the bottle. Bernheim is not a bourbon, but rather a wheat whiskey. Whereas corn makes up the majority of the mash bill in a bourbon, in a wheat whiskey that distinction goes to wheat. This one is truly unique to the Heaven Hill You Do Bourbon Experience. While versions of Larceny and Elijah Craig Barrel Proof can be purchased elsewhere, this represents the first time that Bernheim has been made available at Barrel Proof. Bernheim was matured on the 4th floor of the warehouses and comes in at a soothing 128 proof and is 7 years old.
Heaven Hill Bourbon Experience Bourbon
Last, but most definitely not least, was what might have been the star of the show based on its popularity with our group: the bourbon quite aptly named Heaven Hill Bourbon Experience Bourbon. As per its moniker, this bourbon is only available at the Heaven Hill Bourbon Experience, and specifically at You Do Bourbon. It’s made using Heaven Hill’s standard bourbon mash bill (78% corn, 10% rye, 12% malted barley) and was aged 8 years on the 6th floor of the warehouses. It comes in second highest of the day in proof, at 129.6. This bourbon’s packaging is surprisingly similar to that used by the William Heavenhill bourbon line.
Our Heaven Hill You Do Bourbon Review continues after the photos
Fill your own bottle
With our tasting and lessons complete, we were offered the option to fill and purchase a bottle of our choice. While this is an optional part of the You Do Bourbon Experience, needless to say, there was no one in our group who did not exercise it. Since there were two of us, my wife and I, we could choose two bottles. We chose the Elijah Craig Barrel Proof, which is one of my all-time favorite bourbons, and the Heaven Hill Bourbon Experience Bourbon.
Herb then shepherded the class into the bottling room. Once inside, following Herb’s precise guided instructions, an eager volunteer demonstrated the bottle filling, capping, and labeling process. With the first demo completed, it was now our turn.
The bottle filler is really pretty foolproof. We pulled one handle and a cylinder filled with a premeasured volume of bourbon. We pulled a second handle and the bottle was raised to the spigot and bourbon was released into it. Pushing back the second handle, the bottle was freed from the spigot. We then removed the bottle and placed it in the corking tool.
Once the cork was secure in its place, the labelling station was the final stop. We filled out the label with the whiskey’s specific details: proof, barrel number, date bottled, and bottled by. Finally, by the magic of peel and stick, we adhered the labels to the bottle. That was it. Easy-Peasy. We then placed the filled and sealed bottles in a cart. The cart was then sent to the gift shop, and the bottles were waiting for us to pick up and pay for them when we were ready to leave.
But that’s not all!
In addition to the You Do Bourbon Experience itself, the ticket includes an opportunity to explore the small adjacent hands-on lab as well as admission to Heaven Hill’s interactive exhibit galleries, which highlight the history of Heaven Hill Distillery.
I really enjoyed the You Do Bourbon Experience. It’s like no other, in that the detail given about each whiskey we sampled was far more than what is provided at the average tasting. The experience certainly exceeded expectations. Leaving with our own bottles of these special bourbons is also a definite plus. You Do Bourbon is definitely one to add to your list of things to do on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail!
We hope you enjoyed our Heaven Hill You Do Bourbon Experience Review! Would you like to see a video about the new Heaven Hill rickhouse! It’s really cool! Also, if you want to learn more you can check out our full write up about the Heaven Hill Distillery Bourbon Experience at BourbonObsessed.com.