Buffalo Trace Distillery Tour

Buffalo Trace Distillery is a very popular tourist destination, and there are good reasons why. It is an historic landmark, the grounds are beautiful, the whiskey is great and the tours are free. Learn more about it in our review!
113 Great Buffalo Trace
Frankfort, KY 40601
Tours/Tastings: 800-654-8471
Gift Shop: 800-654-8471 or 502-696-5926
www.buffalotracedistillery.com
Tour/Review

Please enjoy our Buffalo Trace Distillery Tour review!

Buffalo Trace Distillery Is A Great Place To Visit

Among distilleries anywhere, Buffalo Trace is top notch, and we’ll tell you just a few of the reasons why.  First, Buffalo Trace Distillery is a National Historic Landmark. Designated in 2013, the grounds are beautifully groomed and the historic buildings transport the visitor to another time. Second, tours are free.  Yes, all six currently offered tours and tastings are free of charge.  Third, the different types of tours available are impressive. Whether you want a general overview of the distillery, a behind the scenes look at the distilling operations or a walk through the Arboretum, Botanical Gardens and Bird Sanctuary, there’s a tour for you. We have taken many of the different tours over the years, and they are all very educational and enjoyable.

A Recent Expansion

Buffalo Trace recently underwent a massive expansion of both their distillery and the visitor center. The new visitor center is LARGE. It features the Buffalo Trace Distillery Gift Shop, as well as portrait displays which are utilized during the tours. In addition, there are now multiple tasting rooms and tasting bars, as well as expanded seating. Even with this expansion, the number of people wanting to visit still exceeds capacity.

The Trace Tour at Buffalo Trace Distillery

On our first visit back in 2019, we chose The Trace Tour, which at the time, was the only tour that did not require reservations. Reservations are now required for all tours at this point, as Buffalo Trace Distillery has become a very popular destination. Importantly, The Trace Tour is the only tour that is open to all ages. All of the other tours are not available for children under 12 years of age. As of October 2023, the Trace Tour runs at least hourly, Monday-Saturday 9AM-5PM and Sunday 11AM-5PM.  Based on visitor flow, tours may run more frequently during the hour.  For example, the day we toured, the Trace Tour was being offered every 20-30 minutes, but your results may vary.  This tour is a great option to get a nice overview of the Distillery and to sample some of Buffalo Trace’s products.

Frootbat - Making hard to find liquor easy to buy
Book Your Buffalo Trace Distillery Tour Well In Advance

Booking tours at Buffalo Trace Distillery is now a streamlined process, but it does take advanced planning. Tours are booked online at buffalotracedistillery.com, with dates released weekly, on Wednesdays at 10AM Eastern. Buffalo Trace releases dates up to 8 weeks in the future, so it behooves you to plan well in advance of your anticipated visit. They even post on their website the exact date and time when booking for specific dates will open up. Finally, a waitlist tool is also available if your dates of choice are already full.

Fermenter at Bourbon Pompeii - The Old Taylor Distillery at Buffalo Trace Distillery
Fermenter at Bourbon Pompeii – The Old Taylor Distillery at Buffalo Trace Distillery
Frootbat - Making hard to find liquor easy to buy
Parking At Buffalo Trace Distillery

Parking is easy at Buffalo Trace distillery.  The paved lot is large, and the ample signage directing the way, makes it quick, too.  Motorcycle parking is available as well. The parking lot allows easy access to the visitor center. But first, after parking but before entering the distillery grounds and the visitor center proper, all visitors must check in the building at the end of the parking lot. Don’t forget to bring your ID!

Our Tour Begins

While the details may have changed a bit over the years, the general flow is similar. The order and choice of stops may very a bit, with some tours visiting more of the working distillery. Now a days, tours start from the visitor center and can either head directly back into the distillery or out onto the campus. Upstairs in the Visitor Center are multiple portraits of the men who shaped what would become the Buffalo Trace Distillery. Your tour may start discussing the distillery’s history, as you move from portrait to portrait. We have also had tours begin outside.

William Larue Weller Portrait - Buffalo Trace Visitor Center
Portrait of William Larue Weller located upstairs in the Visitor Center
Our First Buffalo Trace Tour

On our initial The Trace Tour, after a brief introduction by our tour guide, we first headed to the nearby Free House where we saw an interesting video on the history of the Buffalo Trace Distillery. After the video, our guide explained the basics of aging the bourbon and was aided by a nifty display which included 4 barrels of bourbon with see through barrel heads. Each barrel was at a different stage in the aging process:  one at entry level, the next at 4 years, then 9 years, and finally 18 years.  All 4 barrels had a different level and color of bourbon.  It was a great visual aid for the explanation of the changes that take place during aging, including the yearly loss of bourbon due to evaporation (known as the “angels’ share”).

Display of Bourbon At Different Ages of Maturity - Buffalo Trace Distillery Tour
Display of Bourbon At Different Ages of Maturity – Buffalo Trace Distillery Tour
Buffalo Trace Distillery Warehouse C

Our next stop brought us to the very large Warehouse C. Warehouse C is a very old warehouse on the property. It was built by Colonel E.H. Taylor back in 1885 and has been the aging location for many fine whiskeys. In fact, two are highlighted in the E.H. Taylor Bourbon family – the Warehouse C and Tornado Surviving Bourbons. We walked in and immediately the sweet smell of the 24,000 barrels of aging bourbon whiskey overwhelmed our senses.  Here we learned about how Buffalo Trace warehouses and ages their products.

Time To Bottle The Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon

The Albert B. Blanton Bottling Hall was our final dabble into the world of the Buffalo Trace Distillery. While Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon is famously aged in Col. Blanton’s favorite Warehouse H, it is all bottled here. This tiny building is an active bottling facility for Blanton’s Bourbon and amazingly, it is all done by hand.  It was fun and surprising to see how many steps are required for the finished bottle.

Back To The Buffalo Trace Distillery Visitor Center

The Trace Tour, like most distillery tours, ends where it began, back at the visitor center.  This time we headed to the second floor for our tasting.  Five products were available for tasting.  They included the White Dog, Wheatley Vodka, Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Eagle Rare Bourbon, Bourbon Cream, and of course, a bourbon ball.  Our tour and tasting lasted approximately one hour, although today’s The Trace Tour has a duration of 75 minutes. Overall, we really enjoyed our time at Buffalo Trace Distillery, and have returned many times since to take advantage of the other available tours. A visit is highly recommended; just don’t forget to plan well in advance! Cheers!🥃

We hope you have enjoyed our Buffalo Trace Distillery Tour review! Would you like to learn about a couple of Buffalo Trace Distillery’s Bourbons? Check out our Buffalo Trace Bourbon Review and Blanton’s Bourbon Review!

Please note that Distillery Hours and Tour/Tasting Availability may vary. Please contact the distillery or check their web page or social media for details before you go.

Updated: October 10, 2023

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