Bourbon Reviews, Distillery News and Information
Bulleit Distilling Co Visitor Experience
3464 Benson Pike, Shelbyville, KY 40065
Distillery Tour / Review
Please enjoy our Bulleit Distilling Co Visitor Experience and Bulleit Distillery Tour Review!
Bulleit Frontier Whiskey Finally Gets Its Own Distillery & Visitor Experience
Situated on 300 acres in Shelbyville, KY, halfway between Lexington and Louisville, is the home of the Bulleit Distilling Company. After 30+ years, Bulleit finally opened a distillery of its very own, and along with it, a brand new visitor experience. In 2014 Diageo, Bulleit’s parent company, broke ground on the construction of this new venture. The Bulleit Distilling Co. officially opened in March 2017, followed by the impressively large Bulleit Distilling Co Visitor Experience, in June of 2019. The very spacious center houses a retail area, cocktail bar and 3 tasting rooms/event spaces. In addition, there is plenty of visitor seating around the warm welcoming double sided fireplace. Just out back is the organic cocktail garden. It’s where Bulleit Distilling grows the ingredients used in their cocktails. In addition, plenty of patio seating awaits during the warmer months.
The Bulleit Distilling Co Visitor Experience Offers A Variety of Tours, Tastings & Cocktail Classes
The Visitor Experience is open 5 days a week, Wednesday-Saturday 9:30am-5pm and Sunday 11am-5pm. Bulleit Distillery Tours are $25 and include an interactive tasting. A tasting only option is available for $20. There are also a number of other experiences available, including cocktail classes and an elevated Single Barrel Tasting. Make your reservations for tours and tastings online at bulleit.com. The Bulleit website will display all the available time slots along with the number of spaces available for each slot. As with most distillery tours, reservations are recommended, especially on the weekends. (Hours of operation and experiences offered may vary)
The Bulleit Distillery Tour
There is currently only one type of tour available at the Bulleit Distilling Co Visitor Experience; The Frontier Whiskey Distillery Tour. The tour begins just inside the visitors center as is usual for most distilleries. Our guide, Owen, began with the customary introduction to the Bulleit brand with a brief history lesson. Unlike some distilleries with a long storied past, Bulleit began its foray into the bourbon market in 1987 as a resurrected mid nineteenth century brand. Although a relative newcomer, Bulleit has garnered some interesting history of its own.
Onward To The Bulleit Distillery
The distillery area proper sets back behind the visitors center and is reached via a quick jaunt on the distillery shuttle bus. After Owen’s brief introduction and history lesson, it was onto the shuttle and off to the distillery. The ride to the distillery reveals the huge expanse of the property and the beauty of the newly constructed distillery buildings and barrel warehouses. Upon entering the distillery, courtesy of several oversized picture type windows, we were afforded a great view of the mini NASA like control center. The considerable amount of cyber equipment in this room monitors all distilling operations from mashing to fermenting, and of course, distilling.
From Grain To Mash
Leaving the latest in technology behind, we made our way up to the third floor where grain became the topic at hand. A terrific hands on display of the grains, along with informational wall diagrams, awaited us. Bulleit Distilling uses corn from local farmers, but sources its rye and barley from outside the state. After a brief discussion on mashing/cooking the grain, we moved on to another helpful display which facilitated Owen’s discussion of Bulleit’s proprietary yeast strains. The Bulleit Distillery uses five yeast strains. Alas, we would soon see them in action, as our next stop was the unbelievably large fermentation room. The room houses twelve 20,000 gallon tanks, all three stories tall. Fermentation only takes approximately 3 days and then the fermented mash (aka distiller’s beer) becomes still-bound.
The Bulleit Distilling Co Still
With massive fermenters comes an equally massive still. Vendome Copper & Brass Works, of Louisville, KY, built this 52 foot tall, 42 inch in diameter copper still which allows Bulleit Distilling the capability to distill 24/7. There is also a unique micro-sized Vendome copper still with a large section of its front removed which serves as an exceptional visual aid to help Owen explain the distillation process. For those wishing to reinforce what was presented, diagrams and other information outlining the distilling process are highlighted on the walls.
Barreling Is Palletized At The Bulleit Distillery
The distillery proper portion of the tour came to a close with the topic of barreling. Once again Bulleit has a terrific visual display on hand. Charred barrels are cut in half for a great view of the inside of a barrel, and the barrels are displayed stacked on pallets exactly as they are in the barrel warehouses. This is a nice touch, given the fact that currently Bulleit Distilling does not allow tours inside of their actual barrel warehouses. That’s too bad, since Bulleit uses a different method of barrel storage than the traditional bourbon rickhouse. Ricks are out and pallets are in. Instead of rolling barrels into storage, Bulleit stands theirs on end, 6 per pallet, 6 pallets high. This allows more efficient storage in the warehouses, with each warehouse being able to store up to 55,000 barrels.
Time For Some Bourbon Tasting
With barreling and storage addressed, it was back to the shuttle and time for perhaps the most popular part of the tour, the tasting. Tastings take place in one of 3 event rooms at the Bulleit Distilling Visitor Experience center. Four samples are offered, Bulleit Bourbon, Bulleit Bourbon 10 Year Old , Bulleit Rye, and Bulleit Barrel Strength Bourbon.
Tasting at the Bulleit Distilling Co Visitor Experience is interactive. Along side each sample is a small canister (referred to as “olfactory balls”) with a unique aromatic particular for that sample. The canisters are used to magnify the senses, leading to a more enjoyable tasting experience. In addition, different music and lighting selected to heighten the tasting experience is utilizing during the sampling of each whiskey. Bulleit again sets itself apart from other distilleries with this tasting.
A Very Enjoyable Visitor Experience
Alongside new state of the art technology, equipment, and buildings come new ideas pushing the envelope for creating the most enjoyable visitor experience. From beginning to end the Frontier Whiskey Experience is engaging. Learn a little, drink a little, and relax a little at the new Bulleit Distilling Co Visitor Experience!
We hope you have enjoyed our Bulleit Distilling Co Visitor Experience and Bulleit Distillery Tour Review! Would you like to learn about a few of Bulleit’s Bourbons? Then read our Bulleit 10 Year Bourbon Review and our Bulleit Barrel Strength Bourbon Review!
Date of Visit: February 2020
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