On this side of the border, we're known for our distinct Canadian rye whiskies with their signature spice finish. In America, sure, the spice is nice, but there's something a little sweeter in nature that we can't get enough of: bourbon. And there is no greater place to experience the iconic American whisky than in the beautiful Bluegrass State of Kentucky — where 95 per cent of the world’s bourbon is made.
If you're new to bourbon, think of it as a special kind of whisky, one with rules — the good kind. For, it's the rules (bourbon must be produced in the United States; made from a grain mixture that is at least 51 per cent corn; and aged in new, charred oak barrels) that make bourbon totally unique from any other kind of whisky.
Bourbon not only runs through the veins of Kentucky, it's the heartbeat. From the limestone-rich water, to the perfect climate and fertile soil, Kentucky is the ideal place for bourbon making (and horse racing).
The state boasts over 90 distilleries and more than 7.5 million barrels of precious bourbon patiently waiting to be tasted. Save the waiting for the whisky, though. Whether you've just discovered the spirit or consider yourself a bourbon snob, all that bourbon country has to offer is just a short drive or flight away.
Leave behind Toronto's concrete for the rolling, picturesque hills of Maker's Mark Distillery in Loretto, Kentucky, where you can hand-dip bottles in their signature molten red wax.
Don a hard hat at the legendary Buffalo Trace distillery and see everything from fermentation to distilling up close. Sample bold bourbon straight from the barrel at the contemporary Bardstown Bourbon Co., or indulge in unique, whiskey-forward dining around the table at James B. Beam Distillery.
You could spend an entire day in Bardstown (an hour outside of downtown Louisville), which has acquired the status of Bourbon Capital of the World. Here, you can get a taste of distinguished, world-famous distilleries mixed in with new makers on the block, all within the time it takes to finish a couple old fashioned cocktails.
Wherever the spirit leads you, it's bound to be a good time.
Your bourbon adventure awaits at kentuckytourism.com