Bardstown Bourbon Company Review | Bardstown, KY
Kentucky certainly has a lot of bourbon distilleries. Lots of the big names in American whiskey that you would recognize from your local liquor store shelves are distilled in Kentucky. In fact, that is what drew me and my wife to Kentucky for vacation in the first place.
We traveled to Kentucky for 5 days specifically to go to the distilleries on the famous Kentucky Bourbon Trail.
In addition to the big, nationally recognizable names in bourbon that you surely will find in Kentucky, there are also smaller craft operations. Bardstown Bourbon Company falls into that category.
It is by no means a small operation. It had a campus and equipment big enough to impress anyone. Sure, it wasn't as big as Buffalo Trace or Maker's Mark, but it still had a "factory" size to it.
Not being from the area (and not being over-the-top obsessed with liquor), we had never heard of Bardstown Bourbon Company before. We actually had BBC recommended to us by a local tour guide. We were hanging out at another bourbon distillery in the area (Limestone Branch Distillery) when we happened to strike up a conversation with John, a friendly and knowledgeable tour guide who works for Mint Julep Tours.
We were asking him for tips on what was worth checking out and what was fine to skip, since we only had a limited amount of time in Kentucky. He said that lots of the distilleries in the area are decades old or older. There is a lot of history involved in the tours, and that is fun to learn about, but he said to switch things up a bit we might want to try a relatively new bourbon distillery.
He said that Bardstown Bourbon Company was new and everything there was obviously modern. We could see what someone setting up a distillery in the last 10-20 years would do if history wasn't a constraining factor. He also said the bourbon wasn't bad either!
We took John at his recommendation and visited BBC the next day. We drove a little ways out of town (Bardstown, KY, the distillery's namesake) and through lots of tall corn until we saw the peaks of the building in the distance. We drove some of the nicest road I saw in all of Kentucky down to their large parking lot.
The campus there was beautiful. There seemed to be a production or bottling facility in a separate, but nearby, building. Then there was the main event building which was where customers were welcome. It was a huge brown building with floor to ceiling windows on the front side.
When you walk in, the first thing you notice is a large green plant wall at the back of the room. I'm not sure if it was moss or short grass, or what it was exactly, but it was really cool. Just a huge green square with their brand's logo in the middle.
We first encountered the hostess who asked if we'd like to be seated, but we opted to just sit at the bar. We made our way over to the barstools and were greeted by a couple expert cocktail mixing bartenders. They wore leather aprons and denim shirts.
We read through the drink menu. They offered any type of drink - beer, wine, bourbon (obviously), and lots of mixed drink cocktails. We had already had several tasting pours of bourbon for the day and wanted to give something a little more refreshing a try. I ordered their version of a Mint Julep, and my wife ordered a purple bourbon slushie.
The slushie was simply put into a glass from the slushie machine, but the Mint Julep was fun to watch being made.
My wife and I each tried our own drink, then tried each other's. We both ended up liking the slushie more. The Mint Julep was good, but there is just something great about frozen drinks!
While we sipped away at our drinks we looked around at the place. The majority of the space is a dining area filled with tables and chairs. We were there at a weird time that was too early for supper but also too late for lunch. We weren't planning on eating, and there weren't all that many other people eating either.
Of the dishes I did see being served, the crispy fried chicken really stood out to me. It was something I enjoyed just looking at.
There was a second floor loft area which seemed like a smaller version of the rest of the place. There was a bar and some tables and chairs. Might be something that you could rent out for private parties. That loft area was enclosed in clear glass walls.
The wall behind the bar we were sitting at was filled with all sorts of bourbon, some made there and many from other distilleries.
There was a gift shop filled with the expected bourbon related items: bourbon, glasses, flasks, Bardstown Bourbon Company branded apparel, and books about bourbon and Bardstown. Very cool stuff and fun to browse through, but we didn't end up purchasing anything there.
Behind the whiskey wall behind the bar was another section of building which was the jumping off point for the distillery tours. It was a really cool spot with TVs with bourbon info and live footage from inside the production area, but unfortunately, we were there at a time when they weren't doing any tours.
From that half of the building we could see an outdoor patio area with bean bag toss/cornhole boards and some outdoor barstool seating.
While we were sitting at the bar in the main room, a group of guys approached the bar beside us and asked the bartender about their rare bourbon collection. Apparently BBC has a collection of rare and expensive bourbons which are listed out on their website and stored in a special area in the building. You can look through the selection on their website, pick out one you'd like to try, and have the bartender go grab the bottle so you can buy a pour.
That is a pretty cool offering. We didn't have the kind of cash that would allow us to order off the special reserve menu, but the guys next to us did. They ordered several (I'm not sure how many, but more than 5 between them) of those drinks. Maybe the website says how much the drinks cost, but I didn't hear anything at the time as far as price. I would guess they were over $100 per pour.
Kind of fun to be sitting next to people who were summoning the special bottles we wouldn't normally have gotten the chance to see.
When we finished our drinks, we gave the place one last look around, then headed back out to our car and drove on to the next place (a brewery in Bardstown called Scout and Scholar).
I was very satisfied with my experience there and I am glad we went. I thought it was well worth going to and I would recommend it to you if you are in the area. Thanks tour guide John for the solid recommendation!