By Michael Hiller
Take a road trip for this rare VIP bourbon collection from six of Kentucky’s top bourbon distilleries
Still searching for a unique gift for dad (or any other Kentucky bourbon collector)? A guided weekend trip to Bardstown, Kentucky, this summer could score you a rare collection of bourbons that will only be available at the six collaborating distilleries on a handful of weekends.
To construct the Bardstown Collection, each distillery — Bardstown Bourbon Company, Heaven Hill, James B. Beam, Log Still, Lux Row and Preservation — has bottled an exclusive, limited bourbon drawn from just three of their most special barrels. Profits from sales of the collection are earmarked to fund community projects and college scholarships.
The special bottling from Beam, for example, is a blend of the distillery’s 10 millionth, 11 millionth and 12 millionth barrels. That translates to 10- to 12-year-old bourbon (the distillery bottled its 18 millionth barrel this year).
James Beam master distiller Freddie Noe says as the bourbon aged for more than a decade in oak barrels, evaporation from those three special barrels left only enough liquid to fill a few hundred bottles with the blend. The other distilleries contributed equally unique barrels to the collection.
“Bardstown made me who I am as much as my family did,” Noe said in an interview. “It was a no-brainer for us to be a part of this. As part of a big corporation, there were a lot of hoops to jump through to get this done, but it’s a passion project of mine because this is about community.”
Because quantities of the rare bourbons are limited, the only way to buy the full collection is to travel to Bardstown on select dates to attend the exclusive two-day Mint Julep Experiences guided tour to the six distilleries participating in the collection. The best part? Each stop includes a tasting of that distillery’s contribution to the 2023 Bardstown Collection.