The Bourbon Heritage Center is the centerpiece of the Heaven Hill Distilleries located approximately 45 minutes from Louisville. Today Heaven Hill Distilleries is the largest private conglomerate in the business of liquor. It is here that visitors and bourbon aficionados can learn about the distilling process used to produce such brand names as Evan Williams, Elijah Craig, and Old Fitzgerald among several others.
This tourist attraction opened in 2004 and is largely focused on telling the history of the brand and the retail selling of unique branded items of their product line. The visitor center has more of an exhibit and museum feel to it, with lots of antiques, photographs, and picture walls telling the story. There is also a short (approximately 15 minute) film that is shown that reviews the distilling process here for all of their whisky products.
After viewing the film, guests are invited to take the walking “tour” across the street to one of the barrel storage houses. Given that there really isn’t much to see or learn “looking at a warehouse” we passed on that aspect of the tour. When the group we were in returned half an hour later, we were able to rejoin them for sampling in the Heaven Barrel Room. There was a circular bar with two samples being featured. Before we were encouraged to try each, we were asked to clear our sense of smell by sniffing a couple of scented vials. The first sampling they gave us was the Evan Williams “black label” seven year bourbon. The second was their Elijah Craig, a 12 year, 93 proof bourbon.
I think that all bourbon makers also have those yummy chocolate bourbon balls. We were also provided a sampling of them here at Heaven Hill Distilleries, although they were not quite as good as those offered at Marker’s Mark. Of course you could buy a box of the chocolate delights in the gift shop. Also in the gift shop were old style souvenir whisky jugs along with a variety of barware for your bar at home.
The tour and sampling are free. Posted hours are 10am - 5pm (Tuesday through Saturday). Sunday hours are 12am - 4pm during the months of March through December. The last tour is offered an hour before closing time. Please also note that tasting and retail sales of alcoholic beverages are prohibited on Sundays.