Some people finish touring the bourbon trail and say "that was fine." Others finish and say "that was remarkable!" How do you ensure you're one of the people who find the whole experience remarkable? Well, you can start by following these bourbon tour trail tips.
Pre-plan your route
Some tours take you on a defined route. Others are simply a list of distilleries, leaving you to choose your own route. If you opt for the second type of tour, make sure you plan out your route beforehand. This way, you can check when various distilleries are open and plan to visit during their open hours. You'll also save time since you won't be scrambling to decide where to head next after every stop.
Many of the distilleries on the bourbon trail do charge a small fee for their tours and samplings. It's usually easiest to bring some $5 and $10 bills to cover these fees so you don't have to wait for the vendor to run a credit card for each person in your group. Plus, having cash along makes it easier to leave tips, which is customary when doing a bourbon tasting.
Sip your bourbon, and take it easy
If you do a shot of bourbon at every distillery you visit, you'll be quite drunk early in the day. So plan on sipping your bourbon slowly. Opt for smaller samples rather than full shots. The proper way to taste bourbon is to sip it, rather than shoot it, anyways. And you do not need an entire shot to get an idea of the flavor of the bourbon. If you find a bourbon you really like, consider ordering a full shot of that one — but stick to the smaller samples otherwise.
Don't swirl your bourbon
A common mistake new bourbon tasters make is to swirl the bourbon in their glasses. This is the proper way to taste wine, but you don't want to swirl your bourbon. All swirling does is bring the flavor of the alcohol to the surface and mask the other, more nuanced flavors. If you swirl, your tasting experience won't be a desirable and you may find all the bourbons you try taste the same.
With the tips above, you can have a better time on the bourbon trail, tasting various bourbons as you go. Make sure you take some pictures and make some memories along the way.