Louisville is 2.5 hours away from Nashville. I’ve driven through many times on the way to other cities, but never stopped. I finally got my chance for a full Louisville, KY weekend thanks to the The Downtown Marriott of Louisville. I was invited down for a complimentary weekend stay and was able to see some of the city’s top attractions. I also learned the difference between whiskey, whisky and bourbon. Do you know? Keep reading to find out.
I arrived in Louisville Friday afternoon. I checked into my King Room and was greeted with a goodie bag and bourbon infused treats. If you’re not familiar, Louisville is home to the largest Bourbon distelleries in the world. Louisville is “Bourbon City”. There are 2 barrels of bourbon to every 1 Louisville resident (fun fact I learned on one of my tours). After enjoying my chocolate treats, I headed down to the restaurant for dinner.
I loved the Porch Kitchen + Bar restaurant in the hotel. It has really nice wooden decor and a beautiful bar. Porch is known for Southern comfort food and what you would call a soulful experience. Even though it’s located in the Louisville Marriott, it’s a top city dining destination. It’s a great place to grab a drink in the living room area and grab a bite of food. If you just want a quick and easy drink, you can go to the hotel Lobby Bar.
Saturday morning, I woke up early for a quick bite before heading out on my tours. The hotel has a full Starbuck’s. You can dine in your room, if you’re a Marriott’s reward member they have a private lounge or go to the restaurant. I was able to tour the Bourbon room in the hotel and the private members bar. Kentucky and bourbon themes are throughout the hotel from beautiful wooden fixtures to the photography. If you want to gain access to the back bar, you can get a monthly membership, it’s behind a hidden kitchen door.
This is the below picture is of the last bottle of this bourbon on earth. How much do you think a glass is? I’ll give you a hint, it’s more than my rent each month. You can enjoy a glass in the hidden bar if you have $2k on you.
Louisville has a rich history with Bourbon and it was really fun to learn about. I went on the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience which is the #1 recommended tour. 15 minutes in, I saw why. It’s very interactive and you travel through a remake of old Louisville. It of course includes tastings throughout, video and other cool elements.
My final tour stop Saturday was Old Forester. They were the first bottled bourbon. I’m a nerd so I loved learning about the chemical process. There are 5 rules for a whiskey to be officially called a bourbon. The first rule of bourbon is that it must be made in the United States. While 95% of the world’s bourbon supply is made in Kentucky, it’s not all there. 2. Aging must take place in a new, charred, oak barrel. 3. The mash must be at least 51 percent corn. 4. The whiskey cannot enter the barrel at higher than 125 proof. It cannot enter the bottle at a proof less than 80. 5. Nothing can be added but water and only to lessen the proof when necessary. Other whiskeys can add color and flavor. Not bourbon, it must be au natural.
Ever seen whisky on a bottle instead of whiskey? It’s because whisky has Irish roots. So if you see that on a bottle, the founding company is Irish. See, I told you I learned a lot.
I had a great stay in Louisville. I’m a bourbon genius now too. I highly suggest it for a quick weekend trip. You can feel your day with the bourbon tours alone. There are also great museums such as the Muhammad Ali experience. Have you been to Louisville? Anything I should try the next time I go? Let me know in the comments below. If you’re planning on going for a quick visit, be sure to book your room at The Downtown Marriott Louisville.