If you haven’t been to The Evan Williams Experience yet, now is the time. They are currently offering two different tours, the traditional tour and the speakeasy tour, the latter of which is currently limited in offerings. According to the media release, “Join us at the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience as we travel back in time to the 1930’s and celebrate the last days of Prohibition in Louisville. If you guess the secret entry password correctly, you’ll gain access to our very own historic Speakeasy, where you’ll learn about the city’s rich Bourbon heritage and tradition from accomplished local historian and author, Rick Bell. As our Speakeasy Tour guest, you will also partake in a variety of educational Bourbon tastings, including Evan Williams Bottled-In-Bond, Larceny, and Evan Williams 23-Year-Old Bourbon. The 30-minute Speakeasy Tour is available Friday – Sunday only and costs $12/person.”
I was recently invited to take the traditional tour, and I have to say there was a lot more to it than I thought. The tours start with a media presentation that takes you into a town hall meeting in the late 1700s. Evan Williams is in attendance, and he is voted wharf master by the other men in the town. Then you step into his first distillery and witness the training of his apprentice. Finally, you step into a third room with a multimedia presentation about the process of bourbon distilling. You will also get to see the distillery in action if you go on the right days.
After learning the history behind the Evan Williams name, you will get to go to one of the two beautiful tasting rooms to taste a variety of bourbons. I ended up in the speakeasy tasting room, which was absolutely beautiful. My favorite part about that tasting room was where the bourbon was hidden, but I’ll leave you to see that on your tour. We tried Evan Williams 10 year, Evan Williams Black Label, and Elijah Craig 12 year while the tour guide taught us proper nosing and tasting techniques and talked to us about the different bouquets.
The Evan Williams Experience does a great job of incorporating local history into the tour experience. I learned a lot about Louisville that tied into history lessons I’ve learned about The Falls of the Ohio, Portland, and the river culture that made Louisville what it is today. For instance, I’ve often heard the expression, “shoot the falls,” but I was never quite sure what it meant. I learned at from the multimedia presentations that flat boats would unload, shoot their boats over the falls, the re-load and continue down the river with their goods.
The hours have recently changed and are as follows:
Tour & Retail Store Hours
Monday – Thursday: 11:00am – 5:30pm
Friday – Saturday: 10:00am – 7:00pm
Sunday: 1:00pm – 5:30pm
*Last tour each day takes place one hour prior to closing time
Adult Admission (21+): $12
Kids (11 – 20): $9
Kids (10 and Under): Free
Active Military Discount Available
The Evan Williams Bourbon Experience is located at 528 West Main Street. In addition to being the newest member of The Kentucky Bourbon Trail, it is also part of Museum Row on Main, and tickets stubs will get you $1 off tours at other museums. If you go be sure to tweet me @LouGirl502 and tell me all about your experience!
Photos Courtesy of Maggie Kimberl
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