"How is it that America's only native spirit, despite being hundreds of years old, has only recently become popular." Perhaps Don Draper and his buddies on "Mad Men?" Steve Dolinsky wanted to know. Since more than 95% of bourbon produced in the US comes from Kentucky, he began his quest. And Louisville (pronounced LEW-vull by locals, just don't call it Louis-ville). Most of the nation's bourbon producers are within an hour's drive from there.
There are no bourbon distilleries in the city right now, but at one time there were. However, plans are afoot to bring three of them back to the city core and occupy an area that is called Whiskey Row.
You can get Bourbon Trail brochures at the Louisville Visitors Center where you can also check out bourbon tours, where you're taken by bus to them, always a good idea considering what you're sampling.
Dolinsky went to Jim Beam in Clermont, about a 30-minute drive south of LEW-vull. Jim Beam's grandson, Booker Noe, is a Kentucky legend. His grandfather grew the little distillery into a worldwide player, but Noe "was responsible for the revitalization of the industry, ctreating small-batch bourbons and single barrel aging."