How to Find Rare Bourbon

We hear it often.

What bourbon can you buy on a Mint Julep Tours distillery visit that you won’t find anywhere else?

While you’re unlikely to see hard to find bourbon Pappy Van Winkle sitting on the shelf at Buffalo Trace, there are plenty of great ways to grab a special bottle to impress your friends.

Distilleries frequently offer rare bourbons for purchase in their gift shops. Sometimes, whiskeys or bourbons are only available for a limited time or solely at the distillery. So how do you find the best rare bourbon to bring home?

Ask your guide!Master Distiller Jimmy Russell at Wild Turkey

Because Mint Julep Tours guides and drivers visit Kentucky distilleries on a daily or weekly basis, they’ll know what’s new and special.

On a recent visit to Four Roses Distillery, a simple inquiry at the gift shop lead to a guest taking home a unique single barrel selection that was one of less than 60 bottles. Our guides have also spotted limited edition Wild Turkey Master’s Keep bourbon on the shelves in Wild Turkey’s shop – where Kentucky legend and master distiller Jimmy Russell is often on hand to sign the bottle before you go. Talk about a rare opportunity! Just this week, Woodford Reserve announced a blended rye which is only available at their distillery until June (if you are lucky enough to find it in a Kentucky liquor store!).

Jim Beam VanillaEven in Louisville city limits, you’ll find rare spirits unavailable anywhere else. At Copper & Kings, for example, you may find a beer barrel-aged brandy expression from their CR&FTWERK series or an experimental absinthe or gin. Over at Jim Beam’s American Stillhouse, they’re selling a new vanilla-infused expression before it hits national distribution later this year.

Want to expand your bourbon search?

Mint Julep Tours guides and drivers can also steer you toward the most helpful liquor stores in Louisville. You can also try calling a distributor in your state to see when that rare bourbon you want may hit the shelf. They may not hold if for you, but some will tell you when to show up for your best shot.