Castle & Key

Bluegrass Country

Castle & Key looks like something out of a fairy tale. Colonel EH Taylor built it as a distillery in 1887, complete with a turreted stone castle, lush gardens and brooding springhouse with Doric columns and medieval-inspired chandelier. The site fell into ruin over the years, until new owners restored and reopened it in 2018. Tours are intimate – only 16 people at a time – and include tastings of the distillery’s gin and vodka; its bourbon is still aging. Reservations strongly advised.

Marianne Eaves, Kentucky’s first female master distiller since Prohibition, is the mastermind behind the booze. Ninety-minute tours take in all facets of the historic property and its products, while 45-minute mini-tours cover fewer sites and focus on gin. If you're not big on tours, the Counter 17 Bar (open 11am to 5pm Wednesday to Saturday, and noon to 5pm Sunday) is a walk-up window in the old train station on-site where you can swing in for a drink and walk the quarter-mile botanical trail without paying admission.

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