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Kentucky Derby Museum
bourbon taste

Bourbon and Derby are synonymous with the city of Louisville, two industries that have contributed to the history of the city and are part of its enduring culture. Whether you are from our great city or just visiting, your experience isn't complete without taking some knowledge back home. Now guests have an opportunity to learn some Bourbon basics or to become a real tasting pro with help from our Bourbon Authority, Fred Minnick.

In a new partnership, exclusive to the Kentucky Derby Museum, Minnick brings his range of knowledge about America's Native Spirit directly to your palate. From novice level tastings to the deeper quest of a bourbon aficionado, we have created events tailored to your individual tastes and a menu of offerings for memorable group events. Public classes will be available throughout the year as special events at the museum. Each of the experiences below are available as additional entertainment during your private, rental event at the museum. Content for each class is authored and copyrighted to Fred Minnick.

Call Erik Brown at 502-992-5903 to book a bourbon experience for your group.

Fred Minnick


Fred Minnick has served as a judge, bourbon writer and critic on numerous distinguished spirits panels and contests. Now, he is available to help your guests navigate the intricacies of the bourbon experience by hosting a bar during your cocktail hour. Leading one on one tastings or just chatting about bourbon with those not yet initiated to the brown nectar of Kentucky, Minnick will entertain your guests and send them home with tidbits of information they won't forget. Minnick serves as a great icebreaker for attendees who may not have met and creative conversation starter to get the groups loosened up for the party ahead.

Ask our sales team about adding bourbon ambience to your party with new bourbon-inspired décor found in our bourbon bars, bar stools, barrel tables and more. All now available for your event!

Call today for pricing 502-992-5903

  • tasting option 1
  • In this casual class, the crowd will interact with Minnick to break down the rules of bourbon while sampling and learning. What makes bourbon, bourbon? Tasting techniques: how to sample, when to add water/ice? Guests will explore separate categories of based on cost, the only true consumer measurement. Distillers do not always define mashbill, barrels and other identifying information on the label so understanding how to read the bottle along with the proof and what traits each person enjoys individually in their bourbon experience leads to a better shopping experience.  We’ll send you home with a list of other bourbons you’ll enjoy at your own liquor store when it comes time to purchase a bottle out of your normal repertoire.

  • Flight #1:
    1. Maker's Mark: Wheated Bourbon
    2. Four Roses: High Rye Bourbon
    3. Woodford Reserve Double-Oaked: New-aged
      bourbons/bourbons finished in second barrels
  • Flight #2:
    1. Buffalo Trace: White Dog (Straight off the still/unaged: Mashbill #1)
    2. Buffalo Trace: (Mashbill #1 after aging and mingled)
    3. Eagle Rare: 10-year single barrel (Mashbill #1 after it's
      aged 10 years and bottled as a single barrel)
    4. Maker's Mark: Wheated Bourbon
    5. Four Roses: High Rye Bourbon
  • tasting option 1
  • Minnick’s favorite class! You don’t have to spend a lot of money to find great bourbon. It was originally a poor man’s drink although you’ll now find bottles easily topping $100/each. Minnick will explain the evolution of bourbon pricing. When Maker’s Mark launched in 1959 at $6 a bottle, it was considered very expensive although it was the going rate for Scotch at the time. Blanton’s hit the market at $25 in the mid-1980s and people thought they were crazy. Today, Pappy Van Winkel sells on the secondary market for $5,000! Are you really getting what you pay for?

  • Class offerings: Choose 3

    1. JTS Brown (86 proof)
    2. Very Old Barton
    3. Old Bardstown
    4. Weller 12
    5. Johnny Drum
  • tasting option 1
  • Learn some history behind some favorite cocktails with Kentucky roots: Mint Julep and the Old Fashioned. Guests can create their own mint julep to sip while getting some tips from a seasoned professional bartender who will show off some trends and samples from their favorite creations.

  • Client choice! Cocktails and content of this class are flexible, tailored to your choices.

  • tasting option 1

  • In this new age of bourbon love, there's an incredible uptick of available brands on the market. Unfortunately, many of these brands never make it out of bourbon-happy Kentucky; we drink it all! In this experience, we'll showcase brands that are hard to find at your local out-of-state liquor store and give guests a little history about each. Guests will also get an idea about their own palate with a comparative label to purchase in their own state (or where they can pick up one of these brands to tuck into their luggage on the plane ride home).

  • Class offerings:*

    1. Woodford Reserve Master's Collection
    2. Elijah Craig 20, 21 or 22-year-old.
    3. Four Roses Limited Edition
    4. William LaRue Weller or George T. Stagg

    *All brands subject to availability. Additional brands available upon prior request.
  • Get Lucky in Kentucky: For the discerning palate,a variation of the above class focuses on special edition bourbons that are difficult to find. We'll track down some rare bourbons and discuss what makes them so unique along with the technique and processes that set it apart from the brand's other bottles. Bottles are subject to availability within our collection.

  • Other available classes, upon request:

  • Kentucky Bourbons vs. The other guys:
  • This class shows that, like in France for wine, Kentucky truly has a terroir for making a special product. Sample the difference!

  • Wheat vs. Rye:
  • Brand recipes face off to compete for the attention of your tastebuds.

  • Cooking with Bourbon:
  • Sample bourbon and food pairings with a chef demonstration.

  • Whiskey Women:
  • As the author of “Whiskey Women: The Untold Story of How Women Saved Bourbon, Scotch & Irish Whiskey”, this is a topic close to Minnick’s heart. Participants will also sample Scotch and Irish Whiskey for this experience.

  • Tongue Tied: What are you tasting?
  • Every palate is different and tasting is an individual process without right or wrong. In this experience, we’ll explore the typical notes found in whiskey: honey, caramel, vanilla, etc. Small food bites will be enjoyed to enhance the tasting process along with an ‘aroma wheel’ to help participants break down smells.



Fred Minnick

Fred Minnick is a Wall Street Journal-bestselling author and award winning whiskey writer. Based in Bourbonville, aka Louisville, Fred writes the "American Whiskey" column for Tasting Panel Magazine, "Toasting the Hunt" for Covey Rise and is a regular contributor to Whisky Advocate and Whisky Magazine. He authored Whiskey Women: The Untold Story of How Women Saved Bourbon, Scotch & Irish Whiskey (Potomac Books), the first book written on the importance of women in whiskey. Whiskey Women is considered a "game changer become one of the best "whiskey story tellers in the business." But, like most whiskey storytellers, Fred just loves sipping nice bourbon and spreading the passions of whiskey.

Read more about Fred:

USA Today - Irish Whiskey Travel

Whisky Advocate Bog - Woodford Reserve...Malts? Yes Indeed! - Finding Bourbon Gold

The Tasting Panel - Forgotten Brands

The Tasting Panel - All-American Spirit - The Inside Story to Best Bourbon at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition -Elijah Craig 21 Year Old Single Barrel Bourbon a Complex Ride Four Roses 2013 Limited Edition Small Batch Review Welcome Home

Check out Fred's book: Whiskey Women: The Untold Story of How Women Saved Bourbon, Scotch, and Irish Whiskey





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