The Higher Proof Expo featured a bourbon-themed market. | Photo by Sara Havens

The fifth annual Kentucky Bourbon Affair brought hundreds of people to town from June 5-10 to partake in a plethora of bourbon-related activities and experiences.

This year, the home base was the Omni Louisville Hotel, which offered guests a centrally located spot to explore Louisville, as well as provided ample space for the conference-style events like the Higher Proof Expo and the Angel’s Fare. Of course, many of the activities took place at several Kentucky distilleries, including barrel picks, dinners and even skeet shooting at Wild Turkey.

Insider was fortunate enough to tag along on a handful of events throughout the week, and we talked to many people who used their vacation to come experience Louisville and — we’re gonna say it — bourbonism. We met a nice couple from Birmingham, Ala., who drove to the event because they knew they’d be taking many bottles home with them. And we met one guy from the island of New Caledonia who was checking off his bucket list with this trip.

Our itinerary included the skeet shooting experience at Wild Turkey, dinner at Heaven Hill President Max Shapira’s house, a dinner featuring the O.Z. Tyler Distillery and chef Patrick Roney, the Higher Proof Expo, and Angel’s Fare, which included tastings of five bottles hand-selected by a team of notable master distillers at each distillery.

One highlight from the latter event was purchasing a bottle of Maker’s Mark Private Select that featured the signature of Woodford Reserve/Old Forester Master Distiller Chris Morris on the back. Our inner bourbon nerd was doing cartwheels all the way home.

Here’s a closer look at Bourbon Affair 2018:

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Wild Turkey Master Distiller Jimmy Russell (center) with his wife Joretta and Four Roses Master Distiller Brent Elliott at the Angel's Fare | Photo by Sara Havens

Sara Havens is the Culture Editor at Insider Louisville. She's known around town as the Bar Belle and updates her blog (barbelleblog.com) daily. She's a former editor of LEO Weekly and has written for Playboy and The Alcohol Professor. Havens is the author of two books: "The Bar Belle" and "The Bar Belle Vol. 2."


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