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Our Complete Travel Guide To Louisville’s Famed ‘Whiskey Row’

Whiskey Row Louisville, Kentucky
Shutterstock/UPROXX

Louisville is experiencing a massive tourism boom. A huge part of that is thanks to the millions of people who come to the state for bourbon. It helps that last year, The New York Times named Louisville one of the “52 Places To Go in 2023” — calling out Derby City for its “…rising L.G.B.T.Q. scene with quilts, drag shows, the Derby, and, of course, bourbon.” This year, Travel + Leisure named Louisville one of the “Top Places to Travel to in 2024” for food and drink. Uproxx has been on the Louisville train too, naming Kentucky’s Whiskey Trail as a must-visit on our 2021 Travel Hot List [Note: We were first. — ed].

Louisville specifically drives a ton of tourism thanks to the Kentucky Derby. Then there are the huge music festivals like Louder Than Life and Bourbon And Beyond, which bring in hundreds of thousands of people to town. And with boom times come new and exciting attractions for fans of America’s native spirit to explore along Louisville’s famed Whiskey Row.

In the past year, three distilleries have opened up shop on or around Main Street, with at least three or four more whiskey establishments under construction. Faster than anyone forecasted, the city is morphing from an industrial backwater into a world-class and affordable food, drink, and travel destination.

To help you navigate your way through Louisville’s Whiskey Row, we’re providing a comprehensive look at all the whiskey stops, the best food and drink options, hotels, and hidden gems around Main Street, Louisville. We’re going to focus on Whiskey Row here — that’s basically Main Street between the I-65 and 31W — though I’ll be calling out a couple of places that are a block or two off Main just to round things out (all spots will be walkable from Main).

Sound like an adventure? Let’s dive right in!

Also Read: The Top 5 UPROXX Bourbon Posts Of The Last Six Months

PART 1 — THE BEST WHISKEY DESTINATIONS

Kentucky Peerless Distilling Co.

Kentucky Peerless Distilling
Kentucky Peerless Distilling

Address: 120 N 10th St.

The Distillery:

Starting at the far west end of Main Street, you’ll find Kentucky Peerless Distilling Co. — the best place to start your Whiskey Row experience. The distillery is where everything happens for Peerless whiskey from mashing to distilling to aging and bottling. This is a real working distillery (that’s not 100% true of a lot of the other whiskey “experiences” on the Row) and you’re likely to see the Master Distiller actually making the whiskey you’ll taste after your tour.

Can’t Miss Opportunity:

The distillery tour is very small, as Peerless is still a small-ish craft operation. And while that’s totally worth doing, what you really want to do is get the in-house tasting in their tasting room and buy a distillery-only bottle from the gift shop.

The bottle shop will have limited releases and special single-barrel expressions you simply cannot get elsewhere. The tasting room experience will walk you through Peerless’ award-winning and delicious rye and bourbon whiskeys with a tasting expert guiding your every sip.

Cost/Times:

Distillery tours cost between $15 and $28 and run Monday through Saturday at 10:30, 11:30, 12:30, and 2:30.

Tastings cost between $10 and $18 and run Monday through Thursday at 1:45, 3:45, and 4:45, and Friday at 1:45 and 3:45.

Book a Tour/Tasting Here

Michter’s Fort Nelson Distillery

Michter's Fort Nelson
Michters Fort Nelson

Address: 801 W Main St.

The Distillery:

Continuing west on Main Street, you’re going to hit Michter’s Fort Nelson Distillery next. This micro-distillery and gift shop is located in one of downtown Louisville’s best-preserved historic buildings.

The actual distillery is a small operation with three small wooden mash tanks and two stills. The moment you walk into the place, you can smell the grains fermenting in the back. A few choice barrels are aged on-site as well. That all said, this is a tourist experience — the full distillery is out in Shivley (West Louisville) and closed to the public.

Can’t Miss Opportunity:

You’ll want to fill your very own bottle of Fort Nelson Michter’s Barrel Strength Bourbon straight from a barrel. For that, you’ll need to take the Legacy Tour ($100), which is two hours long and includes a tasting with Michter’s 20-Year Single Barrel Bourbon (!), and the opportunity to also fill a barrel of whiskey on site.

Basically, you’re getting a chance to both sample a $200 pour at a high-end whiskey bar and walk away with a bespoke bottle from the distillery. That’s unbeatable.

Cost/Times:

The tours last one, one-and-a-half, and two hours and cost $20 to $100, depending on the tour. Tours run Wednesday through Saturday every hour between 11 am and 4 pm and Sundays between 1 pm to 4 pm. Each tour comes with a tasting at the end.

Book a Tour/Tasting Here

Bardstown Bourbon Company Louisville Tasting Room

Bardstown Bourbon Company Louisville Tasting Room
Bardstown Bourbon Company

Address: 730 W Main St.

The Distillery:

Bardstown Bourbon Company opened its first outpost in Louisville in fall 2023. The location is a swanky bar, bottle shop, and experiential tour through Bardstown Bourbon Company’s whiskey making. The whole place is like an introduction to the brand and the wider world of BBCo. whiskeys made out in Bardstown, Kentucky (also worth visiting if you have the time).

Can’t Miss Opportunity:

Buy some Bardstown Bourbon Company whiskeys! You’ll be able to score coveted bottles (depending on release dates of course) like Bardstown’s amazing Four Square Rum Finished Whiskey and their delightful Goose Island Stout Cask Finish Bourbon.

After you get your swag on and finish a tasting, hit the bar. The cocktails are spot on and some of the best on the Row.

Cost/Times:

The Bardstown Bourbon Company Louisville Tasting Room is open Tuesday 10 am to 6 pm, Wednesday and Thursday 10 am to 7 pm, and Friday and Saturday 10 am to 8 pm. Tasting tours are 30 minutes long and cost $25 to $35.

Book a Tour/Tasting Here

Buzzards Roost Whiskey Row Experience

Buzzards Roost Whiskey Row Experience
Buzzards Roost

Address: 624 W Main St.

The Distillery:

Buzzards Roost opened up a Whiskey Row experience in the spring of 2023. The spot is a full bar, tasting experience, and bottle shop that focuses on the art and science of secondary maturation in proprietary barrels (which the brand is famous for).

Can’t Miss Opportunity:

While you can walk in and simply enjoy the bar’s cocktails, some good food, and shopping, you’ll want to book a special tasting experience. You can go deep with a whiskey and chocolate pairing course, a cocktail course, and deep dives with the master blender (on select days) with their elite whiskey releases.

Cost/Times:

Buzzards Roost Whiskey Row Experience is open Wednesday and Thursday from 11 am to 6 pm, Friday and Saturday from 11 am to 8 pm, and Sunday from 1 pm to 6 pm. Tours and experiences cost $18 to $250 and range from one hour to three hours long.

Book a Tour/Tasting Here

Evan Williams Bourbon Experience

Evan Williams Experience
Evan Williams Experience

Address: 528 W Main St.

The Distillery:

Evan Williams is one of the cheapest whiskeys on the shelf, so this might be the must-stop for bourbon lovers out there. The Experience is right in the middle of the Row and one of the busier stops (there are often very long lines to get in).

Once inside, the Experience is part whiskey shop, part museum, part bar, and part micro-distillery. The mini-distillery is kind of there for show (the real distillery is out in Bardstown — Heaven Hill — and totally worth the drive down), but whiskey is really being made behind the glass as you’re guided through the place. As with all of these tours, the final stop is the destination of choice — it’s where the tasting is.

Can’t Miss Opportunity:

While this sounds pretty straightforward, Evan Williams Bourbon Experience has some serious variety when it comes to tours and tastings. You can get a tour that ends with a charcuterie and whiskey pairing experience, a speak-easy experience in a hidden bar, or a cocktail course.

What you want to make sure you do is hit the On3 Bar. Since Evan Williams is part of the larger Heaven Hill family, you’ll be able to find serious pours behind this bar. You can grab several Old Fitzgerald Bottled-in-Bond expressions, Parker’s Heritage pours, and the main expressions from Elijah Craig, Larceny, and, naturally, Evan Williams, plus a few true gems you’ll have to be savvy enough to ask about.

Cost/Times:

Tours and tasting cost between $18 and $600 and last 45 minutes, one hour, and two hours. The tours run from Tuesday to Thursday from 11 am to 4 pm, Friday and Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm, and Sunday from 1 pm to 4 pm.

Be warned — You’ll 100% have to pre-book these tours. Do not expect to walk in and get in.

Book a Tour/Tasting Here

Castle & Key 502

Castle and Key 502
Castle and Key

Address: 400 S 2nd St. Suite I

The Distillery:

Castle & Key moved into the castle at Old Taylor Distillery out in Woodford County years ago. Today, they’ve installed themselves in the lobby of the OMNI Hotel in Louisville in case you can’t make it out there. The space is a retail shop with a bottle shop and takeaway cocktail bar.

Can’t Miss Opportunity:

The cocktail bar and pours. Castle & Key gets the vibe exactly right by offering cocktails and pours in plastic cups that you can carry with you into the OMNI lobby and enjoy at your leisure. There are no guided tastings but the staff will be more than happy to pour samples to make sure you’re buying the right bottle to take home (or up to your room).

Cost/Times:

Castle & Key 502 is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 am to 7 pm.

Visit Here

Old Forester Distilling Co.

Old Forester
Old Forester

Address: 119 W Main St.

The Distillery:

Old Forester Distilling Co. is another stop that will likely have a line out the door, especially if there is a special whiskey drop that day. The distillery inside is worth the wait, even if it is a microcosm of the larger Brown-Forman facility (also out in West Louisville in Shivley).

The tour is a solid walk through every step of the process of whiskey making. The big ripple here is the on-site cooperage. You’ll witness every step of the barrel-making process from stave selection to charring the barrel. It’s a unique experience for Whiskey Row and adds to the already great tour. Naturally, all of this ends with a tasting and cocktail experience.

Can’t Miss Opportunity:

The Nothing Better In The Market Tour ($70) has the best tasting when it comes to Old Forester whiskey. The lineup is very high-end and includes Old Forester’s famed and fleeting Birthday Bourbon. Since that is one of the rarest (and spendiest) bourbons out there, you cannot miss a chance to try a pour.

Cost/Times:

Tours run between $32 and $70 and last about 90 minutes with a tasting. The gift shop and distillery are open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm with tours operating hourly each day.

Be warned — Tours are booked up months in advance. So plan ahead.

Book a Tour/Tasting Here

Angel’s Envy Distillery

Angel's Envy
Angels Envy

Address: 500 E Main St.

The Distillery:

At the far east end of Main Street, you’ll find Angel’s Envy Distillery. The distillery is the biggest distillery location on the Row with a fully working distillery and warehouse right in town, across the street from a minor league baseball stadium (don’t sleep on Against the Grain Brewery & Public House).

The distillery was built into a historical warehouse where the team at Angel’s Envy created an industrial cathedral to all things whiskey. The tours range from taking you through the “cathedral” which overlooks the distilling floor to a tour on the floor where you can feel (and see) the whiskey getting made.

The whole experience is bright and shining and very new. This is a big facility that feels like you’re walking through a destination and not just a factory for whiskey. There’s also a great bar and plenty of space to savor the juice.

Can’t Miss Opportunity:

The whiskey tastings at the end are the real treat here. There’s a great, but small, whiskey and chocolate pairing that’s definitely worth it as it leans into Angel Envy’s overall vibe. Or go all in and bottle your own whiskey straight from a single barrel — it’ll be the perfect bottle to take home! After that, grab a bespoke cocktail from the bar and let it all wash over you.

Cost/Times:

Whiskey tours cost $20 to $149 and run every day of the week at varying hours (see full opening times here).

Book a Tour/Tasting Here

Rabbit Hole Distillery

Rabbit Hole
Rabbit Hole

Address: 711 E Jefferson St.

The Distillery:

We’ve made it to the official end of Whiskey Row — well, we’re technically off of Whiskey Row (but it still counts!). Rabbit Hole is another new distillery experience right in the middle of the city. The distillery is a mix of modern and street art and a full-on distillery and aging facility, which makes it one of the cooler destinations in the city.

The distillery is very modernist and expansive with one of the most interactive experiences on Whiskey Row. It’s also the sort of place you kind of want to just hang out at… taking your time and sipping your pour. The point is, that taking a tour is fun, but it’s not the only thing to do — the whole place is a vibe.

Can’t Miss Opportunity:

The tour and tasting are definitely the draw but don’t sleep on the Over Look bar. You’ll end up here for a five-dram tasting of the core line. Stay for some cocktails and enjoy the view. Then make sure to peruse the art collection throughout the distillery for a bit of culture outside of whiskey.

Cost/Times:

Tours and tastings cost $20 to $25 and last 30 to 60 minutes. They run Tuesday through Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm.

Book a Tour/Tasting Here

PART 2 — BEST FOOD & DRINK ON WHISKEY ROW

Repeal Oak-Fired Steakhouse

Repeal Oak-Fired Steakhouse
Repeal Oak-Fired Steakhouse

Address: 101 W Main St.

The Restaurant:

Repeal is probably the one place you have to eat while on Whiskey Row. This is the best of what Kentucky has to offer from superb steaks cooked over fires fueled with old whiskey oak staves to the best wedge salad in the game to what I claim are the best dinner rolls in the country (they’re cold fermented for a week before they’re baked!).

Repeal also showcases some amazing seafood with a killer oyster menu of baked and raw oysters. It’s worth noting Louisville has a great seafood scene thanks to it being UPS’s hub. That means all the seafood from each coast stops in Louisville before it goes everywhere else in the country. That, in turn, means that Left Coast and East Coast fish and shellfish are fresher in Louisville than, say, Chicago because no matter where it’s headed, it stops in Louisville first.

Anyway, Repeal also has a killer bar scene with some seriously great cocktail mixers working tirelessly to make you the perfect sipper while you wait for your dinner rolls, oysters, and steak.

Can’t Miss Dish:

The Oysters Rockefeller is an easy win. Bacon creamed spinach and bread crumbs are accented with absinthe and baked over medium. But I’m going with the Iceberg Wedge as the pick (though the French Onion Gratinée soup is also killer).

The Wedge is a massive quarter head of iceberg that’s light and perfectly salted covered in a massive slab of in-house-cured and smoked bacon, gorgonzola crumbles, tomato, cucumber, pickled onion, and a buttermilk dressing with a hard-boiled egg. It’s a wedge amped up to its extreme. It’s also a full meal by itself.

Make A Reservation Here

Merle’s Whiskey Kitchen

Merle's Whiskey Kitchen
Merle

Address: 122 W Main St.

The Restaurant:

Merle’s Whiskey Kitchen is probably the most fun you’ll have while eating and drinking on the Row. The bar/restaurant is right across the street from both Repeal and Old Forester. It’s an open indoor space with a good-sized outdoor patio. There’s a killer bar with a great staff who can sense what your order is going to be as the night wears on. Make sure to sample the barrel picks from behind the bar, especially if you’re looking for a special pour from Wild Turkey or Buffalo Trace.

The food menu is a list of classic Midwest-meets-Southern classics. Sweet potato casserole, baked mac and cheese, and cornbread all make appearances alongside pulled pork, fried chicken, and “dunked” Cuban sandwiches.

Can’t Miss Dish:

You cannot sleep on Merle’s fried chicken. The whole half-fried chicken is the way to go if you’re planning to share. It’s an entire half of a chicken that’s battered and deep-fried and then drizzled with hot honey. It’s pretty much the perfect bar food fried chicken and pairs awesomely with a tall boy of Coors Banquet and a pour of the Buffalo Trace Bourbon barrel pick.

Make A Reservation Here

The Bar at Fort Nelson

Michter's Fort Nelson Bar
Michters Fort Nelson

Address: 801 W Main St.

The Bar:

The Bar at Fort Nelson is the bar above the Michter’s distillery. This place is special and you’ll need to call ahead for a table. First and foremost, the staff is amazingly well trained. They have that special bar sense of knowing how much attention to give you and when, while keeping 100% cool and collected even when slammed. Next, they make their own huge blocks of ice and process them into various-sized cubes, orbs, and crushed ice in the back. This makes for a massively better cocktail-making experience as block ice holds the cold better without over-diluting drinks.

Then there’s the setting. This is a chill bar with a touch of Belle Epoque meets Lost Generation vibe in a very comfortable setting. The fermenting malts from the distillery below waft up to the bar, creating a sense of place. Lastly, you can get a pour of some seriously rare Michter’s expressions here… for a price.

Can’t Miss Drink:

I’m partial to the Boulevardier. It’s served up with a large ice ball. It’s the perfect mix of Campari, Michter’s whiskey, and sweet vermouth with a couple of special touches to elevate it.

From there, you might want to consider your bank account before you dive into the 20 and 25-year pours of Michter’s.

Make A Reservation Here

Hell or High Water

Hell or Highwater
Hell or Highwater

Address: 112 W Washington St.

The Bar:

Louisville is full of hidden bars behind no-descript doors. It’s a town that suits secret speakeasies. Hell or High Water is a well-known and well-hidden speakeasy right on Main Street.

The bar — which requires a reservation well in advance — is impossible to find if you’re just looking for it. Once inside, you’ll be treated to a plush library of booze with big velvet booths, old leather wingback chairs, and a bar menu second to none.

Can’t Miss Drink:

I’m partial to the My Oh Mai!, a bourbon take on a Mai Tai with plenty of rum. It’s tropical, boozy, and full of nuttiness that plays nicely with the Old Forester 1920 at the base of the drink.

As with all bars like this in Louisville, there’s an incredible whiskey bottle list as well.

Make A Reservation Here

Third Street Dive

Third Street Dive
Go To Louisville

Address: 442 S 3rd St.

The Bar:

This is just off Whiskey Row (three blocks) and worth hitting up after the other bars close — a lot of Louisville closes down by 11 pm (or earlier). This is after hours with bands, karaoke, and bacchanal every night, but especially on the weekends. It’s also a dive bar so it’s incredibly cheap to drink here. Basic shots and bottles of beer are a couple of bucks each.

The decor is an uber-dive bar with chalk graffiti everywhere, pinball in the back, a funky pool table, and neon everywhere. It’s a dive bar, you get it.

Can’t Miss Drink:

A beer and shot. This is where the tattooed and pierced crowd go after they had their dinner and cocktails so don’t expect fancy unless it’s someone belting out the song on karaoke night.

PART 3 — THE BEST HOTELS ON WHISKEY ROW

The Grady Hotel

The Grady Hotel
The Grady Hotel

Address: 601 W Main St.

The Hotel:

The Grady Hotel is a boutique hotel that leans into the historical aesthetic of Whiskey Row. The rooms are well-appointed and you feel the history of the building without feeling its age — everything is brand-new, polished, and plush.

The beauty of this place is that you’re right in the middle of everything on Whiskey Row. You can walk to every place on this list, have a whiskey or three, grab great food, and then stumble home to a bed with great sheets, soft pillows, and a gentle mattress.

There’s also a nice speak-easy-lite bar in the basement (that also serves a smashing breakfast for guests). The bar fills up a night with people looking for unique pours and great cocktails in a quieter setting than some of the other bars on the Row.

Price:

Expect to pay $188 for a standard room with a king bed, a well-fitted bathroom, and nice art deco decor.

Make A Reservation Here

21c Museum Hotel Louisville

21c Museum Hotel Louisville
21c Museum Hotel Louisville

Address: 700 W Main St.

The Hotel:

21c Museum Hotel is probably your best bet for a little culture next to great food (Proof on Main in the lobby is a must-stop for brunch or cocktails) and comfy rooms.

The hotel is right in the middle of Whiskey Row, making everything in this guide within walking distance. The lobby is a small art exhibit attached to a larger installation/full-on museum that rotates through art seasonally. The rooms are bespoke but simple — really, this is where the cool kids go to take selfies next to art, meaning the bedrooms are not the real draw.

The overall vibe is young and hip from the lobby to the bar to the rooms. There’s a full-sized golden statue of David outside, which tells you that this is a place to be seen.

Price:

Rooms start at $229 per night for a Deluxe King.

Make A Reservation Here

Hotel Distil, Autograph Collection

Hotel Distil
Hotel Distil

Address: 101 W Main St.

The Hotel:

Hotel Distil is the hotel attached to Repeal listed above. This is a boutique hotel with another great location right in the middle of the action. If you’re planning on just focusing on Whiskey Row on your trip to Louisville, you won’t have to rent a car if you stay here.

The hotel has a great lobby scene thanks to the bar at Repeal overflowing into Distil’s actual lobby. You can get drinks from Repeal and sit in the overstuffed chairs in the lobby and chat if you like. The lobby also serves cold pours of free bourbon on the weekend evenings around 6 pm. Expect something like JTS Brown Bourbon.

A great bar with free whiskey in the lobby? I think you’re sold.

As for the rest, the rooms are slightly corporate but plush with great amenities. The hotel is also super dog-friendly with welcome baskets for your pup, which is a nice touch. The beds are very comfortable and the amenities are top-notch as well, but not mind-blowing. It’s a great hotel, not a luxury resort.

What is mind-blowing is the bar cart you can get delivered to your room. It’ll have super rare bottles like Pappy 10-Year and Eagle Rare 17-Year on there. The bar cart will have everything you need to pour the perfect dram or mix up the perfect cocktail, but it’s going to cost you.

Price:

Expect to pay $312 per night for a King Room.

Make A Reservation Here

PART 4 — THE HIDDEN GEMS OF WHISKEY ROW

Justins’ House of Bourbon

Justins' House of Bourbon
Justins House of Bourbon

Address: 101 W Market St.

The Place:

Justins’ House of Bourbon is a multi-faceted stop. One aspect is the excellent bottle shop that’s the heart of the establishment. This is where you get all the bottles you can’t find at home or aren’t willing to stand in a two-day-long line for. Justins’ is also one of the best places in the country to score a dusty (old bottle from a bygone era). Again, these are not cheap, but if you’re a collector/investor, this is probably going to be the place where you spend the most time (and money).

Beyond the bottle shop, there’s also a very unassuming but great bar in the middle of it all. You can get a serious cocktail while contemplating that $500 bottle of Old Crow from the 1960s. You can also get a pour of some serious whiskey ranging from old-school Pappy to modern gems that flew under the radar. The best bet is to get a flight of whiskeys. The Weller flight covers all the expressions and is only $35. That’s a steal.

And then there’s the tasting room which leads us to…

The Hidden Gem:

The true hidden gem of this place is the hidden whiskey tasting room behind a wall of whiskeys in the main room. If you plan ahead and plan to buy some real bottles, you can ask for a private tasting with one of Justins’ expert staff members (everyone who works here is a true pro). You’ll get to pick a handful of bottles and you’ll be guided through a historical tasting of some of the best bourbons ever made.

There’s nothing else quite like it in America. Trust me on this.

Doc’s Bourbon Room

Doc's Bourbon Room
Docs Bourbon Room

Address: 129 W Main St.

The Place:

Doc’s Bourbon Room, attached to Doc Crow’s restaurant is one of those places that seems like a pretty standard whiskey bar on the surface. There’s a long bar up front and a lot of seating that stretches toward a backroom. Like Justins’ above, this is open to the public. Hell, they even serve a great brunch every morning.

In the evenings, this place can get hopping as well. People in the know drop in for a bite (Doc Crow’s next door is another great Southern-ish Kentucky restaurant) and a pour. The black walls are decorated with what seems like endless bottles, which leads us to…

The Hidden Gem:

This is the largest collection of whiskeys on a single menu in all of Kentucky and they’re what decorate the place. All of those shelves and shelves of whiskey on the walls from every corner of the world are on the menu, which is — wait for it — 60 pages long (that’s 8×11 pages with small print too). Their whiskey list goes so deep that they have a section for “undisclosed” whiskeys that cannot be categorized.

While bourbon and rye are the center of attention everywhere else, this is where you go for it all. All the whiskeys are here and ready to pour — meaning it’s a great chance to compare various styles.

Evergreen Liquors Tasting Bar

Evergreen Liquors Tasting Bar
Coxs Spirit Shoppe Evergreen Liquors

Address: 720 E Market St. Suite 200

The Place:

Yes, this is a liquor store and it’s technically in Nulu, just east of the Row. But since it’s right by Rabbit Hole, it deserves to be included. You can rock up to this liquor store and sit at the bar all day or night and taste all the whiskeys you can’t get anywhere else from Pappy to Michter’s to everything else you can dream of. Of course, those pours come at a price but they are there.

The Hidden Gem:

While the bar is amazingly well stocked, the barrel picks are the real treat. You can get Eagle Rare Single Barrel picks that the bar staff picks alongside other amazing single barrel versions of your favorite ryes and bourbons. It’s a real treat and a deep dive into the special whiskeys coming out of Kentucky right now. The best part is that you can buy that specific bottle right there too. You might want to check a second suitcase on the way home.

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