The sun glints off brick warehouses nestled amid rolling hills on the banks of the Kentucky River. Sweet aromas of whiskey aging in charred oak barrels waft through the crisp morning air.
Welcome to bourbon country.
In a new VR interactive, the USA TODAY Network and Oculus transport you to Buffalo Trace Distillery in the heart of Kentucky’s bourbon trail. The iconic, 200-year-old distillery produces over a dozen bourbons, including Eagle Rare, Blanton’s and the legendary Pappy Van Winkle (bottles of the rare 23-year-old variety go for over $2,000). The distillery grounds are a mecca for bourbon enthusiasts, day-trippers and locals.
Explore Buffalo Trace’s main warehouse and distilling room and learn how the most award-winning bourbon distillery in the world cranks out its special sauce. “How do you reproduce a product that’s been made that way for hundreds of years? It’s a balance between art and science to produce bourbon consistently,” says Wheatley, only the company’s sixth master distiller since the Civil War.
You’ll also get a peek inside some rarely seen places. Navigate the interactive to discover “Bourbon Pompeii” and “Warehouse X,” two spots you won’t find on the public tour.
The interactive, filmed and produced by the USA TODAY Network and built by Oculus using its newly unveiled React VR framework, contains 360-degree photos layered with 2-D videos, text and spatial audio. You can browse in 360 degrees on your mobile device or desktop.