Four Roses

four roses building

When Paul Jones, Jr., the founder of Four Roses Bourbon became

smitten by the beauty of a Southern belle, he sent a proposal to her. And she replied that if her answer were "Yes," she would wear a corsage of roses on her gown to the upcoming grand ball. When she arrived in her beautiful gown, she wore a corsage of four red roses. He later named his Bourbon "Four Roses" as a symbol of his devout passion for the lovely belle.

The story is wonderful, the taste of Four Roses Bourbon is wonderful and so was the tour. Located just west of US127 south of Lawrenceburg, Kentucky on Bonds Mills Rd Four Roses is easy to find.

Park in front of the building in the above picture and walk right into the Visitor Center. The charm of the distillery is immediately evident. The rich appointment of the gift shop wraps you in warmth as you check out the selection of souvenirs.

Be sure to sign the guest book as you cross the hall to enter the start of the tour room. And be sure to arrive early so you have enough time to view all the interesting items on display like this bar stool made from an old barrel. When told it was not for sale we made an effort to sneak it out and were caught. (just kidding) Look for the other furniture made from old barrels. Neat stuff.

A model of a distiller sits on a table along with one of the Mash Tub. Each one is colored coded so the production flow can be followed. From mash to alcohol. It is by far the best visual explanation we have seen.

The standard video was shown and we will admit, it was very well done. Our guide, a good old boy, spoke with such a lovable Kentucky drawl that made us Northern's really pay close attention. He went over the distilling process and went in depth as to how Four Roses turns 2 different mashbills into 10 different Bourbons. And when combined with their single story rack warehouses, the Four Roses process makes for the best Bourbon.

A quick history of the brand was given along with the time frame for each ownership. For 43 years during the Seagram's ownership Four Roses Bourbon was made but not sold in the USA. When the company changed hands again in 2002 it's bourbons were re-introduced in the US.

Take the time to look at the display case of the company's bottles and packaging, they have almost every style of bottle and brand the company has ever made.

We then left the start of the tour room and went to the Grain Quality Laboratory. A small shack which contained some very old yet still working equipment. This is where each load of grain undergoes a 1/2 hour or so test process to determined if it's quality meets the Four Roses specifications before it is unloaded.

Then up to the second floor of the distillery building to where the ground grains, water and yeast are brought together and heated. Four Roses uses cypress barrels, some very BIG barrels. How about 16,400 gallons barrels. Twenty three 16,400 gallon barrels. Do the math, 377,200 gallons of booze in the makings.

We were treated to watching one of the barrels being filled.

We continued to follow the process by walking through the building on a successions of catwalks and through some low doorways. A few of the areas were quite warm to say the least.

At the end we came to the multi-story distiller where all the liquid runs through and pure 120+ proof alcohol is discharged at the rate of several gallons per minute. While the distiller is quite tall, it's diameter is not as large as we expected it to be.

From here the alcohol is loaded into 6,000 gallons tanker trucks and moved to Cox Creek, Kentucky where it is put into barrels and stored in the Four Roses single story rick houses for aging. Cox Creek is about one hour away and on our list to see and take the tour.

Back into the start of the tour room for a sample of the product. Although they produce 10 different Bourbons only 4 were sampled. The Four Roses Yellow was our favorite.

Too bad we could not have taken our sample drinks outside to sit in the swing, it would have made for a very nice lazy afternoon.

This is a "Must Stop At" place. It is very charming in a very nice setting. The people are warm, friendly and glad that you stopped by to visit them.


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