Posted by: Jessie | June 20, 2010

Second Stop: Four Roses


By the time we got back on the road the sun had come out and everything was dry.  We took another two lane windy road to Four Roses Distillery.  It was another lovely ride.

Four Roses is quite a contrast to Woodford Reserve.  It’s not nearly as scenic.  There are no grounds to speak of.  The visitor center is right there, barely off the road.  The distillery is right next door.  The warehouses are elsewhere.  There are some tall warehouses across the street that used to be owned by Four Roses, but they were sold to Wild Turkey.  Four Roses only uses one story warehouses now.

There is a charming story about how Four Roses got its name.  Once upon a time Paul Jones, Jr. fell in love with a southern belle.  He sent her a proposal (apparently he did not propose in person).  The reply she sent was that he was to come to the upcoming grand ball, and that if she were wearing a corsage of roses then her answer was “yes.”  When Mr. Jones saw her at the ball she was wearing a corsage made with four red roses.  He later named his Bourbon “Four Roses” as a symbol of his devout passion for his lovely bride, and his passion for making bourbon.

Outside the Four Roses distillery

Four Roses has a much higher production than Woodford Reserve.  The grain comes in on a truck, it’s tested for quality before the shipment is accepted.  It is then ground, cooked and fermented.  Then it is distilled once in a copper pot still, then it goes into the column still, then into a tanker truck to be barreled and aged at the warehouses.

Four Roses are the only bourbon company to have only one story warehouses.  This way the barrels age more consistently, there is less variation in flavor between barrels.

Four Roses is the only bourbon company that uses five different yeast strains and two different grain mixes, each fermented separately. These 10 different flavors are then mixed in three different ways to make their different bottling.  We got to taste the yellow label, small batch, and single barrel.  One teaspoon of each.  That’s all.  No more.  You can buy a bottle in the gift shop.  I like their bourbon.  The yellow label is great for mixing.

Inside the Four Roses Distillery. You can see the cooker in the far right and two column stills on the left.

Mr. Happy is ready for a barrel of fun.

If only he could figure out how to get into the barrel...

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