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Four Roses

The Four Roses Distillery is located very close to the Blue Grass Parkway just off US-127.  It’s a little off the beaten path but well worth the visit.  The kid’s didn’t make this trip but we were accompanied by Chandra’s good friend Stacy.

The distillery has a distinctly Spanish architecture which is somewhat rare for central Kentucky.  The grounds were, as you come to expect, immaculately maintained.  The tour begins with a short video presentation outlining the bourbon making process.  Bottling and aging are done at a different location and are not part of the tour.  The aging warehouses across the street from the distillery actually belong to Wild Turkey.  The tour goes very in depth regarding grain selection and processing including a look inside the quality control lab.  The tour then goes into the main distillery building where you get very up close to the yeast tubs, cookers, fermenting tubs and still.  The smell of the yeast tub is a unique experience (and worth it in my mind).  The entire process is contained in a rather small building.  There is a lot of stair climbing involved in the tour so if you have limited mobility this tour is not for you.

Four Roses uses more rye in their bourbon than any other distiller that we have visited.  They have two basic grain bills; 75% corn, 20% rye and 5% malted barley and 60% corn, 35% rye and 5% malted barley.  The tour guide was very informative.

At the conclusion of the tour, we returned to the Visitor’s Center where we were treated to three sample of Four Roses Bourbon; regular “Yellow Label”, Single Barrel and Small Batch.  All were excellent.  The rye really does impact the flavor; particularly compared to Maker’s Mark that uses no rye.  I think that even if you don’t drink bourbon (or drink at all for that matter) could tell the difference between the three samples.

As usual, if you plan on visiting you may want to check out the distillery website just to be sure about operating hours or special events.  The tour does involve a good deal of walking as well as climbing several flights of stairs.  If you have mobility issues I would call ahead to make sure that any issues can be accommodated.  The distillery website can be accessed by clicking here.

This was overall an excellent tour.  The pictures below were taken during a visit on a beautiful day in January 2010.

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