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Four Roses Distillery
by
Terry Sullivan

Four Roses DistillerySummary: Four Roses Distillery has a unique Spanish Mission style architecture and is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. Enjoy a tour of the facility beginning in the visitor center. The tour covers the making of bourbon.

The Legend

People often like to know the origin of names. When the name is shrouded in legend the story becomes more interesting. For example, the legend of the black rooster in the Chianti Classico area of Tuscany offers a perspective on the use of the black rooster on bottle necks. Romanticism and legends abound even in the bourbon industry. It is said that a Paul Jones founded Four Roses Bourbon. Paul became smitten by a Southern belle who he proposed to. She told him if she wore a corsage of four roses at an upcoming ball, her answer would be yes. Paul spied her at the ball wearing four roses and his devotion to her led to the name Four Roses. Legend or not, ownership of Four Roses Distillery changed through the years.

Four Roses DistilleryThe Tour

We began the tour with Dusty Goodlett, the production manager. The distillery was closed for the season, something that is done during the summer. We were not able to see the facility in operation, but did see the inside of a corn mill and still, something you don’t usually have a chance to see while a distillery is in production.

Dusty took us to a small lab where grain is tested from the delivery trucks. If the grain doesn’t pass the tests it will be sent back. Even if the smell of the grain is “off” a shipment will be refused. This doesn’t happen frequently, but it does occur. Next we saw where the grain is milled and then cooked. Dusty discussed the yeast and added that they use about 300 gallons of yeast per fermenter. We were able to peer inside the still. The top section of the still had been replaced. The old section was polished and placed on display so visitors could see the inside. The distillate is about 138 proof after distilling.

Four Roses Distillery

The distillate is then transported by trucks to the warehouse facility and then bottled years later. Both the bottling and aging do not take place at the distillery site. When running, Four Roses Distillery produces between 12,000 – 13,000 gallons of pure grain alcohol per day.

Four Roses DistilleryBourbon Tasting

Our tour ended in the visitor center where we tasted three bourbons.

The Four Roses Yellow was 80 proof. It had a floral and spicy aroma and smooth spicy taste. There was heat on the long spicy finish. Four Roses Small Batch was 90 proof and a dark gold color. It had a flower field and grain aroma and a velvety caramel taste. It offered a smooth caramel aftertaste. The Four Roses Single Barrel was 100 proof and had a dark gold color. Its aroma and taste were spicy. The smooth taste yielded to a spicy and caramel finish.

Before leaving Four Roses Distillery stop by the gift shop. Gifts are available for purchase including Four Roses bourbon, flasks, clothing even ties with a Four Roses pattern, BBQ tool sets and Mint Julep mixers.

Four Roses Distillery
1224 Bonds Mill Road
Lawrenceburg, KY 40342

GPS: N37º 58.384’ W84º 53.835’


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Copyright: Terry and Kathy Sullivan 2016