Four Roses Distillery (#5 of 19) features three quality bourbons and some beautiful Spanish mission architecture. Long hidden from the American market, a Japanese ownership brought it back home.

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My Arrival At The Four Roses Distillery

About the Four Roses Distillery Tour

  • Location: Lawrenceburg, KY
  • Impression: Scenic campus that is under construction, but yields a top quality tasting experience.
  • Website: Tour Information (Requires Age Verification)
  • Cost: The tour and tasting is $5. That is a nice deal. And you can use the same ticket to get into their warehouse near Clermont.
  • Samples: I tried three of their selections, including Four Roses (Yellow Label), Four Roses Single Barrel and Four Roses Small Batch. 
  • Perks: I was given a wide mouthed 130th anniversary glass as a keepsake. 
  • My Four Roses Instagram Photos

Takeaways

  • At Four Roses, no reservations are taken, so arrive a few minutes early to make sure to get on the tour.
  • There was construction going on when I went, so we didn't see anymore than you can see by walking around the campus (other than a promotional video). They did offer just a tasting and no tour as an alternative, if you've not tried Four Roses before.
  • No luck on finding the history of Four Roses. Popular before Prohibition, it dissappeared from U.S shelves for decades, only being sold in Japan and overseas. The irony is, a Japanese company (Kirin) bought it and brought it back to the U.S. The only sort of history on their site or on the tour is about the mysterious origins of the name.  
  • As for the architecture, that remains a mystery as well. It's in a Spanish Mission architectual style. Why? I guess another mystery. Four Roses desperately needs a historian to work with them.
  • Don't get mad at me or say I'm ganging up on Generation Y or Z. There is nothing wrong with having a young tour guide. I had a few really good one's on this trip who were passionate about the product. Sadly, I didn't get that from my tour. When someone has to ask if the guide likes bourbon, then it is apparent to more than just me that there wasn't that zest for the product. And that is sad, because this may have been the one place I was most looking forward to seeing. Hopefully you get more "zest!"
  • Update: I did get a follow up from one of the tour guides through my Instagram account and appreciate her reaching out...she gave me Leo Oberwarth's name as the architect. He also designed the beautiful gardens and club over at Buffalo Trace. She said information wasn't available as to why he chose that style.

kentucky four roses gift shop

A Word of Advice: The Tastings

These tastings go very fast. 80% of your time is touring, then you are given a few minutes to drink 2-5 different styles. At Four Roses, Willitt and some others I barely had time to put a couple drops of water and taste before I had to knock it down because the next drink was coming. And some of these are just too hard to taste without a little diluting and some time for multiple tastings. The distilleries that are being kind in giving you a glass, but they should point out where you can dump any you can't finish. No, that shouldn't be considered a faux pas. I would rather enjoy a full Kentucky chew (more on that coming up) and savor what I do drink, rather than feeling I had to gulp it down so my glass would be empty for the next whisky.

Next up, Wild Turkey Distillery in Lawrenceburg, KY.

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