Four Roses and a Snow Day

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Yesterday, we made plans to visit one of the bourbon distilleries here in Kentucky, Four Roses, with another couple who shares Juston's love of bourbon. I don't really drink it, which may or may not be a sin in the state of Kentucky, but I still really enjoy visiting the distilleries and learning about the process and what makes each different bourbon unique. Well, Saturday morning started with a rather unexpected "dusting" of three inches of snow. We were supposed to miss the majority of the snow, which the weatherman said would hit south of us. Wrong again, Mr. Weatherman. Anyway, we started off the morning playing in the snow with Caroline. She was so excited when she saw it outside and immediately begged to go out. She got a new snowsuit for Christmas, so we put it to good use. 

After snow play and breakfast, we headed to Coxs Creek, KY where Four Roses is located. We started the tour by watching a video in a room with some other people who were in our group. The video just explained the science behind the making of their bourbon and the different types of recipes they use. 

The have the gift shop area decorated really cute with bottles of their bourbon (bourbonless obviously) filled with four red roses. The story of the red roses is really sweet actually. The man who started the company, a Georgian originally, was courting a beautiful Southern Belle and had asked repeatedly for her hand in marriage. She turned him down time and again. Finally, he sent her a letter stating his intent to propose to her for the last time at a very public social event. She wrote him back that if she showed up wearing a corsage of four red roses, her answer was yes. Well, obviously, she wore the roses, and the name for this bourbon was born. 

Parts of the tour take you outside walking the grounds, but the weather was really nice. It wasn't too cold and there was snow cover and sunshine all around so it couldn't have been a more beautiful day. Next, we headed inside to where the magic happens.

There is a really powerful smell of yeast that just penetrates the air as soon as you get within about a half a mile of the distillery, so inside where they are actually making the bourbon, the smell is pretty potent, too, but it sort of smells like bread so it wasn't a bad thing. Juston loved the smell of course, becasue, bourbon. 

The tour really takes you up close and personal with every step of the bourbon making process and we had a really great guide who was familiar with not only what the steps, were, but the science behind them as well. I won't bore you with the details. 

I will say that one of the neat things about bourbon that a lot of people may not know is how important the barrels are to the final product. The barrel is what gives the bourbon the caramel color and it can alter the flavor as well. 

It may not look like it, but the tour guide did say they were allowed to reach in those big vats and taste what was mixing up! I love both of these pictures because it really looks like Juston and Dominique got caught with their hands in the cookie jar. I didn't taste the mix.  No thanks, I'll pass. 

So that was stamp number two on our Bourbon passports. We're going to try to visit the other eight distilleries on the Bourbon Trail between now and summer. Juston and I have already done the Woodford Reserve distillery for his birthday a few years ago, but we're going to do it again since our friends haven't done it yet. 

After the tour, which took about an hour, we went back to the tasting room, where you are given three samples of Four Roses bourbons to try; Single Barrel, Small Batch and their Yellow Label. I didn't taste them, but I did do the sniff, then gave Juston my samples. I'm not much of a drinker, especially straight bourbon! He loves taking me to these tours, because he gets twice the free samples. 
After the tasting, we all hit the gift shop. Let me just tell you, my husband is not a shopper at all. He's kind of a tightwad honestly, but what he did in that Four Roses gift shop was the closest to a shopping spree I've seen him come! I will say that even if you don't drink, these tours are still very interesting, especially if you're a Kentuckian. Bourbon is sort of part of our identity to the rest of the world, along with basketball, horse racing and great cheerleading ;) Hope everyone had a great weekend!

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