As one of the popular Bourbons in Kentucky, Four Roses Bourbon is a part of Kentucky Bourbon Trail. If you’re interested in knowing the history and how the Bourbon is made, making a reservation of historic tours is a good idea. When we visited here in early July, the distillery was still under construction, so a modified distillery tour and a tasting tour were provided.
– Legend and History –
2018 is the 130th anniversary since Four Roses Bourbon was founded in 1888. The legend of Four Roses Distillery is a sweet love story. Paul Jones, Jr., the founder of Four Roses Bourbon, sent a proposal to a southern beauty, and they came to an agreement that if she answered “yes”, she would wear a corsage of roses for the upcoming ball. When she arrived, she wore a corsage of four roses. Later on, he named his Bourbon as “Four Roses” to symbolize the passion on his lady.
In 1917, after United States entered the World War I, the president instituted a temporary wartime prohibition intended to save grains for producing food. During the national prohibition period from 1920 to 1933, Four Roses became one of the six Bourbon distilleries which were legalized to distill Bourbon as “Medicinal Purposes Only”. Doctors with special permission would issue Bourbons to patients in need.Survived from prohibition, Four Roses was the top selling Bourbon in the U.S. in the 30s and 40s. However, in the 50s, the owner made the decision to move business to the rapidly growing European and Asian markets, and made it become the top selling Bourbon at that time and even for today. Later on, Four Roses Bourbon was brought back to United States by a master distiller.
– Unique 10 Recipes –
It’s 10 Bourbon recipes making Four Roses unique from other Bourbons. These 10 recipes are created by 2 mashbills and 5 fruit yeasts, which making Four Roses a special smooth and mellow taste. If you look at the bottle, there is a four letter tag which exactly represents the 10 recipes. All Four Roses Bourbons start with the letter “O” which means the Bourbon should be produced from Four Roses Distillery in Lawrenceburg, KY. The third letter is alway “S” represented Straight Bourbon. The other two letters stand for the mashbill and the yeast of 10 different recipes.
– Four Roses Bourbon –
The unique 10 recipes makes three main products.
- OBSV is becoming Four Roses Single Barrel Bourbon. 100 proof.
- OBSO, OBSK, OESO, OESK make Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon. 90 proof.
- Up to 10 recipes create Four Roses Bourbon. 80 proof.
The proof is the government’s documentation of alcoholic content. You could get the actual alcohol volume by cutting it half.
Note: The distillery and bottling warehouse are separated. The Four Roses’ scenic Warehouse and Bottling Facility is located in Cox’s Creek, if you want to see how Bourbon is aged and bottled.