Monthly Archives: February 2011

A Day at Four Roses

A Mighty Fine Monday
****Picture Links Below****

February 7th wasn’t a normal Monday for me. When bourbon awaits, not even a steady, bone chilling rain (that soon turned into two inch flakes of snow) can mess up your mood. By 9:30 a.m. I was sitting out front of Four Roses’ aging and warehousing facility in Cox’s Creek, KY. What a great place to take in the views of twenty aging warehouses holding barrel after barrel of Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. It may have been a mental thing, but you could almost smell bourbon in the air.

Shortly after arriving, I was joined by Master Distiller, Jim Rutledge. A month or so earlier, Jim had extended an invite to come check out the facilities. Obviously, I jumped at the chance. Jim is responsible for the end quality of amber nectar that bears the Four Roses emblem. As you will see in posts that will follow, he’s responsible for a lot more than just that.

Jim had just returned from a week-long trip to California. As Four Roses’ most prominent brand ambassador, Jim doesn’t pass up a chance to talk about Four Roses Bourbon to anyone that will listen. He quickly tells a story about an event the previous week. “Last week I was asked by event organizers how long I had prepared to speak”, he starts out. “I told them as long as anyone will listen…….. I was serious.”

That point wasn’t lost on me as the day continued. Nearly seven hours later I was still talking whiskey, bourbon, and Four Roses with Jim Rutledge. Two inches of snow and falling temperatures might have been the only reason the conversation ended when it did. It was a hell of a day.

The Week Ahead

Over the next week, Sour Mash Manifesto will be posting content from the visit with Four Roses and Jim Rutledge. With nearly 2 hours of video footage and hundreds of pictures, it’s a tough task to consolidate. Rather than smash things together in 1-2 posts, I’ve broken them down into 4-5 segments for easier viewing.
This was a lot of fun. I truly hope you enjoy it as well.

Four Roses Distillery and Aging/Bottling Facility

Today’s post is focused on a tour of the distillery in Lawrenceburg, KY and the Aging/Bottling facility in Cox’s Creek, KY. I’ve divided them into two Flickr photo sets. Each picture has a caption with a good bit of detail. If you have the time, please take a moment to read the captions. They will help give more context and background on Four Roses operations, the history of the distillery, and the uniqueness and philosophies behind the product.

Click on the “red” link below to check ’em out!

Four Roses Distillery Tour

Four Roses Aging/Bottling Facility

Great Whiskey Resources Continued

Folks, I think it’s really important to point out great websites and resources on whiskey when I find them. I’ll continue to do this over time. Hopefully you’ll find this useful since there’s a lot of people that know their stuff out there. Here are two more websites I’d like to share with you.

Check ’em out! (click the link in “red”)

Bourbon Dork: Greg runs this great whiskey driven website. He posts consistently informative content spanning whiskey industry news, reviews, and opinion pieces with his informed “take” on the brown stuff. While the title is bourbon related, Greg’s a fount of knowledge of whiskey from across the globe. Check out his front page as we speak. You’ll see an article on hard to find bourbons, Single Malt, and Indian Malt Whiskey. Highly recommended for anyone that loves whiskey.

The Whisky Wire: I’ve been visiting Steve Rush’s The Whisky Wire site for a number of months now. I’m darn glad I found it to. Steve leans a little more heavily towards the Scotch side of the whiskey equation, but he gives a nod to American Whiskey and Bourbon from time to time as well. Recently Steve, who does a lot of in-depth reviews, went to a “score-free zone” as he calls it. Essentially he no longer gives whiskey that he reviews a numeric score/rating. Instead he allows the whiskey to stand on it’s own merit based on the written tasting notes and descriptors in the review itself. I applaud his efforts efforts there.

Evan Williams Single Barrel Vintage 2001 Bourbon Review

Evan Williams Single Barrel Bourbon Vintage 2001, 43.3% abv (86.6 Proof), $26-29/bottle

Color: Medium Amber

Nose: Sweet notes of deep vanilla, rich caramel, butterscotch, maple, and banana are spiced with cinnamon, all spice, and toasted oak.

Palate: A reasonably thick viscosity at this proof. A caramel and maple syrup entry are followed early with intense dry spice (cinnamon, allspice), baked red apple (cider-like), and fairly heavy oak, resin, and char.

Finish: Warm spices and dry, toasted oak dominate this long finishing whiskey.

Overall: For my tastes, the Evan Williams Single Barrel 2000 Vintage was probably the best sub $30 whiskey released last year. While extremely complex and flavorful, it was also elegant, dancing on the tongue as you sipped. Stylistically there is definitely a family resemblance, but the 2001 vintage delivers it’s flavor in a very different manner. It’s thicker and stickier in mouth feel, richer and bolder in flavor (both sweet and spice), and tasting more of the wood. You might say it lacks a bit of the 2000’s balance and tact, but it makes up for it in other ways. Think of the 2001 as more rock and roll to the 2000’s symphony orchestra. Even though it’s different, it’s still an outstanding whiskey in it’s own right. Therein lies the reason I feel the Evan Williams Single Barrel is one of the best products from Heaven Hill. Each year is distinct and truly a “vintage” expression of grain, oak, and time. Highly recommended.

Sour Mash Manifesto Rating: 9.1 (Outstanding/Superb)

NOTE: The 2000 vintage is still readily available. Until the 2001 is readily available in your area, take the opportunity to grab and hold a bottle or two of the 2000.

Ask Jim Rutledge

It’s not every day that you have an opportunity to meet with one of the finest Master Distillers in the whiskey industry. This coming Monday (2/7) I will get a chance to sit down with Four Roses Master Distiller, Jim Rutledge, at both their Warehousing/Aging facility in Cox’s Creek, KY as well as the main distillery in Lawrenceburg, KY Certainly I have a lot of questions for Jim, but I’m always impressed by the knowledge and passion visitors to this site have. So with that, let me pose this question to you all:

What questions do you have for Jim Rutledge or about Four Roses that you would like Jim to answer?

Let’s hear it, and don’t be shy!