May 12, 2013
After yesterday’s horrible pouring down rain, we scrambled with a another time change and hit the Blue Grass Parkway toward Laurenceburg for a visit to Four Roses Distillery. I’ve seen plenty of beer breweries, but never a distillery. Bonds Mill Rd. is narrow, kind of rolling hills and homes, could this be the right place? A big yellow, Spanish Mission Style building suddenly loomed up before us. The gates are narrow; you can’t see if there is room for a motor home. Carefully, carefully we rolled…
We wound around a narrow driveway and ended up at the back of the place next to an ancient still on our left.
The steaming smoke stacks of a distillery at work on the right.
And the visitors center in front of us. A distinct smell of sweet corn hung in the air.
Inside the visitors center everything is roses. Much to look at and enjoy or buy while waiting for your tour.
Wouldn’t this make a good toilet seat? It answers the question, what is the difference between bourbon and whiskey? Same thing. I’d love to have that as a toilet seat.
Four Roses isn’t the oldest distillery in the state, but one of the oldest. It was started in 1888 by Old Joe. Everyone loved his brew and when he sold his place, he sold the recipe. It remains the same, we are told.
Several owners bought and ran the distillery after Old Joe. It was owned by Seagrams for many years. This is their top of the line product, single barrel straight bourbon, that has always been produced to the original recipe and enjoys a huge following in Europe and Japan. It is rumored the name Four Roses came from one early owner who fell for a beautiful woman. He asked for her hand in marriage. She said she’d give him her answer at an upcoming ball. If she was wearing a red rose, the answer was yes. At the ball she was wearing a corsage of four red roses. When Seagrams went bankrupt, the new owners began marketing their most successful product, the single barrel above, and selling it in America. It isn’t yet available in every state.
The yellow label is what you drink Monday through Friday. They don’t use the b—- word. It is an intermingled recipe. The books have some neat recipes.
The distillery has won an award for best distillery for 2011 and 2012. The above is not the award. Didn’t learn what sour mash was. Forgot to ask. But I did remember that by law, bourbon has to be 51% corn mash. (She said Four Roses uses more.) The corn comes from Indiana. Rye from Denmark and barley from Ireland. Secret recipe #1.
The distillery tour started on the ground floor and ended there for me because of the stairs. I had to leave and waited for the tour to enter the tasting room at the end.
Our tour guide above was fun. She had a great toast for us that I can’t remember. The booze is delish if you like booze. Jim declined to taste. He only likes his Canadian Mist with ice and water. I enjoyed it because I like scotch, but it would have been better with a couple of ice cubes and a splash of water and a little cracker and cheese. (She gave me an empty bottle with the embossed roses on it for my bottle fence.)
While Jim was on the tour, I took some pictures outside. Beautiful grounds.
A second still on the grounds, a fountain in front of the building. It was a fun tour.
September 17, 2011
I get discouraged when I read the headlines each morning and learn what the baboons who are supposedly leading this great country to salvation have been up to on the many fronts of our “uncivil war”. We, the people are losing this war, there is no doubt about that. But, now and again, levity comes in my email and instead of ranting, as I’m want to do, I thought I’d reprint this illuminating answer to a question posed to a master politician. It comes at a time when my brother is running for congress, so I have to laugh as I present this piece from the Texas Archives. Don’t know who dug it up but I thank her/him.
In 1952, Armon M. Sweat, Jr. a member of the Texas House of Representatives, was asked about his position on whiskey. Here is his answer:
“If you mean whiskey, the devils brew, the poison scourge, the bloody monster that defiles innocence, dethrones reason, destroys the home, creates misery and poverty, yea, literally takes the bread from the mouths of little children; if you mean that evil drink that topples Christian men and women from the pinnacles of righteous and gracious living into the bottomless pit of degradation, shame, despair, helplessness, and hopelessness, then, my friend I am opposed to it with every fiber of my being.”
“However, if by whiskey you mean the lubricant of conversation, the philosophic juice, the elixir of life, the liquid that is consumed when good fellows get together, that puts a song in their hearts and the warm glow of contentment in their eyes; if you mean Christmas cheer, the stimulating sip that puts a little spring in the step of an elderly gentleman on a frosty morning; if you mean that drink that enables him to magnify his joy, and to forget life’s great tragedies and heartbreaks and sorrow; if you mean that drink the sale of which pours into Texas treasuries untold millions of dollars each year, that provides tender care for our crippled children, our blind, our deaf, our dumb, our pitifully aged and infirm, to build the finest highways, hospitals, universities, and community colleges in this nation, then my friend, I am absolutely, unequivocally in favor of it.
This is my position and as always, I refuse to compromise on matters of principal.”