Four Roses Distillery

Cox Creek, KY

The "Single Barrel Cigar Society" is a small group of friends who gather at Gil Hibben's knife shop every six weeks or so to enjoy some fine cigars, Kentucky Bourbon, and the fellowship of our group. We tell lies, jokes, generally solve the problems of the world and have a great time.

A couple of years ago we talked about buying our own barrel of whiskey and having it bottled and labeled under our own private label. With the help of a couple of our group who spent many years working in the bourbon industry, we finally made it happen. In October 2012 we went to the Four Roses warehouse and bottling facility in Cox Creek, Kentucky to select our barrel.

Four of us made the trip and enjoyed a great educational tour of the facility followed by a tasting to choose our barrel of whiskey. There are dozens of big warehouses on the property where the barrels of whiskey is aged but the bottling facility was a surprisingly small and relatively simple operation. About a dozen employees run the bottling line yet they turn out some 80,000 cases per year. Some of the line is automated but much is still done by hand.

New barrels are lined up waiting to be filled.

The filling station

Filled barrels are loaded onto a truck for transport to a warehouse.

These are the barrels that were emptied and bottled the day we were there.

Whiskey barrels are made from specially selected white oak that are charred inside.

This is some of the char that is dumped from the barrel when it is emptied. Makes good grilling chips!

The barrels are emptied into large tanks like this one.

Single barrel batches are bottled from smaller tanks like these.

The whiskey is filtered and sent to the bottling room here.

The bottles are capped by a machine and then labels are applied by hand.

The bottles move through a machine that seals the cap with shrink wrap.

A laser etches the bottling date into the glass.

Final inspection.

One man takes the bottles from the line and boxes them.

Four Roses selected five barrels for us to sample.

One of our wonderful hosts, Dan Gardner, draws samples from each barrel.

We begin the task of tasting and choosing our favorite.

All of our sample barrels were from the same section of a warehouse and was distilled at the same time in 2004 using the same recipe.
It was really surprising how different each barrel was in taste.
It was 117-118 proof right out of the barrel but we will cut it to 100 proof for bottling.

We unanimously chose barrel #3 and Jason re-plugs the barrel.

We all signed off on our barrel. It will be bottled in the next couple of weeks.

A toast to our choice with our lovely co-host Corey.

We had the privilege of sampling a wonderful premium whiskey that is only sold in Japan.

After getting to sample the premium Japanese bottle, William had a new best friend.

Hutch and I designed a label for our bottles

December 7, 2012 we had a smoker and our barrel of bourbon was delivered. The barrel yielded 222 750ml bottles at 100 proof.
(It was 117 proof in the barrel and we had it cut back to 100 proof)

It was another great experience with great friends.



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