Spirit Of The Week: Four Roses Bourbon Ten Recipe Tasting Experience

For the first time ever the legendary Kentucky distillery collects all its various recipes for fans to try at home.

(Four Roses)

Celebrating its 135th anniversary this year, the legendary Four Roses distillery will soon be unraveling an entire aesthetic makeover. The branding refresh looks to modernize the venerable Kentucky maestros with distinguished touches like new corks with engraved rose clusters, gilded borders on brighter labels and an entirely new typeface to match the iconic quad-rose bouquet. 

To mark the occasion they’ve also developed a Ten Recipe Tasting Experience Kit, the type of educational tool normally reserved for journalists to clearly and concisely highlight the brand’s various recipes. 

But for the first time the braintrust at Four Roses are smartly releasing the set to the public, allowing serious #bourbonheads and #whiskeyfreaks to taste each of the 10 proprietary recipes Four Roses uses to blend its various expressions. 

“Our hope is that the experience illuminates how truly unique Four Roses is by pinpointing what sets us apart from the rest—our ten proprietary recipes,” Master Distiller Brent Elliott tells Maxim. 

“Additionally, I hope this shows how much care and time we put into ensuring our bourbons maintain the quality and consistency our fans have come to expect from Four Roses.” 

The Four Roses Ten Recipe Tasting Experience Kit includes a set of 50ml bottles each containing one of the 10 non-chill filtered recipes derived from both Mashbill B and Mashbill E, further broken down by each yeast strain. If you want a guided tasting with the Master Distiller himself, they’ve included a QR code which will send you on the video quest. 

Personally we love these media kits that allow enthusiasts to dive deep into the labs of their favorite spirit makers. One learns to discern between various aging techniques, secondary maturations, or even a mezcal brand’s different agave treatments back-to-back-to-back to really experience their nuance. While these are not uncommon for journalists, they are rarely made available to the public. 

“There was no hesitation from me, or the brand team, because we know this experience is something our loyal fans are eager for, and a tool that will help us further educate bourbon drinkers on our differentiator—which is our ten recipes,” Elliot answers when asked if there was any resistance to releasing the kit to Johnny Q Whiskeyfan. 

“You would be amazed at how many times we’ve had people either request a full ten recipes experience, or tell us that they were searching high and low to collect all ten via our single barrels,” he continues. “Now we’ve made it easily accessible and approachable as well, because it comes with that guided tasting.”

It’s no exaggeration to say Four Roses distills some of the most coveted whiskeys ever made in the Bluegrass State. As one of the few labels that predates Prohibition, they’ve honed their craft to samurai-sword precision over these past 135 years. While this heritage is a boon, it can also make it hard for any such artisan to modernize without risking its foundation. So while Four Roses takes this opportunity to refresh its aesthetics, the tasting kit underlines how the juice remains the same.  

“Even though something may be new to consumers, everything we do builds upon the foundation that we have set over the past 135 years—the Ten Recipe Tasting Experience is a perfect example of this,” Elliot explains. “While it’s a new product, it’s giving us a reason to reflect on the work that has been done since Four Roses’ founding and why fans have stayed loyal to the brand for so long. 

“Our refreshed look and the anniversary adds another layer to all of this as we honor the heritage of Four Roses, while taking steps forward in modernizing our approach, look and feel.”

Currently available at the Four Roses Visitor Centers in Lawrenceburg and Coxs Creek, Kentucky, the Four Roses Ten Recipe Tasting Experience Kit is also currently rolling out to Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky and Cali starting any day now. While the booze volume is small, the Experience is Kentucky Big for a price tag of $130.

Follow Contributing Spirits Editor Nicolas Stecher at @nickstecher and @boozeoftheday.