MB Roland Distillery Tour Review

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The MB Roland Distillery offers a variety of tours and tastings. We took the standard tour, which included a visit to the distillery production area and rickhouses, and a tasting of seven of their products. Since our visit, the distillery has constructed a new rickhouse and now offers several new tour options. However, the overall atmosphere is the same. Read our full MB Roland Distillery Tour Review to learn more!
MB Roland Distillery
137 Barkers Mill Rd
Pembroke, KY 42266
270-640-7744
mbroland.com
Tour Review

Please enjoy our MB Roland Distillery Tour Review!

Founded in 2009 on an Old Amish Dairy Farm

MB Roland Distillery was founded in 2009 by Paul & Merry Beth Tomaszewski near Pembroke, KY. Paul had been stationed at nearby Ft. Campbell and Merry Beth had grown up in the area. The distillery lies on an old Amish Dairy farm, which makes for very picturesque surroundings. The old farm buildings serve as homes for the visitor center, rickhouse and distillery. Various other spaces on the farm are utilized for events such as the porch (for Pickin’ on the Porch, a biweekly live music event in the summer months) and the old Dairy Barn, available for a variety of events.

MB Roland Distillery Sign
MB Roland Distillery Sign
The Visitor Center / Gift Shop

Our visit, which as back in May 2019, began, aptly, in the visitor center, which doubles as the gift shop and has a homey, general store vibe. Our $5 tour price included a shot glass. Prices have increased a bit since then, as the basic Tour & Tasting is now $15. We were given the option of upgrading to the MB Roland official Kentucky Bourbon tasting glass for an additional $7. Just a word of warning – if you are planning on completing the Stateline Whiskey Tour (which includes the MB Roland Distillery, Old Glory Distilling Co. and Casey Jones Distillery), you may want to stick to the shot glass. When you visit your final distillery to complete the Stateline Tour, you are given a stave to display a shot glass from each of the three distilleries. If you upgrade to the tasting glass, which won’t fit in the stave, you won’t have a shot glass to put in the stave.

Visitor Center and Gift Shop - MB Roland Distillery Tour Review
Visitor Center and Gift Shop – MB Roland Distillery Tour Review
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The Distillery Production Area
Mashtun & Fermenter Room - MB Roland Distillery Tour Review
Mashtun & Fermenter Room – MB Roland Distillery Tour Review

After meeting our friendly and knowledgeable tour guide, Mike, the tour began on the front porch with a brief history of the MB Roland Distillery. Next was a short walk to see the distilling equipment. On the way we passed the old tobacco shed, where the corn for the Dark Fired Whiskey and Bourbon is smoked. The distillery equipment layout is fairly spartan, but quite functional. The mash tun sits in the center of the left side of the room. It is an interesting setup, because every time the mash temperate is changed, it must be pumped out of the mash tun, into a separate area for cooling, and then pumped back into the mash tun. No built in heating or cooling units here.

Distillation is accomplished using two separate Trident Stills pot stills. The philosophy here is a little different than elsewhere. All the whiskey is distilled to a fairly low proof, and is placed in the barrel at the proof at which it comes off the still. After aging, the whiskey is bottled at “barrel proof” (the proof at which it comes out of the barrel). The spirit is not diluted with water at any point after leaving the still. The final strength of the whiskey generally ranges from 105-120 proof.

Trident Pot Stills - 
MB Roland Distillery Tour Review
Trident Pot Stills –
MB Roland Distillery Tour Review
Frootbat - Making hard to find liquor easy to buy

The Rickhouses

At the time of our 2019 visit, the sole rickhouse sat on a small hill adjacent to the visitor center. As we approached, we were greeted by the distillery cat, Red, who was dutifully guarding the entrance. Inside, the ricks were full with 53 gallon barrels. MB Roland was quickly outgrowing their single rickhouse’s storage capacity and overflow barrels were stored in additional temporary units around the property. Since our visit, a new rickhouse has been built on the property to house those barrels and the ongoing production.

Rickhouse & Red the Cat
Rickhouse & Red the Cat
Frootbat - Making hard to find liquor easy to buy

The Tasting

Following our tour, we returned to the visitor center where we could choose seven of MB Roland’s products to sample. That may seem like a lot, but with over 20 different whiskeys, agave spirit and moonshines to choose from, it is not. I chose to stick mainly with whiskeys. These included a small batch and a single barrel version of their bourbon, the “Dark Fired” bourbon made with smoked corn from the previously mentioned tobacco shed, a straight corn whiskey, a rye whiskey, a malt whiskey and a “wheated” bourbon. The tasting is still free whether one takes the tour or not, so there is no reason not to do some sampling when you stop by. If you like what you try, bottles are available for purchase in the gift shop. I took home a bottle of the Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, the spirit that I enjoyed the most.

Tasting Bar - MB Roland Distillery Tour Review
Tasting Bar – MB Roland Distillery Tour Review
MB Roldand Distillery Tour Options

A number of different tour options have been added since 2019. These include:

  • Standard Tour – the same as the tour we took
  • Founder’s Tour – led by co-founder and Head Distiller, Paul Tomaszewski. The behind the scenes tour includes barrel thieving and the opportunity to fill your own bottle directly from the barrel, as well as an etched tasting glass
  • Distiller’s Tour – more in-depth explanations of the distilling process than the standard tour, led by a distiller. Includes sampling from single barrels in the rickhouse and a MR Roland tasting glass.
  • Bourbon: Beyond The Basics – a in-depth guided tasting led by an Executive Bourbon Steward. Includes an MB Roland glass and tasting wheel
  • Tastings – free standard tasting
  • Important: Not all Tours/Tastings are offered every day, so check the MB Roland website for details, availability and prices, and to make reservations.
MB Roland Distillery
MB Roland Distillery
Conclusion

As we were leaving the MB Roland Distillery, I had to pause once again to take in the beauty of the surrounding landscape. Unfortunately, it’s a fairly distant memory now, since 2019 was quite a while ago. It is definitely time for us to make our way down to MB Roland Distillery and see how things may have changed!

Would you like to learn more about an MB Roland Bourbon? Then check out our MB Roland Barker’s Mill Bourbon Review(Opens in a new browser tab)

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