Four Roses Bourbon is the official name for what everyone else calls Four Roses Yellow Label. It is the flagship brand for the distillery, and was sold in markets outside of the United States for years when they were selling the blended whiskey in the U.S. Ova Haney, the Master Distiller at Four Roses convinced Seagram to bring the brand back to Kentucky in the early 1990s. He argued that the employees need to be able to purchase their own product during the Kentucky Bourbon Festival and Seagram agreed. Master Distiller Jim Rutledge took this one step further when Kirin purchased the distillery. The blended whiskey was discontinued and the Four Roses Bourbon replaced it in the American market. It is now found in every State.
Four Roses Bourbon uses whiskey from both mash bills and all five yeast strains. This is done to make a product that is consistent and flavorful. It is one of the few 80 proof Bourbons that I really enjoy. Most 80 proof Bourbons are thin and watery but not Four Roses. The flavor is very complex and it can be enjoyed neat as well as in a cocktail. It also pairs well with cigars. I have tried it with many cigars and I have always been pleased with the result.
Four Roses Bourbon
Age: No Age Statement
Nose: Light yet complex. There is a hint of many flavors but none dominating the aroma. Fruit, caramel, spices and floral notes are all in there, but so well balanced that it is hard to identify the specifics fruits or spice.
Taste: Vanilla and peaches with a hint of baking spices and oak. Tasted with a dried cranberry the Bourbon loses the spice and a bit of an herbal note comes forward. Tasted with a pecan and the vanilla and spice come forward with a hint of the peach or apricot fruit.
Finish: Longer than expected for an 80 proof Bourbon. Starts fruity but quickly dries out with some oak tannins and spice. The cranberry makes the finish oak with a hint of mint. The pecan makes the finish shorter but drier with lots of oak.
I like this Bourbon. I consider it one of the best bargains in whiskey. Today I am going to enjoy the Four Roses with My Father’s Jaime Garcia Reserva Especial Toro Gordo. The smoke brings out some creamy fruit flavors of cherry and berries. The Bourbon makes the smoke sweeter with notes of vanilla. Four Roses Bourbon is always a nice pairing with a cigar.
Photos Courtesy of Maggie Kimberl
June 13, 2018 at 1:42 pm
I keep hearing great things about 4 roses…however it’s not available in my city. Next time I am down int he states, I am going to have to bring a bottle back!
July 29, 2018 at 8:42 pm
You really should do so. You will be glad you did.
June 25, 2018 at 8:07 pm
Enjoy your posts and learn much information reading them. One “picky” comment on your Four Roses Yellow Label: You refer to it as Four Roses “Flagship” brand. Flagship usually refers to the biggest and best, IMHO Flagship would more accurately describe one of their Single Barrel or perhaps the 50Th Anniversary. While the Yellow Label is a perfectly good bourbon and one in my normal rotation. I believe a more apt description of the Yellow Label would be Four Roses Standard Bearer bourbon.
Again, really enjoy your work.
June 25, 2018 at 9:23 pm
Don, the flagship brand is the brand that sells the most and pays the bills for the distillery. Four Roses yellow label does that as it is sold around the world being very big in Europe and Japan.
July 29, 2018 at 11:33 am
I’m going to pick up a bottle today thanks to your review. I love the small batch. Lately, the single barrel is hard to get in my part of Ct. I guess there’s a lot of demand these days.
July 29, 2018 at 3:15 pm
The 80 proof Four Roses Bourbon is an excellent sipping whiskey. One of the few 80 proof Bourbons I would say is a sipping whiskey. Great with a cigar as well.