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