Four Roses Single Barrel is a Kentucky based straight Bourbon whiskey. The Four Roses brand is owned by the Kirin Brewery Company headquartered in Japan. The entire line of Four Roses Bourbon whiskeys were discontinued during the 1950s, only becoming available again in 2002.
Like most Bourbon whiskeys, and unlike most Scotch whiskies, the Four Roses Single Barrel expression carries no-age-statement. It qualifies the American industry standards for a straight whiskey, meaning it is ‘aged for at least 2 years’, after which the Master Distiller determines whether it’s ready, or not.
The origination of the name ‘Four Roses’ was rather unique, and involves a romantic proposal, and does involve roses. Paul Jones Jr., the man who laid the foundations of the Four Roses brand is said to have proposed to a woman, requesting her to wear a corsage of roses if she accepted his proposal for a grand ball. She obliged, wearing a corsage of ‘Four Roses’, and thus an excellent straight Bourbon brand was conceived.
The distillery premises, constructed in 1910 have been listed by the United States’ National Registrar of Historic Places for its beautiful Spanish inspired architecture. A number of conflicting accounts of the brand’s origination exist online, but the company website states their preference for the Paul Jones Jr version of events.
The sales of Four Roses as a straight Bourbon were discontinued during the 1950s, resuming only in 2002 after Kirin Brewing Company took over the Four Roses brand. Prior to this, blended American whiskey was sold under the Four Roses brand instead of straight Bourbon whiskey.
After returning to the brand’s original interpretation under Master Distiller Jim Rutledge, Four Roses soon became a prominent name in the straight Bourbon segment in America. Rutledge retired in 2015, passing the role of Master Distiller to Brent Elliott who currently fills the role at Four Roses. He had previously worked with Rutledge at the same company for a decade.
Four Roses use two separate mash bills, one that is 60% Corn with 35% Rye and 5% malted Barley, and another that contains 75% Corn, 20% Rye and 5% malted Barley. The company says they pay close attention to the temperature to protect the delicate flavours of their whiskey.
They also rely on their ‘five original and proprietary yeast strains’, each that helps them develop a unique type of flavours according Four Roses. This brings the number of mash bills used by the distillery to 10, although they only use 1 of these for the Single Barrel expression. Each recipe has a four-letter code that indicates the production facility, the mash bill, the spirit type, and the yeast strain.
Four Roses Single Barrel whiskey is aged in a single-story warehouse so that there is a minimum temperature difference in the barrels aged at the floor level and those higher up. It results in just 8-degree Fahrenheit difference, which is much lower compared to the difference found in other traditional warehouses.
Four Roses Single Barrel contains an alcohol strength of 50% ABV, quite higher than the standard permissible limit for Bourbon whiskeys in America.
Winner of the Gold medal at the World Whiskey Awards in 2019
28th January 2017
Rich, fruity smell with notes of chocolate and spices with echoes of honey, vanilla, and toffee.
Robust, mellow, and full-flavored with hints of plum, cherry notes, and caramel.
Delicately long finish with oak, chocolate, and butterscotch