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Alden
03-21-2013, 13:03
Four Roses seems to make a bewildering variety of bourbons.

For a newbie, which are the best ones to start with?

thiemb
03-21-2013, 13:06
Four Roses seems to make a bewildering variety of bourbons.

For a newbie, which are the best ones to start with?

I'd recommend starting with the standard Small Batch and Single Barrel.

squire
03-21-2013, 13:10
I recommend the standard yellow label Four Roses, 80 proof.

Yeti
03-21-2013, 13:12
I think the K and V yeasts are the most typical bourbon flavors, the "safest" place to start with recipes maybe. Either mashbill is good, so OBSV, OBSK, OESV, and OESK would be my recommendations. The Q and F yeasts are very distinct and different from mainstream bourbon flavors IMO.

amftx
03-21-2013, 13:13
I'd recommend starting with the standard Small Batch and Single Barrel.

Seconded. I'd even say start with the small batch only, period. It's a fantastic bourbon.

OscarV
03-21-2013, 14:52
What can I add? It's all been covered.
Start with them all and when you are done revisit them again.

btw, the Single Barrel is way way way better than the rest. (imho)

Flyfish
03-21-2013, 15:25
Four Roses seems to make a bewildering variety of bourbons.

For a newbie, which are the best ones to start with?
All distillers make a bewildering variety of bourbons. 4R just happens to call all of theirs 4R. I suggest starting with the yellow lable and working your way up. The Limited Editions are rather pricey for someone new to bourbon. Get your feet wet before diving from the 3 meter board into the deep end of the pool.

bourbonandbacon
03-21-2013, 19:58
i would only add to the suggestions about specific types of FR, that you should also have an understanding of what FR is about. to me, the SB is an incredible balancing act of flavors. really complex stuff that sometimes can take a bit into the bottle to fully appreciate. it doesnt necessarily hit you over the head with a one dimensional flavor profile like a lot of other bourbons out there. i think being able to appreciate that delicate balance of rye spice and sweetness takes a certain drinker with a certain taste. while many people on this site rave about FR (i mean complain about how utterly terrible it is), when i introduce it to new or non-bourbon drinkers, many people dont like it so much because of its subtlety. so, just as a heads up in case you go in to try your first bottle and are not immediately blown away

Alden
03-21-2013, 20:09
I think the K and V yeasts are the most typical bourbon flavors, the "safest" place to start with recipes maybe. Either mashbill is good, so OBSV, OBSK, OESV, and OESK would be my recommendations. The Q and F yeasts are very distinct and different from mainstream bourbon flavors IMO.

So these letters, including FR, denote different strains of yeast that are used for fermentation?

bourbonandbacon
03-21-2013, 20:17
So these letters, including FR, denote different strains of yeast that are used for fermentation?

http://www.fourrosesbourbon.com/ten-unique-bourbon-recipes/

HighInTheMtns
03-21-2013, 20:17
So these letters, including FR, denote different strains of yeast that are used for fermentation?
There's a thread called "Four Roses Ten Recipes" that will tell you all about this, or you can go to Four Roses' website. F, K, O, Q, and V are the yeast strains.

Alden
03-21-2013, 20:26
OK,Got it. Thanks very much!

LikeItWasSodaPop
03-21-2013, 21:13
As far as my $.02 goes, I'd recommend against the Yellow Label as a starting point and strongly recommend the Single Barrel or Small Batch (in that order). It took me spending a lot of time with the premium limited editions and single barrels (08 and 09 Mariage, LESmB, 2010-2012 LESB, various Binny's and Party Source single barrels) to actually "get" the beauty of the Yellow Label. The 80 proof hides a lot of the complexity.

In any event, it's definitely a line of bourbons that, for a newbie, would be great to revisit every 3 months or so to see how your evolving palate/preferences intersect with the glory that is 4R.

black mamba
03-21-2013, 22:00
It constantly amazes me how many people just don't "get" Four Roses. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, loves Dickel and ETL, but it seems only whiskey die-hards like 4R. The quality is there, the proof is there, the flavor is there, and the price is there. What gives?

CoMobourbon
03-22-2013, 03:37
Yeah, seriously, Four Roses is at both the top and bottom of my whiskey buying spectrum. At the value end, I can get FR yellow for $13 around here for some wonderful unholy reason. At the top end of what I would ever actually pay for, I can get the standard single barrel for more like $35-$40. And at my fantasy / some-day-when-I-am-old-and-rich level, there are the LE small batches and even the barrel proof single barrels.

Josh
03-22-2013, 06:25
It constantly amazes me how many people just don't "get" Four Roses. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, loves Dickel and ETL, but it seems only whiskey die-hards like 4R. The quality is there, the proof is there, the flavor is there, and the price is there. What gives?

Shhhhhh. Some of us like it that way.

squire
03-22-2013, 07:01
Good responses guys. With it's myriad of yeasts and recipes Four Roses is, for me at least, the most interesting brand to study, but since Alden's original question was where to start I believe the standard yellow label has ample complexity to serve as an introduction to the brand.

rndenks
03-22-2013, 07:51
As another newer guy to bourbon I can tell you that I did jump right into the 4R 1B and love it. That is where I entered the 4R game after reading a lot of posts, and my local stores not caring 4R YL. I may not be able to totally break it all down yet, but I can note a lot of smells/tastes. I also think highly of it compared to some of the other bourbons I have tried. Probably my favorite pour on my shelf right now.

Squire may be right that Yellow Lable may be the way to slowly wade into 4R. I am just saying if you decide to dive in head first with the SB or 1B you can still swim. Sorry for the cheesy metaphors.

Alden
03-22-2013, 08:00
As another newer guy to bourbon I can tell you that I did jump right into the 4R 1B and love it. That is where I entered the 4R game after reading a lot of posts, and my local stores not caring 4R YL. I may not be able to totally break it all down yet, but I can note a lot of smells/tastes. I also think highly of it compared to some of the other bourbons I have tried. Probably my favorite pour on my shelf right now.

Squire may be right that Yellow Lable may be the way to slowly wade into 4R. I am just saying if you decide to dive in head first with the SB or 1B you can still swim. Sorry for the cheesy metaphors.

Not that cheesy. :)

The only one I can find locally is the 1B, so that will probably be the one I get first. If I could find the yellow label, I would start with that. I'll keep looking around. Most of my local shops don't have a huge variety in stock of anything but wines. Wine is very, very popular here where I live, in tourist town.

We do have a Total Wine and Spirits way over on the east side of Orlando, but I rarely get over that way.

squire
03-22-2013, 13:24
Waaay over across town? Com'on Alden, where's your sense of adventure.

Brisko
03-22-2013, 13:33
I'd recommend both the Single Barrel and the Small Batch. Both are very good products, and in somewhat contrasting styles. Most people seem to prefer one over the other. I happen to really like the small batch but there's only one way to find out. Like I say both are very good and worth your while to track down.

callmeox
03-22-2013, 13:38
My first venture into premium bourbon was FRSB and I've been a FR evangelist ever since.

Alden
03-22-2013, 14:15
I just asked the manager of my local if she could try to get some of the yellow label for me. She said "maybe".

We'll see what happens.

Kalessin
03-22-2013, 14:37
Straightbourbon.com is why I got into Four Roses (FR or 4R) at all.

I knew the name from their old advertisements from the 1930s, 40s and 50s (do a search on "vintage four roses advertising", it was fun stuff), but I only had them in my mind as a label on blended whiskey (like Thompson's) and hadn't tried any of their modern bourbons after they started selling straight bourbon whiskey again in the US in 2002.

I started with the Yellow Label (FRYL), but for me, that's a summer bourbon, with less punch and flavor. Tasty with a cube or two of ice in the summer, though!

I progressed to the Small Batch (FRSmB) and really like it. I haven't been buying it as much while I've been working on many other labels, but it's a favorite at that price point. The SmB is what I'd recommend for your first experimental bottle of 4R. It's important to know if you like the "house style"; there are members here who love many bourbons but don't like 4R at all.

I haven't yet had the chance to buy a bottle of the standard Single Barrel (FR1B or FRSB) because a local store has a "specially selected" Single Barrel that's only a few dollars more and VERY tasty. A number of the really big stores (Julio's in Massachusetts, The Party Source, K&L, etc) can buy whole barrels for a special Single Barrel release (yield about 280 bottles/barrel) of recipes other than the standard 1B. So instead of the standard OBSV recipe, I've been having a great time with Julio's Liquors "Loch & K(e)y Society" OESO-recipe 1B.

I also found out about some of their their special bottlings, the 1B Limited Edition (FR1BLE) and Small Batch Limited Edition (SmBLE, which was called Mariage when it started). Annual editions priced a bit over $80 in MA, and I found Mariage 2009 at a little store in 2012, last year's 1BLE12 only one bottle at another store, and last year's SmBLE12 at several stores. I dug deep to buy multiple bottles because I liked the whiskey so much.

They have some special editions beyond that (there was a 17-year-old 1B at the gift shop that's been mighty popular around here), but haven't managed to taste them yet. I'm definitely looking forward to this year's 1BLE and SmBLE.

squire
03-22-2013, 14:41
Between the Small Batch and Single Barrel I'll take the Batch every time. The folks at the House of Roses really know how to blend their recipes together.

Brisko
03-22-2013, 17:53
Between the Small Batch and Single Barrel I'll take the Batch every time. The folks at the House of Roses really know how to blend their recipes together.
Dagonnit, squire, you gotta quit agreeing with me all the time. people are going to talk.

WAINWRIGHT
03-22-2013, 18:12
I would also recommend the SmB and SB and bypass the Yellow label 8, just not that much there IMO.I enjoy the SB quite a bit more than the SmB and will admit it may start an obsession as it did for me to try all of the 10 offered in the SB selections.You will find it very interesting to see the variances among all of the different yeast strains ans mashbills and how they shine in their own special way.Yes I'm definitely a fan and hooked for life!

Borchard
03-22-2013, 20:16
Four Roses seems to make a bewildering variety of bourbons.

For a newbie, which are the best ones to start with?
I agree with what several others have said. Start with Small Batch

bourbonandbacon
03-22-2013, 21:23
SB (pitchfork raised)

black mamba
03-22-2013, 23:48
I had 3 or 4 of the SmB before I ever tried the 1B, and thought it was the way to go, terrific stuff.

But . . . then I tried the 1B, and have never looked back.

ramblinman
03-23-2013, 20:55
I've only had one bottle of SB, about 2/3 finished by now that a friend bought me last fall. Are all the single barrels one recipes by default or is the marking somewhere? Just looked at mine and don't see anything about the recipe used.

black mamba
03-23-2013, 21:05
I asked the same thing last week. All the standard SB offerings are OBSV: 60/35/5 mashbill, delicate fruit, spicey and creamy.

Josh
03-24-2013, 05:49
I started with the Yellow Label. I still like it as a mellow summertime pour and makes a very good mint Julep. I'd start there with an open mind. I remember when ANY four roses was very hard to find anywhere. The yellow label was a delicacy. Yellow label helps me appreciate the ltd eds and the single barrel.

Alden
03-24-2013, 06:09
I know where I can get one in 1B. What is a "reasonable" price for that?

That may be the first one I get.

MyOldKyDram
03-24-2013, 06:13
Just the standard single barrel, you mean? It's about $30 here, but depending on where you live could vary a bit.

squire
03-24-2013, 06:32
About $34.95 around here but I have seen in on seasonal special for $29.95.

Alden
03-24-2013, 06:56
Just the standard single barrel, you mean? It's about $30 here, but depending on where you live could vary a bit.

Yes.


About $34.95 around here but I have seen in on seasonal special for $29.95.

I think it was priced around $32-$36.

Thanks guys.

Alden
03-26-2013, 12:10
Just dropped by my LLS, the one they have is Small Batch, for $26.00.

I'll probably go back in a couple of hours and pick one up.

sailor22
03-26-2013, 12:25
Keep in mind when you say single barrel there is the standard Single Barrel (OBSV?) and there are many different retailer single barrel picks that are typically barrel strength and can be any of the 10 recipes. Also remember it's a single barrel bottling and there are some differences from barrel to barrel even in the shelf juice.

Alden
03-26-2013, 12:29
Keep in mind when you say single barrel there is the standard Single Barrel (OBSV?) and there are many different retailer single barrel picks that are typically barrel strength and can be any of the 10 recipes. Also remember it's a single barrel bottling and there are some differences from barrel to barrel even in the shelf juice.

This bottle says "Small Batch" on the label. Not "Single Barrel".

sailor22
03-26-2013, 12:54
This bottle says "Small Batch" on the label. Not "Single Barrel".

Understood Alden. I was referencing other recommendations for you to try the Single Barrel, and trying to make the point a Single Barrel Four Roses can be confusing to newbs.

The Small Batch is probably a great starting point for you especially if the Yellow Label isn't available.

squire
03-26-2013, 13:02
For me the Small Batch is the ending point which has been my position since Four Roses bottled their first single barrel.

CoMobourbon
03-26-2013, 13:04
Understood Alden. I was referencing other recommendations for you to try the Single Barrel, and trying to make the point a Single Barrel Four Roses can be confusing to newbs.

The Small Batch is probably a great starting point for you especially if the Yellow Label isn't available.

Yeah, really, the various special barrel strength single barrel offerings are really the main, if not the only, source of confusion about the Four Roses lineup.

Yellow is a good balanced basic bourbon that uses all of their yeast/mashbill combos. Small Batch is basically a better (90pf vs 80pf, presumably more selective barrel selection) and proportionally(?) more expensive version of the same thing. It does use a smaller range of their yeast/mashbill combos, but it still uses them for a balanced effect. Each of the single barrels, on the other hand, definitively use only one of the yeast/mashbill combos, and so each of them is pretty different. Plus, there is the distinction between the standard 100 pf and the barrel proof single barrels - obviously also a pretty big difference. (see the rest of the thread for the single barrel distinctions)

scubadoo97
03-26-2013, 14:06
I recommend the standard yellow label Four Roses, 80 proof.

I like Four Roses but the yellow label taste way too watered down for my taste. Especially knowing how good it can be.
I'd go with a single barrel OBSV. Lower rye with good red fruit flavors.

Alden
03-26-2013, 15:47
I had a sip. Contrasted it with OGD. Nothing alike.

There is a flavor, or flavors, in the 4R SmB that is/are unlike any I have tasted in any bourbon so far.

It almost tastes like corn to me, and I have never been able to pick that out in any other bourbon for some reason.

black mamba
03-26-2013, 16:48
I just tried the regular 80 proof 4R for the first time tonight, and even though it has less flavor than it's stronger siblings, it still has the luscious 4R mouth feel.
I then blended it with OGD BIB at 50/50, and it was just terrific. If you haven't tried this, you must!

Alden
03-26-2013, 18:51
I just tried the regular 80 proof 4R for the first time tonight, and even though it has less flavor than it's stronger siblings, it still has the luscious 4R mouth feel.
I then blended it with OGD BIB at 50/50, and it was just terrific. If you haven't tried this, you must!

Funny you mentioned this. I was thinking of doing the same thing.

Nick Danger
03-27-2013, 20:07
I'm also a Four Roses newbie. I started with the FR Small Batch, and just upgraded to the Single Barrel. For the extra $8 (Chicago prices) I'm very glad I got the FRSB. The Small Batch was very nice, but the Single Barrel is amazing. Very smooth, even at 100 proof. More peppery. More complex. Longer finish.

I'm still glad that I tried the Small Batch first. It's a fine bourbon. But now I'm spoiled.

Nick

Alden
03-28-2013, 12:30
Just went to Total Wine and Spirits and HOLY COW it's like the Walmart of booze at that place. Except without all the trashy people.

I saw 4 Roses Single B for $40.00, OGD 114 for $25, and a bunch of ryes I never even heard of.

Yeti
03-28-2013, 13:15
Just went to Total Wine and Spirits and HOLY COW it's like the Walmart of booze at that place. Except without all the trashy people.

I saw 4 Roses Single B for $40.00, OGD 114 for $25, and a bunch of ryes I never even heard of.

And so it begins...

omgmarclol
03-28-2013, 13:22
I'm also a Four Roses newbie. I started with the FR Small Batch, and just upgraded to the Single Barrel. For the extra $8 (Chicago prices) I'm very glad I got the FRSB. The Small Batch was very nice, but the Single Barrel is amazing. Very smooth, even at 100 proof. More peppery. More complex. Longer finish.

I'm still glad that I tried the Small Batch first. It's a fine bourbon. But now I'm spoiled.

Nick

nick, if you like the general single barrel, when you get the opportunity, pick up a retailer's private selection of OBSV. it's the same recipe used in the general release but barrel strength. OBSK is my go to for single barrel selections, and i would recommend that without thinking twice.

gatsby
03-28-2013, 13:25
I'm a newbie also and after trying the yellow label a couple times at bars I jumped right into the single barrel selections from Binny's and TPS. Right now I have OBSV, OESO (both opened), OBSK, & OESK. (Both unopened). Both the OBSV and OESO are terrific. What I find strange is that I have to dilute the OBSV (55%) but can drink the OESO (59%) straight with no problem. Either way, these are among the favorites in my collection.

Nick Danger
03-28-2013, 14:29
nick, if you like the general single barrel, when you get the opportunity, pick up a retailer's private selection of OBSV. it's the same recipe used in the general release but barrel strength. OBSK is my go to for single barrel selections, and i would recommend that without thinking twice.

Thanks for the suggestion. As soon as my budget improves a bit, I plan to pick up both the barrel strength OBSV and OBSK. For now, I'm very, very happy with the regular FRSB.

Nick

black mamba
03-28-2013, 16:30
Agreed on the 1Bs. Last summer I picked up an OESO 12 yr and an OBSK 17 yr, both at cask strength, from the distillery shop.

The OBSK 17 yr was one of the top 5 whiskies I've ever tasted. Got about one drink left in the bottle, and then the cryin' starts!