OK,Got it. Thanks very much!
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
Waaay over across town? Com'on Alden, where's your sense of adventure.