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  1. #1
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    War of the (Four) Roses: Single Barrel

    To protect my Top Shelf image, I tend to turn up my nose to most Four Rose products … until now. As a reader of Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2012 my interest was piqued when he bestowed a 96.5 rating on Four Roses Single Barrel. For comparison’s sake, Jim’s highest rated bourbon is George T. Stagg, which topped the Murray scales with a 97.5 rating. Therefore, you can see why I was intrigued.

    Here is what Jim writes about Four Roses Single Barrel:
    "If you have ever wondered if Four Roses has the wherewithal to play amongst the super-elite of the whiskey world, then track down this particular bottling and all will be revealed…for me the finest Four Roses I have ever come across" --- Whisky Bible 2012

    As a Stagg lover, if FRSB rated almost as high – then this would definitely be a treat for my taste buds (and wallet). My friend (and drinking buddy) is a fan of the Four Roses Mariage (whose ratings dip to low 88.5 on the Murray meter). My friend and Jim can’t be wrong … so it was high time to rethink my stand on this brand. Took my first pour and waited. Nothing. Nada. No Stagg-esque qualities. Granted my palate is still in its formative years … but I do not see the comparison between FRSB and George T. Stagg. Personally, I preferred the Mariage. FRSB was not a bad pour by any means...but perhaps I’m expecting too much and bought into Murray’s hype? Therefore, was wondering how the more experienced and mature tasters rate this one?

    [/font]

  2. #2
    Connoisseur
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    Re: War of the (Four) Roses: Single Barrel

    Stag is Stag....and not red. The only thing that will ever compare to Stag....is another bottle of Stag. Let's just clear that one up

    4 Roses is in my opinion one of the best widely available single barrels out there (for my tastes). When I started on the bourbon path, I wasn't very impressed with many of the mainstream bourbons until I cracked open 4RSB. It was delicious right out the bottle (which many needed some air time before it became palatable.)

    My first bottle was TN 76-5T. I picked that particular bottle because of "TN" being the call letters of Tennessee . I still have 3 fingers left. So I bought a bottle to bunker: OS 42-1C I picked for no real reason other than it came with two 4R glasses.

    I picked up the 2011 4RSB LE which I have yet to get into (QN 17-2K)

    Today I was allowed to purchase the 2009 Mariage Collection (no 1106/3432). I want to open it....but...I may wait and savor it. The reviews I read when it was the BOTM were that it ranked up there with the VW line of bourbons. So I have high expectations for it.

    However, I thought we already discussed that some of Jim Murray's decisions seem to be...off base quite a bit.
    |-o-| [-o-] |-o-| "I'm on the leader"

  3. #3

    Re: War of the (Four) Roses: Single Barrel

    I think your first mistake was assuming that it would be similar to Stagg based on similar rating number, and so when it didn't taste like your bourbon of choice, it was a let down. Personally, I thought the standard single barrel was just okay. I rather enjoy the small batch, and they always seem to have it on sale around these parts. I also find the standard yellow label to be pretty good for the price, and a great mixer. As for tasting notes, I find the whole Four Roses line to be quite a bit more floral than many bourbons for lack of a better word. I certainly wouldn't compare it directly to Stagg because to me they are so unalike in taste.
    Last edited by thezenone; 04-13-2012 at 12:05.

  4. #4
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    Re: War of the (Four) Roses: Single Barrel

    To be fair to Jim, he didn't compare 4RSB to GTS. Ratings aside, expecting any similarities seems to be wishful thinking. On the other hand if you can track down the Four Roses 100th Anniversary Limited Edition Single Barrel from a few years ago, you won't be disappointed. It's a barrel strengh 17yo that should be right up your alley. It's full of dried fruits and leather and is one of the best bourbons I've ever tasted.
    One whiskey for every ghost.

  5. #5
    Advanced Taster
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    Re: War of the (Four) Roses: Single Barrel

    Quote Originally Posted by Bmac View Post
    However, I thought we already discussed that some of Jim Murray's decisions seem to be...off base quite a bit.
    That's the understatement of the day.
    One whiskey for every ghost.

  6. #6
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    Re: War of the (Four) Roses: Single Barrel

    Quote Originally Posted by Bmac View Post
    However, I thought we already discussed that some of Jim Murray's decisions seem to be...off base quite a bit.
    Yeah…we did. However, I have two friends that are die-hard Jim Murray believers. (They even have his book and iPhone app). As a result, his ratings are continuously being bantered back and forth. My take has always been that Jim may know his scotches but bourbon is not scotch. They seem to disagree with me. Was hoping to use these posts as my rebuttal.

  7. #7
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    Re: War of the (Four) Roses: Single Barrel

    Quote Originally Posted by smgrey24 View Post
    To protect my Top Shelf image, I tend to turn up my nose to most Four Rose products … until now. As a reader of Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2012 my interest was piqued when he bestowed a 96.5 rating on Four Roses Single Barrel. For comparison’s sake, Jim’s highest rated bourbon is George T. Stagg, which topped the Murray scales with a 97.5 rating. Therefore, you can see why I was intrigued.

    Here is what Jim writes about Four Roses Single Barrel:
    "If you have ever wondered if Four Roses has the wherewithal to play amongst the super-elite of the whiskey world, then track down this particular bottling and all will be revealed…for me the finest Four Roses I have ever come across" --- Whisky Bible 2012

    As a Stagg lover, if FRSB rated almost as high – then this would definitely be a treat for my taste buds (and wallet). My friend (and drinking buddy) is a fan of the Four Roses Mariage (whose ratings dip to low 88.5 on the Murray meter). My friend and Jim can’t be wrong … so it was high time to rethink my stand on this brand. Took my first pour and waited. Nothing. Nada. No Stagg-esque qualities. Granted my palate is still in its formative years … but I do not see the comparison between FRSB and George T. Stagg. Personally, I preferred the Mariage. FRSB was not a bad pour by any means...but perhaps I’m expecting too much and bought into Murray’s hype? Therefore, was wondering how the more experienced and mature tasters rate this one?

    [/font]
    Early into my bourbon exploration I had the FRSB and FR 2011 LE SmB...and was not overly impressed with either. I was the fortunate enough to be able to try a cask strength OBSV, OBSK, and OESO...all of these blew me away. After trying some of these different mashbills the LE SmB made much more sense and was much more enjoyable.

    I think that FR is producing some of the best bourbon around right now, especially given their cask strength single barrel offerings and their private barrel program. The standard FRSB (which is OBSV) is good as an every day drinker (especially when it can be found for under $35 here in Atlanta), but I think their best offerings come in the form of the cask strength single barrel offerings and the limited edition bottles.
    Jack
    GBS Member #3 (Sorry Dawn!)
    Quote Originally Posted by Pieface
    I think i'm god but I'll get a confirmation and go from there

  8. #8
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    Re: War of the (Four) Roses: Single Barrel

    I've found the standard single barrel to be quite subtle. As others have said, it's a totally different style from Stagg.

    Remember, even with a reviewer whose ratings you trust, "as good as" is not the same thing as "tastes like."
    Life's too short, and there's too much good whiskey within reach.

  9. #9
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    Re: War of the (Four) Roses: Single Barrel

    When doing your taste comparison, did you lower the proof of the Stagg to 100? I would think that would be a first step if you are looking for similarities.

  10. #10

    Re: War of the (Four) Roses: Single Barrel

    First off, I personally am a big fan of all of the Four Roses products and feel they all have there place.

    That being said I am not a believer in any way in the 100 point rating system for any type of beverage. There is a number of reasons.

    First and foremost, everyone tastes things differently than everyone else. Unless you find a reviewer who tends to rate things the same way you would there scores are not helpful.

    Second, taste is subjective and many factors, including what you ate that day and even what time of day you are tasting will effect your tastes. Trying to translate your experience into two numbers seems to undermine the very experience.

    Third, it isn't even a 100 point system, what is the range from lowest score to highest, 70 to 96 or 97 ? its actually more like a 30 point system.

    And forth, and I mean no offense by this, but people who aren't experienced drinkers may buy products that aren't right for them, because the scores say they are the best. What do I mean by this, just because Jim likes something and gives it a 95 or 96, doesn't mean that you will like them (back to point two). The whole rating system is another form of marketing, meant to help consumers make purchasing decisions, by providing them the quick and dirty. Thats not how it works and I don't think we should pretend it is. It is going to take trial and error for everyone to find out what they like and don't like.

    Personally I like products of all types in almost all price ranges and I don't care one bit what Jim Murray thinks about them. If you like a whiskey, by definition its a good whiskey for you. Nothing is better just because its rare, more expensive, older, or has a higher score, thats just not how it works.

    But thats just my 2 cents.
    Cheers,
    Tom

 

 

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