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  1. #1
    Administrator in exile
    Join Date
    Aug 2002

    BOTM 5/07, Four Roses Single Barrel

    Any discussion of new and innovative products would be lacking without mention of the Four Roses distillery. With their two mash bills and five different strains of yeast, the possibilities seem limitless. Though probably most widely known for their blended whiskey, which dominated production for decades, a sale of the distillery to Kirin, with their focus once again on bourbon whiskey, has been a renaissance for Four Roses and for the bourbon industry. First released was the ubiquitous "yellow label", sans the "blended" moniker (to the cheers of bourbon lovers everywhere). Several years later came the Single Barrel followed shortly by the Small Batch. Rumor has it that distribution is opening up, and more products are in the pipeline. That is good news for us, and more work for their competitors. Jim Rutledge and his staff at Four Roses are top-notch people and have been very kind to Straightbourbon.com. Let's show them a little love!

    This month we'll be discussing the American release of the Four Roses Single Barrel, but feel free to compare and contrast with the overseas release if you are lucky enough to have one. I realize that availability is limited on this bottling; distribution is the only reason we haven't been discussing Four Roses as BOTM until now. But, any bourbon drinker worth his/her salt should have by now visited KY and picked up a couple bottles to take home.

    Sound off
    Simplicity is the essence of universality - MK Ghandi

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Wash DC Metro

    Re: BOTM 5/07, Four Roses Single Barrel

    Hmmm...I've been putting off opening up my FRSB because I have so many other bottles open. Guess I have no excuse now. I'm headed to KY in Oct. so now I will be able to replace/replenish as needed.

    I'll pop open my lone bottle and provide feedback with my limited bourbon vocabulary.
    “Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.” - P.J. O’Rourke
    Greg's "bourbondork" blog

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Chicago SW 'burbs

    Re: BOTM 5/07, Four Roses Single Barrel

    So far, my only taste of FRSB came courtesy of Chuck (thank you!), and I must say it's superb. This is one I fervently hope will come to Chicagoland...
    Oh no! You have walked into the slavering fangs of a lurking grue!

  4. #4
    Mr. Anal Retentive Bourbon Drinker
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Houston, TX

    Re: BOTM 5/07, Four Roses Single Barrel

    I'll nominated this for BOTY!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Eastern MA

    Re: BOTM 5/07, Four Roses Single Barrel

    Marvelous stuff, a must have. Given proper attention and consideration, it can have one of the most complex noses I have ever encountered.

    For those poor souls who have not made a pilgrimage to KY to score some, here is a reasonable substitute. Try some Bulleit. Four Roses makes it and you can definitely taste the family resemblance. FRSB uses their high rye mashbill and a very floral yeast, so it has much more character, but the Bulleit is not a bad substitute. I have also found that Bulleit benefits a TON by some breathing. Split a bottle between two bottles so you have some nice airspace and then wait a week or 2 or 3. It is much improved.


    "You're the best bourbon drinkers ever!" - Margo (waitress at Bourbon's Bistro in Louisville)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Northern Kentucky

    Re: BOTM 5/07, Four Roses Single Barrel

    Very good pour and a definite buy. I'm glad to see they distribution is expanding so that those outside the Commonwealth can enjoy it as well.

    But in my book the Small Batch is even better; with more complexity ---- the Single Barrel (while excellent in its own right) seems one-dimensional in comparison
    John B

    "Drinking when we are not thirsty and making love at all seasons… that is all there is to distinguish us from other animals."

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Trier, Germany

    Re: BOTM 5/07, Four Roses Single Barrel

    I will be visiting louisville/lexington area in 2 weeks and will have 2 bottles of FR single barrel euro... if someone wants to trade???

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2006

    Re: BOTM 5/07, Four Roses Single Barrel

    One of my favorite pours. Complex nose and palette, long smooth finish. It's smoothness makes it seem less than 100 proof. First I get a sugary sweetness similar to a fine aged rum, then the chocolate covered cherries come through. What amazes me is its consistency from barrel to barrel. Jim does an excellent job in selecting the barrels. I've had it from 5 different barrels and it takes a nose and palette superior to mine to detect ant significant difference.

  9. #9
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
    Join Date
    Sep 1999

    Re: BOTM 5/07, Four Roses Single Barrel

    Years ago Ova Haney, Jim Rutledge's predecessor, made it clear to me in the ever-so-polite way of Kentuckians that he thought the methods they use at Four Roses, which are the methods developed and practiced by Seagrams, are superior to the way other distilleries make whiskey. Now that we really have an opportunity to taste several different expressions of the whiskey from this distillery, one has to conclude that he was not too far off the mark. While other distilleries make good whiskey too, none surpasses Four Roses for consistent excellence, which I would describe as near perfect balance. The epitome of this is the single barrel, made more challenging because being a single barrel, it doesn't allow them to use their blending magic.

    This is pretty much everything you want a bourbon to be.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Austin, Texas

    Re: BOTM 5/07, Four Roses Single Barrel

    Took a trip to Kentucky and toured both Four Roses facilities(Lburg and Cox Creek). The people are super friendly and thier bourbon is outstanding. Was privileged enough to try all the expressions. IIRC the single barrel uses the high rye mash bill and the spicey yeast, the small batch combines that and high rye with either floral or fruity, I can't remember which. Fruity was going through the still when I toured and I'll say that the first and second pulls off the stills were excellent as is. I would quickly buy all the bourbon distillet I could find if it were available. Also tried some single barrel at barrel proof.....was so smooth, didn't even burn in the slightist.
    Great tour and product.



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