In September, during the Kentucky Bourbon Festival, Four Roses will release a new, limited-edition, single barrel bourbon in honor of Master Distiller Jim Rutledge's 40th anniversary in the industry. Only 1,700 bottles will be filled. Each will be hand-numbered. The bourbon will be 13 1/2 years old, bottled uncut and unfiltered. The proof will be 104.2. Right now, at least, they're calling it simply Four Roses Barrel Strength.
As a single barrel, this represents just one of Four Rose's ten "flavors." They haven't said yet which one. This also will be the oldest Four Roses product on the market, at least here in the US. I haven't seen final packaging yet, so I don't know if there's going to be an age statement on the label, but they're saying 13.5. No Four Roses product, at least none sold in the US, carries an age statement.
I have tasted it. It's very good, as you might expect, and is well-balanced as you expect of anything from Four Roses. Surprisingly, considering its age, there is very little taste of char, none of soot, and none of the astringency that is expected from something this old. It is on the dry side, showing a lot of spice. I'll go out on a limb and guess it's the high rye mash bill and "spicy" yeast.
Since Four Roses is only sold in Kentucky and metro New York, those are the only markets that will get the Barrel Strength product.
Rutledge, by the way, isn't retiring or anything. They're just marking the 40-year milestone.
Here's an interesting fact from the press release. Four Roses sales in its two US markets has doubled each year since the brand's reintroduction in 2002.