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Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon

Four Roses Small
Batch Bourbon


By Robert Plotkin

Aficionados and enthusiasts have made American whiskey one of fastest growing segments of the spirit world. Bourbons are easy to drink with big, enticing bouquets and captivating flavors. Unlike some categories, there's no learning curve necessary to appreciate our whiskeys. American whiskeys are also far more affordable than the imports. More whiskey for less money is a marketing proposition Americans can relate to. An excellent example of just how luxurious American whiskeys can be is Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon.

American whiskey pioneer Paul Jones, Jr. created Four Roses in Louisville, Kentucky in 1884. During Prohibition, his Frankfort Distilling Company was one of only six distilleries granted permission to produce bourbon for medicinal purposes. After The Repeal, the distillery and Four Roses Bourbon continued to flourish and remained one of the country's bestselling bourbons.

Sagging demand for bourbon in the 1950s eventually forced the company to discontinue its sales here in the states. Nevertheless, its sales remained brisk in the emerging European and Asian markets. In February 2002, the Kirin Brewery Company, Ltd. purchased the brand and reintroduced the famed bourbon into the American market.

The Four Roses Distillery was built in 1910 and is located in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky. The single-story rickhouses in which the bourbon is aged is in nearby Cox Creek, Kentucky. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the distillery operates under the expert care of Master Distiller Jim Rutledge.

The altogether sensational Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon is made from a blend of four Kentucky straight bourbon whiskeys—whose mash bills are comprised of 60%-75% corn with the balance being rye and malted barley—and is bottled at 90 proof (45% alcohol by volume). The whiskey has a rich mahogany hue, a velvety textured, medium-weight body and a generous nose imbued with the aromas of red raspberries, toasted oak, caramel, sweet corn and a dash of spice. The gentle soft entry soon expands filling the mouth with the warm, semisweet flavors of vanilla, toffee, anise, red plums and cinnamon. It finishes long, smooth and satisfying. This limited edition, small batch whiskey is sensational from the first whiff to its glorious finish.

By definition, the distillery's ultimate limited edition is Four Roses Single Barrel Bourbon. This extraordinary whiskey is drawn from a single barrel, and when each individual barrel is emptied, that particular slice of the good life is gone. The next barrel selected by Master Distiller Jim Rutledge will be close in characteristics to the previous, but it won't be an exact match. Therein lies much of the intrigue and attraction enthusiasts have for single barrel whiskeys.

Four Roses Single Barrel is made from a mash bill comprised of 60% corn with the remainder being rye and malted barley. It has a deep amber/gold hue, a satiny, medium-weight body and a wafting bouquet laced with the aromas of cinnamon, toasted oak, caramel, vanilla and maple syrup. The whiskey's aromatics make it well worth the price of admission. On the palate, the whiskey delivers waves of dry, delectable flavors, including vanilla, toffee, butterscotch, cinnamon, black cherries and molasses. The long lasting flavors thankfully linger on the palate for a remarkably long time. Sippin' whiskey just doesn't get much better than this.

For that matter, the entire range of Four Roses bourbons are skillfully crafted and sublime pleasures to drink. So if you're looking to add some authentic American classics to your backbar, Four Roses would be a brilliant place to start.