Review: Four Roses Single Barrel

After writing a drambling (Rosin the Bow) inspired by this dram earlier this week, I realized I had not yet posted my tasting notes about it. My drambling stories are always inspired by the whisky, sometimes including its history, but always based off the tasting notes. So, these tasting notes might give you a framework as to what inspired me to write that story.

Aside from the fact that I wrote a drambling this Four Roses offering is something I’ve been meaning to do a review about for quite some time. Because I think it’s a remarkable fact that even though Four Roses is built on their recipe of using five different yeast strains, and two different mash bills, creating ten different recipes, which in turn get blended together to get the desired flavour profile… that these bottles seem to go against that philosophy. These offerings are hand selected by Master Distiller Brent Elliot. And they offer a unique insight into a singular element of what usually goes into their bourbon. 

So, let’s try to find some of the magic that goes into a dram of “regular” four roses, in these tasting notes!

Tasting Notes: Four Roses Single Barrel

Stats:

ABV: 50% (100 Proof)

Age: NAS

Distillery: Four Roses Distillery

Warehouse: P S

Barrel: 20-1B

Owned by: Kirin Brewing Company

Category: Single Barrel Bourbon

Awards: WWA Gold (2019), San Francisco World Spirits Challenge Double Gold (2016)

Chill-filtered: Yes

Natural Colour:  Yes

Setting:

Enjoyed neat, in a Glencairn. At home, while relaxing after a quiet day at work. Looking to unwind with a nice dram of bourbon. There’s some bachata playing in the background and all in all I’m feeling very laidback.

Nose:

The first thing that jumps out of the glass for me is a caramel toffee. There’s also some rye bread, butter, and honey in there though. Very much the diet I would be on whenever I visited my grandparents back in the day. There’s a slight tea note in it as well.

Palate:

Less sweet than I’ve come to expect from bourbons. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still plenty of sweetness there but it’s not as overwhelming as in some other drams. There’s brown sugar aplenty, but it’s balanced out by a mild and pleasant oak bitterness. The tea note shows up here as well and I’m also getting honeyed pecans.  

Finish:

This dram has a medium length finish. It loses some of its sweetness and the pecans turn into walnuts. A bit longer into the finish I get dark chocolate and mint. It reminds me of “After Eight” chocolates, for those familiar with that treat. At the very end of the finish the tea shows up again and lingers very softly for a while.

Verdict:

I like Four Roses Single Barrel. Because of its story, because of its price point, because of its worldwide availability, and most of all.. because of its quality. This is a very good bourbon to introduce people to the category. It’s a vast step forward over the standard bourbon offerings most people this side of the pond are familiar with (the standard Four Roses, but also the Jack’s and Jim’s of this world). I enjoy it every time I bring it out, and though there’s better bourbon’s out there, for roughly 35 euro a bottle you can’t knock this dram one bit.

Rating:

85/100

Value:

B+

Click here to learn more about how I come up with my tasting notes and how I determine rating and value.

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