Now I don’t profess to be an expert when it comes to bourbon or even pretend I am Visiting the bourbon bottle on a regular pattern but over the last year or so I have started to venture back into it, the sweet aromas and oak influenced flavours are really starting to appeal to me.
So when I received an invitation to attend the launch for this years Four Roses Small Batch Release I was quite excited until I realised I already had a prior commitment.. So email was sent to apologise that I would not be able to attend and a return message of “ would you like to review a sample” was answered with “ hell yes” .. Sample arrived and review is now in progress..
Four Roses bourbon can be traced back to the 1860s after founder Paul Jones Jnr moved his business to Louisville Kentucky in 1884 and then trademarked the name Four Roses in 1888 after claiming sales and production for two decades.
Jumping forward to the mid 1960s the company, now owned by Seagram hired a gentleman by the name of Jim Rutledge who as most bourbon lovers would know became one of the most influential Master Distillers.. Jim became master distiller in 1995 after replacing Ova Haney and retired in 2015 after raising the Four Roses brand into one of the finest bourbon brands in the world..
Today the master distiller is Brent Elliot who has the envious job of emulating what his predecessor Jim had done for the company..
The Distillery itself has a unique approach to distilling where they can combine five proprietary yeast strains with two seperate mashbills to produce ten distinct recipes for bourbon.. This years small batch release has incorporated three of those bourbons with a 13 yo and 15yo from the “OESK” recipe and a 12yo from the “OESV” recipe and this marks the first small batch release that has only used a low Rye mash bill recipe ( 20%) with 75% corn and 5% barley..
Bottled at “ Barrel strength” of 53.9% and has a retail price of around £115.
Nose.. Initially a sweetness commands your attention with burnt sugar, butterscotch and vanilla before cinnamon, candied orange, chocolate, pear drop sweets and barley sugars all have a say.
Palate.. The oak is more dominant here with more spices and a sweetness that initially takes more of a back seat.. Once the sweetness and fruit sides balance this out it’s rather delicious.
Finish.. Sweet n spicy.
Thoughts.. Ok I’m no expert but I liked this.. The flavours are well balanced and the oak influences are right up my street as they say.. The sweetness is certainly kept under control with the spices and as such this gives a very nice mouthfeel..