Four Roses Single Barrel Background
Four Roses Single Barrel is distilled at the Four Roses Distillery in Lawrenceburg, KY. They brew two separate grain bills, one with a 35% rye and the other a 25% rye. Although one is lower percentage rye, Four Rose’s recipe are still much higher than typical Bourbons.
Back in the day when Seagram was making a lot of Bourbon they had many different yeasts used in different distilleries. Four Roses Distillery was one of these distilleries. The goal was to bring a level of consistency between distilleries utilizing different yeast profiles. As the Bourbon industry declined, Seagrams shut down distilleries and some of those yeasts made their way into production at the Four Roses Distillery,
Today five of those yeasts remain in production, which with the two mashes give Four Roses 10 distinct recipes. These recipes allow Four Roses to achieve a higher level of consistency, like with Four Roses Yellow Label, and also a distinctly different product like in Four Roses Small Batch. Another interesting option is to get a barrel-proof version of each of the 10 recipes through a Four Roses Private Selection.
Reviewed here, Four Roses Single Barrel is a standard release that always uses the same recipe. The specific recipe used is OBSV, which is their 35% high-rye mash and their V yeast strain.
Warehouse GW Batch 55-3R. OBSV recipe of 60% corn 35% rye, and 5% malted barley. Their V yeast strain is said to provide a fruity character. Bottled at 50%. No age statement. $42 Shelf Price. (2016)
Oak. Fruity cherry, pears. Caramel. Sweetness. Maybe some honey. Vanilla and Cinnamon. Adding a little water seems to bring out the fruitiness and sweetness.
Spicy, cherry fruit tartness, A little drying astringency in the finish. Toasty, maybe a some licorice. Oak seems fairly assertive. Sweetness seems to turn on as you sip. Spiciness and alcohol dance on the tongue and holds on through the finish. A little sweeter it seems with water. The oak seems to scale back. Spice is still prominent.
I’m a Four Roses fan, so I love the Four Roses Single Barrel. One thing that’s great about Four Roses is they give you a lot of info about the Bourbon in the bottle. If you want to have some fun, you can try barrels from different warehouses and tiers. Four Roses code their warehouses by letter and direction. So, this bottle came from the west side of Warehouse G (GW). Four Rose’s warehouses are also single story warehouses, which is very unique, and they stack the barrels six high. This barrel is a center cut barrel on the 3rd tier and the R or 18th barrel in the row.
Anyway, Four Roses touts the word mellow, which in no way should be confused with “smooth.” Smooth, to me, is toothless and boring. Mellow is dangerously easy to drink and Four Roses Single Barrel has that. I love the big minty rye spice, fruitiness of the yeast, and mildly chocolate/coffee roast flavors from the charred barrels.
Some days it’s a toss up whether I like Four Roses Single Barrel or Four Roses Small Batch better. They’re both similarly good, but still significantly unique. For me, the Four Roses Small Batch is $10 cheaper, so I think that’s a good place to start and maybe a bottle to pull down more regularly.
Four Roses Single Barrel Recommendation
Buy Again – 4.5/5.0 Rating
(My 5 point scale: Pass, Try a Glass, Buy a Bottle, Buy Again, Shut Up and Take My Money – Bottle price is taken into consideration for recommendations.)
I like to offer some options for similar Bourbons around this price. Feel free to investigate other reviews for further research.
The most obvious is the mentioned Four Roses Small Batch. Bulleit is an interesting option since up until recently it was distilled at Four Roses. Rumor is it’s a younger version of the five high rye recipes. Ridgemont Reserve, Breckenridge, Basil Hayden, and Bulleit 10 Year are more high rye Bourbons worth checking out.