The Beauty of Balance – Four Roses Single Barrel First Impressions Review
Finding Four Roses Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Well, this one is pretty easy. If you ask 20 people their Top 5 (non-rare) bourbons, you’re probably going to hear Four Roses Single Barrel on almost every list. Four Roses knows this and liquor stores know this. I’ve seen Four Roses Single Barrel in stores that have the most miserable whiskey selections I’ve ever seen. So, check your most convenient liquor store. If they don’t have it, they’re probably just sold out for the moment. I’ve seen this expression as low as $35 so there’s not much at stake.
I was turned onto Four Roses Single Barrel by a good friend and CrossFit coach (Thanks, Jeff!). I’d been into single malt scotches for a while and I was ready to branch out to bourbon. Four Roses Single Barrel was the first must-have item he mentioned. I’m pretty sure I bought this bottle the next day.
Of note, this is the “standard” single barrel. In higher end liquor stores, you may find select single barrels that the store, a distributor, or another buyer has selected and purchased for bottling. These select bottlings are usually cask strength and can be any one of Four Roses’ 10 recipes. This review is the OBSV recipe: B mashbill – 60% corn, 35% rye, 5% malted barley, V yeast strain – delicate fruit.
Dark gold to light brown color. A couple of “floaties” but otherwise, nice clarity. A turn thinly coats glass but there are no big ropy legs here. The liquid swirls nicely in the glass.
Sugary oak and oranges are big in the front. Lots of burnt sugar and toffee last through. Continued draws yield cinnamon-glazed almonds and sweet corn.
Lots of oak and sweet caramel right away. Spicy cinnamon is no doubt contributed by the rye. Loads of sweet corn are backed up by a handful of salted peanuts. Everything is pleasantly in balance. Brown sugar lasts on the palate into a long finish. Continued sips yield more cinnamon with a touch of marzipan dipped in maraschino cherry juice.
Velvety and mouth-coating with a pleasant alcohol tingle, likely supported by the rye spiciness. It’s warm enough to be sinus-feeling with a breath blown through a closed mouth. Overall, it’s quite warm and true to its proof.
Four Roses Single Barrel is just plain delicious and artfully balanced. It has all the characteristics that make a bourbon. While it’s true that nothing in particular stands out, that also means that nothing beats the drinker over the head. The danger here is that this bourbon is so habit-forming, comforting, available, and affordable, you could put many bottles of it away before you realize it. And at the $35 price point, maybe that’s not such a bad thing!