The legend of Four Roses began when Paul Jones, Jr., the founder of Four Roses Bourbon, became smitten by the beauty of a Southern belle. It is said that he sent a proposal to her, and she replied that if her answer were “Yes,” she would wear a corsage of roses on her gown to the upcoming grand ball. Paul Jones waited for her answer excitedly on that night of the grand ball…when she arrived in her beautiful gown, she wore a corsage of four red roses. He later named his Bourbon “Four Roses” as a symbol of his devout passion for the lovely belle, a passion he thereafter transferred to making his beloved Four Roses Bourbon.
One of my favorite things about the Four Roses distillery is they are very forthcoming with their mash bills. Their transparency is unmatched by any bourbon maker and their website offers a chart of their recipes.
Four Roses Small Batch is made from four select bourbons. Two of each from the same mash bill but what sets them apart is the yeast used. Two use Yeast K which offers up slight spice, while the other two use Yeast O which is said to have a rich fruit.
Bourbon Review: Four Roses Small Batch
ABV: 45% (95 Poof)
Age: 6-7 Years Minimum
Color: Burnt Amber
Mash Bill: 60% Corn, 35% Rye, 5% Malted Barley & 75% Corn, 20% Rye, 5% Malted Barley
Distillery: Four Roses
Location:Lawrenceburg, KY (USA)
The Nose: The aroma from the glass features an abundance of corn and oak. Lifting the glass to the nose sees some subtle poppy seeds and caramel added to the bouquet.
Tasting Notes: The initial sip reveals a fleeting cinnamon with touches of clove, oak and apples. Subsequent tastes reveal a creamy caramel on the front end with berries and a long rye finish. The cinnamon comes and goes throughout the duration of the pour and outside of the long rye finish the other notes are short-lived.
The Pairing: We opted to pair the cigar with Adventura The Explorer which features a Mexican wrapper, Ecuador binder and Dominican fillers. It’s a cigar that on its own features notes of wood, spice and dark chocolate. The magic happens when we pair the cigar with the Four Roses Small Batch. The spice from the cigar cancels out the long rye finish, replacing it with a sweetness reminiscent of a luxardo cherry. In moderation this is quite enjoyable offering up a change in perspective. As always our pairing doesn’t affect out final score but if it would be a +4.
Conclusion: It is my personal experience that cinnamon is an extremely polarizing tasting note. However, within my bourbon circle I do not know a more polarizing brand of bourbon other than Four Roses. The small batch is a blended bourbon with two mash bills utilized, but that should deter you from trying it despite its price point when there are better bourbons out there for less money.
Price: $38.99 (750ml in New Hampshire)