Monday, March 6, 2017
Why Doesn't Four Roses Follow the Labeling Rules?
Four Roses is one of the most beloved distilleries among whiskey fans, and the annual Limited Edition Small Batch is probably their most prized release, but they have consistently ignored labeling rules for that release.
Last week, Four Roses cleared a label for this year's Limited Edition Small Batch. The label states that the bourbon is composed of a blend of four of their bourbons: 12 year old OBSF, 13 year old OESV, 15 year old OBSK and 23 year old OBSV. The problem is that they don't state the percentage of each bourbon in the blend.
Under TTB regulations, the age statement for a whiskey should be the age of the youngest whiskey in the blend. The TTB guidelines allow that a whiskey that is a blend of different aged components can list those components, but in doing so, it must also include the percentage of each component in the blend.
Most whiskey geeks like having more information and are happy to know the components of the Four Roses Small Batch, so what's the problem? Well, take this year's label for example. The big news here is that it includes a 23 year old bourbon. That's the oldest bourbon I've ever seen in any Four Roses bottle which is pretty exciting, but since we don't know the percentages, there could literally be a thimble full of 23 year old in the entire vatting. The purpose of the percentage requirement is to prevent companies from advertising the use of more aged whiskey without disclosing exactly how much old whiskey is in the mix.
Pursuant to the rules, Four Roses should either publish the percentage of each bourbon that went into the Small Batch or call it a 12 year old whiskey.