Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Whiskey Wednesday: Born in the USA Part 8 - Four Roses Single Barrel

Next in our series on American whiskey is something new on the California scene. Around fifty years ago, Four Roses was a major US Bourbon brand. Then, parent company Seagrams stopped distributing it domestically. For half a century, Four Roses was enjoyed in Europe and Japan, but was virtually unknown in the US. That changed in 2002 when Japanese beer giant Kirin purchased the distillery and made the decision to start releasing it in the US. Since then, Four Roses has done a slow roll out. They started in Kentucky and are now present in six states. A few months ago, the first bottles arrived on the shelves in California. (If you are interested in a more detailed history, Chuck Cowdery has an excellent piece on the distillery in the October 2008 issue of Whisky Magazine).

Four Roses has three expressions available in California: Yellow Label ($20), Small Batch ($35) and Single Barrel ($40). I picked up some Single Barrel, probably the most admired of the collection.


Four Roses Single Barrel, 50% alcohol.

This is magnificent stuff. Refined, subtle, no blast of alcohol or sweetness. There is a lot in there: caramel, wood, a little bit of acid that adds to the complexity. With water, I taste vanilla and citrus (like a creamsicle).

This is great Bourbon with a unique flavor profile. Another one to add to the list.

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