Four Roses Single Barrel (LCBO Release) - Beautifully Balanced Intensity & Reasonably Priced

Four Roses Single Barrel - LCBO Release - KE 59-2V
Four Roses Distillery
Taste score: 93
Category: American Straight Bourbon, Single Barrel, High-Rye Bourbon
Whisky Cabinet Score: ★ ★ ★ ★

Four Roses Distillery

Many bourbon lovers rightfully obsess over Four Roses.*

The distillery uses five different yeast strains (yeast matters), and two mash-bills to create a total of ten different variations of high-rye bourbon. This allows for a lot of micro-variation and complexity in the blending process.

Four Roses is also unique for storing their whisky barrels in single-floor warehouses instead of the tall rick-houses common in Kentucky. Tall rick-houses allow for excellent variation in whisky (Booker’s and Stagg wouldn’t be possible without them!), but for consistent flavour, large single-floor warehouses are better.

Having a “consistent” product doesn’t sound like fun, but combined with the ten variations (combination of 5 yeasts, and 2 mash-bills) of the bourbon, and you’re well on your way. Add to that the excellent and patient whisky making of Four Roses, and you have a stellar product.

Four Roses Single Barrel

Four Roses Single Barrel release uses the OBSV variety (Check out Four Roses for more info), and each bottle is labeled with the warehouse and barrel number. Every bottling of Four Roses Single Barrel is likely to be slightly different, but the notes are generally quite similar.

One could write an entire article on whether or not single barrel offerings are worth the price. They’re generally more expensive compared to “small” batches, and potentially not as good—it’s all about the barrel selection. Thankfully, Four Roses does an excellent job at this. In this regard, Four Roses Single Barrel bottled at 50% ABV is an excellent value. And when I say an excellent value, I mean, it’s a really delicious drink that I’m surprised doesn’t cost more!

Nose: Intensely floral, caramel, soft spice, and more caramel. It’s oddly a quiet nose on first pour, but it really opens up within a few minutes. There’s a nice deep orange citrus spray that I quite enjoy.

Palate: Lots of warmth, caramel, peppery spice. It’s a deeper, darker drink, with plenty of oaky notes. There’s a warm bready-ness along the middle, with apricots (that slight acidity and sweetness), and an intense spice. The finish has a beautiful balance between rye-spice and caramel sweetness that keeps on going. That’s quite rare, since with most rye-heavy bourbons, the caramel sweetness doesn’t have the longevity of the spicy notes. The finish is long, but not all-star long, which is the Four Roses Single Barrel’s only soft spot.

Conclusion: Bold, dark, intense throughout. Balanced beautifully with complimentary caramel and spicy flavours, and a dark oaky richness that adds a nice complexity. From start to finish, this is quite the accomplishment. Considering the price? Yes, I’ll have some more.

Whisky Cabinet Rating Explained:
☆ ☆ ☆ ☆  Not recommended
★ ☆ ☆ ☆  Good whisky, but not a ‘must-have’
★ ★ ☆ ☆  Your great regular rotation whisky that'll come and go
★ ★ ★ ☆  Excellent, a near must-have
★ ★ ★ ★  Extraordinary, memorable, and original

* Guest of the podcast, Eric Burke, has some of the best reviews of Four Roses and variations