Some 5-6 years ago, I was really just getting started on my journey into bourbon and I had the good fortune of stumbling upon Four Roses Single Barrel Bourbon, which immediately became a personal favourite. For a short time – probably 3 or 4 bottles, if we can use bottles as a measure of time, I kept my cupboard stocked with the Single Barrel expression
Unfortunately, this was one of those good things that came to an end, and Four Roses Single barrel suddenly disappeared from the liquor store shelves in my city and every other one that I visited. Shortly thereafter, I couldn’t find any Four Roses in my province. Well, lo and behold, the flagship expression of Four Roses has finally started turning up again in Alberta, Canada. So far, this is the only expression of the brand that I have come across but I was excited at the prospect of rediscovering at least some of the incredible flavours that could be found in the Single Barrel.
Four Roses Bourbon is bottled at 40% abv and cost me just a bit more than $30 CAD.
To the Eye
Honey-gold and surprisingly absent of the coppery-orange flashes that I usually associate with bourbon. A swirl of my glass reveals scrawny, somewhat reluctant legs.
In the Nose
Lots of vanilla! Corn pops cereal, dusty, spicy rye baking spices and wood shavings. There is a faint aroma of red apples, which surprised me.
On the Tongue
Spicy… there is something about the character of this drop that is very much like a Canadian rye whisky in style. Oak comes through quite forcefully. A hint of toasted marshmallows but, honestly, not a heckuva lot else. The medium finish carried grapefruit pith and pencil shavings.
Listen, Four Roses Bourbon is not a terrible dram and I tried not to let my memories of the fantastic Single Barrel cloud my judgement… I really tried! But this whisky just doesn’t deliver anything close to that experience. There’s just nothing spectacular about it and not really even a particularly interesting quality that might bring me back. Even at the reasonable price point, there are a number of bottles that I prefer over this one.