An exquisitely aged, masterfully blended, and deeply flavored wonder-Bourbon from Four Roses.
The Four Roses trademark was filed in 1888, but there are conflicting origin stories going all the way back to 1860. By 1900 it had become a brand well-known for quality. But from the 1950s - 1990s the brand was neglected during a period of mergers and acquisitions — reducing it to a blended, sub-par hash of neutral grain spirit obscurity. Fortunately, in 2002 Kirin acquired the historic brand in a quick three-way brand-swap. When that happened, legendary Bourbon man Jim Rutledge was given free rein to bring the focus back to making high-quality Straight Bourbon from their gorgeous Spanish-Mission-style distillery in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky.
Famously, Four Roses uses two different mash bills and five different yeast strains to create ten different Bourbons. Each cask is given a special letter-code to identify it in the rickhouse. Those Bourbons on then blended to craft the signature flavor profile. But the small batch versions use only four of those combinations — both mash bills but only two of the yeast strains — that emphasize a full body and Rye-like spice profile. Four Roses Small Batch Limited Edition 2019 takes it even further by using barrels that have been aged eleven, fifteen, and twenty-one years and bottling this magic juice at 56.3% ABV. And we have to tell you, this is some wonderful elixir indeed.
There are conflicting stories around how “Four Roses” got its name. Some claim the original brand was founded by Rufus Mathewson Rose and his family. The official website used to claim Paul Jones Jr. named the Whiskey as a young man. Now the site spins a fanciful tale of romance. We may never know the truth, but the mystery is fun too.