Whisky Connosr
Menu
Shop Join

Four Roses Single Barrel

Average score from 22 reviews and 56 ratings 87

Four Roses Single Barrel

Product details

Shop for this

What next?

  • Add to cabinet
  • Add to wish list
@casualtorture
Four Roses Single Barrel

Four Roses single barrel. Warehouse: MW Barrel: 50 2F

Fresh bottle, this dram has been sitting out for about 45min while I mounted a TV on the wall...

Nose: Very floral. Sweet flower petals. Vanilla custard. The sweetness is balanced nicely by a bit of leather and pipe tobacco.This dram literally blossomed into a flower with some air time. Although, the longer this sits here (been over an hour in the glass now) the more dominant the tobacco becomes. What started sweet and floral has turned into earth and tabacco. Both elements are still present, but the balance of power has shifted.

Palate: First impression is that you cannot tell this is a 100 proof bourbon. Oh, so smooth. Silky, creamy texture. Still very floral, it's like rose petals fell into some vanilla custard. It even reminds me of Yamazaki Japanese single malt whisky and its floral aspects. But spice comes to play and things evolve a bit into some earthy spices. Banana pepper, chili pepper. Really interesting progression. Not spicy like the OGD 114 I've been sipping on the past few nights, but enough to nicely balance against the sweetness of the flowers and vanilla. Good stuff.

Finish: Much sweeter than the nose and palate. Creamy vanilla ice cream dominates the finish. A bit of the floral characteristics still remain the but vanilla definately wins. And did I mention smooth? Easy drinker here.

Overall: Vanilla and flower petals are the constant here. The nose, palate, and finish all have vanilla and flowers. The nose also gets some earthy tobacco and the palate gets some spice to balance things out before culminating with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream. As far a single barrel bourbon goes, this seems on the lighter, more delicate side. They have two more bottles of this particular barrel at this store and I may go get them. I had a bottle of standard four roses recently and didnt even review it because it was "meh." But this is some good stuff. Not sure if I lucked out with a good barrel or it's always this good but definately want some more of this stuff.

I didn't review my FRSB quite this high (I think I scored it 86-87) but it was a different barrel/warehouse. I really liked it though. I've never had the "standard" Four Roses, but I agree: this one is impressive and not at all "hot" for a 50% ABV whisky.

Nice review. Thanks, @casualtorture.

I've tasted a lot of Four Roses over the last 8 years. It took me a few years to have the Four Roses house style grow on me, but I like it a lot now, once in a while. Other than Bulleit Bourbon, I've purchased precisely one bottle of Four Roses, which was a 2009 Mariage release. When I get a Jones for Four Roses I drink it at my sister's house. She has a ton of the premium stuff, LEs, Binny's private barrels, etc.

The OB Four Roses Small Batch is a very nice step up from the Yellow Label 'standard' Ten Bourbon blend. It is mellow, though, don't expect something like ECBP intensity. Small Batch is great when you are ready for something pretty and very well-behaved.

@OdysseusUnbound

Let me start with an apology. How Canadian of me. I'm sorry, I don't have the bottle in front of me, so I can't include the warehouse or barrel number at this point, but I promise I will add it. I've had enough time with this one to make some decent tasting notes. I even posted a more detailed (and charming?) review over on my blog.

  • Nose (undiluted): floral vanilla, toffee, menthol, oak
  • Palate: medium body, spicy arrival, more vanilla and toffee, orange peels, black pepper, with rye and hearty herb spiciness. I want to say there are hints of rosemary, odd as that may sound.
  • Finish: medium-long, spicy rye pepperiness, lingering oakiness with that herbal note in the background.

Adding water toned down the bite a little and pushed the menthol and herbal notes a bit further into the background. Trigger warning, this next part may offend some purists. I made a few Old Fashioned cocktails with this bourbon and it really shone. A weaker bourbon or rye can disappear in an Old Fashioned, but not this one. I was very impressed.

@OdysseusUnbound The peat wars will likely make the sherry wars look like a skirmish.

Who else is feeling the charm deprivation here?

@talexander

This bottle has been open for a while - I purchased it at the LCBO. Warehouse No. NN, Barrel No. 81-1F.

The colour is a soft copper. On the nose we get humidor, tannic oak, menthol and overripe plums. Caramel apple. Marmalade. Quite a bit of vanilla, but the oak is very tight, quite woody. Maltier with water. Enticing but rather closed, especially for a bottle that has been open for a couple of months.

On the palate the humidor has turned into dry cigar tobacco. Quite a bit of toffee and vanilla, with pine sap, mint, black cherry, thick oak and leather. More cherries with water, and more tobacco, too - an improvement. Very rich and satisfying.

The finish is tight oak, with more herbs, leather and a hint of cloves. The last FR Single Barrel I reviewed was from Warehouse No. KE and Barrel No. 6-5D. And I gave it the exact same score - I guess so far my Single Barrels are pretty consistent...

@MuddyFunster

This was a bottle from warehouse PN, Barrel No. 344D. So I first had this in the Groucho Club in London following a Small Batch and defintely preferred the bolder flavour profile of the Single Barrel.

Colour is darker, a kind of clear chestnut brown.

Nose is very rye forward. Lots of soft mint, spearmint, dill, because of the OBSV mashbill which is 35% rye, and then it's lots of soft mellow sweetness, brown sugars, soft subtle spices. Sutle wood, like sandal wood and young oak wood. Bold yet harmonizing aromas.

Taste is minty, spearmint, spices, brown sugars, little dill, stem ginger. Slightly astringency from the wood. Sweet, spicy and minty.

On the finish there's the spearmint and baking spices and a little hotness from the alcohol. Nice and lingering.

Masterful whisky. Bold yet soft and smooth.

@Robert99

I read a lot about Four Roses and I was expecting a profil I really like. Well, thanks to all of you who already reviewed this Bourbon, because you've been right on and I love this gem. This a review of the regular 50% OBSV Single Barrel., warehouse KE, barrel 6-3I

The nose is very complex and very balanced. You have the cinnamon, the muscade, some cotton candy, some vanilla and light cherries. A very nice floral note that I can't quite call rosewater because some mint and a hint of pine dialogue with this floral note. You also have a nice blond caramel combined to a great tobacco note and the previous spices. Wow! All those smells are telling me a story: I am in the middle of a Barber shop in the '50, I see a young boy eating some cotton candy while waiting for his father on a chair. There is two chair, at the first the barber apply some shaving cream with some clean and lightly floral smell while on the other, an obvious smoker of cigar is now receiving a vigourous massage first with an antiseptic lotion who smells of pine and then with a regular aftershave not quite heavy enough to be with musk but with the more pleasing smell for women, at least that what the barber says, of cinnamon and muscade and he add, as a last argument, that it even mixed itself well with the cedar smell of the wool pant that his client wear today but keep in his cedar closet usually.

On the palate, all the flavors are strongers, especially the floral notes.But again the balance is great. The only thing added is a peppery note and more sweetness.

The finish let the spices recessed progresively and leave you with the caramel and the vegetal notes with the pine hint being a bit more assertive. Maybe a little short.

Conclusion. My first reaction to the nose was "This bourbon has a lot of rye" , then with my research, I found that this mashbill contains 35% of rye. My second reaction was simply to nose it and nose it again. I love Bourbons with big floral notes, that is why I was expecting to love this Bourbon. So those who are looking for more heavy and woody Bourbon will not like this one as much as I do, not that it is not big enough, not that it is not woody enough; simply that it is not aggressive but prefer to presents itself like a quiet force of a good nature, sure of itself and being able to take the control of the place only by its presence.

@OlJas Thanks for being kind to me. I don't usually go for that style but the image kind of grow in my imagination as I was sipping this nice bourbon. I think I was lucky to get one bottle that got some tobacco and pine to add to the other excellent flavors we encounter more frequently.

Sometimes overwrought imagery leaves me cold in a review, but I'm digging this here barber shop. I wish I were there.

@Pete1969

bottle TS 69 2B On opening bottle there is a strong floral violet scent with sweet honey and vanilla After ten minutes in glass no alcohol note present but cherry,vanilla and mild citrus and spice develop. My wife thinks I have gone mad as I can sit smelling this for up to an hour without taking a drink. Taste, sweet on entry mid palate citrus and cherry carry through from nose and spices start to settle over top balancing the sweet with pepper and cloves. Long finish without any alcohol burn with spices giving the warmth. The smell of flowers still present 5 minutes after the last sip.

I am sure this will not be for everyone but I love this bourbon, little experience with tasting and first review but hope to progress as my limited scope expands.

Lifted this 2 points the nose has faded from floral to caramel and vanilla toffee with flowers in the back. The palate has developed with cherry and a stronger spice development and the finish is beautifully balanced sweet oak with a hint of star anise. The bottle has been open for 2 months half full.

Four Roses has been doing a lot of things very right for the last several years.

D

pours light brown with notes of vanilla and gasoline on the nose. Lots of vanilla on the tongue which I'm guessing is from the influence of the barrel. Not exactly smooth going down and I can't exactly say I'm getting a lot of other flavors or sensations from this other than nose hair singeing.

Too bad you didn't like this one. I have two different bottles waiting to be opened at a later date. I really like their small batch so was hoping this would be just as good. Ill let you know my thoughts when I open mine.

F

This is my go-to bourbon. It's great in just about every way. It's not complex, but what it excels in its simplicity.

Nose: Sweet and creamy. Very soft with simple vanilla and toffee aromas.

Taste: Full and soft in the mouth. Immediately tastes of custard and vanilla. Very mellow and mature oak flavors come forward in the finish.

@jtotheesh

Still very new to tasting productively. Trying to challenge myself to really report just what I taste and not be swayed by other reviewers/thoughts. So this may be way off. Who knows.

Nose: Immediately notice the cinnamon follwed by extremely sweet, syrupy vanilla, which is indeed the overpowering nose throughout. Some dark cherries as well. Some amount of alcohol vapor as well.

Taste: This whiskey is interesting because I swear every taste is different. On one sip I had a ton of licorice and it tasted on the whole very sour. On another, the transition from the vanilla in the nose led smoothly into something sweet and creamy, perhaps just more vanilla taste. On still a third, it tasted of table pepper and spices that I don't quite know the name of yet in my own palate lexicon. I don't know what to make of this and I'm excited to see what other people make out of the taste on this one.

Finish: Long and warm. Very comforting. Some toffee. Burnt ends.

Overall super enjoyable but mercurial. Every sip is a surprise.

@Megawatt

Every once in a while you taste a whisky that really hits it out of the park. I'm not a huge bourbon guy, but this might be one of my favourite whiskies ever. Also, it is one of those rare drams where it is all about the finish. Sure, it smells nice, and tastes nicer, but about a minute after you swallow, that's where the fun starts. The flavours! Cinnamon! Beeswax! Apple! Toasted oak! Absolutely perfect. And it just goes on and on.

A definite repeat buy.

The recipe used for all regular 100 proof/50% alcohol Single Barrel Bourbon is OBSV. This bottle will also have a leather neck band and a hang-tag. I have a bottle from the same barrel and it is beauty.

@GBrough

This is a fantastic whisk(e)y that I really wish I bought sooner. I have a weird thing with Four Roses I find the small batch to be way too spicy but the Single Barrel takes that spicy notes and makes it more buttery and fruity while it keeps the exciting spices we want.

From Warehouse U5, Barrel 42-2C.

Nose: Cherries, Spices, Buttered Peaches, Cinnamon, Nutmeg.

Palate: Cherries, Spices, Chocolate from left field, strong cinnamon and sugared peaches with nutmeg.

Finish: Clean, with the buttery flavors I love to find in bourbons. With a fruit jam note.

@GBrough, @Victor, I had directed a query regarding recipes to Four Roses and received a response from Jim Rutledge; an excerpt from the correspondence is listed below.

Before we research the two barrel locations you provided I have a question. Were both bottles bottled at 50% alcohol by volume? If so, the recipe used for all regular 100 proof/50% alcohol Single Barrel Bourbon is OBSV. This bottle will also have a leather neck band and a hang-tag.

I suspect this is the case. However, if you have additional questions please contact me directly.

Cheers,

Jim Rutledge

@paddockjudge, that statement from Jim Rutledge sounds very present timeframe. I still wonder whether OBSV has always (in the past and into the future) been the bourbon used for the standard Four Roses Single Barrel. I've read that the choice of recipe has changed over time.

OB = 35% rye content. Those OBs are the Four Roses bourbons I like most.

@MaltActivist

It's been a while since I put a good old fashioned bourbon on the tasting block. Five months to be exact. No real reason other than getting swept up in my single malt purchases and ignoring this spirit from the West.

For some reason I always get grief from my whisky club about my love for American whisky. Not that they're snobs or anything. It's just that I organized a bourbon tasting one night and, let's say, things got out of hand.

The following morning was a barrage of half coherent phone calls blaming my generous pours and the Devil that was inside this damned spirit for their complete lack of motor skills.

Sure guys. Blame the bourbons.

I've had my eye on Four Roses for a while but just didn't get around to picking one up for the bar. Good thing I did. I'm quite proud of my growing bourbon collection and the Four Roses makes for a worthy addition.

My sample is from Barrel# 69-6W from warehouse ME bottled at a perfect 50% ABV.

Nose: Howy pardner! So many aromas all working together in near perfect harmony. Maple syrup. Chocolate fudge brownies. Overripe oranges. Espresso coffee beans. Black licorice. Burnt caramel. Cinnamon. Nutmeg. Oak. The longer you nose the more aromas you get. In the interest of space I had to stop.

Palate: Brilliant delivery. Controlled at 50% which I think works beautifully. Oaky at first before getting sweeter mid-palate. Honey. Molasses. Cherries. Dark plums. Chocolate caramel. Black peppercorns. Cinnamon.

Finish: Satisfyingly long. Touch bitter with vanilla and black peppers.

As a recent practice I've been drinking the actually whisky while writing my review. For some reason this review has taken twice as long. You figure out why.

Great review, @MaltActivist. Four Roses has done a great job with quality in recent years. They do frustrate the hell out of me, though, by not listing which of their 10 different bourbons they are selling on the labels of their standard single barrels. Those 10 Four Roses bourbons are really quite a bit different from one another and I like some much better than others. The private barrels often list the formula information. OE = 20% rye formula; OB = 35% rye formula,...and the five yeast strains K,F,O,Q,and V.

Four Roses mixes and matches these different bourbons in their other products: Yellow Label = all 10 formulae; Small Batch = 4 of the 10 (I believe); Mariage = 2 of the 10 blended together; an annual Limited Edition could be one or more of the formulae.

@MaltActivist, that is excellent that you got a prompt and useful response. Personally I like all of the "OB" 35% rye mashbill Four Roses Bourbons I've tried. Some of the OEs I like, others leave me more indifferent. "V" is the designator for the yeast used. Four Roses also in some places gives verbal tasting descriptions for each of their yeasts, with which you may or may not agree. They do give some idea of the differences among the different bourbons with the same grain mashbill.

Well-known bourbon writer Chuck Cowdery says that US distillers tell him that 50% of the whiskey flavour comes from the wood, 25% from the grains, and 25% from the yeast. That about squares with my experience also.

@Maltmark

Nice smooth nose. Great Palate. Very sweet with cherry notes. Even better finish - medium length. The thing I like most about this bourbon is 1. It's very unique in comparison to all bourbons, but not too abstract. 2. It's different going from the nose to palate to the finish. It's obvious to pick out different notes in those 3 areas. I love that about a whisky. Some call it complexity and others call it.. who knows. But anyway. I'd say for $40 it's one of the best I've tried.

@Maltmark, I do not know the interpretation of DN 32-5M. I think that those are internal warehouse and/or batch numbers. I really don't understand why Four Roses continues to sell single barrel products without clearly identifying which of their 10 formulae they are using in that particular bottle. When Four Roses sells private barrels through, say, Binny's, they almost always have the Four Roses Formula Code listed, so that you can identify which of their 2 mashbills and which of their 5 yeasts was employed in that particular barrel. Their 10 bourbons do taste quite a bit different from one another. Some I like just ok. Others are really great. Some I would buy bottles of. Others I would pass on.

I agree with Victor, when I buy the Single Barrel from Binny's I go for the OESK or the OBSK. Talk about a good deal Binny's had them on special over the holiday for 49.99. 10-11 yr Barrel Proof Goodness!

F

The second best Bourbon I have ever tried. The first being from a small Brooklyn, NY distillery Called Cacao Prieto and their single barrel called Widow Jane. But if you can find FR Single barrell then you are in for a treat... great nose, Full sweet corn and oaky flavor and even at 50% she is smooth as silk.. a nice burn...not overbearing.

@adnielsen

nose: cinnamon, maple, caramel, apple, earth, wood. far cleaner than the standard four roses release

flavor: tobacco, toffee, light char, caramel, oak, a bit herbal

finish: smooth with a fairly lasting charred wood note.

overall: honestly, this is the first whisky I've tried at 50% abv and I'm a bit surprised how smooth and flavorful it is. warehouse: ME. barrel: 6-2S. 750 mL picked up for $44.99.

@fredthefrench

Maybe shouldn't have i tasted 4RSB side by side with my beloved Blanton's original, but neither the nose, nor the taste gave to me those richness of aroma and gentle spicy kick Blanton's so elegantly delivers. 4R is a good and gentle dram, but soft, very soft, too soft. It lacks duality,complexity or is that me ? I tell to myself that i should have saved my money for another Blanton's expression (straight from the barrel is in my wish list) And one of these days, i'll taste this Gold Edition that is waiting in my cabinet, just to have the opportunity to say: "Wow" once again...

FRSB has been on my short wish list, but based on your assessment I may now pass. Blanton's is also in my cabinet and I don't believe I would want to go softer ( or more "citrus/ floral") for that matter. I have surprisingly been reaching for Ridgemount 1792 all week and growing more fond of it by the night...it's just solidly enjoyable mid- week.

You're right, "lack of complexity" maybe not the right words, I'd rather qualify it of "untypical", compared to Blanton's profile which, because this brand was my first experience in bourbon, became my own benchmark. Anyway, I'm conscious that a single tasting is not enough, and i'll have to give 4R a second chance.

n

gift sample (#78-3A), 16 years old

Nose: Great, classy, and showing good age. Creamy rye and mint dominate, and just in perfectly balanced quantities. Fine sandalwood and slightly dry maple (wood). Coconut and slight alcohol. Toast, honey, and oatmeal hide in the background. Water brings out a bit more of the wood and softens the other aromas, but it's all pretty much there. Maybe a touch more grainy/oatmealy.

Palate: Rather vivid, surprisingly, for 54.7%. Honey and light and creamy at first. Mint and something a bit like bubblegum. Rye grain and a really good dose of soft, bitter wood. It's all in check and good stuff.

Finish: Mint, oatmeal, maple syrup, and lots of lingering wood. Really doesn't need water, which just brought out more wood on the finish. Comes to a very fine point at the end. B+

I swear that, at points, this thing seemed absolutely 'wheat'ish. Maybe because it was light and more on honey/coconut/caramel at times.

@Jewels

Nose: Vanilla, juicy fruit, floral, hint of wood.

Taste: Honey sweetness, a bit of citrus, fades into floral. Very mellow, but sweet, easy drinking bourbon. Feminine, but not girly. Delicate.

Finish is pretty short. Slight floral fades into vanilla and just a touch of oak. I find the finish juicy, not dry.

SMALL BATCH! This review is for SMALL BATCH! The mouse jumped on me, I guess. Ooops! Is there a way to fix this mishap?

@SquidgyAsh

So tonight after a long day at work, hell after a long week at work I got home and decided to try yet another whisky from my awesome whisky calender from Master of Malt.

This time I've decided to jump across the pound back to the good ol' US of A!

Bourbon!

Maybe it's in response to all the people I hear each week that say Americans can't make whiskey, maybe it's because I'm tired of hearing about people pouring bourbon into coke, I just don't know why, but when I got home tonight, I looked at several imperial stouts in the fridge, a couple Belgian strong ales, a few Scotch blends and a lot of single malts and the Four Roses just called out to me.

Now this surprised me, quite a bit, because the last time I'd had Four Roses, while it wasn't bad, my brother in law and myself both found it too syrupy, too sweet, almost sickly so.

But this one was sitting at cask strength, and was the Single Barrel from 2012 and like I said, I knew that I needed to crack it open it tonight.

So I crack open the sample bottle and pour it into my glencairn where it pours a very sexy dark golden color, with long thick thick legs that almost hang onto the side of the glass, ever so slowly going down the glass sides.

Sweeeeet.

Lovely little nose on this, very typical bourbon nose, but still lovely. There's something so nice about taking a whisky, nosing it, and going that's a nose of the homeland.

Coconut, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Honey, Vanilla, faint hints of cherries and cocoa.

Loving it! Just the thing that I needed tonight to get me in the mood.

What a lovely taste!

Spicy, but sweet, a strong oak presence, quite a bit of vanilla and coconut.

It's very easy drinking, especially for almost 55% ABV, very sweet though, but not sickly so.

A nice long finish with cherries and vanilla that lingers a good long time. Lovely. Just lovely.

Now for the sad part, I've yet to see a cask strength Four Rose for sale in Australia, and the 50% ABV version that is standard over here, yeah that one I've seen go for $120-$145 AUS, when you can find it, and it's very difficult to know which batch of that Four Roses your drinking.

That sadly makes me suspect a bottle of the cask strength will hit at least $150 AUS, just guessing, or more and once you start reaching those prices, especially $200 plus, you might as well start staring at a Stagg.

It's a pity, because I'd like to own a bottle of this. I can think of a few friends who'd get a kick out it.

Que cera cera, sadly what will be, will be.

If you get a chance to try this batch, this strength, do so, you won't regret it.

I really enjoyed a bottle of Four Roses Single Barrel. It comes in many varieties though as you noted and it is hard to tell what you are getting with the more standard 50% bottling. In my part of the United States (Virginia), I have only seen it at 50%, not the higher proof cask strength you have and the price is a lot lower than what you quote (US$40) notwithstanding of course higher taxes, import duties, etc. for Australia. I'm sure the cask strength one would be more expensive were it available in my area, but the regular 50% single barrel was quite excellent when I had it.

@JeffC I actually grabbed one of the 50% ABV's and I wish I could figured out how to track which batch is which batch because my bottle didn't have any of the information that they usually have to say this is what yeast strain, etc was used in the distillation of the whisky. My bottle was so syrupy with coconut that my brother in law and I just kinda looked at one another and went "too much, too sweet" It wasn't bad, but it wasn't a bottle I'd buy again, I'm so happy to find that this sample was much more balanced!

B

Four Roses provides a wealth of information about their bourbon, something that I greatly appreciate. This particular batch is from Warehouse RS, and is barrel 80-1U. It uses recipe OBSV, which is a 60% corn, 35% rye, 5% malted barley recipe using yeast strain V.

Appearance: slightly amber-tinted gold. Appears very thick and oily when the glass is tilted or swirled.

Nose: Delicately fruity with some sweet maple and a strong dose of fresh honey. Clear notes of nutmeg are laced with cinnamon, cocoa, gentle oak and dry cedar. Rye is definitely present but despite this it's very mellow, a trend that would continue throughout the experience.

Palate: Creamy and full-bodied but surprisingly delicate. Rich honey and honeycomb, cinnamon, and red fruit (predominantly plum and redcurrant with touches of raspberry) laid over undercurrents of oak, dusty rye, nutmeg, and dark cocoa. A faint floral touch as well, perhaps honeysuckle or rose petals; it's hard to tell exactly as it's quite in the background.

Finish: Long, smooth, and again quite delicate. Oak, cinnamon, and lush red plum linger from the palate while orange, maple, and a whisper of spearmint appear as well.

Overall impressions: Great nose, a fabulously coating and rich mouthfeel, and surprisingly refined, intricate and subtle flavors make this one a very interesting bourbon. I especially liked the interplay between the richness of the mouthfeel, sticky honey and deep cocoa notes with the lively, bright, tart fruit, floral and nutmeg notes. A bit lacking in intensity perhaps but it's clear that this is by design rather than accident; the mellowness and delicacy of the whiskey are qualities to be praised rather than scorned, because they've been done exceedingly well.

I have very much enjoyed reading your review while having some of the newest edition to my collection. Your assessment of its delicacy and refinement is very astute. I'm going through a serious Knob Creek phase (all 3), but this is a nice compliment when seeking subtlety. Cheers.

@SquidgyAsh

Several months ago I'd made an epic journey to the International Beer Shop here in Perth to pick up a bottle of Stranahans Colorado Single Malt Whisky.

If you're curious as to why this journey was epic you can look at my previous review and see how that journey played out.

While there I saw that they had quite a few whiskies that I wanted, but one that stood out.

Four Roses Single Barrel Bourbon.

This is a whiskey that I've never tried before (Four Roses, not bourbon, I have bourbon lots) and I'd heard nothing, but good things about it.

I was especially keen seeing as it had just picked up a major award in the 2012 Whisky Bible.

Whisky Bible Awards 2012: No Age Statement Single Barrel Bourbon of the Year award to be exact.

Now the problem with single barrel whiskies is that there is NEVER a guarantee that you'll be getting a bottle from the award winning barrel unless you have all those details and can put your hand on a bottle from that batch.

Now the cool and bad thing about single barrels is you can get some whiskies that are no less then phenomenal. I have several bottles that are from barrels like that. Bad thing about it is that those barrels tend to produce just a few hundred bottles and that once it's gone, it's gone, never to be repeated.

I had a VERY strong suspicion that this is NOT the bottle that won the award, but I didn't care. I was eager to try this distillery!

Now this bottle is from Warehouse #135, barrel number 38-3Q.

So away to home I went with my new bottles, but I'd already decided before hand that both of these bottles would be off limits or special occasion bottles for at least several months.

About a month ago my brother and sister in law bought my wife and myself a brand new 50 inch plasma screen TV.

I've always wanted a big screen TV, but this was beyond awesome!

That night we cracked the Stranahans.

The following weekend my brother and sister in law came over, bringing with them a bottle of Glenmorangie 10 yr old that he'd gotten for his birthday.

I decided that we should also crack open the Four Roses.

We brought out the glencairns and brought down the bottle of Four Roses and as soon as we cracked the seal we could smell honey.

Pouring a lovely amber color this whiskey honey came off it in waves.

Upon closer nosing we started getting coconut, cherries, spices and oak.

It's quite a sweet nose that makes you start to salivate as soon as you smell it.

However when we decide to take a drink it's quite syrupy.

No bad flavors. Quite yummy, with the coconut and honey coming through strongest and the cherries and spices following through. The oak has a definite presence, but it is quite lovely and gives the whisky a nice backbone. At the end of the palate is just a hint of cocoa.

There's a nice long finish with the spices and oak singing out and once more those hints of cocoa make themselves known.

Quite a nice whisky, however it's a little bit too syrupy for my liking.

Running at around $100 to $125 bucks it's not a bad bourbon, especially at the highest ABV, but I'm not quite sure that I'd buy another bottle of it, unless I could guarantee I was getting the award winner.

It's not impossible to find, but I haven't seen it in any bottle shops over here so you will have to look around.

At half the price of a George T Stagg, Thomas H Handy Sazerac or William L. Weller, I do believe I'd rather save my money and buy one of the big boys.

If you've had one bottle of Four Roses Single Barrel and someone else says that he/she's had some Four Roses Single Barrel, the chances that you've had the same formula whiskey are only 1 in 10, and the chances that you've had whiskey from the same barrel quite tiny. With 5 yeast strains and 2 mashbills Four Roses makes a lot of different Single Barrel types of bourbon. The flavours vary a lot. Without giving the recipe code, their 'funky little letters code' you are attempting to discuss with others what could be quite a different flavour profile whiskey compared to the ones they have. Some of their recipes you might like, others not, or 'not so much'.

I didn't like some of my early Four Roses experiences, but have warmed up to their products a lot over some time. But without giving the exact Single Barrel Bourbon recipe information as part of the description of the whiskey, one might as well be discussing 'apples and oranges'.

@Ash, was there also a four-letter code on the bottle? Perhaps the recipe information code was not given? Or is there another way to cross-reference the "Warehouse # 135, Barrel #38-3Q" information?

My first experience with FRSB was less than stellar. In fact, the first bottle I ever bought was drunk over many, many months with borderline disdain due to a cloying, sticky sweetness & heavy banana flavor (which I don't care for at all in any bourbon). A few months open and it subsided somewhat, but never died completely. The only reason I bought another is because my friend had a bottle totally different than mine that I easily would have rated in the 90s. Neither my bottle nor his had the four-letter recipe "code" on the bottle, however (like the Limited Edition Single Barrel bottlings do).

Not one to give up, I purchased another bottle a few months ago that is amazing. Caramel & honey sweetness on the opening, and then a massive spice hit (which I DO like). I checked the warehouse# & barrel# and went back to the store a few days after verifying I really enjoyed the bottle to see if they had other bottles with the same warehouse & barrel numbers. They had 5, and I grabbed them all in the hope that they're all as good as their sister that came home with me originally. The difference between my first bottle and the second that I really love was very eye-opening, to say the least. I hadn't really experienced the "single-barrel variation" in such a major way until I delved into these Four Roses Single Barrel offerings.

@flyfish

When my wife and I toured the distillery, we were pleasantly surprised to find the Four Roses regular bottling (yellow label) quite nice. Surprised because the once popular and high quality bourbon entered a long period of decay after Seagram’s bought the brand and converted it into a blended whiskey. All of the good stuff continued to be made but it was shipped to Japan and Europe. In 2001, Four Roses was bought by Kirin, the big Japanese brewing company. They were wise enough to make the real Four Roses available in the States again. But wait, there’s more. In addition to the yellow label, there are now small batch and a single barrel version of Four Roses as the distillery hustles to keep up with the competition. We found the latter two significantly better than “quite nice.” I understand that Four Roses is now the top selling single barrel bourbon in Kentucky. That’s an impressive recovery considering that the Requiem Mass was approaching the final benediction. Preparing for this tasting, I poured an ounce or so of Four Roses (Barrel 431K) into a Glencairn glass. Then I left immediately to take a phone call. When I returned, it had opened up so that I could smell the Four Roses from the door ten feet away. In the glass, FRSB is a pleasant strawberry blonde color with legs that go all the way up. The nose picks up some vanilla and caramel with hints of both spice and fruit. I didn’t detect anything floral (and am avoiding quips about roses) but there may be something vegetal like freshly cut grass in early autumn. Later, on the palette, I decided the vegetal was drier--more like a wheat field or a corn field right after the harvester has passed through. In the mouth, the bourbon was full and viscous and chewy at first but after a few sips it seemed less so. At the back of the palette, I was reminded of Earl Grey tea--rather tannic and dry like black tea and the citrus spice of bergamot. The layers of flavor included something akin to crème brulee: The faintest bit of nutmeg in custard and a sugar crust melted by flame. I thought the flavors were nicely balanced with nothing that stands up and smacks you in the face. There is corn, of course, but muted and held in check. I found the finish long and satisfying. Running my tongue over the roof of my mouth unleashed succeeding waves of flavor for several minutes. There was warmth but nothing even approaching a harsh burn at 50% ABV or 100 proof. (When I checked the label, I found that I had been mistaken in thinking it was 90 proof.) But speaking of burn, April has been a cruel month here in northern Ohio. It is Easter weekend as I write and we are still using the fireplace to ward off the cold and damp. It is our custom, before dinner, to pour a nice drink and sit by the fire for an hour or so. Frankly, it is difficult to be scientifically objective. How do you separate the pleasures of the drink from those connected with the crackle of an oak and hickory fire? Is that whiff of charred oak from the bourbon or the fire? The same bourbon tastes different at sunset in January on the Gulf Coast, on our shaded yard swing in June, or on a log beside a campfire after a long day fishing in Wyoming. I find it impossible to separate the setting from the impression made by the bourbon. And I don’t want to. In any of those locations, though, I would be more than glad to waltz again with a strawberry blonde as refined and elegant as Four Roses Single Barrel.

Hi flyfish...According to the Four Roses website (www.fourroses.us, though the 10 recipes link is not working today), the OBSQ recipe is a 35% rye mashbill, while the OESQ uses the same flavouring yeast (the 'Q' in the receipe designation), but with a 20% rye mashbill (the 'B' vs. the 'E' designators). To my thinking, the banana should be present, but only as an underlying aroma that a small amount of water might bring out for you in future tastings...just a guess...let me know what you discover.

I've only had my bottle open for a little over a week, with only a couple of drams taken, but will continue to contemplate this one carefully over the next long while as I try to sort out all of the aromas and flavours...a very interesting bourbon indeed.

Nicely written review @flyfish! Besides the barrel number, do you know which of the 10 Four Roses 'recipies' was used for your bottle? I picked up an OESQ recently and it has strong banana and oak notes, with a nice opening up of additional aromas and tastes with the addition of a small amount of water.

Popular Four Roses whiskies