Southern Stories
Bourbon of the Month: Four Roses Small Batch
Feb 18/13

Bourbon of the Month: Four Roses Small Batch Posted by: Aaron Stearns | 0 Comments


Bourbon Lovers

The funny thing about brands and the stories behind them is they can be manipulated by the good folks in marketing. Still, it can be fun to hear how companies came to fruition. 

Paul Jones Jr., the founder of Four Roses distillery apparently had a particular fondness for a southern beauty. So smitten was he that he sent a proposal to the fair maiden requesting she wear a corsage of red roses to a forthcoming event if her answer was yes to his proposal.

Top Shelf Bourbon Bottle Lamps and Lighting

At the event, Jones waited with anticipation for her answer. She arrived wearing a corsage of not one, not two, not even three, but rather four roses. It is said that the name of the distillery, as well as the bourbon it produces, pays homage to this story.

As distilleries go, Four Roses beats to its own drum. It’s been producing bourbons with significantly higher percentages of rye grain than what is customary in a crowded bourbon whiskey landscape. The distillery is well known for producing bourbons with a sweet spice character and fruity aromas and flavors.

For the record, Bourbon must be at least 51% corn. The remaining grains used in the mashbill, or grain recipe, are typically barley in small percentages, and either rye or winter wheat. Four Roses uses two primary mashbills – one at 35% rye and another at 20% rye. Each of these recipes is fermented with one of five proprietary yeast strains. These five different strains of yeast are used to bring a specific character to the end whiskey. The result is 10 different recipes that Four Roses can blend to craft their bourbons.

The subject of today’s review is Four Roses Small Batch, a small batching of the distillery’s 10 recipes. The nose is fresh and vibrant with spiced honey, licorice, apple and red berry fruit. On the palate the whiskey is extremely well balanced – subtle sweetness of burned sugar and honey, then flavors of the wood, citrus and layers of spice and vanilla. It finishes cleanly with lingering sweet spice remaining.

The versatility of Four Roses Small Batch cannot be understated. It lends itself amazingly well to neat sipping as well as in cocktails where the bourbon should stand out. For me, this is a go-to for drinks like an Old Fashioned Cocktail or Mint Julep.

Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon
45% abv (90 Proof), $28/bottle



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