Best Bourbons | Four Roses Distillery | Review

Every Four Roses Bourbon Reviewed [2021]

Last updated Feb 21, 2021 | Published on Jan 31, 2021

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by Matty Sims

Four Roses Bourbon is the comeback kid of the bourbon boom. Jim Rutledge rescued the neglected brand by focusing on quality above all else. Here we are today and Four Roses has one of the most sought after limited releases every fall as well as drove of fanatics who hunt down their single barrel barrel strength expressions. These Four Roses fans have favorite spots in the single-story warehouses Four Roses is known for as well as locations within that warehouse. It can get intense. I’ve included a section on the single barrel barrel strength below, but my plan is to put together another article review all ten recipes. Something to keep an eye out for.

But it all started with their standard offerings — the Four Roses yellow, Four Roses Small Batch, and Four Roses Single Barrel. These are all fantastic bourbons in their own right based on price, availability, and taste.

Start shopping for bourbon clothing and accessories for your journey. The Bard’s Shop has custom tees and hoodies, books, barrels, and more.

Four Roses Single Barrel Review

Four Roses OBSV Single barrel

Four Roses Singel Barrel OBSV
Four Roses Singel Barrel OBSVDetails
In the Bottle100 Proof
ABV50%
Mashbill60% Corn, 35% Rye, 5% Malted Barley
RecipesOBSV - Delicate Fruit and Rye
Age7 to 9YO
StyleSingle Barrel
Size750 mL
Suggested MSRP$44
ProsPhenomenal Nose and Complexity
ConsFinish Falls Just a Bit Flat for Me
AvailabilityNationwide
RatingSilver 90.6 out of 100 Points
InventoryBuy

Nose – 92 out of 100 Points

The nose offers beautiful tart red fruit alongside baking spice, Ruby chocolate, vanilla yogurt, and subtle charred oak.

Taste – 89 out of 100 Points

Four Roses Single Barrel has a solid mouthfeel. There’s more fruit on the front palate but more crisp apple than the red fruit on the nose. The mid-palate is oaky with white pepper and cinnamon and baking chocolate to round things out. The palate is missing some of the richness of the nose. The flavor blooms then drops off.

Finish – 88 out of 100 Points

It’s a medium finish with oak and cinnamon as the standouts. Just hints of the fruit sweetness and brown sugar.

Complexity – 91 out of 100 Points

The nose offers superb complexity. The palate is good but just a step-down — muted slightly compared to the aroma. The finish lacks the bold complexity I would hope for from a Four Roses.

Value – 93 out of 100 Points

For $40 plus, Four Roses Single Barrel is an insane value. The color is a light copper but with thick, oily legs. Great flavor. Solid drinker.

Verdict – Silver 90.6 out of 100 Points

4R Single Barrel
90.6 / 100 Reviewer
{{ reviewsOverall }} / 100 Users (0 votes)
Nose92
Taste89
Finish88
Complexity91
Value93

Four Roses Single Barrel Barrel Proof

As the name indicates, Four Roses Single Barrel Barrel Proof are only offered as single barrel selections. Let me tell you it’s a rabbit hole to dive into Four Roses’ 10 recipes. These recipes consist of two mash bills and five yeast strains. The two Four Roses mash bills are:

  • Mashbill E = 75% corn, 20% rye, 5% malted barley
  • Mashbill B = 60% corn, 35% rye, 5% malted barley

The five Four Roses yeast strains are:

  • Yeast K = Slight Spice
  • Yeast Q = Floral Essence
  • Yeast O = Rich Fruit
  • Yeast F = Herbal Notes
  • Yeast V = Delicate fruit

How to Read a Four Roses Label

Four Roses labels don’t have to be confusing. In order, from left to right:

  • Warehouse Number – Warehouse on the Four Roses property where the barrel was stored
  • Side of the Warehouse – N, S, E, W, etc
  • Rick Number – Rick which barrel was stored
  • Tier Number – Tier/level of the rick which barrel was stored
  • Position Number – The position of the barrel within the tier. The first barrel is A, the second is B, the third is C, and so on.

Four Roses Small Batch Select Review

Four Roses Small Batch Select

Four Roses Small Batch Select
Four Roses Small Batch SelectDetails
In the Bottle104 proof
ABV52%
MashbillMashbill B - 60% Corn, 35% Rye, & 5% Malted Barley
Mashbill E - 75% Corn, 20% Rye, & 5% Malted Barley
Yeast StrainOBSV - Delicate Fruit and Rye
OBSK - Rye and Baking Spice
OBSF - Delicate Rye and Mint
OESV - Delicate Fruit and Caramel
OESK - Baking Spice
OESF - Herbs and Mint
AgeMinimum of 6YO
StyleNon-Chill Filtered Small Batch
Size750 mL
Suggested MSRP$60
ProsGreat Value for Price and Drinking Experience
ConsNo Glaring Flaws
AvailabilityColorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Washington, and Wisconsin
RatingSilver 92 out of 100 Points
InventoryBuy

I’m a huge Four Roses fan. I’m one of those guys who’s hunting all 10 recipes. For those who don’t know Four Roses has two mash bills and five yeast strains to make 10 available recipes. They mature their bourbon in single-story warehouses so there’s more consistent maturation but they add the variety of flavors many distilleries get from higher warehouses with the 10 recipes.

Their standard Small Batch is a blended whiskey (containing four of the B recipes OBSK, OESK, OBSO, and OESO), their single barrels are OBSV, and their bottom shelf yellow label is a blend of all 10 recipes. You won’t see the five E recipes or the four other B recipes on their own unless you keep your eyes open for store pick single barrels.

That’s part of what makes this release special. This small batch blends three of the B recipes and three of the E recipes (OBSV, OBSK, OBSF, OESV, OESK, and OESF). What’s even more exciting is this release is over 100 proof and unfiltered (non-chill filtered) bourbon. Now I’m not an NCF snob, but it’s a smart move for a line expansion that’s high proof to appeal to a broader audience.

Nose – 91 out of 100 Points

Sweet cherries, candied apple, and floral spice. Buttered pie crust.

Taste – 92 out of 100 Points

Sweet vanilla pop on tip of the tongue. Signature Four Roses Single barrel spice on side of the palate with hints of tart apple and caramel. Toasted cinnamon and oak warms the mouth. Long and oily

Finish – 91 out of 100 Points

Medium finish with cinnamon, oak, & dark chocolate.

Complexity – 92 out of 100 Points

This bourbon is only 104 proof with complex and easily definable flavors without palate fatigue or burnout. Brent Elliott, Four Roses Master Distiller, described their objective:

“We wanted to add something to our lineup that brings that pure experience you get with a non-chill filtered Bourbon, while also showcasing some of our recipes and flavors that aren’t as forward-facing in our other existing bottles. While Small Batch Select can certainly be one of your special occasion Bourbons, we want it to be more accessible so you don’t hesitate to open up that bottle and enjoy it any time.”

With that stated objective, I would say this new bourbon is a major success. It’s a bourbon I’m always keeping stocked. If you’re already a fan of Four Roses, it’s a must-buy.

Value – 94 out of 100 Points

I’ll jump the gun and say this (hold onto your butts): in my opinion, this is one of the best values for over 100 proof bourbons when considering availability, price, and flavor. Now hear me: I’m not saying it’s the best over 100 proof I’ve ever had — but again availability and price considered.

Verdict – Silver 92 out of 100 Points

4R Small Batch Select
92 / 100 Reviewer
{{ reviewsOverall }} / 100 Users (0 votes)
Nose91
Taste92
Finish91
Complexity92
Value94

Four Roses Small Batch Review

Four Roses Small Batch

Four Roses Small Batch
Four Roses Small BatchDetails
In the Bottle90 proof
ABV45%
MashbillMashbill B - 60% Corn, 35% Rye, & 5% Malted Barley
Mashbill E - 75% Corn, 20% Rye, & 5% Malted Barley
Yeast StrainOBSK - Rye and Baking Spice
OBSO - Rich Fruit
OESK - Baking Spice
OESO - Rich Fruit and Vanilla
AgeMinimum of 6 to 7 Years
StyleSmall Batch
Size750 mL
Suggested MSRP$30
ProsOutstanding Nose & Value
ConsFinish Falls Flat in Comparison to Nose and Palate
AvailabilityNationwide
RatingSilver 88.6 out of 100 Points
InventoryBuy It Now

Nose – 90 out of 100 Points

Caramel, baking spice, charred oak, and a pop of vanilla. Maybe some butterscotch and orange and walnut as well.

Taste – 87 out of 100 Points

Creamy mouthfeel more walnut, charred oak, a more muted caramel. Baking spice. Black pepper.

Finish – 87 out of 100 Points

Short to medium finish. Caramel walnuts. Black pepper. Cinnamon.

Complexity – 88 out of 100 Points

The nose was complex but some of the depth was lost on the palate and finish.

Value – 91 out of 100 Points

While small batches like Buffalo Trace and Wild Turkey 101 get a lot of love, Four Roses Small Batch doesn’t get enough shine. Maybe it’s because Four Roses Single Barrel is so darn good. But don’t sleep on the small batch. It’s a smooth operator with good flavor and for $30 you can hardly beat it.

Verdict – Silver 88.6 out of 100 Points

4R Small Batch
88.6 / 100 Reviewer
{{ reviewsOverall }} / 100 Users (0 votes)
Nose90
Taste87
Finish87
Complexity88
Value91

Four Roses Yellow Review

Full Review Coming Soon

Which Four Roses Bourbon is the best?

Best Four Roses Bourbon
92 Reviewer
0 0 votes
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Value
90.6 Reviewer
0 0 votes
Nose
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Finish
Complexity
Value
88.6 Reviewer
0 0 votes
Nose
Taste
Finish
Complexity
Value

Start shopping for bourbon clothing and accessories for your journey. The Bard’s Shop has custom tees and hoodies, books, barrels, and more.

Written by Matty Sims

Matty Sims is the Editor-in-Chief at a digital media company. LeAnn (his wife) and his daughters Claire, Maddy, and Adele along with a brand new pup Booker live in Taylors, SC, at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains. He enjoys cracking a well-aged bottle of bourbon with friends and sharing stories, or cracking one of his favorite daily sippers on the back porch while the pup and his kids play in the backyard. He is a storyteller at heart, and Bourbon has deep roots in storytelling.
By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: The Bourbon Bard, PO Box 1501, Taylors, SC 29687, https://www.thebourbonbard.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the unsubscribe link at the bottom of every email. Emails are sent by MailChimp.

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  1. Minta

    Wow!you have a lot of awesome bourbon gifts for Valentines day!! I subscribed! Thanks so much for sharing!

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