Run for the Roses!

I’ve never been that into horse racing.  I have known a couple of people who own horses and have raced and been involved in horse racing at the regional level in the west, and one thing for certain is it gets into your blood, and it is something that is impossible to do casually.  When it comes to horse racing it is an all consuming passion.  I never shared that passion for the ponies, but one thing I can appreciate is the excitement, pageantry and tradition that is a part of the Kentucky Derby. The women in their big hats, the mint juleps, The Kentucky Colonels running all over the place like so much fried chicken advertisements, and the run for the roses that caps the day.  It would be exciting to experience in person.

There is a whiskey that holds its own in pageantry and tradition that I was recently able to try in my own personal run for the roses…

Four Roses that is! Four Roses Single Barrel 100 proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon is a taste of tradition that is almost as famous as the Derby itself!  This is a single barrel bourbon which means what it says, that it is from one barrel.  Most bourbon gets processed in batches that consist of several barrels, 40 to 80 for small batch bourbon, and up to 5000 barrels for Wild Turkey 101.  The distinction of a single barrel means that there should be subtle changes in flavor from barrel to barrel.  This was a GOOD BARREL!

The nose on this bourbon was full of floral tones with cherry blossom, honey and old leather up front, with some oaky alcohol whiffs also detected.  When it hits the palate it is sweet with flavors of cherries and honey, with rye on the backside and a nice finish of old leather and barrel char that has a long and smoldering burn that lasts for about a minute and a half.  Very Nice!


This bourbon has a little bit of a kick at 50 % ABV, so neat this is in full force.  It can be a little harsh, although flavors and quality come through the burn.

On the Rocks

The cooling opens up the whiskey, and leather and spice notes are pronounced.  The spice is like candy spice gum drops,  very sweet and yummy.

With a Splash

This still has great flavor, but the water fully tames the burn.  The spice is still pronounced, and a few more barrel characteristics come out with water.

Four Roses Single Barrel is a truly great bourbon.  This tastes like a whiskey you may have had from the 70s or 80s.  Very full bodied and complex flavor profile.  It is heavy and satisfying, and was the perfect accompaniment for my steak I had for dinner.  Run out and pick up some Four Roses Single Barrel, and taste tradition and pageantry from a bygone era!


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5 Comments on “Run for the Roses!”

  1. November 17, 2009 at 8:51 pm #

    Yes it is a good bourbon at a nice price. I used to live about 30 minutes away from the magic. That might be the one thing I miss about living in KY, being that close to so many bourbon makers.

  2. Don
    November 18, 2009 at 1:27 am #

    I wish I could get it at home. I actually think I like it better than Knob Creek which is my house bourbon. If this was available I think it would become a regular pour for me.

  3. November 19, 2009 at 3:06 am #

    I think I like the Knob Creek a little more. Honestly, I tend to like the Bourbons that get to or past that magic half-century mark.

    • Don
      November 19, 2009 at 3:12 pm #

      I agree with you, and most bourbon drinkers I think prefer 100pf or better. That is why I liked the single barrel offering from Four Roses it was 100pf. KC is great and I will continue to drink it, but the 4 roses was pretty awesome stuff. Could be I got a really good barrel too, since it was single barrel and not small batch.


  1. Single Barrel Whiskey « Beer & Whiskey Brothers Blog - February 8, 2011

    […] based on just my reviews as limited as they are.  The first single barrel whiskey I reviewed was Four Roses.  I loved the stuff, and I am actually very excited, because it is now carried in the Idaho Liquor […]

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