Four Roses Bourbon Whiskey


The Four Roses bourbon story is one I really enjoy.  That’s because, according to the story, it got its name from one of those “Scarlett O’Hara” steeped in romance Southern moments.  In 1884, Paul Jones Jr. started the company on Whiskey Row in Louisville.  The company name was inspired by his sweetheart when she told him that at the grand ball she would be wearing four red roses if she accepted his proposal.  Well she did, and that moment inspired Jones’ new bourbon business.  If she hadn’t accepted Jones, the name of his business might have ended up being somewhat disparaging and darker.  However, that didn’t happen and we ended up with a rosy whiskey instead.


What Is Different About Four Roses

Many distillers over the years have produced their bourbon in Kentucky.  The best that the distilleries have to offer is what is seen on the shelves these days and is widely available.  The past for Four Roses is checkered by a couple of company buyouts.  One of them almost resulted in the brand becoming extinct in the U.S.

Today the main thing that Four Roses has in its favor is it’s the only bourbon whiskey distillery that uses two separate mashbills with five proprietary yeasts that range from 60% to 75% corn for producing 10 different kinds of bourbons.  Single-story rick houses are also used for aging bourbon.  Many other distilleries use multi-story houses instead.

To help you with understanding Four Roses Bourbons, here’s a primer:

  • All ten recipes get used in the signature Yellow brand label
  • For a Small Batch, three or four recipes get used
  • For a Single Barrel, one recipe gets used
  • The Master Distiller hand picks any Limited Edition releases from one of the above

Since 1995, Jim Rutledge has done an outstanding job as Master Distiller for Four Roses.  He is called “Mr. Four Roses.”  Lawrenceburg, Kentucky is where the distillery is located, and Cox Creek is where the rickhouses are.  Tours are available for both.  More details are available at their website.

Four Roses Bourbon

Yellow Label Four Roses Bourbon

The Yellow Label is Four Roses’ brand standard, similar to Johnny Walker’s Red Label or Jim Beam’s White Label.  This is the bottle you will find regularly in a majority of liquor stores.  The price ranges from $20 to $25.  This is a great bourbon at this reasonable price.  It could quickly develop into an “old reliable” of yours.  You will soon discover that this whiskey is a mixable one, and is ideal for just about any whiskey drink you might want to have at that moment.  It’s character is sophisticated, smooth and floral.  For the novice, this is an excellent introduction to bourbon.

Tasting Notes:

The bourbon’s aroma is floral, and it also has spicy, grainy and rosy undertones along with a hint of honey twist.  Its taste is soft, smooth and crisp all at the very same time, and is marked with apple, pear and vanilla along with oak notes that melt gently into the fruits.  The finish has a soothing smoothness to it that has a spicy orange hint and is semi dry.

Other Bourbons From Four Roses

Thee is an impressive bourbon whiskey lineup offered by Four Roses.  Their Yellow Label is only the beginning.  Throughout the world you can find different bottlings.  Japan has its unique Super Premium and Black Label that are only released in that country.  However, you can find Single Barrel there as well.  You will find Single Barrel, Small Batch and Yellow Label in Europe.  In the US, the Marriage Collection, Limited Editions, Small Batch, Single Barrel and Yellow Label are all available.