Four Roses is the only bourbon distiller to combine two mash bills with five historic yeast strains to produce ten distinct bourbon recipes. Bourbon expert Neil-Hennessy Vass travels to Kentucky, meets master distiller Brent Elliot and tastes the Four Roses 130th Anniversary limited edition small batch release in its 10, 13, 14 and 16-year old varieties.
There will be 3,600 hand-numbered bottles of Four Roses’ 130thAnniversary bourbon available in Europe
As the resident spirits nut at The Buyer I felt it my duty and, in all honesty, my responsibility to visit Kentucky, the home of bourbon and report from the horse’s mouth so to speak.
Yes, I did see a lot of horses and found my foot tapping to the dulcet tones of that most hermetical of sounds, Bluegrass. But I digress, this year, as with all others, we are encouraged to be ‘out with the old and in with the new’. I disagree, as my studies (well, sampling lots of the good stuff on your behalf) have led me to believe that it is definitely worth sticking with some of the old stuff.
Case in point is Four Roses 130thAnniversary limited edition small batch release. It comes in 10, 13, 14 and 16-year old varieties. These guys are the only ones in the business to combine two mash bills with five historic yeast strains to produce ten distinct bourbon recipes.
Known as a maker of smooth bourbon these little beauties are no exception and have an elegant style with a long finish.
“To celebrate our 130thanniversary, I wanted to create a very special limited edition small batch,” says master distiller Brent Elliot.
“I focused on building around the unique fruit flavours in two of our yeast strains and these really shine through in the finished product. As a contrast, I also included a spicy, older batch. By mingling these different profiles, I think we achieved a wonderfully balanced, complex and unique bourbon.”
This is a typically modest statement by Brent as these are crackers that deserve to be snapped up while still around.
Bottled at barrel strength, 54.2%, the 130thAnniversary limited edition small batch offers rich vanilla, raspberries, ripe berries and crème brûlée on the nose. As it hits the palate, it opens into flavours of apricot, mint, cinnamon, apple and mellow oak. Boasting a very long finish, there are hints of cinnamon, more fruit and vanilla. At 54.2% it might have the kick of mule but what a gentle caressing mule it is.
There will be 3,600 hand-numbered bottles available in Europe, with a suggested UK RRP of £185 available through Spirits Cartel.
Four Roses has been celebrating its significant anniversary with a variety of historically themed tasting events across Kentucky. As part of the celebrations, it’s also digitised its archives, which are now available to view at www.fourrosesbourbon.com/130th