Liquor Laboratory

14 Best Four Roses Bourbon Bottles To Try (Updated)

Best Four Roses Bourbon

Last Updated on February 17, 2024 by Lydia Martin

If you’re a bourbon enthusiast, you know that the name “Four Roses” carries with it a sense of prestige and quality. In the world of American whiskey, Four Roses is synonymous with craftsmanship, tradition, and unparalleled flavor.

As a bourbon connoisseur, I’ve had the privilege of sampling a wide array of Four Roses offerings, and today, I’m thrilled to present to you the bourbon must-have from this iconic distillery.

So, without further ado, let’s dive into the best Four Roses bourbon bottles that deserve a spot on your shelf.

Top 14 Four Roses Bourbon Bottles (Ranked)

1. Four Roses 2022 Limited Edition Small Batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Bottle of Four Roses 2022 Limited Edition Small Batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Average Price: Around $180/750ml (MSRP)

Alcohol Content: 54.5% ABV

Nose: Cherry, caramel, clove

Palate: Slight spice, nutty, rich fruit

Star Rating: ★★★★★

Why We Like It: The 2022 Limited Edition Small Batch blends flavors in perfect harmony. This bourbon is a good sipper, exhibiting its maturation, leading to a distinctly polarizing yet intricately layered pour.

I like how this limited edition bourbon is filled with delicate fruit flavors and sophistication. The initial pour may pleasantly surprise you due to the bourbon’s maturity and flavor characteristics.

2. Four Roses 2019 LE Small Batch

Average Price: Around $140/750ml (MSRP)

Alcohol Content: 56.3% ABV

Nose: Vanilla, ripe fruits

Palate: Caramel, spice

Star Rating: ★★★★★

Why I Like It: The 2019 LE Small Batch is a masterpiece. Its complex flavors and perfect balance make it a must-try for bourbon aficionados.

“With this year’s Limited Edition we found some exceptionally well-rested Bourbons in some of our higher aged barrels.” – Master Distiller Brent Elliott

This limited edition bottle is non-chill filtered and oil-heavy, but I find it a great concept, although it’s a little complex.

Overall, it has a flawless palate and a long, rich fruit finish – one of the best I’ve tried from the Four Roses Distillery (former Old Prentice Distillery).

3. Four Roses 2018 130th Anniversary LE Small Batch

Close Up Image of Four Roses 2018 130th Anniversary LE Small Batch

Average Price: Around $140/750ml (MSRP)

Alcohol Content: 54.2% ABV

Nose: Rich vanilla, raspberry

Palate: Apricot, oak, hint of mint

Star Rating: ★★★★★

Why I Like It: This special release celebrates 130 years of excellence. I like the harmonious blend of flavors dominating the palate.

This LE Small Batch bourbon has a spicy kick, leaning towards a richer and more pronounced taste profile, combining spiciness, oiliness, and oak influences, which provides enhanced flavor.

4. Four Roses 2020 LE Small Batch

Man Holding Bottle of Four Roses 2020 LE Small Batch

Average Price: Around $150/750ml (MSRP)

Alcohol Content: 55.7% ABV

Nose: Apple, honey, vanilla

Palate: Dark chocolate, mint

Star Rating: ★★★★★

Why I Like It: This is a remarkable release as the 2020 Four Roses Small Batch boasts a sublime blend of flavors that will keep you coming back for more.

The two mash bills deliver, but while it’s a delightful experience, its cost doesn’t surpass its worth. Perhaps it’s a better choice to savor at a specialized whiskey bar.

5. Four Roses 2016 LE Small Batch

Bottle of Four Roses 2016 LE Small Batch

Average Price: Around $129/750ml (MSRP)

Alcohol Content: 54.3% ABV

Nose: Floral, honey

Palate: Spiced apples, toasted oak

Star Rating: ★★★★★

Why We Like It: The 2016 LE Small Batch is an outstanding bottle release highlighting the brand’s commitment to quality. The mash bill is a blend of three recipes, creating remarkable tasting notes.

This emerges as one of the finest Small Batch Limited Edition bourbons I’ve had from Four Roses, standing shoulder to shoulder with esteemed counterparts and delivering an unforgettable experience.

6. Four Roses 2017 LE Small Batch

Four Roses 2017 LE Small Batch

Average Price: Around $130/750ml (MSRP)

Alcohol Content: 53.9% ABV

Nose: Ripe red apples, vanilla

Palate: Cherry, toffee, graham cracker

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

Why We Like It: The 2017 LE Small Batch is a beautifully balanced bourbon with a satisfying depth of flavor. It’s a well-rounded Four Roses bottle, bursting with flavor without being overpowering.

I like the balance of the three recipes (or mash bills) used on this great bourbon. This bourbon has remarkable tingling spice notes (despite the lower rye), giving an immensely enjoyable experience.

7. Four Roses 2017 Al Young 50th Anniversary LE Small Batch

Four Roses 2017 Al Young 50th Anniversary LE Small Batch Bottle on a Wooden Table

Average Price: Around $150/750ml (MSRP)

Alcohol Content: 53.8% ABV

Nose: Citrus, spice, floral essence

Palate: Butterscotch, leather

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

Why I Like It: Commemorating the distillery manager and brand ambassador Al Young’s 50 years with Four Roses, this bourbon bottle is a treat for those seeking complexity and history in a glass.

It’s a delightful succession of sugary delights. Amidst the robust rye notes, there’s a velvety and exceptional quality that deviates from the typical Four Roses characteristics, which I find interesting.

8. Four Roses 2016 Elliott’s Select LE Single Barrel

Bottle of Four Roses 2016 Elliott's Select LE Single Barrel on a Table

Average Price: Around $125/750ml (MSRP)

Alcohol Content: 59.3% ABV

Nose: Oak, toasted nuts

Palate: Dark cherry, tobacco

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

Why We Like It: This single barrel expression is bold and robust, showcasing the exceptional qualities and craftsmanship of the Four Roses Distillery [1].

Elliott’s Select stands out as one of my top favorites for its outstanding tasting notes. Its smooth, Kentucky flavor leaves me yearning for another sip, making it a real treat for the palate.

9. Four Roses Private Selection Single Barrel Bourbon (2023)

Average Price: Around $99.99/750ml (MSRP)

Alcohol Content: 52.8%-60.4% ABV

Nose: Spice, caramel

Palate: Creamy, cinnamon

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

Why I Like It: The Private Selection offers a personalized experience with numerous variations. It’s an extraordinary exploration of the Four Roses profile.

Single barrel selections remain unblended, so I get to enjoy the distinct flavors and aging nuances of the specific barrel they matured in.

I like how the master distiller carefully reserves a limited quantity of exceptionally smooth and intricate barrels, chosen from among any or all of Four Roses’ ten bourbon recipes [2].

10. Four Roses Small Batch Select Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Bottle of Four Roses Small Batch Select Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Average Price: Around $61/750ml (MSRP)

Alcohol Content: 52% ABV

Nose: Ripe banana, pear, vanilla,

Palate: Oak, cinnamon, clove, black pepper

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

Why We Like It: This is a fantastic entry-level small-batch bourbon. It embodies the excellence of the Four Roses Distillery, offering excellence at an accessible price point.

Using the distillery’s F yeast strain, this Four Roses Small Batch Select boasts an aromatic nose while maintaining the palate’s profound profile.

It’s a full-bodied, opulent, and wholly gratifying experience for the taste buds.

11. Four Roses Single Barrel

Hand Holding Four Roses Single Barrel

Average Price: Around $45/750ml (MSRP)

Alcohol Content: 50% ABV

Nose: Vanilla, floral, plum hint

Palate: Rich, dried flowers, honey, mulled wine

Star Rating: ★★★☆☆

Why We Like It: If you desire a versatile bourbon, try Four Roses Single Barrel. It provides consistent quality and tasting notes, making Four Roses Single Barrel an excellent choice for any occasion.

While Four Roses Single Barrels uses the same recipe, I like the high-rye kick and richness of this single barrel akin to a barrel-proof bottle – without the hefty price tag.

12. Four Roses Small Batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Bottle of Four Roses Small Batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Average Price: Around $30/750ml (MSRP)

Alcohol Content: 45% ABV

Nose: Mellow, red fruit

Palate: Caramel, sweet oak, caramel, slight spice

Star Rating: ★★★☆☆

Why We Like It: If you’re looking for a budget-friendly option with an approachable profile, try this Four Roses Small Batch Whiskey. It’s a great bourbon when savored neat, over ice, or with a subtle dash of water.

Despite the low price tag, it’s a good sipper with a harmonious blend of robust, spicy notes complemented by the enticing fruit fragrance. The finish is gentle, velvety, and delightfully lingering.

13. Four Roses Yellow Label Bourbon

Four Roses Yellow Label Bourbon

Average Price: Around $20/50ml (MSRP)

Alcohol Content: 40% ABV

Nose: Soft, floral, apple hint

Palate: Vanilla, honey, a hint of spice

Star Rating: ★★★☆☆

Why We Like It: Yellow Label provides a taste of Four Roses’ quality at an affordable price. The mash bill comprises two bourbon recipes from the Four Roses Distillery.

If you’re a newcomer or enjoy bourbon occasionally, a bottle of Four Roses Yellow is an ideal introduction.

While it doesn’t have the complexity of other whiskey expressions, it has balance and light character, perfect for beginners.

14. Four Roses Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Bottle of Four Roses Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey on a Table

Average Price: Around $20/750ml (MSRP)

Alcohol Content: 40% ABV

Nose: Light caramel, spice

Palate: Sweet, clove, cinnamon, mild

Star Rating: ★★★☆☆

Why We Like It: This expression is the perfect choice if you want a classic bottle. Besides, it’s a staple for mixing and sipping.

This bourbon combines as many as ten unique bourbon recipes, creating a versatile and approachable bourbon whiskey [3] catering to casual drinkers and connoisseurs.

How Many Four Roses Bourbons Are There?

Four Roses offers a diverse range of bourbon expressions, from limited edition senses to budget-friendly options.

As of writing (based on their website), 12 Four Roses expressions are available, including the limited editions and the regular ones.

I just got lucky having tried their past expressions (that’s why I featured 14 on this list). But let’s see if Four Roses will release more soon.

About Four Roses 10 Bourbon Recipes

Four Roses expressions, be it the Four Roses Single Barrel, LE Small Batch, Private Select, Small Batch Select, and the regular bourbon, are crafted with any of the following recipes:

“Four Roses is where bourbon craftsmanship and flavor diversity come together to create bourbon perfection.” – Liquor Laboratory

  1. OBSV: It is known for its delicate fruit character with a high-rye mash (approximately 60% corn, 35% rye, and 5% barley, which is the recipe for the Four Roses Single Barrel.
  2. OBSK: This recipe has a bit spicier profile, featuring the same mash as OBSV but employing a different yeast.
  3. OBSO: It has rich and full flavor profile, which uses the high-rye mash.
  4. OBSQ: It contains high-rye mash with yeast strains, which carries a slightly peppery and spicy character.
  5. OESV: This recipe contains lower rye content in the mash (around 75% corn, 20% rye, and 5% barley), so it’s known for its gentle sweetness and fruity notes.
  6. OESK: It’s the same mash as OESV but employs different yeast, giving a spicier and more robust flavor.
  7. OESO: This recipe combines the lower rye with yeast strains, enhancing the fruity and floral aspects of the bourbon.
  8. OESQ: This recipe is lower in rye, but it’s complex with peppery and spicy notes.
  9. OBSF: The high-rye mash and yeast strains emphasize herbal notes, providing a unique hint to the lineup.
  10. OESF: It combines the low-rye mash with yeast strains that contribute herbal and fruity characteristics.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What’s the best Four Roses expression for Old-Fashioned? 

The best Four Roses bottle for Old-Fashioned is the Small Batch Select or the Four Roses Single Barrel bottle. Their well-balanced flavors and robust profiles complement the cocktail’s simplicity and elegance.

What’s the strongest Four Roses bourbon? 

The strongest Four Roses bottle is the 2016 Elliott’s Select LE Single Barrel, boasting the highest alcohol content at 63.25%. It’s a bold and intense bourbon for those who enjoy a robust whiskey [4] experience.

Are Four Roses bourbons smooth? 

Yes, Four Roses is known for its smooth and approachable character. Even the higher-proof bourbon expressions offer a balanced and enjoyable sipping experience.

Should you drink Four Roses bourbons straight? 

You can drink Four Roses bourbons straight. They’re crafted to be enjoyed straight, allowing you to savor the intricate flavors and aromas. But you can also savor the bourbon on the rocks or in cocktails.

What can you mix with Four Roses bourbons? 

Four Roses bourbons are versatile and can be mixed into a variety of cocktails. Some classics include the Old-Fashioned, Manhattan, and Mint Julep.


Is Four Roses considered a good bourbon?

Yes, Four Roses is generally considered a good bourbon and has received positive reviews from whiskey enthusiasts and critics alike.

The distillery is known for its commitment to quality and craftsmanship, producing a range of bourbon expressions with distinct flavor profiles.

Four Roses has garnered a reputation for delivering a balance of rich and complex flavors, making it a respected choice among bourbon drinkers.

Is Four Roses Bourbon bottom shelf?

No, Four Roses Bourbon is not typically classified as a bottom-shelf whiskey. The term “bottom shelf” is often used to refer to lower-priced or less premium spirits.

Four Roses offers a variety of expressions, including their Yellow Label, which is an accessible and widely available option.

However, they also produce higher-end expressions, such as the Single Barrel and Small Batch offerings, which are considered premium bourbons.

Is 4 Roses Single Barrel better than Small Batch?

The preference between Four Roses Single Barrel and Small Batch is subjective and depends on individual taste preferences.

Four Roses Single Barrel is sourced from a specific barrel, providing a unique and often robust flavor profile.

Four Roses Small Batch, on the other hand, is a blend of select barrels, aiming for a more balanced and nuanced taste.

Some may prefer the boldness of the Single Barrel, while others appreciate the complexity and smoothness of the Small Batch.

Which is better, Single Barrel, or Small Batch?

The choice between Single Barrel and Small Batch depends on individual preferences.

Four Roses Single Barrel offers a more distinct and individual flavor profile sourced from a single barrel, while Small Batch involves a blend of carefully selected barrels for a balanced and nuanced taste.

If you enjoy bold and pronounced flavors, Single Barrel may be preferable, while those seeking a harmonious blend of flavors may lean towards Small Batch.

What is the smoothest bourbon?

Determining the smoothest bourbon is subjective and varies based on individual taste preferences.

However, some bourbons are often praised for their smoothness. Brands like Buffalo Trace, Maker’s Mark, and Woodford Reserve are frequently mentioned for their approachable and smooth profiles.

Smoothness in bourbon can be influenced by factors such as the aging process, mash bill, and production techniques, and the ideal bourbon for smoothness may differ from person to person.

Is Four Roses good for beginners?

Four Roses can be a good choice for beginners, as it offers a range of bourbon expressions with diverse flavor profiles.

The Yellow Label, in particular, is an approachable and smooth bourbon that can serve as a great introduction to the world of whiskey.

As beginners explore their preferences, they may also appreciate the more complex and premium offerings, such as the Single Barrel and Small Batch expressions, which showcase the craftsmanship and versatility of Four Roses.

What are the different levels of Four Roses?

Four Roses offers a variety of bourbon expressions, each with its unique characteristics. The core lineup includes:

Four Roses Yellow Label: An entry-level bourbon known for its approachable and smooth profile.

Four Roses Small Batch: A blend of select barrels, providing a balanced and nuanced flavor.

Four Roses Single Barrel: Sourced from a specific barrel, offering a more distinct and robust taste.

Four Roses Small Batch Select: Introduced in 2019, it combines six of the distillery’s ten unique recipes, creating a complex and flavorful bourbon.

Additionally, Four Roses releases limited-edition and special bottlings that further showcase the brand’s craftsmanship.

How do you drink Four Roses?

How one drinks Four Roses depends on personal preferences.

Four Roses can be enjoyed neat, on the rocks, or as the base for classic bourbon cocktails like the Old Fashioned or the Mint Julep.

Experimenting with different serving styles allows individuals to discover the nuances of Four Roses bourbons and find the method that best suits their taste.

What type of bourbon is Four Roses?

Four Roses produces Kentucky Straight Bourbon, adhering to the legal requirements for this designation.

The brand is known for its use of ten different proprietary yeast strains and two different mash bills, allowing for a variety of flavor profiles across its expressions.

What is regarded as the best bourbon?

Determining the “best” bourbon is highly subjective and varies based on individual preferences.

Some widely regarded bourbons include Pappy Van Winkle, Buffalo Trace, Woodford Reserve, and Maker’s Mark.

The best bourbon for one person may not be the same for another, as taste preferences play a significant role in choosing the ideal bourbon.

Exploring different brands and expressions is the best way to find the bourbon that suits one’s personal taste.

Final Thoughts: Best Four Roses Bourbon

Four Roses stands as a beacon of excellence. From the special release that showcases craftsmanship to the accessible options that cater to all palates, Four Roses offers a range of bourbons worth exploring.

While personal preferences may vary, the Four Roses 2022 LE Small Batch emerges as a standout choice for its impeccable balance and rich flavors.

So, whether you’re a seasoned bourbon connoisseur or a curious newcomer, there’s a Four Roses bottle waiting to delight your senses.

References:

  1. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/four-roses-distillery-celebrates-135-anniversary-with-first-global-brand-refresh-in-nearly-two-decades-301855403.html
  2. https://original.newsbreak.com/@the-bourbon-flight-1759679/3171791365701-uncovering-the-four-roses-recipe
  3. https://www.timeout.com/newyork/bars/things-you-never-realized-about-bourbon-whiskey
  4. https://www.britannica.com/topic/whiskey
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