Liquor Laboratory

Bulleit Bourbon vs Four Roses: What’s the Difference? (2024)

bulleit bourbon vs four roses

Bulleit bourbon and Four Roses are two of the most famous budget bourbons on the market today.  

If you are torn between the two, here’s a comprehensive review on Bulleit Bourbon vs Four Roses to know which is better without spending an extra dime. 

Comparing Bulleit Bourbon vs Four Roses  

Four Roses

Bulleit bourbon and Four Roses are solid everyday whiskeys because of their affordability, but the price should never define which is the best. Both brands also have a rich history.

With Four Roses, we got a little overwhelmed with the smell of alcohol when we took a whiff, but it actually tasted a bit sweet and simple. This makes it ideal for beginners.

On the other hand, Bulleit bourbon smells like freshly cut grass with notes of sweet oak. But with its high rye content and higher ABV, the taste is smokier, richer, and bolder.

Despite their fair share of similarities, their differences in age statements, production process, and alcohol proof set them apart. 

Key Differences 

Key Differences 

History & Origin

Bulleit has established a great reputation in creating whiskies since 1987, and it is one of the fastest-growing whiskeys in America. It is distilled and aged in the Bulleit tradition-using a distinctive high rye recipe for a bolder, spicier but smooth taste. 

On the other hand, the history of Four Roses started way back in 1884 when Paul Jones Jr moved his business to Lousiville, Kentucky.

In 1888, he trademarked Four Roses, and in 1922, Paul Jones Company bought the Frankfort Distilling Company. It was then owned by Seagram before ending up with Kirin Holdings America Inc. 

Read: Popular Bulleit Bourbons 

Production & Aging Process

Four Roses Production Process

Bulleit bourbon sources its whiskeys from Four Roses Distillery before. It means they possibly shared some similarities in the production and aging processes before ending the contract in late 2013.

Moreso, Bulleit is matured in new charred oak barrels for six years.

On the contrary, Four Roses uses five different yeast cultures to ferment the two mash bill recipes. It is then distilled and aged in new American oak casks in a single-story warehouse for a minimum of five years. 

Mash Bill

Bulleit bourbon uses a mash bill with 68% corn, 28% rye, and 4% malted barley. It is one of the bourbons with high rye on its mash bill, resulting in a bolder and spicier flavor profile. 

Four Roses use a combination of two mash bill recipes (1) mash bill E- 75% corn, 20% rye, and 5% malted barley, and (2) mash bill B – 60% corn, 35% rye, and 5% malted barley. 

Age Statement & Alcohol Proof

Bulleit Bourbon 10 Year

Both spirits are NAS, so they do not bear an age statement on their bottles. On a side note, Bulleit bourbon contains higher alcohol proof than Four Roses.

Bulleit contains 90 proof (45% ABV), while Four Roses have 80 proof (40% ABV). The 5% ABV difference makes Bulleit gain the upper hand in the game. 

Read: Bulleit Bourbon & Bulleit Rye Compared

Ownership & Distillery

As mentioned earlier, Bulleit was previously a sourced whiskey before its distillery was established in 2016 under Diageo [1].

In fact, Bulleit was sourced from Four Roses, but now it is produced in Bulleit Frontier Distillery. 

On the other hand, Four Roses bourbon is produced in Four Roses Distillery in Lawrenceberg, Kentucky. Frankfort Distilling Co. owned it (1922) and then bought it by Seagram (1943).

Since 2002, Kirin Holdings America Inc (Kirin Brewery Company of Japan) has owned Four Roses [2]. 

Read: Our Top Four Roses Bourbon Bottles

Tasting Notes

Four Roses with glass

Bulleit Bourbon 

  • Palate: Smooth tones of oak, maple, and nutmeg with gentle spiciness
  • Nose: Gentle, sweet oak and spicy aroma
  • Color: Medium amber
  • Finish: Long, dry with the light toffee flavor

Four Roses Yellow Label 

  • Palate: Smooth, crisp, fresh fruit with hints of apple and pear
  • Nose: Spicy, floral essence, fruity with subtle honey aroma
  • Color: Pale yellow or golden amber
  • Finish: Long, pleasant and mellow

Price Point & Value 

Four Roses bourbon is way cheaper than Bulleit bourbon. Based on Drizly and Caskers online, a 750 ml bottle of Four Roses is around $25, while Bulleit bourbon is approximately $38 per 750 ml.

Both brands are of good value and price point, so it is not surprising that whiskey lovers find both good as entry-level whiskies. 

Read: Four Roses Small Batch vs Single Barrel Bourbon

Bulleit Bourbon & Four Roses Common Prices

Bulleit Bourbon & Four Roses Common Prices


SizeAlcohol ProofAverage Price
Four Roses Yellow Label 750 ml80


Bulleit Bourbon

750 ml90$38.99
 1.75 L


*Average prices are based on Caskers online. Prices may vary in local liquor shops.

FAQs Related to Bulleit Bourbon vs Four Roses

What are the main differences between Bulleit Bourbon and Four Roses?

Bulleit Bourbon and Four Roses are renowned bourbon brands, each with its distinct characteristics. Bulleit Bourbon stands out for its mash bill, typically comprising a higher rye content, around 28%, contributing to its robust and spicy flavor profile. In contrast, Four Roses employs a dual mash bill system, offering bourbons with varying rye content, including options with higher rye content, like the “B” mash bill with around 35%, as well as those with higher corn content.

Additionally, Four Roses utilizes five proprietary yeast strains, enhancing the complexity and diversity of its flavor profiles. As for flavor, Bulleit Bourbon delivers bold notes of rye spice, oak, caramel, and vanilla, culminating in a slightly bitter, peppery finish.

On the other hand, Four Roses boasts a multifaceted flavor spectrum, ranging from fruity and floral to spicy and caramel, providing a broader range of taste experiences across its expressions. Ultimately, while both brands offer exceptional bourbons, their differences in mash bills, yeast strains, and flavor profiles cater to a diverse array of preferences among bourbon enthusiasts.

Which bourbon has a higher rye content, Bulleit or Four Roses?

Bulleit Bourbon is known for its mash bill with a higher rye content, typically around 28%, contributing to its bold and spicy flavor profile. This higher rye content imparts a robust and peppery character to the bourbon, complementing its other flavor notes. On the other hand, Four Roses offers bourbons with varying rye content through its dual mash bill system.

For example, the “B” mash bill features around 35% rye, resulting in a more pronounced spiciness compared to other expressions with lower rye content. The impact of rye content on flavor can vary, with higher rye content generally contributing to a spicier and more complex flavor profile.

Are there any notable differences in flavor between Bulleit and Four Roses?

Bulleit Bourbon delivers bold notes of rye spice, oak, caramel, and vanilla, culminating in a slightly bitter, peppery finish. These flavors arise from its higher rye content in the mash bill, along with other factors such as aging and distillation techniques.

In contrast, Four Roses boasts a multifaceted flavor spectrum, ranging from fruity and floral to spicy and caramel, providing a broader range of taste experiences across its expressions.

These differences in flavor arise from Four Roses’ use of multiple yeast strains and mash bills, allowing for greater complexity and diversity in its bourbons. Overall, while both brands offer exceptional bourbons, their distinct flavor profiles cater to a variety of tastes and preferences among bourbon enthusiasts.

How do Bulleit Bourbon and Four Roses compare in terms of price?

Bulleit Bourbon and Four Roses typically fall within a similar price range, although specific pricing may vary depending on factors such as location and retailer.

Both brands offer a range of expressions, from their standard offerings to limited editions or special releases, which can affect pricing.

Generally, Bulleit Bourbon and Four Roses are considered to offer good value for their quality and flavor profiles, making them popular choices among bourbon enthusiasts across different budget ranges.

Can you describe the aging process for Bulleit Bourbon and Four Roses?

Both Bulleit Bourbon and Four Roses adhere to traditional bourbon aging processes, which involve aging the whiskey in new charred oak barrels.

However, the specific details of their aging processes may differ. For Bulleit Bourbon, the whiskey is aged for a minimum of six years in charred American white oak barrels to achieve its desired flavor profile, which includes rich oak notes alongside the spicy rye characteristics.

Four Roses also ages its bourbon in new charred oak barrels, but the aging duration and conditions may vary depending on the expression. Four Roses’ aging process contributes to the development of its complex flavor profiles, which can range from fruity and floral to spicy and caramel, depending on the specific expression.

Are there any notable accolades or awards for Bulleit Bourbon and Four Roses?

Both Bulleit Bourbon and Four Roses have received numerous accolades and awards for their exceptional quality and craftsmanship. Bulleit Bourbon has been recognized in various international spirits competitions, earning accolades for its distinct flavor profile and smooth finish.

Similarly, Four Roses has garnered acclaim from critics and enthusiasts alike, winning awards for its diverse range of expressions, each celebrated for its complexity and balance.

These accolades serve as a testament to the dedication and expertise of both distilleries in producing high-quality bourbon that resonates with consumers and critics worldwide.

In Summary

Four Roses and Bulleit bourbon are of good quality and price point; however, Bulleit bourbon gains the upper hand because of its tasting notes, flavor profile, and alcohol proof. 

Whiskey aficionados and experienced drinkers will enjoy Bulleit because of its deep flavor profile and rich, spicy notes.

However, if you are new to drinking whiskey, there’s no harm in trying Four Roser because it is more affordable and easier to drink. 


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