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Four Roses Single Barrel vs Small Batch Bourbon (2022)

Last Updated on October 17, 2022 by Lydia Martin

Four Roses is one of the few distilleries that has established a great reputation for being one of the best bourbon brands worldwide.

Even during the Prohibition Era, they managed to continue selling medicinal whiskey, which made them earn a loyal fan base. 

In this post, we’ll compare two of their best expressions- Four Roses Single Barrel vs Small Batch to see which is better. Read on. 

Four Roses Single Barrel & Small Batch Compared 

bottles of Four Roses Single Barrel and Small Batch

Four Roses Single Barrel is rye forward, while Four Roses Small Batch features bright grains. Single Barrel uses the mash bill B and one yeast strain, while the Small Batch is a combination of mash bill B, E, and two yeast strains. 

In addition, Four Roses Single Barrel is aged longer than Small Batch. Due to the high rye mash bill content and longer aging of Four Roses Single Barrel, it tends to be bolder and spicier than Four Roses Small Batch.

Four Roses Single Barrel is more expensive than Small Batch because they have different production processes. In addition, Four Roses Single Barrel features higher alcohol content than Four Roses Small Batch.

Head To Head Battle 

History & Origin

When the manufacturing of Four Roses bourbons returned to the US, the brand began introducing new products into the European and American markets. However, Four Roses Single Barrel was released earlier than Four Roses Small Batch.   

It was 2004 when the brand launched the Four Roses Single Barrel. However, in 2006, still, under the leadership of Master Distiller Jim Rutledge, they released the Four Roses Small Batch. 

Both bourbon expressions have established a great reputation and have received numerous awards from prestigious award-giving bodies. 

Production Process

four roses distillery machine

Four Roses Single Barrel and Small Batch do not share a similar mash bill recipe and production process.

Single Barrel is a high rye bourbon that uses the Recipe Makeup 1 (OBSV- 60% corn, 35% rye, and 5% malted barley). The bourbon came from one barrel only and did not undergo blending. 

On the other hand, Four Roses Small Batch uses Recipe Makeup 2,3,7, and 8 and Yeast K and O.

It is a mixture of bourbons that contains mash bills as follows: (1) 60% corn, 35% rye, and 5% malted barley, and (2) 75% corn, 20% rye, and 5% malted barley.

Aging Process & Age Statement

Four Roses Single Barrel is aged longer than Four Roses Small Batch. Based on their official website, Four Roses Single Barrel is aged for a minimum of seven to nine years in a new charred oak barrel. 

On the other hand, Four Roses Small Batch is younger and undergoes maturation in new charred oak barrels for a minimum of six to seven years. 

Alcohol Content

Four Roses Single Barrel contains higher alcohol content than the Small Batch. The Four Roses Single Barrel boasts 100 proof (50% ABV), rye forward, and features delicate fruit notes. 

On the other hand, the Four Roses Small Batch features 90 proof only (45% ABV). It is a combination of four recipes and uses two proprietary yeasts. 

Tasting Notes 

Four Roses Single Barrel Bourbon

bottle of Four Roses Single Barrel Bourbon

Palate: Full body, robust, mellow with hints of Cherries and ripe plum,  

Color/Hue: Golden amber

Nose: Fruity, dried spice, cocoa, vanilla, maple syrup, and pear

Finish: Delicately long and smooth with baking spice and caramel

Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon

bottle of Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon with glass on a wooden table

Palate: Well-balanced, mellow, rich ripened red berries, and dried spice

Color/Hue: Light amber

Nose: Rich fruit, mellow spice, hints of caramel and sweet oak

Finish: Smooth, soft, pleasant, and long with burnt caramel

Ownership & Distillery

Four Roses Single Barrel and Four Roses Small Batch share similar ownership and distillery. Four Roses Distillery produces both bourbons in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, and their Bottling Facility is located in Cox’s Creek, Kentucky. 

In 2002, the Japanese integrated beverage company Kirin Brewery Company, Ltd. [1] purchased the brand, production facilities, and trademark.

Price & Value

Both bourbons are good value for many; however, many will agree that Four Roses Single Barrel has a higher value than the Small Batch.

Aside from the fact that Single Barrel is more expensive than Small Batch, a Single Barrel comes from only one barrel, meaning no two barrels taste the same. 

In Drizly online, Four Roses Single Barrel is priced around $49.99 per 750ml, while Four Roses Small Batch costs roughly $39.59 per 750ml. It has almost a $10 difference in price, but both bourbons are bang for your buck. 

The brand has a rich history that began pre-Prohibition [2], and until today, they continuously provide premium quality bourbon.

FAQs 

Is Four Roses Single Barrel easier to sip than Small Batch?

No, Four Roses Single Barrel is not easier to sip than Small Batch. Four Roses Small Batch has the right spice, making it easier to sip. It has a nice balance of sweet and spicy notes from the combination of two mash bills. 

Is Four Roses Small Batch more expensive than a Single Barrel?

No, Four Roses Small Batch is less expensive than a Single Barrel. In Drizly online, Four Roses Small Batch is cheaper by $10 than Four Roses Single Barrel. Small Batch is around $39.59, while Single Barrel is roughly $49.99 per 750ml bottle

How do you drink Four Roses Small Batch and Single Barrel bourbon?

To drink Four Roses Small Batch and Single Barrel bourbon, consume it neat or with a splash of water.

The water opens up the complex flavor and aroma of the bourbon whiskey. Also, you can consume it as a cocktail by using bourbon as the base liquor.  

Which is better for beginners, Four Roses Small Batch or Single Barrel?

Four Roses Small Batch is better for beginners than Single Barrel. Since Small Batch has a lower proof, smooth, and nicely balanced flavor profile, it is great for those starting. It has nice flavors that do not overpower and goes down smoothly. 

Final Verdict

Four Roses Single Barrel is better than Four Roses Small Batch in flavor profile and value. It may be challenging because it is spicier, bolder, rich, and warmer, but Single Barrel is a nice upgrade over Small Batch. 

However, if you are new to drinking bourbon, Small Batch can be a good choice. It is a good-entry bourbon because it does not have complex and complicated notes and is cheaper. 

References: 

  1. https://www.forbes.com/companies/kirin-holdings/
  2. https://www.britannica.com/event/Prohibition-United-States-history-1920-1933

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