There is a refined balance to Four Roses Yellow that surprises and delights every time I pour a glass. It’s hard to believe that this is their cheap entry level bourbon, but it speaks volumes about why the brand is getting all of the well deserved attention it’s picked up lately from critics and consumer’s alike. I’ve said it once before and I’ll continue to say it for the foreseeable future. Four Roses makes damn good bourbon.
As a brand Four Roses has been with us since 1888 and it’s seen some hard times over the last 126 years. In the 30’s, 40’s and most of the 50’s it was the top selling bourbon brand in America. Then, inexplicably, in the late 50’s the jerks at Seagrams (who owned it at the time) decided to stop selling it as a straight bourbon in America and started selling it as that disgusting rot-gut swill they call American Blended Whiskey. Meanwhile they shipped all of the straight bourbon to Europe and Asia.
Luckily for us the Japanese brand Kirin ended up owning Four Roses in the early 2000’s and put an end to that ABW silliness and brought Four Roses back to where it should have been all along. Since that time Four Roses has gone on to gather up a slew of awards and commendations and their master distiller Jim Rutledge, and his team, have been cranking out one delectable hit after another.
Being the basic offering from the distillery, it serves as a great introduction to the amazing products that Four Roses puts out and can contain all 10 of Four Roses bourbon recipes. It has all of the spicy rye and sweet bourbon notes that we’ve come to expect from Four Roses and is a much higher quality bourbon than almost all of the “bottom shelf” bourbons you’re going to run across. Overall it’s a moderately well balanced and flavorful bourbon that’s light without being weak and whose only shortcoming is a very short finish. Neat, on the rocks or in a cocktail it’s simply marvelous and definitely deserves a place in any home collection.
If you’ve tried the Four Roses Yellow please leave your own comments or tasting notes in the comments below.
Four Roses Yellow Review
Distiller: Four Roses
Medium caramel with medium legs.
The whole aroma is wrapped in a warm and inviting bourbon spice. Inside that wrapper is caramel with some honey and graham cracker. Under these lie some hints of corn, vanilla and a touch of tropical fruit and a very light rye. Much lighter rye notes in the nose than any of the small batch or single barrel bottles I’ve had.
Here’s where the Yellow label really comes into it’s own. Upfront we have a lot of warm caramel, vanilla and delightful bourbon spice. Corn, honey, rye and malt sit side by side with some light fruit flavors which are less tropical and more orchard on the palate. A bit of clove and a slight yeastiness rounds out the earthy undertones.
This is how I like my daily drinkers to feel. Smooth and warm with minimal burn.
The extremely short finish is at least pleasant with caramel and sweet toffee fading to soft oak and corn.