The Four Roses Yellow Label review
Company: Four Roses
Age: No age statement (minimum of 4 years, rumoured to be between 5-6 years)
Classification: Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Breakdown: As with all the Four Roses bottlings we point the honourable reader to the Four Roses website for the mash bill explanation. Essentially it is a combination of 10 different recipes
Price: c. £30.00 (1 litre)
Yellow Label is the Four Roses entry level bourbon. Other regulars are Four Roses Small Batch and Four Roses Single Barrel. The whiskey itself has had an eventful serious of events in its long history. It was one of only a handle of bourbons which was available as medicine during prohibition (1919 – 1933) and it quickly became the best-selling bourbon in America after prohibition was repealed. So if you owned the best-selling bourbon brand in America for over nearly 3 decades (1930’s – 1950’s) what would you decide to do next? I expect to remove it from sale would not be your first choice, but that is exactly what Seagrams did to concentrate on their sales of blended whiskey in the US. So the marketing emphasis on the brand moved entirely to Europe and Asia.
After Seagram went out of business in 2001, the brand was juggled between owners before eventually being bought by Kirin who still own the brand today. Four Roses bourbon was introduced back into the US, firstly into Kentucky and then slowly back into other American states.
For this review we drank it neat in a crystal tumbler
What we got - Quite difficult to describe as not an awful lot springs to mind to be honest. The nose is a cross between alcohol and perfume (both of the cheap variety)
What they say we should get - Pear and light fruitiness, floral, gentle spice, honey
What we got - Very watery and weak, aromatic seasoning. It actually feels like sprayed perfume on the tongue (Mav)
What they say we should get - Crisp, yet soft & smooth, fresh fruit, hints of apple
What we got – Dead, doesn’t stick around long enough for an opinion
What they say we should get - Soft & smooth
As you can probably tell, both the Gents have really struggled with nailing this bourbon with any positive thoughts. Mav summarised this drink as being a ‘ghost’ bourbon, no body or substance. It is a remarkably unimpressive and weak drink with very few positive attributes. Yes it is inexpensive and it is the entry level offering from Four Roses but we have both found other much cheaper bourbons out there which have a far greater bite. It is an iconic American brand so certainly buy it for your collection, but maybe keep it for a long drink, or just buy the much better small batch version.
3 out of 10 - Mav
3 out of 10 – Mr. Pie