Four Roses Distillery in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky is a little different than other heritage bourbon distilleries. They are more pure bourbon than most of the other older distilleries. They occasionally offer limited releases but they don’t stray too far from the norm. Now, for the first time in 12 years they’ve extended the permanent bourbon lineup. Purists will be happy to hear there’s no new flavored bourbons, no honey, no vanilla, nothing like that but there is a new mingling of some of their existing recipes.
Four Roses Bourbon Introduces the ‘Forth Rose’
Watch the video above to hear Four Roses Master Distiller Brent Elliot introduce the ‘Forth Rose.’
To coincide with the rose ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of their four year, $55 million distillery expansion project they’ve introduced ‘The Fourth Rose’ – Four Roses Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Small Batch Select at 104 proof. The new Small Batch Select is a mingling of six of the Four Roses unique bourbons recipes featuring OBSV, OBSK, OBSF, OESV, OESK and OESF, each aged a minimum of six years and non-chill filtered.
For people that know Four Roses Bourbon, you know that Four Roses combines two mashbills with five proprietary yeast strains to produce 10 distinct Bourbon recipes, each with its own unique characteristics. You can learn how to read a Four Roses label based on the code with this handy Four Roses Bourbon Infographic. Think of it as your own secret Four Roses Bourbon decoder ring.
Prior to this release the permanent Four Roses lineup included three bourbons – 80 Proof, 90 Proof Small Batch and 100 Proof Single Barrel. The proof isn’t the only difference between the permanent lineup. The Four Roses 80 proof bourbon, often called the Yellow Label is a mingling of all 10 recipes, the 90 Proof Small Batch is a mingling of four recipes – OBSK, OESK, OBSO and OESO – while the 100 Proof Single Barrel is just that, a single barrel of OBSV. Annual limited releases have varied by proof and recipe.
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“Small Batch Select includes six of our recipes and offers truly unique flavor characteristics from our current lineup of Bourbons,” said Four Roses Master Distiller Brent Elliott. “It’s all new, but at the same time, it’s an extension of what we do, and what we do well. Beyond the unique flavor profile, we wanted to give something to the consumer that they’re really looking for–a non-chill filtered, higher strength Bourbon–and that’s what they will experience with Four Roses Small Batch Select,” said Elliott.
Tasting notes from the distillery say, “Four Roses Small Batch Select balances notes of candied fruit with warmth and spice for a nuanced, mouth-coating flavor enjoyable to both casual drinkers and connoisseurs.”
What Does Non-Chill Filtered Mean?
Four Roses new bourbon release is touted as non-chill filtered. Some people know what that means and some don’t. Here’s how Four Roses Master Distiller Brent Elliot explains the difference between filtered and non-chill filtered.
“Chill filtration is a pretty common process in the bourbon industry. The reason why we do it is, when you have natural product like bourbon there are a lot of compounds, a lot of flavors that contribute to the color and the final flavor of the product,” said Elliot.
“With bourbon you have a lot of these residual compounds from the grains, from the fermentation and from the oak, from the aging process, that are more soluble in alcohol then they are in water. In the barrel they are in solution that’s ok but when we take them out of the barrel and we dilute with water for example with the Four Roses Bourbon when we cut it to 80 proof or the Small Batch we cut it to 90 proof or the Single Barrel at 100 proof. When we add that water, we force some of these compounds out of solution. And especially if you take the product and you put ice cubes in it or it gets chilled these compounds will create a haze. And in extreme cases they’ll actually create solids that will be deposited on the bottom or suspended in the liquid.”
“The chill filtration process, that pulls these compounds out. So we actually force that process. We add the water, we chill it and we run it through filters and we pull some of these heavier, fattier compounds out that can cause the haze. Now with the Four Roses Small Batch Select this is bottled at 104 proof so with the extra alcohol these compounds won’t come out of solution, they’ll stay suspended and you won’t get the haze.”
Four Roses Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Small Batch Select is now available in limited quantities at the Four Roses Distillery and Warehouse & Bottling Facility Visitor Centers. It will roll out to additional select retailers in Kentucky, New York, California, Texas and Georgia in the weeks following, and will be available in additional locations in the future.
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