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Four Roses (“Yellow Label”):

Nose: This has a light, citrusy scent to me. I get some fruit scents, mostly cherry with a little orange thrown in. Palate: This is nice and mellow. The mouthfeel is pretty light and it starts out with a subdued sweetness with hints of honey. I picked up a little bit chocolate with the usual caramel and vanilla. There’s a bit of a lightly roasted marshmallow taste on the second sip. This is nice and easy and has no harshness or burn to it. It has a bit of “regular bourbon warmth”, but nothing too out of control. The finish is pretty short and pretty nondescript. It leaves a tiny bit of brown sugar and darker chocolate aftertaste on the end. I detect no rye spiciness at all……until the very last sip, when I got just a hint of something that seemed like it might be rye. But the sweetness really overpowered it. Comment: I haven’t had this in a while and I have to admit it surprised me a bit. This is a very nice, easy sipper and I had forgotten how much I like it. It isn’t too complex, but you shouldn’t expect it to be A.) because it is 80 proof and 2.) because is it not very expensive. I really enjoy the simple sweetness of this one. By no means complex, there aren’t a lot of competing flavors trying to get your attention. It is simple, up front, “I’m a good bourbon” flavor. This is a very affordable, in the low to mid $20’s range. At that price, you really can’t go wrong having a bottle on hand, especially if you like a sweeter, mellower, bourbon. This is a solid “recommend”. This is the “standard” Four Roses, often called the “Yellow Label” to distinguish it from other Four Roses products. Four Roses has two different mash bills they use, “B” - which is 60% corn, 35% rye and 5 % barley and “E” - which is 75% corn, 20% rye and 5% barley. The “Yellow Label” is combination of both mash bills (but I’d have to say that there is probably more of the lower rye “E”). Once upon a time, many years ago, Four Roses was derided as the bottom shelf, well, crap bourbon. No more. Over the decades since the 1940’s they have elevated their game to the point that they make some outstanding products. When I did the Bourbon Trail several years ago, the stop at the Four Roses distillery was one of my favorites. Their tasting provided insight into their wide variety of other products, many of which aren’t readily available. Four Roses uses a four-letter identification process to distinguish products using the two mash bills and 5 yeast strains. Here’s a really good chart showing all the variations. I just found this but I think I will print it out and keep it in my truck because I think it will be very useful when I run across Four Roses products “out in the field”. I’m going to use it to clue me in on what the flavors might be like for particular products.

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