Sour Mash Manifesto

Bourbon and American Whiskey

Four Roses Limited Edition Single Barrel 2011

This years 2011 Limited Edition Single Barrel from Four Roses is another great reminder of why Four Roses is one the more exciting distilleries in the country. No other distillery works with more recipes (10 to date). This years release is their high-rye (60% corn/35% rye) “B” bourbon mashbill with their floral “Q” yeast. And while not overbearing, the floral fragrance is very apparent. Master Distiller, Jim Rutledge, noted that he smelled a big bouquet of red roses when he first nosed this bourbon right from the barrel.

Four Roses Limited Edition Single Barrel 2011 Bourbon, 55.4% abv (110.8 Proof), $70/bottle

Color: Deep Copper

Nose: Maple syrup, baked orchard fruit, mashed berries, and brown sugar play sweet foil to big vanilla, toasted barrel, and floral fragrance. The spice lies below the surface.

Palate: Viscous stuff with an array of sweet maple syrup, jellied orange and berries, ground hot spices (white pepper, mint, and cinnamon), leather, and ever present bitter floral flavors. The sweetness hits first but doesn’t last long before the spice takes over.

Finish: Dries rapidly with a wicked mix of red sour fruits, stale pancake syrup, spicy oak essence, and bitters.

Overall: This one is fun and totally unique indeed. The OBSQ recipe with it’s mix of spicy high rye mashbill and the floral “Q” yeast strain yields a finished bourbon that isn’t overly sweet, adds a pop of floral fragrance and flavor, and also has enough of that signature Four Roses fruit and spice. This isn’t as good as other limited edition single barrels and limited edition small batches from Four Roses, but it’s still excellent stuff. It also underscores what different combination of mashbill and yeast strain can do to the final product.

Sour Mash Manifesto Rating: 8.7 (Very Good/Excellent)


  1. You are on fire Jason! Review after review! I have enough whiskey now and will probably pass on this one given the high price.

  2. As always, thanks for your taking the time to share your reviews. I can’t afford them all and like Ryan will skip this for Parker’s Heritage instead.

  3. I have to say that after tasting this one (thank to you of course), I really disliked it. I found it heavily bitter and medicinal beyond what I enjoy. I’ll get a review up eventually, but in any case, it’s always interesting to see your reviews (even the ones I disagree with).

  4. Sku, it has some bitters and floral essence running throughout the sip and finish, that I can understand might be a bit of a shock to some. I appreciated it’s uniqueness for one. Give it a little air time also, it subsides, the maples and sugars ramp up and it’s in much better harmony. That alcohol vapor works against it at first crack. I’m sure one of these days I think we’ll find something we can both agree on. ; ) Actually, I think I did find one and I’ll be stepping across the pond (for the first time) for a review shortly.

    Ford and Ryan, yep – you can’t go grabbing them all can you. You have to pick and choose your poising. I’ll have a review of the Limited Edition Small Batch shortly soon. I typically like this one best from the limited ranges.

  5. Ah, it’s more fun to disagree.
    Across the pond? Will that be Single Malt Manifesto?

  6. Sku, yep it is more fun sometimes to share differences. That’s the beauty of such a subjective topic. And yes I’ll move to the dark side for a moment but then quickly back again. Glaser’s blended scotch mission warranted a little looksy.

  7. I haven’t spent enough time with my bottle to feel comfortable making a final judgement, but so far I’ve been a bit underwhelmed by this as well. I actually prefer Binny’s younger single barrel of OBSQ; it’s more balanced, less molasses-y than this Limited Edition version. The wonderfully exotic medicinal astringency I found in Binny’s (8-year?) bottling seems to be muffled by the overly heavy body of the 2011 LE. It has already improved with some air, though, so I’m looking forward to how it changes in the bottle over the next several months.

  8. Hey Jason, just an FYI, the link to Ralfy’s website on your blogroll is broken. I just discovered his site and he is hilarious! And his reviews are entertaining although lengthy. Good stuff!

  9. Thanks Ryan. I’ll fix that. I love Ralfy.

  10. Jason:
    I think this is a very good bourbon! My opinion is more in line with your review and I would agree that it needs a little water and more importantly , some time in the glass. Its not as good as the small batch limited release (either 2010 or 2011) but it is a very fine product

  11. Looking forward to reading your contributions on this new online magazine! Awesome Jason.

  12. HP12 – thanks for the note. Appreciate it. I’m thrilled to contribute.

  13. Archaeology Carl

    November 4, 2011 at 8:03 PM

    Interesting! Never been a fan of most Four Roses products and have been shying away from them. Went out on a limb for this one and found I liked it. A lot. Love the nose and finish on this. Different from the others, which is probably why I like it.

  14. Carl…i am big 4 roses fan so i would like to use you for a spectrum comparison….what a similar price point to the single barrel product that you like? I would like to a side a side by comp.

  15. A little late to the party, but A friend found this on a shelf in NKY recently and we cracked it tonight. Definitely getting the dark fruit influence on the nose, the palate is like a bottle rocket, and there is certainly some acrid quality to the finish. My conclusion, this would be an excellent bourbon to vat into a Limited Edition Small Batch, stand alone it leaves you wanting a bit. Totally unique, but you only get so many points for being different.

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