Being a huge lover of whisk(e)y, I love all kinds of whisky – Scotch, Single Malt, Blends, Grain, Islay, Irish, Japanese – I don’t discriminate at all. But if you put a gun to my head and made me choose a favourite type of whisky… it would have to go to Bourbon.
I know. I’m sorry, Scotland.
While I have to be in a particular mood for a Scotch whisky, I can drink a Bourbon at any time. Well, not any time. I haven’t reached the point where I’m having it on my Corn Flakes. Not yet anyway. Say what you like about Americans, they know how to make great Bourbon. So this is why I’m kicking my whisky reviews off with a bourbon.
What makes a Bourbon different from other whiskies? For one, it’s made primarily from Corn – as opposed to Barley that Scotch is (primarily) made from – and while it can be made anywhere in the USA, it is most associated with the deep south, especially Kentucky. It’s from this region where the Four Roses distillery originated from, althought it is currently owned by the Kirin Brewery Company, which is actually Japanese. However, no matter who owns Four Roses they’re still a producer of great Bourbons, and their Single Barrel 100 Proof is no different, and if you’re only used to drinking American Whiskies like Jack Daniels or Jim Beam and are looking for a premium bourbon at an affordable price to broaden your horizons, then Four Roses is an excellent place to start.
Upon pouring the bourbon, the first thing you’ll notice is a deep, dark, amber colour reminiscent of Maple Syrup, and that follows through in the nose which delivers both hints of maple and golden syrup, along with caramel, toffee, brown sugar, burnt oak, and a hint of mint and menthol at the end. It’s a very complex nose which gives you a sample of what’s to come.
Upon the first sip of the whisky, the flavour that hit me first was a mixture of raisins and mixed spice, almost like hot cross buns, but then followed by a hint of chocolate, cherries and fruit cake. It’s a wonderfully rich and sweet, but not overpoweringly so, and the finish gives you hits of cinnamon, honey, oak and butterscotch, which is long lasting and delivers a lot of warmth.
At 50% ABV, it is stronger than your average Bourbon, which usually comes in at around 40% but the strength doesn’t overpower the flavours, although it is recommended you drink this with a dash of water to mellow out the flavours. But this is a fantastic bourbon which, if you shop around, can be picked up for around £40 and at that price belongs on the shelf of not only bourbon lovers, but whisky lovers all over.
A really great single barrel bourbon that delivers on every front at a very affordable price.