Four Roses Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey “Yellow Label”
80 Proof, Four Roses Distillery
I swear I’m turning into an old man. Looking back on a review of the standard, lower shelf Four Roses bottling from many years ago, I was surprised to see the low score I gave it.
Part of the reason for that was, up until about 2012 or so, most of us were spoiled when it came to bourbon. Almost everything good or great was on retail shelves at certain times of the year, and newer, interesting labels like Jefferson’s were becoming widely available. It was an embarrassment of riches for knowledgable bourbon drinkers, and, frankly, the Four Roses Yellow Label just wasn’t that interesting.
But the more pertinent reason was, back in those heady days, I was personally seeking bourbon “bombs”–higher proof, full throttle whiskies that refused to be ignored. Again, this predilection considered, the Four Roses was too light and too subtle.
Apparently somewhat older and mellowed now, tired of the bourbon world’s shenanigans and self-reverence, I can appreciate an easy smooth-sipper like this. Not everything needs to swing for the fence.
True, it is light and simple with the fruit/floral notes I associate with Four Roses’s standard bottlings, but there’s also refinement here. The bourbon is sophisticated for what it is–it understands its role, showing no hard edges, never falling apart.
So while I’m still not going to gush about it, I appreciate, in a way I couldn’t before, how reliable, available and easy this one is. You could do a lot worse at the price point.