There are several stories as to how the Four Roses brand was named; perhaps the official version is most worthy, if only for its charm. It is said that Paul L Jones Jr was madly in love with a beautiful unnamed Southern girl. He feared rejection and rather than ask her in person, he sent her a letter proposing marriage. She replied saying that if she wore a red rose to the upcoming local ball, it would signal a favourable response. To his delight, she was not wearing one red rose, but a corsage four. Thus, the brand name was born. The story is fundamentally flawed, however, for Paul Jones never married.
The official version continues - in 1884, Paul moved his distilling operations to Louisville, Kentucky. He registered the Four Roses name in 1988. The Frankfort Distilling Company acquired the Paul Jones Company in 1922, one of a handful of companies legally permitted to distil for medicinal purposes during Prohibition. Seagram acquired Frankfort in 1943 with a vested interest in the Four Roses brand and during the mid twentieth century Four Roses became a highly popular bourbon and a top-seller in America, despite this, Seagram ceased selling to the US market and focussed its attention on the rapidly expanding Asian and European markets. The Kirin Brewery Company acquired Four Roses in 2002 and today the range is made up of seven different products, just two of which have been launched solely for the American market.
Nose: The nose is quite subtle and smooth, there are notes of winter spice and buttered granary toast with thick honey. There are hints of cut flowers and dry hay.
Palate: The palate is much fuller with a lovely balance. There are notes of manuka honey, winter spice, toasty oak, a little creme anglaise and thick fruit.
Finish: The finish is of good length with a resurgence from the creme anglaise.