How Four Roses Actually Feels About Age Statements On Its Bourbon

When it comes to bourbon, age matters. Many bourbon enthusiasts believe that the longer a bourbon is aged, the better it will taste. However, Four Roses, a beloved distillery along the Bourbon Trail in Kentucky, takes a different approach, preferring not to label their bourbon bottles with the ages. In fact, they believe it is rude to even ask — and there's a good reason for it.

Four Roses Master Distiller Brent Elliot tells VinePair the distillery does not label their bourbon with an age statement because they feel that the "bourbon is ready when it is ready." This approach allows them to focus on the flavor profile of the bourbon rather than the age. Elliot explains that they want to make sure that every batch of bourbon meets their high standards of quality and taste, regardless of its age.

Despite the lack of an age statement on the bottle, it's important to note that all Four Roses bourbon is barrel-aged. According to Elliot, all Four Roses bourbon is at least five years old. Others meet a higher minimum age requirement such as six years for Small Batch and seven for Single Barrel. This means that while Four Roses may not advertise the age of their bourbons, you can rest assured that you're getting a quality product that has been aged to perfection.

The popular opinion of aged bourbon

So, why do people think that older bourbon is better? The answer lies in the aging process. When bourbon is aged in barrels, it takes on the flavors and aromas of the wood. Over time, the wood imparts more flavor into the bourbon, resulting in a more complex and nuanced flavor profile. Additionally, as the bourbon ages, it becomes smoother and more mellow, with less of a harsh alcohol burn.

However, it's important to note that bourbon does not continue to age once it is bottled. Once the bourbon is removed from the barrel and bottled, the aging process stops. This means that even if bourbon is aged for 20 years, it will not continue to age in the bottle. Instead, the flavor profile will remain constant until it is consumed.

Whether you prefer a younger, more vibrant bourbon or a smoother, more complex one, Four Roses has something for everyone with more than 13 different bourbons available. So, the next time you're enjoying a glass, know that the bourbon in the bottle has been aged to perfection.