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Four Roses Single Barrel vs Woodford Reserve: Which Wins?

Discover the differences between Four Roses Single Barrel vs Woodford Reserve in this in-depth comparison and decide which Bourbon is better for You!

Four Roses Single Barrel

NoseBaking spice, cherry, vanilla, honey
PalateCinnamon, rye spice, vanilla, honey
FinishMedium; caramel, baking spice, cinnamon
Alcohol content100 proof (50% ABV)
How to drinkAdd water
Similar to4 Roses Small Batch, Angel’s Envy

Nose is faint, with notes of baking spice, cherry and honeyed vanilla.

On the palate, the Four Roses Single Barrel has tingling rye spice up-front with a drizzle of cinnamon giving way to fruity notes, honey, vanilla and a tad of oak, with a creamy feel to it.

The finish has a medium-length, rich in sweet and cinnamon notes and pleasantly warm.

The Four Roses Single Barrel carries high rye presence in the mash and it feels as the first sips are spicy.

But as you grow accustomed it becomes sweeter, showing rich fruity notes, along vanilla and honey making it entirely pleasing.

It bites a bit but nothing terrible or alarming, which is understandable for something bottled at 100 proof, but the interesting and layered flavor profile makes up for it providing a fine sipper.

Price point provides great bang on the buck.

This bourbon is the best 4 Roses Bourbon and one of the best Single Barrel Whiskeys so you get an idea how good it is.

There are a few facts worth knowing about the Four Roses Single Barrel:

  • Made from a mash of 60% corn, 35% rye and 5% malted barley.
  • Single Barrel is bottled from casks aged between 8 and 9 years.
  • Uses a proprietary yeast culture used to ferment the mash producing rich fruity notes.
  • Won the Gold Medal at the 2012 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
  • The Four Roses distillery is located in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, was built in 1910 with Spanish Mission-style architecture, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • Four Roses is owned by the Kirin Brewery Company of Japan.

Woodford Reserve

NoseMint, honey, vanilla, citrus
PalateSweet oak, cinnamon, mint, ripe fruit
FinishOak, caramel, baking spice
Alcohol content90 proof (45% ABV)
How to drinkNeat
Similar toMaker’s Mark, Buffalo Trace, Knob Creek

Woodford Reserve is pleasant and subtle on the nose, with hints of wood, mint, vanilla and caramel.

Palate is sweet and spicy yet entirely smooth. Some oak up front, but in moderation, along cinnamon, mint, and a sweet fruity note.

The finish brings additional caramel sweetness, along oak, and satisfying warmth that lingers.

The Woodford Reserve Bourbon is nicely balanced, body is creamy and does not have any off-putting or troubling notes.

It makes a great sipper due to its smoothness and is yet spicy due to rich cinnamon notes.

This is a sweet and mellow bourbon with the right level of heat that drinkers of all levels will appreciate alike.

Excellent everyday bourbon, smooth and clean, good both neat and when served rocks or in a Mint Julep as if you were in Churchill Downs watching the Kentucky Derby.

I find it somewhat weak to make great cocktails making me prefer the Woodford Reserve Rye, whose rich rye content makes cocktails more rewarding.

Consider further options by reading my post with alternatives to Woodford Reserve.

  • Woodford’s mash bill is made from 72% corn, 18% rye and 10% barley.
  • Aged for 7 years in one of the few warehouses that uses heat cycling. This process involves cooling and heating the air to closely control the aging.
  • Earned gold and double gold medals at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2012, 2013 and 2014.

Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

Four Roses Single Barrel$50
Woodford Reserve$40

Four Roses Single Barrel vs Woodford Reserve: Which is better?

The Woodford Reserve is an easier drinker

WhiskeyFour Roses SBWoodford Reserve
  • The Woodford Reserve is an easier drinker as it is quite smooth, barely spicy with very little to no burn making the best choice for those who want a super easy yet tasty dram.
  • Personally, I prefer the Four Roses as it is more punchy, is richer in rye spice and feels a bit warm but not harsh making a more satisfying pour once you come to terms with it.
  • If you are exclusively looking for a bourbon to make an Old Fashioned the Four Roses is a great choice as the spice and higher proof will make your cocktail more fulfilling.

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