Four Roses taking another giant step

When you have an enthusiastic audience, you might as well bring out your best. So, in conjunction with the annual Kentucky Bourbon Festival, the Four Roses Distillery will unveil its newest product to commemorate master distiller Jim Rutledge's 40 years in the industry.

Four Roses Barrel Strength Limited Edition Single Barrel Bourbon Whiskey will be introduced Friday, Sept. 14, and will be available in retail outlets in Kentucky and metro New York. At the same time, the company will unveil new packaging and a redesign for its flagship Yellow Label.

The distillery is producing approximately 1,700 hand-numbered bottles containing 13-year-old, uncut bourbon. So straight-from-the-barrel that sediment might remain in it.

"It's a bourbon-lover's bourbon," Rutledge said. "Four Roses fans and bourbon connoisseurs alike will enjoy its uncommon character, smooth textures and mellow taste."

All this activity marks another step in Four Roses' domestic comeback. The Lawrenceburg, KY, line was a top-selling bourbon here from the 1930s through the late '50s, when owner Seagram switched it to overseas markets only. It quickly became the top-selling bourbon in Japan and a major seller in Europe.

Kirin Brewery bought Four Roses in October 2001 and, at Rutledge's urging, reintroduced it to America — starting in Kentucky. Four Roses Small Batch was introduced in 2006 and quickly sold out of its first bottling run, forcing a second run. Last April, Four Roses became available in metro New York. The company plans to launch it in New Jersey, Illinois and Tennessee later this year.

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