Whisky Advocate

Review: Four Roses Mariage Collection 2008 Release

September 26th, 2008

Four Roses Mariage Collection, 2008 Release, 55.7%, $70
Silky in texture and gently sweet. This new “Mariage Collection” release shows a softer, more elegant side of Four Roses when compared to other Four Roses bottling (including the most recent limited edition 120th Anniversary bottling, which was a much bolder affair). Notes of candied fruit, black raspberry, blueberry, creamy vanilla, corn bread and chamomile tea. Delicately spicy too, with a polished oak finish. Clean on the palate, and very drinkable. Four Roses utilizes a wide variety of mash bills and yeast strains and has the ability to produce a diverse array of whiskeys. This “Mariage” offering is a good example of this.

Advanced Malt Advocate magazine rating: 89

As you may have noticed, not only do I use this blog to get you reviews fast, but I also like to go behind the scenes and give you background information that you might not otherwise get. I asked Jim Rutledge, Four Roses Master Distiller, about this particular bottling of Four Roses, and here’s what he had to say. (You will need your Four Roses Distillery secret decoder ring to interpret it.)

We worked on the Mariage concept for over a year. The idea was to showcase the infinite product variability we have with our ten Bourbon recipes – all with unique flavor profiles. This year I can’t even begin to tell you how many blend formulas we tested. We knew the first year we wanted to use only two recipes/flavors to marry, but using different ages and percentages of the recipes the number is still exhausting.

I’m not sure what information was printed on the label, but we used two different mashbills and two yeasts. We used 70% OBSV – “B” is our highest rye content mashbill – @ 35%, and “V” is the yeast that generates a light and delicate fruity flavor. (This is the recipe we use for our regular Single Barrel Bourbon, but it has been aged considerably longer – 13 years.) The other recipe used at 30% was OESK – “E” is our mashbill that consists of 20% rye and “K” is the yeast that generates a bit of spicy character. (I see nutmeg more than any other spice.)

As we experimented with formulas our goal was to have an exceptionally mellow and smooth Bourbon with characters different than the individual components. 1 + 1 does not = 2.

We had a customer in for a private barrel selection yesterday and we let the three people that made the trip to our warehouse facility sample Mariage. We all tasted it and absolutely No One would/could ever guess that what we sipped was nearly 108 proof. I can’t imagine adding even a very small ice cube to Mariage. It is absolutely the smoothest Bourbon with the softest finish I have ever had the pleasure of sipping.

There you have it. Straight from the horse’s mouth.

2 Responses to “Review: Four Roses Mariage Collection 2008 Release”

  1. sam k says:

    I LOVE what Four Roses is doing, and am excited to try this product, which, I might add, is reasonably priced given current conditions. Four Roses Single Barrel is one of my most favorite bourbons (not available in PA…Booo) and this seems likely to fill or exceed those footsteps. Thanks to Jim and to all the level-headed and dedicated folks at Four Roses!

  2. John Hansell says:

    To think of all those years they didn’t even sell their bourbon in the U.S. And now look at all the cool things their doing. Very exciting!

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