This is a classic sipping bourbon. Once you get through the alcoholic heat (splash some water in the glass; at 100 proof it needs it), you’ll find a rich, oaky flavor, some maple syrup, some vanilla, and a nicely sweet finish. The vague herbal notes are interesting, and picking them out — sage? rosemary? it’s so elusive — are what will keep you refilling your glass from the curiously square decanter.
Not familiar with Four Roses? This brand dates back to the 1860s and was the best-selling bourbon in the U.S. from the 1930s to the 1950s. The brand has been available solely overseas ever since (it’s the best-selling bourbon in Japan today), and is now owned by Kirin. It began a slow reintroduction to the U.S. in 2002, hitting New York in April 2007 and moving into additional states next year. Keep an eye out for it and good luck in your hunt!
A- / $40 [BUY IT NOW FROM CASKERS]