Veteran Bourbon Review: R.M. Rose Sour Mash Single Barrel

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History -“In 1865 after the American Civil War had ravaged the south, most notably the city of Atlanta, a Connecticut man by the name of Rufus M. Rose, who had enlisted as a doctor for the Confederate Army, saw incredible opportunity in Atlanta amidst the despair and ruin that can only be caused by a war of such great magnitude.

In an effort to provide the public with quality spirits that were guaranteed safe, Dr. R.M. Rose, who was an expert and recognized as the best judge of whiskey in the South, set about to open the R.M. Rose Company in 1867. The R.M. Rose Company set the standard for American whiskey as we know it today. Dr. Rose was the first to age corn whiskey unique to the region in charred oak barrels and pioneered how modern liquor manufacturers/distributors produce, advertise, and distribute their products.

The company closed during prohibition. Then in 2010, new owners revived the name of what was, in a simpler time, one of the biggest names in the whiskey business. They chose Dillard because of the water quality here and opened the R.M. Rose Co. distillery in 2016. They produce an array of fine whiskeys including primitive corn whiskey, R. M. Rose bourbon whiskey, Fire on the Mountain Cinnamon Whiskey, Apple Bourbon, Single Barrel Bourbon, Straight Bourbon, Blackberry Whiskey and Good Neighbor Peach & Lemon.” – Rabun County, Georgia Chamber of Commerce

The back of the bottle states,-“Dating back to a time before prohibition, R.M. Rose Company became one of the largest distilleries in the United States from 1867 until 1917. RMRC’s founder, Rufus Mathewson Rose, created an Atlanta, Georgia born special blend of high-quality whiskey.  That tradition of quality continues today in the R.M. Rose Bourbon. We select only the very best high-quality grains and we use the ideal all natural limestone water. Our historic and special sour mash recipe ferments in cypress wood vats the primitive way it was intended. We hand-craft our copper pot stills and build our cypress wood vats to create the highest quality bourbon possible. After distilling, our bourbon is aged in charred American white oak barrels.

I always love a bourbon with some history to it, especially when the owners try to preserve a legacy.

Value – I’ll start this out on a positive note, it’s worth the price. You really need to be interested in sour flavors to enjoy this bourbon, however I’m not a huge sour fan, but can appreciate it. You are getting a lot of complexity and uniqueness for the price of $50.

Appearance – I think the bottle choice is perfect for their history and old-time vibe they are marketing. It has a label with an old faded blue backdrop with gold and white design and lettering. It has “150 years in the making” with their dates on a banner.  The font is an old style adding to the company’s age statement. It also has a corked top. The bourbon is a pleasantly light amber color. Overall, nice choices.

Nose – This bourbon has a very calm aroma. I notice a slight sweetness of vanilla or caramel. The ethanol is barely there, which is nice not getting hit in the face with it. This nose has me feeling curious, as if I’m missing something in it. It keeps bringing me back to grab another smell. I realized it’s the sourness of it that calms down the aroma. It’s a nice nose, but does not jump out at you.

Palate – The initial taste gives you a very short sensation of sweet followed by some sour, then some oak. The sour once again masks some other flavors that probably should be there. It has a medium to low heat level and it’s a fairly smooth drinker. After you sip, blow the ethanol off right away and you’ll get a cleaner, crisper taste.

Finish – As I previously said, the burn is medium to low that lasts for about 5-10 seconds. The finish is a long and lingering old oak flavor.  I can barely grab a charred oak flavor. It’s gone almost as soon as you realize it’s there.  The finish really stays with you and actually maintains a very light burn in the throat for about 30 seconds after the initial burn. I like it because it’s more complex and interesting than your typical bourbon, but would still prefer a finish with less length.

Summary – This bourbon I dare to say, really shouldn’t have bourbon in the title. I know that’s a huge statement, but I really think it should be labeled as a sour mash whiskey. I don’t like that there is no age statement and I think I know why. I’m really not getting any profound charred oak flavor which really sets bourbons apart from whiskeys. It’s possible that I’m sensitive to sour flavors and smells, but that sour mash really overpowers everything else. With all that being said, I still like it. It’s interesting, it’s unique, and it’s labeled sour for a reason. If you like sour flavors, you’re gonna love it. I’ll definitely buy another bottle the next time I want something sour.

“If you like sour favors, this is the drink for you.  If you don’t, you should probably let your friend buy a bottle, and you just have a glass from it. Regardless of your tastes, this product has a great history, tastes unique and will keep you smacking your lips. For the price, it’s a great buy. This is a truly unique flavor experience.”

– John McGowan


Uniqueness – 1-10 – 8

Appearance- 1-10 – 7

Nose- 1-20 – 11

Palate- 1-20 – 9

Finish- 1-20 – 8

Value- 1-20 – 13

Reviewed By:

John McGowan on 9/10/2022

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