Brent Elliott offers a taste of his latest release, Elliott's Select. | Photo by Sara Havens
Brent Elliott offers a taste of his latest release, Elliott’s Select. | Photo by Sara Havens

Brent Elliott took over the master distiller position at Four Roses Bourbon in September last year, and so far, he’s been doing a great job filling the large shoes left by Jim Rutledge. Previously, he worked under Rutledge as the director of quality for nearly a decade — an experience he says prepared him for his role today.

Last month, Elliott and Four Roses invited a group of journalists out to their bottling facility near Bardstown to sample the master distiller’s first limited-edition release, the barrel-strength Elliott’s Select. The 14-year-old bourbon is exquisite — a perfect balance of spice, vanilla and fruit that finishes smooth for being a 116-proof product.

Elliott told the group that his bourbon is an introduction, certainly not a commemoration, since he’s only been master distiller for less than a year. As he searched through the hundreds of barrels to select his favorites, he was looking for a flavor profile that was smooth, mellow and easy drinking.

Elliott's mug appears on the side of the new release. | Courtesy of Four Roses
Elliott’s mug appears on the side of the new release. | Courtesy of Four Roses

After sampling Elliott’s Select, I can attest that his taste is right on target. The sweetness of the bourbon makes you feel like you’re chewing on a piece of caramel, while the spice notes dance on the tip of your tongue. For a high-proof bourbon, it’s amazing that it’s so mellow with each swallow.

Four Roses is releasing about 8,000 hand-numbered bottles to retailers and bars in the U.S. only. They’re going to be hard to find, but it’s well worth the hunt.

Before Elliott enjoys some time off during Fourth of July weekend, he answered seven very important questions …

What’s the most surprising thing on your Bucket List?

I don’t really have a list, and it’s tough to ponder mortality on a Monday morning … but I’ll give it a shot … Hike the Appalachian Trail. Partly because I love the outdoors, but mostly I’d like to see what happens with that much distraction/free time. Of course, I could die of boredom.

Vroom!
Vroom!

What poster was on your wall in junior high?

I remember having a poster of a Lamborghini on my wall at some early age. I was a big fan of “Cannonball Run.”

If you were mayor, to whom would you give the key to the city?

I don’t have a specific person in mind, but I would choose someone involved in charity work. Since I began my new role as master distiller, I have become more involved with charity events through Four Roses and have had the opportunity to see the amazing level of selfless dedication and caring of so many people. None of them expects a key, but each of them deserves one.

What are your preferred pizza toppings?

I either like everything on my pizza or very specific combinations. Pepperoni and jalapenos are a must.

If you could be any age for a week, what would it be?

Twelve. Can I have that week be in July?

What famous person do people say you resemble the most?

I don’t think I’ve ever been told I resemble anyone famous.

Willie Nelson enjoys some Four Roses.
Willie Nelson enjoys some Four Roses.

Who would you most like to be stuck with in an elevator?

There are a few true living legends I could choose from. I would probably go with Willie Nelson. I’ve heard he likes Four Roses. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but if so, he might even enjoy being stuck in an elevator with me and a bottle of bourbon for a few minutes. Plus, he seems like a genuine person.

Sara Havens
Sara Havens is the Culture Editor at Insider Louisville, known around town as the Bar Belle (barbelleblog.com). She's a former editor of LEO Weekly and has written for Playboy and The Alcohol Professor. Havens is the author of two books: "The Bar Belle" and "The Bar Belle Vol. 2."