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Four Roses Single Barrel Bourbon Review

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At Caputi’s Wine & Liquors we like to consider ourselves a pretty humble bunch.  We don’t do a lot of patting ourselves on the back or tooting of our own horns.  In this case, however, pat-pat toot-toot.

This self-lauding is in regards to our newly arrived Four Roses Single Barrel Private Selection. It’s our third selection from the Four Roses distillery, and the latest in a long line of successful barrel selections.

This particular barrel selection was the main purpose of a trip to Kentucky taken by Vinny and I this past July (detailed Here).  Needless to say, we were determined to pick a special barrel of bourbon that needed to live up to our other previously well-received selections.

After tasting this one, I can confidently say we achieved our goal. We thought it was good when we chose it – that’s why we picked it. Now that we’ve tasted the final result, we think its great. This whiskey has exceeded even our own lofty expectations.  Our hope is that our customers agree. We think you will.

Most of you are probably familiar with the Four Roses Distillery. They make, in our opinion, some of the best bourbon in the business. Not only that, they are unique in the whiskey world for having 10 recipe variations (check out this Four Roses infographic to read more). As stated on their neck tag:

“We combine five proprietary yeast strains with two separate mash-bills, creating 10 distinct, handcrafted Bourbon recipes.  Occasionally, a few exceptionally-aged barrels will present themselves, and I personally set them aside to allow a few of our retailers to come in for a private tasting and Selection” – Brent Elliot, Master Distiller

Our Barrel is recipe OESK, which indicates it is the lower rye mashbill, which is 75% corn, 20% rye, and 5% malted barley. The ‘K’ yeast strain is described as “spicy, and full-bodied”. It is our first time selecting the low rye recipe, and the OESK barrels were said to be few and far between these days.

Due to the fact that this particular recipe is one of three that is used in the blend that constitutes their ‘Small Batch’ bourbon, the demand for it has caused OESK barrels to become less available for private selections. We were pretty stoked to have the chance to snag one when the opportunity arose.

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About the Bourbon:

  • Barrel: 51-3U

  • Warehouse: QS

  • Recipe: OESK

  • Aged 9 Years

  • Mashbill: 75% Corn, 20% Rye, 5% malted barley

  • Non-chill filtered 

  • Barrel strength: 58.2% (116.4 Prooff)

 

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For the real whiskey nerds out there, we can delve a little deeper and decode the label. “QS” refers Warehouse ‘Q’, on the South side. “51-3U” indicates it was the on the 51st rack, on the 3rd tier, “U” meaning the 21st barrel.

Without further ado, here’s the review:

In the glass the whiskey is a dark amber, with kind of a tawny tinge to it. It is quite viscous, and the legs coat the inside of the glass. On the nose you can immediately tell that it is a barrel proof whiskey.  The alcohol smells strong, but sweet.  Aroma’s of honey and spice are rounded out with a floral essence.

As with previous reviews, I tried the whiskey neat first, then added a few drops of water to allow it to open up. Initially on the palate is an explosion of rich, intense baking spices. Subtle flavors of molasses, cinnamon, and nutmeg. One the water was added the sweeter oak notes became more prominent. Strong butterscotch and toffee hints rounded off with a burnt sugar / creme brulee note give a ton of complexity, and help mask to higher alcohol content.

Upon tasting, you would not guess the proof of this bourbon as 116. It doesn’t come across as overly hot, and didn’t require much water to reach the sweet spot for sipping. This whiskey has a very soft mouthfeel, and it has great balance across the palate. It works from back to front with the sweetness into the spicier notes. The finish is lengthy, but mellow for such a high proof bourbon. Plain and simple, this stuff is awesome.

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I really don’t think we are wearing rose colored glasses on this one. We’ve done plenty of single barrel selections in the past. We taste a lot of whiskies. This may be the best selection we’ve made to date.  The new trend in bourbon is seeking out rare and allocated bourbons.  Most of the time the success rate is low.  To us, this stands up to most of them, and in some cases exceeds those that are all hype and no substance.

This one has the “it” factor. Sometimes you can’t exactly put your finger on what makes a bourbon great, but this checks all the boxes. Great balance and complexity. But don’t take our word for it. You gotta try this one. Don’t miss out. Cheers!




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