Bourbon Week – Day 4: Four Roses “Single Barrel” (50%, OB, BS 38-3O, 70 cl)

And now we return to Bourbon. A Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky from Lawrenceburg Kentucky. First of all, when writing about Four Roses we have to look at their ten recipes. What? Ten recipes. Four Roses has ten different recipes for making Bourbon. They combine two different mash bills with five different yeast strains. The ten recipes are called OBSV, OBSK, OBSO, OBSQ, OBSF and OESV, OESK, OESO, OESQ, OESF.

The letters V, K, O, Q and F designate the yeast strain used. V is described as giving light fruitiness, light vanilla, caramel and creamy notes. K gives light spiciness, light caramel and a full body. O gives rich fruitiness, light vanilla, caramel and also a full body. Q gives essences of floral aroma’s and finally F gives essences of herbal aroma’s.

The letters B and E are used for the Mash Bill. B is 60% corn, 35% rye, and 5% malted barley. E is 75% corn, 20% rye and 5% malted barley. You might wonder what the O and S stand for. O stands for Four Roses Lawrenceburg, and S means Straight Whiskey. If you want some more information about how a specific recipe might taste, have a look over here.

I think this is genius, because this scheme allows for a lot of variation (you hope) in the finished product. There are some people in the USA, that bought some single casks from those ten different recipes, if not all. I know for a fact that Binny’s just did that, but there are more. So if you’re interested in the differences between those recipes, you can have a go with those specific single barrel bottlings.

Now, we have here a Single Barrel (100 Proof), do we know which recipe it is? Yes we do! It’s OBSV (60% Corn mash bill, Rich in Spiciness, Full Body). I’m very curious. I love the concept, and the looks of it. I once had the previous version of the Single Barrel (43% ABV), which I didn’t like too much. Too weak, very light and too floral and girlie for my taste. OK, let’s have a look at this new one and see if its more masculine 😉

Color: Dark Gold Copper

Nose: Dusty, slightly woody, fern, not overly complex, or is it? Give it some time, creamy, vanilla ice-cream and an exotic sweetness you can smell in a good Gewürztraminer. It also had a meaty component, like gravy. All in all, a very intriguing nose. I like this.

Taste: Spicy, licorice. Hints of wood only, almost no toast. This rose has quite a firm body. Since it’s a “B” and not a “E” I’m surprised at its sweetness. But is definitively tastes as a Bourbon with a high rye content. It’s like a ping-pong match between the corn and the rye. It’s not balanced in a way that you have a ‘married’ taste, that tastes always the same, but it’s balanced. It goes to and fro, your palate never gets a rest, and is always surprised with each sip. There goes a coconut by the way…

For me this is a work of high quality and more than one step up from the old Single Barrel. It seems to me this is like a sponsored bottle: for the quality you get it’s really dirt cheap, even without the discount I got, so I bought me a case of this. 50%ABV is excellent too. Again kudos, this time for the people at Four Roses. Excellent.

Points: 83


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