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

Bourbon Week – Day 2: Buffalo Trace (45%, OB, Single Cask for Binny’s, 750 ml)

Day two of the Bourbon week on Master Quill. This time a bottle from Buffalo Trace simply called Buffalo Trace. Again a Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey but this time from Frankfort, Kentucky. Buffalo Trace make a lot of different Whiskey’s. Bourbons, Ryes and Wheaters. Also a lot of different brands come from Buffalo Trace, and some are not the worst on the market. Just think of the Staggs and Sazeracs of this world. Wow!

For this review I’ll use and oddity of Buffalo Trace, well it’s definitively and oddity for us Europeans. They already bottle a lot of different whiskies that also taste quite different, lot of different mash bills. Here we have a single barrel version of the regular Buffalo Trace. A single cask picked by Binny’s (from the Chicago Bay Area). So the bottle is the same as the regular one, except for an elliptical golden sticker. Issued in 2010.

Color: Orange Gold

Nose: Honey, and a lot of it! Even the waxy part is there, honeyed furniture wax. Hints of toasted oak. Fresh sea air and meaty. Like sitting on the porch of your sea-side cabin, and the smell of  freshly made meatballs float by. Chocolaty and vaguely spicy. Very balanced. Nothing in this overpowers the rest.

Taste: More wood, and again a lot of honey. It tastes just less sweet than honey. It’s not overly complex, but very likeable. It’s not too sweet nor to dry. Texture is thin, even water seems thick. Just don’t confuse this with a thin taste, because that would be unfair. The people from Binny really did choose a nice cask. One that shows us what kind of whisky is (mass) produced for this ‘standard’ bottling, and it shows us what a damn good whiskey they make at Buffalo Trace. Kudos!

Yeah this is not bad, not bad at all. This will be no problem to finish, no problem whatsoever. Before finishing this piece, I already poured it four times. Very good standard bottling! Ok,ok, Single Barrel of a standard bottling. A shame really that I don’t have the standard version at hand…

Points: 82