“Specially Selected by Four Roses”
A surprise drop at Costco in DC for an incredible price. I’m not one to pass up on even a distillery pick from Four Roses and I wanted to try this side-by-side with the Virginia ABC selection.
This single barrel is 11 Years and 2 Months bottled at 116.4 proof. Similar to a previous OBSQ I recently reviewed, it came from Warehouse RS barrel number 24-2C.
Tasted neat in a Glencairn with 25 minutes of rest. Additional tasting with dilution and upwards of an hour of rest for comparison.
I enjoy the rye-forward nose on this one! There’s a familiar bourbon corn sweetness lurking in the background. Toffee and caramel. Fresh ground coffee. A nutty quality like honey-roasted peanuts. Subtle tobacco and barrel char aromas. The herbal notes of the rye play to the other side of the flavor scale, balancing out the relatively sweet nose. Water seems to boost these sweet fragrances. Brown sugar, molasses, and vanilla.
The mouthfeel is exceptional. Velvety and creamy. Tobacco and old oak flavors really take over the palate. The distinct barrel char character toes the line closely into an acrid taste but stops just short. Water softens the harsh notes and elevates some of the grassy and herbal rye flavors. Dried herbs of parsley, basil, and chamomile. Flavors are reminiscent of an excellent Irish breakfast tea. There’s a lactic quality here that I can’t quite place but it’s not cocoa like the previous single barrel. It’s more of a Bit-O-Honey, hard candy flavor, and raw honeycomb.
A slightly dry finish but the flavors just pop! More tobacco and baking spices. Pink peppercorns, clove, nutmeg, and ceylon cinnamon. The lactic quality stands out now to me as a honey custard or oddly enough puffed wheat cereal. Lumberyard and firewood flavors. The baking spices linger on for a long time. The finish works nicely if a tad simple.
This is a solid single barrel. Something about the bitter oak doesn’t get me like other similarly aged bourbons. The balance here with or without dilution works very well. Sweet and herbal with a touch of this hearty oak flavor.
I enjoy this quite a bit. While the price was killer, this just happens to also taste fantastic. It lacks some of the more unique elements from the VABC pick, but I consider this to be more palatable.