Barrel Strength Four Roses Private Selection
Typically allocated barrels just roll out for the state and it’s a master distiller pick or two. Nothing fancy, but probably not the most unique cask selection. When Virginia ABC and Four Roses announced 10 barrels were coming to the state, everyone took notice. It was a massive increase from previous years and all were barrel strength selections.
As with the previous round of single barrel releases, these were picked by a handful of representatives, mostly restaurant owners, so there could be a couple of gems in the batch.
This single barrel is 10 Years and 7 Months bottled at a hefty 119 proof. For the Four Roses nerds, it came from Warehouse RS barrel number 24-3W.
Tasted neat in a Glencairn with 10 minutes of rest. Additional tasting with dilution and upwards of an hour of rest for comparison.
The nose is all cinnamon and corn syrup. It’s like a thanksgiving pie in a glass. A robust, virgin oak, full of baking spices. Cassia cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla bean, brown sugar, and a touch of milk chocolate even. I get this chili, chai spice-like flavor. Almost like a Mexican hot chocolate. The lactic notes are clear to me with Karo syrup and chocolate pecan pie aromas. With a touch of water, the alcohols really subside and a nutty peanut oil quality comes forward. Walnuts, brazil nuts, toasted wheat, and rice cereal pieces.
The spice-heavy nose comes through on the palate as a well-rounded spice bomb. Mace, clove, and cinnamon. The palate is less sweet than what I expected. Grassy elements and herbaceous rye flavors are well and present. Barrel char, rich oak, campfire embers, and a slight touch of tobacco. Cereal grains but more in the sense of a homemade granola bar. Puffed rice, and oats, sweetened with a few chocolate chips. Water hinders the flavors on the palate, weakening that creamy texture and bringing out more tannins from the oak.
More of that corn syrup sweetness kicks off the finish of this bottle. Shortbread and butter cookies. The spices are more reserved on the finish with more of the barrel character coming out. Oak, wood lathe chips, a carpentry workshop. Black tea, slipping into that astringency side. Relatively short unfortunately but the texture you’re left with on the palate is wonderful.
This is a good pick. Probably not a barrel I would have selected but it has some unique elements that I find very fun. The high rye mash brings a baking spice balance to that sweet corn and cocoa. Composition however is lacking on the palate and finish. That lactic note in bourbon though is delightful and the textural elements make this bourbon incredibly pleasant to sip.
I enjoy trying all the various recipes and single barrels so I always recommend picking them up when you have the opportunity. This might not be my favorite single barrel, but I have no regrets about buying it.