...where distraction is the main attraction.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Bourbon and Rye Day Friday: Forgotten Roses (Four Roses) Bourbon

BARD Friday returns with......a thing.

First, the story! I will protect the names of certain individuals and companies because I don't want to get anyone in trouble. Though one company's name is clearly in the post's title. And the anonymous's identities may be easily deduced with some research, but I'm going to roll with the secrecy because it's like midnight here and my brane is tyred.

My brother in-law's brother in-law (no not me, the other one) knows a girl who knows a guy who works at a well-regarded well-distributed independent brewery. Said brewery does the occasional barrel-aged stout. Sometimes they get their barrels fresh from Four Roses distillery. Recently, as per my source, "some of the barrels had some whiskey still in them which had secreted out of the wood after they were emptied." The fellas at the brewery siphoned out the leftovers and got at least a full bottle of whiskey out of it.

This resulting bourbon was 142 proof. Just a liiiiiiiiitle higher than 4R tends to go. I imagine that crazy levels of oxidation and absorption were the factors behind the super proof.

Anyway, my sources, let's call them Awdoo and The Money Man, sent me 2.5 ounces of this forgotten fire nectar for gits and shiggles. Thank you very much, Awdoo and The Money Man. Time to review the barrel juice.

"Forgotten Roses" 71.0% alcohol by volume

As you can see above, I separated this sample into two glasses. One remained at full strength, the other was reduced to 50% abv (BIB strength, 4R Single Barrel strength, etc.).

Full Power:

NOSE -- It smells like bourbon. Lots of charred oak and caramel. A little bit of corn and marzipan. A combination of cinnamon and orange candies. It can be on the perfumy side at times, but that note keeps transforming into honey. With a lot of air, sugar and leather are outted.

PALATE -- Minty with lots of spicy woodstuff. Brown sugar and barrel char. It's hot, but nowhere near as hot as anticipated. Here the perfumy side drifts into tangy fruit. Air brings out bitter oak.

FINISH -- Lots of barrel action. Think char and wet cardboard. Pinches of spice, bitterness and soap. It does have a good mild sweetness though.

And then:

Diluted to 50%abv:

NOSE -- Sherry and shoe polish. But mostly shoe polish. Butt sweat. I'll let you figure out if that's sherry shipping "butt" or not. Raspberries and vanilla.

PALATE -- Nutrasweet. Earthy, grassy, sooooooooooooooooooapy. Spicy burnt socks.

FINISH -- Fruity and sooooooooooooooooooapy. Carpet vomit.


As with Mogwai, don't get this whiskey wet. Somehow in all its unusual oxidation, it may be at peak form as is. At 71%abv, it's perfectly recognizable, drinkable, enjoyable, a bourbon I'd be happy to consume again. Its finish is the trouble spot that keeps it earthbound. But because I had expected the finish be like the receiving end of Hacksaw Jim Duggan's 2x4, I'd say this was a reasonable success, overall.

And then I added water. And then I died. And then I was arisen. And then I drank it all. And then I didn't sleep because the air was bleeding.

Thanks again to Awdoo and The Money Man. And hopefully everyone is alive and well at the beer-making place after consuming the bottle's contents. Happy Friday!

RATING: Gone but definitely not forgotten


  1. I don't know if you have mentioned it before but some reviewers believe adding water causes saponificaton. Perhaps that's what happened.

    1. That seems a) unlikely (I've done lots of saponification reactions in my career as a chemist and even with strong base in organic solvents they're not that quick) and b) relatively easy to test with a good LC-MS/MS setup.

    2. Yeah, I was going to leave the saponification specifics to the ^^^^ chemistry man.

      Also, this was a pretty unusual whisky. Who knows what oddities occurred during its extreme oxidation.