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Friday, June 6, 2014

NOT Single Malt Report: Four Roses Single Barrel OBSK barrel 37-1B

On Tuesday, I found a single barrel of recipe OBSO to be a powerful woodsy whiskey with a good nose.

On Wednesday, the single barrel of recipe OESK turned out to be a hot and closed whiskey that wasn't to my liking.

Let's take a look at the letters:
B is the Four Roses high-rye (35%) mashbill
E is their mid-rye (20%) mashbill
O is their fruity yeast
K is their spicy yeast

Thus Tuesday's was a high-rye bourbon that used a fruity yeast for its fermentation, and Wednesday's was a mid-rye bourbon that used a spicy yeast.  What if I had a sample of Four Roses Single Barrel that had both the high-rye mash and the spicy yeast...

Thank you to Florin (local ambidextrous oyster shucker and Master Distiller) for this very sample.  Of all places, BevMo! (I'm not responsible for the exclamation mark) sold this single barrel exclusively.  It looks as if there's another exclusive single barrel on the shelf now too.  Kudos to BevMo!!

DistilleryFour Roses
Type: Kentucky Straight Bourbon (Single Barrel)
Region: Lawrenceberg, Kentucky
Age: 10 years, 8 months
Recipe: OBSK (high rye, spicy yeast)
Maturation: charred white oak barrels
Warehouse: DN
Barrel #: 37-1B
Alcohol by Volume: 55.0%

The color is an orangey copper.  The nose starts out a little chocolatey, milk chocolate and chocolate milk.  Then maybe some raisins slip in, followed by roasted peanuts and almonds.  Then cream corn meets cookie dough.  There are also notes of Rittenhouse Rye BIB-style baking spice, carob, and vanilla bean.  It's a little zany but I like it.  The palate hauls out bigger wood.  Some definite wood smoke, too.  But oak doesn't smother the rest.  There's corn syrup, sweet corn, dried cherries, cough medicine, and a back and forth ping-ponging of corn and rye whiskies.  There's a progression from dried stone fruits to table salt that reminds me of some sherried single malts.  And it's very SMOOTH (you're welcome) considering the alcohol content.  The finish shows some of the nose's chocolate character.  Then more corn whiskey, barrel char, espresso, and menthol.  Also, it made my burps taste like banana.

As I noted in the notes, there are parts of this bourbon that are reminiscent of some sherried Scotches.  I think it has to do with the chocolate, dried fruit, espresso, and nutty characteristics.  But I actually like this better than most sherried malts because it brings so much more to the experience, such as all the rich rye and vibrant corn spirit piping through.

According to BevMo!'s site, Jim Rutledge selected the barrel for them himself.  He likely knows that BevMo (okay, enough with the !s) brings with it a customer base of substantial size, so providing them with a kickass barrel would be a good business maneuver as it gives him a chance to build the Four Roses fanbase even further.  While this one overshoots his preferred 6-8 year age level, it's not oak juice, it's much better formed than Wednesday's OESK, and it's easy drinkin'.

I liked this one enough to keep an eye out for other OBSKs, though other barrels aren't guaranteed to deliver the same exact characteristics.  Though, again, please note: there's at least one more single barrel (an OBSO) on the BevMo shelves, so be a smart customer and check out the informative stuff Four Roses lists on their bottles.

Pricing - $64.99 - $69.99
Rating - 88