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Friday, November 17, 2017

Bourbon and Rye Day Friday: Four Roses Single Barrel bourbon, MW-52-1V

Since it sometimes feels like an American has to travel to Japan to find a bottle of Blanton's Single Barrel, I've elected to audition Blanton's replacements. Four Roses Single Barrel has been pretty reliable and is cheaper than Blanton's ever was during this decade.

This bottle of Four Roses Single Barrel was amongst the whiskies I'd brought to a recent private event. Curiously, none of the 15 attendees voted for it in their Top Two (out of five). Many of them did like the Henry McKenna, though I did not. So I really don't know what to expect...

Distillery: Four Roses
Ownership: Kirin
Type: Kentucky Straight Bourbon
Region: Lawrenceberg, Kentucky
Age: ???
Recipe: OBSV (high rye, fruity yeast)
Maturation: charred white oak barrels
Warehouse: MW
Barrel #: 52-1V
Alcohol by Volume: 50%
(Sample from my bottle)

The nose is gentle for the ABV. Orange oil, lemon oil, pine, anise and mothballs. Flower blossoms, cherry liqueur and circus peanuts. The palate has none of the nose's character. There's vanilla, caramel and barrel char. Bitter, like over-steeped black tea. Sweet little clementines show up occasionally, but an acidity takes the fore. Also, cardboard. The lengthy finish is very sweet. Corn syrup and lemon juice. Plenty of woody bitterness.

 (3:1 bourbon : sweet vermouth, bitters, luxardo cherry)
It's fine, inoffensive, easy to drink. Oddly thin on the palate, though.

I'm going to vote with the group this time. This bourbon is not great. While the nose is quite expressive, the palate is boring or worse. In fact, this may be the worst Four Roses I've had. Just to make sure my palate wasn't shot during this tasting, I tried this bourbon side-by-side with Heaven Hill 6yo BIB. The Heaven Hill lorded over the Four Roses.

This one's so wobbly that I wonder why Four Roses didn't set the barrel aside for blending. No, it's not a disastrous whiskey, but it will cause me to pause now before buying another Four Roses Single Barrel.

Availability - Ohio and Kentucky, I think
Pricing - $35-$50
Rating - 76

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