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I thought about titling this review, "Fear and Trembling" and apologizing to Soren Kirkegaard. Going back a couple of decades, Four Roses has a horrible horrible reputation among bourbon lovers. We're talking way before the Kirin ownership of the brand. This review goes way back. The reviewed sample was bottled no later than 1977, and may have been bottled 10 or 20 years earlier. This is blended whiskey, 40% bourbon, of which 8% is 6 years old, 12% 5 years old, and 20% 4 years old; the remaining 60% is grain neutral spirits. I've always wanted to know what the long ago Four Roses tasted like. Well, be careful what you wish for
Nose: lots of spice from rye grain and also from wood; lots of vanilla, some caramel, some hickory. This nose is a little muted and muddled in flavours. This is a decent but not stellar bourbon nose
Taste: spicy, maple-y actually, and lots of licorice; otherwise the palate is a good reflection of the nose...plus some bitter very tannic wood
Finish: stays very spicy, and goes strongly toward the bitter. Not a good finish
Balance: balance is lost mid-palate. This is way too bitter.
60% grain neutral spiritis does not weaken the flavours at all. The flavours are just bad here