Now that we are in a trade war with the US, bourbon is on my mind (since I'm concerned we'll have to start paying more for it soon!) Also, having just visited the Four Roses distillery and warehouses a few weeks ago, I thought I'd explore a few single barrels, of different ABVs and yeast strains, and see how they compare.
This particular one is a standard bottling at 50%, from Barrel No. 38-2L, from Warehouse NS. I don't know the age, but it adheres to the standard FR SB recipe of OBSV (60% corn, 35% rye, 5% malted barley, from their "delicate fruit" yeast strain).
The colour is a soft caramel. On the nose we get cigar box, light vanilla, wood smoke, red apple skins and toffee. Herbal with mint and sage. Very light milk chocolate. Sour cherry. Cayenne. A bit of wood smoke, but not too much. Water brings out balsamic, with even more mint. This seems more delicate and softer than other single barrel bourbons, but no less complex.
On the palate the tobacco/cigar note remains prevalent, with thicker toffee, with more spice and mint. Lots of cherry, raspberry and kumquat. Water improves the complexity with greater oak and some fennel. The spice is a bit more dominant than it should be but this still shows off what Four Roses is capable of, even in its standard expressions.
The finish is long with wood smoke, dark cherry and plum. This seems to me to be one of the better Four Roses SBs I've had - massive complexity, subtlety and panache. If you see this particular barrel (purchased at an LCBO), snap it up.