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Four Roses Single Barrel

My First Rose

0 1583

@SquidgyAshReview by @SquidgyAsh

20th Aug 2012

0

  • Nose
    22
  • Taste
    20
  • Finish
    21
  • Balance
    20
  • Overall
    83

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

Several months ago I'd made an epic journey to the International Beer Shop here in Perth to pick up a bottle of Stranahans Colorado Single Malt Whisky.

If you're curious as to why this journey was epic you can look at my previous review and see how that journey played out.

While there I saw that they had quite a few whiskies that I wanted, but one that stood out.

Four Roses Single Barrel Bourbon.

This is a whiskey that I've never tried before (Four Roses, not bourbon, I have bourbon lots) and I'd heard nothing, but good things about it.

I was especially keen seeing as it had just picked up a major award in the 2012 Whisky Bible.

Whisky Bible Awards 2012: No Age Statement Single Barrel Bourbon of the Year award to be exact.

Now the problem with single barrel whiskies is that there is NEVER a guarantee that you'll be getting a bottle from the award winning barrel unless you have all those details and can put your hand on a bottle from that batch.

Now the cool and bad thing about single barrels is you can get some whiskies that are no less then phenomenal. I have several bottles that are from barrels like that. Bad thing about it is that those barrels tend to produce just a few hundred bottles and that once it's gone, it's gone, never to be repeated.

I had a VERY strong suspicion that this is NOT the bottle that won the award, but I didn't care. I was eager to try this distillery!

Now this bottle is from Warehouse #135, barrel number 38-3Q.

So away to home I went with my new bottles, but I'd already decided before hand that both of these bottles would be off limits or special occasion bottles for at least several months.

About a month ago my brother and sister in law bought my wife and myself a brand new 50 inch plasma screen TV.

I've always wanted a big screen TV, but this was beyond awesome!

That night we cracked the Stranahans.

The following weekend my brother and sister in law came over, bringing with them a bottle of Glenmorangie 10 yr old that he'd gotten for his birthday.

I decided that we should also crack open the Four Roses.

We brought out the glencairns and brought down the bottle of Four Roses and as soon as we cracked the seal we could smell honey.

Pouring a lovely amber color this whiskey honey came off it in waves.

Upon closer nosing we started getting coconut, cherries, spices and oak.

It's quite a sweet nose that makes you start to salivate as soon as you smell it.

However when we decide to take a drink it's quite syrupy.

No bad flavors. Quite yummy, with the coconut and honey coming through strongest and the cherries and spices following through. The oak has a definite presence, but it is quite lovely and gives the whisky a nice backbone. At the end of the palate is just a hint of cocoa.

There's a nice long finish with the spices and oak singing out and once more those hints of cocoa make themselves known.

Quite a nice whisky, however it's a little bit too syrupy for my liking.

Running at around $100 to $125 bucks it's not a bad bourbon, especially at the highest ABV, but I'm not quite sure that I'd buy another bottle of it, unless I could guarantee I was getting the award winner.

It's not impossible to find, but I haven't seen it in any bottle shops over here so you will have to look around.

At half the price of a George T Stagg, Thomas H Handy Sazerac or William L. Weller, I do believe I'd rather save my money and buy one of the big boys.

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15 comments

@Victor
Victor commented

If you've had one bottle of Four Roses Single Barrel and someone else says that he/she's had some Four Roses Single Barrel, the chances that you've had the same formula whiskey are only 1 in 10, and the chances that you've had whiskey from the same barrel quite tiny. With 5 yeast strains and 2 mashbills Four Roses makes a lot of different Single Barrel types of bourbon. The flavours vary a lot. Without giving the recipe code, their 'funky little letters code' you are attempting to discuss with others what could be quite a different flavour profile whiskey compared to the ones they have. Some of their recipes you might like, others not, or 'not so much'.

I didn't like some of my early Four Roses experiences, but have warmed up to their products a lot over some time. But without giving the exact Single Barrel Bourbon recipe information as part of the description of the whiskey, one might as well be discussing 'apples and oranges'.

@Ash, was there also a four-letter code on the bottle? Perhaps the recipe information code was not given? Or is there another way to cross-reference the "Warehouse # 135, Barrel #38-3Q" information?

7 years ago 0

@Wolfsong
Wolfsong commented

My first experience with FRSB was less than stellar. In fact, the first bottle I ever bought was drunk over many, many months with borderline disdain due to a cloying, sticky sweetness & heavy banana flavor (which I don't care for at all in any bourbon). A few months open and it subsided somewhat, but never died completely. The only reason I bought another is because my friend had a bottle totally different than mine that I easily would have rated in the 90s. Neither my bottle nor his had the four-letter recipe "code" on the bottle, however (like the Limited Edition Single Barrel bottlings do).

Not one to give up, I purchased another bottle a few months ago that is amazing. Caramel & honey sweetness on the opening, and then a massive spice hit (which I DO like). I checked the warehouse# & barrel# and went back to the store a few days after verifying I really enjoyed the bottle to see if they had other bottles with the same warehouse & barrel numbers. They had 5, and I grabbed them all in the hope that they're all as good as their sister that came home with me originally. The difference between my first bottle and the second that I really love was very eye-opening, to say the least. I hadn't really experienced the "single-barrel variation" in such a major way until I delved into these Four Roses Single Barrel offerings.

7 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

@Wolfsong, thanks for joining in. I have encountered similarly huge differences in "Four Roses Single Barrel" bourbon. Yes, there is single barrel variation, but these are single barrels from 10 different bourbons represented.

7 years ago 0

@Pudge72
Pudge72 commented

@wolfsong...the banana note that you reference likely means that one particular strain of the five varieties of yeast that FR uses was present in the recipe for that particular bottle. I have an 'OESQ' single barrel bottle (that I specifically purchased to experience the banana note), so I believe the 'Q' is the reference to the 'banana yeast' strain.

7 years ago 0

@SquidgyAsh
SquidgyAsh commented

@Victor, there isn't any 4 letter code on the bottle :( I'm going to try and see what I can Google with it though. It's rather frustrating because they have information on their site, but without anything beyond the Q I'm not able to get any information on it.

I'd be willing to give it another shot, but I don't think I'd spend over $100 on it again. At least for a bottle like this. It's good, but not that good.

7 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

@Ash, I am with you. I think that I can myself recall that there are not usually formula/recipe identifiers on most of the Four Roses Single Barrels. Frankly I find that as frustrating as you do. I want to know which bourbon I am buying and about to drink. They ARE different. My sister now has about five different Four Roses Single Barrels, but at least four of them are labeled, because she bought them as private barrel offerings, with the recipes identified. I've tasted them all and they are quite a bit different from one another. Some I am crazy about, others are ok, but I wouldn't choose to buy a bottle of them.

It is pretty ridiculous on a forum like Connosr for two members to be discussing the flavours of "Four Roses Single Barrel" with there being only one chance in ten that they are even referring to the same whiskey.

7 years ago 0

@SquidgyAsh
SquidgyAsh commented

@Victor I can only agree with you that I find it more then a little silly that two members can be discussing the flavours of "Four Roses Single Barrel" and there is only a one in ten chance they're discussing the same whisky.

And maybe it's just me, but I also find it stupid that a "single barrel" with SO MUCH variation would get itself voted best single barrel bourbon in the world. Anytime a whisky scores that highly you know sells shoot up and to have it on a whisky/distillery with such a MASSIVE variation is more then sad in my opinion. Again I could be irritated that I didnt get that bottle though haha!

7 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

@Ash, more information is better. It would be nice to know exactly which formula of Four Roses Single Barrel Jim Murray especially liked,...if he would tell us...if he knows...

7 years ago 0

@SquidgyAsh
SquidgyAsh commented

@Victor, agreed. I'd like to know what that formula was. My bottle isn't bad, but by no means is it an award winner in any sense of the word.

Now that you mention it I AM curious if he even knows the recipe of the bottle he tried. One would think so.....?

7 years ago 0

josh61 commented

Hoping to clear one thing up. With four roses single barrel you absolutely know what mashbill and yeasts are used. It is stated on there web site. Here is the link: fourrosesbourbon.com/recipe-infographic/

There you will find that the combination used is coded as: OBSV O - four roses distillery (duh) B - 60% Corn, 35% Rye, 5% malt S - Straight whiskey (duh again) V - Type of yeast which is stated as having a "Delicate Fruit" character. @Victor is correct about having a very slim chance of getting a bottle form the same barrel twice ( but warehouse and barrel are stated in the label ). However, the recipe shouldn't vary.

about one year ago 0

josh61 commented

@Victor The following was repeated below but I realized I should probably be posting this as a reply here. Hoping to clear one thing up. With four roses single barrel you absolutely know what mashbill and yeasts are used. It is stated on there web site. Here is the link: fourrosesbourbon.com/recipe-infographic/

There you will find that the combination used for single barrel is coded as: OBSV

O - four roses distillery (duh) B - 60% Corn, 35% Rye, 5% malt S - Straight whiskey (duh again) V - Type of yeast which is stated as having a "Delicate Fruit" character. @Victor is correct about having a very slim chance of getting a bottle form the same barrel twice ( but warehouse and barrel are stated in the label ). However, the recipe shouldn't vary.

about one year ago 0

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

@josh61 Always nice to have someone from the industry to point us in the right direction...

about one year ago 0

josh61 commented

@Nozinan didn't mean to imply that I am from the industry. Just a random whiskey lover and saw that for the single barrel the particulars don't vary. With the small batch I noticed that they do vary.

about one year ago 1Who liked this?

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

@josh61 Well welcome. It just looked very much like a directed set of posts. Enjoy the site.

about one year ago 0

josh61 commented

@Nozinan it was my first comment and I didn't understand exactly how it worked with the reply. I will be more organized the next time :-)

about one year ago 1Who liked this?

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