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Four Roses Single Barrel

A rose? No, but it's a flower.

0 1077

mReview by @masterj

4th Dec 2012

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  • Nose
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  • Taste
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  • Overall
    77

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Based on the previous discussions on Single Barrel 4R's and it's shifting profile, I decided to try it out for myself. I find myself quite surprised by this Bourbon, but not in a good way. It's one of those odd bourbons that really throw you off and makes you want to have another drink right after of something more decent and more fitting of the title "Bourbon Whiskey".

Nose: Cinnamon, maple syrup, burnt toast,bread with butter, roasted nuts, and yes, the oddest of smells, chamomile. The chamomile on the nose really threw me off. It's a smell I wasn't expecting in a bourbon. Unfortunately, it reminds me too much of my grappa which is specifically made of chamomile. I don't think that bodes well for a bourbon when you smell like chamomile grappa.

Palate: Medium bodied to light. Sweet arrival. Tannins, this has a good grip to it. Peppery and hot. It's a very flowery mouthful with very fresh oak to go along with it. Seriously though, is this 4R's or my Chamomile grappa? I'm having difficulty telling them apart (smelling and tasting side-by-side now). Really the only thing distinguishing this 4R's from the grappa is the higher ABV heat, besides that, almost identical in taste (grappa is more intensely sweet), and viscosity.

Finish: oily and again more of the oak. That's all she wrote really.

Overall, it's not very spectacular. The small batch bourbon from 4R's seems more well rounded and more consistent. This Bourbon has an odd nose that's too flowery. A palate that's to sweet. If I was to compare it to another whisky it's not a Bourbon. The palate and finish is more similar to a less sweet Marolo chamomile grappa. The closest Whisky would be a Macallan fine oak 10 or a Glenlivet 12 and even that's an insult to the aforementioned. Well that's enough for tonight.

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10 comments

@valuewhisky
valuewhisky commented

I enjoyed your review, though I must both agree and disagree. I agree that this is as far away from a "typical" bourbon as you can get, almost to being like a different type of spirit. However, I disagree with your disappointment in it! True, if I had one bourbon in the cabinet I probably wouldn't choose this one, but it's very good nonetheless. My bottle wasn't so floral as yours. That's the tough part of single barrel.

6 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

Four Roses Single Barrel can be one of 10 different whiskeys: 5 yeasts, 2 mashbills. Apples to oranges comparisons unless you know exactly which formula was used. The floral thing is from the yeast used.

Without exact formula information you really don't know which whiskey is being discussed. Four Roses Single barrel bourbon can be and is a lot of different things. I've had several of these that I loved and a couple which left me indifferent. 5 of 6 of those I was sampling were from private barrels which were labeled with formula information which allowed me to know which bourbon I was drinking and that I was drinking different bourbons.

6 years ago 0

@valuewhisky
valuewhisky commented

Victor, I've seen you make that comment before, but you're only half right. The standard, off-the-shelf FRSB is always OBSV formula. The other formulas are only obtained through retailer's selected bottlings, to my knowledge, and would generally say the formula and say that they are the retailer's bottling.

6 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

@valuewhisky, unspecified mass market Four Roses Single Barrel is always FRSB? Interesting. I am glad to learn that, and always wondered why the formula was not stated on the bottles, though I guess that so far, that makes me not much of a fan of FRSB.

6 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

that is...FRSB OBSV.

6 years ago 0

masterj commented

@ValueWhisky Oh no doubt it's still a nice sip. But I just found the recurring flowery (chamomile) note to be overbearing. It just kept coming up in the nose and in the taste. I would personally choose the small batch 4R's just because I like the presentation better. The nose on it is more Bourbon like, lots of caramel, all spice, and yet it has that jagged edge as well to let you know it's a bourbon. Just the contrast makes it more interesting. On the palate it's the opposite. While the S.barrel starts off very flowery as well as hot and spicy, the small batch doesn't turn spicy until it's been on your tongue for a bit. The grip on the small batch happens more in the finish than on the palate. So it's finish is more satisfying to me. But yes, Single Barrel 4R's is a nice and different Bourbon. Still decent and still worth a try.

6 years ago 0

@valuewhisky
valuewhisky commented

I'd like to check out the Small Batch sometime, it's just not available here in Pennsylvania. I'll put it on "the list" though ;-)

6 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

I prefer the Small Batch to what I have had of the Single Barrel, OBSV, by a good bit. But, those private barrels, eg from Binny's or The Party Source, of some of those other 'recipes' are terrific, and really changed my attitude toward Four Roses Bourbons, in a very good way.

6 years ago 0

masterj commented

@victor & @valuewhisky , I hear this years limited edition small batch is really good. Whisky advocate blog named it, it's top bottle. I'm interested in trying it to see for myself but it's proving difficult to find.

6 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

@masterj, I haven't tasted the 2012 LE yet, but the 2011 was/is fabulous.

6 years ago 0

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