Saturday, April 27, 2013

Road Trip: Bardstown KY Spring 2013 - Thursday

It's a brisk morning with a high of 41 and we're milling around outside the gate of Cox Creek.  After a few moments the security guard opens the gate and asks if we know where to go and of course we do.

We head to the bottling house and upon entering see the tasting stations set up with 8 glasses at each station.  Because of the size of our group, we have to double up so we can't be too concerned with cooties.  Next to the tasting stations are 8 barrels lined up bungs facing upwards ready for sampling.

Master Distiller Jim Rutledge arrives and we waste no time popping the bungs off the barrels and using the whiskey thief, begin pulling samples from the barrels.  As we start nosing the samples it
quickly becomes apparent that these barrels show great promise with some profiles showing fruit and cream.  We take our time rotating through each sample making notes as we go along attempting to narrow down the top three.  We're supposed to keep our impressions to ourselves as this is a secret ballot and which ones each person likes but looking around the tables quickly tells who likes what by facial expressions and the fill level of some glasses.

After the votes are tallied we picked two barrels that were clearly the favorite of the group; an OBSO at 9.5 years old and a OESO at 10.5 years old.  We don't know the proof of either just yet.  The OBSO was a first for us as we've never picked this particular recipe and the OESO is our second.  The third favorite was an OESV at 9 years old.  Quit a bit of discussion was generated around this barrel after we left and it looks like we'll end up picking up that barrel as well.  That OESV was the sweetest Four Roses I've ever tasted.

We leave Four Roses and head to Buffalo Trace up in Frankfort.  After lunch we arrive around 1:00 and head to Warehouse H which has the tasting room.  We walk in and 10 barrels of Elmer T. Lee are
lined up in pretty fashion and BT had already pulled samples into two sets of glasses for each barrel; one glass at barrel strength and one glass at bottling strength.  I'll have to admit that I have not been a fan of Elmer T. Lee over the years finding the flavor profile not to my liking.  Now, since the ETL is a single barrel offering there are going to be variances in drinking experience but my own experience has been more miss than hit.

I don't bother sampling the barrel strength as it won't be a factor in determining what we pick so
focus on the samples cut to bottling proof.  As I make my way through each sample I'm having difficultly finding one that really stands out.  In fact, there were a couple of barrels that were pretty much undrinkable.  In the end, for me, I really didn't find anything that I would want to pull the trigger on but since the process was to vote on your top three, I provided those that I thought were the best of the eight. I will point out that Beau Beckman from BT does a very nice job putting together the tastings and we always enjoy visiting (and purchasing) from BT.

Overall a good day and I think we picked some of the best Four Roses to date.


  1. Richnimrod says;
    I think we must have followed on the very next day and picked from the remaining nine barrels of ETL for The Georgia Bourbon Society. I agree with your assessment that a couple were not nearly ready to bottle. The remaining 7 were pretty similar, but we did make a selection.

    1. You did...I talked to Bill E and he mentioned they were the same barrels.