Monday, November 11, 2013

Four Roses - Spring 2013

I know I'm being repetitious but Four Roses whiskey is the bourbon bomb.  This isn't to say that BT or KBD or any of the other distilleries in the area don't turn out fine bourbon but under Jim Rutledge, Four Roses is turning out some of the best bourbon on the market.

I've mentioned in previous posts that I was not a fan of FR back when they started re-distribution in the US of their KSBW (right around 2005 or 2006) but since then, I'm hooked.  This is due in  part to getting access to single barrels picked by Jim or the FR warehouse manager, Cory (she knows where all the honey barrels sit).

This last round of barrel picks were again top shelf....I know I sound like a broken record but this is some seriously good drinking.

Our intention for this round of picks was two barrels.  As luck would have it, we liked more than just two barrels.  After picking the two top barrels, an animated discussion broke out with one member cheerleading the group to purchase a third.  Our expectation coming in was two so it took some time to warm up to the idea of committing to a third.  Not that the barrel wasn't stellar but we pre-commit every purchase so the group knows how many each has committed to buying.  Purchasing a third ad hoc took some time to discuss.  I won't go into the lengthy discussion and phone calls that ensued but we did in fact purchase a third barrel.

We selected three different recipes at barrel strength:

OESO 75% Corn - Fruity (Red Berries), Med Body - 10.6 YO – 113.4 PF
Warming as it enters the palate.  Barrel notes, sweet baking spice and burnt cream.  The low proof means no heat and all flavor.  Long finish that ends with a bit of spice tingling on the tongue.

OBSO 60% Corn - Slightly Fruity, Spicy, Med Body - 9.5 YO - 127.0 PF
Caramel and cream, no heat, moderate cinnamon spice mid palate.  Add a drop of water the the flavor pops.  The finish is quite long and satisfying.

OESV 75% Corn - Delicate Fruity, Fresh, Creamy - 9.0 YO – 122 PF
This is one sweet bourbon.  In fact, probably the sweetest FR we've picked.  This drinks way too easy and has nice red fruits mid palate with butter and honey mixing in toward the finish. I wish I had 10 more bottles of this one.  Superb.

All three of these bourbons handle water exceptionally of our picking criteria.

Whatever Jim is doing at Four Roses I hope he keeps it up and lives a long healthy life cranking out great bourbon.  Thank you Jim.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Old Weller Antique - Spring 2013

It's hard to beat OWA.  The quality and price point make this expression a real bargain.  The upside of course is getting a single barrel to boot with the private barrel picks at the same retail price.  I mentioned in a previous post that Buffalo Trace contacted us prior to our arrival in April informing that the barrels would be about 6 1/2 years old; in previous years we were able to pick barrels that ranged from 7 1/2 to 8 years old.  I actually didn't mind the change as I saw this as an opportunity to pick up a run of OWA with significant age difference.

We picked two barrels; each with a profile different from the other.  The reduced age didn't hurt the drinking experience one bit.  In fact, many commented at the full flavor of the bourbon noting it did not present any youthfulness.

At bottling we were advised that one was short only yielding 72 bottles which was a real letdown.  The other barrel gave up 204 bottles.

OWA#17 (short barrel) - During the tasting I commented the bourbon was like velvet on the palate and so it was when cracking open the bottle and taking that first pour.  Smooth entry with flavor profile of brown sugar and loads of caramel.  Finish is moderate to long

OWA#18 - This pick was such an easy drinker that when shared with others, it disappears really quick.  Brown sugar again on the palate but with vanilla and baking spice that pops up about mid palate.  It's really sweet but not like white sugar; lots of candy shop qualities.  The finish is long with chocolate and a hint of ginger at the end.  Superb.

Running a little behind

As happens a couple times throughout the year, I get hammered by work and have pretty much no free time and that's where I'm at during this fall season.  The workload won't let up until Christmas.

As of yesterday, all the April barrel picks have arrived and I'm excited to share my thoughts.  The last run of Willett picks are downright stunning.  In addition to the private purchases, I've been actively trading picking up some great vintage and hard to find foreign whisk(e)y that includes Scotch and Japanese expressions.

As a recap, this years barrels picks included:

Jefferson Rye
Elmer T. Lee (didn't jump on this one)
Willett 12 year x 2
Willett 10 year x 2
Willett 9 year
Willett 9 year wheater
Old Weller Antique x 2
Four Roses SB Cask x 3

I'll do my best to get caught up in short order.