Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Four Roses Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon OESF - Binny's Private Selection

VITALS:
- $60
- 119.8 Proof
- 9 Years, 10 Months

I'm inching ever so close to trying each of the ten Four Roses recipes. When I picked this one up, that put me up to 8 that I've found, two of which are still sitting in reserve waiting to be opened. I'm still looking for the OBSO and OESQ recipes.

For those of you who may not know what I'm talking about with respect to the different Four Roses recipes and these odd character combinations, rather than go into it here, I'll direct you to Four Roses' website, where they have a nice infographic explaining everything - http://fourrosesbourbon.com/four-roses-bourbon-infographic/

What's interesting is when I read the different flavor profiles of the five different yeast strains, I feel like the V, K and O strains would be right up my alley. Their descriptions seem to be along the more traditional path as far as the flavors go, with K being pretty much what I look for in a bourbon - "Light spiciness, light caramel and full-bodied."

And yet (albeit with four recipes left to try), I've found myself enjoying this OESF the most! Who knew that I'd be most taken by the yeast strain described as "Essences of herbal aromas." Honestly, this is the one that, before trying any of them, I would pick as likely to be my least favorite.

I also tend to favor higher-rye mashbills. And yet, this is the E mashbill, with only 20% rye (as opposed to the B mashbill at 35% rye). So out of the ten recipes, if I went on descriptors alone, this would be the recipe I'd be the least excited to try.

But I've already spoiled it, and, as I said above, so far it's my favorite! Despite the lower rye mashbill, I still notice the rye/cinnamon spice on the nose. This nose was very complex and rich, however, and I also picked up notes of cherry, coffee and brown sugar. It was so good I just wanted to snort it right up!

But I thought better of it, and enjoyed the bourbon in the traditional manner, and man am I glad I did! It was sweeter up front than I had expected. I got a lot of toffee, balanced by that coffee flavor that I got on the nose, which likely helped keep it from being overly sweet. Some subtle wine notes crept through as well, rich and soft fruit flavors like a velvety pinot noir.

It also had a decent burn, up front. However, that gave way pretty quickly to a syrupy, lip-smacking, sweet finish that was paralleled by a cinnamon spice finish.

The end result was I found myself licking my lips after each drink and fiending for the next hit! After each swallow the back of my throat was coated in a sweet butterscotch flavor while the cinnamon spice still lingered on the tip of my tongue.

I have to admit, I did not notice the "Essences of herbal aromas," and luckily I didn't read that until after I finished the bottle and went to write this post. Not knowing that, I wasn't actively looking for it or otherwise tainted by that description. What I did notice was that this bourbon was rich, complex, sweet and spicy and absolutely one of my favorite bourbons I've ever had!

Grade: A+

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