Thursday, May 21, 2020

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

VITALS:
- $70
- 110.6 Proof
- 8 yrs., 9 mos.
- Kentucky

This is a bit of a milestone bottle for me. I've been making my way through each of the 10 Four Roses recipes, but the last one, the OBSO, was quite elusive. After a couple years of searching and striking out, I asked Al Young himself at an event I was attending why I never saw this recipe on store shelves. Needless to say, I was a bit disheartened when he told me the whiskey was just too young and wasn't included in the private barrel program.

I had accepted my fate and the fact that it'd probably be a few more years before I had a chance to grab a bottle of this final recipe I needed. But then, only a handful of months later, Binny's got in a few different Four Roses private selections, and sure enough, one of them was an OBSO! It's been a long time since I've been that excited to get a bottle, even counting some of the limited and allocated stuff I've lucked into. I finally get to say that I've had all ten recipes (and have reviewed all ten on this blog). That and a couple bucks will at least get me a cup of coffee!

As for the whiskey itself, the nose was softer than what I've experienced in other Four Roses single barrels. Usually I get hit right up front with bold spiciness. Here, the nose was softer, with brown sugar and caramel at the front. I also got some dark fruits like raisins and cherries, as well as a prominent banana note. All in all, it reminded me of Bananas Foster, and I thought it smelled amazing.

My first impressions on the taste was that this was sweeter than other Four Roses single barrels I've had. I got a lot of cherry and orange up front, along with a light cinnamon note adding just a touch of spice. I also got a light anise note to add just a bit of nuance and character.

The finish seemed to be almost entirely caramel, as the spice seemed to disappear quickly, and the cherry and orange notes seemed to slowly fade away. I also got a nice, cooling mint note on the finish that was surprising but very welcome.

After a few pours, though, the cherry flavor that I initially liked and thought went well with the orange turned into more of a medicinal cherry note, like cherry cough syrup. I thought perhaps it was just me, or just an off day for my palate, but later pours confirmed this note. I even had my father-in-law try it and he got the same flavor. It was somewhat off-putting and disappointing, as I had otherwise been enjoying it.

I will say, however, that when I poured it over just a couple small cubes of ice, that medicinal cherry note disappeared entirely, and it became more of a dessert-like whiskey. I got a lot of caramel and brown sugar, and also a pastry note that reminded me of honey buns. It was quite the transformation, and I was a bit perplexed, as I just wasn't a huge fan of it neat.

All in all, this wasn't my favorite of the recipes, and would be on the low end if I were to rank them. I know each bottle is different, and I would certainly try an OBSO recipe again. On private picks it's more about the person picking it than the recipe itself. But, it was fun reaching this arbitrary goal of trying all ten and looking back at what I liked and didn't.  For what it's worth, my favorite was the OESF bottle I got from Binny's a few years back. That bottle blew me away!

Grade: B

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