Thursday, October 28, 2021

FEW 10th anniversary Four Grain Straight Bourbon

- $45
- 93 Proof
- Illinois

I've had a love/hate relationship with FEW Spirits out of Evanston, though hate is certainly not the right word here.  What I mean by that is that I have always loved FEW's rye whiskey. I think it is great and well-deserving of all the accolades that it has received over the years. But, I have not had that same love for their bourbons. I've found in the past that their bourbon tends to be grain forward and often has that overripe apple note that I get in young whiskeys.

So, when a buddy of mine picked up this bottle and told me it was very good and that I should give it a try, I was skeptical. I've been there and done that, or so I thought. But, he insisted and my intrigue ended up getting the best of me.  At $45, the cost wasn't prohibitive, and given that it was a limited bottling and that I haven't had FEW bourbon in a few years, I figured I'd go ahead and give it a try. Quite frankly, I'm really glad I did!

The nose was soft and pleasant, filled with a nice blend of malt and chocolate. It had a touch of sweet tobacco leaf as well as a sort of graham cracker note. On top of that, it also had a black pepper spice to add something sharp to the otherwise soft aroma.

As to the flavor, I was immediately hit with toffee and chocolate, sweet and rich. It had a nice oily texture that made it sweet and soft, but not watered down at all. I also got a bit of cherry that even leaned towards a cloves note, even with that slightly smoky lean to it. It also had a strong brown sugar backbone that added to the rich and sweet character. And yet it never got too sweet.

On later pours the brown sugar seemed to come forward even more, almost becoming a molasses note. It had a bit of an oatmeal cookie flavor to it, and the last few pours reminded me more of a good Canadian whiskey than a bourbon.

The finish seemed to really highlight the cloves note, with that mix of cinnamon, cherry and smoke. Between that and the brown sugar, I feel like could have basted a ham with this whiskey, but that would be wasteful.

I'm so glad I decided to give this whiskey a try. It was sweet without ever getting to be too sweet, and it had a lot of depth and interesting notes throughout to make it unique on top of being delicious. And it did not have any of those grain-forward notes or overripe apple notes of a young whiskey. I have no idea how old this whiskey is, but it wasn't lacking for time in the barrel.

Grade: B+

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