The barrel gets all the glory. And I have my suspicions as to why. First of all, and this is especially true for bourbons aged in the cruel inferno of a Kentucky warehouse, up to 70% of a whiskey’s flavor makeup comes from maturation in the oak barrel. You can employ exotic finishings, possibly altering a whiskey’s character to a severe degree. There also seems to be abiding intrigue on what chemically happens in the barrel, as we do not yet have a scientifically complete explanation on how spirit waltzes with oak. We all are transfixed by this process, and rightly so. But of course there is more to it. Besides oak there is of course grain, yes, but the fun is in the fermentation for me. And I have a feeling that the folks at Four Roses share the sentiment.
Four Roses utilizes two mash bills, the slash line as follows: 60/75 corn, 35/20 rye, 5/5 barley. Furthermore they use 5 unique yeast strains, each contributing their own signature in the resulting flavors created during the fermentation period. This results in a total of 10 whiskies possible the principals can blend to their preferences. For today’s selection, Four Roses Small Batch is comprised of 4 of these creations (or recipes), blended together from a batch size of 250 barrels between 6 and 8 years old and is finally bottled at 45% ABV. Bourbon lovers love their bourbon data, which is why Four Roses and their specialty bottlings remain perennial favorites. That and the bourbon is good, too. On to it…
Nose- Light oak with eucalyptus. Caramel and cooked brown sugar. Minty rye with clove and rose petals. Sweet corn.
Taste- Lightly sweet with buttery corn. Mellowed with previously mentioned mint. Bubble gum.
Finish- Slightly dry with some bitter oak flourishes. Peppery. Medium length.
Comment- Decent enough and clean. Nice nose with a subdued taste.
SWC Rating- 83/100
Agree? Disagree? I can’t stop you.