Updated: Jan 22, 2021
Four Roses Private Selection - OESF 9 yr. - KE 56-1A - WLV (2016) - 54.1%
Context: Between 2015-2017, I bought more Four Roses Private Selections than any other bourbon. As soon as Binny's or Warehouse Liquors or West Lakeview got their barrels in, I'd grab one of each recipe that hit the shelves and spend the next week comparing the bottles side-by-side. They were still reasonable enough I could run back to the store and grab backups of my favorites. As bourbon kept skyrocketing post-2017, I even resorted to keeping a glencairn in my car, would taste in the parking lot, and then walk right back in if it hit the right notes. At that time, the Four Roses and Smooth Ambler Old Scout Bourbon (MGP single barrels), were the only cask strength and single barrel bourbon combos regularly available on the market. A good barrel pick could hang with my favorite limited releases from that year. When guests came over, I'd crack a couple different recipes and we'd look for any core notes or tells from the individual yeast strains - "Don't you get cherry with K yeast?" "It's all berries with V for me." "That mint I get in F recipes though..." When that recipe runs got old, we starting getting into our favorite warehouses and tiers where the barrels aged. Four Roses really is the bourbon nerd's bourbon.
Then bourbon did what bourbon did. Now private groups put out APBs as soon as a barrel drops and the price has risen to meet the demand. At ~$80 after tax, I no longer grab one of each recipe that drops and I wouldn't be compelled to grab many backups at that price either. Truth be told, they don't sit around on the shelves long enough anymore for me to have to make any decisions like that.
My first time taking notes was on June 22nd, 2017.
Those notes are in italics. Above those will be the current tasting.
Nose: Medicinal cherry. Apple. Biscuit-y, toasty. Rye spice. It's pretty mellow and light, leading fruit.
Caramel corn. Peanut Brittle. (Almost KC SiB like). Faint, soft, herbal spice. Sweet and spicy. Well balanced.
Flavor: Sour corn (youth shows here). Cherry blossom. Mostly dry an herbal. Finish pops dry oak and mint tea.
A bit grainy. Oak. Some dark fruit and mild spice. Nice complexity.
Palate Structure: Slow and flat. Lean and dry. Finish is clean, but kind of ghosts.
Balanced. Decent complexity.
Alcohol Integration: Drinks light for the proof. Finish is especially short.
You’d Dig This If You Like:
Score: 6 (Solid) This was never my favorite barrel. Drinks a little immature and hasn't developed the palate depth or complexity of many 9-11 year selections I've tried. It played more complex to me three years ago. Either way, it still handles it's proof well and delivers a balanced profile.
10 - Reevaluate The Budget
9 - Stash Two (If Able)
8 - Stash One (At The Right Price)
7 - Highly Recommend It To Strangers
6 - Solid - Above Average
5 - Acceptable For The Situation
4 - Not Vocally Complaining
3 - Wish I Was Drinking Something Else
2 - Nothing Nice To Say
1 - Drain Pour