For the final entry in the series I omitted the ‘K’ yeast strain and selected my favorite based on the series results and all the other Four Roses drinking I’ve been doing to compete with the 2019 Limited Edition.
There was a small hitch with the Q yeast strain though; I had inadvertently polished off the 10 year old Binny’s OBSQ at some point. Thankfully I had secured a 10 year gift shop bottle that was also fantastic.
For this tasting I did another blind tasting video to pick a favorite and then sat down to write some more detailed notes.
Age: 10 years 3 months
Barrel: LW 47-2Q
Quick thoughts: Fruity, sweet, oaky
Age: 10 years 6 months
Barrel: KW 41-2P
Quick thoughts: Less fruity, floral
Age: 12 years
Barrel: GE 34-3H
Quick thoughts: rich, oaky, caramel, long spicy finish
Age: 9 years 5 months
Barrel: UN 47-2T
Quick thoughts: Less fruity, caramel
Age: 11 - 21 years
Quick thoughts: really good (by the fifth sample in a video I was trailing off hard)
Well that was surprising; I really thought the 2019 LE was going to win. All 5 of these ended up being fantastic bottles. I’d gladly buy each of them again given the chance though I don’t think that will be an option.
I set out believing I preferred the E mashbill to the B and by the end it was clear that wasn’t the case. For the top end of the range the B mashbill dominated though the middle and bottom were relatively balanced but 2 of the bottom 3 were B and the other was a really off profile OESV. I think when that extra rye lands it is really awesome but the lower rye is a ‘safer recipe’
The O and Q yeasts definitely shown through as my favorites with the V and F in 3rd and 4th though only by a nose. The K was easily my least favorite of the lot but it tends to be in every Limited Edition and both K recipes are in the Small Batch Select which leads me to believe it is better as a blending agent. The fruity and floral notes from O and Q make Four Roses standout compared to other distilleries which was a big part of what I liked about them. Those notes also helped balance the spice from the high rye B mashbill.
I need to go back and update the old review with rickhouse information where I can(not all the samples have it on them) but I didn’t see a strong correlation between tier and quality. 3 of the top 4 where tier 2 though I also have more tier 2 picks overall. I had two tiers 6s and they were both good but didn’t stand out. I have several 1s, 3s and 4s and only a few 5s.
I think blind tastings are super valuable when it comes to bourbon but not the end all be all, especially one round tastings. There’s a lot that can impact them from your palate that day, to proof differences, sweet vs spicy and the order you taste them in. For example in this tasting I think I anchored on the first one as it was very good and I had it first. Mentally I was comparing each other bottle to it more than I should have been. I think the Moonshine pick was hurt by it’s lower proof in the blind where when I drink it on it’s own it is outstanding.
TL;DR: O > Q > LE > V > F > K
Next up I’m going to do a few 1 off reviews and then get started on the finished whiskey series!