November 28, 2013

War of the Roses Part 3: Review - Four Roses Limited Edition Single Barrel 2013

This is part three of our Four Roses marathon.  If you're tuning in for the first time, rewind to the beginning.... 

Git Some

If this series has you pining for some single barrel cask strength Four Roses, KLWines has one available today from their private barrel program.  It's not one of the annual limited edition bottles like the one we're about to review, but hey if we could find more of these we'd be buying them ourselves!  KL's is 53% and 11 years old.  Driscoll describes it as "freakin' P-E-R-F-E-C-T. Big, zippy blasts of cinnamon and wood spice, a solid wave of vanilla that you can ride all the way to the end, and a rich and long finish, with dark red fruits and a hint of banana."  If you pick some up, drop us a line and let us know how it turns out.  It's bound to be a solid buy at $59.99.

A Look Back

Before we dive into tonight's gem (and oh boy it is a gem!!!), we thought we'd take a quick look back at the century-long history of Four Roses through some awesome vintage ads (these are sourced from Four Roses' Year of the Toast).  Don't these sort of make you want to go all Mad Men, suit it up, and go out for cocktails?  




Back to the Present

So what do we know about this 2013 Limited Edition Single Barrel?

It comes in at 59.7%, the highest proof beast yet in our Four Roses lineup.

It's 13 years old, an extra year of aging over the other two we've tasted so far.

It's an OBSK recipe:

O - Originally distilled at Four Roses

B - High-rye recipe:

60% Corn
35% Rye
5% Malted Barley
S - It's a straight bourbon whiskey.

K - The yeast and recipe combination is said to produce a flavor that's "rich in spiciness, with a full body"

Tasting Notes

Appearance:  The darkest yet.  Beautiful burnt orange with highlights of plum.

Nose:  Here we go this is the kind of deep sweet and wonderful nose that make you want to cuddle up inside the glass and float around for hours.  Heavy chocolate, roasted nuts (peanut butter & jelly?), then comes the polished oak and worn leather, and finally some little pops of pineapple and red pepper.

Palate:  The barrel proof flavor comes through big-time with a very deep oily and sweet palate.  Brown butter, apple pie filling, more nutty goodness, chocolate covered orange rind, gingerbread cookies, and some subtle stone fruits. 

Finish:  Even though it's the highest proof, it's incredibly smooth.  Works perfectly with no water without any burn, which is really stunning.  The spices come back out in the finish with cinnamon, clove, allspice, and nutmeg.

Review:  Ok this is the first WOW bottle in the lineup!  The brown butter, chocolate, molasses thing is awesome.  You can really taste the big barrel proof spirit, but it's wrapped in an incredible balance with the sweetness, wood, and spice.  The rich sweet backbone is very unlike the first two single barrels.  The signature spiciness is still there, but this time its more of a minor component against thick sweet butter and wood.  Maybe that extra year made a huge difference!

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!   Remember, whiskey is the best way to wash down pumpkin pie!  Tune in tomorrow as we move on to the Four Roses 2012 Limited Edition Small Batch!   /SB


  1. Loving this serial review! Can't wait to see your thoughts on the 125. Happy Thanksgiving and give my regards to NYC.

    1. Will do, thanks for reading. Happy Thanksgiving!!