You know the story about Four Roses's ten unique bourbon recipes, right? They use a combination of two mashbills and five distinct yeast strains, resulting in ten unique bourbons that act as building blocks in blending their different bottlings. We couldn't resist finding the best of each, and for several years now, we've maintained our own Handpicked versions of all ten recipes. With the recent arrival of several new bottlings to fill out the lineup, we sat down to taste all the expressions at once.
Floral, Banana, Fresh, Medium Body"Brown sugar and honey on the nose, with peach and banana fruit, plus a rosewater floral quality. Powerful on the palate, with lemon cut over a little fat and corn puddin' before a long, spicy finish.
Slightly Fruity, Spicy, Medium Body"Lean and spicy. Big floral notes on the nose, and banana and strawberry. The high-rye mashbill gives an herbal cut not unlike caraway, before a finish of lingering spirit.
Delicate Fruit, Fresh, Creamy"A nose of very ripe fruit, including banana, orange peel and maybe even fig. The wood shows as vanilla and caramel, with a round honeyed body and herbal notes of anise.
Delicate Fruit, Spicy, Creamy"On the light and fresh end of the lineup. An easygoing nose of banana and white pepper. Carmel, cherry and anise, and then a sensation not unlike to licking an oak stave. In a good way.
Fruity Red Berries, Medium Body"The wood shows in the nose: sawdust up front, plus marzipan and nutmeg, cherry, apple and orange. Rich in spice, with echoes of the nose's baking spice with a deeper herbal cut.
Floral Rose Petal, Spicy, Medium Body"Delicate pear and sawdust on the nose, which is deceiving. Heavier fruit like cherry and plum... make that cherry syrup and plum pudding. But it's all balanced against a wall of spirit, rye and wood structure.
Spicy, Full Body"Lighter, brighter, spirited and spicy. Steamlined and sleek with notes of clove and fennel. Call it a spice bomb.
Rich in Spiciness, Full Body"Clove. Taffy apple, vanilla and Christmas spice. Eggnog levels of spice. Grippy, with sweet, bright cocktail cherry fruit notes, finishing dry and spicy.
Mint, Fruity, Full Body"The F recipes are always a favorite, and this is proof. Lemon, citrus and light confectionary on the nose lead into a sleek and complex body before finishing fresh and minty.
Mint, Fruity, Spicy, Full Body"A rye-heavy mashbill and a yeast that emphasizes vegetal spice? Oh yeah. Menthol, eucalyptus on the nose. Dry, puckering, bitter and lingering. Gutsy. Big boy bourbon.
By the way, did you miss out on the 2014 Four Roses Single Barrel? We couldn't help but notice that this year's bottle was a cask strength 11 year old OESF. Wait... Binny's Handpicked OESF just happens to be cask strength and 11 years old. And it's half the price. Just sayin'.