Monday, April 29, 2013

Blind Tasting Sample #3: Four Roses, OESK, Cask Strength Single Barrel

I've made no secret of my love for Four Roses, so I had to include a sample in the tasting.  Of the 10 Four Roses recipes, I picked OESK because I had only had it once, but I thought it was amazing. The barrel in which this bottle originated was picked as a private selection by maybe the best liquor store in the US, The Party Source. It clocked in at 116 proof and was aged for nine years. The "E" designation means it is the low-rye recipe (higher in corn) and the "K" yeast provides a spicy, full bodied flavor. On to the tasting notes:

Overall: 85.4


Generally speaking, I loved this one. I'm going to try to pick apart the individual elements for the sake of giving thorough notes, but the bottom line is that I think this is absolutely delicious. It's the first of the three that I was floored by in all aspects: nose, flavor, finish, everything.

Nose: dark fruits maserated in alcohol. (Yes, I know how ridiculous that sounds.) Banana pudding with those little bready cookie pieces. Totally un-boozy. Delicious.

Taste: Full and syrupy mouth feel. More wood than you'd expect from the scent, but still incredibly mellow. A hint of spice but not much.

Finish: Little more spicy than it is on the tongue, the alcohol comes through a bit more here. Dried cherries. Touch of oak.

Overall: 91


nose: bright - vanilla and orange

taste: custard with burnt sugar; big and sweet

finish: smooth texture that fades slowly with slight burn like candied ginger


overall: 91


This is a light easy drinking Bourbon.  The initial nose is almost minty, the taste has a very light spice, not a strong body but with a soft vanilla finish.  I would guess this is a rye in the 80 proof range.



Nose was astringent with caramel. Taste and finish were not very neat or clean. It was kind of messy, actually, and noticeably thicker than, say, Sample #2. Was unable to discern much in the way of actual flavors. Not very good. 75.


Nose: Corn stalk and sweet corn, heat, with a hint of peanut

Taste: Very Sweet, slightly cloying. Some grassiness here.

Finish: Sweetness lingers awhile, but it fades into a weird funk.

Overall: 82


Final words: I was highly disappointed in my palate on this one.  I made the cardinal sin of blind tastings--I tried to guess the bourbon rather than just trying to decide if I liked it.  Like I said in the intro, this is a recipe I've liked in the past (and last weekend in Kentucky I had a lot of it and loved it), so I'm not sure what my palate was doing here. It was highly sweet, but that's to be expected with the E recipe. One thing that stands out was how easy this was to drink, despite the 116 proof.  That's one thing I experienced at the Four Roses barrel tasting last week--even at barrel proof, there's very little heat with a well aged Four Roses.

Anyhow, despite my low rating (and Jon's too), this one scored pretty well.  It's one I'd definitely like to spend some more time with.

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