Four Roses – 2012 Limited Edition – Single Barrel Bourbon
Four Roses has a long lasting tradition of crafting fine bourbons. They have the distinct honor of producing ten different bourbons which, they then decide to either marry together, select small batches from and/or hand select single barrels that are simply extraordinary.
This is one such single barrel. This is the type of bourbon expression that I truly look for. It is Un-Cut and Non-Chilled filtered. A large amount of bourbon on the market is stripped of its beauty, from chill filtering but, not this one. Four Roses single barrels are made from the highest Rye content bourbons yet, this limited edition if made up of a slightly lower bill. Check out the Four Roses Link above to learn more about the 10 individual bourbons they create.
To the bourbon:
Limited Edition 2012 Release
108.6 Proof Single Barrel
Age: 12 years
Un-Cut Barrel Strength and Non-Chilled Filtered
Master Distiller, Hand Selected
Warehouse No. SN
Barrel No. 81-3P
The side of the bottle has a well noted story on how this bourbon came to be. It is presented well with a wooden/cork topper and accented, just below, with a golden Four Roses cravat. The libation is presented well in its clear, non-traditional labeled bottle. All of the lettering is printed directly on.
The color has dark amber but, lovely golden blood orange hue.
The first nose right out of the bottle is of light corn, vanilla and a hint of oat and spice.
Nose in a glass:
A beautiful bouquet of rye, vanilla with hint of char and oat present themselves in the glass. This is truly mouthwatering. Corn and yeast emerges in the middle of the nose with sweet hints of toasted treacle at the finish.
This is a perfect description of a beautiful bourbon. Perfectly sweet, with splashes of rye and vanilla. Oily, almost honey like coating which, last in your mouth for some time. Just a pop of intensity that then fades away slowly. The best part of this expression is the finish. Truly lovely. Please take your time drinking this one. Vanilla, oak and little char at the finish while your mouth is nicely warmed. Simply wonderful!
This is a beautiful expression that should be enjoyed neat with a drop or two of water. I tend to fill my glass, half-way, with spring water and drink it before I fill my glass with bourbon. This is especially true with Rye expressions. A little bit of water helps to open the spices within. Enjoy this slowly; it is unmatched by its standard shelf brothers. If you happen to have an opportunity to find a bottle, please do not hesitate to pick it up and never let go. Its proof is perfect for the age and oily mouth presence. My words cannot do it enough justice.
This limited edition is supple yet, controlled in the mouth. The nose is a classic: oaky-smoky, like you’re standing in the warehouse; there is some confection and vanilla, but the palate tends to dryness. Rye begins with subtlety and then ramps up from the mid-palate into a blooming finish.
There will be a new review a few times a year. So, stay tuned in for future reviews. Please write if you have specific bourbon you would like a review on next!
Wild Turkey “Kentucky Spirit” Single Barrel
Wild Turkey has an extremely strong heritage in bourbon distilling, ageing and bottling. I have tasted almost all of the bourbon that they produce and none of their other expressions match up to this one. There is a reason why these particular barrels were selected to become single barrel expressions. This distillery is tucked in the hills of Lawrenceburg Kentucky and has established a new home for itself. It is just across the street from the old distillery.
Wild Turkey set forth on an adventure to build a new “State of the Art” distillery. When I visited the old distillery, two years ago, there was not much left to desire. Yet, when I stood on top of the hill, near the old grain silos, I could see the new distillery being built. I am sure that the new distillery is a sight to see.
To the Bourbon:
101 Proof Single Barrel Bourbon
Age: 14 years
Hand Selected by our Master Distiller
Barrel No. 44
Warehouse No. F
Rick No. 32
The bottle is very elegant. A feather-like crown sits on the breast of the bottle. A beautifully made Wooden Cork topper has a CNC Laser or Engraved “Turkey” proudly on top.
The color within the bottle is almost a true Wild Flower Honey hue but, it has just a hint to medium Amber tint to it.
The first nose right out of the bottle is of light corn and has a young bourbon barrel nose.
Nose in a glass:
There is an amount of sweet corn and a bit or nosy intensity within the glass.
This expression is rather sweet. Yet, it has a very pleasing medium to mild palate intensity. I am not a big fan of sweet bourbons. This single barrel is on the verge of being too sweet. It has a strong essence of honey with a slight bit of vanilla. Only the slightest hint of oaky char presents itself at the very end of the profile. This is not a very complex expression but, it does have enough flavor to make it worth your while.
There is not much to speak of in the way of flavor while this libation is on your tongue though. Yet, when you swallow, there is a sudden pop on mild intensity, corn, orange rind and clove. It then evolves into a sweet lingering corn and barley after palate. There is just enough palate intensity to make your taste buds dance from sip to sip.
This is not going to be the best bourbon you have ever tasted. Honestly, it seems to be a bit young for a 14 year old; other than its beautiful palate presence. This 101 proof expression is nice but, I think that “Chill-Filtering” raped it of its loveliness. Or at least it could use a few more years in the barrel or a bit more rye to help the flavor along.
After a little while of breathing in the glass, a very low spice note presents itself. Yet, this very low spice expression will not go well with any type of water.
As a side note: I really like my bourbon from the freezer but, this may not be the best thing for this Single Barrel. The cold can sometime bring out a bit of mellifluousness from within a bourbon. The fatty acids start to congeal, which can produce a slight bit of sweetness. So if you are like me, I would suggest that this Wild Turkey Single Barrel Bourbon be served neat or mixed with your favorite cocktail. There are not too may High Priced bourbons that I would mix with anything but, this one is rather sweet and it would make a highly spectacular and high dollar Mint Julep.
Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit is a single-barrel that is Hand Selected and is a fuller bodied bourbon. It has rich vanilla flavors and a hint of sweetness leading to a long, dark, and lingering finish that is well rounded.
There will be a new review about every month. Stay tuned in for future reviews. Please write if you have a specific bourbon you would like a review on next!
Sycamore Hills Whiskey Presents the De-Bour-Can Brand Bourbon. The Next Sycamore Hills Whiskey that will be unveiled will be a Single Barrel “American Style” Whiskey and a Single Barrel “Rye” Whiskey; both aged in Bourbon Barrels.
The Long Awaited De-Bour-Can Single Barrel and Small Batch Bourbons have arrived!
Here are three expressions that have been Pioneered with the use of Micro Barreling techniques. The recipes have been developed to provide an extremely flavorful yet, mellow palate experience. All of these current De-Bour-Can Bourbon Expressions are made with Rye, Corn and Barely (their ratios are a highly guarded secret). Each Bourbon has been “Proofed” to complement its age and flavor profile.
Note: With slow aging and an Equable Milieu (Temperate Environment) Sweet Mash, these Very Very Small Batches of Straight Bourbons can allow for a higher Proof. The bourbon connoisseur and enthusiasts alike, will fall in love with the fresh grain and oaky oils that envelop your mouth and noses with pure bliss.
Current Be-Bour-Can Expressions are Non-Chilled Filtered to keep as much flavor and plate presence as possible. Their equivalent ages are noted:
1) Sycamore Hills Small Batch “AT1” Straight Bourbon (12 years) 105 Proof
2) Sycamore Hills Single Barrel” A1″ Straight Bourbon (12 years) 121 Proof
3) Sycamore Hills Single Barrel “T1” Straight Bourbon (12 years) 145 Proof (Barrel Proof)
We do not have labels yet but, at least you can see the diffrence in the color and hue between them.
There will be a review on these bourbons at a later date. Let us know if you are interested.
Bushmills Single Malt Irish Whiskey 10 yr
We do not do many other types of Whisk(e)y reviews here at SHW but, every once and a while it is nice to try something different. Also, seeing that St. Patricks’ Day is here, we thought that this review may be fitting.
This is a bottle that one of my very dear friends gave to me for a birthday celebration. It is an Irish whiskey expression that comes from the one of the oldest Irish distillers known. The Bushmills Distillery claims to be, and is almost unanimously considered to be, the oldest licensed distillery in the world.
Bushmills has a rich heritage of whisk(e)y making and has been enjoyed by newcomers and enthusiast alike.
To the Whiskey:
Two Cask Aging Process (Bourbon and Sherry)
80 Proof Blended Barrels
Age: 10 years
Single Malt Whiskey
Matured in Two Woods
“The World’s Oldest Whiskey Distillery”
The bottle is very nice and has Embossed lettering on the side and front. There is a dark forest green label with gold lettering that proudly presents “Bushmills” and “Aged 10 Years” on the front of it. The bottle sports a nice cork topper as well.
The color within the bottle is a very light honeydew and amber.
The first nose right out of the bottle is of light barley and oak.
Nose in a glass:
A bit of clove, barley and honey is in the front. Yet, a small amount of peat and sweet sherry is pronounced in the end of the glass.
This is a very light and refreshing expression. A slight bit of char and oak is in the very end of the profile yet, there is a simple bell curve of flavor and palate intensity. The intensity is extremely low and could be enjoyed by all. This is not a very complex whiskey but, still has enough flavor diversity throughout. An almost real honey quality presents itself right off the bat and then moves into a light barley note. There’s not much of any Sherry notes on the palate. All of the Sherry seems to come from the nose. Yet, at the end there is a light intensity that stays on you tongue and roof of your mouth.
You must understand that the large majority of Irish and Scottish whisk(e)ys are bottled at 80 Proof. This is not exactly what I am looking for in a whiskey but, this expression is very nice. I tend not to care for very sweet expressions; so I am glad that this 10 year old whiskey is not overly so. You could simply mix this in a cocktail but, could be best served chilled from the freezer. The flavors are so light and delicate that I would not suggest adding any water or ice. Especially since there is no real spice notes within the flavor profile. I also would suggest serving this, 10 years old, with a nice summer fish, cheese or fruit picnic. So, plan a day to be outside, under a tree or on a nice breezy hill side at your favorite state or national park.
Bushmills 10 Year Malt is triple distilled from 100% malted barley and matured for a minimum of 10 years delivering rich honey and ripe fruit notes with soft vanilla, cocoa and toasted wood deluging the palate. The finish is crisp and clean.
Rowan’s Creek Single Barrel Bourbon
Not, just another Kentucky Bourbon Distillers Bourbon! Look, they make great Bourbon and I might as well keep on reviewing them. Rowan’s Creek Single Barrel Straight Bourbon Whiskey is hand made in the heart of bourbon country, Bardstown Kentucky. This is a part of their Small Batch collection. This bourbon is a beautiful Single Barrel that is made in very small batches and then bottled with the least amount of filtering possible. Rowan’s Creek is the younger brother of Noah’s Mill, 15 year old Single Barrel Bourbon. They both seem to be a part of the same Mash Bill but, I do not know for sure. Yet, this expression is easily in my top ten of standard production bourbons.
The distiller says: Rowan’s Creek takes its namesake from the creek that still runs through their little distillery. Back in the late 1700’s when John Rowan, a judge and a statesman first settled about these parts, whiskey makin’ was the order of the day. The judge is long since gone but, the creek that still bears his name is still carrying the best limestone spring water that Kentucky has to offer.
To the bourbon:
100.1 Proof Single Barrel
Age: 12 years
Distilled, Aged and Bottled in Kentucky
2011 Gold Medal from San Francisco World Spirits Competition
Batch QBC No. 11-176
The label and the wax upon the topper matches the hue of the stunning liquescent substance from within. They both have a blushing maroon tint to them. The presentation of the bottle is rather simple yet, unique and it even comes with a nice cork topper.
The color is a little darker amber than most bourbons and has just a hint of rosy hue to it.
The first nose right out of the bottle is of oak, light char and corn.
Nose in a glass:
There is nothing more to say other than wonderful! But, I will say that there is some light caramel corn, oak with hints of rye and yeast. Only a hint of the proof comes through with this well-aged expression. The nose is nicely complex and is something that I could simply immerse myself into all day but, the taste is still to come!
Now this is Bourbon! Oily loveliness, this is. The first taste coats your palate with oak (but, not overly so), char, vanilla, rye spice, hint of floral and hidden notes of mint. Second sip has a bit more corn and gives just a slight bit of intensity on the roof of your mouth. The flavors stay on our tongue for a very long time and continue to evolve well after you have swallowed. It is nicely balanced but, not overly complex with unwanted notes. You could enjoy a glass for an hour and not have to refill. That means you could save a bit for me! He He
After a poor showing from Mr. Willett’s Pot Still, Rowan’s Creek revitalizes the title of the best bourbon maker in Kentucky, in my eyes, to Kentucky Bourbon Distillers. This is a fantastic bourbon for the price and just comes in an overall second to its older brother, Noah’s Mill. It is best served neat but, has enough spice that a spot of spring water could open it up a bit. Well, there is not much more to say but, that this is a bourbon that you will just have to try for yourself. But, wives beware, you may just fall in love!
Rowan’s Creek Single Barrel is incredibly balanced with zesty aromatics of honeysuckle and jasmine notes. The mouth-feel is supple but not thick; there’s also a subdued sweetness with just a touch of pepper and no detectable heat. Attractively packaged and reasonably priced.
Willett Pot Still Reserve Single Barrel Bourbon
I know that I have been doing a lot of reviews on Kentucky Bourbon Distillers, Ltd. but, there expressions are superb. Of course, this one comes from the Willett Family of bourbons. This is their staple Single Barrel Bourbon expression that is normally on the market. This is handmade, well-aged bourbon that is prepared and bottled by the Kentucky Bourbon Distillers, Ltd. Again, some of the best, most flavorful and most complex bourbons in the world come from under the roof this distilleries barrel houses.
Yet, this bourbon is very different and I don’t just mean the Pot Still shaped glass bottle.
To the bourbon:
94 Proof Single Barrel
Age: 8-10 years
Distilled, Aged and Bottled in Kentucky
Bottle No. 149 out of 275 (picked for this reason-It is said that some of the best bottles come from the middle of the batch)
Barrel No. 5535
The presentation of this bottle of bourbon is extremely elaborate. The bottle itself is worth having on your shelf. It has a very nice cork topper and the bottle is supposed to show off their pride a bit but, they may have over done it. Yet, there is a beautiful golden-copper wax stamp on the breast of the bottle with an axiom of, “Willett Pot Still Reserve”.
The color is almost a true amber color with a hint of blood orange.
The first nose right out of the bottle is of sweet corn.
Nose in a glass:
Some barrel char is the first to present itself with just a slight hint of nuttiness and rye at the back.
It has an extremely Low palate intensity and flavor. Hints of nut, earth, dry oak and char are in the final stages but, there is not much to speak of the front. After the glass gasps for a bit, it opens up and the palate intensity increases slightly. A bit of unwanted pungency presents itself toward the end. Only a hint of intensity leaves itself on the top of your throat and on the back of your tongue.
To be honest, this is the first Willett family bourbon that I have been disappointed in. Being mellow is normally a great aspect of a bourbon (this one certainly is mellow) but, it is not a good thing when there is not much to speak of in the way of flavor. The most predominate thing about this expression is the bit of pungency in the end. At times, I cringed.
I have tried to enjoy this bourbon for a while. Mainly, because I could not believe that this was a Kentucky Bourbon Distillers, Ltd. expression and I did not want it to be a let down. But, I have been let down and there is nothing I can do about it. Of course this may be a bourbon that others really do enjoy and it could be a “Love It” or “Leave It” kind of thing but, I am going to leave it. I am not sure why this expression is not something that I really enjoy? But, I think the bottle is trying to, as they say, over compensate for something!
Please Note: If you want a very good to great expression from the same distillery (for the same price); I would suggest Pure Kentucky XO Single Barrel (12 years old; which has slightly more char and corn than Rowans Creek) or Rowans Creek Single Barrel (12 years old; Seems to be on the same Mash Bill as Noah’s Mill (one of my favorite expressions) and is slightly more oily and oaky than Pure Kentucky XO).
From a single barrel 8 to 10 years old, and bottled in a pot still decanter replicated from the pot still used by the distiller. On the nose, there are notes of honey, butterscotch, and some char. Smooth and creamy sensations of mild butterscotch and char, with some sweet cherry and citrus tartness before fading into a long, lingering, oaky finish.
Vintage Bourbon Single Barrel Bourbon
This beautiful expression comes from the Willett Family of bourbons. This is their Oldest Single Barrel Bourbon expression that is normally on the market but, is becoming more-and-more limited and is sometimes very hard to find. This is handmade, very well aged bourbon that is prepared and bottled by the Kentucky Bourbon Distillers, Ltd. In my opinion, some of the best, most flavorful and most complex bourbons in the world come not only from the Bourbon Capital of the world (Bardstown, KY) but, from under the roof this distilleries barrel house.
To the bourbon:
94 Proof Single Barrel
Age: 17 years
Handmade in Kentucky
“…Vintage Bourbon is selected from the very rarest lot of barrels…”
“…extra years of barrel aging limits the quantity from each barrel to be bottled…”
The presentation of this bottle of bourbon is simple yet, very elegant. The cork topper is bounded by green wax atop the bottle and the age statement (17 years) is proudly labeled across the breast of the bottle.
The color is dreamy and intoxicating. You can almost imagine the flavors and nose right from the color. It has a deep to dark molasses hue with a very rich blood orange tint to it. This comes from the many years of traveling to and from the “Red Layer”. It appearances copiously opaque; showing no signs of over filtering.
The first nose right out of the bottle is like walking into a barrel house on a hot summer day. Sweet bourbon, a nose just like the seeping dark sap-like residue coming from a well-aged summer barrel.
Nose in a glass:
Medium to strong oak char notes in the front with a hint of rye spice hitting the top of the nose. This is a very interesting and complex nose. Hints of corn, honey, sugarcane, light resin, dried oak, earthy tobacco and very light gum-epoxy esters emerge.
Palate intensity is mild to medium and slowly builds to its peak. Then slowly turns from the apex into rich oaky char. The flavors are very complex and finishes very differently from the start. A nice pop of rye spice hits the top or your throat near the end of your palate presence curve. Even after a number of minutes the flavors are still on your palate and still evolving. An extremely subdued sweet corn, wheat and apple hits come out well after your sip. On the front, there is a sweet hint of caramel and then moves to a mild to medium pop of rye and then a very slight hint of vanilla rounds things off.
This bourbon is beautiful, rich and complex which keeps bringing you back to the glass. This Vintage Bourbon is how older bourbon should be. Some older bourbons are still over filtered and lack complexity despite their age. While being relatively mellow, there are a number of palate flavor changes that emerge from no-ware. It is no wonder why “The New York Times” Taste Test gave it 3½ out of 4 starts. Ranking it in the top 2 out of 25 well-aged bourbons tested. Malt Advocate gave it a 92 rating. The Willett Family has many award winning bourbons and has become one of my favorite distilleries, period.
This Vintage Bourbon is wonderful sipped neat but, is very nice with a single ice cube or a drop of spring water is the glass. Even though this expression is only a 94 proof libation its spicy palate presence is much more like a higher proof bourbon. This being said, it reacts well to a spot of water, unlike most Wheated and lower proof bourbons do. The nose changes slightly but, the magic happens in the glass. The bit of water opens the rye into hint of apple blossoms and yeast.
For its age, it is a moderately higher priced expression that you should have on your shelf (and kept to yourself if possible). That is if you like a very well-aged, highly spiced rye palate intensity and nose, flavors of medium yet, not overly woody/oaky char while being very well round and complex. If this is true for you, then this bourbon is truly something wonderful that you must try.
Vintage Bourbon 17 year has notes of molasses, red currant, citrus peel, sandalwood, polished leather, and vanilla cream. Subtle, teasing black licorice and brittle mint emerge from time to time. It is well-balanced, with all the flavors sharing the limelight. This is a beautiful example of mature bourbon.