Saturday, December 21, 2013

Four Roses 2012 Limited Edition Small Batch and 2013 125th Anniversary Small Batch

12/21/13 Four Roses 2012 Small Batch (55.7) and Four Roses 125th Anniversary Small Batch (51.6)

2012: 17 year old OBSV, 11 year old OBSV, 12 year old OBSK and 12 year old OESK. 4,062 bottles.

125th (2013): 18 year OBSV, 13 Year OBSK, 13 Year OESK, 12468 Bottles


2012: Four Roses style mulling spice and pepper are turned on overdrive. Fairly subtle vanilla and honey notes, and hints of very old (but not musty) oak, cherries, all finished by a sweeter side of the rye profile.

125th: Noticeably dry right off the 2012. Brine, tobacco, again some of that allspice mulled cider type spice. More wood flavor is evident in the nosing profile of the 125th. This smells much more reminiscent of the off the shelf small batch, if the SmB was a barrel strength special edition.


2012: Four Roses barrel sugars, bright cherries, and that textbook floral explosion of different bright yeast notes that I come to expect from this distillery.  The 12 year OBSK (the same as the 2013 single barrel) really impacts some flavor on this one. Maybe a little overproofed to drink at Barrel Strength, but wouldn’t need much water. This bottling does a good job of capturing the bright, eclectic spicy/floral profile that I have experienced so much in the past with four roses. Textbook.

125th: Building dry rye spice complemented with the lightest tobacco, that is driven remarkably towards the finish. No detours. A floral-noted rye note that is sharpened and drives straight towards the back of your mouth with nothing else to think about. At this point it’s more beneficial to note what’s not there -- everything is directed towards the dry spice. Oak is tamed (there’s a 17 year in here, remember), corn oils have submitted, and even a lot of the trademark Four Roses cherry/pepper potpourri is pulled out. Notes should be taken about a 51.6% ABV of a barrel strength product.


2012: Some light tongue tingling complements the notes of the initial tasting. No flavor note transitions. Moderate oil and barrel strength mouthfeel. Moderate length in relation to the 125.

125th: The flavors of the taste meld perfectly into the finish. It’s long and unsurprisingly dry. Some unfiltered oils can be detected and the mouthfeel is light.

Balance: My favorite distillery delivers on two fabulous products that side-by-side are remarkably different, but both capture different aspects of why I like 4R so much. The intense floral notes of the 2012 and the dry vanilla and tobacco rye notes of the 125th are both just great in a bottle. Four Roses LEs may possibly be my favorite in the industry as they often present a balance that a 15+ year old product or a 66%+ barrel strength offering cannot bring to the table.

Stupid letter grades: A and A

Thank God for stock photos

Would I buy again: Yes.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

In Which The Boy Goes to The Party Source

What I tasted at The Party Source last night and short notes

I stopped at The Party Source last night. The store is massive. Like supermarket big. Got some good shopping in, too.

Pappy Van Winkle 23: Smoothness and acridity at the same time. A lot of wood with a well developed wheat profile. Not for me.

Parker’s Heritage 1st (Cask Strength 11 year, 3rd release): More HH woody notes than I’d expect from an eleven year. Surprisingly drinkable at bottling strength. Not for me. Taste was similar to ECBP, but easier to drink at proof. I liked ECBP

Pappy Van Winkle 15: Much better than the 23 but still a fair wood profile in the product. I think in the future I would even pass on picking this one up.

Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye: This has to be much older than 13 years. A lot more wood than you’d expect, but finally, I found the balance of wood and rye to be in check. Rye profile was highly matured, without some of those really sweet or excessively dry notes that you’d find in a TH Handy or Bulliet Rye respectively. I would buy this one again. Closest product I’d compare this to is the Sazarac 18

Hirsch 22 Rye: Van Winkle Rye +1 a little more matured than the VW, but tolerable to me. Best of the night.

Take all these notes with a grain of salt. It should be abundantly clear to you by now that high age oak is not my thing. When I have the opportunity to taste small (or free) pours I generally try things that are rarer or things that I think I will not like. At this point I have tried all VW except the 10, and I have a few of those at home, and picked one up last night for 34 bucks. I’d rank the VW as followed VWFRR>PVW20>PVW15>PVW23>ORVW12. Based on my age preference I’m going to speculate the 10 going in to take 1st or 2nd.

If you like a lot of wood in your whiskey these are all solid A’s.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Redbreast Cask Strength

12/2/13 Redbreast Cask Strength 57.7% Batch B1/11

Nose: Dry musty rasins, wet stone, light floral spices. Not a full barley nose, unmalted barley contributes a rye-like note. Complex, strong, full-bodied. I haven’t had a ton of Irish Whiskey but this nose is simply stunning and easily the best Irish nosing I’ve had.

Taste: What I noted first on the palate was the mouthfeel. A full, oily wave washes from the front of your tongue to the back of your palate followed by a fleeting sugary sweetness. This 12 year whiskey feels much older than 12 years in your mouth. The malted and unmalted barley combine with some hints of lightly matured notes and some unexpected, pleasant green notes. Sherry influence is minimal, but some weak oloroso notes can be found in there.

Finish: Weak ex-bourbon vanilla and the return of the green rye-like note. Long, intense finish courtesy of the full strength bottling.

Balance: Full strength, full bodied, full mouthfeel. The style of the time is full strength bottlings and this is a great example of a cask strength done right. Redbreast 12CS has a lot to offer a whiskey drinker of any style. The malted/unmalted blend offers a barley forward profile but a blended feel that reduces that strong barley flavor of a single malt whisky. I would recommend this whiskey to either bourbon or scotch drinkers. There’s something similar to find in the product for either camp.

Stupid letter grade: A

Would I buy again: Yes