Four Roses Single Barrel Limited Edition 2011

Maker: Four Roses, Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, USA (Kirin)

Age: 12 y/o

Recipe: OBSQ

Warehouse/Barrel: QN/17-34

Proof: 118.6 (59.3% ABV)

Appearance: auburn with long, clingy legs.

Nose: Like distilled jerk sauce. A lovely balance of spice, heat, and fruity sweetness.

On the palate (with water): The fruit really comes to the fore. Less jerk and more Pickapeppa® now. Wild Blackberry, raspberry, pomegranate juice, sweet red currant. All this with some caramel and a tiny hint of oak, but it’s not missed. Like a baroque concerto grosso. No one element dominates, but each takes its own turn on the tongue, resulting in a sublime balance of disparate elements.

I tasted a 9 y/o Party Source bottling of OBSQ for comparison’s sake. The extra three years in the bottle make a pretty big difference. All the elements are there in the younger bourbon, but the hot spice overwhelms the fruit. More like a Buffalo Wing sauce or a romantic solo concerto.

Finish: Hot, then tannic and slightly sweet. This is by far the oakiest part of the whole experience. But even here the sweetness and fruit provide a refreshing counterpoint to the wood.

Parting Words: Not much else can be said about this amazing whiskey. I loved the 2009 edition but like the younger OBSQ, it was more solo than grosso. The sweet cotton candy and bubblegum flavors overran the other elements. The 2010 was the 100th Anniversary (of the distillery building) edition. It was 17 years old, and was too woody and dry for my taste. The 2011 is on par with the first two releases in the series (2007’s 40th anniversary and 2008’s 120th anniversary). It’s expensive for a bourbon (>$70 for per bottle) but it is worth much more than that. Coming from a cheap bastard like me, that’s high praise. It goes without saying, but this bourbon is one of the best I’ve ever had and is very highly recommended.