It's no secret that we love Four Roses distillery and it's also not a secret that our K&L Exclusive casks from the Bourbon maker are some of the best whiskies we get each year. However, drinking great Kentucky Bourbon isn't always enough these days as consumers are always looking for something more to sink their teeth into. That's why we decided on a little theme for our most recent batch of Four Roses selections. The distillery makes two different mashbills: "E" which uses 75% corn, 20% rye and "B" which uses 60% corn and 35% rye. They also use five different types of yeast, creating the permutation potential ten different recipes. We decided to pick two yeast strains and see how they interacted with the two different mashbills, side-by-side.
Four Roses K&L Exclusive OBSF (10 Years Old, 9 Months) Single Barrel Cask Strength Bourbon $59.99 – In the OBSF cask, the higher percentage of rye comes through on the finish, as the peppery notes and minty flavors from the grain dominate the backend. The nose is all fruit, however, and a bit of water helps to tame that 59% cask strength proof. It's a different animal than the OESF, which we also brought in this time around as a comparison. The extra boost of rye really gives it that in-your-face spice that many Bourbon fans truly enjoy. It's a great whiskey for rocks sipping or even a bold Manhattan.
Four Roses K&L Exclusive OESF (10 Years Old, 2 Months) Single Barrel Cask Strength Bourbon $59.99 – OESF uses that higher corn mashbill, which gives it a mellower flavor than its OBSF brother. The minty notes are still there, but they're more subtle, allowing the wood to play the dominant role in the flavor profile. The nose is full of big vanilla oak and baking spices, but the palate is a huge burst of black pepper that carries all the way through to the finish. At 58.6%, it's a bold Bourbon, but it's nuanced and complex enough and to enjoy neatly--as long as you enjoy the spice!
Four Roses K&L Exclusive OBSQ (10 Years Old, 5 Months) Single Barrel Cask Strength Bourbon $59.99 – The OBSQ has the higher rye content of the two Q whiskies and the result is a monstrous Bourbon with big richness, big spice, big floral rye notes, and big everything! It's the richest of all the four casks and it has the most power at a whopping 60.3%. It's an in-your-face Bourbon that delivers all the goods.
Four Roses K&L Exclusive OESQ (9 Years Old, 5 Months) Single Barrel Cask Strength Bourbon $59.99 – The OESQ is the softest of the four casks at 56.7% and it's the creamiest of the bunch (perhaps due to the higher corn content). The flavors are green banana, soft vanilla from the oak, and a wave of baking spices that coat the palate on the finish. It's a striking difference from the higher rye OBSQ whiskey that offers big power and bold flavor. In this case, the corn really played a dominant role, bringing richness and creaminess instead of pure spice.