Thanks to /u/devoz for these samples.
I decided recently I’d try a little experiment. I have two different samples of Four Roses Single Barrel from 2015. I tried them blind, chosen by my wife, while making a very early Thanksgiving dinner before I collapsed after cooking for 8 hours.
To say the least, I was trying them blind, but I was also knackered. Some people may have been smoking cigars around me, however I took my time on them.
Both of these use Four Roses OBSV, the high rye mash bill mixed with the light fruitiness, light vanilla, caramel, and creamy yeast.
I’ve always said that terroir is horseshit but isn’t. I think that small changes can do something depending on what they are. What the wheat farmer had for breakfast? Fuck that. Different location of the barrel? Sure, I can get that.
So, let’s see how the warehouse and barrel changes on these. My assumption going in is they’ll taste roughly the same. I’ve had others try it to make sure I’m not just over smoked and under educated.
So let’s see how these taste.
Price: Now out at the LCBO, however I believe it was $45.95 (CAD) per bottle, I think. I’ll leave it blank for now.
Colour: 5YR 6/10
Nose: Orange, sea air, alcohol, candy, mace, wood
Lots of orange at first. And some salt. There’s a spice, however given it’s not quite nutmeg, I’m going to say it’s mace, which is the spice you get from the shell, not the nut itself.
I’d like to think I’ll post enough reviews that I don’t have to explain “mace” all the time. Bit of raw alcohol too.
Taste: Mesquite, cola, peanut, currant, pepper, guava
Smokey. Specifically mesquite, because I’m smoking a turkey with that right now. I was worried I had too much smoke in my head, however others who weren’t smoking a turkey or a cigar confirmed it.
Not loving the cola notes. Bit sweet on the tastebuds.
Finish: Peanut, salty, pear, mint, dry, grapefruit
Long finish. Really long finish. Impressively long finish. Nicely dry, good salty notes, and just a light bitter balance to finish it all up.
Conclusion: This is a tasty dram. Has noticeable fruit, salt/nut notes, and pepper. It’s a little sweet in the taste than it should be, and the nose is unbalanced towards orange, however I liked it. Wish I had bought a bottle.
Took two large glasses of water and waited 45 minutes between drams. Also had some crackers, cleared my nose out, and was all good.
Colour: 5YR 6/10
Nose: Lemon, cinnamon, woody, thyme, raspberry
Okay, my hypothesis is wrong. I’m positive it’s wrong. No orange this time. The nutmeg is closer to cinnamon, and there’s a red fruit element. More earth as well. The orange tanginess is gone and replaced by more of an acidic lemon.
Taste: Cinnamon, pear, maple syrup/caramel, walnut oil, guava
More spice this time. Sweetness is still overbalanced, caramel is more pronounced, and the guava is back.
So it’s somewhat close, yet the caramel in the cola is more pronounced now, the smoke notes are gone, and it’s no longer red fruits but stone fruits.
Finish: Nutmeg, woody, pepper, orange, peanut, dry
Still dry, more acid than before, and no more mint on the finish.
Conclusion: It’s almost like one is a jumbled up of the one before. The notes are there, however they are in different places, and in different quantities, or missing.
And they don’t blend together as well. Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice, it’s just not the one before it.
Overall Conclusion: Terroir is a thing. Dur. No kidding. I knew that to start.
Different barrels, in different warehouses, create different whiskies. There are similarities though, given the same juice.
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