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Five Four Roses Single Barrels: The OBs

Posted on by Eric Burke

It’s really no secret that I love Four Roses Bourbon. They initially grabbed my attention when their social media person sent a note of encouragement to my wife on her first session of chemo a few years back. It meant a lot to her and we’ve had a soft spot in our hearts for the brand ever since. The fact that they also make kick-ass whiskey doesn’t hurt either. 

Ever since we first learned about the ten Four Roses recipes, my wife and I have wanted to sit down and try them all to see how they were different from one another. Well, after thinking about it for a few years, this year we decided it would be a good idea to buy a single barrel of each recipe. For Christmas. I bought her the five OBs and she got me the five OEs.

As you can tell, deep down, we are romantics. 

Last Saturday we finally started our project. We tasted our way through my wife’s Christmas present, spending a really nice afternoon tasting the five different OB bourbons. The results are below.

OBSK

Age: 12 years, 6 months

Label details: 60.9% ABV, Warehouse VE, Barrel 5-5D

Purchased at: Four Roses Cox’s Creek Gift Shop

Nose: Alcohol, first and formost. But under it, is a sweet caramel cookie.

Mouth: Sweet spiciness. Think warm cinnamon candy and brown sugar.

Finish: Sweet and spicy, with a surprising bit of fruitiness

Thoughts: This is all about sweet spiciness. But there are enough hints of other things to keep you interested. Things like that surprise fruitiness in the finish.

OBSQ

Age: 11 years, 4 months

Label details: 56.0% ABV, Warehouse BN, Barrel 22-2H

Purchased at: The Party Source

Nose: Caramel, cinnamon red hots, and a floral waxiness

Mouth: Floral with a hint of mint or menthol. This is spicy enough that a lovely tingle runs down your tongue as it moves back in the mouth.

Finish: Christmas cookie, menthol, hot though not burning.

Thoughts: Distinctive doesn’t begin to cover this. This is different than any bourbon I’ve had.

OBSV

Age: 10 years, 1 month

Label details: 55.1% ABV, Warehouse ME, Barrel 2-1F

Purchased at: The Party Source

Nose: Brown sugar, honey, vanilla, baking spices

Mouth: Creamy, fruity, and sweet vanilla/caramel

Finish: Sharp with a hint of bitterness. Mouth drying

Thoughts: I get why this recipe might be used as the “regular” release of single barrel, it is the most generic bourbon flavor of the batch. A tasty, tasty, generic.

OBSF

Age: 8 years, 1 month

Label details: 52.3% ABV, Warehouse HW, Barrel 29-4E

Purchased at: The Party Source

Nose: Bubble gum, oak, ginger

Mouth: Mint on the tip of the tongue, a sharp ginger spiciness, salty

Finish: Sharp, puckers the mouth with a warmth that settles in your chest.

Thoughts: Not sure if I cared for this one. It’s sharp and spicy. Maybe too sharp.

OBSO

Age: 10 years, 3 months

Label details: 54.9% ABV, Warehouse BN, Barrel 4-1M

Purchased at: The Party Source

Nose: Menthol, brown sugar, and baking spices

Mouth: warm, with nice body. Spiced cirtus punch.

Finish: cooling mint remains in the mouth while a nice warmth settles in your chest

Thoughts: This is exactly what I imagine when I imagine four Roses.

There were none of these I disliked. In fact, I was prepared to say that I was a big fan of all of them until I had the OBSF. That one I will need to spend a little more time with. Luckily, there is enough left in each bottle that we’ll be able to spend some time with all of them yet. 

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go celebrate Christmas again.