I don't really go in for Trophy Bourbon Hunting anymore. The hassle isn't worth the reward in most cases. The reward, in this case, being that I then get the opportunity to spend way too much money on a single bottle of bourbon. Nothing brought that home to me more than a conversation that my wife had with a coworker.
She had been tasked with finding something special for this coworker. while we were in Kentucky Something that he couldn't get at home. He gave her money and a budget thinking that he'd be getting a private selection from a store in Louisville or maybe something from Willett. Well, the only thing Willett had when I stopped in was a $165 bottle of twelve-year-old bourbon. Neither he nor I were getting anything from Willett.
But my wife and I each got the opportunity to purchase a bottle of this year's Four Roses Limited Small Batch. Don't get me wrong, we normally buy two for ourselves when we can, but we thought that it might be a nice surprise for the coworker. So we bought it figuring he'd want it and that if by some odd chance he didn't, then the worst that would happen was us having an extra bottle.
Oh darn, right?
Then my wife told him what she got and...he didn't want it. I believe the text read: "my wife would kill me if I spent that much on one bottle of whiskey."
In that moment it occurred to me that I may have started to lose touch with "normal people" when it comes to whiskey prices. I've watched bourbon's price creep happen for long enough that I hardly think anything of buying a $60 bottle of whiskey anymore. I mean I can't afford these all the time but, if a client has paid on time, it feels fairly normal. And sometimes, not always, I can even justify $120-130 if I try hard enough and think I'll get something "really good" in return.
Which is weird for me. I've always been frugal. Growing up with my brother and mom, dirt poor, in a trailer court in the Northwoods of Wisconsin will do that to you. But this situation was a good wake-up call to be reminded how people who haven't been immersed in the bourbon world think about the prices of bottles.
My budget hopes I remember that the next time I'm standing there trying to choose between a perfectly good $25 bourbon and one that is $60, though also only perfectly good.
Four Roses 2017 Limited Edition Small Batch Bourbon
Purchase Info: $130 at Four Roses Gift Center, Lawrenceburg, KY.
Details: 54% ABV. A blend of 20% 15-year-old OESK, 40% 13-year-old OESK and 12-year-old OESV bourbons (percentages reported by Sipp'n Corn, but confirmed by Master Distiller Brent Elliot).
Nose: Fruity and soft with notes of vanilla, caramel, baking spice, and oak.
Mouth: Spicy and rich with a wonderful mouthfeel. Notes of caramel, nutmeg, fruit, and oak.
Finish: Long, warm and sweet. Lingering fruit, spice, and caramel.
Thoughts: I know what you are thinking. "Obviously Eric loves this, he's a Four Roses fanboy." Well, you are half right. I am a fanboy. But this doesn't rate a heart from me (my wife disagrees most vehemently). It does, however, rate a very high "like." It's thick and rich and the finish lasts for days.
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