Four Roses 2019 Limited Edition Small Batch Bourbon

I’d like to thank the folks at Four Roses for providing this review sample to me with no strings attached.

If you’ve been reading for a while now, you’ll know that every year I travel to Bardstown, Kentucky to attend the Kentucky Bourbon Festival. For years, one of the highlights of my trip to the Festival had been my first taste of that year’s Four Roses Limited Edition Small Batch at one of the events hosted by Four Roses during the Festival. This year, Four Roses was nice enough the send my first taste to me ahead of the Festival again. So instead of reviewing it long after any hope of standing in line to get a bottle has passed, I get to let you know my thoughts ahead of its release while you still have a hope (however small) of trying to procure a bottle for yourself.

Here is what the company had to say about their new release:

The 2019 Limited Edition Small Batch marks the first Four Roses limited-quantity bottling to feature a 21-year-old Bourbon from the distillery’s OBSV recipe. This release will also feature a 15-year-old OESK, 15-year-old OESV and 11-year-old OESV. … Four Roses will distribute approximately 13,440 hand-numbered bottles of the 2019 Limited Edition Small Batch Bourbon that will be sold in the United States with a suggested retail price of $140.

This product is non-chill filtered and will be available for sale in limited quantities at the Four Roses Distillery and Cox’s Creek Visitor Center on Saturday, September 21 beginning at 9 am. And will roll out to retailers in the following weeks.

2019 Four Roses Limited Edition Small Batch

Purchase Info: This sample was graciously provided by Four Roses for review purposes. Suggested retail price is $140.

Details: 56.3% ABV, OESV- 11 year old, OESV-15 year old, OESK-15 year old, OBSV-21 year old

Nose: Caramel, apricot, mint, cinnamon, cocoa, and a nuttiness like toasted grains.

Mouth: Oak, caramel, spicy cinnamon, apricot, vanilla

Finish: Long and warm with lingering cocoa, and cinnamon red hots.

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Thoughts: This is a very good Bourbon. I like how the cocoa and nutty notes play with the spicy cinnamon. The caramel and the fruity undercurrent add a nice depth to the product. Water dampens the fruitiness and accentuates the oak without compromising the spiciness. I like this one without water personally, but the proof is high enough that I’ll be drinking the rest of this sample in small pours because of that.


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2019 Parker's Heritage Collection: Heavy Char Rye Whiskey

I’d like to thank Heaven Hill for providing this review sample to me with no strings attached.

We don’t get too many chances to purchase a bottle of Parker’s Heritage these days so it isn’t too surprising that I haven’t reviewed many of them. In fact there have been exactly three. 2011’s Barrel Finished which was my first barrel finished bourbon, 2013’s Promise of Hope of which I was able to buy two bottles, and 2014’s Wheat Whiskey which was the last time I’ve ever seen a limited edition bourbon release just sitting on a store shelf.

So it was with great interest when a package arrived from Heaven Hill shortly after this year’s Parker’s Heritage Collection was announced. Unlike most companies, Heaven Hill sends things unannounced which makes each shipment a little like Christmas morning. I’m always excited to see what they sent this time. I mean, I do this because I’m a fan of bourbon so I think it is more than fair to get excited when the UPS or FedEx person brings me free whiskey. As you might have guessed by now this package contained a sample of this year’s Parker’s Heritage Collection. This release marking the first Rye Whiskey in the line-up.

I’ll let Heaven Hill tell you what makes this special:

This 13th edition, however, further differentiates itself through its aging process. Instead of aging in Level 3 charred barrels, as is customary for most Heaven Hill products, this Rye Whiskey was aged in Level 5 charred barrels for eight years and nine months on the seventh floor of Rickhouse Y. Level 5 charred barrels are charred 50 seconds longer than the Level 3 barrels.

Additionally, this whiskey uses Heaven Hill’s usual rye whiskey mash bill of 51% rye, 35% corn, and 14% malted barley. And as with previous versions of the Parker’s Heritage Collection, a portion of the proceeds of each bottle will go to support ALS research and patient care.

Parker's Heritage Collection: Heavy Char Rye Whiskey

Purchase Info: This review sample was graciously provided to me by Heaven Hill for review purposes. The suggested retail price is $149.99 for a 750 mL bottle.

Details: 8 years old, 52.5% ABV.

Nose: Caramel, hints of smoke, eucalyptus.

Mouth: Cinnamon Spice, mint leaves, vanilla, almond.

Finish: Warm and of medium length. Lingering cinnamon red hot candies, vanilla, almond.

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Thoughts: Nice, thick chewy mouthfeel with rich sweetness and strong flavors of fresh mint leaves. This is delicious. Flavors remind me of the bourbon / mint combo of a mint julep without the ice. Sadly they priced this out of my price range, but if it is in yours this is one to keep an eye out for. I like it a lot.


BourbonGuy.com accepts no advertising. It is solely supported by the sale of the hand-made products and bourbon-related craft supplies I sell at the BourbonGuy Gifts store. If you'd like to support BourbonGuy.com, visit BourbonGuyGifts.com. And hey, if you are an iOS user, look for Bourbon Guy in Apple News. Thanks!

Maker's Mark 101 Proof

I’d like to thank Maker's Mark for providing this sample to me with no strings attached.

When Maker’s Mark introduced a 101 proof version of their famed redheaded whiskey as a Travel Retail Exclusive last year, I was irrationally disappointed. For some reason I wanted it very badly (probably because I’ve been a fan of Maker’s Mark for as long as I’ve been a fan of bourbon). Eventually, I realized that this disappointment was a bit silly. I mean I can go down to any of the liquor stores in town and walk out with Maker’s Cask Strength any time I want. And if I want to, I can dilute that to 101 proof with just a little math and even less water.

But of course, rational is one thing that most bourbon lovers (myself included) are not. So when I saw that the 101 proof was going to be sold at the Maker’s Mark distillery starting this summer, I reached out to them to see if they might have a sample to spare. I mean, most of us might hesitate to take an international flight to get a $50 bottle of bourbon. But you should probably be taking a trip to the Maker’s Mark distillery if you are in the area anyway. And as long as you are there anyway, I figured it might be nice to see if this would make a nice souvenir.

Maker’s Mark 101 proof

Nose: Nutmeg, brown sugar, vanilla, toffee.

Mouth: Sweet, toffee, vanilla, baking spice.

Finish: Warm and medium length. Lingering nutmeg and caramel sweetness.

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Thoughts: If you are a Maker's fan, like I am, this is a must-have addition to your collection. It is sweet and loaded with baking spice flavors.

But ok, even if you are in the area, do you really need to make a trip to Maker’s? Can’t you just do what you mentioned above and dilute your Maker’s Cask Strength? Well I made a special trip to the liquor store so we can find out together.

Maker’s Mark Cask Strength (diluted to 101 proof)

Nose: Not as sweet on the nose, still has nutmeg.

Mouth: Thinner mouthfeel, less sweet.

Finish: Warmer finish, not as baking spice forward.

Thoughts: Contrary to my initial suspicions, you can't just "water down" Maker's Cask Strength and get Maker's 101. There is a distinct difference when comparing head-to-head. Both in sweetness and mouthfeel. Both of these are very good bourbons and I will certainly be adding a stop at the Maker's Mark distillery to my next Kentucky trip to see about getting a couple more bottles. And even after that, I will still be drinking my Cask Strength with a small piece of ice (which honestly probably brings it down to lower than 101 proof). Honestly, they are both great and I hope to have both on hand as much as possible.


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My Wandering Eye: A. de Fussigny Cognac Collection

My Wandering Eye is a series reacting to the crazy rising prices in the bourbon world. We’ve reached a place where even average products have hit the range where they compete price-wise with other types of aged spirits. If I’m going be asked to drop $40 to $70 on a mid-range bourbon, I might as well see what else I can get for that money. My hope is to see if another spirits category offers something that is downright tasty in that price range. The goal isn’t to find cheap spirits, but to maximize the quality, I’m getting at a particular price point. And one thing to remember is that these reviews will all be written from the perspective of a bourbon drinker.

As we are coming up on the Autumn Whiskey Release season, I think it is just about time to clear out the last of the items I bought the last time my eye wandered down the brandy aisle at Total Wine. It was a while ago as I was, once again, looking for a Christmas gift for my Korbel Brandy loving father. Often times, I will get him a cognac or an armagnac for Christmas as a treat. But of course, when I look for a gift for him, I often walk out with at least one gift for me as well.

The thing I found interesting about this gift set was that the company that produced it apparently bottled brandies from each of the regions they produce in separately. So conceivably you could taste the terroir of each region. It reminded me of a daydream I had many years ago of buying five barrels of new make whiskey from the same batch at the same distillery and aging them each in different climates to see what the differences were. Needless to say, that idea was too expensive for me. But if you want to do that feel free, just be sure to send me a sample of each when they are done.

A. de Fussigny Cognac Collection

Petite Champagne VSOP

Nose: Delicate floral notes along with light wintergreen and dried fruit.

Mouth: Cinnamon, dried fruit, white sugar.

Finish: Fairly bitter.

Thoughts: Not a fan of this one. Can't get past the bitter finish. This is a distant number 5 of 5. We are not starting out well.

Borderies VSOP

Nose: Subtle. light notes of baking spice.

Mouth: Sweet, Floral, nutty and peppery.

Finish: Black pepper and caramel sweetness.

Thoughts: Nice pepperiness to it. Took me by surprise. It’s ok, but I wouldn’t seek it out. I rank this number 4 of the 5.

Fins Bois VSOP

Nose: Carmel covered raisins.

Mouth: Sweet and spicy, dried fruit, baking spice.

Finish: Caramel and baking spice.

Thoughts: Sweet. Very bourbon-like finish. This is where we enter the ones that we actually liked. Number 3 of the 5.

Organic VSOP

Nose: Lemon lime soda, light notes of baking spice

Mouth: Citrus, baking spice, almond.

Finish: Candied Almonds.

Thoughts: Delicate but quite tasty. This is a close number 2. I really like this one.

Grande Champagne VSOP

Nose: Dried fruit with a lime-like tartness.

Mouth: Lime, clove, mint, dried fruit.

Finish: Citrus and baking spice.

Thoughts: Refreshing. I like this one quite a bit. It reminds me of my favorite summer white wines with how crisp and refreshing it is. I liked this enough to look up the price. Total Wine has it for about $70 for a 750 mL. I may have to pick a bottle up next time it is in stock. I think it’s worth it.


BourbonGuy.com accepts no advertising. It is solely supported by the sale of the hand-made products I sell at the BourbonGuy Gifts store. If you'd like to support BourbonGuy.com, visit BourbonGuyGifts.com. And if you are an iOS user, look for Bourbon Guy in Apple News. Thanks!