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Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Sipp’n Corn Bourbon Review – Four Roses Elliott’s Select 2016 Limited Edition Single Barrel

I have never hidden my affinity for Four Roses or the two (out of ten) recipes using the “K” yeast, so when I learned that after skipping 2015, Four Roses would release a springtime Limited Edition single barrel using the OESK recipe, I was thrilled.  For a more in-depth discussion of what “OESK” means, please check out my post (Link Here) that covers all ten recipes.  The most distinguishing aspect of this release, of course, is that it is the first solo release of new Four Roses Master Distiller, Brent Elliott, after the retirement last August of long-time Master Distiller, Jim Rutledge.  Four Roses has confirmed to me that 95 barrels were selected for the release, which resulted in 10,224 bottles.


Bourbon:
Elliott’s Select 2016 Single Barrel Limited Edition Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Distillery:
Four Roses, Lawrenceburg, Kentucky

Age:
14 years

ABV:
58.4% (116.8 proof), but will vary for each single barrel included in the release

Cost:
Suggested Retail:  $124.99 (750 mL)

Disclaimer: The brand managers kindly sent me a sample
for this review, without any strings attached. 
Thank you.
But I also bought my own bottle from the Four Roses Gift Shop.

Tasting Notes
Appearance:
Golden amber.

Nose:
Sweetness and more sweetness.  Aromas of caramel, vanilla, corn pudding, and sweet, ripe fruit.

Taste:
Caramel, peach cobbler and other sweetness of honey and vanilla, but whereas the aromas were all sweet, the flavors are balanced with pepper spice, baking spice, ripe fruit (the “K” yeast shining through), and oak, with complexity and balanced intensity.  The elegance of this OESK is a fantastic contrast to the brute force that some distillers shoot for with barrel-strength limited editions.  Like so many other Four Roses Limited Edition single barrels and small batches, Elliott’s Select nails the interplay between having character and remaining civilized.

Finish:
Long with a great swell that lingers and ends with fresh mint and lingering warmth.

Bottom Line

I hope that this release means that Four Roses intends to keep a spring Limited Edition Single Barrel as a permanent feature of its line.  While I always look for the “K” yeast, past Limited Edition Single Barrels have certainly shown that I need to broaden my horizons with the other eight recipes.  In the meantime, this OESK Limited Edition is a Bourbon that I highly recommend.  I plan to hound the Gift Shop and stalk my favorite local store until I have a bottle or two, and then I’ll update my review with a score on The Sipp’n Corn Scale.

Update with my own purchases

As a single barrel bottling, my bottles are bound to have differences between each other and the media sample.  While it can be fun to compare and find nuanced differences (and sometimes much greater variations), dissimilarities can also be frustrating when a new bottle doesn’t meet expectations.  That might be why many people have commented that they’ve had better OESK private barrels than Elliott’s Select, for $30-$50 less.  In reality though, I think that it is a high complement to Four Roses that private barrel selections can compete with Limited Edition selections.

Regardless, my bottle numbers are QN-53-2D (52.5% ABV) and QN-47-2Q (52.2% ABV).  Each bottle of Elliott’s Select was aged on the north side of Warehouse Q, but you’ll be able to find variations based upon precise barrel location.  Both of my barrels were stored on the second row, so the lower barrel proof was expected (and it’s something that I look for in Four Roses Single Barrels).  Rack 53 is eight racks away from the exterior wall, on the interior section, and this barrel was stored only four barrels deep.  Rack 47 is just one rack away from the exterior wall, also on the interior section, and at “Q,” this barrel was 17 barrels deep.

I picked up a lot more oak on the nose in both of these bottles, sometimes prickly, but mostly the old library oak sensation.  The taste was still elegant like the sample, but both had bigger nutty-chocolate candy flavors.  Consistent with the seemingly heavier barrel influence on the nose and palate, the finish was also dryer and oaky.  Both of these were classic examples of the OESK profile.

I’m a fan of OESK and OBSK; nothing new there.  I’ve been lucky enough to have tried nearly 100 OESK single barrels either in bottles or in barrel selections, and even though I’ve liked them all, some really stand out.  Elliott’s Select is solidly in the top of those OESKs, but behind the 2012 Limited Edition Single Barrel, and there are one or two OESK private selections within the past three years that are on par with Elliott’s Select.  This sort of age is not available with private selection barrels, so especially if you enjoy the greater influence of oak, Elliott’s Select is a must-have Bourbon.

 Score on The Sipp’n Corn Scale:  4.0

The Sipp’n Corn Scale:
1 – Swill.  I might dump the bottle, but will probably save it for my guests who mix with Coke.
2 – Hits the minimum criteria, but given a choice, I’d rather have something else.
3 – Solid Bourbon with only minor shortcomings.  Glad to own and enjoy.
4 – Excellent Bourbon.  Need to be hyper-critical to find flaws.  I’m lucky to have this.
5 – Bourbon perfection.  I’ll search high and low to get another bottle of this.

2 comments:

  1. https://newbourbondrinker.wordpress.com/2016/08/15/four-roses-elliotts-select/

    ReplyDelete