weller antique 107 review
Potomac Wine and Spirits Four Roses Private Select OESK
Distillery: Four Roses
Type & Region: Bourbon, Kentucky, USA
Composition: 75% corn, 20% rye, 5% barley
Aged: 10 years and 5 months
Price: $80 MSRP
From the Four Roses website:
There’s absolutely nothing about the private select program.
weller antique 107 overview
Four Roses has one of the most robust and established single barrel programs in bourbon. With 10 different mash bill and yeast combinations as well as single barrel variation, there’s seemingly limitless variety to discover. This is only the second Four Roses Private Select review that I’ve done. The first was a nearly 11 year old OESV picked by Jim Rutledge, the former master distiller. In this huge universe of Four Roses Private Selects, I purchased one bottle of Potomac Wine and Spirits’ Four Roses Private Select, a 10 year and 5 month old OESK bourbon, using the 20% rye mash (E) and yeast (K) that adds a light spice. This particular barrel, picked in July 2019 and released to the public in September 2019, comes from barrel 31-3N (might be 3I3N) and was aged in warehouse MW.
Gabe, one of the owners, told me that he and Al Young (yes THE Al Young) ultimately both agreed that this was the best barrel of the group. That honestly had me very intrigued. Funny thing is, Gabe admitted that he hasn’t always agreed with Al Young in prior barrel selections. Then again, smell and taste are very subjective, and Gabe ultimately is the one buying the barrel, not Al Young. It would have been quite the experience to be in the warehouse to sample all the barrels, but since I only have the end result, let’s find out much I agree with Gabe and Al Young in this Potomac Wine and Spirits Four Roses Private Select OESK review.
weller antique 107 smell
This Potomac Wine and Spirits Four Roses Private Select hits me all at once with a wave of caramel, brown sugar, oak, cinnamon, clove, and alcohol followed by buttercream, marshmallows, and eucalyptus. Sniffing again after my nose adjusts to all that intensity reveals dried cherries, Garrett’s caramel-covered popcorn, dried citrus peel, and a heavier dose of cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg, making it a very bold and rich smelling bourbon. The combination of caramel, vanilla, and corn made my friend comment that the Four Roses reminded him of candy corn and Halloween. There’s a generous heaping of roasted oak and tobacco as well, but it’s not overoaked and adds nice layers of grass and almond. Even with 20% rye in the mash, the anise initially is mostly masked by the sweetness, oak, spice, and alcohol that make it easy to lose track of every fleeting scent.
Swirling offers more of the same honey, caramel, cinnamon, clove, furious alcohol, and orange peel followed by musty oak and corn, with the musty oak continuing to open up over time. The rye finally starts to emerge with dill, anise, grass, and pine, providing a little more of the herbal sweetness that I expect from a higher rye bourbon mash. More swirling releases even more vanilla buttercream, marshmallow, and caramel corn that permeate every part of the amazing nose. Every bit of the 58% alcohol is present and fierce, combining with all the other rich scents to offer a powerful, rich, and layered nose. This is a beast of a bourbon, very much like Stagg Jr.
weller antique 107 taste & aftertaste
This Four Roses Private Select continues to flex its muscles on the palate with hot and spicy caramel candy corn, honey, anise, dill, oak, and apple. The oak tannins really kick up midway through sipping, becoming quite strong but not overpowering. The alcohol on the otherhand is definitely strong and roughs me up at times. It’s a very bold, dense, and flavorful bourbon that’s not for the faint of heart, and it’s tough to process it all at once on the first sip. You’re going to have to earn these flavors.
Chewing unleashes the caramel, oak, mint, and cherry with a little less orange and peach. The alcohol is potent, so taking smaller sips helps me better taste everything while toning down the alcohol. With smaller sips, I can taste more of the sweet and herbal anise, mint, dill, and tropical fruit from the rye, but it doesn’t come close to Bulleit 12 or WhistlePig 10, both with 95%+ rye. Dark cola-like flavors also start to show themselves with cherry, citrus, and cocoa, in some ways similar to Stagg Jr. The flavors and heat are very intense, but there’s so much to discover if you can get through the heat. As a tangent, I drank a glass of Old Ezra 7 Barrel Strength soon after and felt that it was a little dull in comparison, reinforcing that Potomac Wine and Spirit’s Four Roses Private Select is a rich, spicy, complex, and well-selected bourbon. This is great bourbon.
The alcohol continues to tingle on the way down, leaving sweet anise, cinnamon, clove, lime, and oak in my mouth. The oak continues to build as the other flavors fade, linger for seemingly ages. “Chewing” brings out a lot more oak, spice, and alcohol with some sweet anise and dill from the rye. It’s an awesome finish to an awesome bourbon.
Place on the Whiskey Shelf
Potomac Wine and Spirits’ Four Roses OESK Private Select is a big and bold bourbon on par with Stagg Jr, but even spicier. I know I’ve mentioned it a few times already, but I can’t shake that feeling. Every smell and taste is jam packed with spiced caramel, candy corn, vanilla, dried citrus, oak, cinnamon, anise, and alcohol, truly embodying the “spicy, full body” description. I highly recommend that you appreciate and drink this very slowly, with small sips, to get the full experience because there are so many things to unfold and discover. Taking too large of a sip will just result in the alcohol melting your mouth into nothingness. You should consider adding water, but I choose not to do so mostly because I’m stubborn about it.
Drinking Old Ezra 7 shortly after my first glass of this Four Roses OESK Private Select helped me appreciate just how rich and complex Potomac Wine and Spirit’s pick is. Old Ezra, while still rich and very good, felt flat in comparison, but I’ll go into more details about that another time. In short, Potomac Wine and Spirits (and Al Young) picked a great Four Roses Private Select. It’s worth buying if you’re willing to foot the $80+tax bill.