But, this is different. For the first time, to our collective knowledge, Wichita is getting a single barrel store pick rye whiskey. And not just any rye whiskey. Wichita is getting the Knob Creek Rye Single Barrel.
Single barrel bourbons have received increased attention in the American whiskey market in the past few years. Unlike the single barrel release pioneered by Elmer T. Lee, the current trend involves retail stores and bars selecting their own exclusive barrel from a distributor.
In the crowded bourbon market, it is difficult to stand out in a positive way. Four Roses, like most other major brands, offers a product line that essentially contains a bottom shelf bottle (the yellow label), a small batch bottle, a single barrel bottle, and limited releases. They also offer store-pick, single barrel barrel strength bottles. Which, also, is not unique.
But, what does makes Four Roses stand out, and why it has held my attention recently, is its yeast.
Numerous factors affect a whiskey’s final characteristics. Those in the know will tell you that the mash bill, the yeast, the fermentation method and environment, the still, distillation rates and proof, the type and char of barrel, the barrel entry proof, the aging environment, and the time in the barrel are all factors that contribute to each specific product.
But one more nuanced variable also shapes the way a product is perceived – the bottling proof. This month’s Flight Club will focus on just that – the bottling proof – and that factor’s impact on nose, taste, and finish. We will be sampling the entire international lineup of Blanton’s, which includes otherwise identical single barrel bourbons* bottled at 80 proof, 93 proof, 103 proof and barrel proof.