Four Roses Single Barrel Barrel Strength Private Selection – 10 Recipe Blind Showdown

Four Roses Private Selection

Let’s start this time at the end of the story: three experienced (but now humbled) bourbon drinkers set out to blind sample all ten recipes of Four Roses using various Four Roses Single Barrel, Barrel Strength Private Selection bottles.   Could we correctly pick the recipes blind?  Not even close.

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Barrell Craft Spirits 15 Year Bourbon Review

Barrell Bourbon 15

We are not a frugal bunch when it comes to whiskey (just ask our wives).  “Conservative” isn’t even a fair description.  Collectively, we rarely will say no to a new release of any kind, especially something that contains the magic words, “limited edition.”  Toss in a Fred Minnick “Best American Whiskey” designation and we would typically jump all over it.

But for once we didn’t, despite several opportunities to do so at suggested retail price.  Why?  Well, frankly, it was that suggested retail price.

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Murray Hill Club Special Release Pineau des Charentes Batch 1 and 2 Reviews

No doubt about it, we are pretty big fans of what is coming out of the Joseph Magnus distillery as of late.  Take for example one of our 2018 Flight Club barrel picks, a Joseph Magnus 10 year single barrel Tennessee bourbon (i.e., distilled at George Dickel).  It’s a fantastic barrel sourced to Magnus and one of the most chocolate forward bourbon’s many of us have had to date.  Or the standard Joseph Magnus or one of the Nasa store picks that we sampled late last year.   We have scored these relatively high, and would also likely score high some of the other batches or blends (like Cigar Blend, for example) coming out of Magnus if we had a chance to review each of the ones we have sampled.

Setting aside our love, this past fall Flight Club member Jamie Baalmann picked up a special release from Magnus that had us all intrigued – and for me at least, skeptical.  The special release was Batch 1 of Murray Hill Club Special Release Pineau des Charentes.  The cause for the skepticism? A $160 retail price.

After sampling Jamie’s bottle upon his endorsement, quickly my skepticism would turn to “where can I find a bottle.”

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Jack Daniels Single Barrel Barrel Proof – Tom’s Wine & Spirits Private Barrel

I’ll be the first to admit, I didn’t know jack. That is, until I tried a sample of Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Barrel Proof a few months ago.

First, some perspective. I’ve never been a big Jack Daniel’s fan. With that said, you will never get me to say that standard black label Old No. 7 is a bad whiskey. It’s not. It’s just not the right whiskey for me. Jack Daniels Old No. 7 is known for its mellowness in terms of proof and flavor. It is those characteristics that make it popular, either straight or in the way it mingles with Coca-Cola.

I prefer a bigger, bolder American whiskey. For that reason, I’ve been typically drawn to (a) higher proof bourbons and (b) bourbons that have either spent more than 4-6 years in a barrel, or at least spent its time in barrels in the hotspots of a rick house.

Three months ago, I would have told you Jack Daniel’s couldn’t fit that bill.

I was wrong.

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Knob Creek Twice Barreled Rye

Knob Creek Twice Barreled Rye

This past month, Beam-Suntory dropped yet another new Knob Creek Rye to the market.  This time – unlike the “premium” Knob Creek Cask Strength Rye at 119.6 Proof and carrying a 9 year age statement, and the Knob Creek Single Barrel Rye store picks at 115 proof and available age statements, both hitting the market this past year – Beam released the Twice Barreled Rye with no age statement and at the traditional Knob Creek 100 proof.

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