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Four Roses Barrel Proof Private Selection OESK Rural Inn 2018 Review

Four Roses Barrel Proof Private Selection OESK Rural Inn 2018 Review

Rural Inn OESK 2018

Four Roses recipe preferences are everyone’s favorite bourbon drinking conversation.  Which one do you like?  Which flavor notes do you get?  What tier was your barrel?  How old is that one?  Have you ever had one over 130 proof?  And so on.  They’re so much fun to collect and analyze what makes them all different and unique.  Today, I have a barrel proof store pick from the Rural Inn that was released very late in 2018, right when I was getting into bourbon. 

I was smart enough to take the advice of a friend and buy one before they were all gone because K recipes were hard to find anywhere in Indianapolis.  Coming in at 10 years and 2 months old and bottled at 121 proof, this was one of those rare bottles that everyone searches for that are over 120 proof (bonus points if you can find one over 130 proof).  The K recipe is known for it’s spicy nature, so let’s test it out and see if it stands up all the hype.  I sampled this neat and in a glencairn.

Tasting Notes


Nose: The nose starts out with some pleasant rye-forward notes of sweet mint, allspice and pine needles.  There’s a lot of sweetness with sugary baked pears and then a sharp cinnamon spice note that’s still warm and welcoming. 

Palate: This bourbon hits hard immediately.  There’s big, bold spice that’s reminiscent of Red Hots candies.  The tidal wave of cinnamon heat is restrained enough to not smoother the other notes like dark red fruits, buttery crust and even some baking chocolate.  I liken this flavor profile to Weller Antique in that regard.  

Finish: The red fruits trend continues while chocolate sauce and oak come in to add a nice, somewhat bitter layer.  The heat is still present, but always restrained.  I like the baking spices that swirl around on the tongue long after the sip was completed.  The finish is incredibly long and rewarding.  Delicious.

Score: 8/10


This was my first Four Roses love.  It’s what really showed me that Four Roses was not a brand to just walk past on the shelf.  The flavors were intense, long lasting and never felt like it was out of balance.  Everything just worked.  I will always have a soft spot for the K recipes and actually continue to prefer the OESK over the OBSK, one of the few recipes where I appreciate the low-rye mashbill over the high-rye mashbill.  If you didn’t know it until now, whenever you see a Four Roses private selection for sale, if it is older than 10 years and higher than 120 proof, it should be an instant “buy on sight” purchase.  Cheers!

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Ratings Breakdown

1 | Disgusting | Drain pour (Example: Jeffers Creek)

2 | Poor | Forced myself to drink it

3 | Bad | Flawed (AD Laws 4 Grain BiB, Clyde Mays anything)

4 | Sub-par | Many things I’d rather have (Tincup 10 year)

5 | Good | Good, solid, ordinary (Larceny, Sazerac Rye)

6 | Very Good | Better than average (Buffalo Trace, OGD BiB)

7 | Great | Well above average (Old Ezra Barrel Proof, Old Weller Antique)

8 | Excellent | Exceptional (Michter’s Barrel Proof Rye, Four Roses Barrel Strength)

9 | Incredible | Extraordinary (GTS, 13 Year MGP or Canadian Rye)

10 | Insurpassable | Nothing Else Comes Close (William Larue Weller)

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