Four Roses Private Selections have a huge fanbase throughout bourbon nerd-dom. And it’s no surprise either. A choice of 10 different recipes gives people the right to choose which recipe they like the most.
Some recipes have a larger fanbase than others. For instance, the K yeast strain has a large following for people that love a spicy bourbon whereas the O yeast strain may have such a large following simply because it’s the hardest to find.
But the F yeast strain seems to have little fanfare around Indianapolis. For instance, when the local liquor chain Big Red Liquors picked two barrel picks (an OBSV and OBSF), you had to buy them together to get them rather than being able to purchase them separate.
Also, local liquor chain Crown Liquors received 8 different barrel selections in 2019 (two batches of 4) and the OBSF was the last to be sold out each time.
So what is it about the F that turns people away? The dominant trait that is listed on the little Four Roses neck tag indicates that this recipe has mint flavors in it, so maybe that’s what’s driving away that are looking for spice or fruit.
But I happened to come across two different OBSF picks that looked a little lonely on the shelf, so I picked them up to try out and see if this recipe deserves its infamous reputation as one of Four Roses most unloved batches.
I sampled these neat and semi-blind so that I could pick a winner between them.
Blind Glass 1
Nose: Some sweet rye characteristics are noticeable immediately. Mint, vanilla, cinnamon, maple syrup, cherry blossoms and fresh sawn wood. It’s all pretty standard for a ryed bourbon, but enjoyable.
Palate: More sweetness follows in the palate… Molasses and butterscotch start out and are followed by some nice fruit notes of cherry and orange Jolly Ranchers. There’s also some peppery spice along with pipe tobacco and crushed walnuts.
Finish: Toasted grains shows up first along with orange marmalade. There is a creamy leftover flavor that makes each sip extra nice with toasted marshmallows. The finish continues to get more complex with mint, juicy fruit gum, pine sap and some cocoa powder coming into the fray.
Blind Glass 2
Nose: Starting out with a nice candy scent of Cinnamon Red Hots, this is reminding me of a “K” yeast strain recipe immediately. There’s also vanilla bean pods, cherry blossoms and toasted brown sugar. This is a very standard but rich “bourbon” nose.
Palate: Syrupy sweetness that becomes very creamy (I’m always a fan of creamy bourbons). There’s oak and flakes of black pepper, cinnamon sprinkled pie crust and an overall nice spice that creates a depth at every level of flavor.
Finish: Rye Spice begins to show up to add some more heat. Then there’s sweet mint, orange zest, vanilla buttercream frosting (a call-back to the creaminess that was on the palate) and also a thick, sweet chewiness that’s hard to describe, but present.
Glass 1: Crown Liquors OBSF “Henrietta”
Glass 2: Central Indiana OBSF
Winner: Central Indiana OBSF!
I thoroughly enjoyed these OBSF recipes. If people avoided these because of some sort of strange, off-profile taste, then I would’ve picked up on it, but there’s nothing but great bourbon and rye traits in here.
The mint seemed to pick up the most on the finish for both of these, but there was no off-putting mint taste or scent that made me want to stop drinking these. I’m going to make a resolution to never pass this recipe up again, because it’s one that I genuinely really like.
1 | Disgusting | Drain pour
2 | Poor | Forced myself to drink it
3 | Bad | Flawed
4 | Sub-par | Many things I’d rather have
5 | Good | Good, solid, ordinary
6 | Very Good | Better than average
7 | Great | Well above average
8 | Excellent | Exceptional
9 | Incredible | Extraordinary
10 | Insurpassable | Nothing Else Comes Close
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