A long time ago on a trip to New York City, a friend of mine introduced me to Hudson Four Grain Bourbon Whiskey. While I don’t remember being too enthusiastic about it, it was interesting. Ever since that trip I’ve tossed around the idea of creating my own four grain Bourbon blend…at a higher proof.
There aren’t too many wheated Bourbons in my collection that I’d (1) want to waste by blending them with something else and/or (2) thought had a character that would stand up and dance with a high rye Bourbon, but what I did know was that I had a few high rye bourbons I wanted to mellow out.
Let’s review the lineup…
Old Weller Antique 107
I recently put this up in a blind taste test and was impressed at how well it fared. My tasting notes in that post don’t reflect my complete sentiments, but the lineup and its rank should be enough to say I think this is a great bourbon. It has an even mix of corn, wood, and dried fruit, but could use a little bulk.
Old Grand Dad 114
Not bad but rough around the edges with a flat, astringent nose that carries an unusual dry oak character. The body is thin and finishes on the bitter side. I don’t want to imply that I don’t like it, but I’m hoping something sweet might do it justice.
Four Roses OBSQ
I chose this as both a comparison and a whiskey I actually thought would marry well with a wheat profile. The Q yeast produces a relaxed whiskey that brings out beautiful rye in a unique fashion. It has an unusual character that is most apparent through a floral and peppery finish that comes forward to what feels like the roof of the mouth and dissipates evenly.
This particular selection is from Beaumont Kroger in Lexington, Kentucky. Aged 10 years and 4 months and bottled at 61.6% ABV. (Thank you Pam for the heads up on this steal at ~$40.)
Now on to the main event (yes there was beer cheese)…
Blend #1: OGDOWA “Antique Grandpa”
A 50/50 blend of Old Grand-Dad 114 & Old Weller Antique 107, 110.5%
Right from the start the astringency on the Old Grand-Dad nose is muted from the nose, but there’s a new off note that I can’t put my finger on. Maybe oiled saddle leather?
A bouquet of dried fruit is big and pleasant, but the sweetness of the Weller I hoped would shine through is cut by wood, and then back to that leather. This does sweeten over time, but not enough.
The palate enters sweet and creamy, but lasts only for a moment as rye notes fall to the sides of the tongue just before the bitter finish of the Old Grand-Dad takes over.
Blend #2: 4ROWA “Wheat Rose”
A 50/50 blend of Four Roses OBSQ & Old Weller Antique 107, 115.1%
There are faint buttery notes in the Weller that are brought to the forefront and mingle very nicely with the rye from the OBSQ. Very nice cedar notes present a harmonious honeyed wood nose in this blend. A bit of a burn up front from the high proof, but it’s beautiful and brings forward the cask and age of the Four Roses.
On the palate the heat from the rye is toned down a few notches but, the fuzzy, dry mouth feel is heightened as caramel lingers on the tip of the tongue. If I were a scientist I’d study this in more detail, it’s fantastic and cues up a gorgeous, long finish.
Antique Grandpa: Not that good. Looks like cocktails and blind tastings from here on out for the Old Grand-Dad 114.
Wheat Rose: The age of the Four Roses definitely gives the ensemble a huge advantage in terms of comparison, but on it’s own it’s actually a solid whiskey. I’ll even venture to say this might be a little better at ratio of 55% OWA / 45% OBSQ. Definitely more experimenting with these in the future. I’d recommend doing the same if you can.