Four Gate has released Batch 17, which, like Batch 4, undergoes secondary aging in a barrel made with alternating toasted and charred staves. But this batch is different. Instead of being a bourbon or a rye, it is a blend of both, which they have dubbed BBRYE whiskey. The blend is made up of three different bourbons – one six year old Kentucky bourbon, one seven year old Kentucky bourbon, and a nine year old Indiana bourbon, all with the same low-rye mashbill – 75% corn, 21% rye, and 4% malted barley. Interestingly, this is Bulleit’s low rye mashbill originally developed by Seagram’s. It is a good bet that the Kentucky bourbon came from Bulleit. This is blended with a true rye mashbill whiskey from MGP in Indiana (which used to be Seagram’s), which is 95% rye and 5% malted barley and is eight years old. This is cask strength like all other Four Gate releases at 112.7 proof. One other difference is that the split stave barrels are made from French, rather than American oak. This one is really pricey at $248 at Hokus, most likely due to the French oak barrels being more costly and some mark up by the distributor. However, you can get it online at Seelbach’s for $200, although you have to pay shipping.
The color on this is a deep amber with a reddish hue, reflecting the primary and secondary aging. Big thick legs and film on the swirl. The nose has vanilla, toasted marshmallow, and baking spices with a deep oak and leather in the background. On the palate, there is vanilla on the front that then changes into fresh Bavarian Cream filled King Cake (ok, so recent flavor memory creeping in there), sweet fig preserves, then clove, black pepper, and oak which continues on into the lingering finish.
This is a truly amazing bottle of whiskey. The flavors really are spot on with an amazing balance of rich sweetness and spice. The way I would describe this is that Four Gate took some really good whiskies and made them great.