Hokus got another Spirits of French Lick pick in – this time it is Lee W. Sinclair Four Grain Bourbon, which was bottled at cask strength for Hokus. The really interesting part about this four grain bourbon is the fourth grain. Most four grain bourbons include both wheat and rye in the mashbill. But this mashbill is 60% corn, 17% wheat, 13% oats, and 10% caramel malt. This is a very unique mashbill. This bottling was aged for four years (Lee W. Sinclair bourbon is generally bottled in bond) and weighs in at 109.2 proof. Given that the barrel proof is 105 proof, this lost water as opposed to alcohol as it aged. Spirits of French Lick toasts their barrels before charring them to a number 2 char. They do this I think to not have the barrel drown out the flavors of the grains. This bottle is $54 at Hokus.
On the nose, the caramel barley malt asserts itself in a lovely way giving this a pretty traditional bourbon nose but really emphasizing caramel. Really nice. On the swirl are big thick oily legs, and the color is a nice brassy amber tending toward the darker side with a hint of redness to it, which is good for a four year old bourbon; you might think it was a little older based on the color. On the palate is big caramel, some background vanilla that is really nice, some doughy bread notes and honey that turn to cinnamon rolls right before you swallow it and the finish begins. And the cinnamon roll on the finish is long. Mouthfeel is medium and kind of syrupy which is nice. This is a little craft bitterness on the palate, but less so than Gladden or Dalton.
This is, so far, my favorite bottling from Spirits of French Lick. I think using oats in the mashbill is brilliant, given that in my home brew days I used to make a mean oatmeal stout. The caramel malted barley is also brilliant and really adds to the flavor. A $54 bottle of cask strength bourbon – yes please. But one with this unique of a mashbill? Definitely worth picking up.