top of page

Four Roses Single Barrel 13-6L Bourbon Review Liquor Junction & Amongst the Whiskey Pick—Embracing the Journey of Flavor Evolution

Updated: 7 days ago

Four Roses Bourbon

A single barrel of whiskey and the journey that unfolds.

From the maturation process to climate changes to the luxury of time, the end product is a result of nature's elements. There is no blending, no fenagaling, just whiskey in a barrel aging until it is deemed ready for bottling. Barrel picks have become widely popular amongst distilleries and whiskey enthusiasts alike. The opportunity to dive deeply into a distillery by tasting a series of single barrels is often seen as the bees-knees of whiskey experiences.

The private selection program at Four Roses Distillery allows enthusiasts and retailers to participate in this unique bourbon experience. Participants are guided through a meticulous tasting process where they select from ten of their signature bourbon recipes. Once chosen, barrels are bottled as a personalized batch. This program highlights Four Roses' commitment to "craftsmanship and diversity and offers aficionados the opportunity to experience a bespoke bourbon tailored to their preferences."

Here at Amongst the Whiskey, our mission is simple: honest reviews, no matter how the whiskey has come into our possession—be it a media sample, a purchase of our own, or a sample from a fellow whiskey enthusiast. We are bound only by the truth on the nose and palate. I feel compelled to remind you, dear reader, of our approach to reviewing whiskey because I have a very serious task ahead of me: reviewing an Amongst the Whiskey barrel pick.

Four Roses Distillery

In conjunction with Liquor Junction, my fellow ATW reviewer embarked on (yet another) Four Roses barrel pick, which he asked me to review, no strings attached. Pull my arm, Nick, why don't you? All kidding aside, I am honored to offer my honest opinion on this Four Roses Private Select OESQ barrel pick. For those who have no idea what OESQ means or for those who would enjoy a quick spritz refresher on one of the ten Four Roses bourbon recipes, read on!

Four Roses Bourbon OESQ is a distinctive expression within the Four Roses lineup. Each letter in the designation OESQ signifies different aspects of the bourbon's recipe:

  • O: Indicates that the bourbon was produced at the Four Roses Distillery in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky.

  • E: Represents the mash bill used, which is high in corn content and contributes to the bourbon's sweetness.

  • S: Denotes the straight whiskey distillation process, adhering to stringent aging and proofing regulations.

  • Q: Specifies the yeast strain employed in fermentation, influencing the final flavor profile.

According to the Four Roses Website, "OESQ is known for its balanced and complex character, often noted for its floral and fruity notes complemented by a hint of spiciness."

While the mash bill and yeast strain absolutely influence taste, enthusiasts also pay attention to the tier (where the barrel is stored in the warehouse), which can affect how the wood and whiskey interact with one another. Simply put, the higher the barrel is stored in the warehouse, the more temperature swings from hot to cool in one given day, expanding and contracting the wood and whiskey aging inside. Repeating this process for nine years and two months can absolutely do wonders for the taste of whiskey. Or so is the hope of this single barrel, as this is a tier 6 (highest in the warehouse). I'm ready. Are you? Let's see if this sip leaves me in wonder!


Company on Label: Four Roses Distillery

Whiskey Type: Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Mash Bill Percentages: 75% Corn, 20% Rye, 5% Malted Barley

Proof: 124°

Age: 9 Years (2 Months)

Further identification: Warehouse FS, Barrel No. 13-6L. Recipe: OESQ. Bottled May 2024.


Nose: Creamy and effervescent all at once, my eyebrows are raised, and all my attention is focused. Cream-filled caramels and a barrel funk spiced with cinnamon pop up, eager like a puppy at the front door. A hint of damp lavender and a gentle musty characteristic reminds me of potting soil after a summer's rain, subtle but humid somehow, as if a breeze is lifting the scent. Heat tickles my nose but in a way a loved one may tickle you, treasured and endearing. Deeper in the glass reveals melted butter in a cask iron skillet, oodles of vanilla cream, and sticky honey found on a varnished wood table. Time for a sip!

Returning after a taste ushers in much more sweetness, thick raspberry syrup, and a flaky warm Danish. The buttered note is still there, a bit more developed and really quite welcoming. Deeper inhales later in the glass bring out a bit of nail polish for me, which is likely the ethanol making itself known. The baking spices and creamy caramel notes remain consistent and lovely throughout. The empty glass smells of notebook paper next to a warm bowl of cream of wheat cereal.

Palate: Fluffy angels food cake dusted with confectioners sugar melts across my tongue, a light taste that comes and goes but is enjoyed for its momentary sweetness all the same. Mint and hints of lemon join in, and oh, okay. Hello. Black pepper and leather. I'm suddenly at my Grandparents' house, in their kitchen, while cinnamon, clove, and ginger waft through the air. Is this Christmas in July?! The finish is all the oooo's' pine trees and dirt, sweet honey, and a small potpourri dish. The last sip is butter ginger snap cookies and a wish for hot chocolate—by far the best sip out of the entire glass—suggesting this bottle will only get better with time.

TL;DR: a timeless taste that evolved with every moment


Rating: 4.5/5

As someone who gravitates toward the higher rye mashbill from Four Roses (OB's), I am floored by this pick. My third tasting was by far the most enjoyable, suggesting this bottle will be a powerhouse of flavors with time. As a result, I did not rate it a 5 due to its long-term potential. But given the beautiful evolution I experienced in just three tastings, I wouldn't be surprised if this ends up as a 5 in a few months. Get yours while you still can!

Jes Smyth - Pu


With what started as a genuine curiosity for the “water of life,” fiction writer and published author Jes Smyth has nurtured her enthusiasm for whiskey ever since. From learning the vast history of whiskey making to celebrating the passion of the industry, she tastes each sip with intention and purpose while expressing the intricacies of whiskey in a relatable and heartfelt way. She is thrilled to be a contributing writer for and hopes her words will resonate with those ready to explore the beautiful world of whiskey.



I had my wife try this yesterday and without her knowing what it was, she said it reminded her of visiting her memere’s and papa’s house (both have passed), because of this very specific potpourri they had in their house all growing up that gave off aromas of dried roses, vanilla, and cinnamon. Reading this gave me chills.

Jes Smyth
Jes Smyth
Jul 06
Replying to

This is absolutely incredible! Thank you for sharing!


Wonderful write up Jes! I'm glad you're enjoying this pick as much as I am!

bottom of page