We're lucky here in Illinois, because Four Roses is presently available in only seven states and this is one of them. Sorry Iowa, Wisconsin. and the rest of you.
We're about to get even luckier.
Sources tell me that Brett Pontoni, the Specialty Spirits Buyer at Binny's, has selected three casks for a special Binny's exclusive Four Roses Single Barrel bottling.
Binny's already has many special bottlings of casks selected by Brett, of both American and Scottish whiskey. One of my favorites is his pick of an Elmer T. Lee Bourbon, from Buffalo Trace.
These "buy a barrel" deals are good for everybody. The producer/distributor sells the equivalent of a barrel of whiskey (about 20 cases), maybe more than the retailer normally would buy. The retailer gets an exclusive product and a story to tell, and the customer gets the opportunity to taste something a little bit different.
Buffalo Trace has been the leader with these programs, but Four Roses has seen a good thing and gotten in the game too. At this as with many things, Four Roses brings something unique to the party. They do what no other American distiller does, they make ten different bourbon formulas, by combining five different yeasts with two different mash bills. Their standard, yellow label expression is a mixture of all ten, but by its nature a single barrel can be just one. For the standard issue Four Roses Single Barrel, they don't want too much variation from barrel to barrel, but with a special bottling like this one for Binny's, getting a couple of different tastes is the whole idea.
I'm told they should be available in the next month or so and will be labeled Cask 1, Cask 2 and Cask 3. I'm told that Cask 3 is the "fattest."
Trust me, the crazy people I know will buy as many bottles of all three as they can afford, so don't wait too long. Three barrels, or about 60 cases, may sound like a lot but I predict that it will go fast.