Hey guys, my name is Robin Weston and I am a guest-writer here and one of the four current board members of the Tampa Bay Whiskey Society. The society was founded in October 2014 with roughly 40 members and we now have over 1,700! We’ve grown into a rather large but collaborative and educational community and have monthly events (if not more) such as bottle shares, professional tastings, brand rep tastings, private barrel release parties and more. All in all we’re just about bringing together the brown spirit loving people of Tampa Bay!
Last year, my fellow TBWS board members and I had the amazing opportunity to travel to Four Roses in Kentucky in order to taste and choose a barrel for the Society sold locally through Kenny’s Liquor. Imagine a kid getting to meet Walt Disney and with him choosing the coolest toys for sell in the gift shop…but with alcohol. Brent Elliot is my Walt Disney, and The Bourbon Trail is my Disney World!
Now tasting bourbon is, of course, one of my favorite things to do, but the formal process of the Nose, Palate, Finish, etc. is not my specialty…yet. Credit is given to my TBWS compatriots, Chris, Lana and Brian, who are able to help me pull the subtle nuances out of each glass of whiskey. We had the opportunity to taste from six different barrels, of variable strengths, tastes and intensities. Ages ranged from 8 years, 8 months to just under 10 years old. It’s a Disney World moment when the Master Distiller of Four Roses fills your Glencairn glass, from a copper whiskey thief, directly from the barrel.
To be honest each of them was a little hotter than I expected and somewhat threw off my palate. I’ve had the opportunity to participate in many tastings over the years which luckily taught me that some time, a little water and a lot of contemplation would help me zero in on a great barrel. Some obvious flavors across the board included: the classic Four Roses floral notes along with oak, rye, barrel char, cinnamon sugar, vanilla, spice and above all else, the taste of satisfaction. Tasting whiskey straight from the barrel, 6 times, was certainly a fun & new experience for me even with the added responsibility to bring a great product back to Tampa. However I can assure you that after some serious time and deliberation amongst ourselves we picked something that will make our society proud. Stay tuned for a formal tasting and review of the barrel when it is released locally in the coming weeks.