Coming out of the gate with a 123.4° proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey takes guts. But when a new whiskey company wants to make a splash that’s one way to do it and that’s exactly what Four Gate Whiskey has done. Four Gate Whiskey is a new collaboration between two self-proclaimed whiskey enthusiasts, Bill Straub and Bob D’Antoni.
Straub is the Chief Blending Officer for the company. He’s leveraged his knowledge of bourbon industry as founder and Editor-In-Chief of ModernThirst.com. His partner Bob D’Antoni is the Chief Barrel Officer. D’Antoni is a successful Louisville entrepreneur who was able to leverage his local connections to establish relationships to get his hands on some barrels of matured bourbon.
Batch No. 1 Finished in Collaboration with Kelvin Cooperage
Watch the video above as Bill Straub introduces Four Gate Whiskey Batch No. 1.
The pair founded Four Gate Whiskey in 2018 with the purchase of 120 barrels of Kentucky Straight Bourbon whiskey at various ages from 5 to 11 years old. Batch No. 1 was made up of a blend of 14 barrels of 11 year old Kentucky Straight Bourbon whiskey. It’s a rye forward bourbon with a mashbill of 74% corn, 18% rye, 8% malted barley.
The barrels yielded three distinct blends, so the team enlisted the aid of three whiskey enthusiasts to help choose the final blend to dump into the secondary barrels. Brian Haara, author of Bourbon Justice: How Whiskey Law Shaped America, along with Owen Powell and Craig Rupprecht of Louisville Bourbon Hounds.
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Rather than simply bottling the aged whiskey they also collaborated with William Hornaday at Kelvin Cooperage to find some unique barrels that they could use to put their own touch on the bourbon. Together they landing on some used 59 gallon barrels from Spain that originally held sherry that were subsequently used to age rum in the Caribbean. They determined the product was done after 90 days resting in the used sherry-rum barrels. And as we already mentioned they ended up bottling their new collaboration at 123.4° proof. You may need to add a bit of water to open this one up.
“I really want to push the envelope with this brand,” said Straub. “Collaborating with Kelvin Cooperage makes that happen. Every batch we release will be a unique combination of whiskey and finish barrels. We really want to explore everything Kelvin can do with this company.”
“Having Kelvin involved is huge for us,” said D’Antoni. “No one knows more about how a barrel ultimately impacts a spirit than the people who have been making those barrels for all kinds of spirits for half a century. Their access to existing barrels and their ability to craft totally unique casks is really something we want to display.”
Tasting Notes Provided by Four Gate Whiskey
Nose: The finish barrels are front and center with a huge waft of maple syrup. Behind that, there is a spicy cinnamon, some vanilla and caramel, with a sweet red fruit undertone.
Taste: Oloroso Sherry hits the front palate with a burst of sweet fortified wine and simple syrup. The mid palate gets traditional high-rye bourbon notes of vanilla, black pepper, and oak, while the rear palate gets a molasses and brown sugar sweetness from the rum finish.
Finish: Medium-to-long, there are prevalent barrel tannins and rye spices that linger on the tongue while a boozy rum finish coats the inside of the mouth.
Four Gate Whiskey Company’s Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey finished in Sherry-Rum Casks is bottled at 123.4° proof (61.7 ABV) with a suggested retail price of $199.99. This first batch produced 1,732 bottles and is available now in Kentucky and Tennessee.
Four Gate Whiskey Company, named after the four board fences you see along Kentucky’s world famous thoroughbred horse farms, expects to unveil the other small batch products with unique finishes to later this year.