Four Gate Foundation (batch 3)
We’ve all heard of the duck test, right? If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and walks like a duck…chances are it is a duck. Well there’s plenty of rumor floating around that Four Gate’s “Foundation” (batch 3) is none other than Wild Turkey distillate. So if it looks like a turkey, flies like a turkey, and gobbles like a turkey…is it a Foundation Batch 3?
I have to admit I passed on Four Gate Foundation (batch 3) a few times when I had chances to buy it. I’ll be honest, it was just too expensive to take a flier on a 9 year 9 month whiskey that I had no clue where it was sourced. Then the reviews started rolling out, and while tempted, I stayed away. The high retail price and lack of disclosure (other than Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey) of the source had me reluctant to pull the trigger. If you simply go by the stats, it’s totally reasonable to assume this release would be fine whiskey. From Four Gate’s website:
It just so happened that we located and purchased some Kentucky Straight Bourbon ranging from 9 years, 9 months old to over 11 years that was so good when we tasted it with Kelvin Cooperage, that we all agreed we couldn’t make it better by barrel finishing it.
So we’re presenting a very small batch of this wonderful whiskey to you in all its unfiltered, barrel proof glory. That’s right, Straight Kentucky Bourbon, no finish at all.
The only downside is that we didn’t get a whole lot of this whiskey, so this micro-batch is extremely limited in size, with only 748 bottles produced. And since great bourbon forms the foundation of our product, we named it just that: FOUNDATION.
Sure. Sourced whiskey. An “extremely limited” batch and a high price tag. Sounds like another Non-Distiller Producer selling hyped whiskey. Let’s go ahead and have a pour to find out…
Nose – Complex & dark. Rich, even. Caramel rolls around with light fruity citrus. There’s oak and a touch of apple peel…then some dark cherry. A touch of warehouse funk. Punchy vanilla. Brown sugar and spice. Did I mention complex?
Taste – Mouthfeel is medium, or perhaps even a little thin. Up front there’s a big vanilla and funkiness that wakes you up before some tart cherry comes in. Toffee gives way to light brown sugar–and it’s somehow definitely light brown sugar. Cherry comes back stronger–it’s very Stagg-esque. Heat is definitely present, but it’s not overbearing at all. Charred oak is mixing in there and even some good deep baking spice.
Finish – The heaviest notes that are still playing in the finish are vanilla, oak, brown sugar, and fruit. As mentioned, it was a little thin on the palate (although that didn’t hurt the flavor) but it still seems to coat the palate very well and hangs on for a long ride home. I would say that the rumors of this being from Wild Turkey have some ground to stand on. If a Russell’s Reserve and a Stagg Jr. had a love child, this could be it. Hell of a pour.
Bourbon Finder Grade: A-
Wow. Having passed on this bottle a few times after sticker shock, I'm kicking myself. Even after reading reviews from trusted friends I passed on this. I'm glad to have received a sample to try this out (cheers, Brian!) and now I'm officially interested in buying one. There is so much at work in this pour it's downright spooky. Could it be Turkey? I suppose anything is possible; however, I think this could be one of the few times where the legend of the bottle is as interesting as the whiskey it contains. Should you have the quid, I recommend this one all day.
Our grading system: As mentioned in our About Us page, we're excited to share bourbon with our friends, family, and readers. There are enough critics, cynics, and curmudgeons in the whiskey world as it is, so our goal is to foster the bourbon community in a positive way by bringing fun and entertaining content whenever possible--as such--we decided that applying precise scores to whiskey was simply too serious for us (and didn't accurately showcase variability in taste from day to day). We use a simple grade school system to apply a grade to the whiskeys we review because we feel it is indicative of the whiskey's grade for us on that particular day. A grade of a "B" today may very well be a "B+" or even a "B-" on another day, so rather than focusing on a precise score today that may not stand the test of time, we are just sharing our overall grade of that pour for that one tasting. Pour a bit and enjoy, friends, these are the good old days of whiskey!