What most companies pick for competitive tastings are Jim Beam, Jack Daniel's, Crown Royal and Early Times. The reason should be obvious - These are the biggest competitors in the market. That does not make them the best products but these are the brands most people know. What is the use of tasting against Pappy 20 when 999 out of a 1,000 people have never tasted it. Besides, it is hard not to have a well matured, reasonable proof product that does not have more or better taste than these products.
I did not make it to the Four Roses event because of work, but from talking to Brenda it sounds like they have the same type of tasting "library" as any other quality control lab I have seen in the industry. It is well stocked with the brands of all of the other distilleries. It is helpfull for the distillers to know what the competition is making. It is unusual for a distillery to invite the public into the lab for a tasting. Four Roses is showing a confidence in their product that is encouraging. I look for great things to come out of that distillery in the next decade.
"Our people live almost exclusively on whiskey" - E H Taylor, Jr. 25 April 1873