Four Roses Annual Small Batch Treasure
Four Roses has had a pretty successful year this 2017. With Brent Elliott working in full swing towards the end of his second year as the new Master Distiller, releases such as the Al Young’s 50th Anniversary Small Batch and a slew of amazing private barrels across the country made up big time for the absence of a Limited Edition Single Barrel this year. Now you can add the annual Limited Edition Small Batch release to that list. Closing out the year with a bang, it’s the first time a Limited Edition Small Batch is featured only with the low rye “OE” mash bill.
Just Tell Me About The Bottle, Damn it!
Bottled at Barrel Strength, this Limited Edition release combines a 15 year Bourbon OESK recipe, a 13 year OESK and a 12 year OESV. To the bourbon drinkers with limited knowledge of Four Roses, this Small Batch is a marriage of 3 “OE” bourbons which are bourbons made with a low-rye mash bill (E) and a spicy, full-bodied yeast strain (This one using “K” and “V”). The “O” means it was distilled at the Four Roses distillery in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, and the “S” means it’s a straight bourbon, having aged in wood for more than 2 years. For the seasoned Four Roses fans, we can expect the overtones to be on the sweeter side with the mingling of three OE recipes, most likely the sweetest Limited Edition Small Batch to date. My favorite recipe happens to be OESK so when I read the press release for this bottle I had to make sure I found a few on the shelf. I was, however, surprised to find that the information of the recipes used in the small batch are absent from the back of the bottle. Brent Elliott had this to say of the 2017 Limited Edition Small Batch:
“The magic happened early on with this Small Batch Bourbon—after only my third test blend, I knew we had hit the target and then some,” said Elliott. “In subsequent blind samplings, this one always stood out. There is a remarkable synergy among the three batches. Once we combined them, it resulted in more depth, richness and warmth than any one of the individual recipes.”
Released at the beginning of Fall 2017, the 2017 Four Roses Limited Edition Small Batch is bottled at 54% ABV, 108 proof. For this review I will be tasting the whiskey with and without a few drops of water in a Glencairin glass.
Tasting Notes: 2017 Four Roses Limited Edition Small Batch
Contents: 54% ABV // 108 proof // Small Batch // Blend of 3 different bourbons 12, 13, and 15 years old.
Bottle #: 5,398 out of 10,896
MSRP: Approx. $120 depending on market. I found the bottle for this review at $90 in the San Francisco Bay Area, California.
Appearance: Cherry red
Nose: Starts with that beautiful barrel char and little oak spice. It’s got some heat for 108 proof. Opens up to the classic Four Roses clove and stone fruit. Plums and apricot linger as you slowly take the glass away from your nose.
Palate: Very rich on the tongue. The mouthfeel isn’t as oily as I expected, but I immediately taste the rush of sweetness with plum, the barrel char and the vanilla. Clear as day you taste raspberry and brown sugar on the backend.
Finish: Medium finish. The warmth from the oak slowly pulls the curtains back on the raspberry and brown sugar after-taste.
One of the best Limited Edition Small Batches. Purists will still say their Private Barrel Selection program has more to offer, but this bottling is so damn delicious and you get something totally different than your average OESK store pick Single barrel. The best thing this mingling does is hold the rich full-bodied OESK profile and rounds it out with the 15 years of age and the 12 year OESV to give the fruit the chance to shine. The lower-than-usual $90 price tag made me very happy, not to mention. The impressive balance of sweetness and low spice with this batch knocks it out of the park with me. This will go down as one of the best Limited Edition Small Batches simply due to the change in pace of other LE Barrel Strength Small batches including only OE recipe bourbons.
Drinker Type: If you’re a fan of Four Roses, you’ll love this one for sure. Furthermore, if you’re a fan of the “OE” low rye mash bill and love OESK, you have to have this release. If you’re just getting into the big spending zone of this bourbon hobby and like Eagle Rare, you’ll love this release. Hell, this is sure to please even the non-Four Roses fans with it’s muted “Four Roses funk” and gushing sweetness.
Worth buying again? Absolutely! This is one of those bottles that is fairly priced and doesn’t make huge increases from year to year. In fact, near my neck of the woods the prices are going down. A good sign, as the bourbon bubble doesn’t seem to make any signs of popping.
Notes From Four Roses:
Bottled at barrel strength, the remarkably balanced 2017 Limited Edition Small Batch introduces warm aromas of allspice and vanilla bean, mingled with rich apricot. Bright raspberry flavors greet the palate, then give way to hints of decadent sweet cherry and light oak. The finish is long, with notes of rich brown sugar and hints of cinnamon.
Editor’s Note: This whiskey was purchased by Superfly Bourbon Club. In no way, does acquiring the bottle in any form manipulate the direction of this review. Some information sourced from FourRosesBourbon.com.