One of the heaviest hitters of bourbon season has arrived: the always-anticipated Four Roses Limited Edition Small Batch. As is common with this release, it’s full of well-aged stock from the Four Roses rickhouses. The breakdown for 2021 includes 16-year-old OBSV – 13%; 14-year-old OBSQ – 6%; 12-year-old OESK – 23%; and 16-year-old OESV – the lion’s share of the blend at 58%. It’s also worth noting that this is the highest proof ever for a Limited Edition Small Batch release.
A large group of writers tasted the release ahead of it dropping later this month with distiller Brent Elliott via Zoom.
The nose is informed heavily by the higher proof, hitting the nostrils with notes of red pepper and tanned leather, with notes of dark chocolate and baked apples lingering underneath. The nose doesn’t telegraph a lot of sweetness, but the palate surprisingly delivers it — brown sugar, honey, some butterscotch, and plenty of apple-heavy fruit. The finish is more seductive, hinting at a chocolate-covered cherry note, though it remains quite tight on the whole and is a touch green on the fade-out. Water is a good move here, tempering some of the heat but letting the sweeter elements shine more clearly and allowing the whole thing to come into better balance, softening any lingering, punchy elements.
All told, another solid showing from Four Roses … which you’ll probably need to acquire via lottery on their website (registration is open until September 12).
114.4 proof. 14,500 bottles produced.
A- / $150 / fourrosesbourbon.com