2015 Four Roses Small Batch Limited Edition Review

2015 Four Roses Small Batch Limited Edition Review

The 2015 Four Roses Small Batch Limited Edition is the last batch of this tasty yearly release overseen by Jim Rutledge who retired earlier this year. All future batches, until he too retires, will be created and released under the watchful palate of Four Roses’ new Master Distiller Brent Elliott – who I’m sure will do a fine job in the coming years. It’s always a bit sad to see the end of an era, but there’s no crying in whiskey and there’s a job to be done. The 2015 Four Roses Small Batch Limited Edition review!

Each year the components of the 4R SmB LE is changed up so each release is unique unto itself. The 2014 Four Roses Small Batch Limited Edition was made from 13 year OBSV, 12 year OESV, 11 year OBSF and a 9 year OBSK. The utterly astounding 2013 Four Roses Small Batch Limited Edition was crafted from 18 year OBSV, 13 year OBSK and 13 year OESK. The 2015 Four Roses Small Batch Limited Edition, in comparison, is made from 11 year OBSV, 14 year OESK, 15 year OESK & 16 year OBSK. That’s enough technical talk, let’s get into how it smells and tastes!

2015 Four Roses Small Batch Limited Edition Info

Region: Kentucky, USA

Distiller: Four Roses
Mashbill: OB = 60% Corn, 35% Rye, 5% Malted barley | OE = 75% Corn, 20% Rye, 5% Malted Barley
Blend: 11 year OBSV, 14 year OESK, 15 year OESK & 16 year OBSK
Cask: New charred oak
Age: 11 years
ABV: 54.25%

Cask Strength | Non-Chill Filtered | Natural Color

Batch: 2015

Price: $120

2015 Four Roses Small Batch Limited Edition Review

EYE
Candy brown

NOSE
Caramel, rye spice, vanilla, oak and a bit of fruit come sauntering out first followed by some Bit O’ Honey, candied citrus peels and a bit of cinnamon. It’s a nice nose, no way around it.

PALATE
Dark sweets, complex spice, oak, vanilla, chocolate covered cherries and more canned citrus. There is a bit of a leathery earthy quality that hangs out in the back before fading out to the finish.

FINISH
Long and oaky with notes of spice, canned citrus, vanilla and that leathery earthy quality.

BALANCE, BODY & FEEL
Well balanced, full body and a rich oily feel that comes across a bit hot.

OVERALL
2015 Four Roses Small Batch Limited Edition is, in my opinion, the weakest of the last 3 releases. But when your weakest release still snags an A- in the rankings you know you’re on to something. The aroma is warm and inviting, but doesn’t hit the same level of depth or complexity as the 2014 or 2013, yet still does a great job of delivering that lovely sweet and spicy Four Roses character.

The palate is also not quite as deep and complex as the past 2 year’s releases, but still comes across as a well executed Four Roses which translates on through the finish. It’s a good example of Jim Rutledge doing doing the thing he’s best at: Making very tasty bourbon. Next year’s release will be the first Four Roses Small Batch Limited Edition under new Master Distiller Brent Elliott and it’ll be interesting to see how his and Rutledge’s tastes differ. Though with Jim staying on as a consultant I imagine he’ll still have a voice in the end product.

SCORE: 90-92/100 (consumed at a tasting, not at home)

2015 Four Roses Small Batch Limited Edition Review - Score Breakdown
  • Nose - 90
  • Palate - 90
  • Finish - 90
  • Balance, Body & Feel - 90

Summary

2015 Four Roses Small Batch Limited Edition is a good whiskey and while it is on the pricier side of the LE’s it’s not a terrible deal at full MSRP, but I wouldn’t pay much more for it than that.

2015 Four Roses Small Batch Limited Edition Label

Josh Peters
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Josh Peters

I read about, think about, write about, and drink whisk(e)y. In short, it's my passion.
Josh Peters
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3 Responses to 2015 Four Roses Small Batch Limited Edition Review

  1. Hi Josh:
    I know this sounds novice but where can I buy the Four Roses Limited Batch for 2016 and even more of a stretch for September the 23 yr old Pappy.
    Thanks for any tips.
    Grace

    • 2016 isn’t out yet and for all special releases you’re going to have to talk to your local liquor stores and get into their good graces (pun 1/2 intended). Outside of that your only other, legal, option is to pay the massively upcharged prices that opportunistic and unscrupulous liquor store owners charge. In the case of the Four Roses that will be $300+ and the Pappy 23 $2,000+. Sorry I don’t have better news, but that’s the world we’re living in at the moment.

  2. I fell lucky with this bottling online retailer in Spain that ships to U.K. Priced it at €39.95 when they got some stock in and pounced on 5 bottles for £175 including shipping. At £35 a bottle I have one open and 4 bunkered so no need to worry if I do not get any special releases for a couple of years.

    Not even tempted to flip them specialist shops now have them retail at £250-350 but how much would I pay to get a bottle of this years BTAC if I could find a bottle. I have entered the UK lottery this year for BTAC but only 11 bottles available so not holding out much hope there are 2 bottles of GTS at £145 available but the odds are against anyone entering.

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