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
Cask Strength | Non-Chill Filtered | Natural Color
2015 Four Roses Small Batch Limited Edition Review
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.
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.
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.
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
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.