Four Roses 2013 Small Batch Limited Edition Review

Four Roses 2013 Limited Edition Small Batch Review

This is bourbon heaven. The 2013 Four Roses Small Batch Limited Edition (125) is just plain amazing and it is miles above their regular Small Batch release. It’s superior to the best Single Barrel releases I’ve had so far and Jim Rutledge himself (the Master Distiller) describes it as “what could be the best Bourbon we’ve ever put in a bottle”. I couldn’t agree more. This stuff is incredible. It’s by far my favorite Four Roses product and in the top 5 of my favorite bourbons of all time.

The 2013 Limited Edition Small Batch release celebrates the 125th anniversary of Four Roses which, as we know, has gone through some rough patches over the years. It’s truly amazing to see how this once popular brand slipped into relative obscurity when it’s Canadian overlords forced it to belch out rotgut for 40 something years only to emerge like a corn powered phoenix from the ashes to take the bourbon industry by storm. In just 13ish years it went from rot-gut to now enjoying Pappy like fanaticism for it’s annual Limited Edition releases. Now THAT’S a comeback.

Overall it’s absolutely stunning on every single level. Big bold doses of sweetness come galloping out of the bottle to hit my olfactory system just right and make it an almost sinful sniffing experience. The Juicy ripe fruit wrapped in a blanket of rye and bourbon spice gracefully tumble from the glass and across my palate are perfectly accented by the more traditional corn and malt driven bourbon notes creating a whiskey so well balanced you could set it on a tight rope.

I know that Buffalo Trace is working away diligently to create the perfect bourbon, but for my palate it seems like the folks at Four Roses are a few steps ahead and are already hitting pretty close to the bullseye with releases like this. Damn good job on this one Jim.

If you’ve had this marvelous dram leave your own notes or thoughts in the comments below.

Four Roses Small Batch 2013 Limited Edition Review

ABV: 51.6%
Price: $90
Distiller: Four Roses

OBSV -18 years
OBSK – 13 years
OESK – 13 years

Dark caramel

This has one of the richest caramel notes I’ve encountered. Keeping time with it is a bold rye and a heavy dark fruit. Cinnamon, oak, brown sugar, cherries, charcoal, nutmeg, light vanilla and a dusting of pepper make this one of the most complex and intriguing bourbon noses I’ve had the good fortune to experience.

Voluptuous caramel waltzes across the palate with rye, cinnamon, nutmeg and a juicy ripe dark fruit. A dusty oak, some citrus that didn’t come through on the nose and that same dusting of pepper make this a whiskey that has a taste on par with the nose in complexity.

Smooth as a well polished dance floor and effortless as a professional ballerina.

RYE! It dominates the finish, but as the tempo slows notes of caramel, oak, citrus and some dark fruit come out. This long, slightly dry, finish slowly fades to oak and remains a pleasant dance partner the entire time.

SCORE: 97/100

Josh Peters

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 Four Roses 2013 Small Batch Limited Edition Review

  1. Just completed a trade of 3 bottles of SM Scotch for this one. Cost me dearly, Glendronach 15, Arran 18 and Glencadam 21. I do have 2 back ups of Glendronach 15 and can replace the Arran 18 but the Glencadam 21 hurt.
    Regardless, I got what I wanted despite what seems to many as too high a price. I have tried the FR 125 twice now and Mike Tyson could not punch the smile off my face when enjoying this. Now to make it last a year or so.

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