Four Roses Small Batch blends barrels of OBSO, OBSK, OESO and OESK together into a rich and velvety liquid that, like everything else Four Roses puts out, is magnificent. If you’re not sure what all of those esoteric letters mean visit Four Roses to see all 10 bourbon recipes Four Roses uses. Though all you really need to know is that this is a truly delicious blend of Four Roses characteristics and that it being a small batch blend, can change a bit from bottling to bottling over the years. Not nearly as much as the single barrel bourbons do, but if you keep drinking them for long enough (or if you keep notes… or a blog) you’ll probably notice some variation.
Currently “small batch” whiskey doesn’t have a legal definition but is loosely defined as a whiskey that is created by blending a small amount (relatively speaking) of barrels before bottling. Maker’s Mark defines a small batch whiskey as “approximately 1,000 gallons or less (20 barrels) from a mash bill of around 200 bushels of grain”. However, Kentucky Bourbon Distillers only use 12 barrels, at most, in each batch of their small batch releases. Then you have George Dickel who uses about 10 barrels to make each batch of it’s small batch (Barrel Select) releases. I wasn’t able to find exactly how many barrels go into each batch of the Four Roses Small Batch, but I’d bet it’s far more than 20.
Four Roses Small Batch Info
Region: Kentucky, USA
Distiller: Four Roses
Mashbill: OBSO, OBSK, OESK, OESO
OB = 60% Corn, 35% Rye, 5% Malted Barley OE = 75% Corn, 20% Rye, 5% Malted Barley
Cask: New Charred Oak
Four Roses Small Batch Review
This bottle has a remarkable amount of caramel in it with a strong rye presence sitting shotgun. Cinnamon, dark fruit, a light citrus and a slightly floral character are the chief backseat drivers in this buggy. Tied up in the trunk is a bit of vanilla.
Again the caramel and rye are upfront and in charge, but this time it’s leather, pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, corn and some oak keeping them company on this flavor road trip.
Long winding finish of caramel, toffee, sweet grains, oak with a slight kick from the alcohol.
BALANCE, BODY & FEEL
Great balanced, medium body and mostly a smooth ride with only a minor rough patch or two as it cruises over the palate.
How a distillery defines small batch is less important than how the whiskey tastes. In the case of the Four Roses Small Batch it tastes great just like the rest of their products. Overall it’s a tremendously tasty and reliable release from a distillery that can seemingly do no wrong right now. Rich with caramel and rye the combination of sweet and spicy is enchanting and delectable.
Four Roses Small Batch is also a well balanced whiskey with the spice sitting in a nice juxtaposition to the sweet. It’s the kind of whiskey I could drink all night and not get bored with. I wish more of the events I attend for work would stock this (or even the Four Roses Yellow) instead of the typical Jack, Jim and Johnnie. If any Los Angeles event planners are reading this I implore you to add it. It’s not an expensive whiskey and will make a great addition to your open or cash bar events.
SCORE: 87/100 (B+)
Four Roses Small Batch Review - Score Breakdown
- Nose - 88
- Palate - 87
- Finish - 87
- Balance, Body & Feel - 87
Four Roses Small Batch is an awesome bourbon and you should get some today!
Four Roses Small Batch: Last Glass Update (06-25-16)
Over the course of drinking through this Four Roses Small Batch I didn’t end up liking it any more or less. My notes and impressions stayed about the same and the only real change was in my overall appreciation of what a good value this whiskey is in today’s whiskey climate. Seriously, just an awesome daily drinker.
FINAL VERDICT: If you’re a bourbon drinker, Four Roses Small Batch should be a staple in your home bar.