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 follow this link to see all 10 bourbon recipes Four Roses uses. Though what they ultimately mean is that this is a truly delicious blend of Four Roses characteristics that, 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. Alternatively 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. Without a legal definition it’s more of a marketing term than anything at this point, but there are some brands out there taking a stand and owning what the term means to them and that’s nice to see.
In the end 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 another tremendous release from a distillery that, seemingly, can do no wrong. Rich with caramel and rye the combination of sweet and spicy is enchanting and delectable. Moderately well balanced with the spice weighing a bit heavier than 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 yellow) instead of the typical Jack, Jim and Johnnie.
if you’ve had the fantastically well crafted Four Roses Small Batch bourbon I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
Four Roses Small Batch Review
Recipe: OBSO + OBSK + OESK + OESO
Distiller: Four Roses
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.
Mostly a smooth ride with only a minor rough patch or two as it cruises over the palate.
Long winding finish of caramel, toffee, sweet grains, oak with a slight kick from the alcohol.