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Four Roses - Small Batch

Delicate and Elegant

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@vrudy6Review by @vrudy6

9th Mar 2015


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Pleas bare with me. This is only the second bottle of bourbon I've ever purchased. I've had my share of bourbons, but only at local bars and get togethers, etc, etc... I always heard of Four Roses being a wonderful bourbon, so I sacrificed my liquor money to go for a bottle of their Small Batch bottling instead of my usual single malt.

Nose: Buttered popcorn. vanilla, spices, oak, lemon peel, pineapple, floral.

Palate: light bodied, the popcorn notes mixed with vanilla arrive first.then the spices develop with sweet light caramel. very elegant!

Finish: spices remain, there is a little bit of butter coming back to the tongue along with a trace of honey.

This is elegant, not the usual bourbon, I guess. At least not like the ones I've tried. If there are some as delicate as this, please drop a line below. I would love to hear some suggestions.

Related Four Roses reviews


MaltActivist commented

The best person to get advice on bourbons would be connosr member @Victor - his knowledge and experience with bourbon is unparalleled.

I recently tasted the Four Roses Single Barrel which was far from delicate. Quite luscious and syrupy. My sample was from Barrel 69-6W from warehouse ME. Bottled at 50%

Lovely whisky that!

And thanks for your review

5 years ago 0

Victor commented

Delicate? Well, @vrudy6, that is in the eye of the beholder, I would say. I understand why you find Four Roses Small Batch to be elegant and delicate. Other 'delicate' bourbons?

You sound just like a Pappy Van Winkle 20 yo man, @vrudy6,...but, that one costs a fortune now. Van Winkle 12 yo Special Reserve 'Lot B' is also usually delicate, but remember that all Van Winkle is wheated bourbon, with flavours different from any Four Roses products, which are standard bourbons made with rye included in the mash.

For practical everyday purposes try:

1) Evan Williams Single Barrel

2) Eagle Rare 10 yo Single Barrel

3) Ancient Ancient Age 10 Star (very light)

4) Rebel RESERVE

5) Elijah Craig 18 yo (unfortunately EC 18 is probably no longer around except for bar samples; NOT the 12 yo)

Four Roses Yellow Label is also light, but I think you will prefer the Small Batch which you already have.

5 years ago 0

Victor commented

Addendum: slightly less delicate, but also worth mentioning in this context:

1) Maker's Mark 46

2) W L Weller 12 yo

3) Hancock President's Reserve Single Barrel

About the Van Winkle: those are all very tightly allocated and expensive now...because they are so popular in the US. People become insane, irrational, and murderous over the prospect of obtaining any bottle of any Van Winkle bourbon (or rye) in the last several years. Most of it is from bourbon lovers, but unfortunately Van Winkle bourbon has also become a larger culture status symbol of quality,...of possessing "the best". So big money and big influence has crowded out the supply and bid up the prices.

5 years ago 0

vrudy6 commented

Thanks @victor. I described it as "delicate", cause I just finished a knob Creek 100 proof, which was excellent. The flavors were all "in your face".

I have get used to that gripiness that most bourbons develop right at the beginning of the finish. Like a tartness. That's the only way I can describe it. Single malts don't have that. It was hard for me to get used to, but now i don't mind it much.

Friends have also recommended Jefferson's reserve and Blantons. There was a bottle of Calumet Bourbon that caught my eye, pricey though. I've tried the Makers 46 and regular Makers. Very good indeed, but it was a long time ago. I was able to try the Pappy 15 at a local restaurant in Miami Beach. $46.00 for a dram, ouch! They also had the 12 and the 20. Absolutely the best bourbon I've ever had,by far. But, I have a long way to go.

5 years ago 0

Victor commented

@vrudy6, all experience is good experience. The more you experience the more you know. I really hadn't had much bourbon experience myself until about 8 years ago. Now I've gotten to know maybe 100+ of them.

Sounds like you are getting a pretty good variety of bourbon experiences. There is a lot out there. I've summarised what I like most on my standard and wheated bourbon lists. (Jefferson's Reserve is wonderful bourbon!)

It saddens me to see what has become of Van Winkle bourbon. I love their bourbons, and I would love everyone to have the experience of getting to know them. Would I pay the current wine-searcher.com world prices of $ 1,500 for a bottle of Pappy 20 or $ 1,000 for a bottle of Pappy 15? Certainly not!!! Four years ago I was buying Pappy 20 for $ 110 and Pappy 15 for $ 65. I own bottles of Van Winkle because I put them away when they were still obtainable, and also because I developed personal friendships with dealers before the madness came. Even in 2010, though, you really had to hussle to get yourself some Van Winkle bourbon.

5 years ago 0

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