Review #1 – Four Roses Small Batch Select

Four Roses is a bourbon distillery in Lawrenceburg, KY. They are owned by the Kirin Brewery Company. The distillery uses five different yeast strains and two different mashbills which can create TEN different bourbon recipes! Six of those ten recipes are used in the Four Roses Small Batch Select Bourbon. If you’ve ever had the Four Roses Small Batch, that bourbon uses four.

MASHBILL #1:

  • 75% Corn
  • 20% Rye
  • 5% Malted Barley

MASHBILL #2:

  • 60% Corn
  • 35% Rye
  • 5% Malted Barley

Four Roses Small Batch Select is 104 proof, or 52% alcohol, and non-chill filtered. Many bourbons go through a chill filtration process for cosmetic purposes. Basically, so that when you put an ice cube in your bourbon, it won’t get cloudy or so there won’t be pieces of char in your bourbon.

Whisky Advocate voted the Four Roses Small Batch Select Bourbon as #3 on the 2019 Top 20 Whiskies of the Year. The suggested retail price on this bottle is $55.

Enough talking, let’s see what this bourbon is all about!

SMELL

As soon as I put the glass up to my nose, I got sweetness. The typical bourbon notes were there. Caramel, vanilla, and baking spices. I also picked up some cinnamon. This bourbon had a pleasant smell that made me want to keep going back. Each time I picked the glass back up, I felt like I was able to pick up something different. I eventually started picking up fruity, citrus notes, such as lemon and orange. Sometimes, as you continue smelling a bourbon and it opens up, the alcohol vapors start to drop-off. I didn’t feel like that was the case here. Even about ten minutes in, I could still pick up the alcohol.

TASTE

Neat. Right from the start, I got a creamy vanilla flavor. I felt like the baking spices from the aroma were still present. This was a very well rounded bourbon that balanced sweet and spice. There was citrus at the end of the aroma originally, but I did not pick up as much of that in the taste.

Adding a few drops of water. For me, this didn’t really do much to improve the bourbon. The only thing that I thought it really enhanced was the alcohol.

Adding an ice ball. This really help turn up the citrus smell and made those notes more prominent. When I took a sip, I noticed the ice helped bring down the bite of the alcohol. The ice really brought out the creamy vanilla flavor. If you prefer lower-proof bourbons, I would suggest adding an ice ball to this one. If you enjoy drinking higher-proof bourbons neat, leave it out.

Mixing with Coke. Still got the creamy vanilla taste. The Coke didn’t overpower the whiskey as much as I thought it would. This might be a shocker, but the two mixed together tastes like a Vanilla Coke! I know. Genius, right?

FINISH

The Four Roses website lists spearmint and cinnamon on the finish. I definitely agree with this. The cinnamon and spice at the beginning of the finish, with light spearmint coming up towards the end.

OVERALL

I really enjoyed this bourbon. The aroma was pleasant, the taste was well-rounded and the finish was solid. I can appreciate the proof increase and that it is non-chill filtered. I believe this bourbon is worth the suggested retail price and hopefully soon it will become more readily available across the country!