Introduced in the Spring of 2019, Four Roses Small Batch Select is the first permanent addition to the Four Roses lineup in 12 years. While it a new addition, this isn’t the easiest to find. Allocations were limited originally to KY, NY, CA, TX and GA, with roll out slated to the rest of the US soon. I was able to secure this unicorn on a tour of Four Roses last summer.
2 + 3 = 6
While you may think my math skills are lacking, Master Distiller Brent Elliott utilizes 2 mash bills and 3 yeast strains to craft this newest expression.
E: 75% corn, 20% rye, and 5% malted barley
B: 60% corn, 35% rye, and 5% malted barley
These, in turn, are married up with 3 unique yeast strains:
K: spicy, full bodied
V: delicate fruit, spicy and creamy
For a full run-down of the entire Four Roses lineup, you can check out the recipes for Four Roses Tan [formerly Yellow], Small Batch, and Single Barrel here.
Small Batch Select is bottled at 104 proof and is non-chill filtered, allowing naturally occurring oils, esters, and fatty acids to remain leading to a creamier mouthfeel. While there’s no age statement, Brett Elliott uses a blend of 6-7-year-old bourbons for this hearty and flavorful spirit.
Eye: Medium amber
Nose: Caramel and fruit with cinnamon – like a rich fruity compote.
Palate: The non-chill filtration adds a rich creaminess to this bourbon. Cinnamon spices dance across the entire palate followed by oak and vanilla and lighter fruit notes with none overwhelming the other.
Finish: Smooth and long. There is cinnamon spice that lingers a long time, followed by vanilla and oak. On the very end, I catch a faint minty tingle.
Overall: This is a very flavorful and unique addition to the Four Roses lineup. I’ve appreciated the diversity brought that Four Roses brings to Kentucky bourbon. While many brands are vanilla, caramel or spice-heavy, Four Roses brings a uniqueness with their delicate fruit and floral notes. Small Batch Select is a terrific bourbon. Coming in a higher proof than the other expressions and non-chill filtration has upped the flavor without the typical burn. This is a great one to enjoy neat or with ice.
The question is – where does it stack up in terms of value? Small Batch comes in around $35; the delicious vanilla and caramel Single Barrel is around $45. Is a $15 premium to Single Barrel worth it?
Now, I’m putting myself on the spot. This is a unique expression when matched up with a bourbon in the Four Roses lineup, or any other distiller for that matter. Small Batch Select adds more complexity and a creamy mouthfeel than established Small Batch. While any of the Four Roses lineup is a solid performer, this new addition to lineup deserves a spot in your lineup, as well.