FOUR ROSES SMALL BATCH SELECT

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.

Mash Bills:

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
F:   herbal
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.

The Tasting 

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.

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