Four Roses Limited Edition Small Batch (2013 Release), 51.5%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $85
A marriage of 13 and 18 year old bourbons. A mature yet very elegant whiskey, with a silky texture and so easy to embrace with a splash of water. Balanced notes of honeyed vanilla, soft caramel, a basket of complex orchard fruit, blackberry, papaya, and a dusting of cocoa and nutmeg; smooth finish. Sophisticated, stylish, with well-defined flavors. A classic!
Four Roses Limited Edition Small Batch (2012 Release), 55.7%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $90
A marriage of four different bourbons, ranging from 11 to 17 years old. This, to me, is benchmark Four Roses: subtly complex, vibrant, yet fully matured, with well-defined flavors of bramble, dry citrus, soft creamy vanilla, caramel, marzipan, allspice, a hint of cinnamon, and subtle cedar-aged cigar tobacco. Soft, clean, polished oak finish. A very versatile bourbon! Your decision shouldn’t be whether to buy it, but rather how much water to add.
Four Roses Small Batch Limited Edition Al Young’s 50th Anniversary (2017 Release), 54.49%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $150
A caramel-laden fruit bouquet, followed by unending vanilla, leather, tobacco, cotton candy, marshmallow, quince, cinnamon, hints of juniper, and wildflowers. Then, brown sugar butter and maple syrup over buttermilk pancakes, Cracker Jack, raw honey, bittersweet chocolate, and hints of pecan shell. Extremely long finish with a fried apple pie note. An incredibly complex and intense, must-have sipper. Perfection.
Four Roses Limited Edition Single Barrel (2014 Release), 60%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $100
Aged 11 years, this year’s single barrel release is a lively mix of caramel and bright, zingy orange on palate entry. Cinnamon, vanilla, and mint emerge mid-palate, leading to polished oak, baked apple, and a hint of leather on the finish. A lively bourbon, with crisp, clean flavors and nicely balanced. Another winner from Four Roses.
Four Roses Limited Edition Small Batch (2015 Release), 54.3%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $120
Seamless in flavor and very elegant. A fully matured bourbon (consisting of whiskeys from 11 to 16 years in age), yet quite fresh on the palate. Lively fruit (apricot, red raspberry, tangerine) on a bed of lush sweet notes (caramel, honey-coconut crème brûlée and cotton candy), peppered with cinnamon, clove, and crisp mint. Soft finish, with lingering creamy vanilla. Not as great as the legendary 2013 release, but close.
Four Roses Limited Edition Small Batch (2017 Release), 53.95%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $130
This is an ode to this bourbon’s old-school style that, post-caramel and cinnamon, is balanced with dried blueberries, sweet cornbread, nutmeg, saffron, citrus, and slight hints of chipotle, ginger, and clove. Under the beautiful spice come vanilla cake batter, almond butter, and salt water taffy that walk it to a finish that just doesn’t quit. It’s the vanilla-forward finish that makes this an upper-echelon whiskey. (13,800 bottles for the U.S.)
This big, sweet, warming bourbon strikes all the right chords. Sizzling sweet corn meets generous oak, like dusty old books, but the bright peach nectar, wet walnuts, and vibrant spice beam through in abundance. Unctuous and concentrated on the palate, it evokes cinnamon-dusted peach pie, with hints of clove and pepper on the finish. A solid and seamless whiskey, with fruit, floral, oak, and spice in perfect harmony.
Four Roses Small Batch 130th Anniversary Edition, 54.15%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $140
A beguiling nose balances maturity and freshness, with charred oak, caramelized sugar, blackberry pie filling, floral notes, and toasted almond evolving in deep layers. The concentration on the palate is jaw-dropping—so much richness, power, and grace, as flavors flit across the tongue. Robust and drinkable, the fruity pie filling turns to candied orange peel and buckwheat honey before a licorice-laced finish. (13,140 bottles) Collectible
Four Roses Limited Edition Small Batch (2014 Release), 55.9%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $90
Crisp clove, cool mint, cinnamon, and cocoa mingle with glazed orange, honeyed vanilla, caramel, and maple syrup. Polished oak and leather on the finish balance the sweet, fruity notes. More oak and dried spice when compared to the 2013 release (our American Whiskey of the Year) and, while not quite reaching that caliber (it’s not quite as seamless, drinkable, or complex), it gets close. Very impressive.
Four Roses Limited Edition Single Barrel (2012 Release), 54.3%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $95
Elegant, clean, and peppered with dried spice notes throughout (cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice). Additional notes of barrel char, vanilla wafer, summer fruits, caramel corn, maple syrup, and candied almond add complexity. Begins sweet, but dries out nicely on the finish, inviting another sip. Very nice!
A single barrel offering to celebrate Distillery Manager Jim Rudtledge’s 40 years in the industry. Dry, botanical, and teasingly complex, with bright fruit, crisp spice, and complex oak. Its dryness is prevalent throughout-the maturity is evident-but never excessively so, and there’s always a soft interplay of honey and vanilla. A very elegant whiskey.
A fuller-bodied, sweeter encounter than Barrel #55-6F reviewed below. More rounded and even-keeled throughout, too! Chewy toffee, rummy molasses, and nougat, with underlying notes of dark, berried fruit, accentuating spice, and supple leather. The heavyweight of the group.
Four Roses Limited Edition Single Barrel (2013 Release), 60%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $90
Thirteen years old, but it shows its age nicely. It’s peppered with complex dried spice notes (mint, cinnamon, ginger, vanilla),
yet it also has interwoven sweet notes (maple syrup, caramel, honey) to keep the whiskey from being too dry. Hints of dark chocolate and berried fruit add complexity. Dry, spicy, tobacco, and leather-tinged finish. Great complexity!
Using six of the distillery’s ten recipes, including the V yeast strain that imparts delicate fruit notes—here presenting as Pixy Stix, Rocket Pops, and cherry pie—and the F yeast strain that offers herbal notes, like licorice root, earthy tea leaf, and root beer. There’s also orange blossom, pecans, cedar chest, and tobacco. Aromas and flavors unfold in layers, with rich oak, roasted pecans, and vanilla whipped cream juxtaposed against peppery spice, blueberry-cinnamon crumble, and sweet tea. Water reveals new depths.
This is a 9 year old from the OBSF recipe. Brings to mind intense cinnamon over fruit, sprinkled on pumpkin bread, cooked in kettle popcorn, with a scone. Then there’s an explosion of caramel: crème brûlée, salted German chocolate cake, glazed doughnut holes, and caramel-drizzled baked peaches. Hints of smoke, ginger, tobacco, and clove. A delightfully long finish carries a hint of cinnamon for a must-have quaff. (Maisano’s Fine Wine and Spirits exclusive)
Four Roses Limited Edition Single Barrel Elliott’s Select (2016 Release), 58.4%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $125
There’s a certain complexity here that you just come to expect in limited edition Four Roses. This one doesn’t disappoint. Rose petals, honeysuckle, caramel, roasted pine nuts, cotton candy, dark coffee, and vanilla. The creamy mouthfeel delightfully brings in warm cinnamon roll, chocolate truffle, and honey taffy, balanced by herbs and subtle earthiness that settle with a long-lasting cinnamon-forward finish.
Four Roses 12 year old Limited Edition Single Barrel (2011 Release), 50.9%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $90
Very floral and fragrant. Gently sweet, too: apple tart laced with cinnamon, pancakes drizzled with maple syrup. Well-defined oak and crisp, dry spice (cinnamon, anise, cocoa, nutmeg) balance the sweetness. An interesting whiskey: big in some ways, yet elegant in others
Four Roses Limited Edition Single Barrel (2009 Release), 58%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $80
Deeper and darker than some Four Roses, but with plenty of bright, lush sweetness. Notes of toffee, honey-drenched nuts, and ripe summer fruit. Nicely spiced, with cinnamon, nutmeg, and a dusting of mocha. I just love the honey influence. A well-balanced whiskey, with all the flavors taking turns to shine. Great integration of flavors, too! One of my favorite Four Roses single barrel bourbons, which will grow on you with every sip.
The replacement to Four Roses “Mariage” limited editions, which were a marriage of two different whiskey formulas. This new whiskey contains three of Four Roses’ ten different recipes. It tastes older and more mature than the standard Small Batch bottling—there’s a lot more oak dryness and spice, especially on the finish. Along with the oak, there’s plenty of fruit, too (citrus, pineapple, apricot, papaya), plus caramel-coated nuts, a kiss of honeyed vanilla, and complex dried spice (cocoa, nutmeg, cinnamon) kicking in on the finish. (Available September, 2010.)
Four Roses Mariage Collection (2008 Release), 55.7%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $70
Silky in texture and gently sweet. This new “Mariage Collection” release shows a softer, more elegant side of Four Roses when compared to their other bottlings (including the most recent limited edition 120th Anniversary bottling, which was a much bolder affair). Notes of candied fruit, black raspberry, blueberry, creamy vanilla, cornbread, and chamomile tea. Delicately spicy too, with a polished oak finish. Clean on the palate and very drinkable. Four Roses utilizes a wide variety of mash bills and yeast strains, and has the ability to produce a diverse array of whiskeys. This “Mariage” offering is a good example.
After a false start several years back, it’s a pleasure to finally see Four Roses Single Barrel available here in the U.S. This whiskey is nicely balanced, with a teasing subtleness to it. I particularly enjoy its delicately honeyed, floral, crisply spicy aroma, with underlying notes of vanilla cream and candied fruit. These flavors follow through on the palate, initially with honey-laced fruit, caramel, and soft vanilla notes, leading to a dry spiciness (mint, cinnamon) and refined oak. It finishes crisp and pleasingly dry. None of the flavors are dominant, and bottling it at 50% is a bonus.
Oak-driven nose, where dusty oak floorboard meets light brown sugar and some herbal notes. On the palate this delivers tropical fruits, with hints of banana and papaya, and features a nice slick mouthfeel that succumbs to drying tannins, ending with nutty qualities and earthy forest floor. Simple and easy to enjoy.
A marriage of four different bourbon recipes aged between 11 and 13 years. Very elegant and stylish, as with many of the Four Roses offerings. Its age also shows, with a firm measure of wood spice and grip on the nose and the latter half of the palate. Soft honey, bright fruit (sultana, ripe peach, tangerine), and spice (cinnamon, nutmeg, crisp rye), evolving into darker fruit and more caramelized sugars on the palate, along with leather notes on the finish.
Four Roses Mariage Collection (2009 Release), 57-59%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $80
A combination of 10 and 19 year old bourbons from two different recipes. Very spicy, but no excessive oak (given the 19 year old component). Still, there’s definitely more oak than last year’s release, and maybe more than I would like for balance. Along with the cinnamon, cool mint, cocoa powder, and nutmeg, there are caramelized sugars and bright citrus notes. This is a tight whiskey -- not heavy and lethargic, like some 10-plus year old bourbons can be. The flavors are crisp and vibrant, all the way to its polished oak, tobacco-tinged finish.
A lively bourbon, with bright fruit, honeyed vanilla, and fragrant floral notes. Lean on the palate, with a firm, dry, spicy finish. A youthful whiskey that skips along until the finish. It doesn’t have the thicker, sweeter mid-palate like Barrel#87-6L reviewed here. As a result, its finish is firm, and crisply dry. (Bottled exclusively for The Party Source.)
Lovely cinnamon candies offer an entrancing first taste, with lemon drop and orange sherbet close behind. Baking spices come on strong mid-palate, with undertones of caramel and vanilla. But what makes this special is its mouthfeel: tingly and warming the palate throughout. Cinnamon is ever-present.
I was concerned this whiskey would be woody and dry, but it isn’t. (By comparison, the 2009 “Mariage Collection” release, a combination of 10 and 19 year old whiskeys, comes across much more tannic and dry—especially on the finish.) The grain influence is less prominent (as might be expected), but it is replaced by some nicely dovetailed oak sugars and spices, and forward fruit. It’s gentle on the nose and palate, with creamy vanilla, caramel custard, apricot, nectarine, glazed citrus, cherry pie, and graham cracker, spiked with subtle mint, clove, and cinnamon. Smooth, soothing finish…therapeutic even. If you like your bourbons bold, stimulating, and challenging, then this one isn’t for you. But if you want bourbon to comfort you like a warm blanket in cold weather, then give this a try.
Four Roses 12 year old 120th Anniversary (Barrel 7-1l), 55.4%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $90
Very creamy and gently sweet with a slightly oily texture. Notes of vanilla, toasted coconut, caramel, tropical fruit, honey-glazed almond, cocoa, and dusty corn. Well-balanced and soothing. A very easy-drinking whiskey. (Reviewer’s note: these are single barrel bottlings, and they will vary from one barrel to the next.)
Four Roses Limited Edition Small Batch (2016 Release), 55.9%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $99
A batch of OESO 12 year old, OBSV 12 year old, and OESK 16 year old. Normally, Four Roses expresses a near-patented cinnamon note up front with fruity undertones. Not this time. Earth, oak, powerfully rich caramel, nutmeg, vanilla, barrel char, with slight hints of grain, corn syrup, and cardamom. Finally, the quintessential cinnamon shows over a slightly disappointing medium finish.
A soft, delicate bourbon -- especially when compared to its single barrel siblings here. Subtle notes of candied fruit and creamy sweet notes (vanilla, coconut, light toffee, and caramel corn) are nicely interwoven. Some integrated, gently-dried spice dances throughout and lingers on the finish. An easy-to-embrace bourbon with nice balance.