Whisky Advocate’s 19th Annual Award: American Whiskey of the YearJanuary 22nd, 2013
Four Roses 2012 Limited Edition Small Batch, 55.7%, $90
It’s been great fun, as a whiskey enthusiast, tasting and comparing the different types of whiskey that Four Roses produces. They have been very open about their coding system, which explains the yeast strains and mashbills used to make a given bourbon; quite often putting this information right on the bottle. That’s what they’ve done with this release.
By blending these ten different whiskeys together, master distiller Jim Rutledge has the potential to create a great, complex bourbon. This particular bottling is a marriage of four different bourbons ranging from 11 to 17 years old (one 17 year old whiskey, two 12 year olds, and an 11 year 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. It’s soft and clean, with a polished oak finish.
It’s also a very versatile bourbon and should accommodate most situations and moods. Like I said in my original review of this whiskey: your decision shouldn’t be whether to buy it, but rather how much water to add. —John Hansell
Tomorrow, the Canadian Whisky of the Year will be announced.