2013 Four Roses Limited Edition Small Batch
After visiting Four Roses distillery last spring for my bachelor trip, I’ve fallen in love with their bourbon. My go to single barrel of choice is from Four Roses. It has such a great balance and complexity to it that I just reach for it every time. Because of another generous gesture from the guys at Tennessee Whiskey Trail I’ve been able to acquire a bottle of the 2013 Four Roses Limited Edition Small Batch. If you’re into awards and accolades then you’ve probably heard about this bourbon. It has been winning awards left and right this year. In fact, the company even says “what could be the best Bourbon we’ve ever put in a bottle”. So when I was offered the chance to get my hands on this I didn’t bat an eye.
What makes this 2013 Four Roses Limited Edition Small Batch different is that it is taken from 3 different recipes:
- OBSV -18 years
- OBSK – 13 years
- OESK – 13 years
You can see all the recipes here. So imagine combining the best batches of bourbon from these years. It’s a blend of 18 year, and 13 year bourbons. It’s hard enough to find bourbon aged for either amount of time. So when reading about all of this I was obviously excited and couldn’t wait to pour a dram. What I love is that they waited to release this on their 125th anniversary. If you followed them on social media at all last year then you no doubt heard them speak of “The Year of the Toast”. 125 years of making bourbon, is quite a feat and what better way to celebrate than by offering a remarkable bourbon. I think I’ve done enough talking about it, personally I’m ready to dive into and do a tasting.
The bottle of this 2013 Four Roses Limited Edition Small Batch is identical to the regular small batch bottle. The only difference is the label on the front. It has the 125th Anniversary logo towards the bottom. It’s also missing the traditional torn paper label on the front, instead the company has opted for glass printing. Below the embossed 4 roses symbol is gold lettering alerting you to the fact that this indeed a Limited Edition. To me the most minute detail that changed is the statement that this is barrel strength. That means uncut and non-chill filtered. You’re getting it straight out of the barrel, just the way God intended it. Can’t ask for more than that.
The bourbon actually even looks darker than the regular small batch, I would have to blame the longer aging cycle for this. Although there is no specific age statement on the original small batch blend, there is no doubt this 2013 Four Roses Limited Edition Small Batch is more mature. Simply looking at the bottles next to each other you can see the deep rich amber color piercing the glass container. Time to pour a dram and take a sip.
Right out of the gate this 2013 Four Roses Limited Edition Small Batch has quite a bit of alcohol to burn off. I pour my glass and let it sit for about 5 minutes. Then I give it quite a few good swirls around the glass and continue to swirl it to really open it up and try to aerate it a bit more. During this aeration I continue taking quick sniffs of the glass to see if that initial alcohol has left. It finally has subsided and I begin to pick up notes of vanilla and oak. Followed by hints of citrus, and cherry. The final lingering note is one of nutmeg which seems to consistently there with every whiff I take. One particular thing that I noticed with this bourbon that’s different from others is that the nose is different depending on how far away the glass is from my nose. Something that I haven’t come across but will definitely pay attention to moving forward. Ok, enough smelling this bourbon I’m ready to take a sip.
Initially I pick up on a slight spice, similar to a baking spice from this 2013 Four Roses Limited Edition Small Batch. Then it’s followed with lots of vanilla and oak notes. Again the finishing note is that of nutmeg, I get it in the nose and on the palate. It’s very noticeable and I could pick it out from a mile away. The official tasting notes from Four Roses says apricot and cherry flavors are prevalent, however I didn’t pick those up. I definitely got those in the nose, but not on the palate. So they’re definitely in there and add to the complexity of the bourbon but I wasn’t able to waft through the nutmeg to find those very subtle notes.
The finish just brings this 2013 Four Roses Limited Edition Small Batch home. I love it, the heat is starting the build and it’s overall a very tasty. It’s a nice lingering finish that really coats the mouth and slowly builds into that lovely bourbon burn. Trust me there’s nothing better on a winter night than some bourbon that warms you up from the inside. The best way to describe the finish is just smooth. I would have to agree with the master distiller and say this might be one of the best bourbons I’ve ever had. I’m just bummed there’s so little of it to go around.
2013 Four Roses Limited Edition Small Batch: 10/10
This was an easy choice for a 10/10, I’m not sure if there’s a bourbon that can stand up to this. It’s got a perfect balance of complexity and depth. Nothing is overpowering and every single note is enjoyed and palatable. It’s going to be hard to find something better.