At the recommendation of a good bourbon companion of mine, I picked up a bottle of Four Roses Small Batch the other day. As it turns out, it was the perfect time to do so. Like its little brother, Four Roses Yellow Label, the small batch bourbon from Four Roses is a perfect bourbon for warm summer nights. Four Roses Distillery uses ten different recipes for their bourbons, which makes it one of the most diverse bourbon distilleries around. Four Roses Small Batch is a batching of four of these different recipes with various ages, and there is no age statement on the bottle. It is bottled at 90 proof, but it drinks just as smooth as its 80 proof little brother.
On the nose, Four Roses is light, spicy, floral, and fruity. It reminds a little of a Lowland Scotch. There are notes of lemon and orange peels, cinnamon, ginger, some nutmeg, and some rye spiciness. The palate is a very solid blend of sweet and spicy flavors. Four Roses Small Batch has a silky texture to it, backed up by the combination of berries and citrus fruits with rye peppiness. The finish is long and well-executed, with some rye kick followed up by oranges, sour apples, honey, and caramel.
Truthfully, Four Roses Small Batch surprised me. It is unlike any other bourbon I have had in that it is very light and floral throughout. However, it still has enough kick to drink like a bourbon. My only complaint is that it can be a little rough around the edges, especially when the rye presents itself in the finish. I think the quality of Four Roses Small Batch is something that Basil Hayden’s could achieve if it were bottled at slightly higher proof. This is definitely a very good bourbon, especially on a warm night. My grade: B/B-. Price: $25-30/750ml. This is a unique whiskey, that makes a great standard pour, especially if you are looking to introduce Scotch drinkers to bourbon.