Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by Four Roses. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link towards the bottom of this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.
September may be the end of summer, but it is the beginning of many wonderful things. The best, in my humble opinion, is “Whiskey Season.” September kicks off the Kentucky Bourbon Festival, Bourbon Heritage Month, and many of the year’s last releases from the big bourbon distilleries. September 17th marks the latest Four Roses Limited Edition Small Batch.
In 2021, Four Roses released a special 20-year-old single barrel. For this September’s Limited Edition Small Batch release, a 20-year-old OBSV mingles with a 15-year-old OESK, a 14-year-old OESV, and a 14-year-old OESF. If you are confused as I always am when it comes to remembering the code system Four Roses uses, I will break it down:
The four letters in the code represent the production facility, the mash bill, the spirit type, and the yeast strain. The first and third letters remain the same: “O” for Four Roses, and “S” for straight whiskey. The second shows which one of two mash bills is used: the “E,” or low-rye, which is 20 percent rye, 75 percent corn, and 5 percent malted barley; and the “B,” which is 35 percent rye, 60 percent corn, and 5 percent malted barley. The last letter of the code reflects the yeast strain: “V” (delicate fruit), “K” (slight spice), “O” (rich fruit), “Q” (floral essence), and “F” (herbal notes). This helpful recipe chart from Four Roses might help.
As you can see, the ten recipes have quite unique flavors on their own. Blended together, the possibilities are endless. However, Four Roses does not specify the percentages of each recipe they blended the 2022 Limited Small Batch. With the repetitive “Vs” in the blend, I am expecting that fruit to stand out. The “F” and “K” yeast strains could bring out the rye spice or herbal notes from the low-rye mash bill. Either way, it will definitely be a unique Small Batch release, so let’s see how it tastes…
Tasting Notes: Four Roses Limited Edition Small Batch 2022
Vital Stats: 54.5& ABV, 109 proof. Straight bourbon blend with Four Roses 14YO OESF, 14YO OESV, 15YO OESK, and 20YO OBSV. Limited to 14,100 bottles. 750ml $180.
Nose: Lemon oil makes the nose bright before cinnamon sticks sweep in. The nose is abundant with stone fruit, but I specifically pick up on apricot both fresh and dried. Smoked vanilla is found throughout the dram as it weaves in and out. Milk chocolate truffles round out the nose with some extra sweetness, but near the end is baby powder and clove cigarettes.
Palate: The mouthfeel is oily and hot from the ABV and cinnamon. Where the nose tends to linger and is abundant with multiple notes, the palate is mouth puckering dry and tannic. Although I get the dried apricot and plum from the nose, the lemon oil is very faint. The sweetness tastes like Stevia and is on the artificial side. Overall, the whiskey is bitter and tannic.