Four Roses Small Batch LE 2014 Background
Four Roses Small Batch Limited Edition/LE 2014 is the latest annual release of Four Roses’ special Small Batch. Each year Four Roses selects a special version of its Small Batch bourbon using a blend from 10 of their different recipes. The recipes are different from the standard Four Roses Small Batch, which is mixture of OBSO, OBSK, OESO, and OESK barrels. Also different is the Limited Edition is a barrel strength bottle where the standard Small Batch is at 90-proof.
This year’s Four Roses Small Batch LE 2014 is bottled at 55.9% / 111.8-proof. The selected barrels are OBSV @ 13 years, OESV @ 12 years, OBSF @ 11 years, and OBSK @ 9 years. So, technically this is a 9-year-old bottle, but consists of Bourbon of up to 13 years old.
9-Years-Old, 111.8-proof, OBSV, OESV, OBSF, OBSK recipes
Smoky Maple, Honey. Raspberries. Citrus, Spearmint. Old oak. Light corn. Rich with fruitiness.
Lots of sweetness and caramel. Soft. Oranges. Honey. Vanilla. Fruity Berries. Oaky sawdust. Minty and spicy.
Four Roses Small Batch LE 2014 is a real nice treat. I’m a big Four Roses fan so I may be biased towards their profile, but this is a real nice balance of sweetness, some assertive rye, and some older oak. It’s very drinkable and uniquely different. Four Roses Small Batch LE 2014 takes on the better characteristics of an older Bourbon without a lot of dull woodiness, but yet still a little lively. Then layer in all sorts of interesting things. I get a lot of fruitiness. Cap’n Crunch Berries. Wait, wut? I haven’t had that in like 25 years, but that popped in my head so had to write that one down.
Recently I tried constructing a DIY barrel proof Small Batch. It didn’t work out as well as I hopped, although I think one reason was the bottle proofing. Despite Four Roses Small Batch LE 2014 being barrel strength, it’s still a lower proof at just north of 111-proof. In my little DIY experiment, I found I liked the subtitles of the blend at a lower proof and basically felt it wasn’t worth the effort compared to the standard 90-proof bottle. With the right barrels, such a blend is obviously worthwhile, so that may be worth revisiting with some different bottles and/or tweaking with a little water.
The good/bad of special releases like this one is they’re a one time thing. It’s good in that it offers a unique experience worth savoring, but bad in that it’s hard to fine and will never be found on shelves again. Four Roses Small Batch LE 2014 is a fleeting luxury that invokes a little melancholy, but that also makes one enjoy it just a bit more.
Shut up and Take My Money – 5.0/5.0 Rating
(My 5 point scale: Pass, Try a Glass, Buy a Bottle, Buy Again, Shut Up and Take My Money – Bottle price is taken into consideration for recommendations.)