Four Roses Single Barrel Select (OESF)

Four Roses Single Barrel private selections aren’t easily found in my neck of the woods. When I see one, I buy it, as was the case with this 10-year OESF barrel from “South Carolina Hospitality.” Based on the fact it hit multiple stores, it’s likely a distributor selection.


Pour: Four Roses Single Barrel Select (b. 79-6L)
Proof: 124.8
Age: 10 years, 2 months
Color: dense copper
Nose: heavy caramel, blood orange, toasted coconut
Taste: tart vanilla, oak char, tangy maple syrup
Finish: long, hot, and dry – cinnamon candy, raspberry tea, tobacco


Overall: While the nose sings with an enticing medley of caramel and dark fruit, the taste beats a tart & shaky rhythm. Any hopes for a rousing finale are swiftly shuffled off stage by its heat and drying finish. Not terrible; not great.

Rating: Every rose has its thorn.

Four Roses Small Batch

Considering the popularity of Four Roses Single Barrel private selections, you’d think the Small Batch Bourbon would garner more attention. Unfortunately, the similarly specced Elijah Craig, Buffalo Trace, and the likely Four Roses sourced Bulleit steal its thunder. Go figure.


Pour: Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon
Proof: 90
Age: not stated (reportedly 6-7 years)
Color: amber
Nose: vanilla, citrus zest, herbal & floral spice
Taste: caramel drizzle, orange peel, nutmeg
Finish: moderate length – singed honey, oak, lemon-pepper


Overall: A well-balanced combination of citrus fruit, zesty spice, and classic vanilla and caramel. Four Roses Small Batch is a perfect bourbon for cocktails or casual sipping and remains a personal favorite from my early days of whiskey enthusiasm.

Rating: Damn solid.

Four Roses Small Batch Select

In 2019, Four Roses debuted its first core expression since 2006, Four Roses Small Batch Select. Composed of six of the distillery’s ten signature recipes and bottled at 104 proof (NCF), it was virtually a success before hitting a single shelf. It’s 2021; let’s check in.


Pour: Four Roses Small Batch Select
Proof: 104
Age: NAS (reportedly 6-7 years)
Color: copper
Nose: fruity vanilla, citrus zest, sweet herbal tea
Taste: peppery caramel, orange peel, honey-esque oak
Finish: moderately long – frosted sugar cookies, oak char, earthy/floral spice


Overall: Filling Jim Rutledge’s shoes can’t be easy, but master distiller Brent Elliott sure makes it look that way. Granted, we’re still sipping bourbon distilled under Jim’s care, but the batch itself is on point and checks every box it should for $55.

Rating: It’s great.