Ever have bottles that get lost in the back of your cabinet? Well, here’s one of mine, Four Roses Elliott’s Select. To date, it’s the only Four Roses limited edition I’ve ever found locally (and I happily paid retail price for it on sight). Will it taste as great as I recall?
Pour: Four Roses “Elliott’s Select” (2016)
Age: 14 years
Color: dense copper
Nose: stovetop vanilla pudding, brown sugar, fragrant oak
Taste: toasted caramel, blood orange, fruity herbal spice
Finish: long w/ chewy molasses, sweet tobacco, antique leather
Overall: I’ll be damned if Elliott’s Select isn’t better than I remember it. Just a powerhouse bourbon – loaded with hearty caramel and oak, yet layered gracefully with complex citrus and herbal spice. I only wish I had another bottle.
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)
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.
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
Age: not stated (reportedly 6-7 years)
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.
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
Age: NAS (reportedly 6-7 years)
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.