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A Review of Four Roses Limited Edition Small Batch 2013 Release

Posted on by Eric Burke

It’s no secret that I love Four Roses. And this, my friends, is getting to be a problem. Everyone loves Four Roses now. They love it so much that you can barely buy one of their limited releases anymore. This year, my normal source for the Limited Small Batch release pulled it off the shelves and into a lottery. A lottery that had a suspicious number of couples winning for the number of people at the drawing. Not coincidentally, a lottery in a store that is no longer one of my top visits when looking for good bourbon.

Other than that, I never saw it in Minnesota. In fact, never saw it on a shelf. Period. Popularity is a bitch for those of us who’ve loved it all along. But I’m not one of those hipsters who loved something until it got cool and then moved along. Because Four Roses really is that good. And luckily I have friends. Friends who are willing to pick me up a bottle where they live and get it to me. Friends that I now owe a drink to the next time we are in the same state. 

Once I got my bottle of Four Roses Limited Small Batch 125th Anniversary Edition, I rationed it. I rationed it for the last few months. And now it’s finally down to one more pour. So. What did I think of it?

Four Roses Limited Edition Small Batch 2013 Release

Purchasing Info: $99, unnamed Las Vegas store.

Particulars: 51.6% ABV, Recipe: OBSV 18 year + OBSK 13 year + OESK 13 year

Nose: Black Tea with honey. Cedar. After a bit it gives up some baking spices and a hint of citrus.

Mouth: Thick, spicy and sweet with clove, maple and hints of pear.

Finish: Warm and sweet leaving a bright tingly sensation on the tongue and cheeks.

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Thoughts: First off, I really, really like this bourbon. I’ve heard people describe it as the best bourbon they’ve ever had, but that’s probably pushing it a bit. I’ll go ahead and say that, for me, it’s not even the best Four Roses I’ve had. I would rank both the 2012 Limited Small Batch and the the 2009 Mariage higher (which were basically equally good in my book). 2013 was a bit too thick and sweet and the flavors a bit more muddied when compared to the 2012. But that’s splitting hairs. I can see why this was chosen to be the American Whiskey of the Year last year, it’s an amazing whiskey. It’s just not the best ever.

I am already looking forward to 2014’s version. I hear that the barrels that went into making both it and the 2012 have been exhausted so I’m excited to see if they try something new and venture away from the OBSV/OBSK/OESK formula they’ve used the past couple years. I’m really kinda hoping for something with the OESF. Or maybe something with a Q yeast. Something that’ll throw people for a loop. But we’ll see.