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Four Roses Limited Small Batch 2016

Posted on by Eric Burke

Tonight I’m going to get right into the review, not because I can’t spin yarns about the place that the Four Roses Limited Small Batch has in my life or why I have a fondness for it. I could easily do that. And might if you give me half a shot. No I’m going to jump right into it because I have a surprise for after the review and I don’t want this post to be so long people don’t get down to it. Plus, if you follow me on twitter, you already know I love this one so why drag it out.

Four Roses Limited Small Batch 2016

Purchase Info: $120 for a 750mL at the Four Roses Distillery Gift Shop, Lawrenceburg, KY. 

Details: 55.6% ABV. 3 recipes at varying ages: OESO (12 years old), OBSV (12 years old), and OESK (16 years old).

Nose: Mint and apricot with baking spice, caramel and a hint of smoke underneath.

Mouth: Earthy honey, citrus, apricot, cloves, oak and herbal notes. 

Finish: Beautiful, warm finish with lingering notes of mint cloves and apricot. 

A heart because I love this.

Thoughts: I love this every year and this year is no exception. Looking back at previous years I’m often found writing the words “this might be my favorite yet.” Well, they can’t be the best every year, can they? Do they all just keep getting better? It’s kinda hard to say. They are pretty damn good. And I tend to love or really like every release. But, unless you are some super compulsive person who keeps samples of everything you’ve opened for the last few years, it’d be hard to compare one year to the next. (whistles nervously…)

Overall, the one that I remember liking the best out of all of them is 2009. I remember it as fruitier than the more spice forward versions that have come out in recent years. Of course upon tasting this year’s release for the first time, I tweeted out that this might even give 2009 a run for it’s money. I was called out on that by Josh at SipologyBlog.com as 2009 is one of his favorites as well. So the challenge has been extended and accepted. I’m pulling one of my 2009 samples out of storage in order to see. As it was the last of these to use the OESO recipe, it’s an apt comparison.

Four Roses Mariage 2009

Purchase Info: $80 at Haskell’s Wine and Spirits, Woodbury Minnesota (in 2011)

Details: 54.8% ABV. 2 recipes at varying ages: OBSK (10 years old), OBSK (19 years old), and OESO (10 years old).

Nose: Caramel, mint and cinnamon candies with a light fruitiness underneath.

Mouth: Delicate fruitiness with caramel, oak, cinnamon and herbal notes. 

Finish: Nice and long with delicate fruit and spice flavors.  

A heart because I love this even after all these years

Thoughts: This embodies the Four Roses ideal of “Mellow.” It’s flavorful but not over-powering. Tasty and fruity with nice spice. I still love this one. 

Comparison: 2016 has more oak on the nose, but otherwise they are fairly similar. Though certain notes push themselves to the forefront in each, they also follow a similar flavor profile. 2016 is sweeter and more boldly flavored while 2009 is more delicate and mellow. I love them both, but I would personally lean toward the 2016 release and it’s bolder flavors. My verdict is that 2016 certainly gives 2009 a run for its money and even surpasses it. Josh, you owe it to yourself to get your hands on this one. 


And now for the surprise. Unless you are very lucky, it is unlikely that you will see this bourbon on the shelf. But I want to do something to make this post a little more inclusive. Every attendee at the Let’s Talk Bourbon event during the Kentucky Bourbon Festival get’s a few things. One is a pen and some paper so you can take notes during the event. There is science being explained and I’ve taken my fair share of notes at these. You also get a program that outlines how bourbon is made, going ever so slightly into the science. And as you are leaving, they often give you a gift bag. This year the bag contained a set of four metal whiskey cubes (these can be used instead of ice to chill your drink) each contained with the Four Roses logo. I haven’t tried them, but they look cool. 

Giveaway items.

The odds of my wife and I using two sets of these stones is slim so I thought I’d give one to a lucky reader. I was also able to get the Let’s Talk Bourbon Program signed by both four Roses Master Distiller Brent Elliot and Four Roses Brand Ambassador Al Young. And I’m giving that away to a second reader. The pen…well Brent Elliot stole that when he signed the book. So I guess I already gave that away. 

You can enter the giveaway using the form below, please only enter once. I’m planing to remove duplicates before I randomly pick a winner so it won’t help your chances. There will be two winners chosen one getting each item. All I’m asking in return is that you answer a question. The answers will help inform future posts and in an anonymized and aggregate sort of way may end up in a future post on their own. 

Good Luck! You have until Saturday, October 8th to enter (you need to "log-in" so I can receive your email address to notify you if you win, either log-in method gets me that). 


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