Four Roses Limited Edition is always an exciting release every year. The creativity in the blends is always interesting & I love to see some of their high aged barrels going to a blend when traditionally they do a lot of single barrel products. What’s your favorite @fourrosesbourbon release?
From information gathered from the Four Roses website, a blend of this nature might combine the delicate fruit and rye of OBSV with extra rye & light floral character of OBSQ while layering in baking spice, more fruit and caramel from OESK and OESV.
The back of the bottle shows off the master distiller's intention of the blend saying:
The Four Bourbons in this beautifully layered Limited Edition release present delicate sweet aromas of ripe berries, light floral notes and hints of rich, warm oak. Bright fruit flavors of plum and orange peel, and delicate spice lead to a finish that is long and smooth with lingering touches of vanilla cream and dark chocolate. Savor every sip.
The embossed cluster of four roses on the front of the glass along with the proud shoulders of the bottle shape give this wonderful distinction on the shelf. I waited in an arduously long line in excruciatingly cold weather at Julio's Liquors in MA in order to turn in a hold card for the right to purchase this at a fair cost of around $150 sometime in early 2021. I've been diving back into this frequently now that I have a 2022 release on hand, which I hope to be able to post a review of here soon. For now let's dive into some of the deeper specifics & keep on scrolling for my tasting notes!
Company on Label: Four Roses
Whiskey Type: Bourbon
Mash Bill Percentages: A blend of both the B and E mash bills; if we assume equal parts of each mash bill were used (B being 60% Corn, 35% Rye, 5% Malted Barley & E being 75% Corn, 20% Rye, 5% Malted Barley) we would arrive at something like 67.5% Corn, 27.5% Rye, and 5% Malted Barley
Age: NAS on the bottle (but it is listed as a blend of 12-16 year bourbons)
Further identification: The 2021 limited edition blend consists of 16-year-old Bourbon from the OBSV recipe, a 14-year-old OBSQ, a 12-year-old OESK, and a 16-year-old OESV; the back of the bottle shows off the bottle number 12,356 of 14,880
Nose: The nose has lovely effervescence right away. Tingling lemon peel, vanilla frosting and cardamom greet me in a delightfully exuberant wave of aroma. Interesting bits of coriander, cumin and brown sugar meet in a funky, old-timey bourbon profile. The barrel influence is certainly present with all those highly aged ingredients; leather and dark oak are brooding yet inviting. After pulling off some of the heft at the start of the rested glass I begin to find more creamy tones. Floral tones begin to creep out of the depths as the more delicate aromas can be dug up. Vanilla orchids meet ponderosa pine in a silky nose-feel. Time for a sip!
Returning to the glass after a sip I find a punnet full of fruit. Plum, raisin and blackberry jump out at me. Perfumed florals and a distant chocolatier hard at work give this fantastic depth. This continues to be extremely delicate yet voluptuous and just a fine example of what bourbons in this age range can accomplish. It's like a berries and cream parfait that I'm sure almost anyone could enjoy. I absolutely adore this nose. The empty glass smells of chocolate, raspberry and old leather-bound books.
Palate: Well that drinks like silk! My first sip is soft, delicate and inviting like a warm cup of Earl gray tea. A squeeze of lemon sinks in behind it as some of the heft makes itself known. It's simple yet seductive as plum and allspice mix delicately with vanilla buttercream frosting. Another sip is simpler still as soft caramel and oak melt on the center of the tongue. With a swirl of the glass plum pie comes in incredibly bright and bubbly. This glass goes through interesting undulations throughout, never straying anywhere near inbalance or distaste. I find an interesting medley that reminds me of a Choco Taco. My last sip is a perfect balance of creamy citrus & floral funk. Lavender and lemongrass sit long on the linger.
I won't make any exceptions on ranking nose over palate, but if I did have to rate this on just nose alone it would easily be a 5 for me. Everything is so expertly layered on this blend. The palate unfortunately just fell a little short in my book, though it is certainly an incredibly easy sipper. I know a whole slew of drinkers who would prefer this over many other rare barrel proof whiskeys just due to its approachability. This is a release that a lot of folks might not try or even get to see. If you do get the chance - I hope this review is helpful to you!