Four Roses 2022 Limited Edition Small Batch Barrel Strength Bourbon Review
Four Roses is back at it again with another bold age-statement of 14-20 year bourbons from 4 different mash bills. This blend runs 'E' heavy on the mash bill for those who prefer the lower rye content. You can see the recipes used below, and if you have trouble deciphering the code words shown you can use this chart from Four Roses here.
The 2021 edition of this release had an exceptional nose and a delicious palate, but ultimately fell short of my top mark: the illustrious 5/5. With the age creeping higher on this release, and more of the E mash bill taking center stage, this one might have the opportunity to soar to new heights. We won't know until we try it though will we? I have tasted this twice now before today as I also managed to score one of my good friends a bottle, which we shared together. My prior experiences have both been fairly amazing, though that can often happen in more of a social setting where expectations tend to manifest into reality. Regardless of the outcome of today's review, I'm always grateful for memorable experiences sharing whiskey in good company, and Four Roses often elevates those kinds of experiences. Now let's switch into analytical mode and pick apart this glass. Strap in; this is going to be a fun one for sure.
Company on Label: Four Roses
Whiskey Type: Bourbon
Mash Bill Percentages: A blend of both the B and E mash bills; B being 60% Corn, 35% Rye, 5% Malted Barley & E being 75% Corn, 20% Rye, 5% Malted Barley
Age: NAS on the bottle (but it is listed as a blend of 14-20 year bourbons)
Further identification: The 2022 limited edition blend consists of 20 year old OBSV, 15 year old OESK, 14 year old OESF, and 14 year old OESV bourbon; I am enjoying bottle 3,952/15,600
Nose: Lifting the glass to my nose I find funky molasses, butterscotch and praline. Another whiff wafts out heavy bread and dark, damp lumberyard aromas. It's immediately apparent that this has some serious age to it as potent oak tingles in the nose and chest. Allspice, soft black pepper cooled by vanilla frosting, and Adventurefuls Girl Scout cookies deepen the complexity of the aromatic experience. Flashes of well oiled leather, bright metal and general cleanliness remind me of a car showroom here. Overall the nose presents like a dulled down ultra-aged armagnac finished bourbon. There are hints of dark chocolate and linen. Ah, wow! Suddenly on a long inhale sweet plum begins to shine through. What a lovely transition that was. Cardamom, lavender and bright, earthy moss create a pleasant aura of an early Spring. The excitement fades as the glass returns to a simple wood forward array. Let's jump into a sip from here.
Returning from a sip there is a glorious unleashing of sweet aromas that were hidden previously. Honeysuckle dominates now as the delicate sweetness of a strawberry purée slides like silk into the nose. Where this glass was soft and funky to begin with it is now bold & proudly producing beautiful fruit and floral tones only slightly jarred by a hint of cinnamon. On the empty glass I find notes of smoked chocolate bread pudding, raspberry scones, and a hint of crème brûlée.
Palate: Mmm, where the beginning of the nose was lacking in fruit, the palate does not miss. Strawberry, cherry and raisin sit lazily on the tongue. There's incredible approachability here with zero evidence of any of the 109 proof points amid the sweet fruit parfait. Prune and plum can be found in the delicate linger, softened by a chewy vanilla cookie. The first sip emanates elegance like an exquisite bakery delight. Another sip offers more promising flavors: the strawberry punch is present again, followed by orange blossom, rhum agricole sweetness, and delicious lychee. There is a faint hint of coconut shavings sitting in the long linger noticeable during an exhale. Color me impressed thus far; these are some of the most delicious flavors I've had on a whiskey in a long time. A larger sip and swish poses the possibility of a sharp spice punch which instead fizzles out into a soft citrus zest. Flashes of creamy tea can be found between the more prominent fruit notes. Nerds rope is a fun surprise later in the glass as candied cherry and raspberry come together. As we work towards the bottom of my pour, I begin to find myself yearning to slow down even slower than my typical snail's pace and savor every drop of this. The cherry note is so crystal clear and delicious; I can feel myself biting through the skin, a juicy pop of sweetness hitting my tongue, and the pit being captured between my teeth in order to not get swallowed up with rest of the succulent fruit. It's just perfect. My last sip is indulgent and bittersweet. I find chocolate covered raisins, maraschino cherry, angostura bitters and black forest cake. The linger is impossibly long with strawberry sherbet, Earl gray tea, and expressed orange peel.
(Just wow. One of my favorites.)
This is an incredible whiskey I am not soon to forget. Brent Elliott and the Four Roses team hit an absolute home run with this blend in my opinion. Comparing it head to head with the 2021 release, I definitely prefer the 2022 release personally. This years blend managed to take what was an already amazing whiskey and crank up the volume without getting too messy. Both batches have exceptional qualities that whiskey enthusiasts near and far can enjoy. I know I am going to be going back for more of this soon. Let me know if you agree with the 2021 vs 2022 comparisons down in the comments. Cheers!