Review #159 Four Roses 2020 Small Batch Limited Edition Barrel Strength
Distillery: Four Roses
Age: Blend of 12 - 19 year Old
Mashbill: Blend of 'B' Mashbill: 60% Corn, 35% Rye, 5% Malted Barley & 'E' Mashbill: 75% Corn, 20% Rye, 5% Malted Barley
BACKGROUND: Four Roses is one of most prominent distilleries currently. They are located in Lawrenceburg, KY and are rumored to have begun producing and selling whiskey as early as the 1860s by Paul Jones Jr. Four Roses was purchased in 1943 by Seagrams where it competed with the whiskeys Benchmark and Eagle Rare. As a result, Four Roses Straight Bourbon was only available in Europe and Asia; only the blended whiskey was available in US and was viewed as sub-par. In 1994 Four Roses Straight Bourbon became available in the US again. In 2002 the brand was purchased by The Kirin Brewery who discontinued the blended whiskey and focused on Four Roses straight bourbon. Four Roses has 2 mash bills and 5 yeast strains whiskey combine to make up 10 different mash bill recipes. Four Roses has 3 different whiskeys regularly available: Small Batch, Single Barrel, and Small Batch Select, and Single Barrel. They also offer private barrels which are often at cask strength and are distillates of one of their 10 different recipes. Four Roses has an annual extremely limited release called Small Batch Limited Edition which is a small batch blend of barrels with a few different recipes, usually at a higher age statement, and is bottled at cask strength. This particular bottles is their 2020 release which was comprised of a 12-year-old Bourbon from the OBSV recipe, a 12-year-old OESV, a 19-year-old OBSK and a 16-year-old OESK. The older 'K' yeast strain recipes is incredibly rare and really made Four Roses fanatics, which we are, go crazy!
NOSE: Oh my! Immediately noticeable are the rich, bold, and mature scents greeting my nose. Up front was buttery vanilla, fresh deep caramel, and fresh clove. Those scents grow and build into with citrus notes to form a delicious cherry coke. There is a bed of mature, aged oak and tannins attributable to the age. All of the scents on this nose balance together perfectly to form an incredible, mature, delicious nose. (25/25)
PALATE: Fresh, sweet, creamy vanilla bean ice cream flavors coated my palate at first followed by fresh off the stove caramel and brown sugar. In the middle of the palate are notes of toasted oak barrels, dark fruit like plums and dark cherry, and some leather. Overall it is a rich, chewy, smooth, and balanced palate with the perfect flavor profile to me of dark fruit, deep sweetness, and aged whiskey notes like tannins, leather, and oak. (40/40)
FINISH: The finish is an excellent showing of the time the whiskey aged with tons of oak, tannins, leather, aged maple, and rye spice. The proof and high rye in the mashbill add a prickly and spicy feel to the finish. It goes down so smooth though with no burn. A great way to round out this incredible whiskey. (24/25)
VALUE: Four Roses Small Batch Limited Edition 2020 had an SRP of $150 which is expensive but for this absolutely incredible and one time whiskey it is WELL worth it. I would pay up to $200. (9/10)
FINAL THOUGHTS: Four Roses 2020 Small Batch Limited Edition Barrel Strength is one of the best whiskeys that we have ever had! Although it is expensive it is perfect in all aspects. This is a whiskey that we obviously recommend to everyone and will be cherishing every last drop of this one.
Similar & Slightly Better Whiskey: 125th Anniversary Limited Edition Small Batch (2013)
Similar & Equal Whiskey: Smoke Wagon Desert Jewel 10 year
Similar & Slightly Worse Whiskey: Woodford Reserve 2021 Batch Proof 128.3
If you've ever tried it let us know what you think!
96-100: The perfect dram, juice of the gods
90-95: Near perfect, truly incredible whiskey
85-89: Amazing whiskey, will always try to keep a backup bottle of this
80-84: Very good, some minor flaws here or there
75-79: Good, quite enjoyable to drink, Will try and keep a bottle on the shelf
70-74: Solid, wouldn’t go out of my way to get this
60-69: Decent, would offer this up to non whiskey drinkers
50-59: Not my cup of tea
Below 50: Give away