So you’re saying there’s a chance …
Each September, the Four Roses Limited Edition Small Batch comes around like a cool autumn wind, jumpstarting a bottle mania of bourbon fans far and wide. These releases are always delicious — and include some pretty old bourbons by industry standards — and often are pretty limited, with just a little more than 14,000 released worldwide.
So when I got wind of the 2020 release trickling out next month, with a public lottery draw due to pandemic safety measures (usually a shit ton of people camp out at both the Four Roses Distillery and the Bottling Facility), I was actually pretty damn happy, because maybe this year I would have a chance to purchase the precious juice.
But first, let’s talk about the bourbon.
This year’s release is proofed at a whopping 111.4 and is non-chill filtered. It includes four different ages and recipes of Four Roses bourbon, which breaks down like this:
- 12-year-old bourbon from the OBSV recipe (30%)
- 12-year-old OESV (25%)
- 16-year-old OESK (25%)
- 19-year-old OBSK (20%)
I joined Four Roses Master Distiller Brent Elliott on a Zoom call on Monday, and he filled me in on some of the interesting aspects of this year’s LE Small Batch. He noted that the goal is always to make something smooth, mellow and, most importantly, unique — so this year’s should taste vastly different from previous years.
He also explained that each batch could have stood on its own as a single barrel offering, but the magic of the process came in the blending.
“In this case, the sum is even greater than the parts — as together these bring a perfect balance of bright, vibrant flavors and aromas from the 12- and 16-year-old barrels combined with the oak tones and aged expressions from the 19-year-old batch,” Elliott said.
Because he chose to include a mature 19-year-old bourbon in the blend, Elliott said a big challenge came with working with the dominant oak notes in a bourbon that old, although this one aged like a fine wine — meaning, yes, there is an oak presence, but it’s not dominating or overwhelming.
And it plays well with others.
I was fortunate to get a small sample-sized taste of the 2020 LE Small Batch, and I could certainly detect those oak notes, but so many more flavors popped on my palate, including orange peel, cherries, honey, pear, spice from the high-rye mash bill, and of course those warming flavors of vanilla, toasted marshmallow and caramel.
Let’s just say I’ll be a happy camper if my name gets selected to purchase a bottle. In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy this sample and not share it with anyone. #SorryNotSorry
There are 14,040 bottles up for grabs this year in the United States, so fingers crossed we all get lottery lucky or find one at our local liquor store (yeah, right). The bottle should retail for around $150.
I guess I’ll be nice and share the link to the lottery sign-up: Click here.
→ → OK, OK, sorry. I mean click here. ← ←