Whiskey season is officially underway, folks, and first out of the fall release gate is Four Roses, with the 2022 Edition of its Limited Edition Small Batch release. There’s plenty of old stock in the blend with this release, as always. It’s composed of 20 year-old bourbon from the OBSV recipe, 15 year-old OESK, 14 year-old OESF, and 14 year-old OESV. Curiously, this year Four Roses has not provided any percentage breakdowns, though I wouldn’t read too much into that; Master Distiller Brent Elliott notes that the 20 year old was one of the two core batches in the blend.
My sample arrived with much fanfare — but with quite a bit of barrel char sediment in the sample bottle to go along with it. Barrel bits are the norm in bourbon samples, but this was more than I can remember ever seeing; I asked the distillery about it and was assured it was normal. Nevertheless, I let things settle out for a couple of days before cracking it open to avoid getting a mouthful of wood bits during my tasting.
To wit, let’s dive in.
The nose is big, and a little tough despite a comparatively low 54.5% abv. It’s initially a little tough to get a line on, notes of butterscotch and sandalwood taking a back seat to a tougher, charred oak note. Over time, notes of eucalyptus, fresh ginger, and peppery clove give the whiskey a slight medicinal quality — almost briny at times.
The palate feels more subdued, but not much. Racy at first with baking spice and more of that ginger, it segues into more traditional notes of vanilla and chocolate, caramel sauce, and of course ample char. The gingery notes cling for a long while, informing the finish with a spiciness that tempers the lumberyard element into a sort of burly, evergreen lumberjack quality. I can taste the flannel here, I swear.
A curious, though certainly interesting, entry into the Limited Edition Small Batch canon.
109 proof. 14,100 bottles produced.
B+ / $180 / fourrosesbourbon.com