Monday, December 22, 2014

Worth the Chase? Four Roses Limited Edition Small Batch 2014

I've come to hate the fall whiskey season.  I just can't bear the lotteries and craziness, the flippers and gougers, the speculators and the folks who couldn't name the last bourbon they drank but know they must have a bottle of Pappy.  I was lucky to taste my share of Pappy and BTAC when it was easy to get, and I feel bad for the folks who are newer to the hobby, legitimately love whiskey, but have to put up with all this shit just to try a bourbon they have heard so much about.

So I don't chase whiskey anymore. I just don't have the stomach or the will to do it...with one exception.  For at least the last two years, the Four Roses Limited Edition Small Batch has been the highlight of the fall whiskey season.  Unlike Pappy (well, some Pappy) and BTAC, it's a different blend of whiskeys each year, and each year so far, it's been pretty great.  So I make an exception for it and try to chase down a bottle every fall.

This year's Small Batch is a mixture of 13 year old OBSV, 12 year old OESV, 11 year old OBSF and 9 year old OBSK (E is the lower rye mashbill, B is the higher rye; V, F and K are yeast strains). The oldest whiskey is quite a bit younger than past years, so we'll see how it stacks up.

Four Roses Ltd. Edition Small Batch 2014, 55.9% ($100)

The nose is bursting with caramel and wood notes.  The palate starts with a nice spicy notes, then develops some acid notes which trail off with it. The finish brings back some of the wood from the nose.   This one needs some elements.  Air and water work well with it, bringing out more caramel on the palate as well as some chocolate and mint.  Even more water reveals some pineapple notes.

This is a nice bourbon, but it's not in the same league as its two most recent predecessors. It lacks the complexity and layers of flavor we saw in the 2012 and 2013 Small Batches.  It's certainly worth picking up if you happen to see it, but it's not worth an extensive chase.


Funky Tape said...

Agree all-around, esp on the mint. For the same dollar I'd drink a bottle of the Single Barrel LE instead.

And yes, the 2012 was pretty stellar juice.

Have a great Holiday!

Josh said...

I'm right there with you. Last year I got lucky and snagged this and this year it was again the only one I actively tried for (and succeeded). I have my fingers crossed that this one keeps flying somewhat under the radar since it doesn't have Vanwinkle anywhere on the label.

Funky Tape said...

And speaking of the "Pappy effect," a store in NYC is charging $500 for this year's line up in the guise of a 'tasting.' So that's a half oz pour (assuming 45 attendees) for $83 ea grossing the store $22,500 for about $600 worth of whiskey.

I just broke my spleen laughing so hard.

Anonymous said...

the four roses is always a limited release i really look forward to. after the amazing bottles in 2012 and 2013 - i think mainly attributed to the older bourbon in there - i wasn't expecting the 2014 to reach so high.

i was also shocked that someone like you (sku) has to hunt for bottles. if you have to hunt, what hope does that give the rest of us? ha!