The cult of the Four Roses Small Batch Limited Edition was a little slower to form than those of the annual Van Winkle and BTAC releases but it is now in full effect. I have previously reviewed the 2012 Limited Edition which, like yesterday’s Pappy 15, I purchased off the shelf in a Minneapolis store with no fuss at all (leaving many unclaimed behind it). Last year’s edition, however, I didn’t even see anywhere in the region and as I no longer chase hard to find bottles I don’t expect I’ll ever own another again. Luckily, I do know people willing to share and so here is a review of a Four Roses Small Batch Limited Edition from 2010, well before anybody was getting over-excited about this whisky.
Four Roses Small Batch, Limited Edition, 2010 (55.1%; from a sample from a friend)
Nose: A little dusty at first but then some rich caramel and orange peel and a mix of dark honey and light molasses come wafting up. Gets more and more expansive with air and time and now there’s polished wood and a rich cherry/citrus glaze and some mushroom liquor too. Just a bit of cold black tea as well. With water the fruit expands and there’s some apricot too now and some dark buttered toast with marmalade.
Palate: More rye-forward on the palate with a bright spicy bite to go with the sweetness. A big hit of cool, sweet clove too and behind it is a more syrupy, brown sugary note. More citrus on the second and third sip–somewhere between dried orange and lemon peel. Some maple syrup too now. With more time wood emerges but there’s no astringence; more rye notes too now. Okay, let’s add some water. Water doesn’t do much for the palate, but doesn’t harm it either.
Finish: Long. Caramel sweetness with a bitter edge and a lemony counterpoint. A lot of rye here. The finish gets even more extended with water and the lemon comes to the top.
Comments: Just lovely stuff. Neat, it was a few notches below the 2012 edition which had much richer fruit on the nose but water almost pulled it up to that level.
Rating: 89 points.
Thanks to Patrick for the sample!