We’re thinking of a number in our head. Try to guess it. If you said “13,440,” congratulations, you nailed it. Because that highly specific number correlates to the number of bottles Four Roses has released for its 2019 Limited Edition Small Batch, launched at the start of September.
This year’s edition pulls from four of the Kentucky distiller’s 10 recipes, each categorized into four letter codes that denote signifiers like mashbill and yeast strain. In this case, they worked with an 11-year OESV, a 15-year OESV, and a 15-year OESK, plus the granddaddy of the bunch, a 21-year OBSV.
It pours a deep, rich, reddish-brown in the glass and has warm notes of biscuit, sawdust, and baking spices on the nose. Its first taste delivers a bright, acidic note of raspberry, coupled to rich and round honey, vanilla, and caramel. The tartness of its light berry note contrasts beautifully with the whiskey’s viscous, tongue-coating texture.
The bourbon’s character shifts dramatically at the center, where bold notes of cinnamon, saw dust, and toasted oak take over. But the spiced and barrel notes don’t blot out the berry flavors entirely: that raspberry note darkens, but pushes on to the end where it’s joined by tannic oak, rich vanilla bean, and big, bold spice.
Its finish is just a peg below infinity, seemingly long enough to form new and permanent grooves in your tastebuds. It’s the kind of conclusion that finds you staring into space minutes later, mouth agape, senses blurred, wondering precisely where that whiskey has taken you—and how soon you can hop back on the ride.
— 56.3% ABV