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Four Roses Small Batch Select Bourbon Review (2023 Updated)

Four Roses Small Batch Select Review 

Last Updated on October 9, 2023 by Lydia Martin

Curious about the new permanent line of the Four Roses bourbon? If you haven’t tried their Small Batch Select, you should hear us first. 

Some say it’s not worth the splurge, and others find it ordinary. But what’s really in this spirit? How was it made? What does it taste like? Is the proof high or low? 

If you want answers, keep scrolling as we detail our Four Roses Small Batch Select review.  

Four Roses Small Batch Select Bourbon Overview

Four Roses Small Batch Select Bottle on a Table

This non-chill filtered bourbon from Four Roses is bottled at 104-proof. The yeast strains and sets of mash bills used in the recipe make this bourbon seem unique.

The classic flavors of the bourbon bottle are noticeable here; the proof and bright notes bring the experience to the next level. 

The nose is aromatic, with the usual honey, baking spice, vanilla, and oak, which carry on to the palate. 

Also, the alcohol is already kicking in the right of the nose, then slowly fades on the palate but bounces back again on the medium-length finish. 

Quick Facts 

Distillery Four Roses Distillery
Classification & Region Straight bourbon/Kentucky
Alcohol Proof 104
Mash Bill Blend of corn, rye, and malted barley 
Age Statement NAS 
Color Light copper 
Rating 4-Star (Top-Shelf)
Average Price Around $59.99 per 750ml (MSRP)

What’s Four Roses Small Batch Select Bourbon? 

Four Roses Small Batch Select is the brand’s fourth permanent expression, following the regular Small Batch, Four Roses Yellow, and Four Roses Single Barrel.

This fantastic addition to the line is a blend of bourbons aged 6 to 7 years. 

This new line is higher-proof (bottled at 104-proof) and non-chill filtered (barrel-proof). 

The percentage of the mash bill is undisclosed, but it is known that this Small Batch Select uses two different sets of mash bills and five distinct yeast strains, creating ten different Four Roses recipes. 

And out of the ten recipes, six blends (aged in separate single barrels) are used in this Select whiskey (unlike the four recipes used in the previous small batch).  

The blends used are: 

  • OBSK: Baking spice & rye
  • OESF: Mint & herbs
  • OBSV: Rye and delicate fruit 
  • OESV: Caramel & delicate fruit 
  • OBSF: Mint & delicate rye
  • OESK: Baking Spice

Note: The first letter means the production facility; the second letter indicates the mash bill; the third letter is the whiskey distillation; and the fourth letter is the yeast strain used. 

What Does Four Roses Small Batch Select Taste Like?

Woman Holding Glass of Whiskey

Nose 

It boosts the classic bourbon aromas. The unique yet soothing scents of baking spice, honey, vanilla, oak, cinnamon, and caramel open the experience.

But soon after, 52% ABV shows its presence, as we get the hint of ethanol scent. 

Palate

The blend of baking spice, oak bark, honey, and vanilla notes lingers on the palate. The flavor profile is well-rounded, coating every corner of the mouth.

While the alcohol is noticeable on the nose, it hides on the palate, only giving a nice blend of flavors. There’s a delicate fruit hint along with light brown sugar, but it goes away quickly.  

Finish

The spice lasts long up to the finish. It’s sweet (from honey) and a little spicy (like black pepper), with hints of vanilla and oak spice. All flavors are one, but it’s not overwhelming. 

This fine whiskey gives a pleasant medium-length finish with a lingering flavor profile.

Read: Recommended Four Roses Bourbon Recipes

Our Thoughts 

First Sip

The first sip is noticeably sweet, with hints of caramel, honey, and vanilla, dominating the flavors. 

After a moment, the non-chill filtering starts affecting the profile, gently transitioning the experience from sweet to slightly bitter and woody (but not intense).  

Second Chance

On the second sip, the higher proof strengthens, and the wheel of flavors is still there. It’s not that complex, but it’s smooth. 

This is a bit different from the standard Four Roses Small Batch. So better try it.  

Why We Like It

Close Up Shot of Four Roses Small Batch Select Bottle and a Glass
  • Simply, we like this Small Batch Select because the profile is nice and balanced. 
  • The overall experience is smooth, though alcohol is very alive. 
  • This is a good choice for whiskey drinkers who like the dominant flavor of oak.
  • Not overwhelming, no off-putting notes, and high-proof 

Drawbacks

  • This Four Roses bourbon is quite pricey compared to the regular small batch, which is just four proof points lower but sells at a much more affordable price. 
  • It’s not widely available, as there’s a limit in distribution. 

Uniqueness & Value 

The value of this Four Roses Small Batch Select is twice the standard Four Roses Small Batch.

It’s the most expensive on the Four Roses portfolio so far, and it’s rare since it’s a limited release.  

But you can still secure a bottle of this Small Batch Select (with time, effort, and money LOL), compared to the rarity of the Single Barrel and other Four Roses annual limited-release spirits [1].

The Rating On Four Roses Small Batch Select Bourbon

Based on our overall Four Roses Small Batch Select review, we give this expression a 4 out of 5 stars. 

“Small Batch Select is a taste all on its own as it brings out some of our Bourbon recipes that aren’t as forward facing in our other bottles, and it has that close to straight-from-the-barrel experience you get with it being non-chill filtered.”

— Brent Elliott, Master Distiller

It’s a top-shelf whiskey [2] with premium quality. It’s a little expensive, but it suits special occasions and gatherings. This bottle is worth a space on your shelf. 

Is Four Roses Small Batch Select Worth It?

Four Roses Small Batch Select Bourbon bottle and a Glass

Considering the higher proof, good body, tasty flavor profile, and character, it’s worth the splurge. 

Although it’s just a one-step improvement from the original small batch, the price per bottle is justified by its meticulous process and resulting whiskey that combines expertise and quality.  

But we’d like for you to have a lot of options, so we suggest the following as alternatives: 

FAQs 

How do you drink Four Roses Small Batch Select?

You can drink Four Roses Small Batch Select the best on the rocks or straight to mellow the alcohol. But you can sip it neat if you’re brave and used to high-proof spirits.  

Is Four Roses Small Batch Select bourbon good with Coke?

Four Roses SBS bourbon can be good with Coke, depending on your taste. But we prefer the Yellow label for Coke.

Final Verdict

Four Roses Small Batch Select has all the rich flavors from the spirits of the Four Roses line.

It’s not that unique (it’s just the making process that’s quite unique) in terms of taste and character. 

But we like how the flavors blend in this spirit. It’s not overwhelming and a great alternative to the quirky Four Roses Single Barrel. 

Once it gets wider availability, we would love to buy it again and recommend it to our buddies. 

References:

  1. https://robbreport.com/food-drink/spirits/four-limited-edition-small-batch-2022-release-1234741808/ 
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/bourbon-whiskey 
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