A year or so ago I dipped my toe into the bourbon world to try something different. I wasn’t sure what to expect but thought I might end up with a something similar to malt whisky but with a lot of virgin oak tannic notes. The actual experience is a little different or at least with the easier drinking ones I have tried so far. Small batch was the first and seems to be well regarded as an introduction bourbon for new drinkers.
The Four Roses distillery make ten different recipes using two different mashbills and combine them together to make the range of products which they market world wide. The first mashbill is 60% corn and 35% rye and the second is 75% corn and 20% rye. The rest being made up of malted barley.
The small batch release is built from four different barrels each with a different combination of mashbill and yeast strain. They are bottled at 45% ABV which isn’t bad and it is available in the UK for around £35 which isn’t bad value either.
Colour – bright yellow
Nose – Pine cones, cinnamon and ginger gives this bourbon a much spicier nose than a lot of malt whiskies. There is sweetness though from caramel and honey to balance it out.
Palate – The texture is creamy and continues on from the nose with ginger, cinnamon and caramel. There is a bitter note from wood sap and oak charring.
Finish – The finish is pretty short which lets the side down a little. There is more tannic oak giving a sweet and sour experience with crystallised ginger and honey on the sweet side.
This is simple easy going and very enjoyable. It opens up the world of straight bourbon and while I have tried better bourbons since (and wierdly reviewed them earlier) this was the one that started me on the road. For that reason if nothing else I will be going back to Four Roses again and again in the future.