Updated: Jan 22, 2021
Four Roses Small Batch Select - 52%
As much as I love Four Rose Private Selections, I never really got behind the standard 100 proof Four Roses Single Barrel. It often played thinner and top note heavy compared to other 100 proof bourbon. A lighter style that just didn't land for me as a sipper. The elevated proof and age on Private Selections provided depth that created some of my favorite profiles - fruit and herbal driven, but full and rich on the palate. My hope with Small Batch Select was that by offering a blended product, we might get a consistent profile, readily available, at a higher proof, providing a little more to chew on that the standard single barrel. Let's see how it delivers.
Nose: Bright fruit and herbal spice. Juicy fruit gum. Berries. Oak. Rye bread. Dark chocolate.
Flavor: Apple. Oak. Vanilla. Juicy fruit resurfaces on the back.
Structure: Lively and top note heavy (herbs and bright fruit). Comes down a little on the back end. But this thing lives on the upper palate.
Alcohol Integration: All the top notes have this reading slightly thin and hot. A drop of water brings forward the oak and vanilla and deepens the palate. It also lengthens the finish with some slight bitterness.
Score: 5 (Acceptable) Nose is really nice. Notes are clear. It's great to cocktail with (price aside) because it improves with dilution and the top notes work better when other ingredients fill out the palate. In terms of palate preference, it unfortunately runs into some of the same issues for me that I have with Four Roses Single Barrel.
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J. Henry & Sons 5 yr. Small Batch Bourbon - 46%
Fruit forward as well, but there's a little more weight and depth even with the lower proof.
10 - Reevaluate The Budget
9 - Stash Two (If Able)
8 - Stash One (At The Right Price)
7 - Highly Recommend It To Strangers
6 - Solid - Above Average
5 - Acceptable For The Situation
4 - Not Vocally Complaining
3 - Anything Else To Drink?
2 - Nothing Nice To Say
1 - Drain Pour