Four Roses have been a regular in this year’s calendar but looking at the scores from both the straight bourbon and single barrel, that’s no bad thing.
The big question is, can they make it three hits in a row?
Four Roses Small Batch sits neatly in the middle of the previous two offerings, both in terms of price point and strength, at 45% ABV.
The nose isn’t as sweet as you might expect from a bourbon; toasted grain with just a little light honey beneath. After sitting in the glass for a while, hints of dark toffee slowly start to come through, suggesting a little more depth. Water brings more warm wood through.
In the mouth it’s rich and spicy; toffee quickly joined by cinnamon and a little pepper. After that, sweet dark plums, accompanied by blackened wood. The finish is soft and lingering, and very satisfying.
Watered, it remains rich and fruity, but the spice and the wood are both held back a little. In some ways this takes a little of the character away, but it also makes it more approachable and the bourbon becomes dangerously drinkable.
For a sub-£30 bourbon, this is fantastic stuff – 4.5 stars.
Many thanks to Master of Malt for providing their excellent Bourbon Advent Calendar this year.
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