For the past 15 years or so, Kentucky’s Four Roses Distillery has released its annual Limited Edition Small Batch and bourbon fans have lost their collective mind. This year’s release is likely to elicit similar feelings—and justifiably so because this whiskey is excellent, although it’s still going to be difficult to get ahold of.
The actual release date for this Four Roses bourbon is September 17, but in addition to being available at select retailers the 2022 edition will also be sold via a lottery system, similar to the recent Birthday Bourbon announcement. What this means is you can visit the Four Roses website from now until August 28 to register for this lottery, and if you’re lucky enough to be selected you can pick up a bottle at the distillery instead of waiting in line somewhere and paying at least triple the $180 asking price.
The details of this new release are intrinsic to why it tastes as nice as it does. The whiskey is non-chill filtered and bottled at 109 proof. It’s a blend of four different liquids—Four Roses is unique in that the distillery actually produces ten different recipes using two mash bills and five yeast strains, which are blended together in various proportions for its different products. The 2022 Limited Edition Small Batch consists of the following whiskeys, with the code referring to mash bill and yeast strain: 14 year-old bourbon from the OESF recipe, 14-year-old OESV, 15-year-old OESK, and 20-year-old OBSV. That last one is the only truly high-rye bourbon component (35 percent), as the rest are made from the mash bill with 20 percent rye.
“From the beginning of crafting this year’s limited edition small batch bourbon, two particular batches stood out to me as potential candidates to go into the blend,” master distiller Brent Elliott said in a statement, “a 14-year-old recipe batch that is remarkably smooth and rich on the palate, and a 20-year-old recipe batch that exhibits the best fruit barrel and spice qualities of extra aged bourbon. The test blends revolved around those two batches until we landed on a liquid with a perfect balance that is unique, layered, mellow and elegant.”
Robb Report was able to sample the new bourbon, and it starts off with a very buttery mouthfeel. There are big notes of caramel, toffee, orange, brûléed grapefruit, vanilla pudding, marzipan and, one that will either be nostalgic or give you a toothache, Cadbury chocolate egg. There is some lingering spice on finish at 109 proof, but it’s far from hot.
There are just over 14,000 bottles that will be made available next month, so getting your hands on one isn’t out of the question, it’s just a matter of how much you’re willing to pay. But if you have the will and the means, you won’t be sorry you spent your precious human and financial resources.