This is your resident Four Roses fanboy, signde, signing in. Today we have the 2016 version of Four Roses' annual limited edition small batch. All of their small batch limited editions are cask strength and a blend of various ages / recipes from the Four Roses portfolio. The fact that Four Roses has 10 different recipes each with their own nuanced subtleties tend to make these bottles a hit. I'll be the first to tell you I am usually over the moon for them and given that this release contains my favorite (OESK) and third favorite (OBSV) recipes I suspect this review is going to be very positive.
12 year OESO, 12 year OBSV, 16 year OESK; 55.6% ABV; $95
Nose: Very tempered for 111.2 proof though this is the last pour of the bottle and it has been open since the day I brought home back in the Fall nearly 7 months ago. Nose is a little grainy but there is classic Four Roses red fruits, herbal menthol, and cinnamon spices. That seems pretty in-line with the blend here - fruitiness from the OESO and OBSV and spice punch from the OESK. It's really nice.
Taste: Most of the profile from the nose carries over. Cherry, apple, a little herbal mint, cinnamon, baking spices, and lots of sweet woody caramel. With a lot of bourbons it seems the sweet/spice notes come in waves with the fruit and sugar sweets up front then spices in the back. Here though that fruity sweet combo is persistent almost the whole way through. It's lovely.
Thoughts: I know some folks were down on 2016 small batch and if I had to guess I think it's the OESO influence. I don't mind it at all though as it seems to be a nice rounding out of the fruit and spice influence that the V and K yeast bring. To me this is just a classic Four Roses blend delivering depth like almost no other brand can. It's got that hallmark Four Roses profile of spice layers, red fruit nuance, and lush caramel sweets in spades. Having said that, it's a little muted and doesn't leave quite the lasting impression as some of the other big time Four Roses small batch releases like the 2012, 2013, or even the 2015 but flavor-wise it is in the right wheelhouse. This is another home run for the Four Roses crew in my book.
Rating: A- / B+
Note that price is not considered when assigning a rating.