12/21/13 Four Roses 2012 Small Batch (55.7) and Four Roses 125th Anniversary Small Batch (51.6)
2012: 17 year old OBSV, 11 year old OBSV, 12 year old OBSK and 12 year old OESK. 4,062 bottles.
125th (2013): 18 year OBSV, 13 Year OBSK, 13 Year OESK, 12468 Bottles
2012: Four Roses style mulling spice and pepper are turned on overdrive. Fairly subtle vanilla and honey notes, and hints of very old (but not musty) oak, cherries, all finished by a sweeter side of the rye profile.
125th: Noticeably dry right off the 2012. Brine, tobacco, again some of that allspice mulled cider type spice. More wood flavor is evident in the nosing profile of the 125th. This smells much more reminiscent of the off the shelf small batch, if the SmB was a barrel strength special edition.
2012: Four Roses barrel sugars, bright cherries, and that textbook floral explosion of different bright yeast notes that I come to expect from this distillery. The 12 year OBSK (the same as the 2013 single barrel) really impacts some flavor on this one. Maybe a little overproofed to drink at Barrel Strength, but wouldn’t need much water. This bottling does a good job of capturing the bright, eclectic spicy/floral profile that I have experienced so much in the past with four roses. Textbook.
125th: Building dry rye spice complemented with the lightest tobacco, that is driven remarkably towards the finish. No detours. A floral-noted rye note that is sharpened and drives straight towards the back of your mouth with nothing else to think about. At this point it’s more beneficial to note what’s not there -- everything is directed towards the dry spice. Oak is tamed (there’s a 17 year in here, remember), corn oils have submitted, and even a lot of the trademark Four Roses cherry/pepper potpourri is pulled out. Notes should be taken about a 51.6% ABV of a barrel strength product.
2012: Some light tongue tingling complements the notes of the initial tasting. No flavor note transitions. Moderate oil and barrel strength mouthfeel. Moderate length in relation to the 125.
125th: The flavors of the taste meld perfectly into the finish. It’s long and unsurprisingly dry. Some unfiltered oils can be detected and the mouthfeel is light.
Balance: My favorite distillery delivers on two fabulous products that side-by-side are remarkably different, but both capture different aspects of why I like 4R so much. The intense floral notes of the 2012 and the dry vanilla and tobacco rye notes of the 125th are both just great in a bottle. Four Roses LEs may possibly be my favorite in the industry as they often present a balance that a 15+ year old product or a 66%+ barrel strength offering cannot bring to the table.
Stupid letter grades: A and A
|Thank God for stock photos|
Would I buy again: Yes.