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Proof: 108
Color: medium amber
Nose: caramel popcorn, blackberry, cloves, dried stone fruit
Taste: caramel, cloves, cinnamon, bramble fruit
Value: middling

Last time I reviewed a bottle of expensive Four Roses, I was… less than effusive.

When a bottle of booze costs that much, I expect to be impressed.

How will Four Roses Limited Edition Small Batch 2017 Release at barrel strength fare? Let’s dive in!

Let’s start with my trademarked Let’s Not Mince Words statement:

In spite of its verbally assaulting name, Four Roses Limited Edition Small Batch 2017 Release puts Four Roses on a pedestal, where it deserves to be.

So, this time around it’s Master Distiller Brent Elliot at the helm of the blending, and from Four Roses’ Bourbon vaults, he’s chosen: a 15-year-old OESK recipe, a 13-year-old OESK, and a 12-year-old OESV.  I’ll let you look up what those four-letter codes mean by clicking here.

Now, I get it. By making this stuff “Limited Edition” you can immediately create demand from your existing customer base.  They get it. They understand the Four Roses reputation for quality; a reputation that Jim Rutledge worked for over 20 years to craft.  This isn’t Mr. Elliot’s first time at this, but does it hold up to the standards of his predecessor?

Four Roses LESB2017 has some nice raspberry and spice on the nose. (Bringing back that “bramble” note missing from that last review I did.)  Raspberry & spice are backed up by caramel kettle corn and stone fruit… a pluot kind-of-a-thing.

Now, this is a LOW rye bourbon, but thanks to the Barrel Strength bottling at 54% a.b.v., there is a bite… but it does not last. The taste matches nicely with the nose: caramel, baking spices, and a blackberry/raspberry thing that just screams “Four Roses.”
And, of course, the sweetness is pronounced.  It’s not off-putting; and these days, sweet Bourbons are in.

The finish is medium length and warm, leaving a hit of baking spice on the tongue.

For a whole new level in velvety smoothness, add a drabble!

Where I run into trouble with this is the price point.  Admittedly, I like this much more than than that other thing I reviewed in early December 2017, but do I love it oh so much more than Four Roses’ standard Small Batch offering (that I haven’t yet reviewed)?  Well… honestly, yes; yes I do. Even with its high proof, Four Roses LESB2017 is smoother and easier to sip.  Even with that stipulated, the price here is steep… and *please* do not attempt to get this stuff on the secondary market. I’ve seen it hit a 500% markup.

So, while this limited edition Four Roses may not be worth $500/$600, it is most definitely worth a taste.

Which is to say:

Final Rating: 95 out of 100