All posts in “Four Roses”

One of the Country’s Best Bottles of Bourbon Hits Shelves Across the Country

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Four Roses Small Batch Select

Good news from the world of whiskey: Four Roses Distillery will increase the distribution of its critically acclaimed bourbon Small Batch Select, reports Beverage Dynamics. More than a dozen states (Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Washington and Wisconsin) join California, Georgia, Kentucky, New York and Texas, where bottles of the whiskey were previously limited.

Small Batch Select follows a trend in American whiskey-making; the juice is non-chill filtered, giving it a full, oily mouthfeel. In designing the bourbon, Four Roses Master Distiller Brent Elliot opted to blend six of the distillery’s 10 base recipes, four of which were also used in the award-winning 130th Anniversary Small Batch that can go for as much as $500 on the secondary market. Both whiskeys have Goldilocks proofs that clock in just above 100.

Expect a fair retail price of $55 to $60 for bottles of Small Batch Select. We recommend it neat with a few drops of water.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.
Jack Seemer

Jack Seemer is the deputy editor at Gear Patrol. Since joining the publication in 2014, he has reported on a wide range of subjects, including menswear, smart home technology, cookware and craft beer.

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Everything You Need to Know About Fall’s Most Hyped Bourbon Releases

Fall is whiskey season. Not just for drinking, but for new whiskey releases, too. From September to November, the biggest bourbon makers in the world have made fall whiskey’s unofficial drop season. Here’s what you need to know about Autumn’s five most hunted-down bourbons.

How to Score Bottles

Short of paying inflated secondary market prices, there are no sure things in the search for any of the whiskeys below. These methods are used to increase odds, not guarantee you a bottle.

Get on the List: Many liquor stores receiving higher-end, allocated whiskeys dole out the bottles they get using a raffle method. It may not be as exciting as finding a choice bottle collecting dust at the back of a shelf, but a score is a score.

Location, Location, Location: Liquor stores in population centers are more likely to get both coveted whiskey and huge crowds. Stores out in the boonies have less foot traffic and are allocated less of the good stuff in turn. In whiskey hunting, the edge of suburbia is fertile ground — where stores receive the bottles you’re looking for, and the odds you’re the only person on the premise who knows what to look for improve (marginally).

Buy More Whiskey: Being a good customer is the simple and sagely advice of all experienced whiskey collectors. You give your business to a store over a period of time, befriending managers and employees, and the odds of a store clerk throwing you a bone increase exponentially.

The Bottles

Old Forester Birthday Bourbon

Release Date: September 2
Retail Price: $100
Street Price $500+

Birthday Bourbon marks the beginning of bourbon hunting season. According to Campbell Brown, it was launched in 2002 as a means for the brand to re-establish itself as a premier whiskey making operation. Its timing couldn’t have been better. In the coming years, the bourbon market erupted, and Birthday Bourbon became a flagbearer for the ultra-premiumization of the category. It has continued to fly off shelves since.

The Backup Bottle: Old Forester Prohibition Style
Birthday Bourbon is higher proof and more mature than standard Old Forester’s, but it’s still made with the brand’s standard mashbill. That description could just as easily apply to Old Forester’s well-reviewed, widely available Prohibition Style. You can find Prohibition Style for $60 to $70 in liquor stores nationwide.

Parker’s Heritage Collection

Release Date: September
Retail Price: $150
Street Price Varies by release, $350+
Named after the late, legendary Master Distiller Parker Beam, Parker’s Heritage Collection is Heaven Hill’s most experimental line of whiskey. Released annually, the only consistency from year-to-year is that there is no consistency. Past bottles have been filled with straight wheat whiskey, 24-year-old Bottled-in-Bond whiskey, curaçao-finished bourbon and other weirdness. Each release is hunted to retail extinction.

This year’s Parker’s sticks to the status quo of not having any semblance of a status quo. It’s a rye whiskey aged for eight years and nine months made with Heaven Hill’s standard rye mashbill — the same it uses to make its Rittenhouse and Pikesville ryes — and it will retail at its usual $150. But where most Heaven Hill products (and most whiskey in general) is aged in Level 3 char barrels, the new Parker’s rests in Level 5 char barrels. Expect a spicy, woody, smokey, vanilla-heavy whiskey.

The Backup Bottle: Heaven Hill Pikesville Rye
Get one of Heaven Hill Distillery’s other ryes. Pikesville is a couple of years younger, proofed a little higher and made with the same mashbill. Bonus points for those who get both and drink side-by-side.

Buffalo Trace Antique Collection

Release Date: October
Retail Price: $99 a bottle
Street Price $300 to $1,000
The dream haul. Its hype levels exceeded only by only the likes of Pappy Van Winkle, Buffalo Trace’s annual bottle drop is perhaps the most-awarded collection of booze in the world. Comprised of the staggeringly high proof George T. Stagg, William Larue Weller (which shares a mashbill with another whiskey on this list), Eagle Rare 17-Year and a pair of older Sazerac ryes. Finding bottles in stores in hard enough; finding bottles at retail prices is virtually impossible. The most valuable of the lot are generally the George T. Stagg and William Larue Weller.

The Backup Bottles: Stagg Jr., Weller 12, Sazerac Rye
Seeing as the Antique Collection houses a number of bottles, there are a few backups. Stagg Jr. is a worthy alternative to George T. Stagg and isn’t too much of a chore in most states. William Larue Weller’s legendary wheated mashbill can be found in any bottle of Weller, but Weller 12-year is probably the closest (or the newly released Weller Full Proof). Sazerac’s standard, slept-on rye remains one of the best values in all of whiskey.

Four Roses Limited Edition Small Batch

Release Date: September
Retail Price: $140
Street Price $300+
It gets less mainstream coverage than others on the list, but it’s no less revered by those in the know. Every bottle is a little different, with Master Distiller Brent Elliott and team tinkering with aging and Four Roses’ trademark dual-mashbill, variable yeast whiskey making process (it’s not as confusing as it sounds). It’s particularly popular with Four Roses completionists for very obvious reasons.

The Backup Bottle: Four Roses Small Batch Select
Released this year, Four Roses Small Batch Select mirrors many of the Limited Edition’s charm. It’s higher proof than most of the brand’s offerings, it’s non-chill filtered and it shares much of the same recipe. Find it for $55 to $65 in most states.

Pappy Van Winkle Collection

Release Date: October
Retail Price: $60 to $270
Street Price $1,000 to $3,000
What more is there to say? The poster bottles for the most ridiculous parts of the bourbon boom are, perhaps more than any other whiskey, known within and without bourbon collecting circles. Every piece and parcel of Van Winkle mythology has been dissected and analyzed, but one truth remains: finding any of the bottle in the Van Winkle lineup at or near retail price necessitates purchasing. Its price, while painful, is reflective of its status as the sole über-limited bourbon to break into the mainstream. Pappy is a grail for more than just whiskey nerds.

The Backup Bottle: Weller 12
Those who fail to find it in the wild often opt for a whiskey made with the same exact recipe — Weller. Both made with the same wheated mashbill at Buffalo Trace’s Frankfort, Kentucky distillery, Weller’s rise to prominence is one of Pappy’s aftershocks. Weller 12’s lower proofing makes it the best candidate to replicate the sweet, low-burn of the most sought after whiskey in the US.
Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

Four Roses’s First Mainline Whiskey in 12 Years Riffs on a Cult Favorite Bourbon

After 12 years of nothing new but limited editions and one-offs, Small Batch Select is joining Four Roses’s small and highly praised permanent collection, and it has a lot in common with one of the brand’s most coveted drops ever.

According to Four Roses Master Distiller Brent Elliot, the brand wanted the new expression’s flavor profile to mirror that of its domineering 130th Anniversary Small Batch — a bottle that earned the title “World’s Best Bourbon” from the World Whiskies Awards. Thanks to Four Roses’ unique approach to recipes, bourbon blending and penchant for total transparency, we know this isn’t just smart marketing.

Where most distilleries select a mashbill and start distilling, Four Roses reaches into its toolbox of recipes. Each of the 10 recipes appears as a four-letter code that clues you into what the stuff is — the first letter tells you it’s made in Kentucky, the second tells you the mashbill, the third tells you it’s straight whiskey and the fourth tells you the specific yeast strain. (If you’re confused, Four Roses has a handy explainer on its website.)

Small Batch Select’s predecessor, the 130th Anniversary bottle, features OBSV, OBSF, OESV, OESK recipes. Small Batch Select is a blend of six Four Roses recipes, including every one of those found in the award-winning bottle — OBSV, OBSK, OBSF, OESV, OESK and OESF. Both bottles are cut to similar proofs, too, with Small Batch Select at 104 and the 130th at 108 (Small Batch Select has the highest proof of any mainline Four Roses).

From there, differences emerge. If you’re able to find the 130th Anniversary bottle, it can run you more than $500 — Go Bourbon is reporting Small Batch Select will run you between $50 and $60 and will eventually become.

Small Batch Select is also a non-chill-filtered bourbon, meaning it isn’t subjected to filtration processes that remove some residual fat and protein compounds in the juice (sort of like a natural wine). The effects of non-chill filtration are controversial — some say it’s just murkier bourbon, others say it gives the whiskey a more rounded mouthfeel. Elliot says it’s mostly a matter of preference. Finally, Small Batch Select is a mixture of six- and seven-year-old bourbon, significantly lower age statements than its pricey relative.

Four Roses says Small Batch Select is available now at the Lawrenceville, Kentucky distillery and will roll out to Kentucky, New York, California, Texas and Georgia soon in the coming weeks. Elliot also confirmed that the bottle will be pushed nationwide over the next couple years. No information on pricingn is available yet.

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