Whiskey Review: Four Roses 2017 Limited Edition Small Batch

By Steve Coomes / September 20, 2017

Tis the season for whiskey releases, and like clockwork, Four Roses’ 2017 Limited Edition Small Batch hit the shelves during the annual Kentucky Bourbon Festival. Specifically, Sept. 16 was the day fans flocked to Four Roses’ two Kentucky gift shops—one in Lawrenceburg, the other at Cox’s Creek—to line up for their chance to nab a bottle and a possible signature from master distiller Brent Elliott. Believe it or not, this is the only distillery in Kentucky that does this.

This year’s LESB features three of the distillery’s 10 unique bourbon recipes and marks the first time the LESB has featured only its low rye mashbill. According to a press release, the mingling of whiskeys came from 15-year-old OESK barrels, 13-year-old OESK barrels and 12-year-old OESV barrels.

“The magic happened early on with this Small Batch Bourbon—after only my third test blend, I knew we had hit the target and then some,” Elliott said in the press release. “Once we combined them, it resulted in more depth, richness and warmth than any one of the individual recipes.”

This LESB is bottled at barrel strength, and approximately 13,800 hand-numbered bottles will be distributed throughout the U.S.

Four Roses 2017 Limited Edition Small Batch

Tasting Notes: Four Roses 2017 Limited Edition Small Batch

Vital Stats: ABV of 53.95% alcohol (107.3 proof), barrel aged over a range of 12-15 years, suggested retail of $130.

Appearance: Deep copper color; when swirled, yields thin, widely spaced legs descending slowly in multiple runs.

Nose: Like many Four Roses barrel strength releases, this launches with a Juicy Fruit chewing gum bomb followed by more delicate notes of stone fruit, spearmint, oak and a touch of menthol.

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Palate: Intensely fruity on entry, the mouth waters instantly as if sucking on hard candy. Mouthfeel is light and silken; it begs to be rolled around the mouth. Finish is bereft of bitterness or tannin. The smidge of burn is far less prominent than the 2016 release. Add a few drops of water and the fun begins: milk chocolate followed by butterscotch, oak, vanilla, roasted pineapple and banana. It’s a liquid fruit salad tossed in a charred oak bowl.

The Takeaway


This whiskey is such a pleasure to drink, and inviting to the point of being youthful despite its age. Armed only with a 100ml press sample, I couldn’t spare a drop to test its cocktail performance—not that it needed to prove its mettle among the amendments—or even bother with good ice. No loss, though, as this was delicious au naturale. Those waiting in line won’t be disappointed if they get one.

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