FRSBLE2016…big shoes to fill from the 2015…

Four Roses Small Batch Limited Edition 2015 was my favorite bourbon of last year… it’s almost impossible to follow that up, as expectations are aggressively high.  The Elliot’s Select, out early this year, was one of my favorites, so I was very excited to get one of these bottles.  The bottle I am rating is 262/9258 which I bought on bottle-spot, but was lucky to get one for $119.99 a few weeks later from one of the liquor stores I go to a lot (thanks for keeping one aside for me).

Last year was a blend of four, this year is only three and is a 12yr OESO, 12yr OBSV and a 16yr OESK.  The bottles looks the same as last year, just with a 2016 instead of a 2015 and this year comes in with an sbv that is 1.3% higher to 55.6%.  The colors are basically the same.

The nose is good, very sweet, butterscotch, candied popcorn, cinnamon sticks, canned dark fruits and bbq grill ash.  The depth of the nose isn’t quite as complex and deep as last year’s.  Very little heat.

The bourbon on the tongue goes down smoothly.  The mouthfeel is enjoyable with just enough grip to let you know that it isn’t chill filtered, and is warmer than expected.  The taste is better than the nose with additional complexity coming through as the finish is very long, much longer than expected.

The lack of complexity on the nose was cause for concern, but the taste on the palate and the fun mouthfeel come through in the end.  This is a bourbon with a long finish and although is not nearly as good as last year’s release, is still a very good bourbon and one of my favorites of the year.  If you can find it at retail, it’s a steal, but don’t chase this one like I am still chasing the 2015 release.  94/100.

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