Nose: This has a light, classic bourbon smell with some citrus and fruity notes, particularly cherry. Palate: This is very mellow and on the sweet side, though not overly sweet. On the first sip, the first taste I got was banana and then some caramel and vanilla. The mouthfeel is pretty light and the finish is also light and pretty short. Not only is this not harsh nor burning, it has very little warmth to it. It is a very easy sipper. The second sip brought out some earthy tones and a small amount of rye spice. Interestingly, it tasted less sweet than the first sip. Even more strangely, it wasn’t until the third sip that I got any warmth out of this. It popped up very briefly during the short finish, when I also detected some wood flavors. Comment: This is a pretty easy drinker. That said, it doesn’t have anything that makes it stand out and one might even consider it a bit bland. Although it was a few days ago when I reviewed the Four Roses Yellow Label, I have to think that that was a bit better than this. There’s nothing wrong with the small batch and there’s certainly nothing to hate, but it just doesn’t have anything out of the ordinary or interesting enough to make me want to run out and get it again. I suppose, like some of the other reviewers point out, it might just be that is is well balanced/blended? It might make a good bourbon to give a non-bourbon drinker because of its mellow-ness, but I don’t think it will win that non-bourbon drinker over to our side because it won’t knock their socks off. It is a bit hard to believe, but this is a 90 proof bourbon. It runs in the low $30 range. The mashbill is 75% corn, 20% rye, 5% malted barley blended with 60% corn, 35% rye and 5% malted barley. If you remember, Four Roses uses a wide variety of mashbill/yeast combinations. The Small Batch is a blend of four of them, with the designations OBSK, OESK, OBSO, and OESO. (“O” = Four Roses distillery, 2nd Letter = which mashbill, “S” = Straight Whiskey and the 4th letter is the yeast strain (“V” = delicate fruit, “K” = slight spice, “O” = rich fruit, “Q” = floral essence, “F” (herbal notes)).) The Small Batch supposedly has nothing less than 6 years old in it.
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