Feeling Lucky? Here’s How to Score Your Four Roses 2020 Limited Edition Small Batch

Four Roses 2020 Limited Edition Small Batch. Courtesy Photo.

Four Roses has announced the release of their 2020 Limited Edition Small Batch, with a new lottery system in place for fans who want to buy a bottle.

Each year, the distillery releases a barrel strength blend of just a few of their 10 different recipes (link here to decode), choosing from well-aged stocks that have ranged from 9 to 23 years to create a one-of-a-kind expression showcasing the best bourbons Four Roses has to offer. Four Roses Master Distiller Brent Elliott, recently named Master Distiller of the Year by Whisky Magazine, spends months planning and tasting each blend, with careful trial and error of combinations of different components.

This year’s release is a blend of four different bourbons, as listed below, non-chill filtered and bottled at a cask strength 111.4 proof.

  • 30% 12-year-old OBSV
  • 25% 12-year-old OESV
  • 25% 16-year-old OESK
  • 20% 19-year-old OBSK

“Each batch in this year’s limited edition bottling is an exceptional whiskey that could have stood on its own as a single barrel offering,” Elliott said. “But in this case the sum is even greater than the parts – as together these bring a perfect balance of bright, vibrant flavors and aromas from the 12 and 16-year-old barrels combined with the oak tones and aged expressions from the 19-year-old batch.”

Elliott admits that at advanced age, it can be difficult to find barrels that he thinks will play well in a blend without overpowering more delicate flavors with their heightened oak.

“We’re looking for things that aren’t too muted by oak while still having other deeper qualities of fruit or spice. Each batch this year was really robust, complex, and elegant, and while the oldest batch was oaky, we want to use that in moderation.”

Elliott gives tasting notes of “orange peel, honey, and vanilla” on the nose, with a complex, layered palate of “oak, giving structure without overpowering flavors like red fruit, rye spice, and apricot.” The finish is long and rich with rye and fruit.

As you can imagine, these rare bottles are hard to find – but this year, you can get a shot at one from your couch. In the past, Four Roses fans lined up faithfully at the distillery for the release of these bottles, camping out overnight to ensure they’ll take one home at retail price. But with coronavirus safety concerns still front of mind for those at the gift shop, this year’s release will look a lot different.

Staring today, August 25, and running till September 9th, fans can register here to enter a lottery to win their right to purchase one of these rare bottles. Those who are selected via random draw will schedule appointments to pick up their bottle at the Four Roses Distillery.

“With any volume of Small Batch Limited Edition that we put out, it won’t be accessible to every consumer,” says Elliott. “And of course we hate that, but we don’t want to compromise on quality.”

To Four Roses fans around the country who don’t always have access to bottles from their favorite distillery, Elliott does tell us the distribution of their popular new Small Batch Select will reach all 50 states in the next two years.

For those who aren’t lucky enough to win the lottery, about 14,000 bottles of Four Roses 2020 Small Batch Limited Edition will arrive at retailers around the country in late September for a suggested retail price of around $150.

Caroline Paulus
Caroline Paulus is the Senior Editor for The Bourbon Review. She lives and writes in Lexington, Kentucky. Follow her on Instagram @misswhiskeyhistorian to keep up with her latest in bourbon news - and a few old finds, too.