THE STORY OF SMALL BATCH
blog | 8/6/2019
It wasn’t long after manufacturing returned to the United States that Four Roses would begin introducing new products into the American and European markets. In 2004, under the leadership of Master Distiller Jim Rutledge, we launched Four Roses Single Barrel. Then, in 2006, we launched Small Batch. It would be another 13 years before launching a fourth permanent addition to our lineup, Small Batch Select. To celebrate the legacy of Small Batch, we’re diving into what makes this Bourbon so special.
Four of our 10 Bourbon recipes are mingled together to craft Small Batch – OBSK, OESK, OBSO, and OESO. We’ve selected four recipes that are an equal balance of our E and B mashbills, while also being an equal blend of the K and O yeast strands. The slight spice of our K yeast strand perfectly mingled with the rich fruit notes of the O yeast strand offers a very mellow Bourbon that can be enjoyed straight up, on the rocks or in a cocktail.
While exact details vary slightly by batch, the average “Small Batch” size is approximately 250 barrels. Barrels are typically between six and seven years old, with an average age per batch around six and a half years old. Bourbon from each of our four unique recipes is used to create each batch.
Because of the required flavor profile and volume demand, barrels typically come from multiple aging rickhouses to make up each batch. Prior to dumping, representative samples are pulled from each batch of each recipe to be combined and tested in the lab by our Master Distiller, Brent Elliott. Several rounds of test blending and batch evaluation is necessary to fine tune the test blends prior to dumping and bottling. This process is what creates the consistently smooth Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon we all love.
Small batch Bourbons gained popularity in the early 1990s, when Bourbon sales were at an all-time low. Then, in the late 2000s, premium Bourbons rose in popularity possibly because of the growing number of young adults and Bourbon connoisseurs, not only in Kentucky, but around the country.
In 2007, we issued an article announcing that Small Batch, which had been introduced at the Kentucky Bourbon Festival in September 2006, quickly sold out of its first bottling run, forcing a second bottling much sooner than anticipated.
Our Small Batch came into the market when smaller batch, handcrafted Bourbons were taking over the shelves. We’ve since expanded on that craft announcing the launch of Small Batch Select in April 2019 and the annual release of our Limited Edition Small Batch each fall. The 2018 Limited Edition Small Batch was named World’s Best Bourbon in the most recent World Whiskies Awards.
With its slight spice and soft, smooth and pleasantly long finish, Four Roses Small Batch is a Bourbon we pour when we’re settling in for a mellow moment. Visit our website here to find a bottle of Four Roses Small Batch near you.