Four Roses Small Batch (45.0%): Today is the first day of National Bourbon Heritage Month and I have a bottle of Four Roses Small Batch on my desk... After Jim Rutledge, the legendary master blender of Four Roses announced his retirement July 1st I will be looking for a good time to post a Four Roses review anyway and simply couldn't find a better day for it. Four Roses has a pretty solid fan base among whisky lovers all over the world. I am a fan by myself as well but never could achieve the level of fans who can decipher the different recipes simply by glimpsing the four letter distillery codes. Most of the time I have to cheat by checking their website. The famous letter coded recipe reference system of Four Roses can be reached simply by clicking the "our process" tag on the distillery's website. They use two different mash bills and five different kinds of yeasts to create ten unique recipes. Small Batch bottlings use barrels of four specific recipes: OBSO, OBSK, OESO and OESK. Every year batches might show subtle differences but sticking to the same recipes keep the releases pretty consistent. Color: Medium amber, orange blossom honey with thick legs. Nose: Spicy, almost like a high rye rye whiskey. Cinnamon to begin with, burnt sugar and scraped vanilla seeds. Christmas cake, toasted dark rye bread and buckwheat honey. Diner style cherry pie and boiled corn on the cob. Adding water pushes the nose to the sweeter side of the spectrum: Caramel popcorn and ground ginger. Palate: Good balance of sweet corn and spicy rye. Thick and creamy texture. Nutmeg, ground clove and toasted oak. Hardwood vintage furniture and polished leather dash board of a 70s car. Vanilla and cinnamon are pretty dominant throughout the whole time. With water: chestnut honey, molasses, dried dates and brown sugar. Finish: Long and piney with resin gum and black pepper. Overall: Great price/value bourbon with a price tag just over $30. It doesn't have an adventurous taste profile and doesn't necessarily pull you into different directions but it is very solid on its own path. And if you like that direction where this bourbon is heading to and like to taste a bolder Four Roses expression your next step should be the single barrels of the line-up. A very good bourbon with a distinct rye profile and it also handles a few ice cubes very well which is a very good feature these days. Just tested by myself... Cheers to 49 glorious years, Jim..!