December 1, 2013

War of the Roses - The Results Are In!

This is the final episode of SmokyBeast's War of the Roses holiday Four Roses Bourbon marathon.  If you're just tuning in, rewind and start at the beginning...

The Original Five: 4R2011SiB, 4R2012SiB, 4R2013SiB, 2012SmB, 2013SmB

The Finalists

As of yesterday we left you with three finalists.  The 2011 & 2012 Limited Edition Single Barrels had been eliminated.  They were remarkable in their own right: big, spicy, hot, and undeniably hardcore bourbon.  But once we tasted these three, those two faded onto the back burners.

So the three finalists were:

Contender #1: 2013 LE Single Barrel
The most drinkable at the highest
test, a brilliant effort focusing
on sweetness and smoothness
Contender #2: 2012 LE Small Batch
Balancing the sweetness of the 2013
with a hefty spicy kick and some
gorgeous wood and age
making an appearance.
Contender #3: 125th Anniversary
Small Batch
The most mature, woody, and
refined.  The oldest tasting with
bold leather, spice, and oak.

Time For A Quick Milestone

Before we dive into the results, we want to take a moment to celebrate you, our readers, who reached a huge milestone yesterday: our one hundred thousandth article read!  It's wildly inspiring to know that over the course of one year, so many people shared our experiences with whiskey!

Now to the results:

Bronze Metal - Second Runner Up

The 2013 Limited Edition Single Barrel was by far the best of the SiB selections.  Its rich sweetness and immense drinkability put it a head and shoulders above the 2011 and 2012 SiB's.  However next to the subtlety and complexity of the small batch bottles, it still ranked an obvious third place.

Silver Metal - First Runner Up

This was tough.  Both the small batch selections are seriously top notch.  On paper the 125th should have taken the cake.  It was the same basic ingredients, one year older.  And the maturity showed.  However there was a tiny bit of sweetness lost with the age that took away from the overall balance.  By a hair, the 125th Anniversary Limited Edition Small Batch took Silver.

Gold Metal - First Place

The 2012 LE Small Batch was one of our favorite whiskies of all time.  Head-to-head it's still a tough call over the 125th Anniversary, but it's got just an edge of sweetness, a touch more body, and just a drop more balance of flavor.  Perhaps it's the additional OBSV sweet and creamy batch that was included in this blend.  We really can't pretend to understand it technically.  They're both world-class whiskies, but this one got the unanimous favorite from our whisky geek-squad.  If you can find a bottle, you're in for the experience of a lifetime.

We hope you had a great holiday and enjoyed our little mini whiskey marathon!



  1. I will have dreams of that bottle (the 2012 LE SB) probably until I'm old and senile. So ridiculously good. Thank you for including me in the geek squad! I'm honored to have helped crown the greatest of Four least until next year. ; )

    1. It really IS that good! Hehe it wouldn't be the geek squad without the Mistress of Malt!!!

  2. This was an awesome idea, and an awesome series of posts to follow. For the record, I also agree with your conclusion as much as I can without having tried all of the LE single barrels. The 2012 LE Small Batch was a true legend in bourbon.

  3. Thanks for the terrific series.We're all winners for having the chance to read your great reviews. and congratulations on your milestone!