The whiskey sits in my glass, just swishing around until the table stops shaking. It’s a taste. My sample isn’t much. When they come like this, the Four Roses 2013 Limited Edition Single Barrel Bourbon, the distillers usually don’t send much. These precious drops are reserved for only 4,000 bottles, so I was a little perturbed my sample container was busted at the cap. A good two ounces seeped out, wetting the box’s cardboard. Only a single taste left.

Before I taste, I look over past Four Roses notes. I’ve tasted this before. At the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, this Four Roses 2013 Limited Edition Single Barrel Bourbon was disguised as “E” on the Single Barrel 10-years and older flight. I noted its color was gorgeous and spice plentiful, giving it a strong Gold. Coincidently, that’s the medal it earned. And so now, I can get close to it, taste a nip before it’s released to the public.

It’s 13 years old and barrel strength at 120 proof. That’s usually my kind of bourbon!

The color is as beautiful as I remembered, golden hues circling and violet edging against a black backdrop.

The nose brings back memories of old-time whiskeys before sherry barrel finishes. This packs vanilla, caramel, French toast, maple syrup, burnt wood chips, gingerbread, whipped cream Four Roses/ 070and cigar box with spices all the way through. These types of noses can go one of two ways: The taste disappoints and you wonder why. Or, your socks are knocked off.

In this fine nose, I’m thinking it will fall right down the middle. It won’t disappoint, and it won’t knock my socks off.

Spice forward and bittersweet chocolate, cinnamon and nutmeg steal the show in this sample. With a smooth finish, falling down to the gut without a subtle burn, this is fantastic bourbon. But I prefer the 2012 Four Roses limited edition, which like this sample, only has a few drops left.

Of course, the 2012 Four Roses Small Batch Limited Edition was one of the brand’s highest-rated whiskeys of all time. Maybe it’s not fair to compare the two.