Despite the higher proof, Small Batch Select is a very gentle, approachable expression of Four Roses — perhaps the sweetest it offers. The nose sees some initial spice — notes of cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, and some barrel char — but there’s ample vanilla and butterscotch underneath. The palate is immediately a sugar rush — more maple syrup than the expected vanilla — followed by a spray of dried fruits — spice-dusted raisins, dried strawberries, and some milk chocolate notes. The higher alcohol level offers a modest boost in body, but less than you might expect; the whiskey is never aggressive or overly hot. The finish is where the whiskey becomes its sweetest, offering a bold almond nougat note that reminds me of my grandma’s divinity. The fade-out sees a return of barrel char notes and a bit of heat, a side effect of the higher proof level.