by Lee Bullock
While traveling recently, I had the opportunity to sample the Four Roses Al Young 50th Anniversary Limited Edition Small Batch Bourbon.
Having several members of our club that are big fans of Four Roses, see the July 7th post of the Four Roses Singe Barrel Private Selection, I could not pass up the opportunity to have a sample and give a review of my finding.
First, a little background on this special edition bottle. In June 2017, Four Roses released a limited edition bottle commemorating Senior Brand Ambassador and bourbon legend Al Young’s 50th Anniversary with the brand. According to Four Roses’ press release:
In 1990, he became Distillery Manager and in 2007 was named Four Roses Brand Ambassador, a role that has him crossing the country sharing the story of Four Roses and its Bourbon. He is also historian for the storied 129-year-old Kentucky Bourbon brand, having researched archives, distillery records, news accounts, photos and artifacts in order to write the coffee-table book Four Roses: The Return of a Whiskey Legend, published in 2010. Al Young was inducted into the Whisky Magazine Hall of Fame in 2015 and is also a member of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame.
As we’ve written about before, Four Roses utilizes multiple variations of mash bills and proprietary yeast strains to produce their bourbons. For the Four Roses Al Young 50th Anniversary Limited Edition Small Batch Bourbon, the recipe contains the following:
- 5% of a 23-year-old selection of Four Roses’ OBSV recipe (delicate fruitiness, with a hint of spice and creamy vanilla and caramel);
- 25% of a 15-year-old OBSK (full-bodied, light spice, caramel);
- 50% of a 13-year-old OESV (light, creamy, fruity); and
- 20 percent 12-year-old OBSF (herbal, full-bodied).
We sampled this bottle at Julep, a fabulous whiskey bar in Kansas City, Missouri.
Four Roses Al Young 50th Anniversary Limited Edition Small Batch Bourbon (107 proof)
Nose: Old oak, by way of dusty leather and earthiness; fig and Raspberry with hints of vanilla and mellow floral scents throughout.
Palate: Immediate creamy/buttery caramel and vanilla with raspberry sweetness emerging near the end of the palate; same leather and old oak carry through; some soft call backs to floral scents from the nose with an added bit of orange citrus; some cinnamon spice creeps in and carries through to the finish.
Finish: Very long finish that seems to continue for days with oak, floral and herbal spice (mint); creamy caramel and cinnamon/nutmeg reminiscent of Christmas.
It’s one of those drams that makes you stop and tell someone “this is really good!” The nose is nothing short of amazing. Additional notes emerged each time nosing the glass between sips. The palate is complex and enjoyable. At first you wonder how a barrel-proof bourbon can be so sweet. But the heat comes through on the finish and does not disappoint. Hearty congratulations to Al Young on his 50 Years with Four Roses. The bourbon that celebrates this anniversary Four Roses has done you proud. This is a bottle that all bourbon fans should try.