Four Roses

Four Roses 2017 Limited Edition “Al Young” 50th Anniversary Bourbon Review

Four Roses Senior Brand Ambassador Al Young. Photo courtesy of Four Roses.


Where to start with Al Young?  He’s worked for Seagrams/Four Roses in some capacity or other for 50 years now.  In 1990, he was named Distillery Manager.  Young then transitioned into the role of Senior Brand Ambassador a decade ago.  Furthermore, Young has played the role of historian, documenting the brand from its beginning to its modern day resurgence in the book, “Four Roses: The Return of a Whiskey Legend.”

To commemorate a half century in service of the industry, Four Roses dedicated its spring-time limited edition release to Young.  The whiskey is a small batch bourbon that uses four of the company’s ten bourbon recipes.  Master Distiller Brent Elliott worked together with Young to pick just the right barrels.

  • 12-year-old OBSF
  • 13-year-old OESV
  • 15-year-old OBSK
  • 23-year-old OBSV

 The bottle is also a retro design.  Young looked through the company’s extensive archives and requested the new bottle look like one from 1967, his first year with the company.  You couldn’t ask for a better package.


The whiskey itself is magnificent.  The nose is full of beautifully aged bourbon – dark caramel, sweet corn, dried fruits and wave after wave of vanilla and spice.  A touch of cigar box adds some complexity.  Every now and then, some light floral topnotes fight their way through.  The palate was equally engaging with caramelized corn, dark cherries, candied berries, toasted grains, and spice.  Vanilla creme brulee plays big mid-palate.  The back palate features more spice (cinnamon, cloves) and slight bitterness.  That comes across more as a barrel char than something like dark chocolate.  Maybe somewhere in-between.  The finish is very long and warm, with that “bitter” character coming through alongside soft caramel sweetness.

For my tastes, Four Roses 2017 Limited Edition Al Young 50th Anniversary Small Batch Bourbon is on the shortlist for my favorite whiskey of 2017.  Though this bourbon came out in June, it’s still just reaching different parts of the country. Only 10,000 bottles are available at a suggested price of $150. If you see it, buy it.  And if you buy it, drink it.  You won’t be disappointed.  9/10

Thanks to Four Roses for the sample.  As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Four Roses OBSF Single Barrel Bourbon Review (Maisano’s bottled 12-08-16)

Photo courtesy of Maisano’s

Last December, I took a ride over to Ocean Springs, Mississippi for one of my semi-regular visits to Maisano’s Fine Wine & Spirits.  I’m always interested in what single barrel store picks owner Jonathan Maisano has in stock.  I picked up a bottle of his store pick 1792 Full Proof while I was there.  Before I left, he gave me a tiny sample of his next Four Roses Single Barrel pick  – a 9 year, 9 month old 118 proof OBSF.

I asked him to let me know when the bottle was hitting shelves, as I’d like to post short piece about the release.  So, as you’re reading this post, 114 bottles are currently hitting the shelves at Maisano’s for about $60 each.  That’s the barrel yield.  Not a lot to go around.  

Being an OBSF recipe, this Four Roses is spicy!  Cardamon and cinnamon lead the nose, alongside hints of caramel, red fruits, and oak.  Taste-wise, oak spice is a major player here.  Underneath lies a bed of creamy caramel.  The bourbon opens up to reveal ripe tree fruits and vanilla, with a touch of spearmint.  The finish is long, leaving a warm, satisfying cinnamon-topped vanilla creme.

Four Roses store picks generally don’t disappoint, and this one is no exception.  I tend to like the spicier “B” recipes from the distillery.  Great barrel pick from Jonathan.  8.5/10

Thanks to Maisano’s for the sample.  As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Four Roses 2016 Limited Edition Small Batch Bourbon Review

Photo courtesy: Four Roses

One of the more anticipated fall bourbon releases is Four Roses Limited Edition Small Batches.  Four Roses produces 10 distinct bourbon recipes using two different mash bills and five different strains of yeast.  If you want to learn more about each recipe, visit the distillery’s website.  Their standard Small Batch is made up of four of the ten recipes.  This year’s Limited Edition is comprised of three: a 12-year-old OESO, 12-year-old OBSV, and 16-year-old OESK.  Also of note is the proof.  Four Roses Limited Edition Small Batch bourbon is bottled at cask strength of 55.9% abv, or 111.8 proof.  Only 9,258 bottles will be available in the U.S. market.  Let’s get to it.

On the nose, cinnamon apples and spice cake waft out of the glass first.  They are followed by burnt orange peel, toffee and a touch of tobacco.  I love the journey this whiskey takes you on.  First, there’s an initial burst of sweet caramel.  Then, the spices ramp up – cinnamon, clove, and cayenne pepper.  Next a vanilla creaminess quenches the fire, so to speak.  Finally, the long finish is full of sweet orange candy and some rye sharpness.  There’s lots going on here.

Master Distiller Brent Elliott came up with a great combination of ages and recipes for this year’s lucious edition.  It’s different from last year’s solid release, showing these guys can make lots of quality whiskey.  Very well done.  I don’t have to tell you to pick one up if you see it.  You already knew that.  9/10

Thanks to Four Roses for the sample.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.