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

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

What to we have here? A special release of Four Roses’ Limited Edition Small Batch — a one-off bottling, featuring a radically revised bottle and label, that is bottled in honor of Al Young, who has been with the distillery for a full 50 years. (The regular annual release of Four Roses Small Batch, in the customary rotund bottle will arrive later in the year.)

Who’s Al Young, you ask? Says Four Roses:

Al Young has served in a variety of roles at Four Roses for the past 50 years. 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.

The whiskey released in his honor is a blend of:

  • 20% 12 year old OBSF
  • 50% 13 year old OESV
  • 25% 15 year old OBSK
  • 5% 23 year old OBSV

Let’s get on to tasting!

The nose of the whiskey is exotic, offering notes of Asian spices, dried flowers, intensely dark caramel, vanilla, and dark chocolate notes. This heady experience leads you into an equally intriguing palate that features raspberry and strawberry fruit, coffee bean, and ample sweetness driven by slightly salty caramel and chocolate notes — with a distinctly butterscotch-fueled finish, with lasting overtones of mint and thyme. As those descriptors might indicate, there’s a massive amount of complexity in this bourbon, and it invites repeated exploration and investigation. While the flavors and aromas come at you from left field, the whiskey itself is balanced and offers so much character it’s impossible to put down.

All told, it’s one of the best Four Roses Small Batch releases in years. Love it. Congrats, Al!

108.98 proof. 10,000 bottles produced.

A / $150 /

Four Roses Limited Edition Small Batch Bourbon 2017 Edition "Al Young 50th Anniversary"




Christopher Null is the founder and editor in chief of Drinkhacker. A veteran writer and journalist, he also operates Null Media, a bespoke content creation company.


  1. JCR on July 14, 2017 at 11:24 am

    Good review. FYI, the LE single barrel program was killed off a couple of years ago (with Elliott’s Select being the recent outlier), not the LE small batch program.

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