I like Four Roses products. The Yellow Label is my favorite with a cigar and the Single Barrel and Small Batch expressions are also very good pours. I look forward to all of their limited edition releases, but especially this one. Al Young and I have been friends since I first met him in the mid 1990s when he started coming to my history presentations. I consider him one of my heroes of the industry. He is talented as a distiller having been the plant manager at four Roses for many years and a real scholar of the heritage of the industry as well as Four Roses in particular. There is no better way to honor him than to put his name on a bottling of Four Roses Small Batch.
This small batch expression was hand selected by Al and contains some extraordinary Bourbons in it. The recipe includes OBSF 12 Years (35% rye and herbal yeast), OBSV 23 Years (35% rye and delicate fruit yeast), OBSK 15 Years (35% rye and spicy yeast), OESV 13 Years (20% rye and delicate fruit yeast). The real talent is in getting these whiskeys married together in the right balance and Four Roses great in doing this task. With ten different Bourbons to choose from and a multitude of ages to work with, they always come up with great small batch Bourbons for their limited edition products.
Four Roses Small Batch 2017 Limited Edition – Al Young 50th Anniversary
Age: from 12-23 Years Old
Nose: Vanilla and honeysuckle blossoms with a bit of fruit – cherries and dates, with just a hint of baking spices and oak.
Taste: Fruity – very brandy like with cherries and apricot flavors followed by the baking spice – nutmeg and allspice and fine tobacco and oak. Tasted with a dried cranberry brings out the vanilla and spice with a bit of cinnamon spice. Tasted with a pecan brings out some nice fruit notes – apricot and maybe a little orange peel and adds a little pepper spice.
Finish: Not overly long that starts fruity and sweet but slowly dries out with oak and spice. A very good finish. The cranberry lengthens the finish and makes it spicier and drier in a good way. The pecan makes the finish more dry and oaky with pepper spice.
Notes: This is an excellent Bourbon and unfortunately hard to get. If you see a bottle in a bar, try it. You will not regret it. I am now enjoying this Bourbon with one of my favorite cigars – Nat Sherman Panamericana Gordo. The smoke really brings out the fruit in the Bourbon and the Bourbon adds a nice vanilla sweetness to the smoke.
Photos Courtesy of Michael Veach