Four Roses is by far my favorite distillery so I was super excited when it was announced they would be releasing a limited edition to commemorate brand ambassador Al Young’s 50 years with the organization. Not only did I love the retro look of the bottle but they appeared to have spared no expensive with the specs as there are some really old bourbons in the blend from recipes that are well loved.
Before going to head over heels though, there’s a reality check that needs to happen. Though I’ve never had a Four Roses Limited Edition that wasn’t good, there have been one or two that I thought were topped by some of the better private selections I’ve had. I think that’s more of a compliment to the high ceiling of quality in private selections than a knock against Four Roses LEs.
12 year OBSF, 15 year OBSK, 23 year OBSV, 13 year OESV; 53.8% ABV; $150
Nose: I can taste/smell Four Roses bourbons a mile away and this smells like quintessential Four Roses. Caramel, honey, red fruits, cinnamon, and mint spice. All of this backed up by quite a bit of wood influence and minimal ethanol burn. It smells very, very nice.
Taste: Taste is more of the same from the nose and again very classic Four Roses bourbon flavors. Caramel cinnamon covered apples and cherries. The wood influence is a lot more noticeable now, almost a bit too much oak as it is a little drying in the finish. Burnt sugars, red fruits, tingly spice, and dark cocoa linger in the finish on top of a whole mess of wood.
Thoughts: It’s a very good, balanced, surprisingly easy to drink bourbon that has all the great Four Roses tasting notes I crave. Having said that, after quite a few sessions with this, I’m always left wishing it was more impactful. All that wood influence and the lowish proof for a typical barrel strength Four Roses product gives it a rather mellow profile, almost to a fault. If you like more subtle, intricate, nuanced bourbons, then this would be a home run for you. For me, I’m a private selection OESK man through and through and I have quite a few of them in my stash that I’d reach for before this. The kicker here is those were about 1/3 of the price.
Note that price is not considered when assigning a rating.