Al Young is a legendary name in Kentucky bourbon circles. A part of Four Roses since 1967, he has brought back the brand to life. It is now one of the most popular and critically acclaimed bourbons in the world. Young himself is a member of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame.
Commemorating Young’s 50th anniversary with Four Roses, he and Master Distiller Brent Elliott released a special bourbon. The Al Young 50th Anniversary Small Batch Bourbon will retail for $150. This is not the first limited edition single barrel and small batch offering from Four Roses in the last decade. But it is amongst the most anticipated releases of the year for bourbon fans and collectors. The special bourbon comes in a bottle, which replicates the bottle and label design from 1967. Inside is a blend of four different recipes aged 13-23 years. Sweet, slightly tart notes of dried apples and cherries open the taste buds before the oak makes its presence felt midpalate. The finish is long and dry, with soft butterscotch and burnt caramel complementing the woody spice. Light vanilla and toffee notes are added to the fore, but even at cask strength (54.46% alcohol by volume), it’s easy to drink neat.
Another noteworthy offering comes from Maker’s Mark – one of the best-selling whiskeys in the world. The Bill Samuels Jr. Private Select (priced at $80) was created by the brand’s legendary chairman emeritus. Samuels’ creation was finished in a barrel composed of a variety of seasonal staves to give the bourbon unique qualities in both taste and texture. While the flavor profile remains similar to Maker’s 46, Samuels’ Private Select boasts slightly more robust notes of vanilla, toffee and pepper, with a finish that lingers just a wee bit longer.
A quarter century after its launch, Knob Creek marks its silver anniversary with Knob Creek 25th Anniversary Limited Edition Bourbon (priced at $130). This is a single-barrel bottling that’s the first Knob Creek to be released at cask strength. The high-octane blast is reminiscent of Booker’s Bourbon, with familiar brown sugar and toffee notes of Knob Creek emerge clearly. The finish is long and dry, full of oak, tobacco, and leather.