Yellowstone Limited Edition 2020

2020 is many things–both good and bad–but one thing I’m starting to really starting to wonder: is 2020 the year of the finished whiskey category?  Not that finished whiskey is anything new.  It’s anything-but that; however, I feel like there’s growth in the category that is leading to more and more limited edition offerings being finished products.  Let’s dig into the Yellowstone Limited Edition 2020 to discuss this a bit further.

photo: Limestone Branch


John H.




December 1st, 2020

Yellowstone has been rolling out yearly limited edition offerings for the past five years.  Usually, these releases feature a cask finishing to compliment the whiskey (or whiskeys) in the final product.  The 2019 Yellowstone LE wasn’t finished, but was quite nice, so I was excited to see the 2020 offering which features an Armagnac cask finish.  Here’s what Limestone Branch has to say about the product on their website:

While each release of Yellowstone Limited Edition is different, one thing always remains the same: a promise of top-shelf flavor with humble complexities. This year’s offering features a 7-year small-batch bourbon finished in French Armagnac barrels. A rustic, full-bodied brandy, Armagnac boasts notes of toffee, butterscotch, and chocolate, which complements the sweeter flavors of bourbon — especially when paired with the bold, oaky flavor of the 7-year bourbon.

-Press Release

In sticking with tradition here I’m expecting the classic sourced whiskey that’s selected specially to create a unique one-off product.  There is a new bottle for this year’s release, which I don’t suppose changes much one way or the other (at least in terms) of flavor.  I thought the previous bottle in it’s tube was just fine–but I’m not upset about seeing them shift gears and try something new.

Alright!  That’s enough chit-chat.  Let’s pour some Yellowstone Limited Edition and see how this year’s release stacks up.

Tasting Notes…

Nose – Rich oak and fruit. The cask finish shows off here with layers of caramel and bright fruits mixing together really nicely. Some cooking orange and white grape mix with well-aged oak with spice and a hint of nuttiness.

Taste – Warm and rounded. The nuttiness shows up quickly and melds into a sweet and fruity sip. There’s a good layer of citrus mixing with white pepper and the oak backbone holds it together nicely.  The way the orange note is playing in is reminding me of those chocolate orange candies…but in a way that’s way better than the candy ever was.

Finish – The finish here rolls back and forth between classic bourbon (think caramel and vanilla), a sweet fruity layer, and a solid oak and spice. These take turns and play together in outstanding harmony. What it lacks in overall finish length is made up for with unique complimentary flavors.

Bourbon Finder Grade: B+

Final thoughts…

This may very well be the year of finished whiskeys.  Maker’s Mark 2020 Limited Edition was nicely done, and Lux Row did a good job with Blood Oath Pact No.6.  The Limestone Branch side of the portfolio has done well with the Yellowstone Limited Edition—and while I enjoyed last year’s Yellowstone Limited Edition–I’m glad to see them come back to finished bourbon for 2020.  This is quite nice.  Extra points awarded for the balance achieved with this cask finish.

TheBourbonFinder thanks Yellowstone for graciously providing a sample of their product. Being able to try new things in the whiskey space, without strings attached, is an opportunity we greatly appreciate. Per our review ethos, we provide objective reviews and commentary on media samples of spirits and products; remember, friends, these are the good old days of whiskey!

Our grading system: As mentioned in our About Us page, we’re excited to share bourbon with our friends, family, and readers. There are enough critics, cynics, and curmudgeons in the whiskey world as it is, so our goal is to foster the bourbon community in a positive way by bringing fun and entertaining content whenever possible–as such–we decided that applying precise scores to whiskey was simply too serious for us (and didn’t accurately showcase variability in taste from day to day). We use a simple grade school system to apply a grade to the whiskeys we review because we feel it is indicative of the whiskey’s grade for us on that particular day. A grade of a “B” today may very well be a “B+” or even a “B-” on another day, so rather than focusing on a precise score today that may not stand the test of time, we are just sharing our overall grade of that pour for that one tasting. Pour a bit and enjoy, friends, these are the good old days of whiskey!

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