Whisky Advocate

Whisky Advocate’s Winter Issue Top 10 Buying Guide Reviews

November 12th, 2013

Here it is: a sneak preview of Whisky Advocate‘s winter 2013 issue’s Buying Guide. Revealed here are the top 10 rated whiskies. We begin the list with #10 and conclude with the #1 highest-rated whisky of the issue.

Forty Creek Heart_of_Gold_bottle#10: Forty Creek Heart of Gold, 43%, C$70

Each fall, whisky lovers in Canada and Texas anticipate John Hall’s new limited edition whisky. This year’s sits squarely in the golden heart of classic Canadian rye. Tingling gingery pepper is bathed in ultra-creamy butterscotch, woody maple syrup, black tea, and barley sugar. Prune juice and ripe dark fruits dissolve into dried apricots and zesty hints of citrus. Then floral rye notes turn dusty, with gentle wisps of willow smoke. Complex, full-bodied, and slowly evolving, so let it breathe.—Davin de Kergommeaux

Advanced Whisky Advocate rating: 93

Handy Sazerac2

#9: Thomas H. Handy Sazerac, 64.2%, $70

The youthful, testosterone-laden member of the Antique Collection family. Bold and spicy with cinnamon and clove, but softened and balanced by thick toffee, vanilla, and honeyed orchard fruit. Lush and mouth-coating. An exercise in extremes: bold, muscular spice, along with soothing sweeter notes. While its older sibling, Sazerac 18 year old, expresses a classic “older rye” low-risk profile, Handy pushes the envelope in many directions.—John Hansell

Advanced Whisky Advocate magazine rating: 93

#8: Eagle Rare 17 year old (bottled Spring 2013), 45%, $70

Often overlooked in this portfolio because it isn’t barrel proof. The last few years of this bourbon have been wonderful. This year is no exception, with a bit more spice. Notes of nutty toffee, caramel, creamy vanilla, and pot still rum, with interwoven hints of oak resin, dried spice, tobacco, and honeyed fruit. Hint of barrel char and anise for intrigue. Delicious! (And actually 19 years old, even though it bears the traditional 17 year age statement.)—John Hansell

Advanced Whisky Advocate magazine rating: 94
Elijah Craig 21 Year Old
#7: Elijah Craig 21 year old Single Barrel (No. 42), 45%, $140

Surprisingly reserved on the oak spice; it tastes like a bourbon half its age. Soothing in nature, with layers of sweetness (honey, vanilla cream, caramel, nougat), lively complex fruit (coconut, pineapple, ripe peach, honeydew melon), and gentle cinnamon. Soft, creamy finish. A whiskey that has aged very gracefully. Delicious! (This is a single barrel; every barrel is unique.)—John Hansell

Advanced Whisky Advocate magazine rating: 94SazeracRye18year2

#6: Sazerac 18 year old (bottled Fall 2013), 45%, $70

Still lively for 18 years old, with no hint of interfering oak. The age has softened the rye spice, making it an easy entry into the premium rye category. The balance here is beautiful, with rounded spice (mint, cinnamon, licorice root) on a bed of soft vanilla and caramel. Gently, dry finish. Very sophisticated for a rye. It remains my benchmark for extra-matured rye whiskeys, which are becoming exceedingly scarce.—John Hansell

Advanced Whisky Advocate magazine rating: 95

#5: William Larue Weller, 68.1%, $70

The traditionally gentle demeanor of this wheated bourbon is jazzed up with some lovely complex spice (mostly coming from the oak). Sweet notes of maple syrup, silky caramel, blackberry jam, and blueberry are peppered with notes of allspice spiked with cinnamon and vanilla. Soft leather on the finish. Great balance. A lovely whiskey!—John Hansell

Advanced Whisky Advocate magazine rating: 95
#4: George T. Stagg, 64.1%, $70

Less alcohol than past Staggs, even at 128.2° proof. This whiskey has always been one of the best in the portfolio, and its reputation is intact. Sweeter and fuller in body than recent releases, and not as masculine, making it easier to drink. (Don’t worry; it’s still a big Stagg, but with a smaller “rack.”) Vanilla taffy, nougat, dates, polished oak, roasted nuts, leather, and tobacco: it’s all there.—John Hansell

Advanced Whisky Advocate magazine rating: 95

#3:  Yoichi 1988 single cask, 62%, €185

Though aged in virgin American oak, it’s distillery character that’s in charge here; a fully expressive Yoichi. Rich, mysterious, layered, mixing rich fruit compote with scented coastal smoke (ozone, tar, soot) alongside masses of vetiver and cigar humidor. The palate is oily and immense, with fluxing layers of sweet fruit, oily peat, salt, and ink; camphor, flax seed, and in among the smoke, apple mint. Long, insanely complex, and jaw-droppingly good. This will go down as a classic.—Dave Broom

Advanced Whisky Advocate magazine rating: 96Redbreast 21 Year Old

#2: Redbreast 21 year old, 46%, $180

Wow! After the wonderful 12 year old cask strength, Redbreast does it again. This is a different beast altogether, but it is a stunner. This is Roger Waters doing The Wall: over the top, unsubtle, and totally entertaining. There’s lots going on: fermenting apples, juicy oils, spice, and dark cherry and berry fruits zip and fizz over the palate, the wood influence is sublime. I’m comfortably numb.—Dominic Roskrow

Advanced Whisky Advocate magazine rating: 96

125th_Front_SMBLE#1: Four Roses 2013 Limited Edition Small Batch, 51.5%, $85

A marriage of 13 and 18 year old bourbons. A mature yet very elegant whiskey, with a silky texture and so easy to embrace with a splash of water. Balanced notes of honeyed vanilla, soft caramel, a basket of complex orchard fruit, blackberry, papaya, and a dusting of cocoa and nutmeg; smooth finish. Sophisticated, stylish, with well-defined flavors. A classic!—John Hansell

Advanced Whisky Advocate magazine rating: 97


70 Responses to “Whisky Advocate’s Winter Issue Top 10 Buying Guide Reviews”

  1. sam k says:

    Again reinforcing 2013 as the year of great premium bourbon (and rye!)!

  2. lawschooldrunk says:

    No need to put the price next to the BTAC releases. It’s an ephemeral value. You either can’t get it or it’s selling online for 300% more (if you’re lucky).

    Still, great whiskies and a nice list for anyone!

  3. Gary says:

    Found the Elijah Craig 21 yo (Barrel 42) at Julio’s in Westborough. Saving that for a special occasion.

  4. Ethan Prater says:

    I’m a longtime fan of John’s publications and reviews, but isn’t it a little odd to have a “Buying Guide” dominated by whiskies that are practically impossible to buy at any price, much less those listed next to them?

    BTAC, single barrel Yoichi, single barrel EC, even the FR 2013 – no doubt they’re great. But no reader would be able to pick up this magazine and actually go buy those whiskies.

    • John Hansell says:

      Ethan, as you know, we just review the whiskeys and share our reviews with consumers. We have no control over the economics of the market.

      I understand people’s frustration about sourcing some of these whiskeys. That’s the environment we are in right now. Whiskey–and bourbon/rye in particular–is on fire right now. There are too many drinkers and not enough product.

      What makes matter worse is that many people are now buying more than what they need and hoarding them. Every day I see on Facebook people putting up pictures of multiple bottles of all the bourbons and rye whiskeys listed here.

      • Ethan Prater says:

        John – totally with you – I know how it works. You get a good review sample in, you review it honestly.

        But I was more calling out the issue of presenting these in context of a “Buying Guide”. Does seem misleading to dominantly rank whiskies distributed only in Texas or Europe – or whiskies that retailers gets multiple daily calls a day for the 1-2 bottles they’re allocated – in a “Buying Guide”.

        It feels sort of like the old days of Malt Advocate when you would print the press releases in the front section, occasionally (often) for whiskies that were never available or findable.

        I believe that the modern whisky consumer will need to adapt to something more like what wine buyers had to absorb in the ’80s – that for certain producers and labels, demand is permanently reset at a level high enough that you’re not going to find them.

        Would be nice to see Whisky Advocate helping consumers with that trend, not exacerbating it, ignoring it, or implying that certain consumers are themselves causing it by hoarding.

      • Luke says:

        John, further to your point I’ve just bought three bottles of Redbreast 21 (here in Dublin @ €182.00 a bottle) and intend to buy a sizeable quantity (for sizeable money) of Glendronach Single Cask Batch 8 and BenRiach Single Cask Batch 10 the instant it lands here.

        I wish I could just buy these, bottle by bottle, at my leisure, but availability and price mean that if I don’t buy now I won’t get the chance again, not to mention the not insignificant issue of money – prices are only going one way… 🙁

        Good Luck to everyone out there; if you see your dream bottle, and can (just) afford it, please do so, you’ll kick yourself later if you don’t. That said, if you do buy, please keep the Golden Rule in mind: BUY TO DRINK!

        P.S. Redbreast 21 is magnificent, anyone interested in Whiskey should taste it!

        • Luke says:

          P.P.S. Just to be clear, I’m all in favour of playing hardball with distillers/distributors by ignoring ridiculously expensive/restricted releases. I’m particularly displeased with Irish Distillers pricing policy for Powers Signature Release NAS SPS ($40.00 US – €55.00 in Dublin!) and availability of the New Powers Gold Label 43.2% ABV (no release in sight – in Dublin!!!) 🙁

    • JEremy Robert SCheel says:

      I just bought two bottles of the FR2013 in CedarVille, IN, its not easy but they are out there, bought them off the shelf for around $70 and he even sold me too ( My fiance was with me and had to buy one) but still, I now have two!

  5. abhainn07 says:

    For the past 3 or 4 years I have been purchasing a bottle or two of the latest BTAC for my sons Christmas present.
    This year he requested WLW or Saz 18. Thus my quest started.
    I live in Utah and called the broker who supplies BTAC to the state stores and told me that Utah will not be on the list for the limited distribution items – Not Good.
    I live about an hour and a half from Vegas and thought I might be able to score there. I was told by one asst. manager of the cities largest “discount” chain that I would have to try Reno for the WLW (no luck). He also stated that the Saz 18 was gone within 3 hours of being stocked in all of their stores. I cannot believe this but he also stated that the last bottle of Pappy 15 went for $599 – that’s right.
    13 different adult beverage stores – not a dram to be had.
    Premium bourbon has gone the way of scotch.

  6. Tadas A says:

    This time around, it is all old-timers apart from Yoichi.
    It seems if a new whisky becomes highly rated here, next day it becomes unavailable and that’s the last of it you see about it (literally) :D….. Last year that happened with Four Roses Limited editions. This year – with Old Forester Birthday bourbon. You won’t be able to find it on the shelf in any store in the future. Even when new releases come out – you will never see them.
    Things has changed……. Whiskey consuption market is growing fast. A good or a bad rating could make a lot of money for the seller or destroy a whiskey. People are make buying decisions by the rating only. Like in the wine business. They just call it Parkerization.

    • Andrew B says:

      Working in the industry I understand peoples frustration concerning getting their hands on these bottles. It can be very frustrating trying to explain why everyone cant get a bottle of the above whiskeys. Having said that, we hold back small supplies of these stocks and will randomly put them on shelves throughout the year to reward regular customers. We have, in stock, Saz 18, Old Forester Birthday Bourbon, WLL, Elijah Craig 21 & more. We do our best to get these to every day joes rather than collectors or resellers. Find a store, buy your everyday stuff there and when the times comes for the harder to get stuff, you’ll have better luck. we have no interest in supplying the cherry pickers no matter the price. Its out there, most people just have to learn how to ask.
      Also note, we cannot legally ship out of state. Cheers, good luck!

  7. HAllen says:

    I agree with the above comments. These are the best Whiskys that JOHN HANSELL CAN GET. Not the best Whiskys reasonably available to someone doing holiday shopping.

    But there is good stuff out there on the shelves. Two of my favorites:
    Elijah Craigh 12
    Rittenhouse 100

  8. Josh says:

    In all seriousness, none of the Pappy line made the Top 10?

    • John Hansell says:

      Josh, they were released too late to be reviewed in this issue of the magazine.

      • Josh says:

        Now that it is out, any thoughts at it seems like the “mix” is changing yearly for some of the bottlings?

    • Andrew B says:

      Take a look at the Pappy reviews in the Whiskey Bible. While the 15 scores pretty high, much of the lines scores sit in the 80s and even 70s. There are plenty of great whiskeys out there which score higher than Pappy on a regular basis.
      Patron sells a lot of Tequila and it is definitely not anywhere near the best tequila. Just because marketing and “people” believe it to be the best, does not make it the best. Find someone at your local store who knows whiskey and you’ll find a plethora of other options at much more reasonable prices and availability.

      • Josh says:

        Thanks for those tips Andrew. I am very familiar other other bourbons at the “reasonable” price range. Luckily, I can sell acquire the Pappy line at MSRP and quite like the flavor profiles. I was just interested in how Julian is doing with keeping the profiles the same considering it evident that he is now having to pull from different stocks than the past (I.e. Pappy 20).

  9. Margie says:

    I have been lucky enough to try 6 of these, the Elijah 21 (my barrel was 54) and Stagg are my favorites.

  10. Steve Huff says:

    Let me know if you folks are having trouble with finding the stuff and I bet I can get you quotes at reasonable prices. That is the beauty of living in a rural state (SD) close to two others. The Pappy and the BTAC allocations here were particularly sparse, but I know there are stores with the EC21 on the shelf, among others.

    • Dave says:

      Steve, do you have any connections to a bottle of the Four Roses? I’ve been looking high and low for that in Virginia. No luck.

      • Tom Kennedy says:

        You can look on the abc site to order to you local va abc store other wise try some out state abc stores or liquor barn out state sites

    • Bob Howell says:

      I’ve also been looking for a 4 roses small batch LE if you have acces to any.

  11. Hmmm says:

    I like Hansells reviews but this list is complete crap. This isn’t a buying guide, it’s a wish list.

    how about a top 10 list of bourbons that people can actually find RIGHT NOW at retail.

    • John Hansell says:

      There are 12,468 bottles produced of just the Four Roses reviewed above. That doesn’t include all the other whiskeys on this list. Someone is buying them.

  12. Louis says:

    Not even one scotch in the top 10. It’ll be interesting to see which is the highest rated scotch, and which trophy bottles didn’t come close.

  13. John says:

    I was fortunate enough to go into my local retailer early last week and there sat 8 bottles of the Four Roses Limited edition small batch. Was half tempted to buy them all, I however agree with the above statement. Bought one bottle to enjoy and left the rest be enjoyed others. I understand the collecting but also feel everyone should have a chance to at least get a taste. That’s one of the big reasons it’s so darn hard to find.

    • John Hansell says:

      Good for you.

      • Zac says:

        Agree. Went into my local shop here in Rhode Island yesterday and picked up the Four Roses 125, EC21 and a bottle of Stagg Jr. I heard I missed out on the Pappy by a few days. There were still 4 bottles of each of the Stagg Jr. and EC21 left that I was tempted to hoard, but I believe in karma. Maybe next year I’ll be in time for the Pappy!

  14. sku says:

    John’s just doing his job, reviewing whiskeys and printing the ratings. I understand people’s frustration but it’s not John’s fault that the whiskey market is ridiculous right now.

    That being said there’s more to this world than BTAC, Pappy and other impossible to find, overhyped whiskeys.

    Binny’s has a whole host of excellent, cask strength Four Roses single barrels at $55.

    The new Dickel 9 and 14 yo retailer specials are popping up more and more places (Party Source, Park Avenue, etc.) and seem to range from $60 to $90; I’ve liked all of the ones I’ve tried.

    Lot 40 is a great Canadian rye that I’ve seen on the shelf at big liquor marts.

    • Adam Glaser says:

      SKU (and John)-

      So true about the 10 Four Roses from Binny’s and the Party Source…these are endlessly facsinating; always unique and often every bit the equal of the FR SiB LE – and BTAC’s. Having talked with Jim Russel at the FR Gift Shop, he notes that many of these – especially the ones in his gift shop – are finalists for LE status and they’re often bottled at crazy ABV’s over 60%+…

      I guess the big question regarding these limited editions is whether (or when) the quantity will ever rise significantly enough to effect the market we see today…

      It’s amazing to compare George T Stagg to Macallan 18. Both are roughly the same age – GTS “retails” for $70, while Macallan 18 passed $200 this year…one is virtually impossible to find – the other, impossible to miss. Surely Macallan has found both a price point and the necessary infrastructure to create quantities that meet market demand (along with GPS coordinates that don’t evaporate(cook) that much whisky after 18 years.) This is true for a lot of great scotchs as well – people bitch about the cost – but at least they’re out there.

      It remains to be seen if Buffalo Trace will one day have the capacity to both ramp up all the BTAC’s and PVW’s and a price point to ensure they stay on shelves longer than a day…

      In the meantime, I’m sad to see great cheaper BT’s becoming unattainable as well…Weller 12, AAA 10-year, VOB, etc. If we can’t get these anymore, then let’s at least have better access to the LE’s, no?

      I grew up in KY, and a great $10 bottle of bourbon was a one of life’s great pleasures.


  15. Dolph Lundgren says:

    The limited allocation is not John’s fault. He review’s whiskey that may be difficult to find, but many people still find a way to get a bottle. This might not be your year, but next year might be completely different. Thanks for the reviews, John.

    Hey Sku: shhhhhhhh…

  16. John Hansell says:

    Everyone: Please keep in mind that this is only our Top 10 rated whiskies in the next issue. We reviewed and rated a 123 whiskies! Further to Sku’s comment above, many of them are really good, reasonably priced, and more readily available.

    • Luke says:

      More of this, John!

    • OudErnest says:

      You stole my thunder John. These are just the top ten reviewed. I know it’s frustrating to see almost unattainable whiskies reviewed but John has an obligation to review them honestly and quite frankly has been doing it since the initial release of the BTAC. I bought my first Saz 18 in 2001 or 2002 after reading John’s review of it in his magazine. I don’t fault John for the the craziness that surrounds the whiskies now. What’s happening here mirrors what’s been happening in the craft beer world for years now. Try finding a Cantillon lambic on a store shelf. Or Dark Lord, Pliny the Younger, Heady Topper, etc. Beers that were relatively easy to find in quality beer stores are virtually impossible to obtain now. Yes this is partly due to the hype surrounding reviews of said products but you can hardly blame the reviewers. Maybe it’s a tad faddish too but I’m not sure there’s an easy solution seeing demand outstripping supply at the moment.

      • John Hansell says:

        Good points. One thing I know for sure: Shooting the messenger is not a solution.

        • Tadas A says:

          Reviewers are not just messengers. They are also trend setters. Folks value John’s (and other reviewers in the Whisky Advocate Magazine team) opinion. And they make buying decision on these reviews. For example: Old Forester 2013, Four Roses 2012 Limited Edition. I was able to find and buy previous years’ releases with no problem. But after they were very well rated here, they became hot unavailable bottles. I looked and looked, and it was gone before it touched the store shelf.

    • DaveU says:


      I would guess that a big part of the problem is the post’s title. “Top 10 Buying Guide Reviews” makes it sound like a post focused on “Buying Guide Reviews.” The fact that most of us can’t find and therefore can’t buy any of the bottles in the top 10 list is therefore quite frustrating.

      Had you simply titled the post slightly differently – Winter Issue Buying Guide Reviews – The Top 10 of 2013″ or something of the sort, you might have stirred up a lot less piss and vinegar.

      • John Hansell says:

        Thanks for your comment. I ask you and everyone else to see the big picture what we are doing here. Before each issue of Whisky Advocate comes out, we post on this blog the ten highest rated whiskies from the buying guide in that issue. The readers here actually get these reviews before our paying subscribers of the magazine do, and it gives this blog’s readers a competitive advantage procuring the new whiskies coming out. We’re actually trying to help everyone procure whiskies that we like.

        Renaming this blog post title to the examples you suggest wouldn’t be accurate.

        • Ben says:

          I can’t find any of these, either. I live in the Chicago area, and not even the famed Binny’s carries them. (And I don’t believe Binny’s had them and sold out, either. They were never there.) But I certainly don’t blame John and friends for reviewing them, though. How could I? The market is the market.

          In the end, as long as I have my Laphroaig 10-year old, life has meaning and I’m happy.

          • John Hansell says:

            A retail chain as large and well-known as Binny’s definitely got some of these bourbons.

          • Ben says:

            I promise you, John. Binny’s has none of this stuff and never did have it.

          • John Hansell says:

            Ben, I don’t know who you are asking, and I don’t know how loyal of a customer you are, but I assure you that not only does Binny’s get all the great bourbons, they no doubt get one of the largest allotments of any retailer in the country. The Midwest is a great bourbon-drinking region, and Binny’s is one of the most powerful retailers in the mid-west.

            Having said this, if you just make a cold call to one of the stores and ask for it, you’re probably not going to get any, and you’re probably going to be told that they don’t have any. Retailers reward loyalty. Go into one of the bigger stores on a regular basis. Buy regularly throughout the year. Befriend the spirits buyer. Go to their events. Show your passion. To quote a Zac Brown Band CD, “You get what you give.”

            Anyway, let’s not get off topic here. This will be my last comment on this.

          • Ben says:

            You needn’t answer — it’s your publication, after all — but I think your readers are in fact discussing the availability of these whiskies. And your questions to me raise another one that you can answer if you want. I’m a very good Binny’s customer. I patronize the stores in Highland Park, IL, and Arlington Heights, IL, the former often enough that manager greets me when I come in. Yet, I have never, ever seen any of these whiskies, or even any in there class, on the shelf in either store. And these are two of the larger stores. Now, it’s possible these things fly off the shelf before I can get there, but I’ve never even seen them show up on the Binny’s web site as available at any Binny’s store. And so the question: at stores like these, does a customer have to ask whether the staff has hidden something rare and fun under the shelf? Can’t we rely on stores putting out what they have and not holding in reserve the “good stuff”? These are genuine questions, not idle ones, because I really don’t know the answers. I would be interested in your views if you want to convey them.

  17. John says:

    Is there going to be a list of best buys this year as well? Because again, like stated above, this is a great year for all whisky. Everything is being elevated and there are great whisky’s available at all price points. Still on the shelves.

    • sam k says:

      I think John has explained quite well that this is not the year’s best, but simply those from the coming issue. That issue will feature one Value Pick like they each do. There will not be a list of Value Picks available because there’s only one.

      Would we rather not see this list posted at all? That’s the vibe I’m getting here. Why such rancor over the highest-rated whiskeys of the last quarter? Should a top-ten list of the best automobiles not be posted just because you might not be able to get one? Hell, who can afford a Maserati, anyway?

      It’s only whiskey.

  18. HDiaz says:

    Very Old Barton 6 year old – You Fools
    $20 for a half gallon
    100 proof even better

    • John Hansell says:

      Yes indeed. And long-term subscribers will know that we recognized it as a great value in our annual awards issue a few years back.

    • Tadas A says:

      Stop telling everybody 😀 Or soon I won’t be able to find it anymore 😀
      On a more serious note. VOB flavor varies from batch to batch. The latest VOB BIB bottle I bought was a tad too oaky. But in general great bourbon on par with others twice or 3 times the price!

  19. Lawrence says:

    3 posts for all of November; you poor souls at WA must near exhaustion.

  20. Lew Bryson says:

    Hey, the month’s not up, Lawrence; we’ve got a lot of stuff coming down the pike. Check back this time next week and let me know what you think!

  21. Lawrence says:

    Hi Lew, I look forward to WA out pacing the 4 posts of October.

    Warp speed WA!

    • Lew Bryson says:

      Lawrence, you DID see that we got seven posts up in November, yes? Well, hold onto your hat: there are SEVENTEEN posts either published or scheduled for December. Think you can stay awake?!

  22. jazz lover says:


  23. Ed Willey says:

    I was offered a Thomas Handy or a big Saz for 200 each and turned it down. $65 for Handy was a good buy on a price/quality basis. At $100-120 I would would be down. At $200 I’m personally going to be looking at scotch because frankly I like it more and that’s a significant investment in a bottle.

    On another note, the Balvenie Tun mania has taken it beyond what I think the quality of the whisky should sustain. I’ve had most of the batches, including those not released in the US, and I’m done. Batch 7 was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

    Glendronach anyone? Clynelish?

    • J. Avila says:

      Dronach cask strength single casks are astonishingly good. Just rich and delicious! I recently tried an 18yo cask 3547 which was really good.

  24. J. Avila says:

    So astonished by the ratings. I was always curious of the 4R’s LTD SB after last years release just so happened I ran into the only bottle at a local store. paid a 60% premium but it’s the only chance I had at one. Stagg,Sazerac 18, Handy are wonderful. That’s my take on this years collection. Don’t know about ER17 or Weller since those are going for double retail right now at local stores and I just don’t want to pay up for them.

  25. Mark says:


    Regarding Binny’s-

    They do not put BTAC/Pappy on the shelf. You have to specifically ask for it. I am not that regular a customer of theirs, but when I called an inquired about it they were more than helpful (@the Bloomington location, Willowbrook the lady was kind of a b&*^$). I was able to get ER17, Stagg, and Pappy 15 from them this way.

  26. Darrell says:

    In my area all the bottles on this list that I shopped for were available at retail price. Granted it took a little research and some timely responses to retail offers, but even the rarest of these have been available to consumers at fair prices with a little effort. Thanks for the great reviews John — don’t change a thing.

  27. Mitch says:

    Thanks for all the comments. Cheers! Here’s a toast to 2013with whatever whiskey you have available and to a healthy and prosperous 2014 of drinking whatever whiskey you’d like or able to find!

  28. bummed says:

    A bit ticked off that retailers can legal mark up bottles on this top ten list

    500 dollars for a 70 dollar George T. Stagg? Really? WTF

  29. Andy says:

    I am reading commenting on this a while after it was written, but its interesting and I’ve had a few so why not?

    I agree with a few of the comments in that I think it’s tough to call this a buying guide when most people don’t have an opportunity to buy these. However, people like Bdn need to realize that a place like Binnys did get allocations of most of these, but didn’t put them on the shelf. They are spoken for long before they get to the store. Sad but true. Be loyal, develop relationships, and be knowledgeable about when the stuff is released each year. Ask ahead of when it gets released. I believe in luck, and the harder I work, the luckier I get.

  30. George Xenakis says:

    I have to agree with the Four Roses 2013 small batch being #1. I found a bottle of this and it was the best i’ve ever had, It’s really good.

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