Balvenie 50 Year Old, Compass Box Myths & Legends And More New Whisky

The biggest news of the week was the reveal of Whisky Advocate’s Whisky of the Year and full Top 20 awards—a list that has something for everyone. Be sure to check it out! And then keep reading to discover the week’s newest whiskies.

First up, Balvenie has crafted a new 50 year old single malt, priced at $38,000. Just 110 bottles are available worldwide.

Compass Box is rolling out its Myths & Legends trio in the U.S. The series includes two single malts and one blended malt scotch, all priced at $150 apiece; availability is around 4,400 bottles of each variant.

Clyde May’s is re-releasing its cask-strength expression with an added year of age. There are 3,000 bottles of Clyde May’s 11 year old Cask Strength, priced at $120.

Royal Salute has debuted a blended grain whisky, the Snow Polo Edition. It’s available at travel retail for $155.

High West is launching a single malt whiskey (sort of) that’s all made in-house. Initially for sale in Utah for $80, it will go national in 2021.

Wigle Whiskey’s newest limited edition is Saint Nick, a whiskey distilled from Penn Brewery’s St. Nickolaus beer. It’s priced at $34 for a 375-ml bottle, and there are 1,100 bottles available.

Rogue Spirits is rolling out a whiskey finished in Oregon pinot noir barrels. The first release of Rogue Oregon Pinot Noir Project is $60, with 540 bottles available.

Palisade, Colorado’s Peach Street Distillers has two single barrels of 10 year old bourbon for sale. There are 400 bottles available at $100 each, mainly for sale at the distillery.

Balcones is releasing two limited-edition single malts, available only at the Waco, Texas distillery: the 2019 Staff Selection and Juntos, a tequila barrel-finished whiskey. Both are priced at $80.

Finally, Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery is releasing two single barrels of Spanish brandy cask-finished Belle Meade bourbon. The whiskey is for sale only at the distillery, priced at $150.

Read on for full details.

Balvenie 50 Year Old: Marriage 0197

Style: Single malt
Origin: Scotland (Speyside)
Age: 50 years old
Proof: 42% ABV
Price: $38,000
Release: December 2019
Availability: 110 bottles

Need to know:

The liquid in this whisky came from five casks, all aged at least half a century, and selected and married by malt master David Stewart.

  • Cask #6430, American oak: 19% 
  • Cask #6428, American oak: 4%
  • Cask #3094, American oak: 19%
  • Cask #0732, American oak: 38% 
  • Cask #9920, American oak: 20%

Whisky Advocate says:

Few distillers work long enough to see a 50 year old whisky from its creation through to bottling, but David Stewart—who has been with Balvenie since 1962—can claim that honor. This half-century bottling is different from those released by Balvenie in the past, as Stewart creates unique vattings for each batch.

Compass Box Myths & Legends I

Style: Single malt
Origin: Scotland (Highlands)
Age: Not stated
Proof: 46% ABV
Price: $150
Release: December 2019
Availability: 4,394 bottles

Need to know:

This single malt blends whiskies of varying ages—15, 16, and 22 years old—from Balblair Distillery. The whiskies were matured in a combination of recharred American oak and first-fill bourbon casks, and exhibited distinct flavor profiles, with the younger offering citrus and malt notes and the older displaying creaminess and ripe fruit.

Compass Box Myths & Legends II

Style: Single malt
Origin: Scotland (Speyside)
Age: Not stated
Proof: 46% ABV
Price: $150
Release: December 2019
Availability: 4,446 bottles

Need to know:

This single malt is comprised of six whiskies from Glen Elgin Distillery, ranging in age from 16 to 23 years and each with a distinct flavor profile; Compass Box has full details on its website.

Compass Box Myths & Legends III

Style: Blended malt
Origin: Scotland
Age: Not stated
Proof: 46% ABV
Price: $150
Release: December 2019
Availability: 4,564 bottles

Need to know:

This whisky combines some of the 16-19 year old Glen Elgin single malts used in Myths & Legends II with single malts from Highland Park (23 years old) and Caol Ila (15 years old).

Whisky Advocate says:

The Myths & Legends series is designed to challenge widely held beliefs and assumptions about scotch. Myths & Legends I shows how blending is a crucial process even for single malts, while Myths & Legends II demonstrates that where a whisky is made matters much less than the production choices of the individual distillery (a question explored in our Fall issue, currently on newsstands). Myths & Legends III thumbs its nose at the idea that certain famous single malts are too good to be blended.

Clyde May's 11 year old Cask Strength

Style: Whiskey
Origin: Indiana
Age: 11 years old
Proof: 60% ABV
Price: $120
Release: December 2019
Availability: 3,000 bottles

Need to know:

Distilled at MGP, this “Alabama-style” whiskey adds one more year to the 2018 cask-strength release.

Whisky Advocate says:

The most recently released Clyde May’s Cask Strength, at 10 years old, scored 90 points, so we have high hopes for this whiskey to measure up in quality, especially as it isn’t yet at the point where it could become too oaked.

Royal Salute 21 year old Snow Polo Edition

Style: Blended grain
Origin: Scotland
Age: 21 years old
Proof: 46.5% ABV
Price: $155
Release: December 2019
Availability: Limited edition; for sale at travel retail only

Need to know:

The third release in Royal Salute’s Polo series, this is a blend of multiple grain whiskies matured primarily in American oak casks. The ABV of 46.5% mirrors the latitudinal coordinates of St. Moritz, the birthplace of snow polo.

Whisky Advocate says:

Blended grain whiskies aren’t common, although there are a few, notably Compass Box’s Hedonism. According to Royal Salute’s master blender Sandy Hyslop, the ideal serve of Snow Polo is, appropriately, on ice.

High West High Country American Single Malt

Style: Single malt
Origin: Utah
Age: Not stated
Proof: 44% ABV
Price: $80
Release: December 2019
Availability: For sale in UT only, with expansion planned

Need to know:

High West’s first single malt whiskey is composed of nine different liquids, all made at the distillery’s Park City and Wanship facilities and aged 2 to 7 years.

Whisky Advocate says:

I spoke with High West master distiller Brendan Coyle earlier this week about High Country and how, although it is a single malt whiskey—made by a single distillery of 100% malted barley—it’s also a blended product. This article goes into more detail about how that works, production-wise, as well as what it means for High West’s identity.

Wigle Saint Nick

Style: Whiskey distilled from beer
Origin: Pennsylvania
Age: 15 months
Proof: 46% ABV
Price: $34 (375 ml)
Release: December 2019
Availability: 1,100 bottles

Need to know:

This whiskey was distilled from Penn Brewery’s St. Nikolaus bock beer and aged for 15 months in 15-gallon new charred oak barrels.

Whisky Advocate says:

Penn Brewery’s St. Nikolaus bock includes roasted malts and, as a finished beer, hops, so expect notes of both to appear in Saint Nick whiskey. Wigle isn’t alone in turning craft beer into whiskey; several other distillers are doing the same thing, with interesting results.

Rogue Oregon Pinot Barrel Project

Style: Malt whiskey
Origin: Oregon
Age: Not stated
Proof: 42.5% ABV
Price: $60
Release: December 2019
Availability: 540 bottles; for sale in OR only

Need to know:

For this release, Rogue Spirits finished two of its core whiskeys—Dead Guy and Oregon single malt—in pinot noir casks from the Willamette Valley, and then blended them together.

Whisky Advocate says:

Although a limited edition, this whiskey will not be Rogue’s only cask-finished expression. The distillery is actively experimenting with finishes and plans to release new expressions in the future.

Peach Street Distillers 10 year old Single Barrel Colorado Straight Bourbon

Style: Straight bourbon
Origin: Colorado
Age: 10 years old
Proof: 46% ABV
Price: $100
Release: December 2019
Availability: Around 400 bottles; for sale at the distillery and select CO retailers

Need to know:

Distilled in 2009, this is Peach Street’s oldest bourbon release ever. It was made with corn grown just two miles from the distillery in Palisade, Colorado.

Whisky Advocate says:

Although there’s plenty of bourbon aged ten years or more out there, this is one of the few examples from a craft distillery that I can think of. There aren’t many bottles, of course, because like most startup distilleries, Peach Street wasn’t able to lay down a lot in the early days. This release is just two single barrels, with bottles for sale primarily at the distillery.

Balcones Juntos

Style: Single malt
Origin: Texas
Age: 3 years and 10 months
Proof: 56.1% ABV
Price: $80
Release: December 2019
Availability: Very limited; for sale at the distillery only

Need to know:

Distilled in July 2015 from Golden Promise barley, this whiskey initially was aged in new French oak barrels before being moved to tequila barrels.

Whisky Advocate says:

Balcones will release this whiskey on Dec. 7 in its Waco, Texas tasting room, alongside another limited release, the 2019 Staff Selection single malt (60.6% ABV, $80). That whiskey is 4 years old and was aged first in bourbon casks, then a used French oak cask.

Belle Meade Spanish Brandy Cask-Finished Bourbon

Style: Bourbon
Origin: Indiana
Age: Not stated
Proof: 60.7% and 59.4% ABV (two single casks)
Price: $150
Release: November 2019
Availability: Very limited; for sale at the distillery only

Need to know:

The final 2019 bottling in Belle Meade’s Craftsman Cask Collection, this is MGP-distilled bourbon, aged for 11 years in new charred oak and finished for 40 months in brandy casks from Spain. The whiskey is available only at Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery.

Whisky Advocate says:

Each year, Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery, which owns the Belle Meade brand, releases several limited-edition whiskeys in the Craftsman Cask Collection. Past releases include bourbons finished in honey, tannat, and stout casks, among others. Brandy (including cognac) finishes seem to be growing in popularity; Bardstown Bourbon Co., FEW Spirits, and Barrell have all created special brandy cask-finished whiskeys in the last few years.

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