Balvenie Tun 1509, Michter’s 25, High West & More New Whisky

This week is all about the limited-edition whisky. Balvenie is rolling out its fourth batch of Tun 1509, an annual release that blends various casks in a marrying vat. The NAS single malt is pricy, but scores well—91 points each for Batch 1 and Batch 3.

Michter’s is offering a 25 year old bourbon for the first time in nine years. Michter’s didn’t make any of the whiskey: its Shively distillery has only been open since 2012, though the company was making whiskey at other distilleries for several years before then. But Michter’s president Joseph Magliocco says this bourbon’s flavor profile matches what the company hopes to achieve with the whiskey it’s distilling itself.

A Midwinter Night’s Dram from High West is back for the fifth year. The blended rye, finished in French oak port barrels, is a perennial favorite and delivers on its name, warming up many a cold winter evening. For anyone wondering whether the series will continue after Act 5, don’t fret: the show will definitely go on.

Meanwhile, Barrell is launching a new American whiskey that blends various bourbons and whiskeys which were finished in several different barrel types, including American brandy and amaro. And Lock Stock & Barrel has an 18 year old 100% rye whisky. While neither company says how much is available, it’s safe to say both products are fairly limited.

Finally, The Irishman Cask Strength 2017 edition is hitting shelves at duty-free and in select markets, but not in the U.S. If you like high-proof Irish single pot still and single malt whiskey, and have travel to Europe planned, it may be worth seeking out. Read on for full details.

Balvenie Tun 1509 Batch 4

Style: Single malt
Origin: Scotland (Speyside)
Age: Not stated
Proof: 51.7% ABV
Price: $399
Release: October 2017
Availability: 8,850 bottles for the world, including 3,480 for the U.S.

Need to know:

The latest release in Balvenie’s Tun 1509 series is a blend of 23 ex-bourbon casks and sherry butts, selected by malt master David Stewart.

Whisky Advocate says:

A few years ago, Tun 1509 replaced Balvenie’s Tun 1401 series, which brought together casks of varying ages in a marrying tun or vat. Each bottle includes detailed information on the casks and flavor profile of the whisky. If you want Whisky Advocate’s take, Tun 1509 Batch 1 and Batch 3 each scored 91 points.

Michter's 25 year old bourbon

Style: Straight bourbon
Origin: Kentucky
Age: 25 years old
Proof: 58.1% ABV
Price: $800
Release: October 2017
Availability: Very limited

Need to know:

Michter’s 25 year old bourbon has not been available since 2008. This particular whiskey was created using sourced bourbons, selected because they “[are] great and in the style we wanted to emulate when we made whiskey ourselves,” according to Michter’s president Joseph Magliocco.

Whisky Advocate says:

At 25 years old, this bourbon outranks Pappy Van Winkle 23 year old and several of the Orphan Barrel whiskeys in age. Whisky Advocate didn’t get a chance to review the first release nine years ago, but if we do this time around, we’ll let you know how it tastes. Watch this space!

High West A Midwinter Night's Dram 2017 Act 5

Style: Blended straight rye
Origin: Multiple
Age: Not stated
Proof: 49.3% ABV
Price: $99
Release: October 2017
Availability: 48,000 bottles

Need to know:

This is the fifth release of A Midwinter Night’s Dram, which is High West’s Rendezvous rye (a blend of straight rye whiskeys) that has been finished in French oak port barrels.

Whisky Advocate says:

A Midwinter Night’s Dram is perhaps High West’s finest blended whiskey: Act 3 and Act 4 scored 95 points and 92 points, respectively. If you like rich, sweet, spicy rye, go out and grab it. (And if you’re wondering, the “Act” refers to the year the whiskey was released, while the “Scene” indicates which day it was bottled.)

Barrell Whiskey Batch 005

Style: Blended whiskey
Origin: Multiple: Indiana, Tennessee, and Kentucky
Age: 9 years old
Proof: 59.2% ABV
Price: $65
Release: October 2017
Availability: Limited availability

Need to know:

The newest batch of Barrell Whiskey is a blend of straight bourbon, 12 year old bourbon, and 9 year old whiskeys finished in amaro barrels, American brandy barrels, bourbon barrels, and cognac casks.

Whisky Advocate says:

Barrell doesn’t say how many bottles of its whiskeys it’s releasing, but every batch is, by its nature, a limited product. With so many types of finishing barrels, including the highly unusual amaro barrel, this is sure to be a completely unique whiskey.

Lock Stock & Barrel 18 year old Straight Rye

Style: Straight rye
Origin: Canada
Age: 18 years old
Proof: 54.5% ABV
Price: $230
Release: October 2017
Availability: Limited

Need to know:

Distilled from 100% rye grain in Alberta, Canada, this whisky aged for 18 years in new charred oak barrels.

Whisky Advocate says:

Lock Stock & Barrel sources its whisky from Alberta Distillers, which also provides 100% rye whisky for many other brands. The 16 year old and 13 year old versions have scored highly—92 points and 91 points, respectively.

The Irishman Cask Strength 2017 Vintage

Style: Blended whisky (single pot still and single malt)
Origin: Ireland
Age: Not stated
Proof: 54% ABV
Price: €125 (about $148)
Release: October 2017
Availability: 3,510 bottles at travel retail and in select global markets

Need to know:

This is a blend of single pot still and single malt whiskeys, aged in first-fill bourbon casks. Parent company Walsh Whiskey has a distillery in County Carlow which just opened in June 2016, so the whiskeys included in The Irishman were contract-distilled elsewhere in Ireland.

Whisky Advocate says:

Fans of The Irishman’s regular whiskeys can get a little more oomph from this cask-strength version, which comes out every year in limited amounts. Unfortunately for Americans, it’s not going to be available in the U.S.

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