Basil Hayden’s Caribbean Reserve Rye, Macallan Estate & More New Whiskey

A shake-up in the American whiskey world went down earlier this week, when it was announced that Rob Dietrich—formerly master distiller at Stranahan’s—is taking on the role of master distiller and blender at Blackened, the whiskey brand co-founded by Metallica and the late, great Dave Pickerell. Dietrich has big shoes to fill, and we look forward to watching his progress.

In the meantime, there’s plenty of new whisky to look for now. Basil Hayden’s has released its latest boundary-crossing expression, a blend of rye whiskeys and rum. Basil Hayden’s Caribbean Reserve Rye is available for a limited time, priced at $45.

Macallan is adding a new whisky to its core lineup. Made from barley grown on the distillery’s Easter Elchies estate, Macallan Estate has a price of $250 and will be widely available.

Tyrconnell has unveiled a single malt finished in casks that previously held both oloroso sherry and moscatel wine. Tyrconell Oloroso & Moscatel Cask Finish 16 year old is available in limited amounts for $100.

Templeton is rolling out the 2019 batch of its Barrel Strength Straight rye. Coming at 57.9% ABV this year, the rye is priced at $60, with just over 20,000 bottles available worldwide.

Finally, Graton Distilling Co. in California has added two new whiskeys to its Redwood Empire range, both named for famous redwood trees. Redwood Empire Pipe Dream bourbon ($45) combines 4-12 year old bourbons from Graton, as well as distilleries in Kentucky, Indiana, and Tennessee. Redwood Empire Emerald Giant rye ($45) blends 3-5 year old ryes from Graton and MGP Distillery. Along with the new whiskeys, Graton is relaunching its American whiskey as Redwood Empire Lost Monarch. The sale of all the whiskeys, which are widely available, helps support tree-planting.

Read on for full details.

Basil Hayden's Caribbean Reserve Rye

Style: Blended rye with added rum
Origin: Kentucky and Canada
Age: Not stated
Proof: 40% ABV
Price: $45
Release: Spring 2019
Availability: Limited edition

Need to know:

This “whiskey” is a blend of 8 year old Kentucky straight rye, 4 year old Canadian rye, and an unspecified amount of blackstrap molasses rum from the Caribbean.

Whisky Advocate says:

Basil Hayden’s has been releasing a lot of whisky variations in recent years, starting with a standard rye and including offerings like Two by Two Rye (blending Kentucky and Canadian ryes) and Dark Rye (a blend of Kentucky and Canadian rye with added port). This release is definitely in the vein of Dark Rye; the addition of rum will render the liquid sweeter and likely round out the mouthfeel. Although legally, non-straight rye can have up to 2.5% added flavoring and/or coloring, this “whiskey” is classified as a distilled spirits specialty—by law, technically not a whiskey at all.

Macallan Estate

Style: Single malt
Origin: Scotland (Speyside)
Age: Not stated
Proof: 43% ABV
Price: $250
Release: Summer 2019
Availability: Widely available

Need to know:

For one week each year, Macallan distills barley that was grown on the distillery’s 485-acre Easter Elchies estate. Previously blended into limited-edition whiskies, the liquid is now being released as a single malt all on its own. It will be part of Macallan’s core lineup.

Whisky Advocate says:

Many distillers are exploring the idea that where grain is grown can impact the flavor of the whiskey made from it. Some refer to this concept as terroir, others as provenance. When it comes to applying these principles to malt whisky, examples include Bruichladdich’s Islay Barley series, the single farm single malts being made at Ireland’s Waterford Distillery, and any number of ongoing projects at Westland Distillery. Will you be able to taste a difference in this new Macallan compared to others made with barley grown beyond the distillery’s property? Try it, and then let us know.

Tyrconnell Oloroso & Moscatel Cask Finish 16 year old

Style: Single malt
Origin: Ireland
Age: 16 years old
Proof: 46% ABV
Price: $100
Release: June 2019
Availability: Limited edition

Need to know:

This double-distilled Irish single malt whiskey was initially aged in bourbon barrels and then finished in specially seasoned wine casks. The casks had first held oloroso sherry and later moscatel wine before being used to finish the whiskey.

Whisky Advocate says:

Tyrconnell has had great success with several of its cask-finished whiskeys in the past, like the 15 year old Madeira Cask Finish (89 points) and 10 year old Sherry Cask Finish (91 points). And the core Tyrconnell 16 year old was named number 16 in Whisky Advocate’s 2017 Top 20.

Templeton Barrel Strength Straight Rye (2019 Release)

Style: Straight rye
Origin: Indiana
Age: Not stated
Proof: 57.9% ABV
Price: $60
Release: June 2019
Availability: 20,328 bottles globally, including 17,928 for the U.S.

Need to know:

Following up on last year’s debut of a barrel-proof straight rye, Templeton is releasing a new batch for 2019. The whiskey is sourced from MGP Distillery and uses its 95% rye-5% malted barley mashbill. This year’s release is available in the U.S. and select international markets.

Whisky Advocate says:

Did you read the details above about legally allowable flavorings and colorings in rye whiskey? Templeton’s regular rye uses this methodology. The barrel-proof version, however, does not; it is a straight rye, with nothing added.

Redwood Empire Pipe Dream Bourbon

Style: Bourbon
Origin: Multiple (CA, KY, IN, and TN)
Age: Not stated
Proof: 45% ABV
Price: $45
Release: June 2019
Availability: Widely available

Need to know:

This whiskey combines bourbon made at Sonoma County’s Graton Distilling Co. with bourbons from Kentucky, Indiana, and Tennessee, all ranging in age from 4 to 12 years. It’s named for the 14th tallest tree on earth, a giant redwood close to the California distillery.

Redwood Empire Emerald Giant Rye

Style: Rye
Origin: Multiple (CA and IN)
Age: Not stated
Proof: 45% ABV
Price: $45
Release: June 2019
Availability: Widely available

Need to know:

A combination of 3-5 year old ryes made at Graton Distilling and MGP Distillery, this whiskey is named for another famous redwood tree.

Whisky Advocate says:

Located in the heart of redwood country, Graton Distilling Co. names its whiskeys after famous redwood trees. Even the brand name, Redwood Empire, refers to a stretch of land that’s home to numerous indigenous, impressive trees. In addition to this new bourbon and rye, Redwood Empire’s line includes an American whiskey—now being relaunched with the name Lost Monarch—which blends Graton’s own rye with sourced whiskeys from MGP.

In addition to the new releases, the company has announced a partnership with Trees for the Future (TREES), a non-profit that plants trees and supports sustainable agriculture through initiatives like forest gardens. For every bottle of whiskey sold, Redwood Empire will sponsor the planting of a tree.

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