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What to Drink on Inauguration Day

January 20th, 2017

By Susannah Skiver BartonTwo Term Bourbon

America begins a new chapter in its history today with the inauguration of the 45th President, Donald Trump. Whether celebrating or lamenting this event, you’re probably reaching for a bottle of whiskey, right?

If you want to stay on-theme with the day’s activities, now you can drink Presidential whiskeys. Conceived by Dave Schmier—who founded Redemption Rye, among other whiskey-related accomplishments—and alcohol distributor Michael Cherner of Ledroit Brands, One Term Presidential Dram Straight Rye and Two Term Presidential Dram Straight Bourbon were distilled at MGP in Indiana. The rye was aged for at least four years, while the bourbon is a minimum of eight years old. The project was apparently thought up before the presidential candidates were nominated last year, so any political implications are purely accidental. In a statement, Schmier said, “We aimed to celebrate an important moment in American tradition, without any additional political party affiliation.”

The rye is bottled at 60.45% ABV (120.9 proof) and sells for $80, while the bourbon is 43.5% ABV (97 proof) and sells for $100. Only two barrels of each were produced, so quantities are limited, and you’ll have to travel to Washington, D.C. to get hold of a bottle.

New Laphroaig and Rampur Indian Single Malt Whisky

January 20th, 2017

RampurBy Susannah Skiver Barton

We welcome two new single malts this week—one from India’s far north, and the other from Islay.

Rampur Indian Single Malt

Style: Single malt whisky
Proof: 43% ABV
Price: $70
Release: January 2017
Availability: 12 states plus Washington, D.C. with expansion in the works

Need to know: Rampur joins Amrut and Paul John in the ranks of Indian single malt whisky. Unlike the other two brands, which both hail from India’s southern half, Rampur is made at the foot of the Himalayas in Uttar Pradesh.

Whisky Advocate says: We’ve been impressed with existing Indian single malts like Amrut Spectrum, which just won our World Whisky of the Year award, and look forward to trying this one.

Laphroaig 30 year oldLAPH_30YR_BOTTLE_BOX

Style: Single malt Scotch whisky
Proof: 53.5% ABV
Price: $1,000
Release: December 2016
Availability: Nationwide, but in limited quantities

Need to know: Aged in first- and second-fill bourbon casks, this is a limited-edition expression that won’t come around again.

Whisky Advocate says: With this much age, the whisky loses much of the medicinal peatiness of younger expressions on the palate, but it’s unmistakably still Laphroaig.

Burns Night Source Guide: Whisky, Haggis, Kilts and More!

January 18th, 2017

By Susannah Skiver Barton

good-one-no-ipadLongtime lovers of Scotch whisky are usually familiar with Robert Burns, Scotland’s national poet. The 18th-century bard’s use of the Scots dialect in his compositions made him one of the country’s most beloved figures, and every January 25th, millions of people in Scotland and throughout the world celebrate his birthday with feasting, poetry, and whisky.

As Scotch whisky has grown in popularity in recent years, more people in the U.S. are hosting a Burns Night supper. Presuming you can choose your own Scotch (and if you can’t, consult our Buying Guide), here’s how to celebrate the night in style.

M2HG

Haggis from Scottish Gourmet USA

What to Eat
No Burns supper is complete without haggis, that humble and unnerving native dish traditionally made from offal and oatmeal cooked in the animal’s stomach. At many Burns Night events, the haggis is led in with live bagpipe music and placed before the host, who then recites Burns’ “Address to a Haggis,” dramatically plunging in a large knife at the lines, “An cut you up wi ready slight/Trenching your gushing entrails bright.”

It’s impossible to track down authentic Scottish haggis in the U.S., since the law prohibits the sale and consumption of certain, ahem, ingredients. But Scottish Gourmet USA makes a version that passes credibly for the real thing, available in 1- and 5-pound versions, as well as a “presentation haggis” that’s sure to wow your dinner guests. As a former resident of Scotland who enjoys the dish quite a bit, I can personally vouch for this domestic version. I serve it the traditional way, with mashed tatties (potatoes) and bashed neeps (turnips—the large yellow ones), and a very satisfying whisky cream sauce, made by heating a about a quarter cup of scotch until it’s reduced by half, then whisking in a cup of heavy cream, a tablespoon of Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper.

The Entertainment
Since the evening celebrates Scotland’s national poet, the entertainment revolves around his oeuvre, delivered in the form of toasts. First, there’s a toast to Burns’ immortal memory, which typically includes the recitation of one of his poems. Next, one man offers an Address to the Lassies—a light-hearted and often amusing speech that was traditionally used to thank the women who prepared the meal. One woman then gives a Reply to the Laddies, often responding cheekily to specific points raised in the previous speech. Anyone who wishes can recite a Burns poem or lead the party in a song—you can find Burns’ complete works here. At the end of each toast, guests quaff deeply—so be sure to have plenty of extra whisky on hand.

What to Wear
There’s no uniform required at these events, but if you have the chance to wear a kilt, take it. Kilts are comfortable; they draw the attention of others in the room; and they lend a certain gravitas to the occasion. A kilt-wearer often seems more interesting and enigmatic to other people.

For the month of January, you can rent a kilt with all the requisite accessories starting around $130, plus shipping, from Kilt Rental USA. There are also any number of other online shops ready to kit you out. Like a tuxedo, a kilt is tailored to measure—no need to worry about it falling off!

Burdick_RobertBurnsBoxAsmt_Al Karevy

Robert Burns Collection from L.A. Burdick Chocolates

The Dessert
As the evening winds down, you’ll probably want one more whisky and something sweet to pair with it. Or you could combine the two with whisky-filled chocolates, like these made by L.A.Burdick specifically for Burns Night and filled with Macallan, Talisker, Springbank, Highland Park, and Lagavulin, or these from Compartés, filled with ganache that’s infused with Macallan 18.

And if you do nothing else on January 25th, be sure to raise a dram to the man who gave us these immortal lines,

“‘Life’s cares they are comforts’—a maxim laid down
By the Bard, what d’ye call him, that wore the black gown;
And faith I agree with th’ old prig to a hair,
For a big-belly’d bottle’s a heav’n of a care.”

New Straight Rye Whiskey, Aged Bourbon, and A Very Old Single Malt Scotch

January 13th, 2017

By Susannah Skiver Barton

This week we have a new straight rye from Ezra Brooks, a new batch of The Exclusive Malts’ single cask bottlings, a very limited 16 year old bourbon, and a whopper of a 50 year old Dalmore.

Ezra Brooks Straight RyeEzra Brooks Straight Rye

Style: Straight rye whiskey
Proof: 45% ABV
Price: $19-$22
Release: January 2017
Availability: Widely available

Need to know: The Ezra Brooks range currently includes a straight bourbon, a 7 year old bourbon, a blended whiskey, and a bourbon cream liqueur, all priced for everyday drinking.

Whisky Advocate says: Brand owner Luxco—which also produces the David Nicholson, Rebel Yell, and Blood Oath whiskey brands—is building a new distillery in Bardstown, Kentucky. Lux Row Distillers will make all of those bourbons when it opens in 2018.

The Exclusive Malts Single Cask Bottlings

Exclusive Malts #12 Glen Moray (tinypng)The Exclusive Malts Glen Moray 2007 9 year old
Style: Single malt Scotch whisky
Proof: 55.7% ABV
Price: $85
Release: January 2017
Availability: 220 bottles for the U.S.

The Exclusive Malts Caol Ila 2006 10 year old
Style: Single malt Scotch whisky
Proof: 57.1% ABV
Price: $150
Release: January 2017
Availability: 319 bottles for the U.S.

Exclusive Malts #12 Tomintoul '06 10yr (tinypng)The Exclusive Malts “Croftengea” 2006 10 year old (Distilled at Loch Lomond distillery)
Style: Single malt Scotch whisky
Proof: 55.5% ABV
Price: $100
Release: January 2017
Availability: 279 bottles for the U.S.

The Exclusive Malts Tomintoul 2006 10 year old
Style: Single malt Scotch whisky
Proof: 56.2% ABV
Price: $105
Release: January 2017
Availability: 285 bottles for the U.S.

Exclusive Malts #12 Balmenach (tinypng)The Exclusive Malts Balmenach 2003 13 year old
Style: Single malt Scotch whisky
Proof: 57.8 % ABV
Price: $125
Release: January 2017
Availability: 221 bottles for the U.S.

The Exclusive Malts Benrinnes 1995 20 year old
Style: Single malt Scotch whisky
Proof: 52.7% ABV
Price: $170
Release: January 2017
Availability: 261 bottles for the U.S.

Exclusive Malts #12 Port Dundas '91 25yr (tinypng)The Exclusive Blend 1980 35 year old
Style: Blended Scotch whisky
Proof: 46% ABV
Price: $200
Release: January 2017
Availability: 720 bottles for the U.S.

The Exclusive Malts Port Dundas 1991 25 year old
Style: Single grain Scotch whisky
Proof: 53.6% ABV
Price: $175
Release: January 2017
Availability: 264 bottles for the U.S.

Exclusive Malts #12 Invergordon (tinypng)The Exclusive Malts Invergordon 1972 43 year old
Style: Single grain Scotch whisky
Proof: 48.2% ABV
Price: $260
Release: January 2017
Availability: 229 bottles for the U.S.

Need to know: Part of the Creative Whisky Company, The Exclusive Malts doesn’t limit itself to just malts, as evidenced by the two single grains and one blended Scotch whisky available in the current batch of releases. The blended whisky is a combination of Speyside and Highland malts, plus a small amount of grain whisky, and it spent its whole life in a first-fill oloroso sherry butt.

Whisky Advocate says: How often do you see a 35 year old blended Scotch whisky? The 21 year old expression scored a 92 in our Buying Guide, and many of the Exclusive Malts’ past releases have scored in the high 80s and the 90s, so you may find them well worth the price.

J.A. Magnus ReserveMAGNUSRESERVE2016_1221_165250-5939_DVS copy

Style: Straight bourbon whiskey
Proof: 46% ABV
Price: $1,000
Release: January 2017
Availability: 192 bottles for sale only in Washington, D.C.

Need to know: A combination of 16 year old and 18 year old bourbons from MGP, this whisky was blended by Nancy “The Nose” Fraley.*

Whisky Advocate says: Jos. A. Magnus & Co. was founded in 2015 in Washington, D.C., by Jimmy Turner, the great-grandson of Joseph Alexander Magnus, a pre-Prohibition distiller. The distillery is currently making its own whiskey in addition to sourcing from MGP.

The Dalmore 50 year oldthe-dalmore-50-11-HR

Style: Single malt Scotch whisky
Proof: 40% ABV
Price: £50,000 (about $61,000)
Release: January 2017
Availability: Up to 50 bottles for the world

Need to Know: The whisky was laid down in 1966 in bourbon casks, then transferred to Matusalem oloroso sherry casks in 2003. It was further matured in colheita port pipes between 2012 and January 2016, when it was transferred to bourbon barrels once again. Finally, from November 2016, the whisky was in Champagne casks from Domaine Henri Giraud for a 50-day finish. Whew!

Whisky Advocate says: We just honored Dalmore‘s master blender Richard “The Nose” Paterson* with our Lifetime Achievement Award, and this bottling celebrates his 50-year career in the whisky industry. It comes in a Baccarat crystal decanter that’s embellished with a solid silver stag and packaged in an elaborate presentation box.

*Yes, both Nancy and Richard have the nickname “The Nose.” 

Bourbon Trail Airports Upgrade Their Whiskey Options

January 12th, 2017

  By Susannah Skiver Barton

book and bourbonVisitors headed home from the Kentucky Bourbon Trail now have a reason to get to the airport early. Both Louisville International Airport and Lexington’s Blue Grass Airport are opening new bourbon-centric venues to allow travelers to enjoy one last taste of the good stuff before boarding their planes.

At Louisville’s airport, Book & Bourbon Southern Kitchen recently opened, taking the place of a restaurant that focused on the Woodford Reserve brand. The new bar and restaurant features a wide array of Kentucky-made whiskeys. It’s designed to have the look and feel of a library, from leather-bound books on display to “library cards,” featuring classic cocktail recipes, which guests can take with them. In keeping with that theme, Book & Bourbon also aims to provide education about whiskey and distilling. Guests can peruse books about bourbon and Kentucky history, as well as explore different bourbons on iPads. The restaurant’s servers are trained to answer questions about bourbon production, history, and tasting notes.

The Peaches & Beam cocktail

The Peaches & Beam cocktail

Book & Bourbon has over 85 bourbons, ryes, and American whiskeys, in addition to other spirits, beer, and wine. Guests can choose from a number of whiskey flights which start at $10 and go up to $101 for a selection of rare and allocated bourbons, like George T. Stagg, Angel’s Envy Cask Strength, and Pappy Van Winkle. The venue also has an extensive cocktail menu that ranges from classics like the Mint Julep and the Old Fashioned to signature concoctions such as the Peaches & Beam, which features Jim Beam bourbon, peaches, basil, and apple juice. Book & Bourbon’s food menu focuses on Southern classics like buttermilk fried chicken, deviled eggs, and pecan pie.

Meanwhile, Blue Grass Airport is set to open a location of Cork & Barrel Wine & Bourbon Bar in the spring, most likely in April. The post-security venue will focus on retail, allowing customers to buy a bottle or two of whiskey to take home in their carry-on bags, and will also be able to offer samples. “The whole concept of our retail space is to help educate our customers on both Kentucky distilleries and the process of making bourbon,” says owner Jim Taylor. The store will offer around 200 bourbons and whiskeys from Kentucky and other states, including special barrel picks that are exclusive to Cork & Barrel—and some that are available at the airport location only.

A rendering of Cork & Barrel in Lexington's Blue Grass Airport, set to open in April 2017

A rendering of Cork & Barrel in Lexington’s Blue Grass Airport, set to open in April 2017

“Our barrel picks will be our spotlight,” explains Taylor, who says he’s already selected an 8 year old Buffalo Trace and two Woodford Reserve barrels. “Our choices were complete brackets of the regular Woodford product. One shows very fruit and floral notes while the other has a more dark, cinnamon, and toasty profile. These are great examples of why barrel picks are so appreciated by the bourbon drink who wants to taste ‘outside the lines’ of a regular release.” Cork & Barrel will have selections from Jefferson’s, Knob Creek, Old Forester, and six to eight additional distilleries by the time the store opens. It will also sell bourbon-related paraphernalia and food items, wine, and craft beer products.

Interestingly, the store’s exterior will feature a barrel rick made of timbers from the Old Crow Distillery outside of Frankfort, Kentucky. That facility was bought in 2013 by Deviant Distillers—now Glenns Creek Distillery. The company uses a microdistillery set-up to produce OCD #5 bourbon and a rum, and it also bottles rye and bourbon made at MGP in Indiana. The timbers likely came from the break-up of old rickhouses at the distillery prior to the 2013 sale. If you happen to pass through Blue Grass Airport once the store is open, take a look and let us know what you think!

Parker Beam, Longtime Master Distiller at Heaven Hill, Has Passed Away

January 9th, 2017

By Susannah Skiver Barton

parker-in-rickhouse-copyThe whiskey world shines a little less brightly today with the death of Parker Beam, who passed away last night. The longtime master distiller at Heaven Hill, an independent, family-owned distilled spirits company based in Bardstown, Kentucky, Parker had been fighting amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS—also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) for the last six years—a public battle that brought the entire Kentucky bourbon community out to rally around him and push for a cure.

Parker grew up learning from his father, Earl Beam, who was master distiller at Heaven Hill before him. Parker started his official career in 1960, although he had worked odd jobs at the distillery even as a child. He became master distiller in 1975, and over the course of his career, he was an industry leader in innovation and quality through brands like Evan Williams and Elijah Craig. He had been master distiller emeritus at Heaven Hill since 2013, when he passed the reins to his son, Craig.

whiskyfest_08_parker_beam-9587

Parker was honored at WhiskyFest 2013. (Photo by Shannon Sturgis)

Parker’s prowess as a master distiller became legendary over the course of his career, and he was honored with Whisky Advocate’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003. He also netted two Whisky Advocate American Whiskey of the Year awards for Parker’s Heritage Collection 27 year old bourbon in 2008 and Parker’s Heritage Collection “Golden Anniversary” bourbon in 2009. In 2013, after Parker announced news of his illness publicly, his colleagues from Kentucky’s leading distilleries—including Jimmy Russell of Wild Turkey, Fred Noe of Jim Beam, Jim Rutledge of Four Roses, Chris Morris of Woodford Reserve, Harlen Wheatley of Buffalo Trace, and Greg Davis of Maker’s Mark—each donated a bottle of bourbon, which Parker blended, along with a bottle of Heaven Hill bourbon, to create a special whiskey called Master Distillers’ Unity. Whisky Advocate editor and publisher John Hansell and some of the contributing distillers, as well as Craig Beam, honored Parker that year at WhiskyFest New York, leading a special tasting of Unity. Only two bottles of the whiskey were made available for purchase at auction, resulting in a donation of $8,500 to the ALS Association. In addition, since 2013, Heaven Hill has donated a portion of sales of each year’s Parker’s Heritage Collection bourbon to the ALS Association’s Parker Beam Promise of Hope Fund, with over half a million dollars raised so far.

“The whiskey industry lost a legend,” says Hansell. “Parker was one of the most passionate, hardest working people I’ve ever met. Every bottle of whiskey he helped produce was synonymous with quality. But more importantly, we lost a member of our whiskey family. That’s how I’ve always felt about Parker—as family—because that’s how he and his lovely wife Linda always treated me. And I know that everyone else whose lives he touched feels the same way.”

Parker is survived by his wife, Linda, his son, Craig, and numerous family members and loved ones, including his colleagues at Heaven Hill.

New Glen Moray Age Statement Whiskies, Single Cask Bottlings, And More

January 6th, 2017

By Susannah Skiver Barton

This week it’s all about scotch. Read on for freshly launched single cask bottlings from Chieftain’s and newcomer Chapter 7, plus a whole new range of age statement whiskies from Glen Moray and a recently released Kilchoman.

Glen Moray 12 year old, 15 year old, and 18 year old single maltsglen-moray-heritage-12-years-old-1-2-hr

Style: Single malt Scotch whisky
Proof: 40% ABV (12 and 15 year olds), 47.2% ABV (18 year old)
Price: $40 (12 year old), $55 (15 year old), $90 (18 year old)
Release: December 2016
Availability: Widely available, although the 18 year old is a smaller release than the other two

Need to know: A new range from the Speyside distillery, the 12 and 18 year old expressions are matured in bourbon casks, while the 15 year old is a mixture of sherry and bourbon casks.

Whisky Advocate says: This new lineup complements Glen Moray’s no-age-statement Classic range, and its Elgin Reserve tier, which includes the 25 year old Port Cask Finish. Glen Moray 10 year old Chardonnay Cask is being discontinued.

Chapter 7 19 year oldchapter7-19yo

Style: Single malt Scotch whisky
Proof: 56.2% ABV
Price: $180
Release: November 2016
Availability: 270 bottles for the U.S.

Need to know: This whisky comes from an undisclosed Highlands distillery and is exclusive to the U.S. market.

Whisky Advocate says: Chapter 7 is a new independent bottler based in Switzerland which has been operating since September 2014. Importer ImpEx Beverages notes that the whisky has aromas of “malt loaf and Christmas cake,” with a nutty and sherried palate.

Chieftain’s Single Cask Bottlingschieftains-bowmore-tinypng

Chieftain’s Bowmore 2002 13 year old
Style: Single malt Scotch whisky
Proof: 46% ABV
Price: $130
Release: November 2016
Availability: 652 bottles for the U.S.

Chieftain’s Glen Grant 1997 19 year old
Style: Single malt Scotch whisky
Proof: 46% ABV
Price: $125
Release: November 2016
Availability: 487 bottles for the U.S.

Chieftain’s Glen Keith 1993 23 year old
Style: Single malt Scotch whisky
Proof: 46% ABV
Price: $175
Release: November 2016
Availability: 219 bottles for the U.S.

Chieftain’s Linkwood 1991 24 year old
Style: Single malt Scotch whisky
Proof: 46% ABV
Price: $175
Release: November 2016
Availability: 269 bottles for the U.S.

Chieftain’s Glenrothes 1997 19 year oldchieftains-glenrothes-tinypng
Style: Single malt Scotch whisky
Proof: 53.2% ABV
Price: $165
Release: November 2016
Availability: 437 bottles for the U.S.

Chieftain’s Glenturret 1990 25 year old
Style: Single malt Scotch whisky
Proof: 49.7% ABV
Price: $210
Release: November 2016
Availability: 397 bottles for the U.S.

Need to know: The Chieftain’s range comes out twice a year. It’s bottled by Ian MacLeod Distillers, which also owns Glengoyne, Tamdhu, Smokehead, and Sheep Dip, among other Scotch whisky brands.

Whisky Advocate says: The Glenturret would make a fun (and probably satisfying) comparison with Famous Grouse, which uses up most of that distillery’s production. And the Glen Keith is a rare find, as the distillery was mothballed between 1999 and 2012 and most of its production before and after the shuttering has been used in blends.

Kilchoman Original Cask Strengthcask-strength-bottle

Style: Single malt Scotch whisky
Proof: 56.9% ABV
Price: $110
Release: December 2016
Availability: 269 bottles for the U.S.

Need to know: This is the second release of Kilchoman’s Original Cask Strength and was matured in quarter casks.

Whisky Advocate says: A quarter cask is, well, roughly one-quarter the size of a 500-liter butt, meaning the whisky comes into more wood contact during maturation. Expect this one to show notes of caramel and vanilla as a result.

Catoctin Creek Sells Minority Stake to Constellation Brands

January 6th, 2017

By Susannah Skiver Barton

Scott Harris Becky Harris Catoctin Creek distillery

Scott and Becky Harris (Photo by Kristen Dill)

Last October, Constellation Brands caught the craft whiskey industry by surprise when it bought Utah’s High West distillery in a high profile bidding war for approximately $160 million. However, another earlier craft distiller investment by Constellation was revealed in the company’s quarterly earnings report on January 5th. During the third quarter of 2016, the company took a minority stake in Purcellville, Virginia’s Catoctin Creek distillery. No sale price has been disclosed, but the investment will allow Catoctin Creek to increase its production, expand into new markets, and hire more staff, according to cofounder and general manager Scott Harris.

Scott and his wife, Becky Harris, founded Catoctin Creek in 2009; Becky serves as president and chief distiller. The distillery makes Roundstone Rye Whisky, Rabble Rouser Rye Whisky, and Braddock Oak Rye Whisky (all spelled without the ‘e’ in a nod to the founders’ Scottish heritage), as well Mosby’s Spirit unaged whisky, Watershed Gin and several aged brandies made from Virginia wine grapes and other fruit. It has also released a number of limited-edition products, including Kings Mountain American Malt Whisky, which scored an 86 in our Summer 2016 Buying Guide. The whiskies and gin are all made from organic ingredients.

With Constellation’s backing, Cactoctin Creek plans to double its production this year. According to Scott, the distillery sold about 6,600 six-pack cases of its products in 2016—mostly Roundstone Rye. All that extra whisky will make its way to 25 states, so if it’s not currently available where you live, that may be changing soon. In order to support the growth, Catoctin Creek is adding new production equipment, a new warehouse, and new employees. The distillery’s current staff will all remain in place.

In addition to the High West acquisition, Constellation took a partial stake in Bardstown Bourbon Company last year, and we’re guessing that the buying spree isn’t over. Watch this space—when news of the next sale breaks, we’ll let you know.

Tullamore D.E.W. and a Brew—Coming to a City Near You

January 4th, 2017

d-e-w-and-a-brew-pairing-copyBy Susannah Skiver Barton

Tullamore D.E.W. is bringing back the boilermaker with a roving “D.E.W and a Brew” tour this winter. The brand wants to educate consumers about how different beers complement the flavors of the Irish whiskey. In partnership with the locally focused social publication Time Out, Tullamore D.E.W. brand ambassador Jane Maher will visit breweries and bars in eleven U.S. cities to lead consumer events that showcase local beer pairings. Nine additional cities will feature D.E.W. and a Brew drink specials in local bars and at breweries where it’s legal to serve spirits.

The tour starts on January 9th at Santa Monica Brew Works in Los Angeles and wraps up at BuckleDown Brewing in Chicago on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17th. A full list of participating breweries is below. Events will vary from state to state, and there’s a sweepstakes open to anyone who wants to win a trip to Ireland. Best of all, on St. Paddy’s Day, some breweries, such as Portland’s Cascade Brewing, Tenaya Creek Brewery in Las Vegas, and Phoenix’s Uncle Bear’s Brewery, are planning to release limited-edition beers designed specifically for Tullamore D.E.W.

You can check dewandabrewtour.com for details about each tour stop—including dates—as they become available. Let us know if you already have a favorite beer and whiskey pairing—or if you discover a new one!

D.E.W. and a Brew Tour

Consumer events led by Jane Maher in bold

Asbury Park Brewery (Asbury Park, NJ)
Berkshire Brewing Co. (South Deerfield, MA)
Brenner Brewing Co. (Milwaukee, WI)
Bronx Brewery (New York, NY)
BuckleDown Brewing (Lyons, IL)
Cascade Brewing (Portland, OR)
Drop-In Brewing Co. (Middlebury, VT)
Friends & Allies Brewing (Austin, TX)
The Great Dane Pub & Brewing Co. (Madison, WI)
Land-Grant Brewing Co. (Columbus, OH)
Magnolia Brewery (San Francisco, CA)
Music City Beer Co. (Nashville, TN)
NOLA Brewing Co. (New Orleans, LA)
Odell Brewing Co. (Fort Collins, CO)
Outer Light Brewing Co. (Groton, CT)
Rainier Beer (Seattle, WA)
Santa Monica Brew Works (Santa Monica, CA)
Tenaya Creek Brewery (Las Vegas, NV)
Uncle Bear’s Brewery (Phoenix, AZ)
Upland Brewing Co. (Bloomington, IN)

New Whisky Releases: Texas Bourbon, 50 Year Old Bowmore, and A Holiday Treat

December 23rd, 2016

By Susannah Skiver Barton

This week brings an array of expressions, from bourbon, rye, and Canadian whisky to single malts from Ireland and Scotland—plus a whiskey liqueur, since it’s the holiday season and even die-hard whisky lovers enjoy a sweet treat from time to time.

Bushmills 16 year old and 21 year old single malts2-16-yo-lifestyle-bottle-shot

Style: Irish single malt whiskey
Proof: 40% ABV
Price: $70 (16 year old), $121 (21 year old)
Release: December
Availability: Widely available, but in limited amounts

Need to know: Both whiskeys are triple-distilled, and both are aged in bourbon and oloroso sherry casks before undergoing secondary maturation. The 16 year old is married for nine months in port pipes, while the 21 year old spends two years in madeira casks.

Whisky Advocate says: Though technically not new products, Bushmills only releases these whiskeys once a year, and fans will want to snap them up quickly.

Sagamore Spirit Cask Strength Rye Whiskeydsc_0675_edited-copy

Style: Straight rye whiskey
Proof: Varies—around 55.5 to 56% ABV
Price: $74
Release: December
Availability: Limited amounts for Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Washington, D.C., with permanent availability at the distillery once it’s open

Need to know: Sagamore Spirit released its first whiskey—a 41.5% ABV rye sourced from MGP—in May 2016, and this is the cask-strength version, aged over three years. The company is building a distillery in Baltimore’s Port Covington neighborhood.

Whisky Advocate says: Sagamore Spirit founder Kevin Plank is better known as the creator of Under Armour. He intends to shift production of the whiskey from MGP to the new distillery once it’s open, and in fact, former MGP master distiller Larry Ebersole has been consulting on the project.

Firestone & Robertson TX Straight Bourbonfr_tx-straight-bourbon-bottle-shot-copy

Style: Straight bourbon
Proof: 45% ABV
Price: $50
Release: December
Availability: Limited; available at the distillery and select Dallas/Fort Worth retailers

Need to know: Aged four and a half years, this bourbon is made with corn and wheat grown in-state, and the distillery cultivated a wild yeast strain from a pecan tree located in Glen Rose, Texas.

Whisky Advocate says: Firestone & Robertson has previously released a blended whiskey made with sourced product. This is the distillery’s first whiskey made entirely in-house.

Glynnevan Cabot Triple Barrelled Canadian Rye Whiskyglynnevan-cabot-triple-barrelled-whisky-bottle

Style: Canadian
Proof: 45% ABV
Price: $55 (Canadian)
Release: December
Availability: Nova Scotia initially, with broader distribution in 2017

Need to know: This whisky is sourced from elsewhere in Canada and finished in barrels that previously held Fortress Caribbean rum.

Whisky Advocate says: Authentic Seacoast Distilling Company claims this is Canada’s only triple-barreled whisky. The company also offers Glynnevan Double Barrelled Canadian Rye Whisky.

Bowmore 1961 50 year oldbm-1961-50yo-btlclsbx-copy

Style: Single malt Scotch whisky
Proof: 40.7% ABV
Price: $23,000
Release: December
Availability: 50 bottles for the world

Need to know: This is the final release in Bowmore’s 1961 batch, but don’t fret: it’s also the first of a new six-part 50 year old collection. Bowmore will release a new 50 year old bottling each year for the next six years, starting with this one.

Whisky Advocate says: The price tag isn’t for the faint of heart, but when we last reviewed this whisky in the Spring 2014 Buying Guide, it was even higher. The whisky also scored a 95—one of many scores in the mid-to-high 90s for 1960s Bowmore—so for some, it may be worth the coin.

And because ‘tis the season…

Kerrygold Irish Cream Liqueur750ml-copy

Style: Irish whiskey liqueur
Proof: 17% ABV
Price: $25
Release: December
Availability: Widely available in 17 states

Need to know: Kerrygold is well known for its butter and other dairy products, so it makes sense that if they were to get into spirits, it would be with a cream liqueur. This one includes Irish cream, chocolate, and Irish whiskey.

Whisky Advocate says: Okay, it’s not a whiskey, but who doesn’t love an indulgent treat at this time of year? Splash some in your coffee or pour it over ice cream—trust us, you’ll enjoy it.

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