Whisky Advocate

Blade and Bow 24 Year Old Will Sell to Highest Bidder

December 5th, 2016

By Jeffery Lindenmuth

screen-shot-2016-12-03-at-8-39-36-amBlade and Bow 24 year old, a very rare single barrel straight bourbon whiskey from the Stitzel-Weller distillery, most famous as the original producer of the Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve line of whiskeys, will be sold at Christie’s Auction House on December 9.

Unlike Blade and Bow 22 year old, which is a blend of whiskeys from several distilleries, the 24 year old comes only from  Stitzel-Weller and was barreled on November 22, 1991. This whiskey is notable not only as one of the final whiskeys produced at Stitzel-Weller, which closed in 1992, but also for its age and vitality. Many bourbons of this age are dominated by wood, but an exclusive sample tasting showed a surprisingly balanced and nuanced whiskey, soft and rich with crème caramel and maple up front, and a supple, creamy palate that yields to a drying, leathery finish of fine tannins. Tasted side by side, this expression is certainly, rarer, older and, in some ways, superior to the Blade and Bow 22 Year Old.

The barrel yielded just 38 bottles, bottled with blue hand-dipped wax closures at 46.7% ABV. Following the opening of four bottles for special tastings and events hosted by the producer, Diageo, the remaining 34 numbered bottles will be sold at auction in a single lot, along with the original barrel, with proceeds benefiting The Robin Hood Foundation, New York City’s largest poverty fighting organization.

Hopeful collectors can place their bid for lot #219 in Sale 12270 live in person, online, by telephone or through absentee ballot by registering at The auction also includes a large assortment of 18th and 19th century Madeira wine and other rare whiskies, including a two-gallon carboy of Cedar Brook Plankinton Reserve whiskey distilled in 1903 and bottled in 1917 and a 50 year old bottling of The Macallan. The Christie’s auction estimate for the Blade and Bow 24 Year Old lot is $24,000 to $35,000, which begs the question, “Can you put a price on history?”

Whisky Advocate Weekend Update: New Releases from The Singleton and More Scotch, Plus New Irish Whiskeys

December 2nd, 2016

By Susannah Skiver Barton

440130  The Singleton of Glendullan 12 Year Old, 15 Year Old, and 18 Year Old

Style: Single malt Scotch whisky
ABV: 40%
Price: $35 (12 year old), $50 (15 year old), $80 (18 year old)
Release: November
Availability: Widely available

Need to know: The Singleton is an established brand in many markets, but the 12 year old hasn’t been seen in the U.S. market for several years. This is the first time the 15 year old and 18 year old have been released outside of travel retail. All three expressions are joining the Classic Malts portfolio, and are currently available in California, Colorado, Florida, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington.

Whisky Advocate says: Diageo produces three Singletons from the Dufftown (Speyside), Glen Ord (Highlands), and Glendullan (Speyside) distilleries. Each of the whiskies is available in different global markets, and while Glendullan was in the U.S. at one time, it disappeared for a while. The whiskies are aged primarily in bourbon casks, and Diageo should be commended for pricing them so reasonably.

westcork_12yr_collection-copyWest Cork Distillers 12 Year Old Sherry Cask, 12 Year Old Port Cask, and 12 Year Old Rum Cask

Style: Single malt Irish whiskey
ABV: 43%
Price: $66
Release: November
Availability: 2,500 bottles of each whiskey for the U.S.

Need to know: West Cork Distillers is launching three limited-edition single malts made from 100% Irish barley and spring water from the Ilen River. The whiskeys are all matured for 12 years in first-fill Kentucky bourbon casks before being finished for 6 to 12 months in sherry, port or West Indies rum casks.

Whisky Advocate says: West Cork makes a variety of whiskey styles in Skibbereen, but it has only been doing so for a few years, so these 12 year olds originated elsewhere in Ireland. The cask finishing is likely thanks to Frank McHardy, the former master distiller for Springbank and Bushmills who joined West Cork in 2015.

deanston14yo-copyDeanston 14 Year Old Organic

Style: Single malt Scotch whisky
ABV: 46%
Price: $90
Release: November
Availability: 6,000 bottles for the U.S.

Need to know: The first-ever organic whisky from Deanston, this expression was made with all Scottish ingredients and aged in organic virgin oak casks. It’s non-chill filtered and non-colored, like all of Deanston’s whiskies.

Whisky Advocate says: Deanston released a 15 year old organic expression for travel retail and the German market earlier this year (81 in Whisky Advocate’s Summer 2016 Buying Guide). This 14 year old will be a permanent part of the lineup in the U.S., released annually in small batches.

ledaig-1996-copyLedaig 1996

Style: Single malt Scotch whisky
ABV: 46.3%
Price: $159
Release: November
Availability: 4,200 bottles for the U.S.

Need to know: Ledaig is the peated malt made at Tobermory distillery, and this limited-edition 19 year old was finished in Spanish oak sherry casks. It’s non-chill filtered and non-colored and comes in a handsome wooden box.

Whisky Advocate says: Although in earlier eras the distillery had made peated spirit, it took a break for some years and resumed in 1996. This whisky is the result of those first runs.

bunnahabhain13yo-marsala-copyBunnahabhain 13 Year Old Marsala Finish

Style: Single malt Scotch whisky
ABV: 46.3%
Price: $86
Release: November
Availability: 1,500 bottles for the U.S. only

Need to know: A ten year old Bunnhabhain was first aged in bourbon casks and then spent an additional three years in marsala wine casks. This limited-edition whisky was developed exclusively for the U.S. market.

Whisky Advocate says: It’s not common to see marsala-finished whiskies, but the dry wine is similar in flavor to oloroso sherry. Expect this whisky to reveal fruity and nutty notes, as well as some sweet vanilla and honey. 

sauternes-bottleKilchoman Sauternes Matured

Style: Single malt Scotch whisky
ABV: 50%
Price: $125
Release: November
Availability: 840 bottles for the U.S.

Need to know: Kilchoman released a limited-edition Port Matured whisky two years ago and a Madeira Matured expression last year. Distilled in 2011 and bottled in 2016, the limited-edition Sauternes Matured was aged exclusively in casks from France’s Bordeaux region that previously held Sauternes, a late-harvest sweet dessert wine.

Whisky Advocate says: Even at a young age, Kilchoman consistently shows sophistication and elegance. Expect the Sauternes Matured to hit familiar peaty and fruity notes with an oily body and added sweetness.

teeling-24yo-single-malt-bottle-shotTeeling 24 year old

Style: Single malt Irish whiskey
ABV: 46%
Price: $500
Release: December
Availability: 1,000 bottles worldwide

Need to know: Distilled in 1991, this whiskey spent most of its life in bourbon casks before a secondary maturation in Sauternes casks. A small amount of peated malt was used in its production, so you may catch a whiff of smoke. The whiskey comes in a decanter bottle with a certificate of authenticity.

Whisky Advocate says: Another new Irish whiskey producer—they began distilling in March 2015—Teeling’s current stock is sourced from Cooley distillery, which John Teeling (father of cofounders Jack and Stephen) founded in 1987 and sold to Beam in 2011. This 24 year old is a more mature version of the 21 year old that Teeling released in 2013, which scored a 91 in Whisky Advocate’s Buying Guide.

tobermory-42yoTobermory 42 Year Old

Style: Single malt Scotch whisky
ABV: 47.7%
Price: $4,500 to $5,000
Release: November
Availability: 222 bottles for the U.S. out of 650 total

Need to know: This very limited whisky was distilled in 1973, the year after Tobermory resumed production after being silent since 1930. It’s packaged in a nifty presentation box with a rotating door.

Whisky Advocate says: A water shortage on Mull that has led to decreased production at Tobermory recently, as well as increasing demand, mean that the brand’s standard 10 year old and 15 year old expressions are currently unavailable outside of travel retail. There are only a couple of casks of whisky distilled in 1973 remaining at Tobermory, so we won’t see much more of this one in the future.

Westland Distillery: Sold!

December 1st, 2016

By Susannah Skiver Barton


Westland Master Distiller Matt Hofmann

News broke this morning that international drinks conglomerate Rémy Cointreau has signed an agreement to acquire Seattle’s Westland distillery for an undisclosed sum. The deal will likely close by the end of the year. Paris-based Rémy Cointreau is best known for its namesake cognac and liqueur brands, but whisky lovers will remember its purchase of Islay’s Bruichladdich distillery in 2012. And particularly clever observers will note the similarities between Westland and Bruichladdich. Both producers tout the importance of terroir in whisky, using different varieties of barley and unusual types of oak casks to create new flavors and expressions of single malt. For example, Westland’s recently released Garryanna was aged in Oregon oak (Quercus Garryana), which is native to the Pacific Northwest and imparts heavy phenolic and tannic character. The limited-edition whiskey scored an 87 in Whisky Advocate’s Winter 2016 Buying Guide.

Westland was founded in 2010 by Matt Hofmann and Emerson Lamb. Lamb left the company last year, but Hofmann remains as master distiller. The brand’s rise has been swift, with its first release debuting in September 2013. Currently, Westland has three core whiskeys—American Single Malt, Peated Oak, and Sherry Wood—and a couple of limited releases, including Garryanna and the Winter 2016 single malt whiskey, which just launched in November. The distillery is located in Seattle’s SoDo neighborhood, and earlier this year, Hofmann cited Washington’s “cultural terroir” as a factor that helped the whiskey brand establish itself. Its actual terroir matters too: “For us, here in Washington state, one of the great things is we have a perfect barley-growing climate,” he said in Whisky Advocate’s Fall 2016 issue. “The combination of Washington State barley, Washington State peat, Pacific Northwest oak, that’s what we have a real possibility for here.”


Photo by Jose Mandojana

The acquisition by Rémy Cointreau comes on the heels of another big American craft distillery sale less than two months ago, when Constellation Brands bought Utah’s High West Distillery for roughly $160 million. The deal wasn’t unprecedented: Over the last six years, several craft whiskey producers have been bought by major drinks companies, including Tuthilltown Spirits’ Hudson Whiskey brand (bought by William Grant & Sons in 2010); Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey (bought by Proximo Spirits in 2010); Canada’s Forty Creek distillery (bought by Gruppo Campari in 2014); and Angel’s Envy (bought by Bacardi Ltd. in 2015). Just two weeks ago, Oregon’s House Spirits distillery sold Aviation Gin to Davos Brands, although the company maintains ownership of Westward Oregon Straight Malt Whiskey and its other spirits brands.

Lawsuit Alleges Buffalo Trace Deliberately Mislabeled Old Charter

November 30th, 2016

By Susannah Skiver Barton

dsc_0481A class-action lawsuit was quietly filed on November 18th alleging that Buffalo Trace Distillery, Old Charter Distillery Co. and parent company Sazerac Co. have deliberately misrepresented Old Charter 8 as an 8 year old bourbon. The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York by Nicholas Parker on behalf of himself and others who have purchased Old Charter 8. It alleges seven counts of deceptive acts or practices, false advertising, unjust enrichment, breach of warranty, fraud, and negligent misrepresentation and seeks compensatory, statutory, and punitive damages, as well as to put a stop to the “illegal practices.”

Old Charter was sold as an 8 year old bourbon until January 2014, when Buffalo Trace rebranded it as Old Charter 8 while keeping its pricing the same—about $18 for a 750-ml. bottle. The lawsuit contends that Old Charter’s “labeling still misleads consumers to believe that the bourbon is aged 8 years,” pointing out the number 8 on the neck and main labels and language that reads “gently matured for eight seasons in century old brick warehouses….The word ‘seasons’ unambiguously means ‘years.’ This is readily apparent from the labels of Defendants’ prior 8 year and 10 year aged Old Charter products, which claimed to be matured for ‘eight seasons’ and ‘ten seasons,’ respectively.” (Old Charter 10 year old was discontinued in 2013.)

The filing even includes photos showing how closely the label of the no age statement (NAS) Old Charter resembles the age-stated product, as well as photos of Old Charter 10 year old and 8 year old labels. Perhaps most crucially, the suit alleges that the quality of Old Charter has declined since the change to NAS, and it cites online comments and blog posts as evidence. The class is estimated to be “in the hundreds of thousands” and represents all persons in the United States who purchased Old Charter. As far as lawsuits go, this one makes for an interesting read—you can find it in full here.

Parker is represented by Scott Bursor, Joseph Marchese and Yitzchak Kopel of Bursor & Fisher PA. The firm has been active on the class-action consumer litigation front, successfully garnering a $12 million settlement in 2015 for consumers who bought underfilled cans of Starkist Tuna and suing Starbucks earlier this year for underfilling its lattes.

Whisky Advocate reached out to Sazerac, but the company declined to comment.

Have you noticed a decline in the quality of Old Charter 8 since the switch? Would the presence of an “8” on the bottle lead you to believe this whiskey is at least 8 years of age? Tell us about it in the comments.

Limited Edition Gifts For Whiskey Lovers

November 28th, 2016

By Susannah Skiver Barton

image003-1With the holidays right around the corner, you may be looking for gift ideas for the the whisky lover in your life—or maybe you’re making your own wish list. In addition to potable presents, why not consider some thoughtfully designed whisky gear, brought to you by two bourbon brands?

I.W. Harper has paired up with hat maker Goorin Bros. to release The Harper, a limited-edition felt fedora with a whiskey-colored hat band that features the brand’s “bowing man” icon on the interior. “We wanted to create a hat that not only deserved attention but possessed an ability to bring others together and create compelling conversations,” says Nathaniel Pearce, brand evangelist for Goorin Bros. “All great things have a compelling story behind them that acquires character with time. Both Goorin Bros. and I.W. Harper are heritage brands which gained their start in the 1800s.” The Harper ($160) is available at Goorin Bros. locations nationwide and online, as well as the Stitzel-Weller distillery in Louisville, Kentucky.

after-five-bar-cart-3Meanwhile, Basil Hayden’s has launched its 2016 Sipping Companions Collection. Each item was crafted by an artisan from a different part of the country. Chicago furniture maker Greta de Parry created the After Five Bar Cart ($400; 10 available), which has storage space for glasses and bottles, plus a removable top shelf that transforms into a serving tray. Railcar Fine Goods of Los Angeles invented the Sidekick Blanket and Holster ($250; 25 available), a blanket that artfully stows a bottle of Basil Hayden’s and can be rolled up and carried via leather straps. Austin, Texas’ Slow North candle makers produced the Barman’s Candle Set ($75; 100 available), which has scents of citrus, spice and oak that call to mind the aromas of Basil Hayden’s. New York City company Stanlwhiskey-wheel-1ey & Sons Apron & Bag Supply Co. made the Generous Traveler ($349; 50 available), a handsome canvas and leather weekender bag. Paper Plates Press in Denver crafted the Warm Reception Coaster Set ($40; 100 available), a collection of eight wooden coasters with letterpress expressions inspired by Basil Hayden’s hospitable spirit. San Francisco’s Reclamation Etchworks designed the Whiskey Wheel ($469; 15 available), a revolving tray with six rocks glasses encircling a space that can house a bottle of bourbon. The Sipping Companions Collection is available through Basil Hayden’s shop on through December 25. Bourbon not included.

And if you are shopping for someone else, we suggest you take advantage of our ongoing 2-for-1 deal: two year-long subscriptions to Whisky Advocate for only $22, now through January 15th, 2017. Go ahead—play Santa and watch your friends’ faces light up.

Top Ten Whiskies: Winter 2016

November 25th, 2016

The winter 2016 issue of Whisky Advocate magazine hits newsstands in early December. Here is your sneak peek at some of the best of the new releases as reviewed in the Whisky Advocate Buying Guide. For our Editor’s Choice, Value Pick and more great whiskies, subscribe nowsazerac-pdf

#10 – Sazerac Rye 18 year old (Buffalo Trace Antique Collection 2016), 45%, $90

This Sazerac 18 year old is a distinctly separate whiskey, after several years of the same whiskey that had been stored in stainless steel tanks to prevent further aging. It doesn’t have as much of the rye zing as previous releases, which may disappoint those hoping for a repeat performance. Still, the new release is richer and sweeter, which I find attractive. Toffee and molasses, yielding to clove, mint, and cinnamon. Polished leather on the finish cuts through the sweetness.—John Hansell

Advanced Whisky Advocate Rating: 93

rr-lincoln-road-2#9 – Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel, 55%, $60

From rickhouse G, floor 5, barrel no. 136 is a study of caramel. Layered in crème brûlée, salted-caramel cupcake, caramel brownie, caramel apple fritters, caramel popcorn, and the classic caramel chew. Then complexity: chocolate truffles, nutmeg-dusted hot bananas, ginger ice cream, cinnamon-candied almonds, and warm povitica. It’s so creamy, so rich, and so unrelenting with masterful flavor that the powerfully long and caramel-forward finish is expected. Splendid, must have sipper. (Lincoln Road Package Store exclusive)—Fred Minnick

Advanced Whisky Advocate Rating: 93

Redbreast Lustau

#8 – Redbreast Lustau Edition, 46%, $69

The 120 year old sherry house, Lustau, originally operated as an almacenista, but now produces a broad portfolio of wine styles in Jerez. The nose is intensely fragrant, bursting with fat dates and squidgy prunes, red apple and Battenburg cake. It’s fruity, yet bone dry with oak, walnut, and spices. This is full-bodied yet refined Redbreast: the Spanish oak sherry butts shaping the red berry fruits, apples, marzipan, and creamy, yet oily consistency. Clean, sweet oloroso finish. Qué delicioso!—Jonny McCormick

Advanced Whisky Advocate Rating: 93

port-ellen-dsr16#7 – Port Ellen 37 year old (Diageo Special Releases 2016), 55.2%, $4,000

The 16th Special Releases Port Ellen is the oldest to date. Initially, sea breeze on the nose, brine, rock pools, and gentle iodine, followed by dried fruits, peat, and wood polish. Full-bodied, very silky, again with brine to the fore, plus sweet peat, drying slowly, ginger, black pepper, and balancing tropical fruit notes. The finish is long, with burnt oak embers and licorice. (2,900 bottles)—Gavin Smith

Advanced Whisky Advocate Rating: 93

#6 – Lagavulin 25 year old, 50.9%, $1,200

lag-25-200-annivThis cask strength, sherry cask matured expression was released as part of Lagavulin’s bicentennial celebration. The nose offers new leather, tropical fruits, brittle toffee, and brine, backed by spicy peat smoke. Smoky sherry notes open up in time. The rich, well-mannered palate boasts sweet peat, brine, muted sherry, figs, gentle spices, tangerines, and lemons. Becoming more savory in the long, gently smoky, malty finish. Very drinkable at cask strength. A great Lagavulin. (8,000 bottles)—Gavin Smith

Advanced Whisky Advocate Rating: 93

eaglerare-pdf#5 – Eagle Rare 17 year old (Buffalo Trace Antique Collection 2016), 45%, $90

Often overlooked by collectors because it’s not as high in alcohol as most of its siblings, it’s superior to last year’s release, which I felt brandished more oak on the finish than needed. Caramel, rhum agricole, golden raisin, and dried citrus segues into polished oak along with and a wisp of honey and cinnamon on the finish. Well rounded and subtly complex. An exceptional bourbon.—John Hansell

Advanced Whisky Advocate Rating: 93brora-38

#4 – Brora 38 year old (Diageo Special Releases 2016), 48.6%, $2,200

Another Special Releases staple, this is the 15th and oldest Brora in the series to date. The nose offers hemp, oiled brown paper, lemon juice, ashy peat, and sweetening malt. The oily palate boasts sweet fruit notes, peaty toffee, and ginger. Long in the softly smoky finish, with black pepper, plain chocolate, char, and licorice. (2,984 bottles)—Gavin Smith

Advanced Whisky Advocate Rating: 93

#3 – Belle Meade 10 year old Sherry Cask Finish, 53.2%, $100

2bmb-sherry-cask-finish-10-year_jackroseWhoa, this sherry-finished bourbon offers an upfront impression you don’t find in American whiskey: marzipan meets ground-up raw almonds sprinkled over pistachio gelato. Then caramel, nuanced cinnamon, delicate vanilla, and a slight hint of campfire smoke. It’s supremely complex, with the third layer being honey, dried apricot, dried pear, figs, and prunes over a sublime nuttiness and rich caramel. The finish lingers with salted-caramel cashew. If this is the future of barrel-finished American whiskey, let there be more. (Jack Rose Dining Saloon private selection)—Fred Minnick

Advanced Whisky Advocate Rating: 93amrut-spectrum

#2 –Amrut Spectrum, 50%, £100

Amrut’s chimeric five wood cask has been one of the greatest whisky innovations of this year. The aromas release Madagascan chocolate, the fruitiness of Panamanian Geisha coffee, a sturdy granite core, new oak extractives, fresh walnuts, wood spices, treacle, and mango peel. Like velvet, the palate develops lush fruits, Gianduja chocolate, rich, dark coffee, nut oils, and oak tannins, before the red juicy fruits soak through the chocolate. Heat, dry spices, and ground coffee finish. Clever concept: a seminal whisky.—Jonny McCormick

Advanced Whisky Advocate Rating: 93

w_l-pdf#1 – William Larue Weller (Buffalo Trace Antique Collection 2016), 67.7%, $90

Distilled in 2003. Weller is the wheated bourbon in the Collection, with wheat replacing the rye found in most other bourbons. It’s a very impressive representation, too. Notes of nutty toffee, black raspberry, blueberry, green tea, cinnamon, and vanilla. Soft, lingering oak on the finish. Like last year’s release, this is a soothing whiskey, with a gentle demeanor.—John Hansell

Advanced Whisky Advocate Rating: 94

Whisky Weekend Update: New Whiskey from Old Potrero and Gin from Bourbon Country

November 18th, 2016

By Jeffery Lindenmuth

opOld Potrero Hotaling’s 16 Year Old Single Malt Rye Whiskey

Release: November 2016
Price: $165
Proof: 100
Availability: 200 bottles
Style: Single malt rye

Need to know:  This very limited release comes from a single-barrel, a once-used charred fine-grain American oak barrel, that was filled with 100 percent rye whiskey. The name Hotaling’s commemorates the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire in which the A.P. Hotaling and Co.’s whiskey warehouse miraculously survived.

Whisky Advocate says:  Anchor has been at the forefront of craft whiskey since 1994. If you’re unable to access, or afford, this special release, look for the flagship Old Potrero Single Malt Straight Rye Whiskey or Old Potrero 18th Century Style Whiskey, both priced around $70.

1860in_34_te_10year_rt_rcTempleton Rye Special Reserve 10 Year Old

Release: November 2016
Price: $150
Proof: 101
Availability: 6,080 bottles
Style: Rye whiskey

Need to know: This is the oldest release of Templeton Rye to date, joining the core four- and six-year old expressions. It comes from 34 barrels and is hand-numbered and boxed. Expect it to be be carefully allocated.

Whisky Advocate says: Ten years in, Templeton is expanding. Last month they announced construction of a 34,500 square feet distillery and two aging warehouses on their 20-acre site in Templeton, Iowa.

asb-experimental-ginRye Expectations Gin

Release: November 2016
Price: $35/375 ml
Proof: 90
Availability: limited
Style: gin

Need to know: The first in The Experimental Series from A. Smith Bowman, this gin is distilled three times from a rye grain base, including Virginia rye, and a botanical mix of juniper, coriander, Spanish orange, and angelica. The series will grow to include rums, vodkas, and brandies, while delving into unique recipes, wood types, exotic fermentables and more.

Whisky Advocate says:  We don’t usually cover gin, but coming from a notable bourbon producer it sounded too good to pass up. This product goes on sale at the distillery on November 19 and is expected to sell out quickly.

Whisky Weekend Update: Limited Releases from Balvenie and Highland Park, Plus New Craft Bourbons

November 11th, 2016

By Jeffery Lindenmuth

1509batch2Balvenie Tun 1509 Batch 3

Release: October 2016
Price: $350
Proof: 104.4
Availability: 2,100 bottles (8,850 worldwide)
Style: Single malt scotch

Need to know:  The third edition in the series from Balvenie malt master David Stewart includes 31 casks: 12 sherry butts distilled between 1989 and 1992, 11 American oak hogsheads distilled in 1989 and eight refill American Oak butts distilled in 1992 and 1993.

Whisky Advocate says:  The inaugural release of Tun 1509, which refers to the large vessel in which the casks are married, scored 91 points in the Whisky Advocate Buying Guide. In addition to a unique blend, this release is higher proof and non-chill filtered.

Highland Park Firehighlandparkfire

Release: November 2016
Price: $300
Proof: 90.4
Availability: 4,398 bottles (28,000 worldwide)
Style: Single malt scotch

Need to know: This 15 year old single malt completes the two part series inspired by the stories of the Ice and Fire Giants and their battles to rule the world. It is distinguished as the first Highland Park matured exclusively in 100% refill Port wine casks.

Whisky Advocate says: Curious about the color of this whisky? Don’t be deceived. In addition to a wooden cradle, it comes packaged in crimson red colored glass.

blackbuttonBlack Button Port Finished Barrel Strength Single Barrel Straight Bourbon

Release: November 2016
Price: $100
Proof: 110.5
Availability: 300 bottles
Style: bourbon

Need to know: Like all of Black Button’s products, this bourbon is distilled, aged, bottled, and labeled onsite in Rochester, New York. There is no sourced whiskey and grain comes from a local farm just south of the distillery.

Whisky Advocate says:  Black Button informs us this limited release can be located at the Black Button Distilling Tasting Room and at liquor stores throughout Rochester, Buffalo and western New York.

Timber Creek Bourbon Blending Kittimbercreek

Release: November 2016
Price: $240
Proof: 100
Availability: 500 kits
Style: single grain whiskey

Need to know: This Florida distiller has created an innovative way to tinker with blending bourbon, packaging single grain components that can be combined in a custom blend. The kits includes: 750 ml bottle of 100% corn whiskey, 375 ml bottle of 100% wheat whiskey, 375 ml bottle of 100% rye whiskey, 375 ml bottle of 100% American single malt whiskey.

Whisky Advocate says: This is certainly a fun idea, but no matter what you combine you won’t end up with bourbon. The TTB defines bourbon as being made from a fermented mash of not less than 51 percent corn. As far as we can tell, there is no provision for blending whiskeys in a suitable way to make bourbon after distillation.

wyomingstraightWyoming Whiskey Outryder

Release: October 2016
Price: $55
Proof: 100
Availability: 15,840 bottles
Style: Straight American whiskey

Need to know:  A blend of two whiskies laid down in November of 2011, the first contains 48% winter rye, 40% corn, and 12% malted barley, while the second is a more traditional bourbon with 68% corn, 20% winter rye, and 12% malted barley.

Whisky Advocate says:  This straight whiskey is also bottled-in-bond, among the strictest quality classifications for American whiskey, indicating it comes from one distiller and one distillation season, was aged in a federally bonded warehouse for at least four years and bottled at 100 proof.

Ranger Creek .36 Straight Bourbon36

Release: November 2016
Price: $60
Proof: 100
Availability: 900 bottles
Style: Straight bourbon whiskey

Need to know: This marks the first release of a batched whiskey in traditional sized barrels from this Texas brewer and distiller.

Whisky Advocate says: This standard release follows an earlier single barrel release and joins an unaged “White Dog” and the .36 Small Caliber Bourbon, so named for its aging in small barrels.


Whisky Weekend Update: The Week in New Releases

November 4th, 2016

By Jeffery Lindenmuth

finallanternsTwo Lanterns American Whiskey

Release: November 2016
Price: $120
Proof: 86
Availability: 5,000 bottles
Style: American whiskey

Need to know: Distilled from Samuel Adams flagship beer, Boston Lager, by Berkshire Mountain Distillers, this whiskey was aged for a full four years in barrels. Unlike typical whiskeys, it includes hops, which the creators say lend a slight bitterness to the final spirit.

Whisky Advocate says:  This is the second collaboration for these two companies, following the earlier release of Shays’ Rebellion American Whiskey, made from Samuel Adams Cinder Bock beer and aged in Samuel Adams Utopias casks. And, there is likely much more to come from Berkshire Mountain and their Craft Brewers Whiskey Project, including 15 different brewer partners.

Box Dàlvveboxed

Release: November 2016
Price: €60
Proof: 92
Availability: Widely available
Style: World whiskey

Need to know: This is the first release from Sweden’s Box Distillery, one of the world’s northernmost distilleries, located at the 63rd latitude, within a day’s drive to the Arctic Circle. This single malt has no age statement, but likely includes some of the first distillate, which emerged in 2010.

Whisky Advocate says: This highly anticipated release will have global distribution and is set to become part of the core range, according to the distillers. For more first looks at unusual single malts from around the world, keep an eye on the Whiskey Advocate Buying Guide. Subscribe now!

static1-squarespace-comBackroom Bourbon Batch #1

Release: November 2016
Price: $70
Proof: 92
Availability: Limited release
Style: A blend of straight bourbon whiskeys

Need to know: Washington D.C.’s District Distilling is actively making spirits in a 12-foot copper pot still and a pair of 26-foot copper column stills. There is no house whiskey ready—yet. In the meantimem they’ve sourced and blended this bourbon by combining whiskeys aged 5 and 10 years.

Whisky Advocate says:  Head distiller Matt Strickland is familiar to whiskey lovers for his time at the head of research and development at Corsair Distillery in Nashville. Locally-made spirits from District include Corridor Vodka, Checkerbark American Dry Style Gin and Buzzard Point Colonial Style Rum, made using panela sugar. Spirits are available at the distillery and select local retailers.

Whisky Weekend Update: The Week in New Releases

October 28th, 2016

author-jeffery-lindenmuth_front_mosswood_nocino_barrelMosswood Nocino Barrel Aged American Whiskey

Release: October 2016
Price: $50
Proof: 92
Availability: 359 bottles
Style: American whiskey

Need to know: A nine year old whiskey receives about six months of finishing in barrels that held nocino liqueur.

Whisky Advocate says: Owners Jake and Therese Chevedden make the nocino that infuses the barrels for this inventive whiskey using green-harvest walnuts from an English Walnut tree in their backyard in Oakland, Calif.

The Dublinerdubliner-web

Release: October 2016
Price: $28
Proof: 80
Availability: Widely available
Style: Irish whiskey

Need to know: This blended Irish whiskey is aged entirely in American bourbon barrels for no less than three years.

Whisky Advocate says: The Dubliner has already launched in select markets including Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Minneapolis, Atlanta, and New York. It is joined by The Dubliner Honeycomb Liqueur, a whiskey-based liqueur with additions of honeycomb and caramel.

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