A bunch of new whiskies have come across my desk lately, which isn’t so bad considering this is normally the slow time of the year for new releases. I thought I would share this information with you, because they will be coming on the market soon, if they haven’t already.
Keep in mind that this is from a U.S. perspective. Those of you living across the pond sometimes get these releases well ahead of us here in the U.S. And sometimes, as is often the case with bourbon, you will probably get them later–if at all. So, in the long run, I guess it all averages out.
This is sort of an informal synopsis–more like a quick “heads up.” More details (including formal reviews, prices, etc.) will come later here on this blog and also in the next issue of Malt Advocate.
The first item I want to mention is the Glenfarclas 175th Anniversary bottling, which I received just this past Friday. It’s shown here (a little blurry–sorry about that), with a fairly good dent in it already from weekend festivities with friends, next to the 150th Anniversary bottling which I also have and opened up last year on my 50th Birthday. This 175th Anniversary bottling is great! Well done, Glenfarclas. (Incidentally, my bottle is 70cl, so I am not sure when this release will be finding its way to the U.S.)
Auchentoshan has a new Sherry Matured 1998 Vintage limited release, bottled at cask strength. I have a tendency to prefer less sherry in delicate whiskies like Auchentoshan, but this sherried version isn’t overbearing. I actually enjoyed it the other day with a very mild cigar.
Another new release that impressed me was a special, single cask version of Ardmore “Traditional Cask” by Julio’s Liquors up in Westborough, Mass. Ardmore Traditional Cask is usually a batch bottling with no age statement. While I’ve enjoyed it over the years, I always wished it had more maturity to it. This single cask offering by Julio’s is a 1998 vintage 12 year old, and it nicely matured and very delicious!
On the bourbon side, I just tasted several new releases. The new Four Roses limited release for 2011 is a 12 year old at barrel proof. It’s very nice–elegant, spicy, and well-matured. I don’t think Four Roses fans will have anything to complain about here.
There has also been an improvement in the formula to Jefferson’s Bourbon. On the outside (as you see in this picture) everything looks the same, but one sip will tell you that it’s more mature than previous standard Jefferson’s release. I’m told by the brand manager that there’s some whiskey in there in the high teens.
And while we’re on the subject of Jefferson’s, I tasted a sample of a Jefferson Presidential Select 18 year old from a single cask purchased by Park Avenue Liquor in New York, and it was stunning! This juice is from the old Stitzel-Weller distillery. The standard releases of the remaining stock of this stuff (most recently as 17 and 18 year old) is in small batch form. They have varied from good to outstanding. This single cask offering might just be the best of the several releases I have tasted. To put it in perspective: after I worked my way through my review sample, I contacted Park Avenue Liquor and ordered a bottle!
There’s a new Jim Beam “Devil’s Cut.” It’s like the standard Jim Beam, but with more wood spices.
On the Irish side of things, I don’t think I had the chance to tell you yet that, as you may have seen, Michael Collins has a face lift. The bottle is more traditional looking when compared to the original release (which I thought looked a little quirky). More importantly, the single malt expression now has an age statement–10 years old–and the whiskey inside is very good! (Much better than the previous stuff.) Cooley really has some nice whiskeys maturing, and the Michael Collins brand is benefiting from this.
A few more other quick notes: As of last week, I was informed that whisky from the Swedish Mackmyra distillery is now in the U.S. (New York, to be exact.) This was from my contact at Mackmyra. That’s all the information I have right now, but more will follow.
Also, for many years, Buffalo Trace has been working on creating the perfect bourbon. (This includes deconstructing and analyzing whiskey reviews and ratings by a handful of whiskey writers, including yours truly.) There’s a press event at Buffalo Trace later this month, and rumor has it that there just might be an unveiling of this “perfect bourbon.” Stay tuned!
(On an administrative note, would you like me to do more of these informal updates on a regular basis in the future?)