Exclusive Jack Daniel’s, Four Irish Whiskeys & More New Releases

The biggest American whiskey in the world, Jack Daniel’s, is rolling out a series of exclusive whiskeys. The Tennessee Tasters’ Selection offers unusual and creative whiskeys for sale mainly at the distillery in Lynchburg. The first two releases, High Angels’ Share Barrels and Hickory Finish, are available now, with the next release, Reunion Barrel, coming in early 2019.

Each 375-ml. bottle is $40; batches are around 24,000 bottles, with several batches released each year.

More of an Irish whiskey fan? Your ship has come in. Four new whiskeys from the Emerald Isle are making their way to store shelves, offering an array of styles and exciting flavors.

First up, the 2018 release of Midleton Very Rare is rolling out now overseas, hitting U.S. shores in 2019. This year’s batch blends whiskeys aged 12 to 28 years. It will be available in limited amounts for $200.

Next, Kilbeggan has unveiled a pot-distilled whiskey made with at least 30% rye grain—the first such Irish whiskey made in over a century. Rye used to be a common grain in Irish whiskey, but fell out of use as the country’s distilling industry shrank during the 20th century. Kilbeggan Small Batch Rye is $35 and available nationwide for a limited time.

More widely available, Powers Three Swallow is hitting U.S. shores. The single pot still Irish whiskey, made at Midleton Distillery, is $48.

Rounding out the quartet from Ireland, one of the country’s newest distillers, Dingle, is launching its single malt in the U.S. Aged at least three years, it’s available for $100.

Scotch fans need not fret—there’s new whisky for you as well this week. The 2018 edition of Kilchoman 100% Islay has been unveiled, this year combining whiskies aged in both bourbon and sherry casks. Over 1,200 bottles of the single malt are available for $110.

Texas craft whiskey producer Ranger Creek has a special-edition cask-strength version of its .36 Bourbon, celebrating the distillery’s eighth anniversary. It’s available for $95 in Texas and New York, as well as online.

Finally, Hibiki Japanese Harmony is offering a special package, honoring the 30th anniversary of the whisky’s creation and also geared at holiday gift-giving. (No need to wrap such a pretty bottle!) It’s available nationwide for $100 while supplies last.

Jack Daniel's High Angels' Share Barrels

Style: Tennessee whiskey
Origin: Tennessee
Age: Not stated
Proof: 53.5% ABV
Price: $40 (375-ml.)
Release: October 2018
Availability: Limited edition of 24,000 bottles, for sale mainly at the distillery

Need to know:

Selected by assistant master distiller and master taster Chris Fletcher, this whiskey was barreled in January 2013. The barrels had a high angels’ share, meaning that much of the volume of the liquid evaporated during the maturation process.

Jack Daniel's Hickory Finish

Style: Tennessee whiskey
Origin: Tennessee
Age: Not stated
Proof: 50% ABV
Price: $40 (375-ml.)
Release: October 2018
Availability: Limited edition of 24,000 bottles, for sale mainly at the distillery

Need to know:

Matured first in new charred oak barrels, as per usual for Jack Daniel’s, this whiskey was then finished with charred hickory staves to impart a smoky flavor. It’s being released in conjunction with the Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational BBQ, taking place on October 27. Master taster Marsha Hale, a barbecue enthusiast, selected this whiskey.

 

Jack Daniel's Reunion Barrel

Style: Tennessee whiskey
Origin: Tennessee
Age: Not stated
Proof: 45% ABV
Price: $40 (375-ml.)
Release: Early 2019
Availability: Limited edition of 24,000 bottles, for sale mainly at the distillery

Need to know:

Selected by master distiller and master taster Jeff Arnett, this whiskey was finished in wine barrels that had first held Jack Daniel’s, then Tennessee wine.

Whisky Advocate says:

When visiting a favorite distillery, many whisky lovers want a special souvenir to take home—and what’s better than an exclusive whisky sold only in the gift shop (and a few select Tennessee retailers, as required by law)? These three are the first distillery-exclusive offerings at Jack Daniel’s, part of the Tennessee Tasters’ Selection, which will launch additional limited editions every few months. Each whiskey will be chosen by one of the 12 members of the Jack Daniel’s master tasting panel, who assist with quality control and new product development at the distillery.

Midleton Very Rare (2018 Release)

Style: Blended whiskey
Origin: Ireland
Age: Not stated
Proof: 40% ABV
Price: $200
Release: October 2018 overseas; spring 2019 in the U.S.
Availability: Limited edition

Need to know:

The 35th edition of Midleton Very Rare blends Irish whiskeys that were aged at least 12 years and up to 28 years in ex-bourbon casks.

Whisky Advocate says:

The highest end of Irish whiskey is occupied by only a few bottles, and Midleton Very Rare is among the very best, consistently scoring in the 90s.

Kilbeggan Small Batch Rye

Style: Whiskey
Origin: Ireland
Age: Not stated
Proof: 43% ABV
Price: $35
Release: November 2018
Availability: Limited edition

Need to know:

Pot-distilled from a mash of unmalted and malted barley, and at least 30% rye, this is the first whiskey to be fully distilled and matured at Kilbeggan Distillery since it reopened following extensive restoration work in 2010.

Whisky Advocate says:

Rye was once a commonly used grain in Irish distilling; indeed, pot still whiskeys of the 19th and early 20th centuries might have included rye, oats, and/or wheat, along with malted and unmalted barley. This whiskey met the definition of single pot still when it was first distilled in 2010 and 2011, but in the intervening years, Irish regulations changed. Single pot still whiskey as it is now defined must include at least 30% unmalted barley, at least 30% malted barley, and up to 5% other cereal grains. With more than 30% of the mash here being made up of rye, this Kilbeggan can only be labeled as whiskey.

But what’s in a name? I tried this whiskey last week when it launched in New York, and it’s very tasty, with many characteristics typical of pot still whiskey. Fans of American rye will appreciate the spicy flavors, while Irish whiskey diehards will be satisfied with its characteristic balance and creamy mouthfeel.

Powers Three Swallow

Style: Single pot still
Origin: Ireland
Age: Not stated
Proof: 43.2% ABV
Price: $48
Release: November 2018
Availability: Widely available

Need to know:

Distilled with a mash of malted and unmalted barley, this whisky is aged first in second- and third-fill ex-bourbon casks, and then finished in sherry casks. It was made at Midleton Distillery.

Whisky Advocate says:

While this whiskey was available in Ireland and other countries before now, it is finally hitting the U.S. market. There are a couple of different backstories relating to the three swallows depicted on the label, according to the brand:

“At Powers’ original John’s Lane Distillery, the Power family coaches were stabled and each sent out with three coachmen. On long journeys these men would bring a small flask of Powers whiskey on their rides, with just enough liquid to give each man a good swallow, but not enough to interfere with his job. In addition, the migration of the Irish Swallow signifies the beginning of the distillation season in Ireland, and Powers has historically used two or three swallows to signify the age, quality, and purity of their Pot Still products. Over time, because of the high quality across their entire portfolio, all Powers whiskey came to bear these iconic swallows.”

Dingle Single Malt (Batch #3)

Style: Single malt
Origin: Ireland
Age: Not stated
Proof: 46.5% ABV
Price: $100
Release: Late 2018
Availability: Nationwide

Need to know:

This is a triple-distilled single malt whiskey from Dingle Distillery in Ireland, the first to be available in the U.S. It was matured in ex-bourbon and port casks.

Whisky Advocate says:

Few of the small distillers in Ireland have whiskey ready for release yet; by law, it must be aged for at least three years, and many producers are allowing even more time for maturation. As an early mover, however, Dingle has been well-received; its single malt (currently available overseas, and launching in the U.S. late this year) scored 90 points in the Buying Guide.

Kilchoman 100% Islay (2018 Release)

Style: Single malt
Origin: Scotland (Islay)
Age: Not stated
Proof: 50% ABV
Price: $110
Release: October 2019
Availability: 12,000 bottles, including 1,440 for the U.S.

Need to know:

The eighth release of Kilchoman’s 100% Islay, every part of this whisky’s production—from growing and malting the grain to distilling, aging, and bottling—took place at the distillery (and its farm) on Islay. The malt was peated to 20 ppm and the whisky aged in a combination of ex-bourbon and sherry casks.

Whisky Advocate says:

While it’s not uncommon among American craft distillers to be hyper-local in their production methods, in Scotland, the practice is rare—malting is usually done by commercial businesses, bottling takes place off-site, and for some Islay distilleries, even the aging happens on the mainland. Kilchoman calls 100% Islay a “single farm single malt”—not a regulated term, but a good way of describing how the entire process takes place on one site. Last year’s release scored 89 points; having tasted this year’s recently, I am confident that existing fans will be pleased with the update.

Ranger Creek Cask Strength .36 Bourbon

Style: Straight bourbon
Origin: Texas
Age: Not stated
Proof: 63.6% ABV
Price: $95
Release: October 2018
Availability: Limited edition; 600 bottles for sale in Texas, with additional bottles available in New York and online

Need to know:

In honor of its eighth anniversary, Ranger Creek Distillery has released a cask-strength version of its .36 Bourbon, made with Texas corn and double distilled in pot stills.

Whisky Advocate says:

Located in San Antonio, Ranger Creek benefits from the hot and dry Texas climate, which helps its whiskeys gain mature characteristics fairly quickly. The distillery also uses some small barrels for aging. Its big flavors are made even bigger here, thanks to the high proof.

Hibiki Japanese Harmony 30th Anniversary Bottle

Style: Blended whisky
Origin: Japan
Age: Not stated
Proof: 43% ABV
Price: $100
Release: October 2019
Availability: Limited edition, but widely available

Need to know:

Hibiki Japanese Harmony is rolling out a special bottle to celebrate the brand’s 30th anniversary. The bottle’s design was inspired by a traditional kimono pattern and includes the tabane-noshi, a symbol of celebration.

Whisky Advocate says:

This isn’t a new whisky, of course, but if you’re looking for a special bottle to celebrate the holidays or another occasion, you could do much worse than Hibiki Japanese Harmony, which scored 90 points in our Buying Guide.

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