Glen Grant 15 Year Old, Aberlour Single Cask & More New Whisky

Looking for a new whisky to pair with the chocolate you got for Valentine’s Day? Or perhaps you’re just in the mood for something different. There’s a lot to choose from in this week’s newest releases.

Glen Grant recently rolled out a 15 year old single malt exclusively for the U.S. market, stepping up the bottling proof to 50% ABV. The distillery’s presence in this country has been quiet in recent years, but global brand ambassador Robin Coupar recently told Whisky Advocate that Glen Grant’s parent company, Gruppo Campari, aims to establish the brand as a reputable, high-quality whisky.

Another brand aiming to raise its profile: Aberlour. The Speyside distillery is launching a single cask 16 year old, bottled exclusively for the state of Illinois. Aberlour’s core whiskies all include some sherry cask influence (and in the case of Aberlour A’bunadh, all sherry), but this special edition comes from a bourbon cask, showing a totally different side of the whisky. Just 163 bottles are available for $250 each.

Isle of Arran Distillery has released Robert Burns single malt in the U.S. Though the non-age statement whisky was previously available here many years ago, it had dropped out of the market for a while. It costs $40 and will be widely available.

A new Irish whiskey is hitting shelves. Ballyhoo, a grain whiskey sourced by Connacht Whiskey Company from unnamed distilleries, is finished it in port barrels and sells for $30.

Paul John Distillery, located in Goa, India, is releasing a limited-edition single malt whisky named for the Hindu zodiac sign Kanya (Virgo). The whisky aged in bourbon barrels for seven years—a remarkably long time in India’s hot, tropical climate. Learn more about Indian whisky (and read my tasting notes for Kanya) in the Winter 2017 issue of Whisky Advocate, on newsstands now.

Finally, Scotland’s Creative Whisky Company has announced details of its newest batch of Exclusive Malts single cask whiskies, all coming to the U.S. The range includes an 11 year old Royal Brackla, a 14 year old Highland Park, and a 25 year old Cameronbridge (a single grain whisky), along with five more single malts. Read on for full details.

Glen Grant 15 year old

Style: Single malt
Origin: Scotland (Speyside)
Age: 15 years old
Proof: 50% ABV
Price: $77
Release: January 2018
Availability: 10,680 bottles for the U.S. only

Need to know:

This 15 year old joins Glen Grant’s 12 and 18 year old single malts that are currently available in the U.S., but at a higher proof—50% ABV as opposed to 43% ABV. The whisky was matured in first-fill bourbon casks and bottled with no chill filtration.

Whisky Advocate says:

Glen Grant’s biggest market is Italy, and in the past, U.S. bottlings have been limited. Parent company Campari is hoping to re-establish Glen Grant as a well-regarded single malt here, and recently discontinued the Major’s Reserve and 10 year old expressions. This new 15 year old is bottled just for the American market.

Aberlour 16 year old Single Cask (Cask #18537)

Style: Single malt
Origin: Scotland (Speyside)
Age: 16 years old
Proof: 47.3% ABV
Price: $250
Release: February 2018
Availability: 163 bottles in Illinois only

Need to know:

Aberlour has bottled a single cask exclusively for the Illinois market. The whisky was distilled on September 11th, 2000, and aged for 16 years and 9 months in a second-fill bourbon cask.

Whisky Advocate says:

It’s not common to see distilleries the size of Aberlour bottling single casks exclusively for one state or market. The additional fact that this whisky spent time only in bourbon wood (whereas Aberlour’s core whiskies are, for the most part, matured in both bourbon and sherry casks) makes this a rather exciting opportunity to taste a different side of Aberlour.

Robert Burns Single Malt

Style: Single malt
Origin: Scotland (Islands)
Age: Not stated
Proof: 43% ABV
Price: $40
Release: January 2018
Availability: IL, MA, NJ, NY, PA, and TX, with expansion planned

Need to know:

Made at the Isle of Arran Distillery, located off Scotland’s west coast on the eponymous island, Robert Burns single malt is matured mainly in bourbon casks, with a smaller proportion aged in sherry hogsheads.

Whisky Advocate says:

While this whisky has been in the UK and European markets for many years, and was previously for sale in the U.S. a long time ago, it’s now hitting shelves across the country and will be regularly available. Burns Night 2018 may be behind us, but you don’t have to wait until next year to taste the single malt named in his honor.

 

John L. Sullivan Irish Whiskey

Style: Blended whiskey
Origin: Ireland
Age: Not stated
Proof: 40% ABV
Price: $26
Release: February 2018
Availability: 12,000 bottles in the U.S.

Need to know:

Named for an Irish-American boxer who lived in the 19th century, John L. Sullivan is a blend of malt and grain whiskeys from undisclosed distilleries.

Whisky Advocate says:

Whiskies named for famous boxers are now officially a thing.

Importer M.S. Walker wasn’t able to name the source of this whiskey, but said it was an “artisanal Irish whiskey distiller.”

Ballyhoo Irish Whiskey

Style: Grain whiskey
Origin: Ireland
Age: 4 years old
Proof: 43% ABV
Price: $30
Release: February 2018
Availability: DE, IL, MA, MD, NJ, NY, PA and Washington, D.C.

Need to know:

Connacht Distilling Company sourced this whiskey, made of 93% corn and 7% malted barley, from an undisclosed distillery, and finished in port barrels for one to three months. The whiskey is has no added coloring.

Whisky Advocate says:

While its own pot still whiskey is aging, Connacht has released several sourced products, including Brothership, which blends whiskeys from Ireland and the U.S. Ballyhoo is also sourced, but Connacht has made it unique by finishing in port barrels. The length of the finishing period depends on how many times the barrel has been used before, and ranges from one month if it’s the first use to up to three months for second- or third-use barrels.

Paul John Kanya

Style: Single malt
Origin: India
Age: Not stated
Proof: 50% ABV
Price: $250-$300
Release: February 2018
Availability: 1,500 bottles total; 432 for the U.S.

Need to know:

An unpeated single malt from India’s Paul John Distillery, Kanya was matured for 7 years in first-fill bourbon casks. Kanya, the Hindu name for Virgo, is the first in a series of limited-edition whiskies named for the signs of the zodiac.

Whisky Advocate says:

Like fellow Indian single malt distilleries Amrut and Rampur, Paul John matures its whisky in a tropical environment—high heat and lots of humidity. The conditions mean that the whisky reaches maturity more quickly than in a place like Scotland, and that evaporation of the liquid in the casks (aka angels’ share) is super high. With seven years of maturation, Kanya ranks among the older Indian single malts ever released—and if Paul John’s past scores are any indication, it will be an excellent whisky.

The Exclusive Malts 2008 "Distilled at an Islay Distillery" 9 year old

Style: Single malt
Origin: Scotland (Islay)
Age: 9 years old
Proof: 58.9% ABV
Price: $125
Release: February 2018
Availability: 289 bottles

Need to know:

This whisky was distilled at an unnamed Islay distillery on June 12th, 2008, and matured in a refill bourbon hogshead.

The Exclusive Malts 2007 Dailuaine 10 year old

Style: Single malt
Origin: Scotland (Speyside)
Age: 10 years old
Proof: 58.4% ABV
Price: $100
Release: February 2018
Availability: 290 bottles

Need to know:

Distilled on November 13th, 2007, this whisky was aged in a refill ex-port hogshead.

The Exclusive Malts 2006 Benrinnes 11 year old

Style: Single malt
Origin: Scotland (Speyside)
Age: 11 years old
Proof: 49.1% ABV
Price: $100
Release: February 2018
Availability: 234 bottles

Need to know:

This single malt was distilled on October 16th, 2006, and aged in a refill Pedro Ximénez sherry hogshead.

The Exclusive Malts 2006 Royal Brackla 11 year old

Style: Single malt
Origin: Scotland (Highlands)
Age: 11 years old
Proof: 58.2% ABV
Price: $100
Release: February 2018
Availability: 286 bottles

Need to know:

Unusually, this whisky spent its entire life in virgin French oak, after being distilled on November 7th, 2006.

The Exclusive Malts 2006 Macduff 11 year old

Style: Single malt
Origin: Scotland (Highlands)
Age: 11 years old
Proof: 53.4% ABV
Price: $105
Release: February 2018
Availability: 224 bottles

Need to know:

This single malt was distilled on October 11th, 2006 and matured in a refill oloroso sherry hogshead.

The Exclusive Malts 2003 Highland Park 14 year old

Style: Single malt
Origin: Scotland (Islands)
Age: 14 years old
Proof: 54.5% ABV
Price: $135
Release: February 2018
Availability: 230 bottles

Need to know:

Distilled on October 23rd, 2003, this whisky aged in a refill bourbon hogshead.

The Exclusive Malts 2000 "Distilled at an Orkney Distillery" 17 year old

Style: Single malt
Origin: Scotland (Islay)
Age: 17 years old
Proof: 57.9% ABV
Price: $155
Release: February 2018
Availability: 352 bottles

Need to know:

This whisky spent its life in a refill bourbon hogshead, after being distilled on June 21st, 2000.

The Exclusive Malts 1992 Cameronbridge 25 year old

Style: Single grain
Origin: Scotland
Age: 25 years old
Proof: 53.1% ABV
Price: $140
Release: February 2018
Availability: 474 bottles

Need to know:

Distilled on September 10th, 1992, this single grain whisky matured in a refill sherry butt.

Whisky Advocate says:

Creative Whisky Company releases several batches of single-cask whiskies under its Exclusive Malts label each year. The quality of the bottlings can be seen in the scores: Whisky Advocate reviewers typically find these whiskies to be excellent.

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