Jack Daniel’s Heritage Barrel, Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection & More New Whisky

There’s a new whisky for just about every taste this week, from bourbon and Tennessee whiskey to an array of peated and non-peated scotches.

Jack Daniel’s is rolling out its latest single barrel, a limited-edition whiskey that was aged in so-called “heritage” barrels made in a 19th-century style with more toasting and a lighter char. Priced at $65 a bottle, just 200 barrels are being bottled.

Woodford Reserve has announced plans to release not one, but two Master’s Collection whiskeys this year: Select American Oak, a bourbon aged in Ozark oak barrels, and Oat Grain, a bourbon made with—you guessed it—oats in the mashbill. Available in limited amounts, each whiskey costs $130.

Over in Scotland, Ardbeg is releasing its latest Twenty Something, a 22 year old single malt that hails from the days when the distillery was infrequently in operation. The 46.4% ABV whisky costs $550 and will be available in limited amounts.

Highland Park’s newest special edition is hitting shelves. Valknut, which replaces Valkyrie, is a non-age statement single malt whose name means “knot of those killed in battle.” At $80 a bottle, it’s available for a limited time and will eventually be replaced by Highland Park Valfeather.

Meanwhile, BenRiach is bringing a formerly limited whisky into wider distribution. BenRiach 12 year old Sherry Wood was aged in three types of sherry casks. It joins the distillery’s permanent lineup at $64 a bottle.

Tomatin is replacing its 1988 Vintage single malt with a new 30 year old expression. There will be 1,200 bottles available in the U.S. (out of a total of 6,000), priced at $549 each.

Glenrothes has unveiled a complete overhaul of its core line. Formerly offering non-age statement and vintage releases, the distillery has shifted to a traditional age statement-focused range that includes 10, 12, 18, and 25 year olds, as well as the NAS Whisky Maker’s Cut. The single malts will be widely available.

Finally, the 2018 release of Angel’s Envy Cask Strength is hitting shelves. Priced at $200 a bottle, there is more of the bourbon available this year than ever before—12,000 bottles in total.

Read on for full details.

Jack Daniel's Heritage Barrel

Style: Tennessee whiskey
Origin: Tennessee
Age: Not stated
Proof: 50% ABV
Price: $65
Release: October 2018
Availability: Limited edition

Need to know:

The latest single barrel release from Jack Daniel’s, this whiskey draws on historic coopering techniques to create a unique flavor. The whiskey was matured in barrels that were heavily toasted before being lightly charred, which would have been the process used in the mid-19th century when Jack Daniel first made whiskey. The barrel entry proof was lower than usual—100 proof versus 125 proof—and the barrels sat at the top of the warehouse to age.

Whisky Advocate says:

Not sure about the difference between toasting and charring, or what difference each makes to the whiskey’s flavor? Familiarize yourself—and then go out to see what you can taste! This single barrel Jack Daniel’s would be a good start, comparing it with Old No. 7 or the recently released Bottled in Bond. I tasted Heritage Barrel with master distiller Jeff Arnett this week, and the flavor differences between it and regular Jack Daniel’s are profound.

Woodford Reserve Master's Collection Select American Oak Bourbon

Style: Straight bourbon
Origin: Kentucky
Age: Not stated
Proof: 42.5% ABV
Price: $130
Release: October 2018
Availability: Limited edition

Need to know:

One of two 2018 releases in Woodford Reserve’s Master’s Collection, this bourbon was matured exclusively in Ozark oak, said to impart nutty and sweet flavors.

Woodford Reserve Master's Collection Oat Grain Bourbon

Style: Straight bourbon
Origin: Kentucky
Age: Not stated
Proof: 42.5% ABV
Price: $130
Release: October 2018
Availability: Limited edition

Need to know:

The second Master’s Collection release for 2018, this bourbon’s mashbill included oats and very little rye, an unusual combination for American whiskey (though oats are sometimes used in Irish whiskey-making).

Whisky Advocate says:

Woodford Reserve master distiller Chris Morris typically releases a single Master’s Collection whiskey annually, but this year he found that two bourbons were ready and decided to make both available. The Master’s Collection selections are always whiskeys that showcase Morris’ creativity and exploration of historic distilling techniques.

Ardbeg Twenty Something 22 year old

Style: Single malt
Origin: Scotland (Islay)
Age: 22 years old
Proof: 46.4% ABV
Price: $550
Release: October 2018
Availability: Limited edition

Need to know:

Following up on the 2017 release of Twenty Something 23 year old, this Ardbeg was aged in ex-bourbon casks. It recalls the period of time in 1980s and ’90s when Ardbeg Distillery was infrequently operational, and very little whisky was made there.

Whisky Advocate says:

The first release of Ardbeg Twenty Something was 23 years old and matured in ex-bourbon and sherry casks. It scored 91 points in the Buying Guide. Knowing Ardbeg’s reputation for high quality—even during its years of spotty operation—I expect this release to be similarly well received. Look for Whisky Advocate’s review in an upcoming issue!

Highland Park Valknut

Style: Single malt
Origin: Scotland (Islands)
Age: Not stated
Proof: 46.8% ABV
Price: $80
Release: Fall 2018
Availability: Limited edition

Need to know:

Replacing Highland Park Valkyrie, this single malt was matured predominantly in sherry-seasoned American oak casks. The name Valknut means “knot of those killed in battle,” and the symbol of interlocked triangles on the packaging is associated with Odin, the Norse god who guided souls to Valhalla.

Whisky Advocate says:

Highland Park has been going all-in on its Norse heritage for the last couple of years, touting the tagline “the Orkney single malt with Viking soul.” Both limited-edition single malts like Valkyrie, Valknut, and Valfeather (coming out next year) and Highland Park’s core range of Magnus, 12 year old, and 18 year old are packaged in eye-catching bottles and boxes that tie in heavily with that heritage.

BenRiach 12 year old Sherry Wood

Style: Single malt
Origin: Scotland (Highlands)
Age: 12 years old
Proof: 46% ABV
Price: $64
Release: October 2018
Availability: Widely available

Need to know:

This 12 year old single malt was fully matured in sherry casks and then finished in Pedro Ximénez and oloroso sherry casks. Like all BenRiach whiskies, it is non-chill filtered and bottled with no added coloring.

Whisky Advocate says:

Previously available in Taiwan, this whisky is now a permanent part of BenRiach’s core lineup in the U.S. and beyond. The heavy sherry cask influence may bring to mind BenRiach’s sister brand, GlenDronach; both whiskies are put together by master blender Rachel Barrie.

Glen Scotia 10 year old Peated

Style: Single malt
Origin: Scotland (Campbeltown)
Age: 10 years old
Proof: 46% ABV
Price: $60
Release: Fall 2018
Availability: Widely available

Need to know:

This peated single malt matured for 10 years in ex-bourbon barrels, which were then vatted into refill bourbon barrels. The whisky is non-chill filtered.

Whisky Advocate says:

Although Campbeltown was once Scotland’s premier whisky-making area, these days there are just three distilleries left. Glen Scotia makes both peated and unpeated single malt, allowing it to offer a range of styles.

Tomatin 30 year old

Style: Single malt
Origin: Scotland (Highlands)
Age: 30 years old
Proof: 46% ABV
Price: $449
Release: Fall 2018
Availability: 6,000 bottles, including 1,200 for the U.S.

Need to know:

This 30 year old single malt from Tomatin, finished in first-fill ex-bourbon casks, replaces the 1988 Vintage in the distillery’s lineup.

Whisky Advocate says:

When it comes to whiskies aged three decades, finding a deal may not be the top priority. But if you are looking for a good price-to-age ratio, pay attention to this release. Though it’s five years older than the recently released Balvenie DoubleWood 25 year old, it comes in at $50 under that whisky’s price—and even less than many other single malts of similar ages from more well-known distilleries.

Glenrothes 10 year old

Style: Single malt
Origin: Scotland (Speyside)
Age: 10 years old
Proof: 40% ABV
Price: $45
Release: Fall 2018
Availability: Widely available

Need to know:

This 10 year old single malt, matured in sherry-seasoned casks, is said to be subtle and delicate.

Glenrothes 12 year old

Style: Single malt
Origin: Scotland (Speyside)
Age: 12 years old
Proof: 40% ABV
Price: $55
Release: Fall 2018
Availability: Widely available

Need to know:

Glenrothes says that this 12 year old single malt is the “epitome of the distillery style.”

Glenrothes Whisky Maker's Cut

Style: Single malt
Origin: Scotland (Speyside)
Age: Not stated
Proof: 48.8% ABV
Price: $75
Release: Fall 2018
Availability: Widely available

Need to know:

A non-age statement single malt, this whisky matured only in first-fill sherry casks. The ABV was selected by master whisky maker Gordon Motion as his preferred bottling strength.

Glenrothes 18 year old

Style: Single malt
Origin: Scotland (Speyside)
Age: 18 years old
Proof: 43% ABV
Price: $130
Release: Fall 2018
Availability: Widely available

Need to know:

This whisky matured for 18 years in sherry-seasoned casks.

Glenrothes 25 year old

Style: Single malt
Origin: Scotland (Speyside)
Age: 25 years old
Proof: 43% ABV
Price: $500
Release: Fall 2018
Availability: Widely available

Need to know:

This is a 25 year old single malt aged in sherry-seasoned casks. At $500, it comes in well under the price of other 25 year old scotches, like Balvenie ($599) and Dalmore (a whopping $1,300).

Whisky Advocate says:

While many distilleries have dropped age statements in recent years as stocks of whisky have tightened, Glenrothes is doing the opposite. This new set of whiskies replaces the distillery’s previous offerings, which were bottled as vintage or non-age statement single malts. Those bottles, like Glenrothes Vintage Reserve, will no longer be available once they are sold out at retail, so if you’re a big fan and you see them on the shelf, snatch ’em up.

Glenrothes is calling these new whiskies the Soleo Collection; soleo is the process used by sherry makers to dry the grapes before being they’re pressed and made into wine. All the new Glenrothes whiskies have been matured in sherry-seasoned casks, a move that makes sense given that the distillery is owned by Edrington Group, which also owns Macallan and Highland Park; Edrington frequently emphasizes its sherry cask sourcing and maturation.

Angel's Envy Cask Strength (2018 Release)

Style: Bourbon
Origin: Kentucky
Age: Not stated
Proof: 62% ABV
Price: $200
Release: October 2018
Availability: 12,000 bottles

Need to know:

Every year Angel’s Envy rolls out its limited-edition Cask Strength bourbon, which is finished in port casks. This year, there’s about 20% more availability than last year—12,000 bottles versus 10,000. The whiskey will be for sale in Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Washington, D.C.

Whisky Advocate says:

Each year’s release of Angel’s Envy Cask Strength is a little different, made up of barrels selected by co-founder Wes Henderson and his team as being exceptionally good. The quality, however, seems not to vary much; both the 2017 and 2015 releases scored 90 points, while 2012 and 2014 scored 89 points (2016 scored 87 points). We look forward to reviewing the 2018 Angel’s Envy Cask Strength soon.

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