Johnnie Walker 28, Maker’s 101, Knob Creek Twice Barreled Rye & More New Whisky

Ever wanted to taste a 51 year old whisky—for free? You may get your chance, as Craigellachie is touring several cities with a pop-up bar where they’ll pour gratis drams of their new 51 year old whisky. If you aren’t lucky enough to live in one of those places, however, there are still plenty of new whiskies to anticipate (though you’ll have to pay for them).

Johnnie Walker’s upscale John Walker & Sons line has unveiled the fifth and final release in its Private Collection. John Walker & Sons 28 year old Midnight Blend includes whiskies from Caol Ila, Clynelish, and Strathmill, among other distilleries. Just 3,088 specially packaged decanters are available worldwide for $750.

Meanwhile, Maker’s Mark is rolling out a 101-proof version at global travel retail stores. Packaged in a 1-liter bottle, the whiskey—which is the same liquid as regular Maker’s Mark, just bottled at a higher proof—has a price of $50 or €45.

Knob Creek is releasing a limited-edition rye, fully matured in new charred oak and then re-barreled into a second new charred oak barrel. Knob Creek Twice Barreled Rye will be available nationwide in limited amounts for $45.

The Grand MacNish blended scotch brand is debuting two blends finished at Scotland’s Inchdairnie Distillery: a 13 year old finished in rum casks ($45) and a 15 year old finished in sherry casks ($55). The limited-edition whiskies will be sold only in the U.S.

Finally, Freeland Spirits in Portland, Oregon is releasing its first bourbon, a blend of sourced whiskeys finished in local Pinot Noir barrels. Just 800 bottles of the first release are available for $49.

Read on for full details.

John Walker & Sons Private Collection 2018 Edition: 28 year old Midnight Blend

Style: Blended whisky
Origin: Scotland
Age: 28 years old
Proof: 42.8%
Price: $750
Release: November 2018
Availability: 3,888 decanters for the world

Need to know:

The fifth and final release in John Walker & Sons’ Private Collection, this is a blend of grain and malt whiskies—including some from Caol Ila, Clynelish, and Strathmill Distilleries—aged at least 28 years. It is touted as ideal for a post-dinner or late-night dram.

Whisky Advocate says:

There have been four previous releases in the John Walker & Sons Private Collection:

  • 2017 Edition: Mastery of Oak—92 points
  • 2016 Edition: Fine Honeyed Notes—93 points
  • 2015 Edition: Rare Fruit Character—86 points
  • 2014 Edition: A Unique Smoky Blend—91 points

Maker's Mark 101

Style: Straight bourbon
Origin: Kentucky
Age: Not stated
Proof: 50.5% ABV
Price: $50/€45 (1 liter)
Release: October 2019
Availability: Travel retail

Need to know:

Exclusively sold at duty free stores, this Maker’s Mark is the same bourbon you already know and love, but bottled at a higher proof—50.5% ABV rather than 45% ABV for regular Maker’s or 47% ABV for Maker’s 46. It comes in a 1-liter bottle.

Whisky Advocate says:

This is the second travel retail-exclusive American whiskey to debut in recent months; Jack Daniel’s rolled out its Bottled in Bond version earlier this year. Travel retail is often a way for brands to test the waters with a new whiskey; if the response to it is good, they may decide to make it more widely available after a year or two. So if you can’t easily get to an airport that sells this Maker’s, sit tight—you may still have your chance.

Knob Creek Twice Barreled Rye

Style: Straight rye
Origin: Kentucky
Age: Not stated
Proof: 50% ABV
Price: $45
Release: November 2018
Availability: Limited edition, but available nationwide

Need to know:

Knob Creek has taken its fully mature rye and put it into a second new charred oak barrel for a few months. This process imparts even more robust oak flavors on the whiskey.

Whisky Advocate says:

Double barreling—putting mature bourbon or rye into a second new charred oak barrel—has become a popular technique of late, though as Old Forester 1910 recalls, the method was actually invented over a century ago. According to Jim Beam master distiller Fred Noe, this new rye is currently a limited-edition offering, but Knob Creek may opt to make it permanent if it receives a strong response.

Grand MacNish 13 year old Rum Cask Finish

Style: Blended whisky
Origin: Scotland
Age: 13 years old
Proof: 43% ABV
Price: $45
Release: November 2018
Availability: 5,400 bottles; only sold in the U.S.

Need to know:

This blend of malt and grain whiskies matured for 12 years in ex-bourbon barrels before being finished for one year in rum casks.

Grand MacNish 15 year old Sherry Cask Finish

Style: Blended whisky
Origin: Scotland
Age: 15 years old
Proof: 43% ABV
Price: $55
Release: November 2018
Availability: 5,400 bottles; only sold in the U.S.

Need to know:

Matured for 14 years in ex-bourbon barrels, this whisky then spent an additional year finishing in sherry casks.

Whisky Advocate says:

Both of these whiskies, part of Grand MacNish’s Limited Release Double Matured series, were finished at InchDairnie Distillery in the Lowlands, whose own whiskies are still maturing. Grand MacNish 13 year old Rum Cask Finish and 15 year old Sherry Cask Finish are available only in the United States.

Freeland Spirits Bourbon

Style: Bourbon
Origin: Indiana
Age: Not stated
Proof: 47% ABV
Price: $49
Release: November 2018
Availability: 800 bottles in OR, WA, and CA

Need to know:

A blend of 3 and 12 year old bourbons from Indiana, this whiskey was finished for five months in Pinot Noir barrels from Elk Cove Winery.

Whisky Advocate says:

Freeland Spirits currently distills gin and is planning to make rye whiskey from organic Oregon grains. In the meantime, the distillery is sourcing whiskey from Indiana’s MGP Distillery, blending, and finishing it in local wine barrels.

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