Kentucky Owl Rye, Bruichladdich Vintage Single Malt & More New Whisky

Many whiskeys have a good story behind them, but for Rabbit Hole’s newest bourbon, that story takes on particular poignancy. In an exclusive interview with Whisky Advocate, Rabbit Hole founder Kaveh Zamanian revealed why he chose the name Heigold, and what inspired the new names he’s given to the rest of the brand’s whiskeys. Heigold ($70) and the rebranded line roll out next month, first at the distillery and later more widely.

Other new whiskies are coming out as well. Kentucky Owl is releasing the third batch of its rye, this time with a 10 year old age statement. Priced at $200, Kentucky Owl Rye is available in limited amounts.

Bruichladdich Distillery on Islay is adding two new vintage releases to its core range. Bruichladdich 2010 Bere Barley is made with an ancient strain, while Bruichladdich 2010 The Organic is, as you might have guessed, distilled from organic barley. Both whiskies are $100, with 18,000 bottles of each available.

Eighth-generation Jim Beam distiller Freddie Noe has unveiled the third release of his Little Book series. While the last two bottlings were blends, this one is actually a straight bourbon, priced at $125 and available in limited amounts.

Seattle-based Westland Distillery is releasing the fourth iteration of its single malt aged in Pacific Northwest garry oak. Westland Garryana 4|1 costs $150, with 3,750 bottles available.

Boutique importer PM Spirits has bottled a third batch of its MGP-sourced bourbon, Mic.Drop. This time, the whiskey is roughly four years old. There are 8,000 bottles available, priced at $60.

Chattanooga Whiskey has unveiled two core releases of its “Tennessee high malt” style of bourbon: Chattanooga 91 ($35) and the barrel-proof Chattanooga Cask 111 ($45). Both whiskeys are widely available in several states.

The second batch of Irish single malt Egan’s Legacy Reserve is coming out, this time at 16 years old. Priced at $200, just 1,000 bottles are available, with 700 of those for sale in the U.S.

The Last Drop is launching a 56 year old blended scotch. The rare bottling costs $4,350, with 732 bottles available worldwide.

Finally, two scotches are coming out that will not be for sale in the U.S. Diageo is releasing a 40 year old Brora in honor of the 200th anniversary of the distillery; it’s priced at £4,500 (about $5,450). The company’s latest release from Lagavulin is a 10 year old, for sale at travel retail for £50 (about $61).

Read on for full details.

Kentucky Owl 10 year old Straight Rye (Batch #3)

Style: Straight rye
Origin: Kentucky
Age: 10 years old
Proof: 57% ABV
Price: $200
Release: August 2019
Availability: Limited edition

Need to know:

The third release of straight rye from Kentucky Owl, this includes whiskeys aged for at least 10 years. Like all Kentucky Owl products, it’s available in unspecified limited amounts.

Whisky Advocate says:

Kentucky Owl’s last two batches of rye were both 11 years old; Batch 1 scored 95 points while Batch 2 scored 93 points. This third release uses some younger whiskeys, but considering the strength of the first two, I wouldn’t be surprised to see this rye also rate highly.

Bruichladdich Bere Barley 2010

Style: Single malt
Origin: Scotland (Islay)
Age: 8 years old
Proof: 50% ABV
Price: $100
Release: August 2019
Availability: 18,000 bottles

Need to know:

Distilled from unpeated bere barley—an ancient strain that’s grown very little in modern times—this whisky was matured in bourbon barrels. The bere (pronounced “bear”) barley was grown on Orkney.

Bruichladdich The Organic 2010

Style: Single malt
Origin: Scotland (Islay)
Age: 8 years old
Proof: 50% ABV
Price: $100
Release: August 2019
Availability: 18,000 bottles

Need to know:

This certified organic whisky—one of just three made in Scotland, along with those from Benromach and Deanston—was distilled from barley grown in the Highlands and matured in first-fill bourbon casks.

Whisky Advocate says:

Bruichladdich last released its Bere Barley single malt in 2016 (travel retail), but the distillery’s supply of the grain is stable enough that it anticipates making the whisky an annual release—at least, so long as the harvest goes well. If there’s a bad growing year, the distillery would have to modify its release schedule. Bere Barley 2009 scored 82 points, while the 2008 vintage scored 89 points.

The Organic, meanwhile, was previously a travel retail-only whisky. From now on, it will be regularly available as a vintage product. No organic or bere barley is grown on Islay, which is why Bruichladdich sourced its grains for these whiskies from elsewhere in Scotland.

Little Book Chapter 3 "The Road Home"

Style: Straight bourbon
Origin: Kentucky
Age: Not stated
Proof: 61.3% ABV
Price: $125
Release: August 2019
Availability: Limited edition

Need to know:

The third offering in the annual Little Book series created by eighth-generation Jim Beam distiller Freddie Noe, this whiskey blends four different straight bourbons, each representing one of the original Beam Small Batch Collection brands: two 9 year olds (representing Knob Creek and Basil Hayden’s); an 11 year old (Booker’s); and a 12 year old (Baker’s). Jim Beam declined to share the exact number of bottles that will be released but confirmed that Chapter 3 will be more limited than Chapter 2.

Whisky Advocate says:

Freddie Noe, the son of current Beam master distiller Fred Noe, says his fascination with blending, as well as a desire to honor his grandfather, legendary Beam master distiller Booker Noe, led him to create the Little Book line. His debut whiskey, Little Book “The Easy,” a blend of bourbon, rye, malt, and corn whiskey, ranked as No. 11 in Whisky Advocate’s Top 20 Whiskies of 2017, while the second Little Book, called “Noe Simple Task,” took the same spot in the 2018 Top 20.

Westland Garryana Edition 4|1

Style: Single malt
Origin: Washington
Age: Not stated
Proof: 50% ABV
Price: $150
Release: September 2019
Availability: 3,750 bottles

Need to know:

The fourth release of Westland’s Garryana series expands upon the distillery’s use of Quercus garryana, a white oak native to the Pacific Northwest. This release blends Westland’s garry oak-aged single malt whiskey with whiskey aged in Pedro Ximénez sherry casks.

Whisky Advocate says:

While the first and second releases of Garryana were fully aged in the special oak, last year Westland opted to blend garry oak-aged whiskey with liquid aged in other cask types. It is illegal to cut down the oak trees, so all wood needs to be sourced from trees that fall naturally, making supply hard to come by. All the same, last year’s release scored the highest marks in the series (90 points). That release was far more limited (1,638 bottles), so either the wood was more abundant this year, or there’s a significant proportion coming from the sherry casks. Look for a review of 4|1 in an upcoming issue, and hear from Matt Hoffman himself on how to taste Garryana.

Rabbit Hole Heigold Straight Bourbon

Style: Straight bourbon
Origin: Kentucky
Age: Not stated
Proof: 46.5% ABV
Price: $70
Release: September 2019
Availability: Widely available

Need to know:

This straight bourbon was distilled from a mashbill of 70% corn, 25% malted rye, and 5% malted barley and aged for just under four years. It’s named for Christian Heigold, a 19th-century immigrant to Louisville whose patriotic carvings can still be seen in the city today.

Whisky Advocate says:

The story of Christian Heigold, who lived in a time when anti-immigrant rhetoric was strong, has particular resonance for Rabbit Hole founder Kaveh Zamanian. In a Whisky Advocate-exclusive announcement, Zamanian explained the connection to this man, and the stories behind the renaming of Rabbit Hole’s other whiskeys.

Mic.Drop Straight Bourbon (Batch 3)

Style: Straight bourbon
Origin: Indiana
Age: Not stated
Proof: 56.1% ABV
Price: $60
Release: September 2019
Availability: 8,000 bottles

Need to know:

The third iteration of Mic.Drop, this bourbon was distilled in 2015 at MGP from a mashbill of 60% corn, 36% rye, and 4% malted barley.

Whisky Advocate says:

Bottled by New York-based PM Spirits, the first batch of Mic.Drop came out in 2017, bottled at 56% ABV, while the second release (2018) was a 13 year old single barrel. This is the largest batch yet, and also the lowest-priced at $60, versus $100 for Batch 1 and $450 for the single barrel.

Chattanooga 91 Whiskey

Style: Straight bourbon
Origin: Tennessee
Age: Not stated
Proof: 45.5% ABV
Price: $35
Release: August 2019
Availability: Widely available in TN, AL, FL, GA, and SC

Need to know:

Distilled from a mashbill of 75% corn and 25% malts—malted rye, caramel malted barley, and honey malted barley—this whiskey is technically a straight bourbon but was created in a style that Chattanooga Whiskey refers to as “Tennessee high malt.” It does not go through the Lincoln County Process and is therefore not a Tennessee whiskey.

Chattanooga Cask 111 Whiskey

Style: Straight bourbon
Origin: Tennessee
Age: Not stated
Proof: 55.5% ABV
Price: $45
Release: August 2019
Availability: Widely available in TN, AL, FL, GA, and SC

Need to know:

This is an unfiltered and barrel-proof version of Chattanooga’s Tennessee high malt whiskey.

Whisky Advocate says:

Tennessee high malt isn’t a regulated whiskey style, but Chattanooga Whiskey has trademarked the name and defined it through its innovative recipes. These two core expressions, both made in the same way, are the result of years of effort. Head distiller Grant McCracken explains: “This particular recipe was selected from over 100 different barrels made [at the distillery]—all between early 2015 and late 2016. We thought this recipe nailed the balance between a classic bourbon profile and our own high malt style. It’d be nice to say we got the recipe right on the first try, but this was actually the 91st barrel we produced there. Guess the 91st time’s a charm!”

Egan's 16 year old Legacy Reserve II

Style: Single malt
Origin: Ireland
Age: 16 years old
Proof: 46% ABV
Price: $200
Release: August 2019
Availability: 1,000 bottles, including 700 for the U.S.

Need to know:

Following up on last year’s Legacy Reserve, which was 15 years old, this single malt whiskey from the Egan’s brand adds another year of age. After initially maturing in bourbon casks, the whiskey was finished in banyuls wine casks.

Whisky Advocate says:

Banyuls is a sweet, fortified wine made in the Pyrenees of France, and its use for whisky maturation is rare. Expect this whiskey to have notes of chocolate and sweet fruit—and look for a review in the Fall issue of Whisky Advocate, hitting newsstands in October.

The Last Drop 56 Year Old Blended Scotch

Style: Blended whisky
Origin: Scotland
Age: 56 years old
Proof: 47.2% ABV
Price: $4,350
Release: September 2019
Availability: 732 bottles

Need to know:

Initially distilled in 1963, this scotch was later blended and bottled as a 12 year old. Some of the liquid remained, however, and was transferred to sherry casks, where it continued maturing for several years more. The whisky was later transferred again to four bourbon barrels, which are now being bottled by The Last Drop.

Whisky Advocate says:

While old scotch isn’t in and of itself so rare, such a mature blended scotch doesn’t come around very often. What’s most unusual about this release is that the malt and grain whiskies were initially aged separately, then blended, and then that blend was put back in casks for continued maturation; typically, once the blend is put together, it’s bottled and that’s that.

Brora 40 year old 200th Anniversary Edition

Style: Single malt
Origin: Scotland (Islay)
Age: 40 years old
Proof: 49.2% ABV
Price: £4,500 (about $5,450)
Release: August 2019
Availability: 1,819 bottles; not for sale in the U.S.

Need to know:

In honor of the 200th anniversary of Brora Distillery’s founding, parent company Diageo is releasing a 40 year old whisky drawn from heavily peated stocks distilled in 1978, all matured in American oak hogsheads.

Whisky Advocate says:

This is the first Brora to launch since the 2017 Diageo Special Releases, and it precedes the re-opening of the distillery—which was announced in 2017—by about a year. Unfortunately, this whisky is not for sale in the U.S.

Lagavulin 10 year old

Style: Single malt
Origin: Scotland (Islay)
Age: 10 years old
Proof: 43% ABV
Price: £50 (about $61)
Release: August 2019
Availability: Travel retail only

Need to know:

Exclusive to Dufry Travel Retail stores, this 10 year old Lagavulin was matured in first-fill bourbon casks.

Whisky Advocate says:

If you drink Lagavulin, you don’t need me to tell you that it’s pretty darn tasty. There hasn’t been a 10 year old in recent memory, but its 9 year old, released as part of the Game of Thrones collection, scored 90 points.

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