Macallan 50, Dalmore 45, Glenlivet Code & More New Whisky

It’s a big week for well-aged scotch. Macallan is releasing a 50 year old single malt that aged in a single Spanish oak sherry butt, while Dalmore has unveiled a 45 year old which includes whiskies finished in two vintage tawny port pipes.

The Macallan 50 year old costs $35,000, and only 200 bottles are available (35 for the U.S.), while The Dalmore 45 year old rings up at $12,500 with 500 bottles for sale.

Meanwhile, Glenlivet is reprising the same elements of mystery that surrounded its Alpha release a few years ago. The Glenlivet Code is a Speyside single malt whisky, and that’s about all we know of it. Glenlivet wants drinkers to taste the whisky and determine for themselves what aromas and flavors they detect; then, at the end of the year, the distillery will reveal details about the whisky’s maturation. While Alpha was very limited in quantity, Code is more widely available and will have a shelf price of $120.

In American whiskey new releases, Michter’s is rolling out its 2018 crop of 10 year old single barrel bourbon. Always available in limited quantities, this highly rated whiskey is likely to sell out, so go look for it soon if you want to buy a bottle ($120).

Barrell has a new batch of its bourbon as well. Barrell Bourbon Batch 015 contains whiskeys from Tennessee and Indiana that range in age from 9 and a half to 11 years old. In addition, Barrell is debuting a new whiskey called Infinite Barrel Project. Inspired by the solera process, the company has combined a number of different barrels in a large container and drawn off a portion of the liquid to bottle. It will keep adding whiskey over time and bottling the resulting liquid in batches. Each batch will be completely different, and that’s the point. The first batch, which should be hitting shelves in May, contains American, Polish, scotch, and Irish whiskeys. Both the bourbon and Infinite Barrel project are bottled at cask strength and will cost $70.

California’s St. George Spirits has been making Baller single malt whiskey for a few years, but it has been available only in its home state due to limited quantities. Now there’s enough to expand distribution outside California, and Baller will be available for $65 in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, Rhode Island, Texas, and Washington, plus the UK and Singapore.

Finally, Douglas Laing & Company is releasing a 25 year old Ardbeg as part of a special series celebrating its 70th anniversary, though it won’t be available in the U.S. Read on for full details.

The Macallan 50 Year Old

Style: Single malt
Origin: Scotland (Speyside)
Age: 50 years old
Proof: 44% ABV
Price: $35,000
Release: April 2018
Availability: 200 bottles worldwide; 35 in the U.S.

Need to know:

Macallan’s latest hyper-aged release, this single malt spent half a century maturing in a single European oak sherry butt.

Whisky Advocate says:

Macallan released a Sherry Oak 40 year old last December for $9,000, followed earlier this year by a 1977 vintage Fine & Rare cask that was also a full 40 years old but cost $15,000. Although this 50 year old only has ten more years of age on it, the price is nearly four times price of the Sherry Oak and more than twice that of the 1977 vintage. All these whiskies seem targeted to the collector—but hopefully at least some buyers will decide to open and drink them.

The Dalmore 45 Year Old

Style: Single malt
Origin: Scotland (Highlands)
Age: 45 years old
Proof: 40% ABV
Price: $12,500
Release: April 2018
Availability: 500 bottles for the world

Need to know:

The Dalmore’s latest super-aged luxury whisky is 45 years old and spent most of its life in ex-bourbon casks, before being transferred to two vintage tawny port pipes from 1961 and 1963. It is packaged in a Baccarat crystal decanter.

Whisky Advocate says:

The press release about this whisky states that it has been “purposefully retained at 40% ABV”—apparently this is the proof master blender Richard Paterson believes best suits the whisky’s flavor profile.

The Glenlivet Code

Style: Single malt
Origin: Scotland (Speyside)
Age: Not stated
Proof: 48% ABV
Price: $120
Release: April 2018
Availability: Widely available

Need to know:

Following up on its Alpha release—which came out in 2013 and withheld details about maturation and other characteristics for a time—Glenlivet is inviting drinkers to unlock the mysteries of Code. The non-age-statement whisky is debuting with no tasting notes or information; instead, there’s a code on the bottle that, when scanned using Shazam, opens a website where Glenlivet master distiller Alan Winchester asks users to choose which aromas and flavors they pick up in the whisky. At the end of the year, Glenlivet will reveal details about the whisky.

Whisky Advocate says:

Refining your palate—picking up the nuances in a variety of whiskies and pinpointing the exact aromas and flavors—takes a long time. For some of us, it’s a lifelong journey. Mystery whiskies offer an exciting way to push yourself forward, forcing you to determine not only whether or not you like the liquid, but also why. This is Glenlivet’s second mystery bottling; Compass Box also released one recently, Phenomenology—one of the top 10 whiskies in our Spring 2018 Buying Guide.

Michter's 10 Year Old Single Barrel Bourbon (2018 Release)

Style: Straight bourbon
Origin: Kentucky
Age: 10 years old
Proof: 47.2% ABV
Price: $120
Release: March 2018
Availability: Limited

Need to know:

The newest batch of Michter’s 10 year old bourbon is rolling out to store shelves now. Approved by both master distiller Pamela Heilmann and master of maturation Andrea Wilson, the whiskey will be available wherever Michter’s is sold, but in limited quantities.

Whisky Advocate says:

Michter’s fans eagerly await the yearly single barrel bourbon release, and with good reason—it’s great whiskey. The last three releases reviewed by Whisky Advocate scored 88, 90, and 91 points. This whiskey tends to fly off the shelves, so if you’re thinking of buying a bottle in 2018, look for it sooner rather than later.

Barrell Bourbon Batch 015

Style: Bourbon
Origin: Multiple (Tennessee and Kentucky)
Age: Not stated, but at least 9 and a half years old
Proof: 53.8% ABV
Price: $70
Release: March 2018
Availability: Limited

Need to know:

The newest bourbon from Barrell Craft Spirits blends whiskeys sourced from undisclosed distilleries in Tennessee and Kentucky. The blend includes bourbons aged for 9 and a half, 10, and 11 years.

Barrell Infinite Barrel Project (February 12, 2018 bottling)

Style: Blend of multiple types of whisky
Origin: Multiple (Tennessee, Indiana, Poland, Scotland, and Ireland)
Age: Not stated
Proof: 59.65% ABV
Price: $70
Release: May 2018
Availability: Limited

Need to know:

Independent whiskey bottler Barrell has devised an homage to the infinity bottle (a bottle that is topped up indefinitely with an ounce or two of various whiskies, creating a unique blend). Taking cues from the solera system—but not imitating it exactly—Barrell aims to create a unique blended product with each release. It puts together several barrels in a large vessel, then removes a portion of the liquid for bottling, and later tops up the blending vessel with additional, new whiskies. The first release includes Tennessee whiskey and rye, Indiana whiskey finished in oloroso sherry butts, Indiana rye, Polish 100% malted rye finished in Curaçao barrels, scotch, and Irish whiskey.

Whisky Advocate says:

Barrell has made a name for itself as a bottler and blender of unique spirits (Whisky Advocate reviewers have found the whiskeys to be top quality), but this latest release takes things to a new level, blending across styles and national borders in a way few other whisky makers have attempted. Even more exciting, each release of the Infinite Barrel Project will be completely different. Barrell founder Joe Beatrice says the company will release a new bottling “as needed,” and you can follow the progression of the Infinite Barrel on Barrell’s website.

St. George Baller (2018 Release)

Style: Single malt
Origin: California
Age: Not stated
Proof: 47% ABV
Price: $65
Release: April 2018
Availability: Limited availability in AZ, CA, CO, FL, GA, IL, MA, NJ, NV, NY, RI, TX, and WA, plus the UK and Singapore

Need to know:

“A California take on the Japanese spin on scotch whisky”—that’s how St. George Spirits’ master distiller, Lance Winters, describes Baller. It’s made of 100% malted barley, aged in used bourbon and French oak wine barrels, and finished in barrels that formerly held St. George’s umeshu, a Japanese-style plum liqueur.

Whisky Advocate says:

This isn’t a new release, but it’s the first time Baller will be available outside of its home state, California, since its debut in 2016. At a solid 85 points, Baller is definitely worth tasting, especially for fans of fruity, floral single malt (that umeshu cask exerts quite the influence!).

Douglas Laing XOP Platinum Ardbeg 25 year old

Style: Single malt
Origin: Scotland (Islay)
Age: 25 years old
Proof: 50.5% ABV
Price: £900
Release: April 2018
Availability: 251 bottles; not available in the U.S.

Need to know:

As it celebrates its 70th birthday this year, independent bottler Douglas Laing & Company is releasing a special four-bottle series within its Xtra Old Particular range called XOP Platinum. The first release is a 25 year old Ardbeg matured in refill hogsheads and bottled at cask strength with no chill filtering or added coloring. Each label is numbered and signed by second- and third-generation family members Fred Laing and Cara Laing.

Whisky Advocate says:

In addition to this special-edition XOP Platinum bottling—the first of four to be released in 2018—Douglas Laing is offering a two-pack (£450) of 35 year old whiskies in its Old Particular line. Consisting of two 500-ml. bottles, the pack includes a 35 year old Cambus single grain and a 35 year old Caol Ila single malt. Unfortunately, none of these whiskies will be available in the U.S.—though if you want to celebrate Douglas Laing’s big anniversary, why not toast them at WhiskyFest D.C. where they’ll be pouring a number of their Remarkable Regional Malts?

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