New Booker’s, Bowmore 27 Year Old & More New Whisky

It’s been another big week for whisky lovers. Westward Whiskey announced a partnership with Diageo’s Distill Ventures unit, a move that allows the American single malt brand to expand its production and availability.

Diageo also unveiled full details of its 2018 Special Releases, including pricing.

While some information was previously available, the company announced that its tenth Special Release whisky this year is a blended malt called Cladach. Not every whisky will be available in the U.S. We got all the details.

Meanwhile, there are many other new whiskies coming out now and in the next few weeks. The third 2018 batch of Booker’s is hitting shelves. Called “Kentucky Chew,” it was aged 6 years, 4 months, and 12 days and clocks in at 63.35% ABV. It has the usual price tag of $70-$75.

Bowmore has unveiled the third and final whisky in its Vintner’s Trilogy, a 27 year old that matured first in ex-bourbon barrels and then in port pipes. The second maturation actually exceeded the first by a year. The whisky costs $520 and is bottled at cask strength, 48.3% ABV.

Compass Box has two new blended malts coming out this month: the sixth release of its popular limited-edition Flaming Heart, and a permanent whisky called The Story of the Spaniard which matures much of its liquid in Spanish wine and sherry casks. With just over 15,000 bottles available, Flaming Heart costs $150 and has an ABV of 48.9%, while The Story of the Spaniard is widely available at $65 and 43% ABV.

Kentucky’s Limestone Branch Distillery is rolling out the 2018 Limited Edition Yellowstone bourbon. This third and final special release uses the same finishing barrels as the previous two iterations, this time heavily charring them. There are 12,000 bottles of the 50.5% ABV bourbon available at $100 apiece.

Meanwhile, the George Remus bourbon brand, owned by and made at MGP in Indiana, will release Remus Repeal Reserve Series II in November. The 50% ABV bourbon combines two different mashbills distilled in 2007 and 2008. It will cost $85 and be available in limited quantities.

Another extremely limited bourbon distilled at MGP is coming: Mic Drop 13 year old, a single barrel bottled at cask strength (55.5% ABV). Just 140 bottles are available at $450 each.

A. Smith Bowman Distillery in Virginia is offering two single barrel bourbons—one at 69.8% ABV and the other 45% ABV—via online lottery, both in memory of late master distiller Truman Cox. Each whiskey costs $100 and must be picked up at the distillery. The lottery runs September 14-21. Proceeds will benefit Shriners Hospitals for Children, at the request of Cox’s family.

Detroit City Distillery will release three single-barrel bourbons this fall at its tasting room: Smoked, Four Grain, and Red bourbon, which is finished in red wine barrels. Each bourbon will be 50% ABV and cost $70.

Finally, Ardgowan in Scotland—which doesn’t yet have a distillery—is offering a 20 year old blended malt called Expedition. Some of the whisky in the blend was taken to the South Pole by a father-and-son team raising awareness for renewable energy. Expedition costs £500; it is not available in the U.S.

Read on for full details.

Booker's 2018-03 "Kentucky Chew"

Style: Straight bourbon
Origin: Kentucky
Age: 6 years, 4 months, and 12 days
Proof: 63.35% ABV
Price: $70-$75
Release: September 2018
Availability: Limited

Need to know:

The third 2018 release of Booker’s bourbon is called Kentucky Chew, named for the way Booker Noe liked to take a sip of whiskey, swishing it around in his mouth and smacking his lips in such a way that he appeared to be “chewing” it.

Whisky Advocate says:

Fans of barrel-proof bourbon don’t need to be told that Booker’s always delivers big flavor. This year’s first release, Kathleen’s Batch, scored 92 points in the Whisky Advocate Buying Guide; we review the second release, Backyard BBQ, in the Fall issue. Look for it on newsstands in early October!

Bowmore 27 year old Port Cask

Style: Single malt
Origin: Scotland (Islay)
Age: 27 years old
Proof: 48.3% ABV
Price: $520
Release: September 2018
Availability: Limited

Need to know:

The third and final release in Bowmore’s Vintner’s Trilogy, this whisky spent 14 years maturing in ex-bourbon casks before a 14-year secondary maturation in port pipes. The ABV of 48.3% is cask strength—that’s how dramatic the angels’ share effect on the alcohol was.

Whisky Advocate says:

Cask-finishing scotch typically takes a few months or, at most, a year or two, but longer periods do occur. Just last week Glenmorangie announced a single malt that had been “finished” for 15 years in madeira casks, while this Bowmore had a secondary maturation period that exceeded its first. When you taste the whisky, there should be no doubt of the port cask’s influence.

Compass Box Flaming Heart (Sixth Release)

Style: Blended malt
Origin: Scotland
Age: Not stated
Proof: 48.9% ABV
Price: $150
Release: September 2018
Availability: 15,050 bottles

Need to know:

Originally launched in 2006, Flaming Heart has seen subsequent releases in 2007, 2010, 2012, and 2015. The blend includes Caol Ila, Clynelish, and Deanston single malts, along with a blended malt of Clynelish, Dailuane, and Teaninich and another blended malt of Glen Ord, Benrinnes, and Allt à Bhainne; full details can be found at Compass Box’s website.

Whisky Advocate says:

Every release of Flaming Heart has been well-received; it’s the longest-running limited-edition whisky from Compass Box for a reason. The most recent release, celebrating Flaming Heart’s 15th anniversary, scored 93 points in the Whisky Advocate Buying Guide.

Compass Box The Story of the Spaniard

Style: Blended malt
Origin: Scotland
Age: Not stated
Proof: 43% ABV
Price: $65
Release: September 2018
Availability: Widely available

Need to know:

A permanent addition to Compass Box’s core range, this whisky includes single malts from Deanston, Glen Elgin, Teaninich, and “near Aberlour,” as well as a blended malt of Clynelish, Dailuane, and Teaninich. The whisky and name were inspired by a bespoke blend that Compass Box made for New York City bar The Spaniard which featured mainly oloroso sherry cask-matured whiskies. The Story of the Spaniard includes 48% whiskies matured in ex-sherry casks, as well as 25% in Spanish red wine casks. The recipe may vary from year to year, but sherry or sherry-style wine casks will always play a key role. Full details about the whisky’s recipe can be found at the Compass Box website.

Whisky Advocate says:

New whisky from Compass Box is always welcomed, and the addition of a permanently available blended malt is even better! We look forward to reviewing this soon.

Limestone Branch 2018 Yellowstone Limited Edition Bourbon

Style: Straight bourbon
Origin: Kentucky
Age: Not stated
Proof: 50.5% ABV
Price: $100
Release: October 2018
Availability: 12,000 bottles

Need to know:

The third and final release of Yellowstone Limited Edition combines 4 to 12 year old Kentucky straight bourbons, including some distilled at Limestone Branch Distillery. Unlike the regular expression of Yellowstone Select, this whiskey had a finishing period. In the 2016 release, the bourbon was finished in new wine barrels; in 2017, those same barrels were lightly charred before being used again. This year, the same set of barrels was deeply charred for the finishing period.

Whisky Advocate says:

This whiskey is blended by Steve Beam, who co-founded and runs Limestone Branch Distillery, which is partly owned by Luxco, owners of Lux Row Distillers. The 2016 Yellowstone Limited Edition scored 92 points.

Remus Repeal Reserve (Series II)

Style: Straight bourbon
Origin: Indiana
Age: Around 10 years old
Proof: 50% ABV
Price: $85
Release: November 2018
Availability: Limited

Need to know:

The second release of Remus Repeal Reserve, this whiskey combines bourbons distilled at MGP in 2007 and 2008; two mashbills with different amounts of rye were used. The makeup is as follows:

  • 50% bourbon distilled in 2008 (21% rye)
  • 15% bourbon distilled in 2007 (21% rye)
  • 25% bourbon distilled in 2008 (36% rye)
  • 10% bourbon distilled in 2007 (36% rye)

Each release of Repeal Reserve will showcase a different combination of bourbons.

Whisky Advocate says:

The first release of Remus Repeal Reserve came out in 2017; find full details of the whiskeys used here. It scored 87 points in the Whisky Advocate Buying Guide. Since this bourbon is completely different, there’s no predicting how it will fare—but we look forward to reviewing it soon. Stay tuned!

Mic Drop 13 year old Single Barrel Straight Bourbon

Style: Straight bourbon
Origin: Indiana
Age: 13 years old
Proof: 55.5% ABV
Price: $450
Release: Fall 2018
Availability: 140 bottles

Need to know:

This is a 13 year old MGP bourbon bottled by PM Spirits. The mashbill is 75% corn, 21% rye, and 4% malted barley, and it’s bottled at cask strength.

Whisky Advocate says:

With just 140 bottles and a price tag of $450, there’s clearly a small target audience for this bourbon. The first release of Mic Drop, which came out in 2017, was much more accessible at 8 years old and $100, several thousand bottles available. PM Spirits is planning additional releases of Mic Drop in the future, but has not said whether those will be single barrels or blends.

A. Smith Bowman Truman Cox Commemorative Series

Style: Straight bourbon
Origin: Virginia
Age: Varies
Proof: 69.8% ABV and 45% ABV
Price: $100
Release: September 14-21, 2018 by online lottery only—asmithbowman.com/truman
Availability: 100-250 bottles of each release

Need to know:

Virginia’s A. Smith Bowman Distillery is releasing two single-barrel bourbons in honor of its late master distiller, Truman Cox. Cox passed away suddenly in 2013 at the age of 44. The Truman Cox Commemorative Series includes “First Whiskey Barrel,” a barrel-proof bourbon from the first barrel Cox filled on December 7, 2010, and “Emerson Cox Barrel,” a 45% ABV bourbon that was distilled at Buffalo Trace and transferred to A. Smith Bowman in November 2012 to celebrate the adoption of “Emmy,” Truman Cox’s daughter.

Both whiskeys are being offered through an online lottery that goes live on September 14 and runs until September 21; at noon that day, entries will be drawn and the winners will get the chance to purchase the whiskey, which must be picked up in person at the distillery. All proceeds will be donated to Shriners Hospitals for Children.

Whisky Advocate says:

When Truman Cox died suddenly at such a young age, many whiskey lovers were shocked and saddened. Kudos to A. Smith Bowman for raising funds for a cause chosen by his family. We believe that it’s never a bad idea to help others through your love of whisky.

Detroit City Distillery Bespoke Bourbons

Style: Bourbon
Origin: Michigan
Age: Not stated
Proof: 50% ABV
Price: $70
Release: Fall 2018
Availability: 100-250 bottles of each release

Need to know:

Detroit City Distillery is launching three single barrel bourbons in honor of its fourth anniversary:

  • Smoked Bourbon, which includes oak-smoked malt in the mashbill and aged for two years in a 30-gallon barrel
  • Four Grain Bourbon, which has a mashbill of corn, wheat, rye, and oak-smoked barley and celebrates the diversity of Michigan’s agriculture
  • Red Bourbon, which is the distillery’s Butcher’s Cut bourbon finished in a cabernet-merlot wine barrel from nearby Fieldstone Winery

Each bourbon will be released at the distillery only on October 6 (Smoked), November 2 (Four Grain), and December 7 (Red).

Whisky Advocate says:

Located in the former Stroh’s ice cream factory (that was itself formerly Goebels Brewery), Detroit City Distillery has been one of the city’s leaders in craft whiskey. It also makes gin and vodka. In addition to the “Whiskey Factory,” the company also has a tasting room in Eastern Market serving its spirits and cocktails.

Expedition 20 year old Blended Malt Scotch

Style: Blended malt
Origin: Scotland
Age: 20 years old
Proof: 46% ABV
Price: £500
Release: September 2018
Availability: 600 bottles; not available in the U.S.

Need to know:

Blended and bottled by Ardgowan Distillery, this 20 year old scotch contains whisky that was carried to the South Pole by explorer Robert Swan and his son, Barney, as they trekked to raise awareness of renewable energy during the South Pole Energy Challenge. The whisky was blended by Willie Phillips, chairman of the upcoming Ardgowan Distillery, using malts from Speyside and the northern Highlands.

Whisky Advocate says:

With a site just west of Glasgow, Ardgowan Distillery is still in the planning stages; last year, the company was seeking investors to begin construction. It plans to begin construction in 2019. In the meantime, Ardgowan will release sourced whiskies, though most will be much more affordable than this limited edition.

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