New Johnnie Walker, Col. E.H. Taylor, and WhistlePig

It’s a mixed bag of new whiskies this week: Johnnie Walker launches the first in its new Blenders’ Batch series; Buffalo Trace has released its latest Col. E.H. Taylor, Jr. bourbon; WhistlePig is debuting its first whiskey made with rye distilled and matured on its Vermont farm; Hochstadter’s has a super-aged rye whisky from Alberta Distillers; and Woodford Reserve‘s special Derby bottle is rolling out.

Johnnie Walker Triple Grain American Oak

Style: Blended scotch
Proof: 41.3% ABV
Price: $30
Release: March 2017
Availability: Nationwide while supplies last

Need to know:

In the course of his work, Johnnie Walker master blender Dr. Jim Beveridge conducts hundreds of experiments to develop new flavor profiles for the brand. This is the first release in the new Blenders’ Batch series, which will feature some of Beveridge’s experimental blends. Per the name, this one includes three types of grain whisky: wheat, barley, and corn.

Whisky Advocate says:

Johnnie Walker has revealed the two component malt whiskies—Cardhu and Mortlach—as well as one of the three grain whiskies—Port Dundas—used in this blend, noting that all have been aged for at least 10 years in American oak. This kind of transparency is a welcome development—let’s hope it continues with future releases.

Colonel E.H. Taylor, Jr. Four Grain Bourbon

Style: Straight bourbon
Origin: Kentucky
Proof: 50% ABV
Price: $70
Release: April 2017
Availability: Limited

Need to know:

Aged for 12 years and bottled in bond, this bourbon was made with corn, rye, wheat, and malted barley. It’s the ninth release in Buffalo Trace’s Colonel E.H. Taylor, Jr. line since the launch of the collection in 2011.

Whisky Advocate says:

Colonel E.H. Taylor whiskeys consistently score in the high 80s and 90s in our Buying Guide, and there’s no reason to expect this whisky won’t be up to par. Like the other releases, expect this one to sell out quickly.

WhistlePig FarmStock

Style: Blended rye whiskey
Origin: Vermont, Indiana, and Alberta, Can.
Proof: 43% ABV
Price: $90
Release: March 2017
Availability: Limited—only 100 barrels were blended for this release

Need to know:

WhistlePig has long bottled sourced whiskey, but it’s been distilling on its Vermont farm since October 2015. This release contains 20% house-made whiskey, 49% whisky from Alberta Distillers finished in Vermont oak (aged 5 years), and 31% whiskey from MGP (aged 12 years). The Vermont-made component is around 17 months old for this initial batch, but will increase in age for future batches, maxing out at 2 years old.

Whisky Advocate says:

Master distiller Dave Pickerell created the WhistlePig-made whiskey used in this blend. It’s the first of future “triple-terroir” releases from the brand, but there’s no word yet on when we can expect a bottle of 100% WhistlePig-distilled whiskey.

Hochstadter’s Family Reserve 16 year old Rye

Style: Straight rye
Origin: Alberta, Can.
Proof: 61.9% ABV
Price: $200
Release: March 2017
Availability: 7,500 bottles

Need to know:

This is a 100% rye whisky from Alberta Distillers that’s aged in new charred American oak and bottled in Philadelphia, unfiltered and undiluted.

Whisky Advocate says:

Joining Slow & Low Rock & Rye and a vatted straight rye, this is the first release from Hochstadter’s with so much age on it. Older rye from Alberta Distillers (like Lock Stock and Barrel) can be a beautiful thing—here’s hoping this one continues the trend.

Woodford Reserve Kentucky Derby 2017 Bottle

Style: Straight bourbon
Origin: Kentucky
Proof: 45.2% ABV
Price: $44 (liter)
Release: March 2017
Availability: Nationwide

Need to know:

Woodford is the official bourbon of the Kentucky Derby, and this commemorative bottle—like those of years past—celebrates the famous race with custom artwork. This year’s label was created by Chicago artist Thomas Allen Pauly, the official artist of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah. (Yes, the horse has his own official artist!)

Whisky Advocate says:

If you’re a fan of Woodford and/or horse racing, this pretty bottle has your name all over it. It’s a liter, rather than the standard 750-ml. bottle, meaning you can make 33% more Mint Juleps on Derby Day.

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