New Johnnie Walker Ghost and Rare, Jack Daniel’s Barrel Proof Rye & More New Whisky

Even if you’re not hitting a whisky trail, there’s still plenty of excitement to be had in a new bottle or two—and this week brings six new whiskies to taste.

First up, Johnnie Walker’s third installment in the Blue Label Ghost and Rare series will be hitting shelves this October. With the main rare malt sourced from Glenury Royal Distillery—closed in 1985—the blend is priced at $350 and available in limited amounts.

Also limited, although much more affordable, is the latest release in Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Tasters’ Selection: Barrel Proof Rye. There are about 24,000 half-size bottles of the whiskey for sale at Jack Daniel’s Distillery and select Tennessee retailers, priced at $40 each.

Meanwhile, Buffalo Trace Distillery has unveiled the latest limited-edition Col. E.H. Taylor, Jr. bourbon. Made with amaranth as the flavoring grain, rather than rye or wheat, the whiskey is available in limited amounts for $70.

Compass Box is revamping the recipe for The Peat Monster, its heavily peated blended malt. The new whisky can be identified by its updated packaging. It’s widely available, and the price of $65 remains the same as before.

Talisker has bottled its oldest whisky to date, a 41 year old finished in manzanilla sherry casks. Just 2,000 bottles of the whisky are available, priced at £2,900 ($3,631); unfortunately, none are for sale in the U.S.

Finally, Laws Whiskey House in Denver is releasing a bottled in bond wheat whiskey, one of the first examples ever. There are 600 bottles priced at $70 each, available only in Colorado.

Read on for full details.

Johnnie Walker Blue Label Ghost and Rare Glenury Royal

Style: Blended whisky
Origin: Scotland
Age: Not stated
Proof: 43.8% ABV
Price: $350
Release: October 2019
Availability: Limited edition

Need to know:

The third release in Johnnie Walker Blue Label’s limited-edition Ghost and Rare series, this blend features single malt from the Glenury Royal Distillery, which closed in 1985. Whiskies from the “ghost” distilleries of Cambus and Pittyvaich are also included in the blend.

Whisky Advocate says:

The first two Ghost and Rare blends were well-received, netting 91 points for the inaugural release and 94 points for the Ghost and Rare Port Ellen edition. I’m anticipating a similarly high score for this whisky, although with Glenury Royal being such a truly rare single malt, it’s hard to predict much about the flavor. Look for a review in an upcoming issue!

Jack Daniel's Barrel Proof Straight Rye

Style: Straight rye
Origin: Tennessee
Age: Not stated
Proof: 63.8% ABV
Price: $40 (375-ml.)
Release: July 2019
Availability: Around 24,000 bottles; for sale at the distillery and select TN retailers only

Need to know:

The newest release in Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Tasters’ Selection, this is the distillery’s straight rye whiskey bottled with no added water. It is available for sale now.

Whisky Advocate says:

In addition to this barrel-proof rye—which is a first for Jack Daniel’s—the distillery announced details on its next release in the Tennessee Tasters’ Selection of limited-edition whiskeys. Reunion Barrel #2 will be coming out later this fall and will feature Jack Daniel’s finished in an oatmeal stout barrel. Stay tuned for more details!

Col. E.H. Taylor, Jr. Amaranth Bottled in Bond Bourbon

Style: Bottled in bond bourbon
Origin: Kentucky
Age: Not stated but at least 10 years old
Proof: 50% ABV
Price: $70
Release: July 2019
Availability: Limited edition

Need to know:

This limited-edition bourbon from Buffalo Trace Distillery was made with an unusual flavoring grain. Rather than wheat or rye, the whiskey’s secondary ingredient (after corn) is amaranth, an ancient grain cultivated by the Aztecs. The bourbon was produced in accordance with the Bottled in Bond Act of 1897 and aged for over ten years.

Whisky Advocate says:

Bourbon’s most common flavoring grain is rye, followed by wheat. Few distillers have ventured beyond those two grains to try something else, although there are some bourbons that are just corn and malted barley, or 100% corn. Amaranth—which is technically a pseudocereal—is, by its nature, a pretty rare crop, so it has barely been touched even by the most experimental distillers. This E.H. Taylor won’t be repeated, so if you’re curious how the “grain of the gods” tastes in bourbon, be sure to seek it out.

Compass Box The Peat Monster

Style: Blended malt
Origin: Scotland
Age: Not stated
Proof: 46% ABV
Price: $65
Release: Summer 2019
Availability: Widely available

Need to know:

Compass Box is revamping the liquid for The Peat Monster, along with its packaging. The new recipe is 99% Islay-sourced whisky, including 64% Caol Ila and 35% Laphroaig, with the remaining 1% a blended Highland malt aged in custom, heavily toasted French oak casks.

Whisky Advocate says:

The Peat Monster was originally developed in 2003 for New York City retailer Park Avenue Liquors, and its popularity soon made it a more widely available whisky. In 2016, Compass Box founder and head whisky maker John Glaser worked with a group of whisky enthusiasts to determine the profile of the ideal peaty scotch, and last year, he was able to source stocks of whisky aged for 10 years and up that could be blended to match that profile. The result is a new recipe for The Peat Monster, which has also been repackaged with a fresh label. Full recipe details for the new and old versions of Peat Monster can be found on Compass Box’s website.

I’ll be speaking with John Glaser about the evolution of The Peat Monster shortly. Watch this space!

Talisker Bodega Series 41 year old

Style: Single malt
Origin: Scotland (Islands)
Age: 41 years old
Proof: 50.7% ABV
Price: £2,900 ($3,631)
Release: August 2019
Availability: 2,000 bottles; not for sale in the U.S.

Need to know:

The oldest Talisker ever released, this whisky was distilled in 1978 and finished in manzanilla sherry casks from Bodega Delgado Zuleta.

Whisky Advocate says:

Talisker at several decades old is a beautiful thing; when Diageo bottled a 35 year old Talisker in 2012 as part of its Special Releases, the whisky scored 92 points. Undoubtedly this 41 year old will be equally delicious, but, alas—there won’t be any coming to the U.S.

Laws Whiskey House Centennial Bonded Straight Wheat Whiskey

Style: Bottled in bond wheat whiskey
Origin: Colorado
Age: 4 years old
Proof: 50% ABV
Price: $70
Release: July 2019
Availability: 600 bottles; for sale in Colorado only

Need to know:

One of the first bottled in bond wheat whiskeys ever released (Oregon Spirit Distillers did it first), this was distilled from Colorado-grown soft white Centennial spring wheat and aged for four years.

Whisky Advocate says:

Wheat whiskey in general isn’t a very common style; Bernheim 7 year old from Heaven Hill is the most readily available brand. Bottled in bond wheat whiskey is, as you can see, rarer still, with just two distilleries so far making it. But more and more distilleries are releasing bonded whiskey these days, so it’s only a matter of time before there’s another example or two.

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