New Macallan, Highland Park, Compass Box, & More New Whisky

This is a great week for scotch lovers. A whole boatload of new single malts—and a couple new blends—are rolling out to store shelves. First, Macallan has two new releases to track down: Fine Oak 18 year old—which was released overseas before coming to the U.S.—joins the existing Fine Oak range of age statement whiskies. Macallan Classic Cut, on the other hand, is an NAS whisky bottled at cask strength. It’s around for a limited time only and has a recommended price of $89.

Macallan’s parent company, Edrington Group, also owns Highland Park, and the Orkney distillery has a new whisky designed with music in mind. Highland Park Full Volume is around 18 years old and was matured entirely in ex-bourbon casks. Like Glenmorangie Pride 1974, the whisky has a custom piece of music written to go with it.

Compass Box is debuting two new blended malts. Although the company has famously fought for more transparency in scotch labeling, it is deliberately holding back information about its new Phenomenology blend to give drinkers a chance to form their own opinions. (Don’t worry: Compass Box will reveal the information in December—or will send it to you sooner, if you share your tasting notes first.) Compass Box’s new No Name is its peatiest whisky yet—quite the feat for the makers of The Peat Monster.

Meanwhile, Loch Lomond Group has four new whiskies coming out: two from its Glen Scotia Distillery in Campbeltown and two from Loch Lomond Distillery, bottled under the Inchmoan name. Glen Scotia 18 year old and 25 year old are both pretty limited, but worth seeking out if you want to try older Campbeltown whisky. Meanwhile, Inchmoan 12 year old and 1992 Vintage show off some of the characteristics of whisky distilled on Loch Lomond’s unique straight necked pot stills.

There’s also a new blended scotch from The Last Drop, a luxury independent bottler that releases extremely rare (and expensive) whiskies and spirits. The 45 year old blend had three separate maturation periods over its lifespan.

Beyond Scotch, Redemption is launching three barrel-strength, age-statement whiskeys—older, stronger versions of its existing rye, bourbon, and high-rye bourbon.

And West Cork Distillers, which makes a number of Irish whiskeys, is debuting the first two releases in its new Glengarriff Series. The whiskeys highlight West Cork’s use of local ingredients, including bog oak and local peat. Read on for full details.

Macallan Fine Oak 18 year old

Style: Single malt
Origin: Scotland (Speyside)
Age: 18 years old
Proof: 43% ABV
Price: $250
Release: Fall 2017
Availability: Limited

Need to know:

Macallan’s Fine Oak series has been around for well over a decade, touting its approachability as it combines both sherry and bourbon cask-matured whiskies. This 18 year old combines whiskies matured in sherry seasoned European oak, sherry seasoned American oak, and bourbon seasoned American oak.

Whisky Advocate says:

Although it was released in other markets before now, the 18 year old Fine Oak is only just becoming available in the U.S.

Macallan Classic Cut

Style: Single malt
Origin: Scotland (Speyside)
Age: Not stated
Proof: 58.4% ABV
Price: $89
Release: Fall 2017
Availability: Limited edition

Need to know:

This is a new, cask-strength NAS Macallan. It combines whiskies matured in sherry-seasoned European oak and sherry-seasoned American oak.

Whisky Advocate says:

Macallan says “this special and memorable flavor profile will never be repeated.” The packaging says “2017 Release” but Macallan has stated that this is a one-time only release.

Highland Park Full Volume

Style: Single malt
Origin: Scotland (Islands)
Age: Around 18 years old
Proof: 47.2% ABV
Price: $100
Release: Fall 2017
Availability: Limited edition

Need to know:

This whisky was distilled in 1999 and aged entirely in bourbon casks. It was bottled this year.

Whisky Advocate says:

Highland Park has been rolling out new whiskies left and right, from Valkyrie and Magnus to this one. Full Volume was inspired by the similarities between producing music and blending whisky. Highland Park partnered with songwriter and producer Saul Davies, who created a special piece of music specifically for this whisky. (And if that sounds familiar, you might be remembering Glenmorangie Pride 1974, which inspired a piano composition.)

Compass Box Phenomenology

Style: Blended malt
Origin: Scotland
Age: Not stated
Proof: 46% ABV
Price: $180
Release: Fall 2017
Availability: 7,908 bottles for the world

Need to know:

Boutique blender Compass Box is releasing this blended malt with no information other than its ABV. The company wants drinkers to experience the whisky subjectively, and form their own opinions about it with no preconceived notions.

Whisky Advocate says:

Compass Box is well known for its efforts to bring more transparency to scotch, so this release—where everything about the whisky is concealed—might appear to go against that. But actually, master blender John Glaser just wants you to taste the whisky and decide for yourself how it is. According to the company, various people who tasted Phenomenology had wildly differing reactions; one person even described it as a “funky sherbet disco.” Compass Box will release full details about the whisky’s makeup in December 2017. If you just can’t wait, you can email the the company your own tasting notes and it will send you the recipe information—provided you agree to keep it a secret until the big reveal.

Compass Box No Name

Style: Blended malt
Origin: Scotland
Age: Not stated
Proof: 48.9% ABV
Price: $125
Release: Fall 2017
Availability: 15,000 bottles for the world

Need to know:

Like its sibling Phenomenology, Compass Box wants No Name to speak for itself. There are, however, details about its component malts: a large portion came from the distillery located on Pier Road in Islay, as well as the distillery in Port Askaig. A small amount came from the distillery located in Brora, with a finishing touch from an unnamed malt finished in French oak casks. Full information is on Compass Box’s website.

Whisky Advocate says:

Compass Box notes this is its peatiest whisky to date, but the peat character is different from that of the regular Peat Monster, due to the source of the main component whisky. Looks like we’ve got another bottle to add to our list of peat bombs!

Glen Scotia 18 year old

Style: Single malt
Origin: Scotland (Campbeltown)
Age: 18 years old
Proof: 46% ABV
Price: $140
Release: Fall 2017
Availability: 1,000 bottles for the U.S.

Need to know:

Glen Scotia incorporates both peated and unpeated malt. This whisky was aged in refill bourbon casks and refill American oak hogsheads, which were then vatted before a final 12-month finish in oloroso sherry casks.

Whisky Advocate says:

Campbeltown single malts are few and far between: there are only three active distilleries in the area, after all. (The other two are Springbank and Glengyle, which makes Kilkerran.) So an 18 year old Campbeltown single malt is rarer still. Glen Scotia tends to score solidly in the Whisky Advocate Buying Guide. We look forward to adding this one soon.

Glen Scotia 25 year old

Style: Single malt
Origin: Scotland (Campbeltown)
Age: 25 years old
Proof: 48.8% ABV
Price: $500
Release: Fall 2017
Availability: 100 bottles for NY, NJ, MD, FL, TX, CA, IL, MA, and GA

Need to know:

This whisky was matured in refill barrels before a 12-month finish in first-fill bourbon casks.

Whisky Advocate says:

Glen Scotia 25 year old scored 91 points in Whisky Advocate’s Fall 2017 Buying Guide; at the time, it was available only in overseas markets. Now a scant 100 bottles are coming to the U.S. Here’s what reviewer Gavin Smith had to say: “Lemon, ginger, pine resin, and a hint of sea salt on the nose, then banoffee pie develops. Luscious on the palate, with subtle spice, a touch of ashy smoke, and principally big orchard fruit notes. Drying in the lengthy finish, with a wisp of smoke, brine, and peppery oak. Glen Scotia at its characterful best.”

Inchmoan 12 year old

Style: Single malt
Origin: Scotland (Highlands)
Age: 12 years old
Proof: 46% ABV
Price: $70
Release: Fall 2017
Availability: Widely available

Need to know:

Inchmoan (“the island of peat”) is the name for one of the peated whiskies made at Loch Lomond Distillery. This 12 year old was aged in recharred American oak casks and refill bourbon casks.

Inchmoan 1992 Vintage

Style: Single malt
Origin: Scotland (Highlands)
Age: 25 years old
Proof: 48.6% ABV
Price: $500
Release: Fall 2017
Availability: 60 bottles for the U.S.

Need to know:

This 25 year old peated single malt, made at Loch Lomond Distillery, was aged in refill bourbon barrels.

Whisky Advocate says:

Loch Lomond Distillery has a unique still set-up. In addition to a column still for its grain whiskies, and swan-necked pot stills for malt whiskies, it also has pot stills with rectification columns which allow for a higher-ABV malt whisky to be produced. The 12 year old was made on both types of pot still. The 1992 Vintage, however, was made solely on the pot stills with rectification columns; when distilled, the spirit was collected at 83% ABV—much higher than the typical 60% to 70% ABV.

The Last Drop 1971 Blended Scotch Whisky

Style: Blended whisky
Origin: Scotland
Age: 45 years old
Proof: 47.2% ABV
Price: $3,999
Release: October 2017
Availability: 300 bottles for the U.S.

Need to know:

The Last Drop is an independent bottler that specializes in ultra-rare luxury whisky and other spirits. This latest release is a blended scotch that was first blended in 1983 as a 12 year old whisky. After most of the batch was bottled, the remainder was filled into 11 ex-oloroso sherry butts and left to age for another 9 years, before a portion was emptied and bottled as a 21 year old blend. The remainder of that remainder was again re-casked, this time into 9 ex-bourbon barrels—and now the final 45 year old blended whisky has been bottled for The Last Drop.

Whisky Advocate says:

The Last Drop has been bottling high-priced spirits, especially scotches, for several years. As you might expect, the whiskies are top in class, consistently scoring in the 90s in the Whisky Advocate Buying Guide. In 2016, The Last Drop was bought by Sazerac, the parent company of Buffalo Trace, among many other whiskey and spirits brands.

Redemption Aged Barrel Proof Straight 10 year old Rye

Style: Straight rye
Origin: Indiana
Age: 10 years old
Proof: 58.1% ABV
Price: $100
Release: October 2017
Availability: 2,700 bottles for select markets

Need to know:

This is Redemption’s regular straight rye whiskey—made with a 95% rye, 5% malted barley mashbill at MGP Distillery—bottled at cask strength and 10 years old.

 

Redemption Aged Barrel Proof High Rye 10 year old Bourbon

Style: Straight bourbon
Origin: Indiana
Age: 10 years old
Proof: 57.4% ABV
Price: $100
Release: October 2017
Availability: 5,700 bottles for select markets

Need to know:

This is Redemption’s High Rye Bourbon, bottled at barrel proof with a 10 year old age statement. The mashbill is 60% corn, 36% rye, and 4% malted barley.

 

Redemption Aged Barrel Proof 9 year old Bourbon

Style: Straight bourbon
Origin: Indiana
Age: 9 years old
Proof: 54.1% ABV
Price: $100
Release: October 2017
Availability: 9,000 bottles for select markets

Need to know:

This is Redemption’s regular bourbon, but bottled at barrel proof with a 9 year old age statement. The mashbill is 75% corn, 21% rye, and 4% malted barley.

Whisky Advocate says:

Redemption’s barrel proof releases take the regular whiskeys, upping their ABV and age. The number of bottles is always fairly limited, but more become available on an annual basis.

Glengarriff Bog Oak Charred Cask

Style: Single malt
Origin: Ireland
Age: Not stated, but around 4 and a half years old
Proof: 43% ABV
Price: $45
Release: Fall 2017
Availability: 4,800 bottles for the U.S.

Need to know:

This Irish single malt comes from West Cork Distillers. It was aged in sherry casks for four years, then transferred for six months to casks charred using bog oak from Ireland’s Glengarriff as the fuel source. The distillery uses a “proprietary charring device built…with the guidance of a local fifth-generation blacksmith.”

Glengarriff Peat Charred Cask

Style: Single malt
Origin: Ireland
Age: Not stated, but around 4 and a half years old
Proof: 43% ABV
Price: $45
Release: Fall 2017
Availability: 4,800 bottles for the U.S.

Need to know:

Like its sibling, this single malt from West Cork Distillers was matured for four years in sherry casks and then underwent a 6-month finishing period in special casks. These were charred using peat from the Glengarriff Forest.

Whisky Advocate says:

West Cork’s new Glengarriff Series highlights the distillery’s use of local ingredients. Next spring, West Cork will add two more limited-edition whiskeys to the collection: Glengarriff Cherry Charred Cask and Glengarriff Apple Charred Cask.

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