Rare Japanese Single Malts, Laphroaig 30 Year Old & More New Whisky

Remember the beaver whiskey? It’s back again, with New Hampshire’s Tamworth Distilling releasing a new batch available through Warehouse Wines & Spirits. The 200-ml bottles are a hefty $70 apiece, but where else are you going to get whiskey flavored with castoreum from a beaver’s anal glands?

If you prefer your whisky unadulterated, however, there are plenty of new releases free of animal products. Nikka is offering a pair of single malts, one each from its Miyagikyo and Yoichi distilleries, blending whiskies from the 1960s through today. Priced at $3,500, there are just 70 bottles of each variant coming to the U.S.

Laphroaig is launching a new series of well-aged single malts in honor of former distillery manager Ian Hunter, starting with a 30 year old aged in bourbon barrels. The whisky is priced at $1,250, with limited amounts available.

Glendalough Distillery has unveiled its first single pot still whiskey ($55), along with a 17 year old single malt finished in mizunara casks ($299) and a 25 year old single malt finished in virgin Irish oak ($399). The single pot still whiskey has good availability, with limited amounts of the 17 and 25 year olds for sale.

Israel’s M&H Distillery is debuting in the U.S. with two single malts—one peated, one not—under the label Whisky in Bloom. The whiskies are priced at $55, available in limited amounts with expansion planned.

Independent bottler The Perfect Fifth is launching in the U.S. with four single cask scotches: a 42 year old Cambus single grain, and well-aged single malts from Highland Park, Glen Scotia, and Springbank. Prices range from $850 to $3,500, with only a few hundred bottles of each whisky, at most, available.

Pennsylvania’s Wigle Distillery is releasing a 5 year old bottled in bond rye. Just 250 bottles, priced at $75, are for sale.

Finally, Virginia Distillery Co. (VDC) has bottled the second whisky in its Journey Cask Collection, a single-cask single malt from The English Whisky Co. Priced at $125, the whisky is for sale primarily at VDC’s tasting room.

Read on for full details.

12/17/19: This article has been updated to reflect new information about the age of M&H’s whiskies6

Nikka Miyagikyo Limited-Edition 2019

Style: Single malt
Origin: Japan
Age: Not stated
Proof: 48% ABV
Price: $3,500
Release: December 2019
Availability: 70 bottles available in the U.S.

Need to know:

Created in honor of the 50th anniversary of Miyagikyo Distillery, this single malt contains whiskies from the 1960s, ’70s, ’80s, ’90s, and 2000s, including some of the first whisky distilled there.

Nikka Yoichi Limited-Edition 2019

Style: Single malt
Origin: Japan
Age: Not stated
Proof: 48% ABV
Price: $3,500
Release: December 2019
Availability: 70 bottles available in the U.S.

Need to know:

Made at Miyagikyo’s sibling distillery, Yoichi, this single malt also includes whiskies from the 1960s through the 2000s. It has a peatier character than Miyagikyo.

Whisky Advocate says:

While Miyagikyo opened in 1969, its older sibling, Yoichi, was founded in 1934; each distillery creates whiskies of very different character from the other, and that’s by design. Founder Masataka Taketsuru—often called the “father of Japanese whisky”—wanted to create a broad range of whiskies that could be used widely in blending. Nikka has found great success in this area; its blending prowess is on full display in Nikka From The Barrel, our 2018 Whisky of the Year.

Laphroaig 30 year old The Ian Hunter Story: Book One

Style: Single malt
Origin: Scotland (Islay)
Age: 30 years old
Proof: 46.7% ABV
Price: $1,250
Release: December 2019
Availability: Limited edition

Need to know:

Laphroaig is launching a new whisky series called The Ian Hunter Story, honoring the last member of the founding Johnston family to manage the distillery between 1908 and 1944. “Book One” is a 30 year old cask-strength single malt matured in first-fill bourbon barrels. The bottle is packaged in a book-style box.

Whisky Advocate says:

The 2002 release of 30 year old Laphroaig was only $225 (those were the days), but it’s not surprising to see how much the price has gone up 17 years later—that’s the trajectory of single malt scotch. Considering how much other distilleries are selling their 30-ish year old whiskies for (see below), you could do much worse, price-wise.

Glendalough Pot Still Single Cask Irish Whiskey (Batch 1)

Style: Single pot still
Origin: Ireland
Age: Not stated
Proof: 43% ABV
Price: $55
Release: Winter 2020
Availability: 21,000 bottles, including 10,500 for the U.S.

Need to know:

The first single pot still whiskey from Glendalough (distilled at West Cork), this whiskey was matured in bourbon casks and finished in virgin casks made of Irish oak. It is bottled as a single-cask whiskey, with each bottle indicating the cask and even the individual tree that supplied it.

Glendalough 17 year old Mizunara Cask-Finished Single Malt

Style: Single malt
Origin: Ireland
Age: 17 years old
Proof: 46% ABV
Price: $299
Release: Winter 2020
Availability: 6,000 bottles, including 3,000 for the U.S.

Need to know:

Matured first in bourbon casks for 15 years, this single malt whiskey then spent two years finishing in virgin mizunara oak casks. There will be 6,000 bottles (include 3,000 for the U.S.) released per year for the next four years.

Glendalough 25 year old Irish Oak-Finished Single Malt

Style: Single malt
Origin: Ireland
Age: 25 years old
Proof: 46% ABV
Price: $499
Release: Winter 2020
Availability: 1,700 bottles, including 752 for the U.S.

Need to know:

Matured for 15 years in bourbon casks and a further 10 years in oloroso sherry casks, this single malt then underwent a finishing period in virgin Irish oak casks.

Whisky Advocate says:

Glendalough opened its distillery in 2011 and, until recently, was making primarily gin. It has begun distilling single pot still whiskey in house, however. (Its current single pot still stocks were all made at West Cork Distillers.)

Glendalough has also invested in using Irish oak for maturation, something that’s been done by only one other whiskey maker—Ireland’s pre-eminent distillery, Midleton, in its Dair Ghaelach series. Those are rather expensive offerings, while the new single pot still from Glendalough, finished in Irish oak, is priced within reach of many additional curious drinkers. Incidentally, Glendalough announced this week that it has been fully acquired by Canada’s Mark Anthony Brands, which means more capital to make whiskey. I expect we’ll be seeing much more from the distillery going forward.

By the way, Glendalough’s previous mizunara cask-finished whiskey, at 13 years old, was No. 18 in the 2018 Top 20.

M&H Whisky In Bloom Unpeated

Style: Single malt
Origin: Israel
Age: 2 years old
Proof: 46% ABV
Price: $55
Release: Winter 2020
Availability: 1,560 bottles; for sale in the U.S.

Need to know:

Made at M&H (Milk & Honey) Distillery in Tel Aviv, this whisky matured for just over two years in bourbon and STR (shaved, toasted, and recharred) wine casks.

M&H Whisky In Bloom Lightly Peated

Style: Single malt
Origin: Israel
Age: 2 years old
Proof: 46% ABV
Price: $55
Release: Winter 2020
Availability: 1,080 bottles; for sale in the U.S. only

Need to know:

Like its unpeated counterpart, this whisky was made at M&H and aged for 2 years. Its cask makeup, however, includes not just bourbon and STR casks, but Islay whisky casks, which lend a light peatiness to the whisky.

Whisky Advocate says:

Israel’s first whisky distillery, M&H opened in 2012 and has previously released a few single malts in other markets. This is the first time it is exporting the whisky to the U.S. M&H labels these expressions as “young single malt,” acknowledging that it plans to continue maturing its whiskies for longer periods of time. The distillery has an advantage, however: the hot and humid climate of Tel Aviv. This type of environment promotes interaction between the liquid and the cask, as well as evaporation leading to oxidation; the result is that whisky achieves mature flavors quicker. (If you’ve had whisky from Taiwan or India, you’ve already experienced this type of maturation in the glass.)

These whiskies are both certified as kosher and available only in the U.S.

The Perfect Fifth Single Cask Single Malts

Style: Single malt and single grain
Origin: Scotland
Age: Varies
Proof: Varies (cask strength)
Price: $850 to $3,000
Release: December 2019
Availability: Limited edition; for sale in Los Angeles and online

Need to know:

A new independent bottler headed by CEO Karl Schoen, The Perfect Fifth aims to select whiskies that capture nostalgia and the flavors of single malt from past generations. The first four releases include:

  • 1976 Cambus 42 year old single grain—57.6% ABV, $1,250, 134 bottles. Matured in a bourbon barrel filled on September 9, 1976 and bottled May 9, 2019.
  • 1987 Highland Park 31 year old single malt—47.1% ABV, $3,000, 186 bottles. Matured in a first-fill sherry hogshead filled on June 30, 1987 and bottled May 9, 2019.
  • 1992 Glen Scotia 27 year old single malt—45.9% ABV, $850, 173 bottles. Matured in a first-fill bourbon barrel filled on June 1, 1992 and bottled May 9, 2019.
  • 1993 Springbank 25 year old single malt—52.3% ABV, $1,500, 517 bottles. Matured in a first-fill sherry butt filled on June 1, 1993 and bottled May 9, 2019.

Whisky Advocate says:

“The Perfect Fifth” is a play on words, referring to both the musical chord and the 750-ml bottle, also called a fifth. Each of these whiskies is packaged in a bottle within a miniature cask. The prices are a reach for almost all drinkers, but these types of single casks can be great if you’re looking for a special scotch, especially one distilled within a particular year, to mark a birthday or anniversary.

Wigle Deep Cut 5 year old Bottled in Bond Rye

Style: Straight rye
Origin: Pennsylvania
Age: 5 years old
Proof: 50% ABV
Price: $75
Release: December 2019
Availability: 250 bottles

Need to know:

The first bottled in bond whiskey from Wigle, this was made from organic rye and aged for 5 years—one year longer than the required 4-year aging period for bottled in bond.

Whisky Advocate says:

While for sale primarily in Pennsylvania (in some stores and at the distillery), this whiskey can be shipped where legal. The current release is tiny, but Wigle has plans to continue putting out bottled in bond rye as it comes of age.

Virginia Distillery Co. Britannia 8 year old Single Malt

Style: Single malt
Origin: England
Age: 8 years old
Proof: 64.6% ABV
Price: $125
Release: December 2019
Availability: 243 bottles; available at the distillery and online

Need to know:

Made at The English Whisky Co. in Norfolk, England, this cask-strength single malt was aged in a bourbon cask. Virginia Distillery Co. (VDC) bottled it as part of its Journey Cask Collection, which celebrates the late founder Dr. George Moore and important themes in his life and career. In this case, VDC partnered with The English Whisky Co. thanks to their shared values as family-founded companies.

Whisky Advocate says:

The English Whisky Co. makes both peated and unpeated single malts; this particular cask is unpeated. Whisky Advocate reviewers have generally found the distillery’s quality to be good, with a recent single-cask release scoring 90 points. The first release in the Journey Cask Collection, Hibernia 11 year old Irish single malt, scored 89 points.

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