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96

Booker’s 25th Anniversary Bourbon Batch No. 2014-1, 65.4% Price: $100.00

Brand: Booker's
Category: Bourbon/Tennessee

The complete package: uncut, unfiltered, full-flavored, richly textured (almost chewy), and very complex. Notes of toffee-coated nuts, vanilla fudge, polished leather, cedar-tinged tobacco, barrel char, cocoa powder, and a hint of fig, wrapped up with a firm oak grip on the finish. Worth every penny of the premium price being charged for this commemorative release. Editor's Choice.
(Summer 2014) Reviewed by: John Hansell

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95

Compass Box The Peat Monster 10th Anniversary Special Cask Strength Bottling, 54.7% Price: $120.00

Brand: Compass Box
Category: Blended Scotch Whisky

As you’d expect, solid peat is the first thing out of the glass, but this isn’t just a peat beast. Underneath are honey, dried fruit, and malt. The palate is all about balance, with honeyed malt, raisin, and oak spice all complementing smoky peat. A lush mouthfeel makes you forget it’s cask strength. A pure love note in a glass from Compass Box to Park Avenue Liquor.  (Park Avenue Liquor only)
(Summer 2014) Reviewed by: Geoffrey Kleinman

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95

The Last Drop 50 year old, 50.9% Price: $4,000.00

Brand: The Last Drop
Category: Blended Scotch Whisky

Would you have gambled The Last Drop 1960 liquid in new sherry wood for four more years? The indulgent nose proffers maple syrup, buckwheat honey, roasted spices, blue grapes, pomegranate, raspberry compote, cilantro, pandan leaf, and beefsteak juices soaking into mushroom gills. The complex, lustrous mouthfeel is replete with a sheen of rich maltiness, molasses lashed by sherry before a dry, resinous finish. Water brings an oily nuttiness, then further drops produce a silky, clingy texture. Glorious. Miraculous. Victorious. (388 bottles only)
(Summer 2014) Reviewed by: Jonny McCormick

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94

The John Walker, 40% Price: $3,500.00

Brand: Johnnie Walker
Category: Blended Scotch Whisky

The pinnacle of the current Johnnie Walker range, this is a rare, inimitable blend of just nine whiskies. It exudes the aromas of ripe bananitos, whole mango, satsuma, vanilla seeds, barley awns, butter biscuits, and crystallized pineapple. The supple grain sustains indulgent, characterful malts creating a weighty, smooth mouthfeel. I’m smitten by the vanilla creaminess, burgeoning deep fruit layers, how it swells with a satisfying snuffbox smokiness. A beautifully styled blend delivering a captivating, sensuous experience. (330 bottles only)
(Summer 2014) Reviewed by: Jonny McCormick

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94

Brora 40 year old Single Cask 1972 Vintage, 59.1% Price: $11,824.00

Brand: Brora
Category: Single Malt Scotch

Just 160 bottles of 1972 Brora are available through UK World of Whiskies and World Duty Free Group stores. The oldest bottling of Brora to date was distilled using heavily-peated malt. A big hit of oily peat on the early nose, with malt, dried fruit, and black pepper. Mildly medicinal. The palate yields bonfire ash, licorice, honey, more pepper, and well-integrated oak. The finish is long, with peat smoke, plain chocolate, and tannins lingering in harmony. Complex and rewarding. £7,000
(Summer 2014) Reviewed by: Gavin Smith

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93

Johnnie Walker Odyssey, 40% Price: $1,100.00

Brand: Johnnie Walker
Category: Blended Malt Scotch whisky

Jim Beveridge delivered these aromas of toffee apple, peach, and rich berry fruits by working with European oak casks. The smoke is timid, with hints of background salinity. The finely structured mouthfeel is where this triple malt whisky truly shines: the polished smoothness is exceptional. The flavor journey begins with honey, citrus, and swirling melted chocolate, building to a fire of squeezed orange oils, dry fruits, and pecan nuttiness before concluding with rich espresso, dark caramels, and plain chocolate. Immaculate.
(Summer 2014) Reviewed by: Jonny McCormick

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93

Evan Williams Single Barrel (Barrel No. 1) 2004, 43.3% Price: $27.00

Brand: Evan Williams
Category: Bourbon/Tennessee

Polished and nicely balanced, with caramel as the main note, followed by candied fruit, soft vanilla, sweet corn, and nougat. Subtle spice (ginger, cinnamon) and gentle oak on the finish round out the sweet notes. Easygoing demeanor and very drinkable. Great value too! A very pleasing, versatile bourbon. Value Pick.
(Summer 2014) Reviewed by: John Hansell

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93

Cragganmore Triple Matured Edition, 48% Price: $135.00

Brand: Cragganmore
Category: Single Malt Scotch

Bottled for Friends of the Classic Malts (which means most of you), this is Cragganmore in early autumnal guise. Dry leaves underfoot, ripe black fruits on the bushes, waxed jacket, chestnut, and a whiff of cedary smoke, opening into dried peach. The palate is thickly textured, with those fruits, dark chocolate, and pomegranate molasses. The immensely long finish gives you light pepper, smoke, and blackberry jam. Cragganmore at its very best, and at a great price. £80
(Summer 2014) Reviewed by: Dave Broom

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93

Mortlach 18 year old, 43.4% Price: $304.00

Brand: Mortlach
Category: Single Malt Scotch

Deep amber in color with the green glints of first-fill sherry, this has bosky notes and meat—mutton and venison—plus graphite, bitter chocolate, and wet rock before layers of dried stone fruits and date. This is the most savory and Bovril-like of the new range. The palate is feral and earthy; think mushroom with game pie, and rowan berries. Deep, but with more dimensions than the previous 16 year old which, in comparison, seems like a blunt instrument. £180/500 ml
(Summer 2014) Reviewed by: Dave Broom

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92

Crown Royal XO, 40% Price: $45.00

Brand: Crown Royal
Category: Canadian

A rich luxurious whisky finished in cognac casks, as was the crisper, brighter Cask No. 16 that it replaces. This is the cedary, leathery, tobacco-ish sipping whisky of the private club. Simple toffee and the cherry essence of Beaujolais nouveau evolve into ripe red apples and heavy, dusky, dark fruit with candied citrus peel, bitter almond skins, and hints of oak. Sizzling gingery spice and white pepper linger over textured sandalwood. Defined by its heavy, creamy body.
(Summer 2014) Reviewed by: Davin de Kergommeaux

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