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92

Compass Box The Circus, 49% Price: $275.00

Brand: Compass Box
Category: Blended Scotch Whisky

Ringmaster John Glaser’s latest Big Top attraction: the nose juggles dark marmalade, almonds, sweet sherry, dates, and dried pineapple. Flavors swing like a trapeze between deep orange, dried tropical fruits, nuts, and chocolate, with the silky composure of a seal balancing a ball on its nose. Ridiculously smooth; if you’re looking for burn, try fire eating instead. Knife throwers accurately pinpoint the finish: fruit, (thud) chocolate (thud), spice (THUD). In this manner, Mr. G. will challenge the world! (2,490 bottles)
(Fall 2016) Reviewed by: Jonny McCormick

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92

1792 Full Proof, 62.5% Price: $45.00

Brand: 1792
Category: Bourbon/Tennessee

No age statement on the label, but aged for 8 1/2 years. Bottled at the same ABV as its entry proof into the barrel. Lush and mouth-coating. A pleasingly sweet bourbon, with caramel, nougat, and chewy toffee, mixed with ripe orchard fruit, golden raisin, and creamy vanilla. Soothing finish. A wonderful way to end a meal. (With a cigar, perhaps?) This is a beautiful bourbon and a great value given its quality, ABV, and price.
(Fall 2016) Reviewed by: John Hansell

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92

Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve (No. 3405), 60% Price: $47.00

Brand: Knob Creek
Category: Bourbon/Tennessee

Think caramel bomb. Once you pass the crème brûlée, caramel chew, and other variations of the confectionary, vanilla custard, pumpkin, toasted pecan, raisins, light German chocolate cake, praline, tobacco, cigar box, sandalwood, and earth surface. It’s mouth-coating, covering every inch, tingling from the palate’s roof to the back of the neck. The incredibly long finish sits there with caramel. The only knock here is that caramel can be overwhelming, but it’s also bourbon’s staple note. (New Hampshire only)
(Fall 2016) Reviewed by: Fred Minnick

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92

William Grant Rare Cask Reserves Ghosted Reserve 21 year old, 42.8% Price: $140.00

Brand: William Grant
Category: Blended Scotch Whisky

A purity and fragility rarely encountered, with aromas as fleeting as footprints on wet sand: marshmallow, meringue, honey, and rose petals. A delicacy to the structure brings banana, caramel, spun sugar, and orange peel. The oak spices build slowly, making the lips throb from the inside. It’s an elaborate maze of ethereal suggestion and an apparition of calm beauty. It atrophies reluctantly, leaving tangy peels and lengthy sweetness anchored by spicy base notes. (12,000 bottles)
(Fall 2016) Reviewed by: Jonny McCormick

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92

Limeburners Barrel Strength Heavy Peat, 61% Price: $539.00

Brand: Limeburners
Category: Australian Whisky

Burning driftwood, crisp bacon fat, and melting asphalt in a heat wave cut through with vanilla cream, butterscotch, and chocolate ganache. Great Southern distillery has unleashed a multidimensional beast that opens innocently with vanilla and honey, quickly blown away by a blast of salt and pepper before a deep, primeval base of peat and spice well up from the depths of your soul. Amazingly, great tenderness even at this strength, with a long, complex finish of smoke, sweetness, and spice. A$700
(Fall 2016) Reviewed by: Jonny McCormick

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92

Booker’s Rye, 68.1% Price: $300.00

Brand: Booker's
Category: Rye Whiskey

Is this perfect? From the look and nose, yes. Rich caramel and campfire smoke early on; it’s robust, but balanced. Crème brûlée with a sultry smokiness, raw honey with a dusting of nutmeg and a Scotch ale malt profile that’s creamy and mouth-coating. Alas, a heavy bite hides much, needing water to open up. A drop adds complexity, spice, vanilla, chocolate, and licorice.
(Fall 2016) Reviewed by: Fred Minnick

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92

Lock Stock & Barrel Straight Rye 16 year old, 53.5% Price: $150.00

Brand: Lock Stock & Barrel
Category: Canadian

Another Lock Stock & Barrel all rye-grain whisky from the pot still at Alberta Distillers. To the sweet oak caramels, vanilla, and potent spiciness of new charred American oak barrels, it adds spring flowers, blistering black pepper, and blackstrap molasses. Firewood, Smith Brothers black cough drops, and new leather bring dimension to ever-present cloves and egg-noggy nutmeg. Canada balsam, licorice, cherries, clean oak, and the heat of high proof, then a long, hot, sweet and spicy finish with vegetal undertones.
(Fall 2016) Reviewed by: Davin de Kergommeaux

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91

Swiss Highland Ice Label Edition 1, 58.5% Price: $186.00

Brand: Swiss Highland
Category: Swiss

Inside an ice palace located 11,332 feet up the Jungfraujoch, this American oak oloroso butt matured gracefully at a chilly but constant 25°F. A rich vista of currants, red Anjou pears, pecan brittle, musty spices, and saline, with a rootsy, earthy vibe. Flavors climb through intense vanilla, fleeting balsamic notes, a ridge of succulent cherry, sherry, and sultana. Orange and grapefruit at the summit. Drawn-out spice and oak finish, then clove and peppermint. A pinnacle of Swiss whisky making. (981 bottles) CHF179
(Fall 2016) Reviewed by: Jonny McCormick

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90

Buffalo Trace 15 Minute Infrared Light Wave Barrels, 45% Price: $47.00

Brand: Buffalo Trace
Category: Bourbon/Tennessee

Nicely rounded and very drinkable. Warming cinnamon, vanilla bean, and dried fruit, wrapped up in creamy caramel and light toffee. Pleasant, gently sweet finish. Great anytime. 375ml
(Fall 2016) Reviewed by: John Hansell

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90

Evan Williams Single Barrel 2007 Vintage (Barrel No. 724), 43.3% Price: $30.00

Brand: Evan Williams
Category: Bourbon/Tennessee

Aged slightly more than 9 years. (The annual single barrel releases jumped last year from approximately 10 years old to 9 years old, with both a 2005 and 2006 vintage released in the same year.) A mélange of fruit (apricot, candied citrus, pineapple, golden raisin) spiked with fresh mint and cinnamon on a bed of caramel and vanilla. In true form, this bourbon is flavorful and well-rounded.
(Fall 2016) Reviewed by: John Hansell

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