Canadian Club Chronicles 42 year old The Dock Man, 45%
Canadian | $270
The Chronicles collection debuted two years ago with the release of the 40 year old. This, the third annual release, incorporates a smidgen of younger rye and a dash of brandy. The nose and palate are deep and complex. Fruity and floral on the nose, with hints of raisin tarts, apple skins, and apricots. A sweet fruitiness, with mild peppers, baking spices, and a crisp, vaguely tannic backbone. Extended fruity, glowing finish.
Redbreast 20 year old Dream Cask Pedro Ximénez Edition, 52.5%
Irish Single Pot Still | $415
Following one of 2018’s most collectible releases, this vatting of four mature pot still whiskeys finished in a PX butt is quite a departure for Redbreast. The nose has incredible depth, with dark, sticky, concentrated black cherry, candied peel, coriander leaf, vanilla, allspice, clove, and whole almond. This heavy, unctuous, mouth-coating whiskey resonates with rich fruits, clove, licorice, and juicy blackberry, ending with pot still spice and bitter notes. (924 bottles) €380
Loch Lomond 2002 Kerr Cellars Red Wine Cask-Finished, 48.1%
Single Malt Scotch | $200
Delicately aromatic and tropical on the nose, with piña colada, pistachio pudding, almond halva, coconut, and apple blossom. The palate is elegant and pretty, nuanced with pistachio, almond, vanilla malted milkshake, coconut, and pineapple, before sweeping oak and tobacco roll into a gorgeous tropical fruit and toasted coconut finish. A masterwork in balancing spirit character with finishing cask.
Amrut Norfolk Wine & Spirits Single Cask Single Malt (Cask #662), 60%
Indian Whisky | $230
Expressive and aromatic on the nose, with mingling aromas of spiced smoke—like burning
sage—dried herbs, sandalwood, rose petal, and citrus oil. Its high proof equals big flavor on the
palate: a rush of guava, pineapple, and kiwi dusted with cinnamon, then almond, pipe tobacco,
and mocha. Adding water brings out more savory notes that meld seamlessly with the spice, nuts,
and rich dark chocolate. The lush finish swirls with chocolate, raisins, bitter almonds, and
tropical fruit. You’d be forgiven for thinking this was sherry cask-finished, but it’s actually from
a single bourbon barrel. (120 bottles; Norfolk Wine & Spirits exclusive)
Kavalan 10th Anniversary Bordeaux Margaux Wine Cask-Matured Single Malt, 57.8%
Taiwanese Whisky | $283
Beautiful dark amber in color, this has a fabulous nose of lush red-berry fruits, blueberry, red apple, blackcurrant, Fabbri strawberries, peppercorn, wet slate, dry oak, wood spices, and smoked meats. The power of the muscular whisky matches the majesty of the wine cask: berry fruit flavors seep from the thick caramel mouthfeel amid an explosion of pepper at high strength, but with water added this still has incredible range. NT$8,800
This blend of single malt and pot still whiskeys exhibits the incredible synergy between chocolate, cinnamon, and pot still spices. Vinous at times from partial cognac-cask maturation, this has aromas of dark berry fruit, cinnamon, fudge, milk chocolate, malt biscuits, jellied fruit, and a smudge of dry spices. Compelling, well-structured whiskey, with cinnamon, chocolate, dark toffee, pepper, and ginger. It’s never cloying, nor overly sweet, just a richly rewarding glass.
Bardstown Bourbon Company Discovery Series #1 Kentucky Straight Bourbon, 60.61%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $130
Candy corn, butter, warm frosted buns, strawberry tart, and powdered sugar on the nose. The palate is spiced with cinnamon, clove, and roasted walnuts, as well as chocolate-covered cherries, raspberry cobbler, and a hint of coconut shavings. Length, depth, and heat on a finish of chocolate, caramel, and bursts of sweet baking spice. Deep and complex, balancing dark fruits, chocolate, spice, and tobacco. Powerful and subtle all at once.
Crown Royal Noble Collection French Oak Cask Finished, 40%
Canadian | $60
The fourth in this series is finished in air-dried French oak. Hints of butterscotch become fruity, with tinges of vanilla as the nose opens. A luxurious creamy palate develops peppery spices that dissolve into a sweet fruitiness with a glowing warmth in the back of the throat. A dynamic dram with lovely hot spices that advance, then retreat. The long finish is mildly sweet and spicy. Editors’ Choice
Johnnie Walker Ghost and Rare Glenury Royal Edition, 43.8%
Blended Scotch Whisky | $350
This presents a mellow bouquet of rich dried fruits, peat smoke, baked sugar on puff pastry, and almond butter cups. The chocolate-orange signature note ebbs and flows, mingling with spices and clove, nuts, dried apricot, caramel, vanilla, and baked apple, ending with a frisson of spice and mild smoke. Understated elegance: this whisky is polished smooth as glass.
A delightfully complex nose of vanilla, hot cross buns and bakery shop, cherries, coconut, raisins, figs, licorice, old leather, and hay barn. A smooth, viscous palate offers lemon honey, fragrant oak, cigar ash, dark berries, and more coconut. Spicier notes emerge with water, while the finish offers rich smoothness, with spiciness, chocolate-covered coconut, tobacco, and bitter herbs. Lots of depth and complexity. A great whiskey to enjoy with a cigar.
The nose offers fragrant orange, tea leaves, honey blossom, dried flowers, strawberry laces, and powdered sugar. The palate is surprisingly delicate, with notes of cigar ash, leather, blackberry preserves, vanilla milkshake, and balanced oak. The finish is long and rich, with dark fruit, cherry, strawberry, allspice, tobacco leaf, and polished oak. Water brings out toasty notes, cinnamon, clove, and strawberry preserves. Great depth, richness, and heat; stunningly formed.
George Dickel Bottled in Bond 13 year old (Distilled in Fall 2005) Tennessee Whiskey, 50%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $36
There’s so much peanut in this whiskey, it’s like standing in a JIF factory—but there’s also cracked corn, mixed berries, Coca-Cola, and fresh apples on the nose, along with weathered oak boards, and, when water is added, floral perfume. Powerful dense oak and cooked cherries, berries, and pomegranate on the palate, as well as cherry Popsicle and a heaping scoop of peanuts. The lengthy finish is rich with leathery oak, baking spice, roasted peanuts, and dark chocolate-covered cherries.
Exudes a tantalizing and heady aroma of baking spices, crème brûlée, and toasted oak, with Nilla Wafers and Jordan almonds lending confectionary notes. The oily mouthfeel and chewy viscosity are powerful yet balanced, as the lovely caramelized sweetness of grilled pound cake meets blackberry, lemon oil, ginger, and flickers of allspice. Focused and seamless in its rich tapestry of flavors. Editors’ Choice
This bottling from 1992 was distilled partly from dark-roasted chocolate malt. Classic Balvenie honey and fruit spices on the nose, with light oiliness, ginger, and orange blossom. Rich flavors of canned pears and pineapple in syrup on the palate, with hot chocolate and wood spices. Marzipan, dark chocolate, and black pepper in the long finish. A delightfully different Balvenie. (150 bottles)
Glen Scotia 2003 Campbeltown Malts Festival Rum Cask Finished (2019 Release), 51.3%
Single Malt Scotch | $90
The nose has sweet smoke and more prominent aromas of banana, vanilla, guava, papaya, jasmine, hibiscus, and citrus oil, with some salinity and chalky minerality. The palate is consistent: intense tropical fruit—guava, mango, coconut—plus hazelnut, smoked almonds, milk chocolate, and salty kelp. It finishes with smoked nuts, toasted tobacco, chalky minerality, dry oak, and persistent fruitiness. Lots to unpack here, and it develops beautifully with water—take your time.
GlenDronach 27 year old Grandeur (Batch 10), 50.1%
Single Malt Scotch | $700
The tenth limited release of Grandeur was matured in a mix of Pedro Ximénez and oloroso sherry casks. It offers a nose of ginger, raisins, old leather, smoky orange, blackcurrants, and walnuts. The palate is voluptuous, with full sherry notes, figs, dates, cinnamon, and cloves. Licorice and spicy dark chocolate in the lingering finish. (240 bottles for the U.S.)
The oldest in the quintet of expressions in the Glenrothes Soleo Collection, this was matured predominantly in first-fill sherry casks. The nose offers pineapple, mango, malt, and nutmeg. Richly sherried on the muscular palate, with caramel, citrus fruits, licorice, and wood tannins. The finish is long and drying, with sherry-soaked old oak. Glenrothes at its very best.
This was distilled in 2012 and matured in 43 red wine casks that had been shaved, toasted, and recharred, hence ‘STR.’ The nose offers rich, creamy, medicinal peat, sea salt, vanilla, and loganberries. Sweet berry notes and caramel on the slick palate, then peat gathers momentum, with cinnamon and tangy citrus fruits. The finish features barbecue smoke, chili, and black pepper. (1,920 bottles for the U.S.)
Keeps true to this award-winning whiskey’s oak-driven style, with aromas of lead pencil, leather, and fresh sawdust, balanced by dense fruitiness and tinged with herbal licorice and eucalyptus. Brawny and tannic on the palate, it’s reminiscent of sucking on a cherry Popsicle stick, balancing sweet caramel, brown sugar, and molasses with persistent oak, cedar shingle, clove, and paprika. A rustic, powerful, and robust bourbon.
Good complexity here, with malt, toffee, clementine peel, creamy vanilla, flapjacks, peppercorn, and brown sugar sprinkled over baked apple and pear tarts. Beautiful flavors of sugared nuts, orange fondant cream, then wave after wave of intense spices. It’s wonderful neat, adding lush caramel, marmalade, and nutty flavors toward the end. This is twice as scarce as last year, so get your skates on. (2,580 bottles)
Bottled at natural cask strength and without an age statement, this is clearly all-rye whisky with its lilacs, cloves, and baking spices. Strong hints of caraway point directly to rye, yet suggestions of antiseptic, black licorice, and butterscotch take this iconic dram in new directions. A handful of vocal fans have demanded cask strength, though this Lot 40 begs for water.
A pleasant, citrusy note of orange blossom on the nose, followed by licorice, dark cherry, cinnamon, and dusty oak. The palate is rich, mouth-filling and jammy, offering flavors of orange marmalade, sweet vanilla, maple syrup, French toast and strawberry jam. The finish is sweet corn, a reprise of orange, as well as vanilla, spice, and light tobacco. A robust bourbon (ice or water recommended) that’s subtle at the same time.
Gordon & MacPhail Private Collection 1954 (distilled at Glenlivet), 41%
Single Malt Scotch | $15,000
The nose yields baked apples, cherry blossom, marzipan, then blackcurrant cordial and a hint of coal smoke. The palate features cocktail cherries, sponge cake, faint sherry, plus prunes and raisins. The finish is very long; tannic, with musty black pepper. (50 Bottles in U.S.)
Old Bones 10 year old Reserve Straight Bourbon (Batch 5), 55%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $110
A soft, sweet nose of vanilla, peanuts, licorice, molasses, cherries, bubble gum, warehouse floor earthiness, oak, cedar, and spice. The palate is chewy, dense, and mouth-filling, with notes of cherry, blackberry jam, vanilla fudge, almond, tobacco leaf, and soft oak. The long, rich finish is the crowning moment, ending the ride with chocolate cream pie, almond, a ring of tobacco leaf, and a balanced oak influence. Holds its power superbly.
Highly charged aromatics, with vanilla pod, butterscotch, dried orchard and tropical fruits, orange peel, and rancio, developing notes of stewed fruit, rubbed mint, and early spring florals in time. A melee of stewed fruit, hard candy, citrus peel, toffee, and caramel on the palate, with an accompanying rumble of gentle spices and an interjection of lemon and lime. The fruit fades like an ebbing tide, leaving pepper and clove behind.
King of Kentucky 15 year old Straight Bourbon (2019 Release, Barrel 8), 65.5%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $250
Walnuts in maple syrup, grape jelly, cooked cherries, peanuts in Coke, ginger syrup, iced tea, and varnish on the nose. Adding water first reveals sweeter notes, then fully opens up the tightly wound palate, unfurling bittersweet chocolate, pipe tobacco, cherry pie, blackberry preserves, roasted spices, and sweet nuttiness. The lengthy finish is nutty and rich, with generous spice, chocolate, oak, and cola. Collectibles
Four Gate 11 year old Sherry-Rum Cask-Finished Bourbon (Batch 1), 61.7%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $200
Peanuts in the shell, PayDay bars, toasted grain, caramel, butterscotch, purple plums, ginger root, black tea, and layers of spice on the nose. The palate is rich and deep, with dark chocolate, roasted peanuts, blueberry pie, concord grapes, Cherry Coke, ginger, black pepper, and lush chai spices. It finishes velvety and full, with persistent dark fruits, roasted nuts, and dark chocolate. At barrel proof, this is a whiskey to explore: the more water you add, the more depths you plumb.
Knappogue Castle 12 year old Marchesi di Barolo Wine Cask-Finished, 46%
Irish Single Malt | $80
Baked plum desserts, sweet cherry, star anise, and dark vanilla on the nose, with an enticing freshly toasted spiciness. Caramel, plum, pomegranate, and rawhide shoelaces shift into a concentrated fruitiness as allspice and pepper well up, yielding a sweet core of graham crackers, marshmallows, and creamy vanilla, with hints of chocolate. Bruised fruit and throbbing spices characterize the finish on this laudable example of wine finishing. (1,020 bottles)
Knappogue Castle 12 year old Marco De Bartoli Marsala Cask-Finished, 46%
Irish Single Malt | $80
Aromas of green apples, zested lime, and caramel entice the senses with hints of banana peel and nuts. Succulent green apple, honey, and vanilla, this has a thick, syrupy, mouth-drawing palate. Baked pear and peppery spices continue into the finish. This expression feels recognizably part of the Knappogue Castle family, yet offers a more sophisticated and progressive take on finishing. (1,020 bottles)
Four Roses Small Batch Select Kentucky Straight Bourbon, 52%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $55
Using six of the distillery’s ten recipes, including the V yeast strain that imparts delicate fruit notes—here presenting as Pixy Stix, Rocket Pops, and cherry pie—and the F yeast strain that offers herbal notes, like licorice root, earthy tea leaf, and root beer. There’s also orange blossom, pecans, cedar chest, and tobacco. Aromas and flavors unfold in layers, with rich oak, roasted pecans, and vanilla whipped cream juxtaposed against peppery spice, blueberry-cinnamon crumble, and sweet tea. Water reveals new depths.
Complex and complete, the sweet and chewy aromas of maple syrup and crème de marrons meet milk chocolate and Andes Mints. On the palate, the intense layered sweetness of vanilla, crème brûlée, pecan pie, butterscotch, and honey is tempered by chili spice and deep earthy notes of leather and tobacco, before toffee and baking spices carry into the long finish.
Bruichladdich 26 year old Black Art 1990 (Edition 06.1), 46.9%
Single Malt Scotch | $420
Tangerines on the nose, then Turkish Delight, sliced cucumber, new leather, toffee, soft spices, and a hint of char. Mouth-coating, with sweet orchard fruits dipped in cream. Sharper fruit notes in time, with almonds and ginger. Icing sugar, milk chocolate, spicy oak, a fleeting savory note, and lingering fruitiness in the finish. Shows well-integrated character. (18,000 bottles) Collectibles
The nose is nutty and yields sweet sherry, Jaffa orange, old leather, instant black coffee, and a suggestion of ozone. The palate is oily and textured, with more sherry, dried fruits, nutmeg, and dark chocolate. The finish lingers with brine and pepper.
Influenced by a final decade spent in oloroso sherry and Burgundy casks. The nose offers orange segments dipped in honey, plus nougat, icing sugar, and more piercing citrus notes. The palate is supple, with milk chocolate and orange juice, joined by damsons and wood spices. A mouth-drying note persists behind juicy fruits, with aniseed and black pepper. The finish yields peaches dipped in salt and spicy oak. Collectibles
The nose features peat, ozone, malt, sherry, mango, charcuterie, and an herbal note. Overt sherry and rum on the palate, with pineapple, caramel, worn leather, and bonfire smoke. The finish is long and earthy, with chocolate and spicy oak. (160 bottles for U.S.)
Tyrconnell 16 year old Oloroso & Moscatel Cask Finished, 46%
Irish Single Malt | $100
Sweet sherry with a heady spring floral intensity, lemon, honey, and graham crackers, yet delicate as a dandelion seed in a summer breeze. The palate is seductively sweet, with honey, effervescent lemon sherbet, caramel, and spices, showing a little more of the wine, fruit, and hints of citrus. Distinctively different, the finish is initially drying, then the fruit returns with a grapefruit peel sharpness. Terrifically good dram. (18,000 bottles) Editors’ Choice
Kilchoman 11 year old ImpEx Cask Evolution 01/2019 Single Cask Bourbon Cask Finished (Cask #302/2007), 56.4%
Single Malt Scotch | $175
Earthy, with charcoal smoke on the nose, sea shells, citrus oil, and a candied note of lemon pastille. A powerful palate offers bonfire smoke, iodine, grilled sausage, and black pepper, with lemon oil, bitter chocolate, and light earthiness. The finish has some salinity, as well as more bonfire smoke and bitter espresso. Assertive but balanced, well-structured and smooth. A dynamic whisky that’s an iron fist in a velvet glove. (230 bottles for U.S.)
Redbreast 12 year old Cask Strength (Batch B1/18), 56.2%
Irish Single Pot Still | $84
This batch heightens the fruitiness of apple, orange peel, dried strawberry, and peach over potent spices on the nose. Strawberry and raspberry flavors revel in the oily richness, then crescendo to a pot still spice storm that rages in the mouth like a swarm of bees. Long, spicy finish with vestiges of fruit and toasted oak. Thrill-seekers’ whiskey, if you dare.
Nuts sinking into molten toffee wrapped in pure, sensuous smoke on a foundation of cedarwood, dried fruits, and seasoned oak: as exotic as the box’s interior artwork. Sandy Hyslop’s multi-phasic blend draws on closed distillery Imperial’s trademark fruitiness and peated Caperdonich, while maintaining a steady hand on the balance. Toffee sweetness, mixed peel, pepper, nutmeg, citrus, and smoke. Creamy, satisfying finish with hints of melted chocolate and light smoke. (Travel Retail)
A nose of cherry, peppermint, vanilla frosting, pound cake, buttered toast, cherries, cola, peanut shells, rye seed, and old warehouse. The palate is big and powerful yet smooth and sophisticated. It’s chewy and spicy, with chocolate fudge, peanuts, white pepper, fresh cherries, bitter espresso, leather, and old oak. There’s great length on a finish of chocolate, cocoa powder, raspberry, cigar box, and baking spice. Toasty and delicious; a tour de force.
This blend of rye, barley, corn, and wheat whiskies starts big on the nose with caramel-donut glaze that dissolves into buckwheat honey, then sweet orange marmalade. Spices are ever-present, but restrained, while a creamy sweet breadiness prevails throughout. Cereal notes on the palate are awash in honey sweetness. A soft yet tightly integrated whisky with depth and complexity. 100 CAD
Two-row barley grown on the distillery farm yields a glorious dram, with berries instantly on the nose accompanying fragrant dry hay. The sweet fruitiness of the nose becomes clear overtones of wild Vancouver Island blackberries on the palate. This is big whisky, with exotic fruits, hot spices, and nutty, grainy marzipan notes. Restrained oak allows fruits and spices to shine. Slowly, a lingering spicy finish turns sweet and fruity. 85 CAD
Bardstown Bourbon Company Phifer Pavitt Reserve, 53.5%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $125
Aromas of oak, dried fruit, and horse saddle set up for a sucker punch of leather boxing glove from this big and brawny bourbon. But it also dances with grace, tickling the tongue with sweet spices, dark bitter chocolate, and wisps of tobacco. Intriguing notes of horehound, cocoa-dusted almonds, and baked apples are lip-smacking good, and it handles water well, revealing ever more depth.
Some whiskies reveal their maturity with just one whiff, and this is one of them, with notes of varnish and mothballs, along with cooked dark fruits—cherries, blackberries, blueberries—sassafras, root beer, and rich spices. More maturity is revealed on the palate, which is tannic but not dry, and viscous, showing off blackberry cobbler, brandied cherries, pecans, roasted peanuts, cracked pepper, and ginger. An excellent, lengthy finish that draws out the fruity, rich spice and practically demands a cigar.
Satisfyingly smoky, with noticeable structure and complexity: grilled fish, burning aromatic grasses, cocoa powder, and jellied and tropical fruit flavors. Soft pulpy fruits to taste, with red apple, nippy ginger and pepper spices, a surge of orange and mango flavors, and a backdraft of smoke. The nostrils still detect a delightful kipperiness. Smoke writhes like a serpent on the finish, sliding off walls dripping with sweet tropical fruits. (3,972 bottles)
Corn and rye whiskies blended with a tad of Villard Noir Starboard wine commemorate Canada’s victory in a battle fought in the War of 1812 where Forty Creek now distills whisky. Toasted oak staves were inserted into half of the fully matured whisky for 2 months. A strong maple nose dissolves into hints of fruitiness, while a sweet palate balances and restrains drying tannins. Fruity, creamy, and mouth-filling with peppery spices. (600 bottles for U.S.)
Michter’s 10 year old Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon (Barrel No. 19D662), 47.2%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $130
Initial fruit aromas play host to a savory medicinal note, like cherry cough drops or Robitussin, hinting of the formidable flavors to come as this dense whiskey unleashes waves of black cherry soda, chewy figs, stone fruits, citrus zest, and a cascade of bright vanilla on the rolling finish.
Distilled from Oxbridge and Publican barley varieties grown on six Islay farms. Lime, brine, oatmeal cookies, and custard on the nose. Sweet barley, apricots, sultanas, cloves, and quite tannic oak on the palate. Malt and sea salt in the medium-length finish.
GlenDronach 25 year old 1993 Master Vintage, 48.2%
Single Malt Scotch | $350
The nose is fragrant and floral, featuring ginger, hand-rolled tobacco, vanilla, hazelnuts, and ultimately, sweet sliced-apple aromas. Full-bodied in the mouth, with stewed fruits, milk chocolate, raisins, almonds, and lively spices. The finish is leisurely, with darkening milk chocolate, tannic oak, bitter tea, and persistent spiciness.
This was matured entirely in sherry wood. Blackcurrants, black pepper, vanilla, caramel, and fruit spices on the nose. Supple on the malty palate, with red berry fruits, nutty sherry, and almonds. The finish is spicy, with black tea and firm oak.
Orange segments sprinkled with black pepper on the nose, then spicy dark chocolate and coffee with cream. More dark chocolate and Jaffa orange on the palate, plus walnuts, almonds, and marzipan. Lengthy in the finish, with soft spices and continuing dark chocolate.
Aromas of newsprint, damp foliage, and wood spice dominate on the nose. Confident, almost fizzy sherry notes on the full palate, with sultanas, figs, and fruit spices. It becomes progressively more citric. The lengthy finish produces dark chocolate dipped in chili sauce. A sherry-soaked dram.
Remarkably fresh and fruity on the opening nose, then lively pineapple, mango, and peaches. Ashy woodsmoke lurks behind the fruit. Finally, brine and black pepper. Vibrant orchard fruits on the palate, with barbecue flavors that become peatier and spicier in time. Aniseed, lemon, tobacco, and tangy oak in the lengthy finish. (3,000 bottles for U.S. and Canada)
Sweet fruity peat, new leather, cinnamon, and ginger on the nose. Good blend of smoke and sherry on the substantial palate, with peppery red berries, dark chocolate, and peat. The long smoky finish features lively fruit spices. (1,920 bottles in U.S.)
Like licking caramel-drizzled mint chocolate chip ice cream; master distiller Henric Molin’s high-rye mashbill delivers a great balance between rye spices and creamy sweetness. Quite soft, with mint and caramel at first; layers of toffee and cinnamon follow, then becoming mouth-drawing as the pepper and clove spices crest a peak of intensity, tapering to toffee and cinnamon, and a dry finish.
The nose is spiced—cinnamon, allspice, clove, pepper—and rich with cooked fruit—blueberry jam, stewed plums, pomegranate molasses—as well as roasted peanuts, vanilla, and oak. In the mouth, there’s more liveliness, with Big Red gum, cherry pie, blackberry cobbler, peanuts, and cinnamon-apple coffee cake. It wraps up beautifully, with chili-chocolate, roasted nuts, and cigar end. Kentucky Owl doesn’t disclose the ages of the bourbons used in this bottling, but the balance of maturity on the nose and verve on the palate work to excellent effect.
James E. Pepper Old Pepper 10 year old Straight Bourbon (Barrel No. L18V), 56.9%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $120
Sweet confectionary aromas delight the nose with peach cobbler, sweet potato pie, chocolate wafer cookies, peanut shells, and toasted oak. It’s bright and lively on the palate, with excellent texture and balance; roasted pecans, dark chocolate, brown sugar, and tobacco leaf. Expressive fruit—grapes, cherries, blueberries, and blackberries—comes to the fore with a few drops of water, and it finishes full and rich, with pepper and baking spices, nutty chocolate, and drying oak.
A complex nose that starts out herbaceous and then opens to notes of saddle leather, buttered popcorn, pecans, dark cherry, orange tea, and fragrant vanilla. A rich, chewy palate offers vanilla cream pie, lemon, blackberries, corn muffin, and chocolate-covered coconut, balanced against some drying oak, an herbal note, and dried leaves. The finish is a long, balanced ride of chocolate, cinnamon, and tobacco leaf. A rich, classic bourbon.
A blend of 9 to 14 year old bourbons from Tennessee and Kentucky. A generous and perfumy nose of dusty spice, peanut brittle, cherry candy, orange, cola, molasses, and roasted grain. Full and rich in the mouth, with fruit leather, blueberry-pomegranate juice, orange oil, ginger, pepper, dark chocolate, cola, molasses, and coconut. The finish is lengthy and superb: horehound candy, white pepper, dark chocolate-covered blueberries, and silky yet racy oak.
Sweet honey, pears, melon, and vanilla sponge, with smoke that is both sweet and acrid and cuts through like a knife. Islay knows that delicious combination of sweetness, fruitiness, and smoke very well, and this could be amazing with a firmer, weightier texture. Flavors of watermelon, taffy, squeezed lime, and candied pineapple, with the smoke and meek spices growing in strength, adding smoked chocolate notes before a short finish. (5,000 bottles)
Ireland’s penchant for cognac-cask finishing continues to impress with this single malt and grain blend, which marks the centenary of the death of company namesake and Irish nationalist Henry Egan, who made tweed suits a symbol of protest. With a delicate nose of peach, passion fruit, white blossom, lime, pear, rose water, and sweet grain, the cognac flavors coddle the palate with peach, fudge, a whizz of spice, vanilla sponge, and grapefruit. (5,995 bottles)
The Pyrenean dessert wine-cask finish brings citrus, candy hearts, apricot, and cooking apple peelings to the nose, with hints of aniseed, allspice, and macadamia nuts. Fizzy orange, singed peel, fruit tarts, and honey initially, though it’s pretty feisty with pepper, aniseed, and allspice. Milk chocolate, apple, and malt biscuits glide into the finish, where the spices fade but the fruit remains juicy and sweet. (1,000 bottles)
Bardstown Bourbon Co. Fusion Series #1 Kentucky Straight Bourbon, 49.45%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $60
This is Bardstown Bourbon’s first release using its own whiskey—60% 2 year old bourbon, along with 40% 11 year old from another Kentucky distillery. The nose is herbal, with a rush of peppermint, along with caramel-swirl ice cream, peanuts in the shell, and root beer. In the mouth, it’s dense with cooked dark fruit, cola, chocolate, nuts, and well-integrated spice (nutmeg, white pepper, allspice). More dark fruit, spice, dark chocolate, espresso, and oak on the lush finish.
Knappogue Castle 12 year old Château Pichon Baron French Oak Cask-Finished, 46%
Irish Single Malt | $80
Clean and fresh aromas of raspberry jam and vanilla cream spread thickly on warm scones, speckled with fragrant spices of pepper and grated nutmeg. An instant spicy kick is followed by a flood of warm fruitiness in the mouth, then baked goods and dried citrus. Pepperiness spreads across the tongue, growing dominant over flavors of runny caramel and dried fruits. The finish is slightly drying, spicy, and peppery, with good length. (1,020 bottles)
So good, they didn’t name it twice. More brooding than the first iteration, with a heavy curtain of ashy sooty smoke, fresh herbal tones, lemon, and dried fruity sweetness. The palate is led by red cherry, plum, cranberry, and tangy orange peel, then hot smoke sets off a peppery firecracker. The structure is deceptively light, developing more grip as the lemon sherbet sweetness heralds the lengthy finish of beach bonfire smoke. (8,436 bottles)
The nose has notes of cherry candy, pink pastilles, and a bowl of raspberries and blueberries, as well as brown sugar, cinnamon, caramel, and toffee. The palate begins with overtones of toasted nuttiness, fruit notes of sweet peach, apricot, and cherry, all underpinned by vanilla, caramel, brown sugar, and white pepper. The finish melds pepper spice, chocolate, roasted pecans, and blackberry. Light on its feet, balancing against the oak.
The nose is fresh, with sea salt, tangerines, and light smokiness. Vanilla, sultanas, malt, a hint of sherry, hazelnuts, and woodsmoke are present on the oily palate. Lingering in the finish, with salt and drying smoke.
Spicy sultanas, greengage plums, toffee, and new leather on the nose. Damsons, prunes, black pepper, mint, and old oak on the palate. The finish is musky, slightly smoky, with fruit spices, dark chocolate, licorice, and tannic oak. An intriguing take on Bunnahabhain. (1,260 bottles)
Port Wood is a limited-edition 10 year old expression, matured in Pedro Ximénez and oloroso sherry casks, followed by a port pipe finish. Gingerbread, figs, dried apricot, and honey on the nose. Viscous, with sweet orange notes on the palate, milk chocolate, and vanilla ice cream. Hazelnuts, cherry pie, and sultanas in the medium-length finish.
Molasses, orange peel, and prickly oak spices on the nose; herbal, oily green notes develop. Finally, more overt sherry. The palate is supple, with sweet sherry and icing sugar notes, plus Turkish Delight, fruitcake, and toffee. Ultimately, cinnamon and dark chocolate. Cloves, more dark chocolate, and mouth-drying oak in the long finish.
Stranahan’s Sherry Cask Single Malt (Batch 004), 47%,
Single Malt American Whiskey | $80
Finished in 500-liter oloroso sherry casks, this is one for the sherry lovers, with sugared almond, fig, milk chocolate, and candied fruit notes on the nose. The palate is rich, with milk chocolate Toblerone, grape soda, raspberry coulis, candied ginger, almonds, Fig Newtons, and drying oak. It finishes sweet and silky, with a hint of tobacco, vanilla, and delicate dried fruit.
Ground cinnamon, coriander seed, nutmeg, mustard seed, spiced meat, and the saltiness of sand-encrusted seashells combine with a powerful honey note, fresh pear, golden sultana, and Cox’s apple. Quaker Oats, golden syrup, and chocolate-covered graham crackers with cherries set the scene, though spices quickly engulf them. Perfect harmony is reestablished as it fattens out with cinnamon toffee. Bold, robust, and triumphant: just add a Dublin pub weekend crowd and you’re all set.
Kavalan 10th Anniversary Bordeaux Pauillac Wine Cask-Matured Single Malt, 57.8%
Taiwanese Whisky | $283
Enticing aromas of clove, cranberry, cooking apple, hawthorn, allspice, tobacco, and graphite sticks. It is a spicy mouthful at full strength, with clove and pepper dominating the citrus fruit, berries, and orchard fruit. Dilution is recommended, where flavors of baked apple, cinnamon, and raspberry emerge. NT$8,800
Reservoir Maison de Cuivre Wine Cask-Finished Bourbon, 50%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $135
The nose is fragrant, with aromas of spice cabinet, charred oak, burnt nuts, clove, dark chocolate, and black pepper. The palate is big, spicy, and chewy, with bitter charred oak, dark chocolate, coffee beans, toasted almonds, cracked pepper, and bitter lemon. Water reveals roasted peanut shells, campfire, and more chocolate. The finish is long and flavorful, with back notes of spiced oak, espresso, and sweet chocolate. Rich, mouth-filling, and satisfying.
Gordon & MacPhail Private Collection 1948 (distilled at Glen Grant, Cask 2154), 48.6%
Single Malt Scotch | $25,000
Smoky sherry, damp burlap, lanolin, then orange blossom on the nose, with a hint of glass cleaner. The palate yields juicy damsons, followed by aniseed, bitter chocolate, and oak tannins. Char and faint smoke in the extremely long finish. (50 bottles in U.S.)
Berry Bros. & Rudd 21 year old Perspective Series, 43%
Blended Scotch Whisky | $110
The youngest in an excellent new range that combines small-batch blending by Doug McIvor with dramatic monochrome Scottish landscape photography by Lindsay Robertson, each image a visual metaphor for the whisky. Toffee, cherry, rich fruit, walnut, marmalade, vanilla essence, ripe banana, seasoned oak, and aromatic whole spices. The palate is charming and indulgent with rich fruitcake, banoffee pie, a good dose of spice, and a silky finish. £89
J.P. Wiser’s 23 year old Cask Strength Blended, 64.3%
Canadian | $113
This long-aged blend of all-rye and all-corn whiskies celebrates J.P. Wiser’s belief that great whisky can’t be rushed. A dry nose with rye spices and overripe pears is quite complex. The palate, sweet and somewhat drying, suddenly shows strong ripe cherry notes, then pipe tobacco, cigar box, lingering heat, medium weight, gorgeous woody notes, and strong peppery spices. Hints of rye spices punctuate a long, hot, and fruity finish. 150 CAD
This impressive whisky lets the port lead the dance, but never treads on the toes of its partner. The nose reveals prominent cask influences of pomegranate, inky plum flesh, blackberry, and gummy cherries, with a supporting cast of honeycomb, dried herbs, and bay leaf. It jinks and dodges between dried peel, fudge, baked orange, vanilla, and fine spice notes before developing into a sweet ripe cherry and red apple finale.
Vanilla buttercream, honey, sweet oak, granola, and toasted spice with a pinch of pepper demonstrate the beauty of bourbon-cask maturation for Irish single malt. This is sweet, silky, and carefree, with citrus, honey, oat cereal, and black pepper. The spices grip the tongue, yielding to flavors of crystallized pineapple and grapefruit in the latter stages. Lemon, orange, and spices on a long, satisfying finish. Straight-forward, darn good whiskey. (1,803 bottles)
An herbal nose of thyme, dill, and licorice underpinning notes of blueberry jam, cherries, chocolate, honey-roasted nuts, and old leather. The palate is full and creamy, with milk chocolate, cinnamon, blackberry, toasted almond, dried herbs, and oak. Water brings out more chocolate and spicy heat. A long finish of oak, almond, chocolate, and cracked pepper, with a tobacco overlay. A big, robust bourbon with plenty to like.
A profusion of nutty aromas: freshly shelled peanuts, boiled peanuts, and buttered pecan lead the way, with candied cherries and molasses on toast emerging on the palate. There are also heaps of dusty, drying oak throughout, helping to balance the oily texture. Finishes with chocolate-covered cherries, blueberry pie, more peanut, and drying wood tannins.
Widow Jane 10 year old Blend of Straight Bourbons (Batch #137), 45.5%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $70
Floral on the nose, with notes of orange blossom, as well as cinnamon, caramel, coffee cake, and cola. The palate is smooth and balanced, featuring pound cake, chocolate frosting, pepper, Almond Joy, and lemon iced tea. The finish has excellent length, and reprises the tropical notes. Water brings out vanilla custard and cinnamon. Light, complex, and balanced, with great integration of flavors; perfect for the warmer months.
A blend of three whiskeys: one distilled from stout, one from pilsner, and one a rye. The nose has citrusy notes of lime, followed by vanilla, dried apple, and pine. The palate offers more pine, dried red fruits, oak char, and white pepper. Water releases blueberry, vanilla, bitter espresso, and pecan. Orange peel and pineapple on the finish, with dark chocolate, dried figs, and pine smoke. Balance, depth, and restraint. (898 bottles)
Very pale, fresh whisky, with lychee, fresh pear, morning dew, apple notes, and just a dash of salt and white pepper. It’s a honeyed and thick dram on the palate, with caramelized apples and tangerine, then late bittersweet citrus that attempts to dampen down the jackhammer of pepper. Enjoyable weight, texture, and flavors, but the mizunara signature notes are a little subtle and underplayed. (3,972 bottles)
Bold spicy nose with dark toffee and dried chili flakes. Explosive pepper notes duel with chocolate as they work through the toffee flavors and begin to show a bitter dark chocolate edge. It’s a gutsy, spirited blend with tongue-searing spices, eventually serving up more sweet notes, but consider adding water or pouring over ice to release more vanilla, fruits, and milk chocolate flavors to take the adventure further.
The nose offers apricots, honey, vanilla, nutmeg, orange juice, and a hint of mint. Jaffa orange, black banana, licorice, and chimney soot on the palate. Licorice lingers, with an herbal note and tannic oak in the finish. (51 bottles for the U.S.)
Rich amber in color, with aromas of fermented fruits, toasted oak, apple peelings, old parchment paper, golden pancakes, and bright aromatic chili flakes and paprika. A soft, gentle dram that caresses the taste buds with caramelized brown sugar, fudge, vanilla, dried apple, ground almond, and a tang of citrus peel. On the finish, the flavor of apple peelings returns after a brief glow of spice. (1,475 bottles)
A nose of cola gummies, Dr. Pepper, fresh green apple, poached pears in cream, dried strawberry, tree blossom, white pepper, allspice, and mint leaves. This whisky, finished in a cask with Japanese cherrywood heads, begins delicately with sweet fruit syrups, before unwrapping golden caramel with a core of spice. Baked apple notes, strudel, unsweetened citrus, and a tang of bitter fruits, which abate to a mouth-coating finish of orange oil. (3,972 bottles)
This rich, smooth, and enticing blend first launched in 1976. It offers aromas of barley, malt, honey, praline cookies, vanilla seed, and smoke. The palate is bright with honey, citrus zest, Quaker Oat Crisp, graham cracker, and vanilla fudge, with gentle pepper, hot cross bun, and orange notes appearing as it becomes creamier. Orange, barley notes, and smoke dance off into the finish.
Town Branch 7 year old Kentucky Single Malt, 43.5%
Single Malt American Whiskey | $39
Town Branch was founded by an Irishman, Pearse Lyons, and you’d be forgiven for thinking this 100% malted barley whiskey hails from the Emerald Isle. Citrus, confectionary, and floral notes on the nose, with almond, pistachio, and some forest floor and dried leaves. In the mouth, a lively texture undergirds brown butter, mixed nuts, lemon zest, and a hint of ginger. It finishes nutty and warm, with a touch of cigar wrapper and leathery oak.
The nose is unorthodox, but not unpleasant. Herbal, with notes of dill and potpourri, with licorice, figs, coconut, and brown sugar following. The palate comes into focus with traditional flavors of fragrant vanilla, marshmallow, and bubble gum, as well as coconut, chocolate-covered almonds, popcorn, and pepper spice. The finish is lengthy, presenting baking spice, cracked pepper, and polished oak. Unusual in profile, but combining bitter herbal notes with very traditional flavors.
Made from the same recipe as previous Peat Week bottlings, with the name referring to the one week per year Balvenie distills peated whisky. Stone fruits lightly smoked in a peat kiln on the early nose, new leather, and honey. Sweet peat smoke, orchard fruits, and soft spices on the palate. The fruits darken in the finish, with licorice and spicy oak. (18,000 bottles)
Strawberry jam and heather honey on the nose, with subtle woodsmoke, vanilla, and pineapple. Bold tropical fruits on the palate, with toffee, red berries, and more soft woodsmoke. The medium-length finish highlights licorice and drying oak.
Distilled with a portion of barley grown on the distillery’s Easter Elchies estate. The nose detects quite intense sherry, plus black forest cake, then warm leather and fresh-squeezed orange juice. Full sherry notes on the palate, with new leather, marzipan, cherry liqueur, furniture polish, and dark chocolate. The finish yields bitter chocolate, licorice, nutmeg, and tingling wood spices.
Matured in a mix of bourbon and sherry casks. A whiff of brine on the early nose, with damp earth, citrus fruit, cereal, and mildly smoky oak. The palate is supple and offers vanilla toffee, cedarwood, hazelnuts, and more brine. A spicy finish yields coconut and a hint of dry peat.
Relatively dry on the nose, with citrus fruit, hazelnut, and quite dry sherry. The palate is full and rich, with sweeter sherry notes, cinnamon, and banoffee pie. Jaffa oranges, hot chocolate, and slightly tannic oak in the medium-length finish. Matured in oloroso casks.
The nose is floral, with honey, toffee, cereal, and a hint of smoke, but subtle maritime notes are also present. The palate is rich and relatively complex: spicy, with citrus fruit, more cereal, seaweed, peat smoke, and oak. Lengthy in the finish, with toffee, new leather, and perpetual spice. A long-standing favorite with a very distinctive profile.
This blend of straight ryes finished in vermouth and syrah barrels now includes some of High West’s own whiskey, distilled in Utah. The nose is fresh and herbal, with spearmint, tarragon, dill pickle, fresh celery juice, and a candied note of orange Kool-Aid. Fruit, nut, and spice flavors temper some of the wild herbaceousness of the palate: blueberry jam, peanuts, cinnamon, and dark chocolate. Lengthy finish, with more dark fruit, nuts, spice, and oak.
This nugget of Welsh gold has a nose of candied orange and lemon slices, toasted spices, herb garden, light vanilla, and the oils of finely shredded peel. On the palate, there’s toffee and orange cake, an array of tropical fruits with papaya and passion fruit sweetness, and a good thrust of pepper and clove, leaving just a hint of grated chocolate and cask char in a dry finish.
Sherbet, creamy vanilla, whole lemon, fresh baked goods, sweet grain notes, strong floral blooms, with hints of snuff and ground pepper on the nose. Light, delicate palate of lemon flesh; the citrus sharpens up, with grapefruit flavors supported by fine ground pepper and a lasting wave of vanilla. A pleasing tingle of spices on the finish, coupled with punchy citrus notes. A nimble, vigorous blend that offers a multitude of serves. Best Values
Lemon juice, tide pools, roasted pork, and peat embers mingle on the nose. Smoky toffee in time. Canned peach slices in syrup over woodsmoke on the palate; buttery smoked fish, lots of energetic spices. The finish is fruity, with aniseed and lingering spices.
A lively nose with scents of orange peel, wild strawberries, pepper spice, and herbal tea. The palate presents a balanced offering of cream, orange Creamsicle, and bitter chocolate, all overlaid with a ring of white pepper. The finish is long and silky, with more vanilla, some orange oil, sweet oak, and a hint of jalapeño pepper. Youthful and fresh for its age, with a lively complexity and bold character.
Time in the barrel is apparent here, with ample cedar, sawdust, and toasty oak sprinkled across caramel sweetness with a medley of herbal flavors, including licorice and basil. Generous on the palate, it serves up lots of clove and baking spices before the oak tannin sweeps in, leaving a very dry finish of bitter orange pith.
Deerhammer Port Cask-Finished American Single Malt (Batch 1), 50%
Single Malt American Whiskey | $65
An herbaceous and savory whiskey, with an expressive nose: fennel, licorice, roasted lemon and clementine peels, new leather, and dark berries. The finish makes itself evident from first sip, with a chewy texture and flavors of dark chocolate, nocino liqueur, black licorice, orange oil, and allspice. The finish has good length, with more dark chocolate, fennel, roasted nuts, polished oak, and pipe tobacco.
An upfront classic single malt from an undisclosed Islay distillery, launched to coincide with the opening of Hunter Laing’s Ardnahoe Distillery. Overt peat smoke on the nose, with brine, citrus spices, vanilla, and mild antiseptic. Stewed fruits and bonfire embers on the palate, with new leather and rich spice notes. The slightly medicinal finish features peppery oak.
Honey-roasted peanuts, maple syrup, and stone fruits are underscored by deep earthy notes of tobacco leaf, dried apple, sassafras leaves, and candied nuts. The palate expresses some tropical dried pineapple fruit and sweet butterscotch, turning full and spicy, with pleasant chocolate and cinnamon hearts candies lending lots of verve and some complexity on the medium finish. Best Values
Old Hickory Hermitage Reserve 6 year old Straight Rye, 48%
Rye Whiskey | $60
A floral nose with fragrant orange and tropical notes of melon and guava, grape and cherry, chamomile tea, licorice, and rye spice. Smooth texture on the palate, with more orange and vanilla, lemon, toasted almond, dark chocolate, and allspice. Water brings out pears and apples, chocolate, and pepper spice. The finish is long, with orange peel, pink peaches, marmalade, and strawberry, then balanced spiciness melding with fresh fruit and oak.
Bone Snapper X-Ray 4 year old Reserve Straight Rye (Batch 2), 55%
Rye Whiskey | $55
This pours punchy, vivid, and somewhat youthful with sparks of white pepper, cereal grain aromas, and an impression of menthol and alpine herbs. At full proof, it opens with a fiery flurry of sizzling spices, as cinnamon hearts candies meet sweet candied apple and dense fruitiness—raisin and fig—that evolve to grilled pineapple and melon. (914 bottles)
Bone Snapper X-Ray 4 year old Reserve Straight Rye (Batch 2), 55%
Rye Whiskey | $55
This pours punchy, vivid, and somewhat youthful with sparks of white pepper, cereal grain aromas, and an impression of menthol and alpine herbs. At full proof, it opens with a fiery flurry of sizzling spices, as cinnamon hearts candies meet sweet candied apple and dense fruitiness—raisin and fig—that evolve to grilled pineapple and melon. (914 bottles)
Floral and quite delicate on the nose, with notes of grape, rose petals, red berries, honey, baked apples, cinnamon, vanilla cookies, allspice, dill, cucumber, and fragrant oak. The palate is nutty up front, followed by orange peel, vanilla, tobacco leaf, cinnamon, roasted walnuts, and toasted oak. Water brings out brighter, racier flavors of chocolate. The finish is golden apples, honey, bitter chocolate, roasted pecans, and a balanced, rich sweetness.
A nose of cinnamon Red Hots and spiced oak, with eucalyptus, cracked pepper, herbaceousness, and minerality. The palate is somewhat hot, offering pepper spice and oak tannins, but soft in texture, with notes of vanilla pastry, strawberry shortcake, raspberry jam, baking spices, and roasted nuts. Water adds more nuttiness, as well as dark chocolate. A smooth finish of dark chocolate, spice, and tobacco. Somewhat oak forward, but showing good maturity.
Old Fourth Distillery Bottled in Bond Straight (Barrel 20), 50%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $50
Roasted corn, peanut butter, vanilla extract, orange wedges, root beer, and licorice on the nose. The palate is oak-driven, chewy, and dense, carrying along an herbaceous streak that showcases dill, cedar, licorice, and black pepper, as well as peanuts, orange oil, and roasted corn. A few drops of water showcase the grain and nuts to even better advantage. Distilled in Indiana and aged in Georgia.
Ahead of Diageo’s new Irish distillery opening in Dublin, this release has a bouquet of grilled orange, barley sugar, Conference pear, and vanilla cream laced with white pepper. The warm, fruity palate with soft barley sugars, poached pear, moderate spices, and tangy citrus becomes increasingly sweet, with vanilla dominating proceedings in the later phase. Easy to like, this makes me want to experiment and start mixing it up.
Made with corn and rye and aged in new American and French oak barrels. It’s appetizing on the nose, with aromas of almond scone spread with orange marmalade, along with cooked pumpkin and butterscotch pudding. More orange emerges on the sweet and candied palate, as well as Big Red gum, chocolate, almonds, and sweet grain; the oak is expressive, but balanced. A clean and dry finish, with almond, milk chocolate, and cinnamon candy.
From rye grown in a single Alberta field, cultivated and harvested using horse-drawn farm machinery, this whisky was aged in new American oak, then finished in the distillery’s single malt barrels. The nose is dry, clean, and herbal: slatey, with hints of cereal. Quite sweet on the palate, with peaches, berries, kiwi, and exotic fruits. Warming and spicy, smoky but not hot, with hints of pancake syrup. Finishes long, silky, and slippery. $73 CAD
Egon Spengler warned ‘Don’t cross the streams,’ and it feels as though the calvados dominates the flavors of Scotch whisky in this rich, sweet mash-up. After a nose of vanilla essence and oxidized apple notes, the palate brings baked apple, brown sugar, caramel syrup, and clove, with lighter vanilla notes rebounding off the sticky apple flavors. Long warming finish, with more calvados sweetness and pounding spices. (6,028 bottles)
Jefferson’s Reserve Pritchard Hill Cabernet Cask-Finished Bourbon, 45.1%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $70
Cherry bubble gum, white grape juice, hazelnuts, brown sugar, and rye bread on the nose. The palate is bright and gently spiced, with a soft, creamy texture and restrained grape, black tea, nut, and chocolate flavors. Coffee beans, nutty chocolate, and persistent oak on the finish. Surprisingly austere for a wine cask-finished bourbon, but to good effect.
A mix of 80% peated and 20% unpeated malt. Charcuterie, cinnamon, vanilla, and caramel on the nose. Vanilla, honey, ginger, and subtle peat smoke on the citric palate. Spicy peat and cereal notes in the medium-length finish. Best Values
Balvenie 12 year old The Sweet Toast of American Oak, 43%
Single Malt Scotch | $60
Matured primarily in bourbon barrels for 12 years before a 3-month finish in slow-toasted virgin American oak barrels from Kelvin Cooperage in Kentucky. Honey, vanilla, cloves, dried fruit, and lively oak on the nose. The palate features citrus fruit and more cloves, with milk chocolate, honey, walnuts, and lots of wood spice. Raisins and black tea in the medium-length finish. (30,000 bottles)
This is the youngest Sherry Oak expression available. A classic Macallan nose of sherry, baking Christmas cake, dried fruits, hot butter, and old leather. Jaffa oranges, brittle toffee, and light oak on the smooth, full palate. Relatively long in the finish, with spice, malt, oak, and a final hint of smoke.
Aromatic and expressive on the nose, with grapefruit, lemon, and orange peels, kiwi, green apple Hi-Chew, melon, and a hint of pine and dried leaves. The palate is light-bodied and clean, with citrus peel, melon, soft spice, sarsaparilla, and milk chocolate. It finishes short and gentle, but tasty, with candied rose petal, dried kiwi, and grape Fun Dip. While many beer-barrel finishes come on too strong, this one succeeds with subtlety.
Like opening a lunchbox in elementary school: you’ll find the distinct aromas of peanut butter sandwich with strawberry jam and a smear of Marshmallow Fluff, plus a Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pie, and some apple blossom and tea rose. Soft and sweet in the mouth, with plenty of fruit and flowers: banana split topped with crushed pistachios, rose oil, white chocolate, halva. This whiskey is finished in charred maple barrels and undergoes a second filtration with the Lincoln County Process.
Gordon & MacPhail Private Collection 1968 (distilled at Caol Ila), 52.5%
Single Malt Scotch | $15,000
Coal smoke, brine, machine oil, and herbal notes on the nose of this 50 year old, along with a hint of menthol and ultimately, floral notes. Dark berries on the palate, bitter orange, plus sea salt. The finish is long and slightly smoky, overtly oaky, with black pepper notes. (50 bottles in U.S.)
Seven Stills Patience Single Pot Still-Style American Whiskey, 59.5%
American Whiskey | $75
Waxy and fragrant, with citrus oil, tea bag, furniture polish, dried flowers, cooked apple, and malt. At this proof, the palate demands water, which tames its heat to reveal candied rose petal, dried ginger, apple, almond, pistachio, lemon pepper, pine resin, and some ashiness. It finishes waxy, with charred pecans, cigar end, bitter oak, and black pepper. There are some unusual juxtapositions here, but they work. (302 bottles)
Classic rye notes of orange and pepper spice along with vanilla custard. A full mouthfeel presages a palate of lemon meringue pie, whipped cream, caramel, baking spice, and herbaceous notes of pine and dill, but also tropical flavors, melon, and peach. A lengthy finish that’s full and rich, offering chocolate and reprising the tropical notes of pineapple and orange on the back note. Quite powerful, solid, and reliable.
New York Distilling Co.’s first bonded whiskey, which also conforms to the voluntary Empire Rye standards. It’s herbaceous and grain-driven on the nose, with licorice, dried mint, brown sugar, peanut oil, and buttered pecans. The dry palate is remarkably light, with flavors of black pepper, walnuts, licorice, mint, orange, and tart cherries. Oak, roasted nuts, and dark chocolate on the finish.
Wilderness Trail Small Batch Bottled in Bond Kentucky Straight Bourbon (Batch #D02), 50%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $48
Despite some obvious youth, the aromas here are enjoyable, as Honey Nut Cheerios and bake shop sticky buns and cinnamon rolls hearken to the primary grain flavors. Fruity banana, Raisinets, and lots of fresh oak are apparent. Marmalade and citrus oil flavors are tasty, but the gingerbread heat and raw oak suggest it would benefit from additional maturation.
Mayor Pingree Red Label Straight (Batch No. 001), 47%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $48
Herbal, citrus, and subtle oak aromas mingle with grape soda, ground ginger, iced tea, and cinnamon Teddy Grahams on the nose. Medium-bodied and well-spiced, it’s a little hot, but softens with water and develops nicely in the glass, showing flavors of chocolate, nuts, grape jelly, and blueberry compote. The finish is sweet with cooked berries, chocolate, oak, and subtle spice. Made by Valentine Distilling Co. in Ferndale, Michigan.
Another classic label introduces its blended malt alter ego: this is much fruitier than Scottish Leader on first impression, with apple, pear, lime zest, apricot tart, sherry notes, and a trace of spice. Apple pie filling with clove and ginger spices, plus vanilla, dark toffee, hard candies, citrus, and nougat peak early, then ride the crest of a wave until a gingersnap and spice finish. (Travel Retail) £30
The oldest in the Strathcolm trio of whiskies, this has greater depth and richness on the nose, with caramel, ground hazelnut, whole-wheat bagels, honey, and fragrant roasted spices. With cinnamon-dusted Quaker Oats, honey, vanilla, and spice on the tongue, this has more body, with deeply toasted spice and honey sweetness on the finish. (3,000 bottles)
Founding Spirits American Whiskey (Batch #10), 50%
American Whiskey | $45
Distilled from corn, oats, wheat, and barley at Copper Fox Distillery and blended by Founding Spirits. The nose has clean, sweet applewood smoke, raw peanuts, oolong tea, grain, and treacle. On the palate there’s strong oak, but it’s well-tempered by spice, smoke, savory nuts, grilled apples, and chalky saline minerality. The finish is savory and nutty—appetite-inducing—and overall, it takes water well.
Rosey Mitchell, of Three Sheets cocktail bar in London and winner of the Compass Box bartender competition, collaborated on this whisky with Compass Box whisky maker Jill Boyd. Apple strudel, well-toasted malted bread, red apple, and hints of peat smoke: this pushes in lots of different directions. Light fudge, a well of active spices, orange, and peppercorn with smoked citrus peel on the dry finish. Convoluted and discombobulating. (6,151 bottles)
Leopold Bros. Small Batch American Whiskey (Barrel #1206), 43%
American Whiskey | $33
The nose is plucky and herbaceous, with tarragon, dill, licorice, and heaps of chili powder and cornmeal—a bit like elote from a street vendor. Savory flavors dominate the palate, which is dry and nutty; water brings out meaty chili, unsweetened chocolate, and coffee bean. The finish has grilled corn, more chili spices, and roasted pecans. Water softens the edges, but use a light touch so as not to over dilute.
Dried orange and apricot, cherry hard candy, and vanilla frosting on the nose, along with cantaloupe, peanut butter, and grainy notes of seed corn. The palate is light, spiced, and oak-driven, with more corn, peanuts, chocolate sauce, and orange oil, plus vanilla, iced tea, citrus oil, lemon, spice, and chili pepper. The finish offers more heft, but is light, though with some interesting elements on offer.
Westland Black Raven Brewing Co. American Single Malt, 50%
Single Malt American Whiskey | $100
Herbal and peppery on the nose, offering dill, licorice, guava, and green banana, as well as a hint of mint and black cherry cough medicine. The mouthfeel is somewhat tart, with burnt espresso beans, bitter chocolate, and a note of toasted almond. A long finish of caramel and bitter chocolate, as well as charred, bitter hoppy notes melds with a sweet, honeyed and syrupy taste and texture. A fascinating flavor progression.
Lemon drizzle cake and finely shredded orange peel on this Barr An Uisce first-fill bourbon cask-matured blend of 21% malt whiskey and 79% grain that has enjoyed a 3-month oloroso sherry finish. With light lemon, green melon, and flashes of citrus, it revs up the toffee and marzipan notes, ending with a pleasing, sweet swan song of caramel and white chocolate. A gentle dram for quiet times.
Davidson Reserve Small Batch Tennessee Straight Sour Mash, 50%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $40
A pleasant nose of spicy, perfumed oak that’s also lightly floral and melds well with notes of coriander and dill, pistachio pudding, and hints of earthiness and minerality. The palate has plenty of spice and heat, with youthful notes of papaya, cinnamon, salt water taffy, bitter chocolate, and young oak. Water unlocks more pronounced cinnamon and a light nuttiness, improving upon a somewhat youthful finish.
Dried banana, curry powder, chopped cilantro, and creamed coconut on the nose, but there’s a note of oak astringency and a scent of menthol toothpaste as well. With crème caramel, banana, dried apricot, and candy sweetness, the whisky has a good weight in the mouth, and builds to flavors of tangerine, with perky peppery spices under the tongue. Lengthy finish of banana taffy and a shower of spice.
This opens promisingly with creamy, buttery aromas of vanilla frosting, toasted crumpets, and dry spices, and delivers on that promise in flavor. A charming silky texture with vanilla sweetness, hints of lemon, spice, and flavors of baked goods arriving in time for the finish of toasted spice. One to splash over ice and sip in the great outdoors. (6,000 bottles)
Made at Oregon’s Cascade Street Distillery and purporting to be “mountain-style” bourbon, this whiskey presents a mix of herbal and fruity aromas to start, along with baking spice, brown sugar, and vanilla frosting. The palate is light-bodied but rich in oak, roasted nut, dried chili, cocoa powder, and cigar, with dried flower notes when water is added; plenty of oak and dark chocolate on the finish.
The nose is dry and chalky, with notes of dried leaves, dried cherries, and raspberries. The palate is also dry, with some peppery spice. Water unlocks chocolate, and the dryness recedes a bit. The finish is the best part, offering orange Creamsicle and vanilla notes, though still dry. Water brings out light tobacco leaf. Unusually dry and somewhat ashy, with some appealing notes that never quite emerge.
This rye was divisive among Whisky Advocate’s blind tasting panel due to its unusual smokiness, the result of using smoked barley in the mash. On the nose, it presents as mesquite, cooked sausage, tilled earth, Lapsang Souchong, and dry leaves, along with saline and nuts. The palate is full, dry, and savory, with peppered smoked meat, cinnamon, chocolate, nuts, and big oak flavor. A short dry finish, with cigar notes, but little ash. Distilled at Copper Fox Distillery and blended by Founding Spirits Distillery.
Last Straw’s inaugural whisky is a humdinger of a 100% rye, with oodles of oomph and a pleasing balance of grain and barrel notes. Youthfully malty, it shows rye spices, dry hay, barrel tones, hot black licorice, some citrus notes, and candied fruit. Hints of butterscotch and vanilla temper black pepper and sweet pine pitch. Lots of nuances for a 3 year old. The flavor sings at bottle strength. $75 CAD
A fragrant nose offers scents of orange blossom, cinnamon, lemon peel, vanilla, and balanced oak. The palate has a drier orange peel note, as well as peanut shells, cinnamon, ginger, and bitter chocolate. Quite dry on the back palate, where the wood influence becomes much more prominent. The finish is light, with bitter chocolate, some nuttiness, tobacco, dried herbs, and drying oak. Pleasant spiciness, cinnamon, and citrus overall.
Balcones Baby Blue American Corn Whiskey (Batch 19-1), 46%
Corn Whiskey | $40
A polarizing nose of tropical fruit (papaya, mango, melon) drenched in butterscotch vies with the distinct aroma of tennis shoes on asphalt. The palate is hot, dry, and somewhat ashy, with billowing smoke, tobacco leaf, and nuttiness, undercut by lime and orange oil. Drying and oak-driven on the finish, it’s sweetened by the addition of water.
Straight malt whiskey finished in barrels that previously held honey. The nose is enchanting, perfumy with fresh flowers, bubble gum, cinnamon-dusted apple slices, pink peppercorn, sassafras, and salt water taffy. The honey-barrel finish shows itself on the palate, which has milk chocolate, sugary chai, lemon, molasses, pralines, and, of course, unctuous honey. So syrupy and sweet, it truly gives new meaning to “dessert whiskey.”
Lots to unpack on the nose: dried orange peel, blueberry, maple syrup, herbs, and fragrant spices—cinnamon, allspice, clove, caraway; with water, green papaya and cedar. The palate is dry and chewy with oak, orange, cinnamon, clove, cedar oil, roasted nuts, chocolate, and crushed red pepper. It finishes simply, with dry oak, nutty chocolate, and cinnamon.
Spicy from the start, this has aromas of earthy whole spices, rolled marzipan, new books, and bakery shelves. Before it lays down the spices, it shows its hand with sweet vanilla, cereal notes, flapjacks, and almond paste on the palate. The finish has toasted oats, golden syrup, and spiciness. Decent whisky, though the sweetness is pegged back, and the other Strathcolm grains show greater personality. (3,000 bottles)
The nose has fruity hard candy, citrus oil, and lime Popsicle stick, along with expressive grain. On the palate, the sturdy proof holds up well to a few drops of water, revealing iced herbal tea, mint leaves, cinnamon, black pepper, and orange oil, as well as plenty of chewy oak. The finish is where this whiskey’s personality really starts to show, offering rich dark chocolate and roasted almonds.
Notes of red fruit, blueberry, dried cherries, Grape Nuts, lemon oil, and an herbal spiciness on the nose, balanced against an influence of drying oak. The palate is smooth and light, with cinnamon, milk chocolate, peanut shells, green pepper, and oak tannins. The finish is sweet and offers a tropical note of sweet orange and lemon. This whiskey is light, but the four-grain mashbill creates an intriguing non-traditional profile.
A nose of dark fruit, figs, sassafras, powdered orange candy, and brown sugar leads to a palate that’s lightly nimble, with vanilla, iced tea, lemon, cracked pepper, and textured oak. Water brings out sweeter notes, with orange and strawberry balanced against herbal flavors and eucalyptus. The finish is sweet and a bit light, tasting of sliced orange, vanilla syrup, toasted oak, and roasted herbs. A balanced, light, and somewhat non-traditional bourbon.
Uncommonly delicate and floral: a bundle of honeysuckle and grandma’s potpourri on the nose, mingled with cantaloupe, almond milk, rice pudding, peach, and Nilla Wafer. It fills the mouth with an oily texture and flavors of tropical fruit, peach, melon, hazelnut, and citrus soap, finishing with lingering tobacco and nuts. Town Branch uses the same proprietary yeast for this bourbon as its Pearse Irish whiskey, which may explain the unusual flavor profile.
Overripe fruit, orange Creamsicle (and its stick), cedar oil, and wood spice on the nose. The palate is tannic with robust orange, oak, cinnamon, cherry Luden’s cough drops, and herbal cough syrup. It finishes on oak, chocolate, nuts, and cinnamon—a bit hot, but softened with generous water.
Basil Hayden’s Caribbean Reserve Rye Finished with Rum, 40%
Miscellaneous | $50
Not a rum cask-finished rye, but a blend of Kentucky straight rye with Canadian rye and added blackstrap rum. The experience is sweet from start to finish: Sugar Babies and their parent Sugar Daddy on the nose, along with molasses, raisins, kettle corn, maple donuts, toasted marshmallow, and a little grassiness on the nose. The palate is sugary-sweet, with molasses, pralines, coffee ice cream, Raisinets, and some bitter oak, and it finishes short. Keep an eye on your blood sugar when drinking this.
Doc Swinson’s Rum Cask-Finished Rye (Release 02, Barrel 09), 45%
Rye Whiskey | $30
Fruity and earthy on the nose, with orange Fanta, mixed berry compote, lemon drops, chamomile tea, fragrant oak, and caraway. The palate is sweet and gently herbal, with orange oil, cinnamon candy, chocolate, old-fashioned cough drops, and spearmint. Cinnamon-spiced pecans, chocolate, and sweet oak on the relatively short finish. This is simple but tasty—a painting in primary colors.
Blinking Owl California Straight Bourbon (Batch #3), 45%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $75
The barrel shows itself up front: cigar box, fresh pencils, dried chili, allspice, and tea leaves, along with a touch of honeydew. The palate is roasty and oak-driven: chili powder, cacao, roasted nuts, and savory, salty grilled meat. An austere finish, with white pepper, dry oak, and cocoa powder.
The nose starts out with orange blossom, lemon zest, licorice, iced tea, and confectioners’ sugar, set against pine forest notes and a hint of minerality. The palate is light, with orange pekoe tea, vanilla, baked apples and cloves, and more pine. The finish is also light and somewhat brief, with pleasurable notes of spice, as well as figs, brown sugar, and an overlay of white pepper. Some interesting notes on offer.
A blend of 51% 3 year old Canadian rye and 49% aged American corn whiskey. It has aromas of peanut shell, tea leaf, dill, mint, Popsicle stick, and bags of grain at the general store. The light-bodied palate is redolent of pencil shavings, chamomile, dried Turkish mint, and oaky spice, finishing very quickly.
Citrus oil, freshly cut wood, tea leaves, baking spice, and maple candy on the nose; with water added, more herbal and floral notes emerge, including mint, star anise, and fresh chamomile. Medium-bodied, the palate has orange peel, licorice, star anise, brown sugar, and plenty of fresh oak; here, adding water doesn't benefit the balance. It finishes quickly, with black pepper, oak, and more star anise.
Led by raw grain and new oak on the nose, it also has aromas of cedar, spiced almonds, green banana, and marshmallow. The palate shows plenty of wood, with pulling tannins, as well as black pepper, vanilla, orange, and bitter almond. It’s more oak and grain on the finish, which fades quickly. Some promising qualities here, but this whiskey needs more time in the barrel.
The nose is floral and grain-forward, with green banana, lemon pith, Honey Nut Cheerios, and wood spice. On the palate, sweet whipped cream and lemon are overlaid by white pepper and Popsicle stick. It finishes hot and dry. A blend of whiskey made from a bourbon mash by Ko‘olau Distillery and 5 year old whiskey from Missouri.
Sweet kettle corn and caramel-covered nuts on the nose, along with a smoky and woody aroma—dry toasted wood on a fire. The palate is led by sugary grain and wood char, with caramel corn and grilled corn on the cob, along with a hint of wood spice. It’s cloying and sweet on the finish, yet retains strong oakiness. Distilled from a bourbon mash and “finished” with toasted wood chips using a proprietary technology.
The bottle may project a Tolkienesque image of a craft distillery run by Bilbo Baggins, but this is produced at Taiwan’s state-owned Nantou Distillery. This lacks sweetness and structure. The meaty nose has prune juice, star anise, lamb tagine, and predominant sour notes throughout the syrupy-textured palate, with flavors of raspberry syrup, pomegranate, and gummy cherries, then tame spices and jumbled savory notes.