Your search returned 131 results.

97 points

Johnnie Walker Blue Label, 40%

Magnificently powerful and intense. Caramels, dried peats, elegant cigar smoke, seeds scraped from vanilla beans, brand new pencils, peppercorn, coriander seeds, and star anise make for a deeply satisfying nosing experience. Silky caramels, bountiful fruits of ripe peach, stewed apple, orange pith, and pervasive smoke with elements of burnt tobacco. An abiding finish of smoke, dry spices, and banoffee pie sweetness. Close to perfection. Editor's Choice

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

96 points

Yamazaki Mizunara Cask 18 year old 2017 Edition, 48%

When whisky lovers talk about the grandeur of Japanese whisky, the enlightenment they desire can be found within this bottle. A refined luxury evocative of toasted marshmallow, sweet incense, butter-soft caramels, oak spices, and ground cinnamon. All the hallmarks of mizunara are here. Concentrated sweet citrus, so intensely fruity on the palate; the mouthfeel is rapturously silky with touches of mango, dried apricot, and gentle but resilient spices.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

95 points

Midleton Dair Ghaelach Bluebell Forest, 55.3%

Season 2 of Dair Ghaelach sees the action switch to six Irish oaks felled in a County Kilkenny bluebell forest. The balance of spice, toasted oak, and sweetness on the nose from tree one is singularly good, though clementine and grapefruit peel also clamor for attention. The acidity of the citrus collides with crunchy pot still spices, and grapefruit evolves into the most delicious ripe mango flavor. Simply heavenly.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

95 points

Balvenie 1973 43 year old, 46.6%

This expression was matured in a European oak oloroso sherry butt. Overtly sherried, with figs, sultanas, cinnamon, and old warm leather on the nose. Finally, fragrant, with milk chocolate-coated Turkish delight. The Turkish delight carries over to the palate, before the chocolate darkens to plain, with raisins, smoked ham, and cloves in the long finish. Remarkably, almost no tannic oak. Textbook stuff.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

94 points

Compass Box Phenomenology, 46%

The nose has honey, caramelized apples, Pixy Stix, pears in cream, faint pepper, ground coriander, and salty driftwood. It’s teeth-coating with golden syrup sugariness, the silky texture meting out pears, apples, sweet barley notes, and crunchy spices, before a vanilla phase gives way to black pepper, licorice, and smoke. Mouth-numbing finish of long-active spices over vanilla. (7,908 bottles)

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

94 points

Redemption 18 year old Straight Rye, 54.95%

This sings a tune of balance, with caramel, coconut, chocolate, barrel char, and campfire smoke harmonizing at the opening. Next comes an amazingly complex series of herbal notes: dill, oregano, and thyme. That’s when cinnamon bread, coffee, and crème brûlée take over; each note super concentrated and rounded. The long finish presents a hint of cinnamon. This is a must-have sipper. (450 bottles)

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

93 points

Midleton Very Rare 2017, 40%

This year’s edition contains some of the oldest whiskey they’ve ever put into Very Rare. A pronounced spicy nose, with sweet barley, dried apple, crisp grains, sweet baklava, and squishy cubes of rose-scented Turkish delight. In the mouth, it’s incredibly smooth and glossy; quite honeyed, subtle soft fruits, raspberry, apple, mixed peel, butterscotch, baked orange, and a hearty spice core. A creamy finish, where the spices outlast the fruit.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

93 points

Dewar’s 25 year old, 40%

Aged for a quarter century and finished in Royal Brackla casks? Count me in. The nose is highly attractive; a rich maltiness unfolds with vanilla oak, flapjacks, whole almonds, and gentle background spices. Smooth caramels, chocolate orange, and a cappuccino note create a thick, weighty blend that melts gracefully into pools of darker chocolate. The mouth-coating finish has plain chocolate, dry oak, and coffee. Brilliant liquid: smoothness personified.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

93 points

Michter’s 25 year old, 58.1%

It packs a beautiful nose, with arcs of chocolate, vanilla wafer, cherry, caramelized brown sugar, baked pears, crème brûlée being torched, and coconut. These notes become concentrated and are complemented by cola, tobacco, spice, toffee, and pepper. Then hazelnut and vanilla coat the mouth, sitting there for a couple of minutes until the end—a supremely long finish. What complexity!

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

93 points

Balvenie 1961 55 year old, 41.7%

Aged in a European oak oloroso sherry hogshead. Orange marmalade and lanolin on the nose, with caramel and candle wax dripped onto old leather. Full-bodied, with slightly bitter orange notes, plus nutmeg and aniseed on the palate. The orange theme persists into the finish as dried-out Jaffa segments, plus edgy oak tannins. A highly individualistic Balvenie.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

93 points

Bruichladdich 1984, 43.7%

This 32 year old bottling was aged in twelve bourbon barrels and re-casked into fresh bourbon wood in 2009. It offers a nose of canned peaches, dates, marzipan, and a hint of milky coffee. Rich fruit flavors lead on the palate: peach, pineapple, and mango, with vanilla and nutty oak. Slowly drying in the finish, with warming spices. Sometimes good bourbon casks are all you need. (3,000 bottles)

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

93 points

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof (Batch C917), 65.5%

When complex spice meets complex caramel, it makes for a wonderful American whiskey experience. That’s exactly what happens here with a cadre of baking spices over fruit, such as cinnamon baked apples, nutmeg sprinkled over pears, and peaches dusted with clove, followed by butterscotch, vanilla custard, and crème brûlée. The balanced and brilliant finish stays true to its complexity.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

93 points

Yamazaki 12 year old, 43%

The first thing you notice is the elegant fragrance of lychee, spring blossoms, lily, rosewater, and raspberry meringue. Deeper in, grassy notes with star fruit, kumquat, and kaffir lime leaves. The flavors offer perfection in their simplicity: silky honey, soft spices, crystalized pineapple, barley sugar, lemon, and orange. On the finish, the spices chatter on and on as the sweet citrus and honey fade in and out. One to cherish.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

92 points

Compass Box No Name, 48.9%

Peatheads, listen up! Yes, there’s pine needles, zested lemons, honey, sanded wood, nutmeg, and cinnamon within this Islay-dominated blend, but it’s the billowing peat smoke that makes this special. It reeks gloriously of stacked fish boxes and heavy braided ropes on the pier. The dark fruit, baked lemons, cherry, clove, and cooked plum face entanglement in a labyrinth of shadowy stygian smoke. You could get lost in here for hours. (15,000 bottles)

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

92 points

Jefferson’s Presidential Select 16 year old Twin Oak, 47%

Honeysuckle, dandelions, and roses start this floral superhighway that takes a brief turn toward grain in many forms, from baked breads to boiling oats. Then earth and fruit meet for a delightful combination that walks toward the sweeter side, with hints of caramel chew, vanilla cake batter, pecan pie, chocolate-covered raisins, cassis, black currant, and povitica. Its long finish introduces a lovely roasted walnut note. (Less than 10,000 bottles)

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

92 points

Bruichladdich 1985, 48.7%

Originally filled into 22 third-fill bourbon casks, this 32 year old was re-casked into first-fill bourbon barrels in 2012, then finished in French oak wine barrels. Fresh peaches on the nose, with vanilla fudge, honey, and ginger. Fruity and spicy on the luscious palate, with orange, cinnamon, and coconut. Long in the finish, with ever-present fruitiness, plus prickly chili notes. (4,200 bottles)

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

92 points

Dalmore 40 year old, 42%

This was initially matured in American oak bourbon barrels, then spent 7 years in 30 year old Matusalem sherry butts before 2 years of finishing in first-fill bourbon casks. The nose yields orange marmalade, wood resin, toasted brioche, and cocktail cherries. Apricot fruitiness on the early palate, then vanilla, ginger, and treacle. The finish is medium in length, with orange peel, fennel, and gentle spices. (750 bottles)

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

92 points

Glengoyne 30 year old, 46.8%

Matured in one-third first-fill 
European oak sherry butts and 
two-thirds refill sherry butts. Rich 
sherry notes on the nose, with vanilla, sultanas, raisins, cherry blossom, and 
a hint of new leather. Initially, smooth
 and very sweet orchard fruits on the palate, with cherry liqueur turning to black tea and fennel. Drying very slowly 
in the lingering finish, with spicy oak. (6,000 bottles)

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

92 points

Springbank 15 year old, 46%

The nose is complex, with almonds, coconut, soft leather, tropical fruits, and stewed black tea. Hints of brine and peat appear. The palate is rounded and rich, with more tropical fruits, sherry, caramel, pipe tobacco, wood smoke, and spicy tannins. The finish is relatively long and creamy, with lingering smokiness. All the classic Springbank elements merge nicely here.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

92 points

Booker’s 2017-04 “Sip Awhile,” 64.05%

Rosewater, almond extract, dark cherries, roasted almonds, and caramelized sugar start this truly splendid aromatic whiskey. Marzipan, pecan pie, chocolate Moon Pie, Bavarian cream, butterscotch, and fried dough with powdered sugar follow. This remarkable whiskey finishes long and strong with more fried dough.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

92 points

Orphan Barrel Entrapment 25 year old, 41%

A captivating nose presents hints of polished leather shoes and clean oak. Less sweet than expected, Entrapment goes straight to long-evolved high esters, dried figs and dates, green fruits, and soaring fruity floral notes. Its spicy finish lasts forever. This very complex and tightly integrated whisky has all the woody, acetone-like glories of long-aged scotches. Then finally, some barley sugar, but only after sitting long in the glass.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

92 points

Backbone Bourbon Uncut Straight (Batch 15), 58.3%

Oh boy! Rising rolls, cakes baking in the oven, whipped cream, icing, citrus, and chocolate fill the nose. Then the palate confirms this tapestry of goodness with vanilla cake batter, brown-sugar butter over yeast rolls, caramel icing, and cinnamon sprinkles. If not for a backbone of beautiful spices layered in between, this whiskey stands as a confectionery delight. As it is, the velvety structure, concentrated notes, and long spicy finish make it a must-have sipper.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

92 points

Pure Scot Virgin Oak 43, 43%

Bladnoch master distiller Ian MacMillan’s blend is worth seeking out for its appealing freshness; green apple, caramel, shaved oak, toasted whole-grain bread, warm pastries, and dried peels. The palate is awash with bright flavors of honey, walnut, barley sugar, gingerbread in custard, orange taffy candy, and a little spice. It squeezes out more juicy peel oils the more you taste. The conclusion has sweet honey, gingerbread crumbs, and a citrus intensity.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

92 points

The Temple Bar 12 year old, 40%

Matured in American oak in the private cellar of this Dublin bar, this flaunts zested lemons, a fine layer of honey, orange segments, and sanded oak. It’s splendidly floral, but reassuringly not perfumed. Sweet, smooth caramels, oranges, spicy pepper, and gingerbread, though the spices never overstep the mark. Develops with concentrated citrus, vanilla fudge, and chocolate orange and slips down effortlessly. Soothing, relaxing, and perfectly matured.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

92 points

Pür Geist, 42%

Imagine stepping inside a tropical palm house: herbs, florals, and waxy foliage. Fresh zingy hops, lemongrass stalks, caramel, and strawberry bubble gum. Palate is soft, with lychee, melon, and white grape supported by spices before it melts into creamy panna cotta and ends with citrus, burnt sugar, and herbal stems. Finish is spicy, saturating, with dark-sugar sweetness. Try this Bavarian whisky from vintage chestnut grappa casks; it’s really interesting.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

91 points

Johnnie Walker Blue Label Ghost and Rare, 46%

This is much more muscular than the regular, un-haunted Blue Label. It delivers a multitude of flavors—butter toffee, sweet smoke, citrus peel, and dry spices—tantalizingly peeling off layer after layer, building a slow crescendo to a peak of spices and bitter citrus. Mouth drawing with caramel, apple, pear, and sherbet, a mid-palate of zesty orange and baking spices before topping out with bitter peels, grapefruit, smoke, and sour hard candy.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

91 points

Dewar’s 30 year old Ne Plus Ultra, 40%

This Pedro Ximénez-finished blend is the oldest Dewar’s expression available. It offers a deliciously deep nose of chocolate-dipped biscuits, dried fruits, and orange peel. The palate includes indulgent rewards of berry fruit, chocolate praline, raspberry, cherry, dried cranberry, and hazelnut. It remains succulent throughout, the sherry fruit keeping the upper hand over the chocolate and batting away the occasional coffee note. A dry finish with nutty chocolate and roasted spice. (Global Travel Retail only)

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

91 points

Ardbeg Twenty Something, 46.3%

This 23 year old expression was released for the Ardbeg Committee. It includes whisky matured in sherry and bourbon casks. Sweet asphalt, bonfire smoke, lemon sponge drizzled in iodine, and background cinnamon on the nose. Succulent, sherried, and chocolate-coated orchard fruits on the oily palate, with vanilla and sweet peat. The peat dries slowly in the finish, with developing licorice, kippers, and peppery oak

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

91 points

Benromach 1977, 56%

This 39 year old was matured in a single refill American hogshead. Orange Jujubes on the early nose, with vanilla, honey, and linseed. Big, sweet, soft fruit notes on the palate, with pipe tobacco and a hint of background peat smoke. Aniseed and ginger develop, along with the merest hint of old oak in the persistently fruity finish. £1,250; Not available in the U.S. (225 bottles)

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

91 points

Bruichladdich 1986, 44.6%

This expression was distilled in December 1986 and filled into seven oloroso sherry butts. In 2012 the whisky was transferred to Pedro Ximénez butts for finishing. The nose yields sultanas, figs, old leather, and white pepper. Very sweet fruit notes on the palate, almost sugary, with background rich sherry, dates, and treacle. Long and warming in the finish, with a wisp of smoke and fruit spices. (4,200 bottles)

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

91 points

Glenfiddich Winter Storm 21 year old, 43%

Glenfiddich’s Experimental Series continues with this expression, finished for up to 6 months in ice wine casks sourced from Peller Estates winery in Ontario, Canada. Concentrated aromas of canned peaches in syrup, vanilla, and clotted cream. Silky on the palate, with a carryover of peaches from the nose and succulent blood oranges. The finish is medium in length, slowly drying, but fruity to the end. (7,800 bottles in U.S.)

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

91 points

Kilchoman 2009 Vintage, 46%

Matured in a combination of oloroso sherry butts filled in 2008, and bourbon barrels filled in 2008 and 2009. The nose is initially flinty, with lemongrass, fabric Band-Aids, fudge, and vanilla. Ultimately the lemon is joined by Jaffa orange juice. Supple and sweet on the palate, with developing nutmeg and white pepper. Peppery in the finish, with plain chocolate and aromatic peat smoke. (840 bottles)

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

91 points

Exclusive Malts Irish 2003 13 year old, 54.2%

A great discussion whiskey for a themed tasting, this has a comforting nose of vanilla, malt, barley sugar, and creamed-coconut macaroons, with hints of nutmeg and grated chocolate. The palate brings fruity satsuma, barley sugar, and an explosion of pepper, ginger, and licorice. The tangy citrus subsides, replaced by ground almond and stewed rhubarb. Dry heat and hot pepper finish that makes you feel like you could breathe fire. (Cask no. 504; 278 bottles)

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

91 points

Green Spot Chateau Montelena, 46%

From Calistoga, California to County Cork, this zinfandel-finished whiskey has bramble, damson jam, red apple, and glacé cherry, with cake mix, flaked almonds, and a steel-tipped edge of spice. Red apple, lemon peel, pithy orange, and crunchy red apple, teasing spice, with just a suggestion of mint mingled into the dry, spicy finish. First Saint-Julien, then Napa; where will Green Spot take our taste buds next?

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

91 points

The Ambassador Barrel Proof 12 year old, 53.8%

Cotton candy, oak, leather, tobacco, and clove open this unique whiskey. Then, strong aromas of earth—trees, dirt, mushrooms, and pine—are followed by quick blasts of baking spices, plum pudding, yams, and malt. These notes coalesce into chocolate, coconut, and caramel. For a long finish, both pepper and baking spices rest on the palate. Lovely fireplace sipper.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

91 points

The Temple Bar 10 year old, 40%

Bright citrus, zested lime, grapefruit peel, crystalized fruits, malted biscuits, and oak, overlaid with dry spice notes of nutmeg and cinnamon bark. A creamy, malty palate yields to an initial spicy base layer. When the spices step aside, there is dried orange, fudge sweetness, and chocolate orange. Tangy, concentrated orange, with spices fraying from the edges completes the finish.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

91 points

Cotswolds 2014 Odyssey Barley, 46%

It’s quite a tick list for their first single malt: 100% locally grown floor-malted barley, long fermentations, unusual yeast strains, innovative distillation cuts, and bourbon and shave-toast-rechar red wine casks. Honey, sugar-sprinkled shortbread, peach tarts, marzipan fruits, glacé apricot, finely shredded citrus peel, and young pink rhubarb. Flavors of heather honey, chili flakes, Christmas spices, caramelized sugar, malt; then marmalade, dried red fruits, and cappuccino. A great all-rounder. More please! (960 bottles)

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

90 points

Crown Royal Blender’s Select, 45%

Crown Royal develops its bourbon-like house style by using an American-style mashbill of 64% corn, 31.5% rye, and 4.5% malted barley for one of its many component whiskies. From this single component, blender Mark Balkenende selected mature whisky exhibiting sweet flowers, pear juice, vanilla, fresh grain, mild barrel tones, clean dry wood, brisk spices, and a long, glowing finish. Very floral, fruity, and quaffable. ($55CAD; Ontario only)

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

90 points

Jameson Caskmates IPA Edition, 40%

Hoppy notes cloaking the crisp grains, green apple, and pomelo make for a happier marriage than its stout sibling. This is one of those whiskeys that continuously evolves in the mouth, progressing from a sweet, syrupy beginning of coconut macaroons, apple, and spices, to a creamier plateau of citrus, stewed fruits, and chocolate. It departs leaving the tongue weighted down with peppery spice and cooked apple. Unexpectedly delicious. Value pick

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

90 points

Dewar’s 15 year old The Monarch, 40%

The divine stone fruit aromas are the key to unlocking the nose on this one: apricot, honey, vanilla icing, malt bins, Quaker Oats Squares, and lofty floral top notes. Sweet mandarin, brown sugar, vanilla fudge, strands of finely shredded peel, and more spice than the 12 year old can muster. The sweet vanilla aftertaste is softer and more elegant than the younger expressions.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

90 points

Michter’s US*1 Toasted Barrel Barrel Finish Rye 2017 Release, 55.5%

At first, it’s truly American candy: melted chocolate-covered almonds and coconut. Then, it’s cinnamon, toffee, butterscotch, gingersnap cookies, red pepper, and Rice Krispies. This mouth-coating offers lingering baking spices throughout. A drop of water offers even more complexity, with pronounced caramel chew notes developing. With or without water, a complex and long finish awaits with hints of jalapeño chocolate.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

90 points

1792 Bottled in Bond, 50%

Think carnival aromas—the good ones, anyway—meeting the campfire. Cracker Jacks, cinnamon-covered almonds, popcorn, cotton candy, marshmallows melting over graham crackers, and hints of smoldering oak. Next, coconut, caramel, and cocoa over a buttery mouthfeel with hints of toffee, banana, baked apple, and pumpkin pie appear. Toward the end, hints of black pepper and raspberry strudel surface in a medium to long finish.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

90 points

Balvenie 1981 35 year old, 43.8%

A refill American oak hogshead matured this whisky. The nose offers malt, vanilla fudge, pineapple, and contrasting lemon. Lively tropical fruits on the palate, almonds, walnuts, and ginger cookies, with ever-present oak. Bitter coffee in the medium-length, leathery finish.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

90 points

BenRiach Authenticus Peated 30 year old, 46%

Following on from 21 and 25 year old expressions of Authenticus, BenRiach has now added its oldest variant yet to the lineup. The nose offers orchard fruits, honey, polished oak, and vanilla-tinged peat smoke. Full and fruity on the palate, with sweet peat having a presence, plus milk chocolate and licorice. The finish is relatively long, with citrus fruit, ashy smoke, and a lingering herbal note. £400; Not available in the U.S.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

90 points

Bushmills Port Cask Reserve, 40%

Sweet honey daubed on ripe plums, an abundance of barley notes, black cherry, and a smattering of exotic spices. Juicy notes of cherry, plum, peach, and strawberry, with undertones of peppery spice. The flavor fills out with lovely malty notes, Quaker Oats, and vanilla. The port cask has really complemented the Bushmills character, and this second edition in the Steamship collection is the best in the series to date. (£99; Global Travel Retail only)

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

90 points

Exclusive Malts 2006 (distilled at Linkwood) 11 year old, 58.2%

The nose is pleasingly floral, with soft spice, malt, heather in bloom, and even a suggestion of violets. Well textured on the palate, oily and nutty, with tropical fruits, honey, milk chocolate, vanilla, and malt. The finish is lengthy, with a hint of citrus and warming spices. (Cask no. 69; 287 bottles)

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

90 points

Gordon & MacPhail 1977 (distilled at Strathisla), 48.5%

This 40 year old was matured in a refill American hogshead. Perfumed on the nose, with vanilla, soft leather, lanolin, and lavender. Watery soft fruits on the palate, with cocoa powder and ginger. The finish offers more cocoa powder, black coffee, and licorice-flavored oak. £500 (191 bottles, The Whisky Exchange exclusive)

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

90 points

West Cork Glengarriff Series Peat Charred Cask, 43%

An innovative approach to flavoring casks by charring the staves with burning peat, this whiskey develops a smoldering nose of dark chocolate brownies, dry wood smoke, and cocoa sweetness. The impact of the peat is confined to the nose, but it tastes pleasantly oily, with tangy citrus, Jolly Rancher hard candy, chocolate cake, spices, fizzy candies, and coffee notes. The finish of nutmeg, cinnamon, clove, and dried peel rounds off an extremely tasty whiskey. (4,800 bottles)

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

90 points

Blade and Bow 22 year old 2017 Release, 46%

This is a re-release of the 2015 bottling. A tapestry of confectionery delights begins this journey, followed by fruit, cigar box, saddle leather, cotton candy, roasted pecans, caramel, and marshmallow. Then, it’s smoked paprika, fig, cinnamon, strawberry, and dark cherries. In the form of walnut shells, a powerful and somewhat pleasant bitterness finds the finish, with a hint of chocolate. But that bitterness does supersede the more pleasant notes, making it slightly unbalanced.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

90 points

Octomore 08.3, 61.2%

One of four Octomore 08 Masterclass releases, this was distilled in 2011 from Islay barley peated to 309 ppm. Fifty-six percent of the spirit was matured in first-fill bourbon casks, while the remainder was aged in European oak wine casks. Barbecue smokiness on the nose, with wet peat and citrus fruitiness. On the palate, earthy peat, full-bodied red wine, and milk chocolate. Peat smoke to the fore in the finish, with ginger and chili. (18,000 bottles)

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

90 points

Fuji-Sanroku Small Batch 18 year old, 43%

A little joy from Mount Fuji: soy sauce, five-spice powder, grilled pineapple, halved passion fruit, and the umami sensation of slightly salty umeboshi. It’s dense and mouth-coating, with maple syrup, cinnamon, and a steady build of rye spices, particularly nutmeg and clove, before closing off with dark baked orange. The spices are short lasting, but the pleasurably deep boiled orange candy sweetness persists for minutes. (JPY 22,000; Not available in the U.S.)

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

90 points

Lambay Single Malt, 40%

Spicier and darker than their blend, this delivers heather honey, banana peel, cashew, pepper, ground coriander, and bay leaf. Quite light-bodied and delicate to begin with, but the Cognac cask adds fruitiness and greater complexity. Sugary sweet, with tingly spices, honey, cracked black pepper, clove-studded oranges, and tangy marmalade. A finish of bitter orange, pepper, and fondant cream makes this a worthy addition to the Cognac cask revival.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

90 points

Prizefight Irish Whiskey, 43%

Inspired by the Morrissey-Sullivan bout of 1853, this whiskey received a 6 month rye barrel finish which results in enticing toasty notes, cinnamon bark, malt, and vanilla. The structure is light, the flavors are delicious, and it knocks you out with malt, creamy vanilla, active spices, and a dry nuttiness. Give the finish an eight-count for its long lasting spices and good punch of sweetness.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

90 points

Reisetbauer 15 year old, 48%

Distilled by Hans Reisetbauer, this is like an amplified version of his 12 year old (see below). Red pears, pomegranate, walnut husks, and more active spices, from mace and asafetida to coriander. The flavors unfurl sedately over the palate like a flower coming into bloom: soft honeyed fruit, pear, raspberry, strawberry, spices, bramble, and chocolate drops. A drying finish of five-spice, dried apple, and chocolate. Best of this Austrian trio.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

90 points

Sierra Norte Single Barrel Yellow, 45%

Blue iris, dried chilies, and fresh linen; the corn is sweet and fat, and the aromas integrate more harmoniously than the White and Black expressions. Fresh and fruity, orange marmalade, honey oozing into maple syrup, developing more complexity as the smooth layers shift to accommodate the growing pepper and chili heat ahead of a spicy honey finish. For a 10 month old single cask whiskey, this is remarkably impressive.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

89 points

Dewar’s 12 year old The Ancestor, 40%

A straightforward proposition of honey, vanilla sponge cake, barley notes, hints of apple, fresh banana, melon, and bundles of dry straw. It’s a sweetheart: soft vanilla fudge, heather honey, banana-topped banoffee pie, fudge, vanilla sandwich cookies, barley sugar, and lemon peel, with hardly any spice in the early phase. The finish has a snag of pepper at the end, but this is gorgeously tasty, with smooth vanilla fudge all the way.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

89 points

BenRiach Four Cask Matured 21 year old, 46%

BenRiach’s latest release was matured in a combination of four diverse cask types: bourbon, virgin oak, Pedro Ximénez sherry, and red wine. The nose offers tangerines, milk chocolate, and spicy vanilla. Peaches, Brazil nuts, raisins, dates, and more chocolate on the palate, with red berries in the background. The finish is medium in length, with cocoa powder and ginger. £125; Not available in the U.S.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

89 points

GlenDronach Peated Port Wood, 46%

This is non-chill filtered and carries no age statement. The nose is earthy, with damp herbaceous borders, quite acrid smoke, and spicy cranberries. Fresh, juicy red berries on the palate, with background peat smoke becoming ashy, with rich red wine notes. The red wine persists in the finish, accompanied by prickly black pepper. £70; Not available in the U.S.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

89 points

Mackmyra Moment Körsbär, 47%

This rufescent whisky evokes aromas of cherry blossom, kirsch, white pepper, and wood spices. Light cherry syrup, caramel, and toffee, with a strident eruption of black pepper and clove that sets the underside of your tongue alight. Körsbär is Swedish for cherry and the fat red berry flavors leave a lovely warm glow inside. Despite its color, the sweet cherry wine finish has been judged to perfection. (SEK1198; Not available in the U.S.)

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

89 points

Finger Lakes Distilling McKenzie Straight Rye, 45.5%

A beguiling nose, replete with cinnamon crumble, blueberry bubble gum, and cardamom. This whiskey bakes you a blackberry pie with a flaky crust and vanilla whipped cream, rounded out with cinnamon, dill, and oregano. The finish has clove-spiced orange peel, lingering sweet marshmallow, and a surprising minerality. This is at least a year older than some of the other Empire ryes, and it shows. Craft skeptics, seek this out. Empire rye

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

89 points

Exclusive Malts 2002 (distilled at Miltonduff) 14 year old, 54.1%

The initial nose is herbaceous, with green apples, then brittle toffee. Developing Juicy Fruit gum flavors. The palate is straightforward, but full and pleasing, featuring pineapple, fudge, vanilla, and almonds. The finish is medium in length, nutty, with a hint of black pepper. (Cask no. 263; 176 bottles)

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

89 points

West Cork Glengarriff Series Bog Oak Charred Cask, 43%

Irish bog oak can lie preserved under the turf for thousands of years. The whiskey’s nose is cool and clean, the smoke refined and rather elegant, with aromas of Brazil nut shells, fine Madagascan chocolate, and dark, unlacquered walking canes. Rich and sweet with chocolate orange, fiery spice, ginger cake, menthol, and root ginger, crumbling into bitter orange peel, bark, molasses, and coffee grounds. Finish of bitter roots and ginger. (4,800 bottles)

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

89 points

The English Original, 43%

Malt barns, cornflakes, some sparse vanilla, redskin peanuts, citrus peel, and a dash of white pepper on the nose. The overall impression on the olfactory system is gentle and mild. A tasty prospect, with poached pear, vanilla ice cream, honeydew, peppery spices, ground almond, custard tarts, lemon zest, malt, and peanut brittle. A little tangy citrus, deep warmth, and vanilla to finish. Rather moreish. (480 bottles)

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

89 points

Barrell New Year 2018 Limited Edition, 55.6%

Quince, coconut, raspberry, and chocolate walk into an array of breads—sourdough, cornbread, Lebanese pita, and pumpernickel rye. Soon a sweetness develops over earthiness. Think hazelnut latte paired with rich lentil soup, followed by jalapeño cornbread and honey. Its strength never shows, but that promise in the taste is not followed in the finish, which is shorter than expected. If the finish held up, it would be a much stronger whiskey.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

89 points

Octomore 08.1, 59.3%

Distilled in 2008 from 100 percent Scottish barley peated to 167 ppm. It spent 8 years in first-fill American oak casks. Peaches dipped in hot plain chocolate and tarry peat on the fragrant nose. The palate offers sweet, creamy orchard fruits and honey, backed by citrus-laden peat. Drying in the finish to quite a bitter, tannic smokiness. (42,000 bottles)

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

89 points

Ohishi Kaito’s Cask, 41.8%

Spicy rice crackers, plum sauce, bramble jelly, fragrant oriental spices, and the polished leather of new shoes from this single cask, sherry-matured rice whisky. The syrupy texture bursts with juicy red fruits, plum, red currant, pomegranate, and cooked peach, all bolstered by peppercorns and ground ginger. An enchanting harmony is struck between the fruits and the spice, though the finish is short, with sherry notes and spicy remnants. (660 bottles)

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

89 points

Single Cask Nation (distilled at Tormore) 21 year old, 49%

This was distilled in February 1996, matured in a second-fill bourbon barrel, and bottled in April 2017. The nose yields nectarines, vanilla ice cream, fudge, and milk chocolate. Smooth and rounded on the palate, with ripe apples, toffee, walnuts, and ultimately, a hint of lemon, plus black pepper. Nutty and subtly spicy in the lengthy finish. (156 bottles)

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

89 points

The Sexton, 40%

One of the most striking-looking new releases around, this bone-jangling, sepulchral, triple-distilled whiskey was once entombed in oloroso sherry butts. A nose of baked apple and sultana, rolled marzipan, sesame seeds, and roasted spices. Smooth tasting, with dark fleshy fruits, mixed peel, chocolate, walnut; the taut spicy middle section dies back to baked oranges. A dignified finish, with chocolate and nutmeg at the death. Ingest in peace.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

89 points

Kurayoshi 12 year old, 46%

This is airily fruity, with a greater emphasis on red fruits: strawberry jam, red apple, and red currant. With greater age, the five-spice and ground ginger are dialed up a couple of notches. A thick, jammy texture with flavors of red apple, malt, peppercorn, and chili flakes, glimpses of chocolate and cocoa, though the spices slacken with dilution. Finish of ground coffee, cooking chocolate, and fading spice. (2,160 bottles)

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

88 points

Johnnie Walker Black Label The Director’s Cut, 49%

A futuristic bottle design released for Ridley Scott’s replicant sequel set in 2049, hence the punchy bottling strength. Peat smoke, toffee caramels, fresh banana, and sliced red apple. Promising layers of fruit salad, grape, apple, citrus, and apricot are swept aside by an aggressive peppery attack, emerging to notes of bitter fruit, burnt rubber, and smoke. If this is a glimpse of the future, I’m stockpiling regular Black Label now. (39,000 bottles)

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

88 points

Bunnahabhain Pedro Ximénez Cask Finish 15 year old, 54.3%

This was matured in second-fill sherry casks and then spent 3 years in first-fill Pedro Ximénez butts. The nose features fruit and nutty milk chocolate, fudge, sultanas, and mixed candied peel. Lush, sweet sherry on the palate, with a carryover of fudge and sultanas from the nose. Long in the nutty, spicy finish, which offers nutmeg and peppery oak. (5,000 bottles)

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

88 points

Kilchoman Red Wine Cask Matured, 50%

Distilled in 2012, this was aged in casks sourced from the Douro Valley in Portugal. Quite reticent on the early nose, with developing strawberries, vanilla custard, new oak, and subtle smoke. The palate offers smoky red wine notes, with ashy peat, spices, and tingling black pepper becoming more apparent. Sweet cherry fruitiness lingers in the relatively long finish with prickly spices.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

88 points

St. George 35th Anniversary, 41%

A perfumed nose of lilac, mint, orange flower water, and powdery Sweethearts candy introduces this pretty whiskey, as distinctive tangerine citrus meets papaya and tropical flavors. The malty palate is broad, sweet, and pure, delivering some bubble gum and confectionery notes. Very enjoyable, and almost juicy in its fruit bomb of flavors.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

88 points

Chicken Cock 8 year old, 45%

It begins with corn pudding, savory and sweet, developing into cornbread, cookie dough, and tapioca pudding. This is followed by cinnamon bread, raw walnut, and malt. Around mid-palate, a dominating spice kicks in. This spice remains toward the finish, where the cinnamon just pleasantly sits there. Fun sipper.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

88 points

Exclusive Malts 2005 Ledaig (distilled at Tobermory) 11 year old, 57.6%

The nose opens with brine, fresh pine, sage, and sweet antiseptic. Peat, ginger, black pepper, lime, and lemon notes develop in time. Citrus fruits, caramel, and a peat-fueled barbecue on the palate, with background dark berries. The finish is medium in length, warming, and spicy, with plain chocolate and drying, crumbly peat. (Cask no. 13; 275 bottles)

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

88 points

Kings County Straight Rye, 51%

An alluring and inviting nose promises sweet tea, mint, dill, and a full Thanksgiving dessert spread. The palate delivers, with flavors of blueberry crumble, cherry tart, and candied ginger. The juicy spice is counterbalanced by oak that’s slightly too bitter and tannic, with notes of dry walnuts and chili powder. But a warm, spicy, and rounded finish helps bring the whiskey home. Empire rye

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

88 points

The English Smokey, 43%

This lives up to its name with leaf bonfire smoke, vanilla essence, and ginger preserves. Distiller David Fitt chooses malt peated to the same level as Port Ellen maltings delivers to Laphroaig. Assertive flavors of raw ginger, peppercorn, and chili flakes succumb to soothing vanilla cream and herbal notes. It leaves a creaminess on the lips and a mouth-coating finish of bonfire smoke and ground pepper. (480 bottles)

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

88 points

Moon Harbour Pier #2 Peated Edition, 47.1%

Was the short finish in Château La Louvière casks from Bordeaux’s Pessac-Léognan appellation sufficient to impact this peaty whisky? A gorgeous color with a nose of sooty, charcoal intensity, hints of chocolate, vanilla pod, clove, and peppercorn. Flavors of cherry, rhubarb, orange peel, and plums, speckled with aniseed, pepper, clove, and licorice indicate cask influence. Suggestions of menthol and peppermint, before a smoky finish with licorice and bitter chocolate. (20,000 bottles)

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

88 points

Chapter 7 2008 (distilled at Allt-a-Bhainne) 9 year old, 60.7%

A single cask, cask strength whisky finished in a first-fill bourbon barrel. The initial nose is slightly earthy, with walnuts, Juicy Fruit gum, vanilla, and ripe peach notes in time. Full, sweet fruit notes on the palate, peaches in syrup, overripe pineapple, with milk chocolate, fudge, and nutmeg. The finish is medium in length and perennially spicy, with aniseed notes. (Cask no. 170)

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

88 points

Chapter 7 2008 (distilled at Aultmore) 9 year old, 62.2%

Aged in bourbon wood, then finished in an oloroso sherry cask. The result is a whisky with a nutty nose, plus sultanas, figs, vanilla, and background sherry, becoming more floral in time. Full-bodied on the palate, with sweet sherry notes, ginger, and cinnamon, and developing raisin and prune notes. The finish is long, with spicy coffee and blackberries. (Cask no. 900160)

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

88 points

StoneHammer Distiller’s Reserve, 45%

Think cherries—they dominate the nose over earth, oak, and blueberries. Then it’s leather, tobacco, cigar box, and burnt pie crust edges. Finally, two notes become one, as cherry pie, with hints of rhubarb and cola. It sets itself up to be a prime whiskey, but the notes just fall off on a short finish. If only the backbone held up, this could be remarkable stuff.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

88 points

Lambay Small Batch Blend, 40%

This Cognac cask-finished whiskey has light, airy aromas of vanilla cream, heather honey, golden syrup, flaked coconut, and whole orange. Baked pastries and tangy orange precede a mid-palate spice rush, with grapefruit flavors building through a lengthy, spicy finish. Several sourced Irish whiskeys use local water to cut down to bottling strength; Lambay uses water drawn from the island’s Trinity Well.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

88 points

Kurayoshi 18 year old, 50%

The high-alcohol strength is apparent on the nose, which is dominated by pepper, clove, and star anise spices. A mouth-drawing concoction that begins softly, with honey, orange, and apple peel, then grows in scale at the expense of the sweetness. There’s a takeover by root ginger and bitter fruit skins. The long-lasting finish reverberates with crackling spices and sour fruits. (1,140 bottles)

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

88 points

Kurayoshi Sherry Cask 3 year old, 46%

Nutty dried fruits, pear and apple, light pepper, and an old knob of dried ginger. The sherry notes are more reminiscent of amontillado or palo cortado. The sherry works well with the whisky, bringing dried peels, nuts, golden caramels, and spicy pepper, the latter surging forth to dominate the last remnants of fudge-like sweetness. Attractively tasty, this has a finish of juicy peel, clove, and pepper. (720 bottles)

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

88 points

Reisetbauer 7 year old, 43%

The youngest offering has an attractive fruity nose with red apple, menthol, and wax candles, all nicely backed with spicy oak. Honey-dipped apple slices, citrus, chocolate-covered raisins, and very gentle spice make this a most agreeable sipping whisky. The finish has coffee grounds with a pinch of spice. Perfectly delicious, it’s just a little meek and light bodied, with a shorter flavor trajectory.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

88 points

Sierra Norte Single Barrel Black, 45%

A deeper corn note than White, the Oaxacan black corn retains a firm nugget of sweetness, aromas of banana skins and dusty earth. To sip, it’s creamy, cool, and refreshing, with light mandarin flavors, gingerbread, corn fritters, vanilla, and peppery heat from the French oak cask. The finish has gentle warmth, with root ginger and kernels of roasted corn. Distinctive and highly promising.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

87 points

Balvenie 1993 23 year old, 51.9%

This was aged in a refill American oak hogshead, as was the 1981 expression. Like that variant, it has pineapple and lemon on the nose and also yields milk chocolate, green apples, and fresh-sawn wood. Smooth, full, and sweet on the palate, again with very ripe tropical fruits, plus apple pie. The finish is medium in length; quite austere.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

87 points

Highland Park Full Volume, 47.2%

Full Volume is a U.S.-exclusive bottling that was distilled in 1999 and matured entirely in first-fill bourbon casks. The nose is fragrant, with canned pears and vanilla ice cream, coconut, and a very subtle wisp of smoke. Quite thin on the palate, nutty, mildly herbal, with tropical fruits. Ashy peat smoke, cocoa powder, and wood spice in the medium-length finish.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

87 points

Balcones Texas Blue Corn Bourbon (Batch BCB17-1), 64.6%

The concentration here is impressive, as dates and raisins meet leathery oak that smells of a dusty tack shop, joined by some lovely cinnamon, clove, and spearmint. The intensity on the rich palate is face-melting, hot, and muscular. Sweet flan, caramel corn, and vivid spice succumb to a finish built for oak lovers, drying and a bit tannic, bringing the molten sweet flavors to an end too soon.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

87 points

St. George Single Malt Lot 17, 43%

Exhibits the floral, rose petal, and fresh meadow character often found in St. George malts. The palate pours with white peach and apricot, coupled with warm cereal notes. A delicate whiskey that might have benefited from higher proof, but remains enjoyable for its lingering sweetness, elegant character, and unmistakable craftsmanship.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

87 points

Westward American Single Malt, 45%

A true American single malt; the impression of new charred barrels distinguishes this from its Old World counterparts, while the creamed honey, caramel, and candied nuts keep the wood in check. On the palate, the wood influence delivers big vanilla and hints of smoky char, coupled with nicely concentrated flavors of Turkey Golden table syrup, fruit, and spice. A nice rendition of New World single malt, showing proof and gusto.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

87 points

Bone Snapper X-Ray Straight Rye 4 year old (Batch 1), 55%

At first, fruit and charred oak own the moment, only to be interrupted by petrol, florals, and earth. Spice sets in with an abundance of sweetness following. Then, a lovely explosion of fresh-baked rye rolls with hints of pomegranate, orange peel, banana, and apple. Pepper spices remain to the end where a medium finish, with hints of cinnamon await.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

87 points

Remus Repeal Reserve, 47%

Starting with floral, fruit, and perfume notes, its prominent bouquet barely allows the undertones of honeysuckle, spice, and oak to shine through. On the palate, honey, canned peaches, tobacco, and crème brûlée lead the way just before an explosion of vanilla layers the palate in the form of cake batter, icing, and a white fudge-dipped Oreo. However, bitterness sets in, causing a slight unbalance and lingers toward the medium finish.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

87 points

Uncle Nearest 1856, 50%

Slow-roasted corn, marzipan, cinnamon, nutmeg, and kettle corn start this experience and slowly fade to corn on the cob with butter, salt, and pepper. Then, it’s apple cider vinegar, deep-fried mushrooms, and Nutella. Fried pie dough and hints of chocolate appear before a medium finish that has a hint of toffee.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

87 points

Old Elk Blended Straight, 44%

Honey and almond butter start a wonderful nose, followed by orange zest, fruit, and vanilla. Cherries, orange marmalade, brown sugar, and Nutter Butters slowly come through, but quickly dissipate as caramel chew, gingerbread, and cinnamon develop. The medium finish prevents it from moving to the next level of quality, but still offers hints of baking spices and roasted almonds.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

87 points

Tincup 10 year old, 42%

Pretty violet and floral notes lead the way, with herb garden and chocolaty oak draped over caramel chews. The creamy palate offers marshmallow and a candy store mélange of Jolly Ranchers and Swedish Fish, before the finely balanced oak comes in, meeting the sweetness with sandalwood and rye spice. A lovely effort that places balance above sheer power.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

87 points

The Temple Bar Signature Blend, 40%

This blend is full of bold flavors: sweet barley, oranges and lemons, fudge, and pastel-colored macaroons. There is plenty of body, with vanilla, brown sugar, strands of citrus, fudge, and spice. It seems slow to warm up, the flavors a little lost for a few seconds before it gets its act together. Lengthy finish of buzzy spices, lemon peel, and caramelized brown sugar.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

87 points

Kurayoshi 8 year old, 46%

Heady with spring blossoms, mixed peel, cantaloupe, green banana, and taffy candy, with a fine thread of spices running through it. A hesitant opening, it wallows in gentle apple and orange before a strong tangerine streak appears, the mouthfeel becoming weightier, drawing through flavors of peppery herbal salad leaves and vanilla cream. The spices take the lead from then on, the fruit fading quickly in the peppery afterglow. (1,440 bottles)

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

87 points

Kurayoshi Sherry Cask 8 year old, 46%

Age adds a richer, creamier note suggestive of lighter styles of sherry, more fino or manzanilla, perhaps a cream sherry. The fruit note is more rounded, the nutmeg, clove, and pepper deliver a stronger kick. Ripe yellow fruits with melon and apple, not too sweet, followed by a sharper edge of light sherry. By comparison, the younger whisky has more fruit to balance out the nippy spices. (720 bottles)

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

87 points

Reisetbauer 12 year old, 48%

Peppermint cream, menthol, whole plum, cranberry, and very delicate toasted-wood spices. The palate has cooked apple, Fruit Pastilles, plum flesh, malt, drinking chocolate, and brown sugar. As time progresses, it develops a slight sourness, with the spices spreading out wide under the tongue. The final phase conjures up a char note, black tea, and burnt sultana bread, leading to a finish of spices and dulled stewed fruit.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

87 points

William Wolf Rye, 46%

This 100% rye has a beautifully developed nose of roasted coriander seed, white pepper, and Cinnamon Toast Crunch, though the spices dominate and impede other characteristics from shining through. The initial mandarin and tropical-fruit sweetness is left behind as the peppery spices roar away. The finish sees the spices vanish into thin air, as if teleported back to the mother ship. Ideal for rye-based cocktails.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

87 points

Mt. Logan 15 year old, 40%

Rather than complexity, this all-corn whisky showcases softness and a rich creamy mouthfeel—even if it does meet the Canadian definition of rye whisky. Peppery spices with a keen bite come from the barrel, not grain. Berries and corncobs add depth to fruit cocktail, with sharp spices balancing a lush waxiness. Its syrupy feel evolves into kiwi fruit flavors and tartness on the finish. ($45CAD; Canada only)

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

87 points

Lost Spirits Abomination The Sayers of the Law, 54%

Aromas of smoked meat, kelp, saline, rubber, and butterscotch pudding make for a sweet and savory first impression. Flavors of burnt sugar, vanilla custard, cooked apple, dark cacao, black pepper, and salty umami carry through on a big, aggressive, hunger-sparking palate. The finish is unsweetened chocolate, ash, and pepper—bold and unapologetic, it responds well to water. This whisky has been matured using alternative aging technology. Actual Time in Barrel: 18 months; Processing: Multiple peated malt distillates are aged in Scotland, then blended, exported, and put through Lost Spirits’ reactor with pieces of charred oak treated with Riesling wine.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

86 points

Balvenie 2004 13 year old, 58.2%

This expression was aged in a European oak oloroso sherry butt. A savory opening to the nose, followed by figs dipped in lemon juice. Sweet, spicy cream sherry on the palate, Christmas cake flavors, then black pepper and tannins develop. The finish is medium to long, with honey and malt. Accomplished, but expensive for its age.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

86 points

Jim Beam Distiller’s Cut, 50%

Cornbread and toffee start this alluring whiskey, followed by hints of paprika, fruits, flowers, and caramel. Afterward, it opens up into a bakery with cinnamon rolls, caramel chews, vanilla cupcakes, and ginger. Baking spices and earth appear over a medium finish that offers black licorice. It’s well-suited for mixing.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

86 points

Balcones True Blue Cask Strength Corn (Batch TB17-1), 68.3%

Baking spices, pipe tobacco, vanilla, citrus peel, cardamom, dried apricots, and dates unwind on the nose, carried by plenty of fresh oak. The potent palate explodes with up-front sweetness, laced with cocoa and maduro tobacco notes, but the chest-thumping herbal oak brings it to a quick and slightly bitter finish. A splash of water brings the elements into better balance as peach syrup sweetness starts to shine.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

86 points

FEW Copper & Kings Bourbon, 46.5%

This is a bold style of bourbon, finished in American brandy barrels and brandishing fiery spirit and sweet corn. Yet the beautiful sweetness, layered with butter and spearmint underscored by cedary oak, offers a lot to like, especially on the nutty-sweet finish, with its peanut and charred wood flavors.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

86 points

Exclusive Malts (distilled at Invergordon) 1993 24 year old, 54.1%

The nose evokes aromas of school textbook spines, freshly planed oak, vanilla, and dry-roasted fennel and coriander seeds. A mouth-puckering sip begins innocently enough with golden caramels and toffee, before a double whammy of spice and alcohol give it quite a kick. The sweetness concentrates deliciously, becomes tangy, before sliding into a finish of long-lingering spices and residual oaky sweetness. (Cask no. 901820; 168 bottles)

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

86 points

George Remus Straight Bourbon, 47%

Cotton candy, caramel, baked apples, roasted pecans, freshly baked rye rolls, and herbs start a truly approachable pour. Its story opens in a spice race: cinnamon, nutmeg, turmeric, and smoked paprika and a slight hint of coffee. A burst of dill hits, just before vanilla walks it home to a lovely, medium finish. An interesting sipper, but remarkable in cocktails.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

86 points

Sierra Norte Single Barrel White, 45%

White has the most familiar corn whiskey character of this Mexican trio. Sweet buttered cobs of corn, faint toasted spices, green corn husks, and peanuts on the nose. The palate is sweet, gentle, and refreshing, bathed in honey, with dried peel, sweet corn, toasted oak spices, and a late sensation of charred oak, burnt toast, and peppercorn. That slight burnt note just creeps into the finish.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

85 points

Dewar’s 18 year old The Vintage, 40%

Vanilla laced with spice, fondant icing, grapefruit peel, and lime zest leave the vanilla and floral notes lower down the pecking order. In the mouth, grapefruit and orange dominate the vanilla, yet the mouthfeel is thinner and the acidity tips toward the taste of bitter orange seeds. A lingering bitter orange finish.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

85 points

Dewar’s White Label, 40%

Honey, fudge, a little melon and white grape, dry roasted spices, and peppercorn, but noticeably less fruit than the age-statement varieties. The palate has pulpy white melon, lemon, lime, and some grapefruit acidity, before sweetening with honey. Quite tart at times, some peppery spice collaborates before the vanilla cream and green fruits take charge. A clean, juicy finish of lemon zest and mild spices coats the throat.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

85 points

FEW Italia, 46.5%

Super floral with bright lemon and yuzu, this beams with originality, as violet candies, rose petal, and pine forest join the fray. The mouthfeel has a satisfying oily texture and a slightly tart, bright citrus lift before the creamy sweetness settles in, nicely balanced with drying oak tannins.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

85 points

Coppersea Bonticou Crag Straight Malt Rye, 48%

A very grain-forward nose, reminiscent of caraway or a fresh pumpernickel loaf. A soft, dusty rye, with hints of peppermint, spearmint, and cinnamon candy and bitter brown sugar. Quite dry, with some bitter oak, dry hay, and fresh-sawn lumber. Dried herbs, grilled pineapple, and lingering pepper on the finish. Made from rye malted by hand and distilled in direct-fired stills, this whiskey is more focused on grain than oak. Empire rye

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

85 points

New York Distilling Co. Ragtime Rye Applejack Finish, 50%

A true fruit bouquet on the nose, with apple, lemon, peach, and apricots, balanced by gentle wood. Very buttery and creamy on the palate, with a panoply of earthy white chocolate, pretty baking spice, and minced apple. A little too much fresh lumber and banana flavor, but well-balanced and intriguing. The applejack cask finish is a nice touch, but the rye could still use more time in the barrel. Empire rye

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

85 points

Whiskey Del Bac Classic Unsmoked, 42%

Driven by earthy oak and dark cocoa on the nose, this whiskey is alluring in its rustic richness, with saddle leather and a pocketful of dried fruit pulled from an old backpack. On the palate, the cherry and red berry fruit meet some pleasant peppery and clove spice, with the impression of lemon oil. Pleasingly drinkable, with caramel and more oak on the modest finish.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

85 points

Kurayoshi 3 year old, 46%

Aged for just 3 years, the nose is a fresh fruit salad of green apple, honeydew, lychee, and kumquat. The green fruits and tangy citrus on the palate fall under attack from peppery arugula leaves and active spices. A structure as light as cotton candy; the flavor of orange taffy is all that remains when the dust settles. The finish is dry and peppery, with a slight herbal note. (1,440 bottles)

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

85 points

Lost Spirits Abomination The Crying of the Puma, 54%

An aggressive punch of peat—creosote, tar, rubber, and seaweed—mingles with wood spice, butterscotch, vanilla pudding, and red apple on the nose. The palate shows charred meat, charred wood, earthy smoke, crème brûlée, and red apple flavors. The short, ashy finish satisfies with dark chocolate and black pepper. At such a high proof, it takes water well and develops in the glass. This whisky has been matured using alternative aging technology. Actual Time in Barrel: 18 months; Processing: Multiple peated malt distillates are aged in Scotland, then blended, exported, and put through Lost Spirits’ reactor with pieces of toasted oak treated with Riesling wine.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

84 points

Jack Daniel’s Rye, 45%

What begins as a banana, oat, and Malt-O-Meal delight turns into honey and potato chips. This is followed by cookie dough, dark cherries, sweet-potato chips, beets, dehydrated pineapple, pine nuts, and oak. Its medium finish offers a mouthful of banana. If you love banana, you’ll love this whiskey.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

84 points

John Barr Reserve, 40%

This blend has been a Whyte and MacKay whisky for 25 years. The nose has spice, toffee, wheat biscuits, and smoke, but the combination feels a little benign. The palate is jammy, lightweight, and middle-of-the-road. With a backbone of grain, there are flavors of graham cracker, chocolate ganache, well-baked fruitcake, banoffee pie, smoke, and dried peels, with a burst of spices on the finish.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

84 points

Tanner’s Creek Blended Bourbon, 42.5%

It begins with flowers, cardamom, fresh-cut walnut wood, and mint. Notes of fruit, pomace, applesauce, pineapple, and vanilla-iced strawberries take over, but smoke, pear, and apple dominate thereafter. A shorter than expected finish presents hints of chocolate, candied corn, and more smoke. Very nice for punches.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

84 points

The Pogues, 40%

Named for the greatest London-Irish band of the 1980s, this produces stewed apple, raisin, vanilla cream, peppercorn, grated nutmeg, and a dirty ol’ mound of dunnage earth. A fiesta of apple, pineapple, grapefruit, bitter lemon, subdued honey, and caramel transition into stewed apples, rhubarb, lemon bonbons, and sweet vanilla. Lingering bitterness, like the band’s split. It’s a Big Apple Fairytale, but for the money, better streams of whiskey are available.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

83 points

Cleveland Black Reserve Bourbon, 50%

The nose is grainy with strong wood notes and hints of vanilla, lilac, and cinnamon candies. Flavors of caramel, vanilla, spice, and citrus tussle with cedar, tea leaves, and oak tannins before a lengthy, assertive finish of tobacco, caramel, cinnamon, clove, and orange peel. This or whiskey has been matured using alternative aging technology. Actual Time in Barrel: varies, usually 3 to 6 months; Processing: Distillate from Indiana and Ohio is aged in new charred oak barrels before undergoing Cleveland’s proprietary process using new charred oak pieces.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

83 points

Relativity American Whisky (prototype), 40%

Generously woody with pencil shavings and lumber mingled with chamomile, white flowers, and vanilla on the nose. The light-bodied palate is sweet and floral, with cloying milk chocolate, toasted coconut, and vanilla flavors. It’s just a bit simple and boring. This or whiskey has been matured using alternative aging technology. Actual Time in Barrel: minimum 6 months; Processing: Distilled in Indiana and aged in new charred oak barrels, then put through a “compression aged” process using new charred oak pieces.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

82 points

Noble Oak Bourbon (prototype), 45%

The caramel on the nose is a bit strange and chemical, but the palate offers promise with its pleasing spice, sweetness, orange peel, chocolate, and silky mouthfeel. There are lovely flavors, but the oak feels layered on rather than integrated. This whisky has been matured using alternative aging technology. Actual Time in Barrel: minimum 12 months; Processing: Distilled in Indiana and aged in new charred oak barrels, then put through a finishing process using sherry-seasoned Spanish oak pieces.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

82 points

O.Z. Tyler Bourbon, 45%

Wood spice dominates the nose, with citrus, floral, and tobacco barn aromas. The palate has pleasant orange peel, spice, red apple, and vanilla notes with a robust heat; however, toasted oak continues to reign. One for the wood lover. This whisky has been matured using alternative aging technology. Actual Time in Barrel: minimum 12 months; Processing: Distilled in Kentucky and aged in new charred oak barrels before undergoing the TerrePURE process.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

81 points

Cleveland Underground Bourbon Finished with Hickory Wood, 47%

Grassy aromas mingle with white pepper, honeysuckle, jasmine, and newsprint on the nose. The palate rushes through sweet vanilla-cake and ripe fruit flavors, with strong oak and alcohol influence, to a finish that is mostly wood with some pleasant chocolate and herbal notes. Disjointed at times, but water helps bring it together. This whiskey has been matured using alternative aging technology. Actual Time in Barrel: varies, but usually around 3 months; Processing: Distillate from Indiana and Ohio is aged in new charred oak barrels before undergoing Cleveland’s proprietary process using hickory wood pieces.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

80 points

Cleveland Underground Bourbon Finished with Apple Wood, 45%

Juicy Fruit gum, Kool-Aid, sugared orange gumdrops, and candied papaya and mango meet fresh-cut lumber on the nose. The palate has notes of bruised banana and juicy guava, with assertive wood and cocoa powder to balance the sweetness. This whiskey has been matured using alternative aging technology. Actual Time in Barrel: varies, but usually around 3 months; Processing: Distillate from Indiana and Ohio is aged in new charred oak barrels before undergoing Cleveland’s proprietary process using apple wood pieces.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

79 points

Barrell Rye (Batch 002), 58.75%

Oak comes out strong and dominates. Its astringency appears to mask everything else for a moment, just before tobacco, dark chocolate, peanut butter, and sesame seeds set in. Unfortunately, these notes surface only briefly before the oak barrage reappears. It’s simply over-oaked.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

79 points

O.Z. Tyler Rye, 44.9%

Aromas of lumber, wood spice, and butterscotch give way to pencil shavings, toasted sawdust, and cloying sweetness on the palate. Gentle baking spice and cherry flavors aren’t enough to redeem the assault of wood. This whiskey has been matured using alternative aging technology. Actual Time in Barrel: minimum 6 months; Processing: Distilled in Kentucky and aged in new charred oak barrels before undergoing the TerrePURE process.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)

76 points

Sunshine Reserve American whiskey, 42.5%

Raw oak, drywall, campfire, and glue open the sinuses. Then, an antiseptic/medicinal property sets in with tobacco, burnt wood, and smoked paprika. Toward the end, a generous helping of vanilla kicks in over a decent finish to save it.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2018)


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