Just beautiful. Long, rounded notes of caramel, cinnamon roll, taffy, butterscotch, brisket burnt ends, nutmeg, Jamaican jerk, plum pudding, ginger, light sassafras, root beer, roasted marshmallow, cotton candy, orange peel, raw honey, and pie crust. If it sounds complex, it’s because it is, and the finish just doesn’t quit, giving you a lingering taste of every note.
The third and most exclusive release in Bowmore’s Vault Legends Collection was matured for 50 years in bourbon hogshead #5675. The nose is fragrant and musky, slightly oily, with orange peel, developing vanilla, and green citrus notes. Intense orange and peach on the palate, with black pepper, aniseed, and sweet oak. Very persistent tangy citrus fruits through the extremely long finish. No negative tannic notes. (74 bottles)
Simply beautiful. It’s so complex, with notes of molasses, apple butter, toffee, salt water taffy, hazelnut, burnt brown sugar, crème brûlée, caramel flan, butterscotch, crystallized ginger, nutmeg, cardamom, fenugreek, roasted almonds, and marshmallow. With a drop of water, another complex layer forms with cotton candy and burnt pie crust. In both cases, it finishes extremely long.
Buttery vanilla, marzipan, honey, ripening melon, orange water, lavender, and muted spices lead to a gorgeous, rounded, sugar-sweet palate of vanilla, beeswax, citrus, ground almond, and shortbread. Precision-engineered to ensure the exquisite flavor never stops. (3,060 bottles)
A triumphant expression including whisky distilled in 1990, 1992, and 1993 and matured in Spanish oak sherry butts. The nose offers creamy sweet sherry, figs, a hint of black treacle, cinnamon, and ripe cherries. The full palate yields sultanas, tangy citrus fruit, sweet oak, roasted chestnuts, and ginger. Lingering bright fruit notes in the finish, with raisins, plain chocolate, and cigar boxes. (1,487 bottles)
Peat has grown up to become the best version of himself that he can be. The mellow, sweet smoke makes all your cares drift away. It’s like walking on an Islay beach through seaweed stranded at the high-tide mark. Lemon lozenges, Sweethearts, flashes of citrus, stewed apple, and growing smoke. The gentle, glossy, mouth-coating finish generates an urge to expertly puff smoke rings out through pursed lips. (300 bottles) £175
Teeling 34 year old Vintage Reserve Single Malt, 40.9%
Irish Single Malt | $5,000
Sheer nectar, dripping with honeyed delights: baklava, maple syrup, syropiasta, vanilla spun sugar, malt wrapped in gentle oak, and a notion of Szechuan pepper. The mouthfeel is flowing and silken, radiating flavors of golden syrup, tangerine, peppercorn, vanilla, light oak, and nougat. As the flavor crests, the sweetness is evocative of Château D’Yquem. This decadent piece of Irish history originated as a Teeling family cask distilled in 1983. (U.S. exclusive, 43 bottles)
Fruit bliss. Filled with apple, pear, dried apricot, and peaches, it then offers floral and rich caramel notes. Chocolate fried pie, pumpkin pie, and vanilla custard follow over a creamy mouthfeel. Then nuts set in, including roasted almonds, salted walnuts, and pecans. Honey and malt appear toward the end for a long and wonderful finish with a light hint of cinnamon. Editor’s Choice
Unmistakably Jameson on the nose, this is a belter of a whiskey: honey, apple, toasted coconut, creamy vanilla, and sublime pot still spiciness. This offers sweet toffee and caramel, bursting with spices, just a hint of sherry, Brazil nut, vanilla, creamy oak, and a caressing mouthfeel. A triumph that exemplifies the glories of pot still blending, and its sherry influence makes for a rich ending.
This has a significant proportion of sherry wood and it marks a real step up from its younger stablemates. It boasts a stylish nose of old leathery cigar boxes, vanilla, and orange marmalade. Syrupy on the palate, with oranges, sweet sherry, honey, and figs. Spicy oak, caramel, citrus fruits, and aniseed in the lengthy finish.
Glen Garioch The Renaissance 3rd Chapter 17 year old, 50.8%
Single Malt Scotch | $135
The Renaissance began with a 15 year old expression and charts the same spirit as it continues to mature. Aged in bourbon and sherry casks, the 3rd Chapter exhibits a sweet and sophisticated nose of honey, milk chocolate, Brazil nuts, toffee, and ripe peaches. Supple on the palate, with luscious orange and peach notes, vanilla, oak, and subtle spice. Plain chocolate-coated orange confectionery in the finish, with caramel and ginger. Balanced and delicious! £100
This expression is reputed to contain some whisky up to 40 years old and was matured in a mix of bourbon and sherry casks. The nose offers overt sherry influences, with fruit malt loaf, maple syrup, honey, and old leather. Full and slightly oily on the rich palate, with toffee, raisins, Brazil nuts, and fresh cake mix. Dusty spices and oak in the relatively dry finish.
Matured exclusively in sherry-seasoned first-fill European oak casks and bottled at cask strength. The nose yields figs, soft smoke, cinnamon, sugarcane, and rich fruitcake. The palate is succulent and confident, with creamy sweet sherry, dried fruits, coffee, and woodsmoke. Long and drying in the finish, with flecks of char. Highland Park doing what it does best. (28,000 bottles)
The latest annual limited release is classic and sure to please true aficionados of Macallan. Stewed fruit and old leather on the nose, along with ripe cherries, gingersnaps, and black pepper, before orange marmalade notes develop. Full-bodied, with fragrant sweet orange, milk chocolate-coated Turkish delight, and faint smoke. The finish yields dark chocolate, cherry liqueur, and more pepper. Long and spicy.
This has a seductive nose of mango, kiwi, dried tropical fruits, rich oak, silky caramels, and milk chocolate-covered cranberries. The dynamics of this cask-strength whisky play out handsomely, with an opening gambit of warm berry fruits, peaking with emphatic spices, and ending with a reflective phase of butter toffee, mocha, and Ovaltine. A dash of water encourages clove-studded orange flavors and preserves the long spicy finish.
That Boutique-y Whisky Company (distilled at Invergordon) 25 year old, 49.6%
Single Grain Scotch | $60
Strong-scented floral perfumes, cotton candy, gumballs, nail polish remover, fruit Jell-O, and sherbet. Imagine Dylan’s Candy Bar did a pop-up at Sephora and you’ll get the idea. The fruity flavor gives intense orange oils, sweet candy notes, warm caramel, and a fiery edge of peppery spices, cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove. This has everything I want in a grain whisky. (Batch 14; 108 bottles)
Bright and pronounced caramel in many forms, from rich caramel chews to caramel pudding. Then a spice backbone jumps out, followed by butterscotch, brown sugar, vanilla wafers, jalapeño cornbread, mustard seeds, and peach cobbler. A drop of water makes it even more complex with savory spices—sage, dried parsley, and a hint of rosemary, meeting sweet: more vanilla and butterscotch. With or without water, it finishes long and strong with a hint of pepper.
Sooty charcoal aromas with a sweet edge of mango and other tropical fruits mingle with coriander seed and cardamom. It tastes of ripe melon, pear, and mango, with pepper, aniseed, and a strong seam of smoky oak char. An extra burst of fruit in the finish, with sweet peat smoke. If you enjoyed the rum-finished expressions of Kilchoman or Bunnahabhain Moine, this one’s for you. (3,500 bottles; sold as a set with Miyagikyo Rum Wood Finish 2017) €395/set
Absolutely stellar opening, with blueberries, black currants, and mashed cherries complementing vanilla icing, cornbread, and chocolate-hazelnut wafers. Then it’s salt water taffy, bread pudding, honey, jalapeño poppers, and snickerdoodles. But it does not stop there: baking spices develop toward the end, with bright cinnamon notes coating the long finish. (Barrel No. 5083254 reviewed; 12,000 bottles)
Sumptuously rich and intense whiskey emerges from these double-charred casks; a seduction of butterscotch, treacle, toasted nuts, scorched coconut, raisin, and vanilla essence. Secure in its deep-centered sweetness, it revels in caramelized sugar, dark vanilla, pecan nut slice, crème brûlée, peppery spice, and fleshy fruits gloomily submerged in sticky, umber syrups. Memorable for its long, satisfying, toasted aftertaste, heavy on the vanilla and raisins.
The tastiest of their Signature range, this boasts a dry oak and spice nose with fudge, rye bread, and banana interwoven with French oak influences of nutmeg, cinnamon, and ground ginger. As the gentle orange, malt, pear, and apple settle down, little spicy explosions of ginger and pepper detonate, leaving an aftermath of spiced malt, coffee cake, milk chocolate, and cocoa. Such a wonderful flavor trajectory to behold.
The dance begins in the open barley fields, with a gust of wind catching grain’s natural aromatic presence. Then cherry blossoms and roasted pine nuts tango for dominance, just before the core notes kick in: caramel chew, malt, cornbread, brown sugar, and chocolate, followed by hints of molasses, cardamom, and gingersnaps. As the finish lingers, it’s clear that this is sippin’ whiskey.
The 2018 Ardbeg Day limited-edition bottling includes a proportion of spirit matured in red wine casks which have been heavily charred, leaving deep grooves in the surface of the oak. Fragrant soft smoke, warm leather, and salty red berries on the nose; background charcuterie. The palate offers red berry fruits, vanilla, dense peat smoke, brine, and asphalt. Beach bonfires and black pepper in the sweet finish.
Bowmore Vault Edition Atlantic Sea Salt (First Release), 51.5%
Single Malt Scotch | $140
This is the first of four bottlings in the Vault Edition series and was matured in bourbon barrels in the distillery’s famous No.1 Vaults. Nectarines in brine on the nose, with iodine and sweet spices. Medium-bodied on the palate, with peaches, vanilla, salt, and slightly bitter orange. Lingering orange notes in the finish, with cocoa powder and lots of salt. This expression lives up to its name!
The oldest of the fifteen expressions in Batch 16 of GlenDronach’s single cask release program, this cask-strength offering has been matured for 26 years in a Pedro Ximénez sherry puncheon. The nose yields fresh-from-the-oven Christmas cake, cherries, nutmeg, and sweet leather. Viscous on the palate, with dark sherry, raisins, plain chocolate, tangy orange, and caramel. Prickly chili and dates in the long finish. (546 bottles) £310
This dark, walnut-colored dram delivers the fabulous first-fill sherry cask characteristics we love: raisin, mixed peel, fruitcake, marzipan, Brazil nut, jellied fruits, and nutmeg. So wonderfully thick and chewy that you need to resist the temptation to pick up a knife and fork. It imparts dark weighty fruit, blackened oak, cooked apple, and a twister of peppery turmoil. Add water liberally to unlock figs, dates, and plums.
That Boutique-y Whisky Company (distilled at Paul John) 6 year old, 54.7%
Indian Whisky | $130
Definitely one to taste. The nose offers up allspice, moderate peat smoke, pomegranate, dried peel, and ground almonds. The palate is superb; milk chocolate caramels, assertive smoke, and peppercorn, then a slow, warm slide into coffee, cocoa, and licorice, becoming lush and velvety in texture. Paradoxically, the more diluted it becomes, the thicker and more substantial it seems to taste. Long finish of coffee and chocolate. (Batch 4)
Savage & Cooke Second Glance American Whiskey, 44%
Craft Whiskey | $38
A sourced whiskey of 95% corn, finished in wine barrels from winemaker Dave Phinney. This makes a super first impression, with Bit-O-Honey candy, eucalyptus, black cherry, cinnamon hearts, violet candies, and sandalwood. The flavors pour layered and complex, with clove-studded orange, flickers of rye spice, and pure, crystalline sweetness balanced with lemony lift. Laser-like spice, sweet caramel corn, and more floral notes dance across the long finish.
Voluptuous, fruity nose of lemon meringue pie, Conference pear, and fudge, with floral top notes balanced by aromatic spices. The flavors are focused around orange, pear, and lemon, infiltrated by caramel and hectored by some abiding spice notes of ginger, clove, and pepper. Late gains made by honey and nougat at the end. Lemon sherbet and aniseed frame the conclusion. Superb sourced single malt from Boann Distillery.
Compared to Asyla, this has noticeable added richness, fruit, and spice. The nose brings apple danish, creamy custard, honey, citrus peel, and the fragrance of lightly toasted spices. Against a core of rich, tangy fruits, a spicy partnership of pepper and clove manifests under the tongue, stealthily curls around the sides, and storms the palate. The mouth-coating finish drips with mandarin and cooked apple pierced by clove.
Initially it’s a nut-filled experience with toasted walnuts, pecans, and Brazil nuts, but an atypical spice appears that’s just lovely. Smoked hatch chiles mingle with rounded notes of cinnamon, créme brûlée, Bananas Foster, orange, canned peaches, caramel chew, and toffee. The pepper spices reappear for a grand finish.
Matured in a mixture of oloroso sherry, bourbon, and virgin oak casks. Honey, vanilla, and tropical fruits on the spicy, aromatic nose, with just a hint of oak. The honey and vanilla carry over to the palate, where they are joined by peaches, drinking chocolate, and subtle sherry. The finish dries steadily, with long-lasting citrus fruit. A stylish, complex dram.
The third release in Macallan’s annual Edition series—which focuses on aspects of cask influence—was matured in a mix of European and American oak casks. Figs and apricot jam, vanilla, Jaffa oranges, and cinnamon on the nose. The palate is silky and offers a big citrus fruit hit, Bit-O-Honey, then creamy milk chocolate. Milk chocolate persists through the long, fruity finish, with attendant sweet oak.
An effusive offering of dark fruits: cranberry, blueberry, and black currant. This is a beautiful marriage of the spirit and the port cask finishing, showing applesauce, aged oak, macaroons, and dry aromatic spices. Black currant holds sway on the tongue, yielding to caramel, ground ginger, a second burst of juicy blueberry, with a hot finish evoking strips of dried tropical fruit and flashes of ground pepper. Rewarding and flavorsome.
This is just a delight; a real flavor giver. A wave of honey sweeps along aromas of creamy vanilla, white peach, fresh citrus peel, white pepper, cinnamon stick, and milk chocolate. It starts delicately with melon, light grape, and vanilla, swells with citrus acidity and creamy caramel, ramping up to toffee, darker fruits, chocolate, Fruit Pastilles, and a little oak. The finish is mouth-clinging, with vanilla and spice.
That Boutique-y Whisky Company Blended Whisky No.1 50 year old, 46.6%
Blended Scotch Whisky | $200
Ovaltine, Whoppers, worn leather, antique furniture, medjool dates, and black fruits on the nose. Sipping this whisky is an unexpected delight. Given the olfactory cues of advanced maturity, it’s surprisingly nimble and still light on its toes. A charming opening of crumble filling with red currant, cranberry, raspberry, and strawberry, joined by apple, pear, and sultana, with peppery spice. Chili heat and spicy finish. (Batch 6; 2,000 bottles)
It opens with a crust of salt and Flintstones vitamins in honey, almond paste, and caramel. Then pumice, pear, canned peaches, and baked apples jump into the mix, followed by Nutella, Cheerios, candied pecans, and chocolate. As the medium to long finish sets in, slight hints of smoke appear and suggest it would pair great with a bold cigar. A drop of water only makes it better.
With smoke and oak, this starts off so intense with pepper spices, peat, dried apricot, hard candies, caramel-covered apples, salted butter, pecan shell, and strawberry jam. Leather, tobacco, and baking spices begin the descent toward a medium, slightly bitter finish. If you like trying new things, this is an American cadre of flavors unlike anything out there. (Bottled on February 12, 2018
The Whistler 10 year old How the Years Whistle By, 46%
Irish Single Malt | $55
The Cooney family opened the Boann Distillery in Ireland’s Boyne Valley in 2016. A little maturity and oloroso finishing fills this whiskey with a more sophisticated air, bringing red fruits, pecan cookies, orange, apple, pear, and some dry, peppery spices. The palate has good weight and a lovely balance; caramel sweetness, orange, crystalized pineapple, butterscotch, and pepper, with a hint of bitter lemon on the finish.
Get back to nature; this is a whisky to savor during a spectacular sunrise. Lychee, edamame, pea shoots, green apple, and morning dew on lush lawns. As it warms and wakes up, there are hints of orange and some piquant spice. The taste jumps from lemongrass to lemon candies, with melon, mild peppercorn, gentle vanilla, creamy oak, and a few green notes at the end.
Despite some inconsistent spelling of sherry terms on the exterior tube, Dingle is releasing some very good initial whiskeys. The nose brings dates, dried apricot and apple, haystacks, vanilla, unwaxed lemon, and cardamom pod. This second small batch release tastes fruity, with orange lollipops, a beautifully developed apricot note, and caramel, leading to a peak of gingerbread and pepper, followed by vanilla, toffee, and orange oil twisted from the peel. (6,000 bottles) €65
Recently, Crown Royal began bottling some of the 50-odd whiskies in its core blend. Hand Selected Barrel and Northern Harvest Rye each peeked behind the blenders’ curtain. Now Blenders’ Mash (originally called Bourbon Mash) unveils the woody vanilla signature of Canada’s bestseller. This approachable, creamy, medium-bodied whisky bathes in sweet vanilla and mild oak tannins, seasoned with peppery spices and fruity-floral esters. Incredibly long, creamy, vanilla finish.
This radiant, refreshing whisky offers creamy fudge, light vanilla, fresh apple, peach, and biscuit notes on the nose, demonstrating the generosity of the American oak. In the mouth, it’s luscious, balanced, and mouth-coating, with sweet honey, lemon peel, lime zest, and aromatic spices, fattening out briefly before becoming soft as suede, riffing on vanilla, melon, and lemon biscuits. Dry finish with vanilla cream and soft fruits.
Blender Aimée Gibson’s experimental batch 7 is designed as a sherry finished Black Label. Beautifully smoky, with dried fruits, charred oak, wood spices, vanilla, cocoa, and bonfire smoke. Toffee flavors, with thick smoke, red fruits, orange, raisin, oak spice, gingerbread, marshmallow, strawberry jam, and dark marmalade. Dry finish with bitter peels, dark chocolate, and some feisty spices. In comparison, regular Black Label is silkier, more integrated, and more peppery. (Global Travel Retail only)
Toasted oak, coffee, cola, molasses, and campfire smoke linger over a French bakery and baking spices that are both interesting and appealing. Then chocolate, hazelnut, and nutmeg dominate in a dessert-style treat that later introduces custard, banana cream pie, and candy corn. Almond butter appears for the long finish.(Bottled in winter 2017; Kentucky only)
A bourbon made with cherrywood-smoked barley in the mash. When chocolate and cherries meet, instant joy can only be improved with roasted nuts sprinkled on top. That’s what happens here. It’s all there in the opening round, followed by toasted oak, tangerine, pumpkin latte, caramel-covered popcorn, and more cherries, from jam to pitted dark cherries and maraschino to cherry fried pie. If you love cherries, this is a must-have.
A’bunadh is matured entirely in Spanish oak oloroso butts, non-chill filtered, and bottled at cask strength. This edition is very rich, with dark berry notes on the nose, hazelnuts, caramel, cinnamon, and orange fondant creams. The palate is full and supple, with polished oak, honey, new leather, raisins, prunes, and a hint of cloves. Very long in the finish, with plain chocolate, black pepper, fruity spices, and oak.
This includes whisky distilled in 2006, 2007, and 2008, and matured in a mixture of bourbon, oloroso, and virgin oak casks. Honey, apple blossom, ginger, and nutmeg on the nose, which then exhibits damp tweed, and finally, hot butter. Sweet on the full palate, with milk chocolate, honey, ripe peaches, almonds, vanilla, and caramel. Quite long in the finish, with zesty apple notes.
The ninth release in Glenmorangie’s Private Edition series was matured fully in American oak barrels that previously contained rye whiskey. A reticent early nose: melon and a hint of lemon, then warm, oily cereal notes and honey develop. Initially fruity on the palate, with ripe banana, then slightly earthy, with nutty spice and cocoa powder. Zesty spices in the finish, drinking chocolate, and youthful oak.
Tullamore D.E.W. XO Caribbean Rum Cask Finish, 43%
Irish Blended Whiskey | $26
Rum-finishing specialists William Grant & Sons add to Ireland’s league of existing rum-finished whiskeys. The lush tropical fruit complexity is abundant with mango, passion fruit, dried papaya, and green apple on the nose. Red apple flavors dominate with Demerara sugariness, dried strawberry, egg custard, and toffee chews, before drifting off into sweeter, fruitier territory. Short finish with a shot of sweet nutmeg.
Every now and then, Canadian Club dips into its massive reserves to release a longer-aged version of its core 1858 edition. After an initial hit of toffee, a well-defined woody framework supports signature Canadian Club pruney notes, clean grain, and peppery rye. Brown sugar, unsweetened cereal, and hints of barn boards in the middle follow an inviting crispness, enhanced by mild oak tannins and accented by floral top notes. (Canada only) $60 CAD
Of the three Singleton bottlings, Dufftown is aimed at European markets, Glen Ord at Asia, and Glendullan at the U.S. The oldest expression in the Singleton of Glendullan stable, this boasts a nose of brittle toffee, dried fruits, and new leather. Nutty toffee, drinking chocolate, banana split, and coconut on the smooth, soft palate. Peppery almonds in the slowly drying finish. Good value for the money!
A lovely balance of oak, clove, and sweetness come together on the nose, while the flavor shows both big impact and refinement. Oak-driven in style, with plenty of tannins and tobacco leaf, but the sweetness and structure stand up, pouring flavors of pecan, caramelized nuts, and toasted spices, with hints of pine before the persistent finish. A very solid and nicely polished bourbon.
That Boutique-y Whisky Company (distilled at Paul John) 6 year old, 52.9%
Indian Whisky | $130
Where Batch 4 is peaty, Batch 5 is smoky, joining aromas of after-dinner mints, rich orange, fondant creams, salted caramel, and sour fruits. On sipping, mint chocolate finds accord with the nose, before a summit of smoke and pepper, then apple, milk chocolate, creamy coffee, and late black currant notes. The smoke hangs deep at the back of the throat. Good flavor trajectory and complexity, with a drying chocolate finish.(822 bottles)
That Boutique-y Whisky Company (distilled at Glenrothes) 20 year old, 52.4%
Single Grain Scotch | $140
A delightful whisky with a nose of honey, nectarine, fresh apple, sandalwood, strands of lime, and sweet florals. Sipping unlocks flavors of apple pastries and orange peel, before a powder keg of spices explodes on the tip of the tongue. The aftermath has melting fudge, baked orange, and finishes with hot chili nuts. This hits the trademark flavors of Glenrothes, but the cask strength helps to champion the spices. (Batch 6; 430 bottles)
magine there’s a janitor sweeping up the bisected fruit fallen from that fruit-slicing app: cherries, cooked peach, lingonberry, orange peel, fresh apple, fruit syrup, waxy leaves, and taffy chews. Plump mouthfeel with sweet baked fruits, it’s sticky and concentrated with a fabulous fruitiness at this strength. Sugared apple, baked orange, tart plum, clove, and aniseed. Unpeated and matured for around 7 years. A lot of buck for the bang. (1,500 bottles)
Exclusive Malts (Distilled at Benrinnes) 2006 11 year old, 49.1%
Single Malt Scotch | $100
Distilled in 2006 and aged for 11 years in a PX sherry hogshead (#310110). Peach blossom, vanilla, and icing sugar on the nose, which becomes more floral in time. Smooth and very sweet on the substantial palate: canned pineapple in syrup, malt, and a sprinkling of cinnamon. Vibrant pineapple and sweet oak notes last to the very end of the lengthy finish. (234 bottles)
Exclusive Malts (distilled at Royal Brackla) 2006 11 year old, 58.2%
Single Malt Scotch | $100
Distilled in 2006, this was filled into a virgin French oak cask (#310865) and bottled at cask strength after 11 years. Peaches and apricots on the early nose, with a hint of cloves. Ultimately very floral, with vanilla fudge. The palate yields zesty orchard fruits, malt, and ginger. Remaining fruity in the long finish, with black pepper and juicy oak. (286 bottles)
It starts out with several forms of wood—split, toasted, charred, and smoldering—and develops baking spices, baked apple, caramel, popcorn, and earth. A tingle hits throughout the palate, as rounded notes of chocolate, cabernet, roasted marshmallow, and white pepper develop over lingering vanilla. Candied corn and cinnamon butter develop into a medium to long finish. (36,000 bottles)
This reformulated blend pushes classic Canadian whisky toward bigger, rye-forward flavors. Slowly, honey donuts and ripe fruit add breadth to a robust, almost oily nose. The caramel-sweet and slightly slippery palate seethes with peppery rye spices. Rugged yet balanced, with subtle complexities, the whisky develops an earthiness and almost grassy cereal notes. Gently warm going down, with cleansing bitter citrus pith on a sweet, longish finish. (Canada only) $30 CAD
Chocolate, vanilla cream fried pie, and herbs offer insight into this opening round of a fabulous whiskey. Cornbread, pecan pie, roasted walnuts, and chocolate-flavored coffee hit mid-palate, followed by cinnamon roll, pumpkin spice, and mint. But the finish falls slightly short, only offering a hint of caramel.
The Whistler 7 year old Natural Cask Strength, 59%
Irish Single Malt | $77
This dials up the aromas so high it could freshen up a stadium. After a riot of bright fruits, paradise slice, nutmeg, cinnamon, dates, and raisin, the palate becomes awash with apple and rose hip, though the strength makes it a wild ride, the tongue is conquered into submission. Diluted, it shines with vanilla sponge cake, plum, malt, and spicy nutmeg. Beautiful whiskey, just needs to be pegged back a bit. €65
Co-founders of New York’s The Dead Rabbit Bar Sean Muldoon and Jack McGarry add their own 5 year old single malt and grain whiskeys to their supplies of grog. Sweetness, caramel, vanilla, and scents of dried fruits. The flavors captured in a light frame reveal citrus peel, malt, dark cookies, a rumble of spice, and conclude with dried peels dipped in chocolate. Drying, with spice and orange. Decent whiskey for sure, but a rather conservative first release for The Dead Rabbit.
Oat flapjacks, golden syrup, beautiful dry-roasted spice notes, vanilla essence, cornbread, creamed coconut, and flashes of mango and apple. A luxuriant feast of sweet vanilla, soft warm bread, whipped cream, caramel, a little tug of spice, with a late ripple of grain flavors. Caramel, spice, and grain notes mark the finish.
Effervescent, tingly mouthfeel, but the flavor begins after the initial warmth, with hints of caramel apple, pumpkin pie, apricot, and a slight hint of caramel popcorn. Then it’s pumice, apricot, and marmalade, followed by salt water taffy, cinnamon, and a big burst of nutmeg. A long finish offers a hint of peach pie.
Both bourbon and sherry casks were used for aging. Stewed fruits, butterscotch, and soft spices on the nose. Silky palate delivery, with honey, dark chocolate, light sherry, and cloves. Lingering finish, with citrus and allspice.
Glenglassaugh has launched its first cask-finished whiskies, matured for an unspecified period in first- fill American oak casks before finishing for up to 2 years in secondary casks. This is the pick of the quartet of expressions, with a nose of fragrant, fruity smoke, hand-rolling tobacco, and new leather. Red berry fruits and woodsmoke feature on the palate, while the finish offers gentle peat smoke, cinnamon, and black pepper. £60
Part of Glenmorangie’s Legends collection, this was finished in casks that previously held sweet French white wines. Sweet red berries on the somewhat shy nose, with developing low-key honey and vanilla. Nicely textured, with a palate of honey, caramel, milk chocolate, shortbread, and lots of lively spice. Lengthy in the finish, with more caramel and milk chocolate, plus strawberry and ginger. (Travel Retail exclusive) £85
Released exclusively for the U.S., this is the first bottling in an annual series celebrating what Macallan terms its “…unrivalled commitment to the mastery of wood and spirit.” Matured in oloroso sherry-seasoned American and European oak casks. Confident Christmas cake aromas, plus quite assertive oak. Honey, toffee, vanilla, nutmeg, ginger, and lively oak on the palate. Gingery wood notes in the medium-length finish.
This 2017 release spent 22 years in bourbon casks before a final 3 years in oloroso sherry Spanish oak butts. Bright fruits on the nose: orange, lemon, and lime, with vanilla, soft toffee, and plain chocolate. Supple and silky on the palate, with sweet orange notes, more vanilla, and cocoa powder. Cocoa, nutmeg, dry sherry, and wood spices in the lengthy finish. (450 bottles)
That Boutique-y Whisky Company (distilled at Cragganmore) 26 year old, 50.2%
Single Malt Scotch | $220
Lemon and lime zest, stewed fruits drizzled in caramel, granola, butterscotch, and refined oak tones on the nose. The meatiness in Cragganmore’s new make spirit has long since mellowed in the cask. Light orange, vanilla, honey, and those nuggets of hard sherbet that spark up on the tongue. The second phase opens up toffee notes, wood spice, flapjacks, and ends with nougat and orange peel. (Batch 2; 130 bottles)
That Boutique-y Whisky Company Blended Whisky No.1 35 year old, 46.5%
Blended Scotch Whisky | $150
Lighter in character than the 50 year old, batch 4 offers aromas of caramel, artisanal chocolate, red fruits, polished brogues, and a fluttering of Asian spices. It has plenty of personality, with molasses, chocolate treacle cake, date, fig, bramble, and black currant, though those spices return, and then it gets rather woody. A sprightly older blend, but beginning to show its age. (1,428 bottles)
Exclusive Malts (distilled at Macduff) 2006 11 year old, 53.4%
Single Malt Scotch | $105
Distilled in 2006 and aged 11 years in an oloroso hogshead (#101751). The nose offers butterscotch, sultanas, and developing caramel notes. Smooth and sweet on the palate, with banana, figs, malt, and a hint of sherry in the background. Medium to long in the finish, with a suggestion of lemon and insistent fruity spices. (224 bottles)
Gentle peat smoke mixed with smoldering wood shavings, fresh maritime characteristics, and milk chocolate, but leave the glass a while, and when you return, the smoky intensity gets really pumped. Light melon flavors become engulfed by smoke, then the pepper, ginger, and chili kick in, leaving the soft fruit and vanilla cowering lamb-like in a corner. If you have peat smoke running in your veins, you will love this.
Virginia Distillery Company Brewers Batch (Batch 001), 46%
Craft Whiskey | $65
Delicate, floral, sweet, and reminiscent of a Lowland malt with its Creamsicle nose. Flavors of papaya, bright citrus, and green tea are nicely balanced with the perfect touch of smoke on the pleasingly oily palate, while the long finish smacks of baked apples, cocoa, and minerality. Wonderfully balanced and moreish, this is a happy marriage of Virginia single malt whiskey finished in a cask that previously held Wee Heavy style beer and Scotch whisky. (1,500 bottles)
In 2009, brewers Bob Baxter and Alan Hansen added a stillhouse to their Whitehorse-based Yukon Brewing Company. This 7 year old, their seventh whisky, was distilled from Scottish peated malt, creating a smoky, malty, scotch-like nose. Ripe apples, apricots, and other sweet fruits subdue the smoke until the first sip, when it bursts to the fore with a sweet, ashy presence. Smoke and pleasing hot pepper dominate a long finish. (Canada only) $100 CAD
An aroma you can really chew on, this comes at you big and bold, its dried cherry, fig, and caramel flavors woven with pipe tobacco, licorice, and saddle leather. The jolt of sweetness and spice on the palate pour on and on. Water helps to temper the heat and release even more flavors, with currant, chocolate, and drying oak on the finish. Sourced Indiana bourbon finished in oloroso sherry, Pedro Ximenez, and Cognac casks.
Lovely cinnamon candies offer an entrancing first taste, with lemon drop and orange sherbet close behind. Baking spices come on strong mid-palate, with undertones of caramel and vanilla. But what makes this special is its mouthfeel: tingly and warming the palate throughout. Cinnamon is ever-present.
Matured in a mix of bourbon and sherry casks. It offers a nose redolent of Christmas pudding: figs, sultanas, orange, honey, and cream. Smooth on the palate with sweet spicy sherry, orchard fruits, and caramel. Raisins and plain chocolate in the lingering finish, with Jaffa orange notes to the end.
Introduced in 2004, Curiositas was the first peated expression to be marketed by BenRiach. It has been peated to 55ppm and matured in bourbon casks. Mildly medicinal earthy peat on the nose, hot road tar, honey, and light tropical fruit aromas. Iodine and smoky peat on the palate, with mineral notes, dried fruits, allspice, and oak. More oak in the medium-length finish, with peanut and peppery peat.
This offers an enticing nose of honey, malt, and barley sugar—sweet and floral. Peaches in cream on the palate, a suggestion of madeira, milk chocolate, and Brazil nuts. Cocoa, citrus fruits, and light oak in the medium-length finish. Value pick
The warehouses at Brown-Forman’s Canadian Mist Distillery in Collingwood, Ontario hold some rare beauties, including this one, the result of an experiment using a mashbill rather than processing the individual grains separately. Malty on the nose, with hard candies, Jujubes, and vague sour-mash bread notes. Palate is floral, gently perfumed, with sweet vanilla, mild peppers, barrel tones, and mildly pulling tannins. Long, pleasantly hot, cereal-rich finish. (Canada only) $44 CAD
Pearse Lyons Distillery opened in 2017, becoming Dublin’s second working distillery this century. This single malt has a nose of honey, apple pie with cream, light pepper, dried grasses, and green herbal notes. The orchard fruits of apple and pear are silenced by a fury of pepper, root ginger, and clove, with only grapefruit peel proffered in response. The dry, banana chip finish fades in a melee of squabbling spices. (KY, GA, and FL, with expansion planned)
This gentler, naturally fruity whisky seems to benefit less from the rum than the peated Yoichi, the effect particularly heightened on the palate. A nose of warm muffins, fruit salad, faint citrus, the spiciness of fennel and pepper, with botanicals in a tropical palm house. Quite spicy, it evokes pepper and ginger, with pineapple, lemon wedges, lime, ripe melon, and some late maltiness. Cinnamon and peppery spice to finish. (3,500 bottles; sold as a set with Yoichi Rum Wood Finish 2017) €395/set
Exclusive Malts (distilled at Highland Park) 2003 14 year old, 54.5%
Single Malt Scotch | $135
The nose is muted, with gentle orchard fruits, subtle malt, nougat, and nutty toffee. The palate, by contrast, is bold and offers big fresh fruit notes, notably zesty tangerines, along with crème brûlée. Dry peat notes follow. Earthy peat smoke and white pepper with a citrus tang in the long finish. (230 bottles)
Distillery owner Patrick Evans grows much of the distillery’s barley on his 380-acre farm on the shores of British Columbia’s Straits of Georgia. In 2011 Evans and distiller James Marinus fired up the distillery’s two Forsyths copper pot stills. The resulting single malt is creamy, malty, and slightly minty. Citrus fruits, peach pits, and stimulating white pepper slowly fade into gentle barrel notes. (Canada only) $85 CAD
Single malt whisky from British Columbia-grown and malted barley, matured in bourbon barrels, then finished in wine barrels from Black Sage Vineyard in B.C.’s Okanagan Valley. Malted barley leaps from the glass along with a vague earthiness and mild fruits. Malty cereal on the palate, with vanilla, hot spices, milk chocolate, and purple grapes. The port-style wine influence is tastefully subtle. Finishes on dark fruits and milk chocolate. (Canada only) $60 CAD
An intriguing nose of campfire smoke drapes the distinctive aroma of mesquite charcoal, dark toast with honey, and pretty floral notes. On the palate, the blast of initial sweetness gets swept up in burnt matchsticks, peppery heat, and wood tannins. A bit hot on the finish. This is a big, in-your-face, meaty whiskey that any barbecue brisket fan will relish.
Initially, floral and fruit meet oak and a cadre of baking spices. Then it’s a plethora of vanilla in several forms, from icing to pudding, followed by notes of butterscotch, fudge, Oreo cookies, and pecan shell. Sweet cigar tobacco and honey follow this home to a short to medium finish with a hint of peach cobbler. Ideal for cocktails.
Sweet and smoke open this interesting whiskey that bounces from sweet to savory throughout. Vanilla and caramel meet burnt oak and charcoal smoke, followed by cinnamon, nutmeg, and a lot of coffee. Hazelnut and salt water taffy jump in for a quick note just before a medium finish with a hint of smoke.
A blend of 11, 5, and 4 year old bourbons blended with 2 and 3 year old ryes. Pine, cedar, and cigar box offer a pleasant botanical and masculine nose that has slight hints of dill and roasted corn. It’s bright and extremely interesting, with notes of Mexican chocolate, strawberry and orange Marmajam, rye toast, and peanut butter. The medium finish offers a hint of wintergreen
Drink to the Boston Strong Boy, the last bare-knuckle boxing heavyweight champion of the world. The nose is bright: apple, pear, vanilla pod, lime zest, orange peel, puffy marshmallow, and light toffee. As the gloves come off, the palate rolls with the punches of malt, apple, vanilla, and spearmint, parrying jabs of brown sugar, caramel, and stroopwafels. It’s light on its feet and delivers nutty, spicy finishing moves.
It begins with notes of brown sugar, Nutter Butter, hazelnut, nutmeg, and vanilla, with hints of roasted nuts. They’re pronounced and rounded, with secondary and tertiary notes introducing malt, cornbread, and salt water taffy. The medium finish offers a hint of bacon bits.
After 6 to 7 years of maturation in bourbon casks, this spent several months in chardonnay white wine casks. The nose offers resinous wine notes, melon, grapefruit, and a hint of vanilla. Nutty on the palate, with orchard fruits, more vanilla, and milk chocolate. Peaches and a slightly oily note in the finish, with apples, nutmeg, and a sprinkling of black pepper.
Highly approachable, with soft, earthy peat on the nose, plus pineapple, honey, and vanilla. Warm leather, ashy peat, ripe pears, and discreet vanilla notes on the palate. Slightly thinner than the unpeated Classic. Relatively long in the finish, with peppery peat and ultimately, aniseed.
After 6 to 7 years in a bourbon cask, this is finished for 9 to 12 months in oloroso casks. Sweet sherry, glacé cherries, butterscotch, and roses on the nose. Medium-bodied, with caramel, dark chocolate-cherry liqueur, and warming spices. The finish yields black currant, cough medicine, then allspice, and slowly drying oak.
Ripe yellow fruits, summer florals, satsuma peel, anise candy, and, unexpectedly, a catch of smoke at the back of the throat. Interestingly, the malt in this blend was made elsewhere, on the stills now installed at the Pearse Lyons Distillery in Dublin. Mellow, with tropical fruits, melon, and citrus. It becomes quite tangy, with a growing dominance of spices, ginger, and pepper. Shades of sourness creep in, heralding a light, spicy finish. (KY, GA, and FL, with expansion planned)
Who wouldn’t love this? Aromas of vanilla, malt, cream, cake batter, mashed banana, and heady florals, with a hint of dark fruit and dry spice. There is concordance between the nose and palate; the taste is sweet and honeyed, with orange, lemon and lime zest, and well-integrated spices, then becomes creamier, with custard, banana loaf, a little dark peel, and marmalade. Honey and citrus round things off nicely.
That Boutique-y Whisky Company (distilled at Auchroisk) 20 year old, 47.9%
Single Malt Scotch | $90
Lemon meringue pie, flaked almonds, cereal bars, almost porridge-like, enlivened by the tiniest pinch of allspice. A ferocious peppery intensity saves itself for the palate, where it tramples all over the lemon zest and apple flavors without mercy. Once the conquering spices call it a day, this is a sweeter concoction, with soft fudge, brown sugar, and blueberry muffin. In the finish, the allspice has the final word. (Batch 3; 162 bottles)
Exclusive Malts (distilled at Dailuaine) 2007 10 year old, 58.4%
Single Malt Scotch | $100
This single cask, cask-strength bottling was matured in a port hogshead. Slightly sharp on the initial nose, savory, and a touch vegetal. The palate is full and malty, offering creamy toffee, hazelnuts, ripe peaches, and ginger. Creaminess lasts through the cinnamon-spiced medium-length finish. (290 bottles)
Soft and floral with perfumed lavender soap, peach, green apple, and parma violets. It floats in the mouth, dispensing flavors of sweet apple, custard, tangy tangerine, hard candies, green plum, marshmallow, and white pepper. Delicious and accomplished, but there’s an overlap here: it feels like the NAS version had a birthday, rather than the arrival of a new member of the family. £35
Glynnevan Cabot Triple Barrelled Canadian Rye, 45%
Canadian | $43
By finishing this blend of two sourced whiskies in its own maritime rum barrels, Authentic Seacoast Distillery gives this classic Canadian whisky a somehow tropical twist. Oily molasses undertones on the nose continue onto a spicy palate, which is syrupy but not slippery, with hints of wet slate, bananas, and heavy fruit. Barrel notes and suggestions of dry oak restrain an initially lush mouthfeel. (Nova Scotia only) $55 CAD
Union Horse Rolling Standard Midwestern Four Grain, 46%
Craft Whiskey | $35
This amber-hued whiskey seems part bourbon, part single malt, offering a nose of sweet dried fruits —raisin and apples—heaped with earthy, leathery oak. The palate is enjoyable for its crème caramel sweetness and drinkability, but the drying oak is a bit heavy-handed, overwhelming the medium body. A serviceable and versatile whiskey for the price. Corn, malted barley, wheat, and rye.
Initially restrained; as the nose opens up it reveals plum, red berry fruit, pine resin, and root-beer spices. The palate picks up a bit, slightly vinous in its red-fruit drive, herbal-cherry cough drop, and sweet vanilla, leading to a modest finish laced with licorice, cinnamon, and pine forest.
Quite an unusual start: melted butter poured over brown rice followed by caramel, vanilla, and fried sweet potatoes. Although the ABV suggests it’s light, the body actually holds up quite well with notes of banana, quince, marzipan, bread pudding, and vanilla. Alas, the short finish doesn’t follow suit, only offering a hint of caramel.
This is finished for 8 months in tawny port pipes and is quite restrained on the early nose, opening up to reveal rose petals, milk chocolate, and double cream. The palate is floral, with raisins and red currants. Drying in the finish, with peppery oak and cinnamon.
A stronger grain distillate characterizes this malt and grain blend aged for under a decade. More forthright than the Original, with mint leaves, fresh orange, dry spices, lemon peel, and the bouquet of aromatic florist’s grasses. Enticing soft fruits are subdued by the grain flavors of spicy green herbal notes and astringent clove, although it mellows to a redeeming finish of sherry trifle and bubble gum. (KY, GA, and FL, with expansion planned)
That Boutique-y Whisky Company (distilled at Millstone) 6 year old, 48.9%
Dutch | $75
Originating from Zuidam Distillers’ diverse inventory of casks, this single malt whisky conjures thoughts of bread dough, white grape, and slightly sour spices. The orange flavors start as a deep glow, then blossom beautifully into rich marmalade aromas. Initially mouth-drawing, with bold, juicy flavors of peach and orange supported by toffee and a gentle lift of spices. Appetizing taste of spiced orange cake to finish. (637 bottles)
That Boutique-y Whisky Company (distilled at Slyrs) 3 year old, 52.5%
World Whisky | $90
White pepper-dappled summer fruits on the nose, with squishy overripe melon, banana peel, zesty lime, dried grasses, and clove, with a slightly rubberized note like BMX handlebar grips. This young Bavarian single malt has a rich, syrupy texture and tastes of sour fruits, bitter orange peel, and barley, shifting to creamy caramel and peppery spices. Finish of caramel, peppercorn, and peach pit. Not bad at all. (691 bottles)
Justerini & Brooks sold scotch in the U.S. before Prohibition. This light, Speyside-style blend has grassy notes, with crystalized lemon slices, Bramley apple peel, woodsmoke, and almonds. Light and sweet on the tongue, it unpacks lemon peel, satsuma, juicy watermelon, pepper, and aniseed. Grain whisky and herbal notes creep in late and permeate the finish.
Davidson Reserve Four Grain Tennessee Straight Bourbon, 50%
Craft Whiskey | $45
This whiskey shows some green-spirit youth, but it’s headed in a good direction, with sassafras, toasted nuts, leather, forest aromas, and a touch of furniture polish. It’s much bigger on the palate, as burnt peanut candies meet baking spices, and treacle. The wood jumps out a bit and the fiery youth is undeniable, but plenty to like. (2,580 bottles)
J. Henry & Sons 5 year old Wisconsin Straight Bourbon (Batch 34), 46%
Craft Whiskey | $50
The nose offers a nice mélange of herbal and fruit notes, as pine sap, earthy forest floor, and menthol balance with sweet Bananas Foster and baked apple. More banana on the palate, plus juicy stone fruits sprinkled with cinnamon before a drying finish that nicely weaves cocoa, spices, oak, and saddle leather.
New Deal Distiller’s Reserve Oregon Straight Bourbon, 40%
Craft Whiskey | $40
Makes a pleasant first impression as sweet apple and corn notes meet summer flowers, Cracker Jack, and fresh oak. The palate shows a pleasingly oily texture, as butterscotch candy and roasted peanuts come with hints of spice and orange peel. The nutty finish shows toasted almonds and caramel.
Aromas of menthol, licorice, and herbs have a slightly antiseptic quality, yet the caramelized oak and grilled pineapple flavors keep it grounded in bourbon. Bold and intriguing on the palate, it pours a bit hot, with lots of cedar shingle and sandalwood balanced by banana and toasted marshmallow. Cinnamon and candied orange on the finish. A blend of Indiana bourbons and Tennessee whiskeys finished in red wine casks.
Fresh and grassy, it’s quite dainty, with peach, Liquorice Allsorts, and light florals. Sugary sweetness, lemon slices, and candied orange jellies, concluding with hot white pepper and residual sweetness. This is sourced 4 year old grain whiskey finished in port barrels, though the label does not disclose this. Otherwise, an original, delectable finishing concept. (DE, IL, MA, MD, NJ, NY, PA, and Washington, D.C.)
How does this long-established blend shape up on its own without a ginger or soda mixer? Fresh apple juice, a twist of lemon, dried orange peel, peppercorn, cracker bread, and a vegetal spicy note. It gets into its stride with delicious apple, gentle fudge, and good-tempered spices, with cracked black pepper and a little sourness to finish. Mild, agreeably smooth, without any bombast or hullabaloo; it just blends in.
Commonly referred to as Black Label, the color is noticeably dark for a younger, less than 8 year old product like this. The nose takes it a step forward with burnt brown sugar, fruit, and cinnamon. But the palate reveals its youth with a mouthful of grains and acidity. However, it’s saved by final notes of honey, vanilla, caramel, soft oak, and coconut. A short finish disappoints, but this is a cocktail or cola contender.
This summons up plenty of snappy grain notes, with green apple, melon rind, and zested lemon bumping into dried chili, green tomato, damp hay bales, and a dose of spice. It’s sweeter than a kitten with a ball of wool: lemon bonbons, toffee, vanilla cream, banana chews, zesty mandarin, apple, butterscotch, pepper, and clove. Sour apple pips, burnt sugar and spice, and some residual vanilla creaminess see it out.
Florals and fruit begin a soft and delicate journey. For such a light whiskey, it’s certainly heavy on cherries, stone fruit, apples, and marmalade, followed by toffee, coffee, bananas, and chocolate. A drop of water shows how delicate it is, and the short finish suggests this whiskey would be leaps and bounds better with ten more degrees of proof.
Seems to show good maturity on the nose, with nutty, herbal, woody, and husky grain aromas. The notes of warm porridge with brown sugar portend the sweet palate, almost cloying with ripe red fruits. Warm, chocolaty, and spicy, but the somewhat hot finish and dusty oak floorboard quality don’t leave the best lasting impression.
A mash of 95% local rye and 5% malted barley is distilled on the grain, then matured for 3-plus years in new, custom toasted, full-sized bourbon barrels. Expect loads of vanilla and bold barrel notes over dry grass and nutty clean grain. Despite the hot, spicy intensity, lovely mild sweet lemon notes come right to the front. Bottled barrel by barrel, so expect some minor variability. Look for a red stripe on the label. (Canada only) $60 CAD