A Returning Irish Whiskey and New Bourbon Aged in a Cave

In the weeks following Christmas, the stream of new whisky slows to a trickle. Nevertheless, there’s a brand new bourbon to be on the lookout for, as well as an Irish whiskey returning to market after being sold out for some time.

West Cork Distillers’ Black Reserve blended Irish whiskey scored well when we reviewed it—86 points in the Buying Guide—and costs $40.

Meanwhile, S.D. Strong Distilling is launching a straight bourbon, aged just under 3 years in a cave—a cave that is still in active use as a mine. The bourbon is appropriately named Big Boom, and it’s available in 375-ml. bottles in a handful of states and online for $40.

Read on for full details.

West Cork Black Reserve Irish Whiskey 2018 Release

Style: Blended whiskey
Origin: Ireland
Age: Not stated
Proof: 43% ABV
Price: $40
Release: December 2017
Availability: 4,800 bottles for the U.S.

Need to know:

This is a new batch of West Cork Distillers’ Black Reserve Irish whiskey, which was previously available in 2016. It’s blended from 36% malt whiskey and 64% grain whiskey, aged between 4 and 5 years and finished for 6 more months in heavily charred first-fill bourbon casks.

Whisky Advocate says:

When previously reviewed in our Buying Guide, this whiskey scored 86 points—indicating a solid value at the price.

Big Boom Straight Bourbon

Style: Bourbon
Origin: Missouri
Age: Not stated
Proof: 45% ABV
Price: $40 (375 ml.)
Release: December 2017
Availability: 649 bottles for IA, IL, MO, KS, NE, and TX; available online at wineandcheeseplace.com

Need to know:

This new bourbon from Parkville, Missouri’s S.D. Strong Distilling has a mashbill of 62.5% corn, 25% rye, and 12.5% malted barley. It aged for almost three years—65 feet underground. “Big Boom” refers to explosions felt in the cave, which is still actively being mined.

Whisky Advocate says:

S.D. Strong Distilling claims it is the only distillery located in an underground cave, and we’re in no position to challenge that assertion. Does cave-aging make a difference to the flavor of the whiskey? Well, the cave’s temperature climatic conditions don’t vary, unlike most of the warehouses where bourbon matures, which tend to experience very wide temperature swings. So we’re guessing this whiskey will have different flavor profile than a typical 3 year old bourbon.

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