Speyburn 18, Bladnoch 17, Compass Box Tobias & The Angel & More New Whisky

It’s a great week for scotch fans with some well-aged malts hitting shelves.

Speyburn is rolling out an 18 year old, the next step up from Speyburn 15, which was released a couple of years ago. This whisky used American and Spanish oak casks for aging. It’s $120 and will be available annually in limited amounts.

Bladnoch is debuting a 17 year old, aged in ex-bourbon and finished in California red wine casks. Less than 1,000 bottles are coming to the U.S., priced at $100 each.

Compass Box has unveiled a mature homage to Eleuthera, a blended malt it released many years ago. Like that whisky, Tobias & The Angel is a blend of Clynelish and Caol Ila; the Clynelish is 24 years old, while the Caol Ila is “considerably” older. Tobias & The Angel is $500, with 3,900 bottles available.

Infuse Spirits is set to roll out Cabernet Cask bourbon, which is made by mingling Kentucky bourbon with pieces from Cabernet Sauvignon barrels. The whiskey costs $30 and is widely available.

Michigan’s Valentine Distilling has brought back Mayor Pingree Red Label bourbon after an absence of a couple years. The bourbon is made from four different mashbills, triple-pot-distilled, and aged for at least four years. Just under 4,000 bottles are available at $48 each.

Honeoye Falls Distillery in upstate New York is releasing Red Saw straight bourbon. The whiskey is made from all local grains and aged at least two years. There are 1,500 bottles available in this batch, priced at around $38.

Finally, Woodford Reserve’s Kentucky Derby bottle for 2019 has been revealed. Designed for the second year running by Keith Anderson, the bottle is widely available for a limited time for $44.

Read on for full details.

Speyburn 18 year old

Style: Single malt
Origin: Scotland (Speyside)
Age: 18 years old
Proof: 46% ABV
Price: $120
Release: April 2019
Availability: 9,000 bottles globally, including 1,620 for the U.S.

Need to know:

Speyburn is rolling out an 18 year old single malt as part of its core range. The whisky matured in both American and Spanish oak casks.

Whisky Advocate says:

Speyburn 10 year old and Bradan Orach are solid choices for affordable, everyday single malts, but it’s nice to have some more aged options from the distillery as well. I was greatly impressed with Speyburn 15 year old when it came out in 2017; its $65 price, a relative bargain, was even better. This 18 year old is priced more in line with similarly aged peers, but if the quality is carried through, it should still be a great option for a step up into more mature single malt.

Bladnoch 17 year old

Style: Single malt
Origin: Scotland (Lowlands)
Age: 17 years old
Proof: 46.7% ABV
Price: $100
Release: February 2019
Availability: 960 bottles in the U.S.

Need to know:

Distilled in 2001, this whisky was initially matured in ex-bourbon casks. It was then filled into California red wine casks in two batches: one in March 2016 and the other in January 2017. The two batches were blended and bottled with no chill filtration.

Whisky Advocate says:

One of a few Lowlands distilleries currently in production, Bladnoch has flown under the radar. But the region’s revival is underway, and there’s a lot to love from the Lowlands these days.

Compass Box Tobias & The Angel

Style: Blended malt
Origin: Scotland (Highlands and Islay)
Age: Not stated
Proof: 47.6% ABV
Price: $500
Release: March 2019
Availability: 2,634 bottles worldwide

Need to know:

This blended malt combines whiskies from two distilleries. Just over half the blend is 24 year old Clynelish, aged in American oak hogsheads, while the remainder is Caol Ila “of a considerably older age.” The name comes from a Biblical story, and the label reproduces a painting of the story by Andrea del Verrocchio, assisted by Leonardo da Vinci.

Whisky Advocate says:

Avid Compass Box fans may recognize that Tobias & The Angel is a nod to a past release: Eleuthera, which was also a blend of Clynelish and Caol Ila, though at younger ages. If you’re lucky or clever enough to have held on to any of that whisky, it would be lots of fun to compare these two side by side.

Infuse Spirits Cabernet Cask Bourbon

Style: Bourbon
Origin: Kentucky
Age: Not stated
Proof: 46% ABV
Price: $30
Release: May 2019
Availability: Widely available

Need to know:

Made by Infuse Spirits in Los Angeles, California, this bourbon is sourced from an undisclosed Kentucky distillery and aged at least one year. Infuse Spirits finishes the bourbon by breaking up California cabernet sauvignon casks and combining the wood with the whiskey in stainless steel tanks.

Whisky Advocate says:

Infuse Spirits also makes Broken Barrel bourbon, produced in batches with varying flavor profiles depending on what types of staves are used in the finishing process.

Mayor Pingree Red Label Bourbon

Style: Bourbon
Origin: Michigan
Age: 4 years old
Proof: 47% ABV
Price: $48
Release: February 2019
Availability: 3,900 bottles available in CT, DE, IL, MD, MI, MN, NJ, NY, and Washington, D.C.

Need to know:

Made at Valentine Distilling Co. in Ferndale, Michigan, this bourbon has previously been available, but was sold out for the last couple of years. Valentine has re-released a batch now, and will roll out another one in the fall. The bourbon—which includes liquid from four different mashbills—is triple-distilled in a pot still and aged for at least four years. It’s named for 19th-century Detroit mayer Hazen S. Pingree.

Whisky Advocate says:

Four mashbills, four years of aging, triple-distilled—this whiskey is a prime example of the creative spirit and hard work of so many craft distillers. How does it all come together in the bottle? We anticipate tasting this whiskey soon and look forward to sharing a review in our Buying Guide. Stay tuned!

Red Saw Straight Bourbon

Style: Straight bourbon
Origin: New York
Age: 2 years old
Proof: 48% ABV
Price: $36-$39
Release: February 2019
Availability: 1,500 bottles

Need to know:

Made at Honeoye Falls Distillery, this straight bourbon is made from 51% corn, 34% rye, and 15% malted barley and aged at least two years. The grains are all sourced from within Monroe County, where the distillery is located; even the barley is floor-malted at Rochester’s Pioneer Malting.

Whisky Advocate says:

Honeoye Falls Distillery also makes Grist & Saw rye, an Empire Rye which will be reviewed in the Spring issue of Whisky Advocate. Look for it on newsstands next month!

Woodford Reserve 2019 Kentucky Derby Bottle

Style: Straight bourbon
Origin: Kentucky
Age: Not stated
Proof: 45.2% ABV
Price: $44
Release: February 2019
Availability: Limited edition

Need to know:

Each year, Woodford Reserve releases its bourbon in a commemorative Kentucky Derby bottle, designed by a local artist who typically works for parent company Brown-Forman. This year’s design was created by Keith Anderson, a 12-year company veteran, and features a colorful image of thoroughbreds racing on the track. Anderson also designed the Kentucky Derby bottle in 2018.

Whisky Advocate says:

This is the 20th year Woodford has released a Kentucky Derby bottle. In honor of that milestone, Louisville’s Frazier Museum is showcasing all the past bottles in a temporary exhibit, which also includes Woodford’s other Derby-related paraphernalia, such as its $1,000 Julep Cups which are sold each year to raise money for charity. The exhibit opens on March 20 and runs for one year.

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