Woodford Reserve Chocolate Malt, Elijah Craig Rye & More New Whisky

It’s high season for new whisky releases, as everyone gears up for the holidays and rolls out plenty of new options, along with highly anticipated limited editions like the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection, the Van Winkle lineup of whiskeys, and the Diageo Special Releases, which were fully revealed this week—with some significant changes, especially for American fans.

Other brands are releasing limited-edition packaging in the lead-up to the holidays. J. Rieger & Co. unveiled the annual Holiday Edition label for its Rieger Kansas City whiskey, priced at $35. Meanwhile, Basil Hayden’s has partnered with Wildsam Field Guides to create four special-edition labels: one that’s available nationally, and three specific ones for Northern California, Southern California, and Brooklyn, New York. The whiskey remains the same—regular Basil Hayden’s—but each label features local trivia, hidden spots, and drink recipes. Bottles are priced at $40.

On to the new whiskies for the week. Woodford Reserve is rolling out its latest Master’s Collection whiskey, a bourbon made with chocolate malted rye. The bourbon is priced at $130 and available in limited quantities.

Elijah Craig is debuting its first-ever straight rye this January, available in just a handful of states to start. The whiskey is priced at $30.

Sister scotch distilleries Aberfeldy and Craigellachie are releasing several single cask whiskies in the U.S. From Aberfeldy, there’s an 18, 19, and 24 year old, while Craigellachie is offering a 19 and 23 year old. Prices range from $200 to $300 and, naturally, there are just a few hundred bottles of each whisky.

Details on the Nick Offerman edition of Lagavulin—which we reported on months ago—were confirmed this week. The 11 year old Islay single malt will be priced at $75 and available in limited quantities.

Jack Daniel’s is releasing a second batch of its Single Barrel Heritage Barrel, which took the No.-3 spot in the 2018 Top 20. This year’s whiskey is a year older and available in more limited amounts, priced at $65.

Angel’s Envy is rolling out its 2019 Cask Strength bourbon. Priced at $200, there are just over 14,000 bottles available.

Chivas Regal has launched a 13 year old blended scotch honoring the Manchester United soccer team. The whisky is widely available for a limited time, priced at $35.

Teeling will debut its first house-made whiskey in January. Teeling Single Pot Still is priced at $65 and will have good availability, with 6,000 bottles to start. Meanwhile, Teeling has a 13 year old single malt finished in a chestnut cask that’s rolling out next month. There are less than 900 bottles of the whiskey available, priced at $100.

India’s Amrut Distillery has a new edition of Greedy Angels. Just 300 bottles of the 10 year old single malt, priced at $900, are available in the U.S.

Broken Barrel Whiskey Co. (formerly Infuse Spirits) is releasing three new limited-edition whiskeys: Mizunara Cask, Isle of Peat, and Cask of Amontillado. The stave-infused whiskeys is priced at $50, with 6,600 bottles of each available.

A new independent bottler, imported by Glass Revolution, is launching four single-cask scotches. The Firkin 10 year old, Islay, 49, and Rare single malts are each priced at $130, with limited amounts available.

Finally, Ireland’s Clonakilty has partnered with New England Brewing Co. to release a blended whiskey finished in Fuzzy Baby Ducks IPA casks. The whiskey is for sale in Connecticut only, priced at $55.

Read on for full details.

Woodford Reserve Master's Collection Chocolate Malted Rye Straight Bourbon

Style: Straight bourbon
Origin: Kentucky
Age: Not stated
Proof: $130
Price: 45.2% ABV
Release: October 2019
Availability: Limited edition

Need to know:

Don’t be confused by the name: This is straight bourbon, made with 70% corn, 15% chocolate malted rye, and 15% malted barley.

Whisky Advocate says:

Chocolate malt is simply a malted grain that’s been toasted to bring out more of its sugars, which yields chocolatey flavors in the finished whisky. Most whiskies made with chocolate malt (like Glenmorangie Signet) employ malted barley, rather than rye; it’ll be interesting to see how the heavily toasted malted rye turns out in this Woodford Reserve bourbon. Stay tuned for a review!

Elijah Craig Kentucky Straight Rye

Style: Straight rye
Origin: Kentucky
Age: Not stated
Proof: 47% ABV
Price: $30
Release: January 2020
Availability: Initially available in GA, OR, NC, and SC, with expansion planned

Need to know:

Distilled from 51% rye, 35% corn, and 14% malted barley, this whiskey is described as “extra-aged” but no specific age is given. (Since it’s a straight rye without an age statement, it’s at least 4 years old). It has limited availability to start, although parent company Heaven Hill plans to expand distribution over time.

Whisky Advocate says:

This is the first rye for Elijah Craig, which is known for its bourbon, including 2017 Whisky of the Year Elijah Craig Barrel Proof. Heaven Hill, does make other ryes, however, including Rittenhouse and Pikesville, and this year’s Parker’s Heritage Collection release, Heavy Char Rye.

Aberfeldy and Craigellachie Exceptional Cask Series

Style: Single malt
Origin: Scotland (Speyside)
Age: Varies
Proof: Varies (cask strength)
Price: Varies ($200-$300)
Release: October 2019
Availability: Very limited

Need to know:

Sister distilleries Aberfeldy and Craigellachie (both owned by Bacardi Ltd.) are launching an annual series of single-cask whiskies, selected by malt master Stephanie MacLeod. The whiskies are bottled at cask strength and, understandably, available in small amounts. The selection will vary year by year. For 2019, there are three offerings from Aberfeldy and two from Craigellachie:

  • Aberfeldy 18 year old Double Cask—53.8% ABV, $200, around 550 bottles. Matured initially in refill hogsheads, then for 9 years in an oloroso sherry butt. (Pictured here)
  • Aberfeldy 19 year old Single Cask—56.6% ABV, $200, around 290 bottles. Fully matured in a first-fill sherry butt.
  • Aberfeldy 24 year old Single Cask—53.9% ABV, $300, around 340 bottles. Fully matured in a first-fill sherry butt.
  • Craigellachie 19 year old Single Cask—55.2% ABV, $200, around 400 bottles. Fully matured in a second-fill sherry butt.
  • Craigellachie 23 year old Single Cask—57.5% ABV, $300, around 390 bottles. Fully matured in a first-fill oloroso sherry cask.

Whisky Advocate says:

While the Aberfeldy 18 year old is called “double cask,” the bottles still came from a single, unblended cask. The moniker denotes the fact that this whisky was initially matured in multiple refill hogsheads before being transferred to a single sherry butt for secondary maturation.

Lagavulin 11 year old Nick Offerman Edition

Style: Single malt
Origin: Scotland (Islay)
Age: 11 years old
Proof: $75
Price: 46% ABV
Release: October 2019
Availability: Limited edition

Need to know:

After initially reporting on this release back in March, it’s now confirmed. This whisky was selected by Lagavulin distillery manager Colin Gordon and actor (and noted Lagavulin fan) Nick Offerman. The label includes a portrait of Offerman, as well as his signature and a quote.

Whisky Advocate says:

It’s well-known that Offerman is a Lagavulin fan, and he has done advertisements for the whisky for years, so it was only a matter of time before something like this happened. It might be kitschy, but Lagavulin is so consistently high-quality that it’s almost guaranteed to be delicious. Look for a review in an upcoming issue of Whisky Advocate!

Jack Daniel's Single Barrel Heritage Barrel (2019 Release)

Style: Tennessee whiskey
Origin: Tennessee
Age: Not stated
Proof: 50% ABV
Price: $65
Release: October 2019
Availability: Limited edition

Need to know:

Jack Daniel’s is bringing back Heritage Barrel, the single-barrel whiskey that took No. 3 in the 2018 Top 20, with an extra year of age. It’s made using historic coopering techniques to create a unique flavor, maturing in barrels that were heavily toasted before being lightly charred. In addition, the barrel entry proof was lower than usual—100 proof versus 125 proof—and the barrels sat at the top of the warehouse to age.

Whisky Advocate says:

Jack Daniel’s master distiller Jeff Arnett says this is the last bit of Heritage Barrel that will be available for some time. The whiskey was initially created as a one-off, but because it was so popular when released, Jack Daniel’s intends to bring it back again—it’ll just take some time for the whiskey to age.

Angel's Envy Cask Strength (2019 Release)

Style: Bourbon
Origin: Kentucky
Age: Not stated
Proof: 61.2% ABV
Price: $200
Release: October 2019
Availability: 14,000 bottles

Need to know:

The 2019 release of Angel’s Envy Cask Strength—an uncut version of the brand’s bourbon finished in port casks—is hitting shelves; this year, the ABV is 61.2%.

Whisky Advocate says:

If you like regular Angel’s Envy, you’re going to really like the cask-strength version. More alcohol means more flavor, and you can add water or ice to your taste. We’re fans of the whiskey around here too; the 2018 release scored 91 points in the Whisky Advocate Buying Guide.

Chivas Regal 13 year old Manchester United Edition

Style: Blended whisky
Origin: Scotland
Age: 13 years old
Proof: 40% ABV
Price: $35
Release: Fall 2019
Availability: Limited edition; for sale in the U.S. only

Need to know:

Released in honor of the Manchester United soccer team, this blend includes a portion of whisky finished in rye casks. The age pays tribute to the team’s 13 Premier League title wins while under the management of Sir Alex Ferguson, who retired in 2013.

Whisky Advocate says:

This isn’t the first Chivas Regal created in honor of Man U; last year, the brand released four limited-edition bottles in celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the team’s 1968 European Cup victory. Only one of those bottles was up for sale though, netting a price of $27,749 at Sotheby’s, with proceeds benefiting the team’s foundation. Priced at $35, this 13 year old whisky will be easy to enjoy all season long.

Teeling Single Pot Still

Style: Single pot still
Origin: Ireland
Age: Not stated
Proof: 46% ABV
Price: $65
Release: January 2020
Availability: 6,000 bottles to start, with expansion planned

Need to know:

The first whiskey made at Teeling Distillery in Dublin to hit shelves in the U.S., this is a single pot still whiskey matured in first-fill bourbon, sherry, and virgin American oak casks. It’s currently a combination of 3 and 4 year old whiskeys.

Teeling 13 year old Chestnut Cask-Finished Single Cask Single Malt

Style: Single malt
Origin: Ireland
Age: 13 years old
Proof: 55.1% ABV
Price: $100
Release: November 2019
Availability: 896 bottles; for sale in CA, IL, and NY only

Need to know:

Distilled at Cooley Distillery in 2005, this single malt whiskey matured in bourbon casks and then underwent a 2-year finish in chestnut casks.

Whisky Advocate says:

Teeling master distiller Alex Chasko says that chestnut wood is porous, which has a couple of effects on maturing whiskey. First, the wood holds a lot of its previous contents, so whatever it was initially filled with mingles with the whiskey. (In this case, that was Pedro Ximénez brandy.) Second, the soft, porous nature promotes oxidation, so that the whiskey takes on mature flavors more quickly than in oak.

Ireland is one of just a few places that allow non-oak woods to be used in maturing whiskey. (Another is Alsace, in France, where non-oak woods can be used after three years of oak aging.)

Amrut Greedy Angels 10 year old Ex-Bourbon Cask Single Malt

Style: Single malt
Origin: India
Age: 10 years old
Proof: 55% ABV
Price: $900
Release: Fall 2019
Availability: 900 bottles, including 300 for the U.S.

Need to know:

This whisky was distilled from unpeated Indian six-row barley and matured in bourbon casks for ten years. It’s among the oldest Indian whiskies ever released, and was bottled in memory of Amrut’s chairman, Neel R. Jagdale, who passed away earlier this year.

Whisky Advocate says:

India’s tropical climate speeds up maturation, and whiskies rarely spend more than a handful of years in cask as so much liquid evaporates so quickly. Cask evaporation is referred to as the angels’ share, and thus this series of hyper-aged whiskies from Amrut was named. Past releases have scored very well: 94 points each for the 8 year olds released in 2013 and 2017.

Broken Barrel Whiskey Co. Single Oak Series

Style: Whiskey
Origin: Varies
Age: Not stated
Proof: Varies (50%-55% ABV)
Price: $50
Release: October 2019
Availability: 6,600 bottles each

Need to know:

This limited-edition series from Broken Barrel Whiskey Co. blends various whiskeys and finishes them on different staves in stainless steel tanks. The first three releases are rolling out next month:

  • Mizunara Cask—50% ABV; a blend of 5 year old Kentucky and 4 year old Indiana corn whiskeys, finished on mizunara oak staves;
  • Isle of Peat—55% ABV; a blend of American single malt and wheat whiskeys, finished on staves from peated Islay scotch casks;
  • Cask of Amontillado—55% ABV; a blend of 12 year old American whiskey and 5 year old Kentucky corn whiskey, finished on amontillado sherry cask staves.

Whisky Advocate says:

While it formerly released whiskeys under the Infuse Spirits label, Broken Barrel Whiskey Co. is relaunching its brands to better differentiate them from Infuse Spirits’ line of vodkas and bitters. The company “finishes” its whiskeys through oak infusions, combining barrel staves or pieces in stainless steel tanks with the spirits. It has coined the term “oak bill” as a parallel to mashbill, citing both grain and wood as equally important in the development of whiskey flavor.

The Firkin Whisky Co. Single Cask Scotches

Style: Single malt
Origin: Scotland (varies)
Age: Varies
Proof: 48.9% ABV
Price: $130
Release: October 2019
Availability: CA, GA, MA, NY, RI, TN, and TX to start, with expansion planned

Need to know:

A new independent bottler, the Firkin Whisky Co. is launching in the U.S. with four single malt scotches, each with a different cask finish. There are 330 bottles of each variant in this initial batch; however, the whiskies will be continuously released.

  • The Firkin 10 year old—Distilled in 2008 at Royal Brackla and finished in a madeira cask. (Pictured here)
  • The Firkin 49—Not 49 years old; named for the source distillery, Tullibardine, which was founded in 1949. Distilled in 2011, matured in a single cask, and finished in oloroso and amontillado casks.
  • The Firkin Islay—Distilled in 2012 at Caol Ila and finished in a marsala cask.
  • The Firkin Rare—Distilled in 2011 at Ardmore and finished in a marsala cask.

Whisky Advocate says:

While each release is a single cask, The Firkin’s importer plans to bring in new casks as demand warrants. The distillery sources may vary, although The Firkin 49 will always come from a distillery founded in 1949 (which really narrows it down), and The Firkin Islay will likely always be sourced from Caol Ila. These whiskies’ labels state their provenance, age, and other details quite clearly, so it will be easy to tell what you’re getting even if it varies from release to release.

Clonakilty Fuzzy Cask-Finished Irish Whiskey

Style: Blended whiskey
Origin: Ireland
Age: Not stated
Proof: 43.6% ABV
Price: $55
Release: October 2019
Availability: 1,392 bottles; for sale in CT only

Need to know:

A partnership between Ireland’s Clonakilty and the New England Brewing Co. yielded this whiskey, which is a blend of malt and grain finished for three weeks in Fuzzy Baby Ducks IPA casks.

Whisky Advocate says:

Beer cask-finished whiskey is now a style unto itself, with distilleries and breweries of all sizes and shapes partnering to create their own iterations. Clonakilty is selling this whiskey in Connecticut only, but has plans to partner with local breweries in other states where it sells whiskey; stay tuned for more details.

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