Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection, Kilchoman & More New Whisky

As news breaks that Kentucky Owl may be getting its own distillery, there are plenty of new whiskies to look for this week. Woodford Reserve is releasing its annual Master’s Collection special edition. This year, it’s a bourbon that features a high-malt mashbill: 30% malted barley, all of it smoked over cherry wood to lend the finished whiskey a nutty and slightly smoky flavor.

Meanwhile, Islay’s Kilchoman Distillery is rolling out two new single malts. The 2009 vintage follows up previous years’ vintage releases and clocks in around 8 years old. It includes whiskies aged in both bourbon and, for the first time, sherry casks. Kilchoman Red Wine Cask Matured is roughly 5 years old and spent its entire maturation in—you guessed it—red wine casks from Portugal’s Douro Valley.

California craft distiller Graton Distilling Company—which makes George D. Benham’s gin and vodka—is launching its very first whiskey, a blend of house-made rye, sourced rye, and sourced bourbon. There will be 12,000 bottles spread across 12 states and Washington, D.C.

And New Holland Spirits in Michigan has a limited-edition rye, finished in Dragon’s Milk Stout barrels from its sister brewery.

There’s also a final edition of Douglas Laing‘s Yula Trilogy of single malt whiskies, and a new vintage of Cù Bòcan from Tomatin Distillery that’s only available outside the U.S. Read on for full details.

Woodford Reserve Master's Collection 2017 Cherry Wood Smoked Barley

Style: Straight bourbon
Origin: Kentucky
Age: Not stated
Proof: 45.2% ABV
Price: $100
Release: October 2017
Availability: Limited

Need to know:

The 12th release in Woodford Reserve’s annual Master’s Collection, this year’s bourbon was made with a mashbill that included 30% malted barley, all of it smoked over cherry wood. This process has led to nuttier flavors, including toasted nuts and smoked almonds.

Whisky Advocate says:

Woodford Reserve master distiller Chris Morris isn’t afraid of experimentation, and he uses the Master’s Collection to showcase some of his most innovative whiskeys. While the bottlings have varied over the years in style—from a four-grain bourbon to a straight malt whiskey to bourbon finished in maple wood and pinot noir barrels—and in score, they are always the result of Morris’ curiosity and creativity.

Kilchoman 2009 Vintage

Style: Single malt
Origin: Scotland (Islay)
Age: 8 years old
Proof: 46% ABV
Price: $100
Release: October 2017
Availability: 840 bottles for the U.S.

Need to know:

The newest release of Kilchoman’s core single malt blends mainly first-fill bourbon barrels with refill bourbon barrels, and a small number of oloroso sherry butts.

Whisky Advocate says:

This is the fourth vintage release from Kilchoman, and the first to include whiskies matured in oloroso sherry butts. Up to now, the distillery’s vintage whiskies have been bourbon barrel-matured only.

Kilchoman Red Wine Cask Matured

Style: Single malt
Origin: Scotland (Islay)
Age: Not stated, but around 5 years old
Proof: 50% ABV
Price: $125
Release: October 2017
Availability: 840 bottles for the U.S.

Need to know:

This was distilled in 2012 and bottled this year. The whisky has been full aged in red wine barrels from Portugal’s Douro Valley. Like all Kilchoman releases, it is non-chill filtered and natural color.

Whisky Advocate says:

This new Kilchoman follows up on the distillery’s Port, Madeira, and Sauternes cask-matured whiskies. It’s not common to see whisky that has been fully matured in a red wine barrel, and we’re excited to see how this one turned out.

Redwood Empire American Whiskey

Style: Blended whiskey (bourbon and rye)
Origin: United States
Age: Not stated
Proof: 45% ABV
Price: $45
Release: October 2017
Availability: 12,000 bottles for AL, CA, MD, FL, IL, MA, NC, NJ, NY, TX, VA, WA, and Washington, D.C.

Need to know:

This is a new whiskey from Graton Distilling Company, located in Sonoma County, California. It combines 2 year old rye whiskey distilled in-house with 2 year old and 3 year old ryes sourced from Indiana, and 4, 5, and 11 year old bourbons, also sourced from Indiana. The three year old sourced rye undergoes a 3-month finishing period in port barrels before blending.

Whisky Advocate says:

Combining six different whiskeys of varying ages—three bourbons and three ryes—from two different sources, this blend has a complicated recipe. But the strategy makes sense for a craft distillery like Graton, which currently has only young whiskey of its own which may not be ready for bottling by itself.

New Holland Beer Barrel Rye

Style: Rye whiskey
Origin: Michigan
Age: 2 years, 3 months
Proof: 44% ABV
Price: $34
Release: October 2017
Availability: Limited; available in MI, IN, PA, NY, CT, MA, NJ, TN, IL, MO, WI, MN, and CO from October through December

Need to know:

This is a new rye whiskey made by New Holland Spirits in Michigan. It’s a limited-edition companion to the distillery’s Beer Barrel Bourbon. The rye is aged for over 2 years in new charred oak barrels and finished for 90 days in barrels that formerly held Dragon’s Milk stout, which is made at New Holland Brewery.

Whisky Advocate says:

Beer and whiskey make some of the finest companions, and beer barrel-finished whiskies have become increasingly popular lately, from Jameson Caskmates to Glenfiddich’s IPA Experiment. But there have been few—if any—beer barrel-finished ryes so far.

Yula Chapter 3 22 year old

Style: Single malt
Origin: Scotland (Islands)
Age: 22 years old
Proof: 51.2% ABV
Price: $400
Release: September 2017
Availability: 900 bottles for the world

Need to know:

This is the third and final installment in Douglas Laing & Co.’s Yula trilogy. It is a marriage of whiskies from Scotland’s islands. The first two whiskies were 20 years old (released in 2015) and 21 years old (released in 2016).

Whisky Advocate says:

Here’s what Douglas Laing says about the legend of Yula:

“Ancient Islay legend has it that a beautiful Norse goddess – Yula – embarked on a long journey searching for her long lost love with an apron full of pebbles. The stones fell out as she travelled, forming a string of islands and leaving behind a trail of her thankless pursuit. Tragic Yula never did find her love, but perished in the turbulent seas surrounding Islay which was the last jewel-shaped stone to fall from her apron. It’s here on Islay, which in old Norse means “Yula’s Isle”, that Douglas Laing’s heroine is buried, her final resting place marked by two standing stones that can still be seen to this day.”

Tomatin Cù Bòcan 2006 Vintage

Style: Single malt
Origin: Scotland (Highlands)
Age: 11 years old
Proof: 50% ABV
Price: £53
Release: October 2017
Availability: 9,000 bottles for the world, excluding the U.S.

Need to know:

Following up on its earlier releases of Cù Bòcan—the 1989, 1988, and 2005 vintages, as well as Virgin Oak, Sherry and Bourbon expressions—this is the latest of Tomatin’s peated single malts. It was matured in first-fill bourbon casks and oloroso sherry casks.

Whisky Advocate says:

Cù Bòcan is intermittently available in the U.S., and this one unfortunately will not be coming here. Look for it if you’re traveling overseas.

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