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Barrell Gold Label Dovetail, Kentucky Owl Mardi Gras XO Cask Finished, & More [New Releases]

Barrell Gold Label Dovetail, Kentucky Owl Mardi Gras XO Cask Finished, & More [New Releases]

November 18, 2022 –––––– Julia Higgins, Ted Simmons, Melanie Schwenk , Jonny McCormick,

Thanksgiving is next week, and with it comes a prime opportunity to share some drams with family and friends. While we’ve previously covered the best cocktails and crowd-pleasers to serve when hosting a Thanksgiving dinner, or how to best optimize particular whisky styles, this year we compiled a list of American whiskeys that are sure to please longtime whisky lovers and newer fans alike. Cheers to the start of the holiday season, and happy sipping!

With the holidays now upon us, the onslaught of new whiskies is in full swing. This week, there's a new finished rye from Kentucky Peerless, a bourbon and a rum cask-finished rye from Kentucky Owl, and a new collaborative blend from High West and The Prisoner Wine Co. Read on for full details.

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Kentucky Peerless Double Oak

Style: Finished rye
Origin: Kentucky
Age: Not stated
ABV: 54.65%
Price: $150
Release: November 2022
Availability: Limited

Need to know:

This rye was exposed to two separate casks for two full barrel extractions.

Whisky Advocate says:

Peerless released Double Oak bourbon in 2021 that received high praise, including a place on our Top 20 list last year. Now Peerless has followed with this Double Oak rye. As with all Double Oak releases, this will be limited, with bottles available on a first-come, first-served basis at the Louisville-based distillery on Friday, November 25th, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Bottle signings will be available at the same time. After that, Peerless plans on limited distribution for Double Oak rye in Kentucky, Illinois, Florida, Arizona, Texas, Colorado, New York, and California.

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Kentucky Owl Mardi Gras XO Cask Finished

Style: Finished rye
Origin: Kentucky
Age: 11 year old
ABV: 51.4%
Price: $500
Release: November 2022
Availability: Limited

Need to know:

This one starts as Kentucky Owl 11 year old Kentucky straight rye, and is then finished for over a year in freshly emptied Bayou Rum XO casks. Bayou Rum is made in Louisiana, hence the Mardi Gras connection.

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Kentucky Owl Batch 12

Style: Straight bourbon
Origin: Kentucky
Age: 4 year old
ABV: 57.9%
Price: $400
Release: November 2022
Availability: Limited

Need to know:

For this 12th release of Kentucky Owl bourbon, master blender John Rhea married 7 to 14 year old bourbons with two distinct 4 year old bourbons.

Whisky Advocate says:

While Kentucky Owl releases a new batch of its straight bourbon on an annual basis. In recent years, one-off bottlings and permanent additions have been welcome additions to the fold. Last year’s The Wiseman bourbon, for instance, scored a 92 and landed at No.-17 on our 2021 Top 20, while the St. Patrick’s Edition limited release scored an 89. The former is a newer, more accessibly priced and permanent part of the Kentucky Owl roster, while the latter was released as part of the brand’s International Collaborations series, in which master blenders from distilleries around the world impart their influence on Kentucky Owl.

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High West The Prisoner’s Share

Style: Finished whiskey
Origin: Multiple (UT, IN, and KY)
Age: 4 year old
ABV: 51%
Price: $175
Release: November 2022
Availability: Limited

Need to know:

This is a blend of High West’s straight bourbon and rye whiskeys, which are aged between 4 and 15 years. The whiskey is then finished in French oak barrels that once aged The Prisoner red blend.

Whisky Advocate says:

Like High West, The Prisoner built its reputation with its blending and sourcing skills. This collaboration yielded not just a whiskey, but a wine as well; alongside the release of The Prisoner’s Share, a new wine with a High West touch—called Complicit—will also be available. The red blend was aged for a year in a mix of new, neutral, and High West barrels. While the whiskey will be available in a limited capacity across the U.S. and at High West’s General Store in Park City, Utah, Complicit will be available online and at The Prisoner’s tasting room in St. Helena, California.

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Barrell BCS Gold Label Dovetail

Style: Finished whisky
Origin: Indiana, Tennessee, and Canada
Age: Not stated
ABV: 70.09%
Price: $500
Release: November 2022
Availability: Limited

Need to know:

As with previous Dovetail releases, this whiskey was finished in rum, port, and Dunn Vineyards cabernet barrels. Unlike the first Dovetail whiskey, however, this Gold Label blend also has a Canadian component, as well as older, rarer whiskeys from Barrell’s stocks.

Whisky Advocate says:

Barrell’s Gold Label bottlings comprise some of its most mature stocks, meaning that they’ll generally be more limited in nature and higher in price. Other releases within the Gold Label lineup include a bourbon and Seagrass, which is a rye finished in Martinique rum, Malmsey madeira, and apricot brandy casks.

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Blue Run Emerald

Style: Straight rye
Origin: Kentucky
Age: Not stated
ABV: 58.35%
Price: $110
Release: November 2022
Availability: Limited; 42,000 bottles

Need to know:

The second rye from Blue Run, and the first distilled by Jim Rutledge at Castle & Key Distillery, Emerald Rye was made from three different mashbills with varying degrees of rye, and aged in two locations, Bardstown and Frankfort, which are more than 50 miles apart. Those variables gave whiskey director Shaylyn Gammon an array of blending options as she crafted this whiskey from 189 barrels. Serving as the follow up to Golden Rye, Emerald Rye is also the first rye release from Blue Run to be bottled at barrel proof.

Whisky Advocate says:

Blue Run has made quite a name for itself in a very short time, enlisting Rutledge, a bourbon hall of famer and former Four Roses master distiller, to spearhead distillation. The whiskeys have scored favorably with our tasting panel as well, with Golden Rye netting 90 points. Emerald is bottled at a significantly higher proof than previous, and hits shelves at a slightly higher cost.

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Uncle Nearest

Style: Straight rye
Origin: Canada
Age: Not stated
ABV: 50%
Price: $59
Release: November 10, 2022
Availability: Nationwide

Need to know:

After introducing its first rye whiskey in September, a barrel proof distillery exclusive, Uncle Nearest is rolling out a 100 proof straight rye nationwide. Like that barrel proof release, this whisky was distilled in Canada, and aged in New York for at least 4 years, before making its way to Tennessee where it rested in used Uncle Nearest barrels. The final product was blended by Victoria Eady Butler, the great-great-granddaughter of Nearest Green.

Whisky Advocate says:

This straight rye is a part of Uncle Nearest’s ’12 Weeks of Christmas’ which includes special promotions such as bottle signings at the distillery and gift sets that contain all seven of the brand’s whiskies. There are more new releases to come, including a single barrel black label slated for release on November 25th, and a single barrel rye dropping on December 15th.

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Four Gate Andalusia Key (Batch #25)

Style: Finished rye
Origin: Kentucky
Age: Not stated
ABV: 57.65%
Price: $200
Release: November 2022
Availability: Limited; 3,735 bottles

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Four Gate Andalusia Key II (Batch #26)

Style: Finished bourbon
Origin: Kentucky
Age: Not stated
ABV: 58.2%
Price: $200
Release: November 2022
Availability: Limited; 4,014 bottles

Need to know:

The latest whiskeys from Four Gate, batches #25 and #26 in their ongoing series of limited releases, are both finished in Spanish oloroso-dark rum barrels, that is, barrels that were used to age oloroso sherry and then dark rum in the Florida Keys. Four Gate had previously used this finishing treatment on its batch #9 release in 2020. The key differences between that whiskey and batch #26 is the base spirit, with this new release using a blend of 7 year, 6 month straight Kentucky bourbon that chief blending officer Bill Straub calls peppery, floral, and slightly less dry. Batch #25 meanwhile uses a blend of 7 year straight rye.

Whisky Advocate says:

Four Gate consistently earns high marks with our tasting panel and we’d expect these whiskeys to deliver similar results. Perhaps a natural evolution of cask finishing, we are seeing more barrel combinations like the ones used here to impart new and unique flavors, though in some cases, the whiskey is finished separately before blending. We recently reviewed batch #16, Rye Downunder, in the Fall Buying Guide, scoring it 92 points.

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WhistlePig PiggyBack Rye: Brothers Osborne Barrel

Style: Rye
Origin: Undisclosed
Age: 6 year old
ABV: 48.28%
Price: $50
Release: November 15, 2022
Availability: Limited; Illinois, Tennessee, Texas and online at shop.whistlepigwhiskey.com

Need to know:

This second release in WhistlePig’s Legends Series comes from John and TJ Osborne, otherwise known as country music duo Brothers Osborne. The single barrel, 100% rye whiskey was aged in American oak barrels for at least six years before receiving a finish in custom barrels that were made with highly toasted heads. In addition to standard release, 100 bottles autographed by Brothers Osborne will be available for preorder for $225. Proceeds from the sale will benefit Rogers Behavioral Health and their foundation, Mission Possible Fund.

Whisky Advocate says:

The first Legends Series single barrel came from Hall of Fame slugger David Ortiz, also known as Big Papi, and it was finished with toasted baseball bats. WhistlePig continues the series here with yet another toasted finish. That whiskey scored 88 points in the Summer 2022 Buying Guide and we look forward more of these eclectic collaborations from WhistlePig.

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Old Elk Infinity Blend (2022 Release)

Style: Blend of straight whiskeys
Origin: Multiple
Age: Not stated
ABV: 57.05%
Price: $150
Release: November 18, 2022
Availability: Limited; Nationwide

Need to know:

The second annual whiskey in Old Elk’s Infinity Blend series, this was crafted by master distiller Greg Metze, starting with the 2021 Infinity Blend as a base, then adding barrels of Old Elk straight bourbon, Old Elk straight wheat whiskey, and two vintage Kentucky straight bourbons. The breakdown is as follows:

●18% Old Elk 2021 Infinity blend of straight bourbons
●15% 7 year Old Elk straight bourbon
● 9% 13 year Kentucky straight bourbon
●6% 12 year Kentucky straight bourbon
● 52% 7 year Old Elk wheat whiskey

Whisky Advocate says:

Infinity bottles took off during the pandemic as holed up whisky drinkers tried their hand at blending. It can be as simple as taking the last remnants of a few bottles and combining them together, or you can be more intentional about it, sticking to one whiskey style or even one producer or region. The point is, no two blends will be the same, and if you keep adding to your bottle and tasting intermittently, the blend itself will continue to change over time.

Metze has plenty of experience blending on a professional level from his time at MGP in Indiana and now Old Elk in Colorado. While it is a common practice for craft distillers to blend their own house-made whiskey with liquid that have been sourced, even combining styles as is the case here, it is the fact that this blend starts with last year’s bottling that makes it a true Infinity bottle—starting with what was, and creating something entirely new.

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Puncher’s Chance: The Left Cross

Style: Finished bourbon
Origin: Kentucky
Age: 14 year old
ABV: 48%
Price: $150
Release: November 2022
Availability: Limited; 2,000 bottles

Need to know:

The oldest whiskey released from Eugene, Oregon’s Wolf Spirit to date, The Left Cross was distilled at Louisville’s IJW Whiskey Company from a mashbill of 84% corn, 8% malted barley, and 8% rye. After initial aging in American oak, it was finished for two to six months and barrels that previously held 12 year old Jamaican rum. The name is a reference to Jamaican heavyweight fighter Donovan “Razor” Ruddock, a lefty who fought Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis.

Whisky Advocate says:

All rum-finished whiskey isn’t created equally, as some distillers aren’t able to share the origin of the rum barrels they use, and rums made in different parts of the world can have drastically different flavors. The Left Cross marks the second limited-edition release from Puncher’s Chance, following The D12STANCE (90 points), a 12 year old bourbon finished in California cabernet sauvignon barrels. We profiled IJW in January of last year. Look for a review of The Left Cross in the Winter issue of Whisky Advocate.

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Laws Whiskey House Intention (2022 Origin Series Release)

Style: Bourbon
Origin: Colorado
Age: Not stated
ABV: 59%
Price: $130
Release: November 2022 at the distillery
Availability: 1,680 bottles; California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Texas, and Washington D.C. late November-early December

Need to know:

This is the Laws core Four Grain bourbon, which is made from a mashbill of 60% corn, 20% wheat, 10% rye, and 10% malted barley; all locally soured heirloom grains. Typically, Laws blends whiskeys of a similar age, but for Intention it married 3 to 10 year old cask strength bourbons.

Whisky Advocate Says:

Al Laws founded Laws Whiskey House in 2011 with a focus on terroir. Laws was the first distillery in Colorado to release a bottled in bond bourbon and rye. Read more about Laws Whiskey House and other Colorado distillers here.

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Templeton Stout Cask Finished (2022 Barrel Finish Series Release)

Style: Rye
Origin: Indiana
Age: 6 year old
ABV: 46%
Price: $55
Release: November 2022
Availability: Limited

Need to Know:

This is the fourth release in Templeton Distillery’s Barrel Cask Series, which focuses on unique finishing barrels with the aim of revealing unconventional flavors. Templeton’s flagship 6 year old rye—with a mashbill of 95% rye and 5% malted barley—is aged in charred new American oak and then finished for three months in chocolate coffee stout casks. The first expression in series was a maple cask finish, which launched in 2019. Subsequent bottlings have included a Caribbean rum cask finish (2020) and last year’s release was an oloroso sherry cask finish.

Whisky Advocat says:

Founded by Keith Kerhoff and Scott Bush in 2006, Iowa-based Templeton rye is distilled and aged in Indiana, then blended and bottled in Iowa. In 2018 Templeton opened with the goal of brining some distillation and aging in-house, but as of now its whiskies are still being distilled and aged in Indiana. This year’s Barrel Cask Series release joins other beer barrel-finished whiskies like Glenfiddich IPA Cask, Jameson Cask Mates Stout Finished, New Holland Beer Barrel bourbon, and limited releases like Abraham Bowman Gingerbread Cocoa Finished bourbon. Whiskey fans who enjoy beer might also want to explore whiskeys distilled from beer.

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Shibui Nokoribi Kara

Style: Blended malt
Origin: World
Age: Not stated
ABV: 48%
Price: $85
Release: November 2022
Availability: Nationwide at select retailers and direct from the Shibui Store

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Shibui Nokoribi Kara 10 year old

Style: Blended malt
Origin: World
Age: 10 year old
ABV: 48%
Price: $160
Release: November 2022
Availability: Nationwide at select retailers and direct from the Shibui Store

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Shibui Rare Cask Reserve 23 year old

Style: Single grain
Origin: Japan (Okinawa)

Age: 23 year old

ABV: 43%
Price: $800
Release: November 2022
Availability: Limited release available nationwide at select retailers and direct from the Shibui Store

Need to know:

Shibui Japanese Whisky has launched three new expressions; two lightly peated world blends from Niigata and an aged single grain whisky from Okinawa.

Whisky Advocate says:

Shibui burst on to the scene in 2020 with an impressive lineup of age statement whiskies and continues to champion single grain Japanese expressions. The company bottles rice whiskies from the sub-tropical islands of Okinawa, and Shibui’s new bourbon cask-matured rare cask release was produced at the Kumesen Distillery. The new Shibui Nokoribi Kara pure malts honor the Japanese practice of blending single malt scotch with Japanese single malt whiskies to produce world blended malts. The blending team in Niigata blends stocks matured in bourbon and oloroso sherry casks, uses mizunara oak casks for finishing, and bottles the blends without chill filtration or added spirit caramel.