Heaven Hill Heritage Collection 20 year old, Westland Garryana (7th Edition) & More [New Releases]
February 3, 2023 –––––– Ted Simmons
American whiskey makers are staying busy in the new year. Shortly after reporting that Nelson's Green Brier plans to renovate its Nashville distillery, news broke that Traverse City Whiskey Co. began construction on what will be the largest whiskey distillery in Michigan. Traverse City is targeting early 2024 to have production up-and-running, with a plan to open to the public several months later.
While Michigan whiskey drinkers will have to wait for more Traverse City, there are a number of new releases this week worth getting excited about. Heaven Hill extends its Heritage Collection with a 20 year old corn whiskey, Westland announces the 7th edition of its Garryana single malt, and Sagamore Spirit is bringing its 8 year old rye nationwide. Read on for full details.
Heaven Hill Heritage Collection (2023)Style: Corn whiskeyOrigin: KentuckyAge: 20 year oldABV: 57.5%Price: $290Release: March 2023Availability: Limited
Need to know: The second release in Heaven Hill’s Heritage Collection features Heaven Hill’s corn whiskey mashbill of 80% corn, 12% malted barley, and 8% rye. The whiskey comes from 110 barrels originally distilled in October 2002, all of which have been aging on the third floor of Rickhouse 1K for the past 20 years. As with the debut Heritage Collection whiskey, this straight corn expression is packaged in a special box and labeled with details about production, including warehouse site, production date, mashbill, and more.
Whisky Advocate says: Heaven Hill has nearly two million barrels aging at its six warehouse sites across Nelson and Jefferson Counties; the Heritage Collection highlights the most mature stocks within these warehouses. While the news of this whiskey is out now, it won’t actually begin shipping until March, as the collection is technically an annual spring release. The inaugural Heritage Collection whiskey was a 17 year old barrel proof bourbon that blended together 17, 19, and 20 year old whiskeys, which, unlike the most recent release, aged at a variety of Heaven Hill’s rickhouses.
Westland Garryana (7th Edition)Style: Single maltOrigin: WashingtonAge: ABV: 50%Price: $150Release: February 2023Availability: 6,900 bottles globally
Need to know: Westland’s Garryana single malt is back, this time comprising a grainbill of Washington select pale malt, Munich malt, extra special malt, pale chocolate malt, brown malt, and Baird’s heavily peated malt. The whiskey was finished in a combination of casks: 50% Washington syrah and cabernet sauvignon casks from Betz Family Winery, Tinte Cellars, and Love That Red; 46% virgin garryana oak casks; and 4% first-fill bourbon casks.
Whisky Advocate says: Westland is dedicated to exploring and highlighting its Pacific Northwest roots, and this is abundantly clear in its Outpost Range, which Garryana is part of. As its name implies, Garryana focuses on the influence of Quercus garryana, an oak species indigenous to the region. Today, the oak is relatively rare, and Westland has gone to great lengths to manage this resource, working closely with forestry experts, mills, and coopers to protect it. Previous editions of Garryana have seen different finishes; 2022’s release, for example, was matured in Pedro Ximénez, calvados, American grape brandy, Washington apple brandy, and garryana casks. The other single malts in the Outpost Range, Colere and Solum, look at different natural elements: Colere considers the impact of barley on flavor by using new as well as forgotten local barley varieties, while Solum takes stock of regionally sourced peat and its effect on New World whiskey making.
WhistlePig PiggyBack Single Barrel Rye: KFC RadioStyle: Straight ryeOrigin: UndisclosedAge: 6 year oldABV: 50%Price: $50Release: January 2023Availability: Limited; NJ, NY, MA, CT, RI, and shop.whistlepigwhiskey.com
WhistlePig PiggyBack Single Barrel Bourbon: Bussin’ With the BoysStyle: Straight bourbonOrigin: VermontAge: 6 year oldABV: 50%Price: $50Release: January 2023Availability: Limited; Tennessee and shop.whistlepigwhiskey.com
Need to know:WhistlePig has teamed up with Barstool Sports—specifically two of the website’s popular podcasts, Bussin’ With the Boys and KFC Radio—for two new single barrel releases. Hosts of each podcast visited the WhistlePig distillery in Vermont to select the barrels themselves. The Bussin’ With the Boys release is notable as it is the first and only single barrel expression of WhistlePig’s PiggyBack bourbon, which first debuted in September 2022. WhistlePig is the current sponsor for Barstool’s poker podcast, Cracking Aces, and has sponsored previous Barstool shows in the past.
Whisky Advocate says:Whiskey brands have found all manner of ways to get celebrities involved, from hiring them as spokespeople, to releasing new expressions made in collaboration with actors, musicians, athletes, or other notable figures. WhistlePig has taken a different route, releasing a series of single barrels selected by famous folk. In April, they announced the launch of the Legends Series in collaboration with Barstool Sports, with the release of Big Papi Barrel (88 points), a rye whiskey finished in barrels containing toasted maplewood bats, the same used by Hall of Fame slugger David Ortiz, known to fans as Big Papi. Then, in November, they announced a single barrel rye selected by John and TJ Osborne, otherwise known as the country music duo Brothers Osborne. Now, these new Barstool single barrels are notably not a part of the Legends series, but still represent the growing partnership between the distillery and sports platform, as well as an extension of WhistlePig’s growing single barrel program. Either of these would make a great addition to your Super Bowl watch party. We scored the standard Piggyback bourbon 90 points and the standard rye 88 points.
Sagamore Spirit Reserve Series 8 year old Style: Straight ryeOrigin: IndianaAge: 8 year oldABV: 55.7%Price: $79Release: March 2023Availability: Limited
Need to know:Sagamore Spirit is bringing its Reserve Series 8 year old rye to a national audience. The whiskey was previously only available at the distillery and in select markets, when it was initially released in 2021. Previous releases in the Reserve Series have included a port finish, rum finish, and sherry finish.
Whisky Advocate says:This whiskey represents some of the first liquid Sagamore Spirit ever put into barrels. Owned by Under Armour founder Kevin Plank, Sagamore opened its Baltimore distillery in 2017, sourcing whiskey from MGP according to the brand’s specifications while laying down its own Maryland-style rye, made on a 24-inch column still from Vendome. As a result, you get some Sagamore releases that are made in Maryland, like the Bottled in Bond rye, which was just rereleased last November, and others that are made in Indiana and aged in Maryland, like this 8 year old. Maryland-style rye is characterized by having a higher percentage of corn and thus a sweeter profile. Sagamore Spirit isn’t the only distillery bringing whiskey-making back to Baltimore, but it is by far the largest. Look for a review of the Sherry Finish rye in an upcoming issue of Whisky Advocate.
Boondocks 18 year oldStyle: Straight bourbonOrigin: TennesseeAge: 18 year oldABV: 52.7%Price: $280Release: January 2023Availability: 1,620 bottles for FL, GA, IL, KY, NH, NJ, NY, and TX
Need to know:Bardstown-based Boondocks is launching its Signature Series Collection with this 18 year old cask-strength bourbon. The series will feature additional 18 year old whiskeys over at least the next three years, with that age statement subject to change beyond then.
Whisky Advocate says:Boondocks, which debuted in 2016, has former Woodford Reserve distiller David Scheurich at the helm. Scheurich has over 45 years of industry experience, and received a lifetime achievement award from Whisky Advocate in 2011, before the magazine switched to its current Top 20 awards format. Scheurich has as well been linked to Jos. A Magnus in Washington D.C. since he left Brown-Forman in 2010. We recently reviewed two Boondocks expressions in the Winter 2022 Buying Guide, with the bottled in bond rye scoring 89 points and earning a Best Value designation, while the 3 year old rye scored 88 points. Boondocks is owned by Royal Wine Corp., a producer, importer, and distributor of wine and spirits.
M&H Art&Craft DoppelBock Beer CaskStyle: Single maltOrigin: IsraelAge: 3 year oldABV: 58.3%Price: $120Release: February 2023Availability: Limited
Need to know: DoppelBock Beer Cask is the debut whisky within Israel-based M&H Distillery’s Art&Craft, a new limited-edition series that highlights maturation in beer casks. This first release is a single malt that’s entirely aged in barrels that previously held DoppelBock beer (a malty, nutty lager) from Kiryat Gat, Israel-based Ha’aretz Brewery. The beer was in the casks for 4-6 months; they were then dumped and re-filled with the single malt, which aged for 3 years.
Whisky Advocate says: This is the first of six single malts in the Art&Craft series to reach the U.S.—the five other whiskies, which were aged in barley wine, stout beer Belgian ale, chocolate porter, and Islay IPA casks, will eventually join the lineup here. There's an additional element of interest for the DoppelBock release, in that one of the casks from this edition spent a full year maturing at the Dead Sea, the lowest point on Earth at 423 feet below sea level, and one of the hottest as well. M&H has explored aging at the Dead Sea before, releasing whiskies like Apex Dead Sea, a single malt that blends a variety of cask types all aged in the eponymous region. Given the extreme conditions, the maturation is certainly impacted, and with this coming release, M&H shows a dedication to exploring that effect on all sorts of casks.
Watershed Straight RyeStyle: Straight ryeOrigin: OhioAge: 6 year oldABV: 61.4%Price: $90Release: February 2023Availability: 125 bottles
Need to know: Aged for 6 years in a char No. 4 barrel, this rye has a mashbill of 57% rye, 36% corn, and 7% barley. This is Watershed’s first rye whiskey, and its most exclusive as well, given that, for now, just 125 bottles are available.
Whisky Advocate says: A lottery to purchase a bottle opened yesterday (February 2) and will go through February 22. All winners will have the chance to purchase a bottle at the Colombus, Ohio distillery on February 25th from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. After that time, any unclaimed bottles will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Watershed started making bourbon in 2010, first releasing 2 year old variants, then 4 year old, and finally, 6 year old expressions in more recent years. In addition to bourbons, and now this rye, Watershed also makes a number of gins, a vodka, apple brandy, and nocino (sweet liqueur).
Broken Barrel x Los Angeles Distillery Collaboration CollectionStyle: Finished bourbonOrigin: CaliforniaAge: 5 year oldABV: 62.5%Price: $110Release: February 2023Availability: 522 bottles; California and brokenbarrelwhiskey.com
Need to know: This is the first whiskey within Broken Barrel’s new Collaboration Collection; for the series debut, Broken Barrel partnered with Los Angeles Distillery on a cask strength, single barrel, wheated bourbon. The whiskey—which was made at Los Angeles Distillery with a mashbill of 51% corn and 49% wheat—aged for a minimum of 5 years in new charred Hungarian white oak. Those oak casks were selected by Los Angeles Distillery’s owner Dr. Lewis Harsanyi, who is Hungarian-born and champions the barrels for their density (Hungarian barrel staves are denser than American oak, which means they’re slower to impart their flavor on the whiskey). In line with Broken Barrel’s ethos, which sees all of its whiskeys finished with a unique “Oak Bill” (a combination of staves), this bourbon was finished in 80% Tokaji-aszú (Hungarian sweet wine) and 20% American single malt staves for a few months.
Whisky Advocate says: Broken Barrel is known for its custom “Oak Bills.” In the past, the company has finished its whiskeys with staves from amaro, French oak, American apple brandy, and Barbadian rum casks, among others; to date, founder and CEO Seth Benhaim has purchased barrels from over a dozen countries, then breaks them up and repurposes the staves. While Broken Barrel is based in Los Angeles, its whiskeys are typically contract distilled at Green River Distilling in Owensboro, Kentucky, though it’s also sourced whiskey from Indiana in the past.
Dérive Botanical WhiskeyStyle: Flavored whiskeyOrigin: Kentucky and CaliforniaAge: Not statedABV: 48%Price: $60/700mlRelease: January 2023Availability: 1,000 bottles for Northern California with expansion planned
Need to know:The first release from San Francisco-based Hunt Projects, Dérive Botanical blends Kentucky whiskey with straight California rye married with botanicals of lemon peel, grapefruit peel, ceanothus, chrysanthemum flower, bay leaf, wormwood, and porcini and candy cap mushrooms. Dérive is French for “to drift,” with Hunt owner Charlie Leese inspired by the aromatics he encountered on walks and bike rides through Northern California.
Whisky Advocate says:Botanicals are most commonly found in gin production, though gin and whiskey have more in common than you might think. Some craft distillers make and sell gin while they wait for their whiskey to age, and the rise of barrel-aged gin brings the two spirits even closer together. What’s more, we have seen distillers use botanicals in the whisky-making process, most recently with Glenmorangie A Tale of the Forest, released this past October. Products like Dérive, or Roxor Botanical bourbon from New Artisan Distillery, are classified as flavored whiskeys since they feature additives, though perhaps a new category will emerge if more producers continue to make whiskey in this style. Similar to barrel-aged gins, they are meant to appeal to both gin and whiskey drinkers alike, exposing fans of one spirit to the flavors of the other.