Michter's Celebration Sour Mash (2022 Edition), Compass Box Extinct Blends Quartet Delos, & More [New Releases]
January 27, 2023 –––––– Julia Higgins
Last spring we covered the Tennessee whiskey renaissance currently underway, thanks to the emergence of new distilleries in every corner of the state. This week, that revival got yet another boost, this time from Nelson's Green Brier, which announced plans to remodel its distillery in downtown Nashville, with special emphasis on hospitality. When the new space opens this summer, it'll include an expanded tour and tasting experience, as well as a bar, restaurant, open-air garden, and private event spaces. New improvements on the production side of things mean greater efficiency and more whiskey of the distillery's own (it currently releases sourced and contract-distilled whiskeys) in the future, too.
It's a slow week for new whisky, but nonetheless exciting, thanks to limited releases from Michter's, Compass Box, and Heaven's Door. Michter's returns with the fourth iteration of Celebration Sour Mash, Compass Box debuts the second whiskey in its Extinct Blends Quartet, and Heaven's Door is back with Volume IV of its Bootleg Series. Read on for full details.
Michter’s Celebration Sour Mash (2022 Edition)Style: American Origin: KentuckyAge: Not statedABV: 56.4%Price: $6,000Release: February 2023Availability: 328 bottles worldwide
Need to know:Michter’s is bringing back its Celebration Sour Mash whiskey. Originally launched in 2013, this is the fourth iteration and the first since 2019. The 2022 edition is a blend of seven barrels—three Kentucky straight bourbons and four Kentucky straight ryes—ranging in age from 12 to 30 years old. The release of this edition was delayed due to packaging supply chain issues. Each bottle comes in a gift box with a drawer containing a letter signed by master distiller Dan McKee.
Whisky Advocate says:When it first debuted, Celebration Sour Mash occupied a strange place in luxury whiskey as a blend priced at $4,000, a price usually reserved ultra-aged single malt scotches. Perceptions around blended American whiskey have changed in the years since, and it helps, of course, that the whiskey has historically been very good. The 2016 release, priced at $5,000, scored 94 points in our Buying Guide. Michter’s recently brought back its US*1 Toasted Barrel Sour Mash, this past August, so while these products are limited and released on a batch-to-batch basis, it seems the brand is revisiting some old favorites every few years.
Compass Box Extinct Blends Quartet DelosStyle: BlendOrigin: ScotlandAge: Not statedABV: 49%Price: $325Release: February 2023Availability: 5,520 bottles worldwide
Need to know: Delos is a reimagination of Asyla, a blend originally released in 2001 and retired in 2018. While Asyla was a whisky comprised of single grain from Cameronbridge and malts from Glen Elgin and Linkwood, Delos—which is named after a Greek island that’s the purported birthplace of Apollo—blends older stocks of whisky for a richer, rounder flavor. Malt whiskies sourced from Glen Elgin, Imperial, and Miltonduff distilleries are included in the blend. In another nod to Asyla, artwork on the Delos label features a female musician; while she was playing a lute on Asyla, here she plays a lyre, the instrument commonly associated with Apollo.
Whisky Advocate says: Another year, another innovative new blend from Compass Box. In addition to being the brand’s first release of 2023, Delos is also the second release in its Extinct Blends Quartet, which celebrates discontinued flavors by recreating them with rare stocks of whisky. The first blend in the series, Ultramarine, came out last fall and was a recreation of blended scotch from the late 1980s (which was heavy on notes of sherry and pipe tobacco). Compass Box’s lead whisky maker James Saxon is the brains behind the series; he joined the brand in 2019 after a four-year stint at Chivas Brothers. The remaining two expressions in the Extinct Blends Quartet are expected to be released later this year and in early 2024.
Heaven’s Door Bootleg Series Volume IV Style: BourbonOrigin: Not disclosedAge: 11 year oldABV: 55.5%Price: $500Release: January 2023Availability: Limited
Need to know: The latest edition in Heaven’s Door Bootleg Series is an 11 year old wheated bourbon that’s finished in Islay scotch casks for nearly a year. As with previous iterations of Bootleg, the whiskey is presented in a handmade ceramic bottle that features an oil painting by Bob Dylan (co-creator of the brand) titled “Lighthouse in Maine (2017)” that’s from the second installment of his “The Beaten Path” art collection. Individually numbered, bespoke leather journals house each bottle.
Whisky Advocate says: The Bootleg Series is an homage to Dylan’s famed series of album collections and as such showcases Heaven’s Door’s rarest whiskeys on hand. All of the whiskey that goes into Bootleg releases is sourced from undisclosed distilleries and finished in unique casks; Volume I was a 26 year old rye finished in mizunara casks, Volume II was a 15 year old straight bourbon finished in Jamaican pot still rum casks, and Volume III was a 13 year old Kentucky bourbon finished in vino de naranja casks.