New Riff's Heirloom Corn Bourbons, Buffalo Trace Peated Bourbon, & More [New Releases]

New Riff's Heirloom Corn Bourbons, Buffalo Trace Peated Bourbon, & More [New Releases]

May 5, 2023 –––––– Julia Higgins, Jonny McCormick, Danny Brandon, ,

The coronation of King Charles III takes place Saturday at Westminster Abbey in London, and while the ceremony plan is somewhat less extravagant than coronations past, there will be plenty of pomp and circumstance for royal watchers. Many of the whiskies being released in honor of the coronation are anything but pared down. Among the most kingly is Royal Salute's The Coronation of Kings Charles III Edition, a $25,000 blended scotch that's presented in a richly hued sapphire blue Dartington crystal decanter. While the majority of these coronation whiskies are scotches, an English single malt was also in the mix—from The English Distillery's The English Coronation single malt. That one, priced at $105 in U.S. dollars, sold out quickly. But the list offers numerous other celebratory bottles at a variety of prices.

Coronation whiskies aside, there are new releases galore this week. New Riff continues its exploration of heirloom grains with two new straight bourbons, Buffalo Trace adds another whiskey to its Experimental Collection, and Bunnahabhain has three new single malts in celebration of the Fèis Ìle 2023. Read on for full details.

NRD_YELLOW-LEAMING_HERO_WHITE-BG_230406_300.jpgNew Riff Yellow Leaming
Style: Straight bourbon
Origin: Kentucky
Age: 5 year old
ABV: 50%
Price: $56
Release: May 2023
Availability: Limited

Need to know:

This bourbon is made with 65% Yellow Leaming corn, 30% rye, and 5% malted barley. Yellow Leaming is an heirloom varietal of corn that dates back to 1824 when it was farmed by Native Americans in the Ohio Valley. As with all New Riff releases (at least those that aren’t single barrels), this one is bottled in bond.

NRD_BLUE-CLARAGE_HERO_WHITE-BG_230406_300.jpgNew Riff Blue Clarage
Style: Straight bourbon
Origin: Kentucky
Age: 5 year old
ABV: 50%
Price: $56
Release: May 2023
Availability: Limited

Need to know:

Also made with an heirloom varietal of corn called Blue Clarage, developed by farmer Edmund Clarridge in Clinton County, Ohio in the 1920s. The mashbill is 65% Blue Clarage corn, 30% rye, and 5% malted barley. While Yellow Leaming yields depth and balance, Blue Clarage brings an extra layer of fruitiness to the whiskey. As with the Yellow Leaming expression, this one is bottled in bond.

Whisky Advocate says:

This isn’t the first time New Riff has experimented with unique or heirloom grain varietals—the distillery first released Balboa Rye (made with heirloom Balboa rye) in 2020, and later followed that up with whiskeys like Red Turkey Wheat bourbon (made with red turkey wheat) and Aroostook Rye (made with Kentucky-grown Aroostook rye). These latest heirloom grain bourbons will come on stream later this month, available in limited quantities at the Newport, Kentucky-based distillery’s Aquifer Tasting Bar, as well as at Kentucky retailers and through New Riff’s Whiskey Club. Given the limited number of bottles on hand, a maximum of two bottles will be permitted per customer.

BTEC-PeatedMalt2023_transparent_300.jpgBuffalo Trace Experimental Peated Bourbon
Style: Straight bourbon
Origin: Kentucky
Age: 9 year old
ABV: 45%
Price: $47/375 ml
Release: May 2023
Availability: Limited

Need to know:

With its latest Experimental Collection release, Buffalo Trace is exploring the influences of peat on a bourbon’s mashbill. Instead of using traditional barley, master distiller Harlen Wheatley turned to smoked peated malt imported from the UK, resulting in just a hint of smoke. The whiskey aged for almost 10 years.

Whisky Advocate says:

This is the 26th release within the Buffalo Trace Experimental Collection, which has previously introduced bottlings like baijiu-style spirit made from sorghum and peas, a 12 year old bourbon cut with water at 4 years old, and bourbons aged in seasoned stave barrels. Peat is popping up more and more outside of Scotland, with peated whiskeys coming from all corners of the U.S. these days (here’s looking at you, Westland, 10th Street, and New Riff, to name a few), not to mention Ireland, Japan, Wales, and more.

Bunnahabhain_Feis-Ile-2023_Canasta_Bottle-_-Tube[17][87][44]_300.jpgBunnahabhain Canasta Cask Matured
Style: Single malt
Origin: Scotland (Islay)
Age: Not stated
ABV: 51.2%
Price: $101/700 ml
Release: May 2023
Availability: Limited

Need to know:

This single malt was inspired by a previously released 1980 Canasta Cask Finish. Rarely used in whisky making, canasta casks are casks that once held a blend of 75% oloroso and 25% Pedro Ximénez sherries. The casks used for this whiskey come from Bodegas Williams & Humbert.

Bunnahabhain_Feis-Ile-2023_Manzanilla_Bottle-_-Tube[36][95][72]_300.jpgBunnahabhain 1998 Manzanilla Cask Finish
Style: Single malt
Origin: Scotland (Islay)
Age: 18 year old
ABV: 52.3%
Price: $479/700 ml
Release: May 2023
Availability: Limited

Need to know:

Distilled on October 28, 1998, this whisky was first filled into American oak before being transferred to first-fill manzanilla sherry casks on May 25, 2016. It was bottled at cask strength.

Bunna-Moine-Bottle-Pack-Web[43][61][85]_300.jpgBunnahabhain 17 year old Triple Cask Moine
Style: Single malt
Origin: Scotland (Islay)
Age: 17 year old
ABV: 52.6%
Price: $TBA
Release: May 2023
Availability: Limited

Need to know:

Inspired by master blender Julieann Fernandez’s love of rum-raisin ice cream, this one stands in contrast to Bunnahabhain’s sherried house style. A blend of three peated single malts, the 17 year old whisky is available exclusively at Bunnahabhain Distillery.

Whisky Advocate says:

All three of these whiskies are being released in honor of this year’s Fèis Ìle, which is an annual, week-long festival on Islay that celebrates all things Islay single malt whisky. The 2023 festival takes place from May 26th to June 3rd, and Bunnahabhain will be hosting a series of online and in-person events on June 2nd, which is also considered Bunnahabhain Day. While the 17 year old is a distillery exclusive, both the 1998 Manzanilla Cask Finish and Canasta Cask Matured are available for shipping to the U.S.

company-tn-three-wood_300.jpgCompany Distilling Tennessee Three Wood
Style: Finished Tennessee whiskey
Origin: Tennessee
Age: Not stated
ABV: 43.25%
Price: $TBA
Release: May 2023
Availability: Limited

Need to know:

Being a Tennessee whiskey, this release was mellowed through maple charcoal before being matured in oak, and finally finished with toasted apple wood. It’s the second whiskey in Company’s experimental product lineup.

Whisky Advocate says:

This is the first Tennessee whiskey from Company Distilling, which launched in 2021. The distillery made waves when it opened due to its high-profile leaders—notably former Jack Daniel distiller Jeff Arnett, and also H. Clark Distillery founder Heath Clark, and Tennessee Distillers Guild founder and former president Kris Tatum. Since then, Company has released a variety of whiskeys, including a straight bourbon finished with maple wood, a cask strength bourbon, and a rye finished with cherry wood (also part of the experimental range).

Cask-Strength-Bottle-300.jpgBlackened Cask Strength Volume 01
Style: Finished blend of whiskeys
Origin: Multiple (Kentucky, Tennessee, Indiana, and Canada)
Age: Not stated
ABV: 61.42%
Price: $70
Release: May 2023
Availability: Limited

Need to know:

A blend of straight bourbons and ryes sourced from across North America, this whiskey was finished in brandy casks and then bottled at cask strength. As with all Blackened whiskeys, Cask Strength Volume 01 was subjected to a sonic-enhancement process (which the brand has trademarked as “Black Noise”) wherein low hertz sound waves reverberate through the whiskey in the barrel, purportedly causing the whiskey to enhance more fully with the finishing barrel.

Whisky Advocate says:

While this whiskey is limited in nature, it marks the start of a concerted effort by Blackened to have a cask strength offering on a regular basis. This decision was largely inspired by the successes of previous limited edition cask strength releases that were collaborative efforts, among them Blackened x Wes Henderson and Blackened x Willet Rye. Blackened is the brainchild of metal band Metallica, and master distiller and blender Rob Dietrich is at the production helm.

Dogfish-Head-Alternative-Takes-4_300.jpgDogfish Head Alternate Takes Volume 4
Style: American single malt
Origin: Delaware
Age: 3 year old
ABV: 43%
Price: $55
Release: April 2023
Availability: 8,500 bottles; Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Washington

Need to know:

This new limited-run whiskey is 3 year old Dogfish Head single malt that underwent a 7-month-long finishing process involving 74% Samuel Adams’s Utopias beer casks and 26% oloroso sherry casks.

Whisky Advocate says:

This single malt is the fourth entry in Dogfish Head’s long-running Alternate Takes series. It’s named after a process from back in the analog days during which sound engineers and musicians would record and rerecord takes in marathon-style studio sessions (often using experimental sounds) until a cohesive record emerged. To honor that tradition, these Alternative Takes whiskeys focus on experimentation—often in the form of cask finishing. The First Volume (90 points) featured a whiskey finished in Dogfish Head’s own Barrel Honey Rum barrels, Volume 2 (88 points) underwent a finish in Palo Santo Marron ale barrels, and Volume 3 was finished in apple brandy and Angry Orchard cider barrels.

Riachi-Lebanese-Heights-Dark-Malt_300.jpgRiachi Levant Heights Dark Malt
Style: Single malt
Origin: Lebanon
Age: 3 year old
ABV: 43%
Price: $48
Release: April 2023
Availability: Limited

Need to know:

The inaugural whisky in Lebanon-based Riachi Winery & Distillery’s Levant Heights series is a single malt that’s double-distilled in a copper pot still and aged for a minimum of 3 years in heavy toast, light char American oak barrels. It is made from 100% imperial dark malted barley.

Riachi-Lebanese-Heights-Malt-_-Wheat_300.jpgRiachi Levant Heights Malt & Wheat
Style: Lebanese whisky
Origin: Lebanon
Age: 3 year old
ABV: 46%
Price: $45
Release: April 2023
Availability: Limited

Need to know:

Unlike the Dark Malt expression, Malt & Wheat’s 3-year aging period is done in new Lebanese oak barrels. It is also double-distilled, and comes from a mashbill of malted barley and Lebanese durum wheat.

Riachi-Athyr-Cedarwood-Finish_300.jpgRiachi Athyr Cedarwood Finish
Style: Single malt
Origin: Lebanon
Age: 7 year old
ABV: 56%
Price: $170
Release: April 2023
Availability: U.S. exclusive

Need to know:

Riachi Athyr Cedarwood Finish is a 7 year old single malt, bottled at cask strength. It is first matured for 6 years in clay terracotta vats—a traditional method for aging Lebanese spirits—which are cured with Lebanese oak (Quercus Libani) branches. Afterward, they are finished for an additional year in red cedarwood. Each bottle is individually numbered, and can only be purchased in the U.S.

Riachi-Athyr-Empire_300.jpgRiachi Athyr Empire
Style: Single malt
Origin: Lebanon
Age: 6 year old
ABV: 55%
Price: $140
Release: April 2023
Availability: New York exclusive

Need to know:

Atyhr Empire is a Lebanese single malt that undergoes the same clay terracotta vat aging process, using oak branches that are harvested from the village of Khenchara—also the home of the Riachi Winery & Distillery. It too is a cask strength whisky, arriving in individually-numbered bottles in oak frames. This expression is exclusive to New York.

Whisky Advocate says:

Although these 4 expressions mark the distillery’s U.S. debut, whisky fans who dabble in wine may likely already be familiar with the Riachi name. That's because the Riachi family, starting with Moses Riachi and currently under the guidance of Roy Riachi, has been in the wine business since 1839. Athyr— from Arabic, meaning “aethereal” or “creme of the crop”— is a series focusing on premium, age-stated whiskies made with locally-sourced Lebanese ingredients and using traditional Lebanese spirit-making methods. The Lebanese Heights series, on the other hand, focuses on more widely-accessible craft whiskies with relatively lower ABVs and lower price points—at least when compared to their aethereal cousins.

Jypsy-Whiskey_300.jpgOutsiders Spirits Whiskey JYPSI (Batch 1)
Style: Blended
Origin: Not stated
Age: Not stated
ABV: 57.5%
Price: $200
Release: May 2023
Availability: Limited. Available in 38 states, and online at whiskeyjypsi.com

Need to know:

The inaugural release from the newly formed Outsiders Spirits, Whiskey JYPSI is blended from four whiskies—7 and 8 year old 99% corn bourbons from Indiana, 20 year old 91% rye whiskey from Canada, and 4 year old American single malt—in a 70:21:9 ratio.

Whisky Advocate says:

Outsiders Spirits represents a partnership between entrepreneur Raj Alva and 10-time Grammy nominee Eric Church. The blending team behind JYPSI is led by Ari Sussman, Three Chord whiskymaker who oversaw the recently released Three Chord Honey Toasted. Outsiders Spirits claims this expression is the first of many, promising future releases at varying price points.

CW_Founders_11th_300.jpgChattanooga Whiskey Founder’s 11th Anniversary Blend

Style: Blended
Origin: Not Stated
Age: Not Stated
ABV: 50%
Price: $60
Release: April 2023
Availability: 11,400 bottles; Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana Tennessee, and Texas; seelbachs.com

Need to know:

Released in celebration of Chattanooga Whiskey’s 11th anniversary, this whiskey comprises a blend of two solera-finished Chattanooga expressions—the retired 1816 (distilled in Indiana) and Barrel 91 (a Tennessee high malt)—with Infinity (itself, a changing proprietary blend of different Chattanooga expressions, all at least 3 years old, from both its Experimental and Riverfront distilleries, which is also solera-finished) in a 25:50:25 ratio.

Whisky Advocate says:

This marks the second year that Chattanooga Whiskey has commemorated its birthday with the release of a new blend. Last year, Chattanooga celebrated its 10th anniversary with the very first Founders expression—which the Whisky Advocate tasting panel scored at 89. It too was blended using 1816 and Barrel 91, both of which are solera-finished whiskeys. Other Chattanooga Whiskey expressions include its Straight Rye Malt (Batch 20I22R) and Islay Scotch Cask Finished, which we rated 92 and 91, respectively.

Gordon-and-MacPhail-CORONATION-300.jpgGordon & MacPhail Private Collection 1948 from Glen Grant Distillery Celebrating the Coronation of King Charles III

Style: Single malt
Origin: Scotland (Speyside)
Age: 74 year old
ABV: 50.4%
Price: $30,000
Release: May 2023
Availability: Global release of 281 bottles; 14 for the U.S.

Need to know:

There is a long association between Glen Grant Distillery and Gordon & MacPhail. The Elgin-based independent bottler is responsible for the majority of Glen Grant whiskies aged for more than 50 years, but the release of a scotch aged for more than 70 years is remarkable. This Glen Grant entered a first-fill sherry cask on April 10, 1948, and bottled on December 15, 2022 to coincide with the anniversary of the king’s christening.

Whisky Advocate says:

Gordon & MacPhail previously selected Glen Grant whiskies for its Diamond and Platinum Jubilee releases for Queen Elizabeth II and this release continues that relationship, representing the oldest and most expensive of the whiskies released for the Coronation of King Charles III. To mark the release, Gordon & MacPhail will make a £25,000 ($31,400) donation to The Prince’s Foundation, a charity set up by Charles to promote sustainable solutions to help communities thrive.