close
Angel's Envy Cask Strength (2022 Edition), Booker's 2022-03 “Kentucky Tea Batch,” & More [New Releases]

Angel's Envy Cask Strength (2022 Edition), Booker's 2022-03 “Kentucky Tea Batch,” & More [New Releases]

November 4, 2022 –––––– DAVID FLEMING, JULIA HIGGINS, TED SIMMONS, JONNY MCCORMICK, MELANIE SCHWENK

Last Friday, we kicked off the fall WhiskyFest season with WhiskyFest San Francisco, where throngs of whisky lovers came together to enjoy over 400 different whiskies. And last night, the fun continued with WhiskyFest New York, an event that drew even more fans and had plenty of top-tier whisky names in attendance. If you’ve missed out on these events, or want to get in on some superb sipping once more, WhiskyFest Las Vegas is on December 2nd at Resorts World Las Vegas; for now, tickets are still available.

In new whisky this week, there are plenty of limited releases coming out ahead of the holiday season. Angel’s Envy returns with the 11th edition of its cask strength port wine barrel-finished straight bourbon, Booker’s has released its third whiskey of 2022, and Balvenie adds three new rarefied single malts to its Stories lineup. Read on for full details.

Angel’s Envy Cask Strength (2022 Edition)

ANGEL’S ENVY CASK STRENGTH (2022 EDITION)

Style: Finished bourbon
Origin: Kentucky
Age: Not stated
ABV: 59.9%
Price: $230
Release: November 2022
Availability: 16,980 bottles; Nationwide

Need to know:

This is the 11th release within the Angel’s Envy Cask Strength program, and, like its predecessors, it’s finished in port wine barrels.

Whisky Advocate says:

To this point, Cask Strength regularly earns top marks from our review panel; with the exception of the 2016 release, all iterations since 2015 have scored 90 points or above, with the 2020 edition scoring 94 points. The distillery has steadily increased the number of Cask Strength bottles available each year, culminating in the 16,980 bottles that are circulating across the country now (to put it in perspective, when the program started in 2012 there were just 600 bottles for two states).

Booker’s 2022-03 “Kentucky Tea Batch”

BOOKER’S 2022-03 “KENTUCKY TEA BATCH”

Style: Straight bourbon
Origin: Kentucky
Age: 7 years, 4 months, 14 days
ABV: 63.25%
Price: $90
Release: November 2022
Availability: Limited

Need to know:

The third release of Booker’s for 2022 is labeled “Kentucky Tea Batch.” The name comes from Booker Noe’s signature drink, one part Booker’s bourbon and four parts water, which he called Kentucky Tea. Booker favored this drink to actual tea and would enjoy it with his dinner, typically of country ham or fish.

Whisky Advocate says:

Booker Noe enjoyed whiskey and food, and previous Booker’s batches have been named after his favorite dishes like Country Ham and Beaten Biscuits. Now, Kentucky Tea gets its own namesake batch. We recently scored Booker’s 2022-01 “Ronnie’s Batch” 93 points in our Fall Buying Guide.

Fuji Single Grain 30 year old

FUJI SINGLE GRAIN 30 YEAR OLD

Style: Single grain
Origin: Japan
Age: 30 year old
ABV: 46%
Price: $3,000/700 ml
Release: November 2022
Availability: 100 bottles for the U.S.; available in California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, and New York

Need to know:

Fuji Whisky is releasing a limited quantity of its highly regarded 30 year old single grain whisky distilled at Mt. Fuji Distillery in the city of Gotemba, on the flanks of one of Japan’s most sacred mountains.

Whisky Advocate says:

Fuji Whisky’s master blender Jota Tanaka, one of the world’s great blenders, has selected and combined stocks of single grain Japanese whisky matured in first and second-fill bourbon casks for at least 30 years. It’s a Canadian-style grain whisky, distilled and matured in Japan, from a mash of corn and malted barley. The distillery is remarkably versatile, with the ability to produce scotch-like single malts, and three different styles of single grain whiskies. Using continuous distillation, they produce a lighter grain whisky characteristic of single grain scotch, with their beer column and doubler, they make a heavy, bourbon-style grain whisky, while their mellow Canadian-style grain whisky is distilled using a batch distillation method in kettle and column stills. The reason for these unique capabilities can be found in the company’s history. Kirin-Seagram Co. Ltd. began distilling at Mt. Fuji Distillery in November 1973 as a joint venture between Kirin Brewery Co. Ltd. and Joseph E. Seagram & Sons, which then included Chivas Brothers. The distillery, now fully owned by Kirin Brewing Company Ltd., incorporated the distillation technologies popular in Scotland, the U.S., and Canada in order to make a style of whisky that would be enjoyed by Japanese whisky drinkers with a taste for those other styles.

Balvenie Stories The Second Red Rose

BALVENIE STORIES THE SECOND RED ROSE

Style: Single malt
Origin: Scotland (Speyside)
Age: 21 year old
ABV: 48.1%
Price: $460
Release: November 2022
Availability: Limited

Need to know:

This is the sequel to the first Balvenie Red Rose, which launched in 2008 with just 426 bottles available, sold only at the distillery. It sold out quickly and became a collector’s item, as it continues to be today. The first Red Rose was a 16 year old cask strength expression (53.4% ABV) finished in tawny port wine casks. This one is a 21 year old, finished in Australian shiraz barrels. The name was inspired by Margaret Douglas, a 15th-century noblewoman who resided at Balvenie Castle, which today sits on a promontory above Balvenie Distillery. She was reputed to be the most beautiful woman in Scotland, and after her husband, the eighth Earl of Douglas, was killed in battle, the king allowed her to live at Balvenie for an annual payment of one red rose. Balvenie malt master David Stewart chose tawny port casks for finishing the first release to give the whisky an appropriately rose-like hue, and this time used Australia shiraz casks for the purpose.

Balvenie Stories A Rare Discovery from Distant Shores

BALVENIE STORIES A RARE DISCOVERY FROM DISTANT SHORES

Style: Single malt
Origin: Scotland (Speyside)
Age: 27 year old
ABV: 48%
Price: $1,500
Release: November 2022
Availability: Limited

Need to know:

This whisky was inspired by the story of John Barrett, a longtime friend of malt master David Stewart, who visited Balvenie with samples of Caroni rum from the now-shuttered Caroni Distillery in Trinidad. In 2014, Stewart moved 20 year old Balvenie from its traditional American oak casks into Caroni rum casks, to give the whisky a unique rum finish.

Balvenie Stories The Tale of the Dog

BALVENIE STORIES THE TALE OF THE DOG

Style: Single malt
Origin: Scotland (Speyside)
Age: 42 year old
ABV: 47%
Price: $14,500
Release: November 2022
Availability: Limited

Need to know:

This whisky was inspired by a memory of current Balvenie coppersmith Dennis McBain from his earliest days as an apprentice, when a brewer asked for a copper dog—a small copper tube used for siphoning whisky from the cask—to be “flattened” or repaired. A humbled McBain had no idea what that meant, but quickly learned the expression “taking a dog for a walk” at the distillery. That experience inspired his idea of using dogs instead of unwieldy valinches (bigger tubes) for distillery tour tastings. Every “dog” used in warehouse tours is there because of Dennis McBain’s early days at Balvenie.

Whisky Advocate says:

The Balvenie Stories collection was launched in 2019, and recounts tales of the people, craft, and provenance of Balvenie whiskies throughout its history. Other Stories releases include The Sweet Toast of American Oak 12 year old (87 points), The Week of Peat 14 year old (88 points), The Edge of Burnhead Wood 19 year old (93 points), The Day of Dark Barley 26 year old (93 points), and The Creation of a Classic. The stories behind each of these new releases are told on their packaging and website.

Old Ezra 7 year old

OLD EZRA 7 YEAR OLD

Style: Straight rye
Origin: Indiana
Age: 7 year old
ABV: 57%
Price: $80
Release: November 2022
Availability: 18,000 bottles; nationwide

Need to know:

Produced by Luxco, this limited-release blend of two ryes—one a 95% rye, the other a 51%—is charcoal filtered and bottled at full proof or the same or close to the alcohol by volume that the whiskey went into the barrel at.

Whisky Advocate says:

Luxco merged with MGP Ingredients in 2021. It oversees the family of Luxco/MGP brands and its three whiskey distilleries in Indiana and Kentucky and a tequila distillery in Jalisco, Mexico. Bardstown’s Lux Row is home to Old Ezra, part of the Ezra Brooks lineup, along with Blood Oath, David Nicholson, Daviess County, and Rebel. Old Ezra 7 year old Barrel Strength was the No. 7 whisky of our Top 20 of 2019.

Wyoming Whiskey Barrel Strength (Barrel 9735)

WYOMING WHISKEY BARREL STRENGTH (BARREL 9735)

Style: Straight bourbon
Origin: Wyoming
Age: 5 year old
ABV: 61.2%
Price: $300
Release: November 2022
Availability: 120 bottles; California, Colorado, Georgia, New York, and Wyoming

Need to know:

Wyoming Whiskey Barrel Strength bourbon, with a mashbill of 68% corn, 20% wheat, and 12% malted barley, is a rare sight. It made its debut in 2015 with a score of 92 points and sold out instantly, and it last returned in 2018 when 50 bottles were released.

Wyoming Whiskey Outryder

WYOMING WHISKEY OUTRYDER

Style: Straight American
Origin: Wyoming
Age: Not stated
ABV: 50%
Price: $75
Release: November 2022
Availability: Limited

Need to know:

This marks the sixth release of Outryder since it was first launched in 2016. Barrel selection and blending are handled by Nancy Fraley. This year’s release is a minimum of 5 years old. A previous release scored 91 points by our tasting panel. It is composed of 55 barrels of rye whiskey and 21 barrels of high-rye bourbon.

Wyoming Whiskey Single Barrel

WYOMING WHISKEY SINGLE BARREL

Style: Straight bourbon
Origin: Wyoming
Age: Not stated
ABV: 48%
Price: $100
Release: November 2022
Availability: Limited

Need to know:

This year’s single barrel release was selected from barrels from six rickhouses that were aged for a minimum of 5 years. The mashbill is 68% corn, 20% wheat, and 12% malted barley.

Whisky Advocate says:

Wyoming Whiskey was founded in 2006. Kentucky distilleries were used as the blueprint for the distillery built in Kirby, Wyoming. Despite the structural symmetry, the whiskey produced is drastically different mainly due to the climate. In 2018 Scotland-based spirits company Edrington, owner of Macallan, Highland Park, among others, purchased a minority stake in Wyoming Whiskey. Look for Wyoming Whiskey’s 10th anniversary edition to be released next month.

Hirsch The Cask Strength Cognac Barrel Finished

HIRSCH THE CASK STRENGTH COGNAC BARREL FINISHED

Style: Finished bourbon
Origin: Kentucky
Age: 7 year old
ABV: 62.5%
Price: $200
Release: October 2022
Availability: 9,000 bottles; nationwide

Need to know:

This mashbill of this cask strength release is 72% corn, 13% rye, and 15% malted barley. It was aged for six years, then finished in 30 year old Hine XO cognac barrels for an additional 18 months.

Whisky Advocate says:

In making this whiskey, distiller Kevin Aslan selected 54 barrels of the oldest bourbon at his disposal (this release was made in Bardstown, Kentucky) to rest in Hine cognac casks (Hine like Hirsch, is sold by San Francisco-based importer and marketing company Hotaling & Co.). Hirsch was rebranded and relaunched by Hotaling in 2020. The whiskey comes from several sources across Kentucky and Indiana.

Starward Vitalis

STARWARD VITALIS

Style: Single malt
Origin: Australia
Age: 4 year old
ABV: 52%
Price: $150
Release: November 2022
Availability: Limited

Need to know:

This single malt contains whiskies aged in tawny, rum, bourbon, and apera (sherry-inspired Australian wine) barrels. The oldest of these barrels was filled in 2011 and the youngest was filled in 2018.

Whisky Advocate says:

Starward Distillery is now 15 years old; in the whisky world, this might not make it an elder, but it’s certainly cemented itself as one of the most recognizable names in Australian whisky here in the U.S. This whisky is a celebration of its 15 year anniversary and is named in honor of founder David Vitale’s familial name (which coincidentally translates to “life” in Latin). We’ve reviewed previous barrel-finished Starward releases, including Octave Barrels single malt—finished in The Octavius shiraz barrels from Yalumba—and Two Fold blended whisky, also finished in red wine barrels.

Old Forester King Ranch Edition

OLD FORESTER KING RANCH EDITION

Style: Straight bourbon
Origin: Kentucky
Age: Not stated
ABV: 52.5%
Price: $70
Release: November 1, 2022
Availability: Limited; Texas only

Need to know:

Old Forester teamed up with Texas’s King Ranch, the largest ranch in the U.S. and the birthplace of American ranching, for this limited release. The bourbon comes from a batch of heavily charred barrels, and is finished through charcoal created from mesquite trees harvested from the ranch.

Whisky Advocate says:

This isn’t the first Kentucky bourbon to introduce some Texas flavor via mesquite charcoal. Wild Turkey Longbranch, made in collaboration with Matthew McConaughey, uses a similar process. McConaughey worked with Wild Turkey master distiller Eddie Russell to create a whiskey that spoke to his Texas roots. “I wanted to find something that was from the earth, that was quintessentially Texan, that could team up with Wild Turkey. When I hit on mesquite charcoal, I thought, ‘That’s our in.’” he told Whisky Advocate.

This release also brings to mind Balcones Luckenbach, a single malt released in July 2021 and named after the Luckenbach General Store, Bar, and Dance Hall located outside Fredericksburg, Texas. One thing is for certain: Texans love their whiskey. And with this new King Ranch Edition, one could start a collection of whiskeys dedicated to Texas institutions.

Jeptha Creed Red, White, and Blue

JEPTHA CREED RED, WHITE, AND BLUE

Style: Straight bourbon
Origin: Kentucky
Age: Not stated
ABV: 50%
Price: $75
Release: November 11, 2022
Availability: Limited; Indiana and Kentucky with online availability in Alaska, North Dakota, and Washington, D.C.

Need to know:

Jeptha Creed is celebrating its 6th anniversary with this limited-release bourbon. The whiskey was made using three different varietals of heirloom corn and has a mashbill of 25% bloody butcher corn, 25% white heirloom corn, 25% Bruce’s blue heirloom corn, 20% malted rye, and 5% malted barley. Jeptha Creed created this bourbon to show appreciation for current and former members of the military, and a portion of the proceeds from its sale will be donated to the Veteran’s Club of Kentucky.

Whisky Advocate says:

Craft distillers are investing in heirloom grains despite their high cost because they are more flavorful and give their whiskeys greater personality. The blend of heirloom corn varietals here, for example, will produce a drastically different flavor than if 75% yellow dent, or some other mass-produced corn, was used. As for celebrating veterans, that’s a cause we can always raise a glass to.

Castle & Key The Untold Story of Kentucky Whisky (Chapter 2)

CASTLE & KEY THE UNTOLD STORY OF KENTUCKY WHISKY (CHAPTER 2)

Style: Blend of straight bourbons
Origin: Kentucky
Age: 3 year old
ABV: 51.25%
Price: $175
Release: October 2022
Availability: Limited; 462 bottles at the distillery only

Need to know:

This whiskey was made in partnership with the Kentucky Black Bourbon Guild (KBBG), and is the distillery’s second annual release in which 100% of sales are donated to scholarship funds to support diversity and inclusion within the distilling industry. Castle & Key’s Untold Story, Chapter 2 is a blend of two different mashbills. This year the team blended a barrel of their traditional bourbon mashbill (73% white corn, 10% rye, and 17% malt) and a barrel of wheated bourbon mashbill (73% white corn, 10% white wheat, and 17% malt). To celebrate, the KBBG is hosting an event on Wednesday, November 16th from 6 to 9 p.m. at Base 249 in Lexington.

Whisky Advocate says:

The only thing better than enjoying a good whiskey, is being able to support a charitable cause in the process. We included the first release of Castle & Key’s The Untold Story of Kentucky Whiskey (Chapter 1) in our list of whiskies that give back from the Winter 2021 issue, so even if you can’t get your hands on this bottle, there are other ways to support worthy causes through whiskey.