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Booker's 2021-03 “Bardstown Batch,” Johnnie Walker Blue Label Ghost and Rare Pittyvaich & More [New Releases]

The 8th edition of WhistlePig's Boss Hog series features 17 year old rye whiskey finished in high-toast barrels that previously held Philippine rum.

Booker's 2021-03 “Bardstown Batch,” Johnnie Walker Blue Label Ghost and Rare Pittyvaich & More [New Releases]

October 22, 2021 –––––– David Fleming, , , ,

Our Fall 2021 issue includes over 130 whisky reviews, covering a wide variety of styles. This week, we highlighted the 10 highest-scoring whiskies from the issue's Buying Guide, representing the very best from the whisky world and highlighting both familiar names and more obscure labels.


As we move further into October, the exciting new rollouts continue. There's a fresh release of Booker's, the latest from Johnnie Walker Blue Label's Ghost and Rare, WhistlePig's Boss Hog series, and new wheated bourbons from New Riff and Wyoming Whiskey. Read on for full details.

Booker's 2021-03 “Bardstown Batch”

Style: Straight bourbon

Origin: Kentucky

Age: 6 years, 5 months

ABV: 62.75%

Price: $90

Release: October 2021

Availability: Limited

Need to know:

The third batch of Booker's released this year is named after Bardstown, Kentucky, the town where Jim Beam master distillers past and present have lived. Booker Noe, for whom this whiskey is named, lived in Bardstown for more than 50 years, hosting dinner parties where one of the favorite dishes was country ham. (Indeed, a previous Booker's release, 2019-03, was named “Country Ham.”)

Whisky Advocate says:

If you're looking for high-proof bourbon that consistently scores well, it's hard to beat Booker's. The releases are tasty barrel-proof whiskeys, with the aforementioned “Country Ham” scoring 94 points. The recently published Fall issue includes a review of 2021-01 “Donohoe's Batch” which scored 92 points.

Johnnie Walker Blue Label Ghost and Rare Pittyvaich

Style: Blended whisky

Origin: Scotland

Age: Not stated

ABV: 43.8%

Price: $370

Release: November 2021

Availability: Limited

Need to know:

Pittyvaich is the lead whisky in the fourth installment of the Blue Label Ghost and Rare Series, which is designed to showcase the character of whiskies from closed distilleries. Following earlier editions built around Brora, Port Ellen, and Glenury Royal, this is the first to focus on a closed Speyside distillery. Johnnie Walker master blender Jim Beveridge and his blending team tapped precious stocks of irreplaceable whisky for the blend, including single grain whiskies from Port Dundas and Carsebridge as well as select stocks of Speyside single malts from Mannochmore, Auchroisk, Strathmill, and Cragganmore.

Whisky Advocate says:

Pittyvaich is a lesser-known Speyside whisky that hails from a rather charmless looking distillery built by Arthur Bell & Sons in Dufftown in the mid-1970s to contribute to their blending requirements. In 1993, just 18 years after distilling commenced, the site was closed and subsequently demolished in 2002. While Pittyvaich is found as an occasional independent bottling, it has established greater appreciation through its five appearances in the Diageo Special Releases in 2009, 2015, 2018-2020. Now with the stylish glamour of Johnnie Walker Blue Label behind it, this release may attract new interest in the flavorful whisky from Pittyvaich Distillery before it runs out completely. Spookily, this ghostly whisky goes on sale the morning after Halloween if you want to ‘haunt' one down.

WhistlePig The Boss Hog VIII: LapuLapu's Pacific

Style: Finished rye

Origin: Canada

Age: Not stated

ABV: 52.4%

Price: $500

Release: October 2021

Availability: Limited

Need to know:

WhistlePig's latest release in their Boss Hog series features a straight rye whiskey aged for nearly 18 years in new American oak barrels, followed by a double finish in high-toast barrels that previously held small batch, single island, aged Philippine rum.

Whisky Advocate says:

WhistlePig's previous release in their Boss Hog series, WhistlePig 17 Year Old The Boss Hog VII: Magellan's Atlantic, scored a 93 in our Winter 2020 issue. This whiskey will be another collectible, like the previous editions.

New Riff Red Turkey Wheated Bourbon

Style:Straight bourbon

Origin:Kentucky

Age:5 year old

ABV:50%

Price:$50

Release:November 2021

Availability:Limited

Need to know:

This bottled in bond, wheated bourbon is made with a mashbill of 70% corn, 25% heirloom Red Turkey wheat, and 5% malted barley. The heirloom wheat was grown in Ohio and sourced from Cincinnati, Ohio-based Blue Oven Bakery, with whom New Riff has a partnership.

Whisky Advocate says:

Wheated bourbons have a sweeter, fruitier, and smoother taste than other bourbons because they use wheat as the secondary or flavoring grain in the mashbill. This is New Riff's first stab at the style, which has received widespread recognition thanks to the likes of Larceny, Old Fitzgerald, and Pappy Van Winkle, among others.

Wyoming Whiskey Single Barrel (2021 Release)

Style:Bourbon

Origin:Wyoming

Age:5 year old

ABV:48%

Price:$99

Release:October 2021

Availability:Limited

Need to know:

Single Barrel is a wheated bourbon made from grains grown in Wyoming's Bighorn Basin. The distillery stresses the influence of its terroir on this whiskey in particular—during the summer, temperatures can climb up to 135° F and swing 20-30 degrees from day to night, while they can fall as low as -5° F in the winter.

Whisky Advocate says:

Wyoming Whiskey's Single Barrel bourbon represents the top 1% of bourbon barrels sampled by the distillery, and so it's often quick to sell out—last year, the whiskey was gone by November. This year's release was chosen from six rickhouses, and each barrel yielded approximately 220 bottles.

Waterford The Cuvée

Style: Single malt

Origin: Ireland

Age: Not stated

ABV: 50%

Price: $98

Release: October 2021

Availability: Nationwide

Need to know:

This is the latest release from Waterford Distillery, which is located in Waterford on Ireland's east coast. It was founded by Mark Reynier, best known for leading the resurrection of Islay distillery Bruichladdich two decades ago. Waterford, which has been making whiskey since 2016, espouses the concept of terroir and using local grains, sourcing barley from 86 different local farmers. This expression marries 25 different Waterford single farm whiskeys together to create the final product. The Cuvée is non-chill filtered and is bottled with no added coloring. Details about the component whiskeys can be discovered by way of a terroir code on each bottle.

Whisky Advocate says:

Mark Reynier's background was in the wine trade before he set out to revive Bruichladdich, and he has always looked to apply winemaking methods and ideas to whisky production. This particular expression was inspired by the great cuvées of Bordeaux, whose best creations meld a number of separately made wines into their single, prized blends.

Redwood Empire Bottled in Bond Rocket Top

Style: Straight rye

Origin: California

Age: Not stated

ABV: 50%

Price: $80

Release: October 2021

Availability: 3,000 bottles

Need to know:

Made from a mash of 87% rye, 7% malted barley, and 6% wheat, this whiskey was distilled in spring 2016, and aged for a minimum of five years in American white oak barrelsprimarily with a level 3 toast and char. It gets its name from the 365-foot coastal redwood tree in Humboldt Redwoods State Park.

Redwood Empire Bottled in Bond Grizzly Beast

Style: Straight rye

Origin: California

Age: Not stated

ABV: 50%

Price: $80

Release: October 2021

Availability: 3,000 bottles

Need to know:

Made from a mash of 69% corn, 22% rye, 5% malted barley, and 4% wheat, this whiskey was distilled in spring 2016, and aged for a minimum of five years in American white oak barrelsprimarily with a level 3 toast and char. It gets its name from two trees: Grizzly Giant, aSequoia in Yosemite National Park, and Mattole Beast, a 375-footcoastalredwood in Humboldt Redwoods State Park.

Whisky Advocate says:

Previous Redwood Empire releases like Pipe Dream bourbon (88 points) and Emerald Giant rye (87 points) blended sourced whiskeys with those made at Graton Distilling in California. But these bottled in bond whiskeys are entirely California-made, as Redwood follows other craft distillers opting to go the bottled in bond route once their stocks reach the age requirement for the designation. While bourbon is the most popular style to be bottled in bond, rye and wheat whiskeyscan qualify as well so long as they are distilled in a single season at a single distillery, proofed to 50% ABV, and aged for a minimum of four years.