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Buffalo Trace O.F.C. 1995, Kentucky Owl's Last Rye & More New Whisky [Essential Info]

Buffalo Trace O.F.C. 1995, Kentucky Owl's Last Rye & More New Whisky [Essential Info]

November 20, 2020 –––––– Susannah Skiver Barton, , , ,

College students at New Mexico State can now buy a whiskey with their mascot on it, but for everyone else, there are plenty of other new releases to look for.

First up, Buffalo Trace is releasing a new vintage O.F.C. bourbon, this one distilled in 1995. There are 1,500 bottles, each priced at $2,500.

Kentucky Owl is launching its 10th batch of bourbon, as well as the fourth and final release of its rye. Both whiskeys are priced at $300 and available in limited amounts.

Scotch giant Diageo is rolling out the 2020 Distillers Edition bottlings for six of its distilleries: Cragganmore, Dalwhinnie, Glenkinchie, Lagavulin, Oban, and Talisker. The limited-edition single malts range in price from $85 to $110.

Craigellachie has bottled a single sherry butt at 24 years old. Just 474 bottles of the whisky are available, priced at $300 each.

Loch Lomond Distillery has unveiled 21 ($300) and 30 year old ($800) expressions. While joining the core lineup, annual allocations are limited.

Portland, Oregon's Westward Whiskey has debuted a single malt finished in local pinot noir casks, along with new packaging for the entire range. The whiskey is priced at $90 and widely available.

Four Gate Whiskey Co. has bottled a 12 year old Kentucky straight bourbon in memory of the late Kevin McLaughlin, a friend and collaborator. There are 423 bottles of Four Gate Eagle Thief, priced at $299.

Maker's Mark collaborated with The LEE Initiative and partner restaurants and bars to create a special batch of barrel-proof bourbon to raise money for the non-profit. The CommUNITY Batch is available in limited amounts by making a recommended donation of $70.

Nevada's Frey Ranch Distillery is offering single-barrel, barrel-proof bottlings of its straight bourbon. Priced at $85, the whiskey is available in Nevada only for now.

A new single cask of Amrutsingle malt, bottled under the Aatma name, is hitting shelves. There are just 90 bottles, exclusive to the U.S., priced at $165.

Newburgh, New York-based Spirits Lab Distilling Co. has debuted its first bourbon. The whiskey is currently available in New York, priced at $40.

Finally, e-commerce spirits club Flaviar is rolling out a blend of bourbons from a variety of U.S. distilleries. Corn Trooper is available exclusively on the site, priced at $71.

Read on for full details.

Buffalo Trace O.F.C. 1995

Style: Straight bourbon

Origin: Kentucky

Age: 25 years old

Proof: 45% ABV

Price: $2,500

Release: December 2020

Availability: 1,500 bottles

Need to know:

Distilled in 1995 at Buffalo Trace, this bourbon matured for 25 years. It's packaged in a crystal bottle within a wooden presentation box.

Whisky Advocate says:

The O.F.C. line of vintage bourbons has always been limited, but this year's release marks the highest bottle count so far. "O.F.C." stands for "Old Fashioned Copper," the original name of the distillery.

Kentucky Owl Straight Bourbon (Batch 10)

Style: Straight bourbon

Origin: Kentucky

Age: Not stated

Proof: 60.1% ABV

Price: $300

Release: November 2020

Availability: Limited edition

Need to know:

This whiskey is blended from a variety of Kentucky straight bourbons of undisclosed age and provenance.

Kentucky Owl Straight Rye (Batch 4)

Style: Straight rye

Origin: Kentucky

Age: 10 years old

Proof: 56.4% ABV

Price: $300

Release: November 2020

Availability: Limited edition

Need to know:

Blending a number of Kentucky straight ryes aged 10 to 13 years, this whiskey is the last rye release from Kentucky Owl, according to the company.

Whisky Advocate says:

Since its inception, Kentucky Owl has been in high demand, often as a collectible whiskey. But we've found that the scores measure up to the hype (if not the price—that's for the buyer to decide).

Diageo 2020 Distillers Editions

Style: Single malt

Origin: Scotland (varies)

Age: Varies

Proof: Varies

Price: $85-$110

Release: November 2020

Availability: Limited edition

Need to know:

This collection of single malts comes from six of Diageo's distilleries. Fans of familiar whiskies within the core range can taste the effects of secondary maturation in fortified wine-seasoned custom casks.


  • Cragganmore Distillers Edition (2020)—40% ABV, $85. Distilled in 2008 and finished in port casks; compare with Cragganmore 12 year old.

  • Dalwhinnie Distillers Edition (2020)—43% ABV, $90. Distilled in 2005 and finished in oloroso sherry casks; compare with Dalwhinnie 15 year old.

  • Glenkinchie Distillers Edition (2020)—43% ABV, $85. Distilled in 2008 and finished in amontillado sherry casks; compare with Glenkinchie 12 year old.

  • Lagavulin Distillers Edition (2020)—43% ABV, $110. Distilled in 2004 and finished in Pedro Ximénez sherry casks; compare with Lagavulin 16 year old.

  • Oban Distillers Edition (2020)—43% ABV, $95. Distilled in 2006 and finished in montilla fino sherry casks; compare with Oban 14 year old.

  • Talisker Distillers Edition (2020)—45.8% ABV, $95. Distilled in 2010 and finished in amoroso sherry casks; compare with Talisker 10 year old.

Whisky Advocate says:

Not nearly as limited (or expensive) as the Diageo Special Releases collection, the Distillers Editions nevertheless offer a different take on familiar whiskies. If you're a regular drinker of, say, Lagavulin 16 year old, doing a comparison with the PX-finished version can be a fun exercise in testing your nose and palate.

Craigellachie 24 year old Single Cask

Style: Single malt

Origin: Scotland (Speyside)

Age: 24 years old

Proof: 52.4% ABV

Price: $300

Release: November 2020

Availability: 474 bottles

Need to know:

Distilled on Oct. 25, 1995, this whisky matured in a single oloroso sherry butt. It was bottled on July 2, 2020.

Whisky Advocate says:

Craigellachie is a meaty, full whisky, already robust even before it hits a cask. Layer on full sherry cask maturation at cask strength and this one is sure to be a whopper of a single malt, perfect for sherry addicts who are ready to move beyond Macallan and Glenfarclas.

Loch Lomond 21 year old

Style: Single malt

Origin: Scotland (Highlands)

Age: 21 years old

Proof: 46% ABV

Price: $200

Release: October 2020

Availability: 500 bottles for the U.S. in 2021

Need to know:

Made at Loch Lomond Distillery in its signature straight-necked pot stills, this combines two types of peated and one unpeated spirit—all matured in bourbon casks—in the final whisky.

Loch Lomond 30 year old

Style: Single malt

Origin: Scotland (Highlands)

Age: 30 years old

Proof: 47% ABV

Price: $800

Release: October 2020

Availability: 200 bottles in the U.S. in 2021

Need to know:

This unpeated single malt was made on Loch Lomond's straight-necked stills and matured in bourbon casks, with half of it finished in oloroso sherry casks. At 47% ABV, it's cask strength—the angels' share accounts for the fairly low proof.

Whisky Advocate says:

Loch Lomond is one of the most unique distilleries in the world. It houses both a malt and a grain plant on a single site. For the malt whisky, long fermentation times and the use of wine yeast create super-estery (fruity) flavors and aromas. And the distillery is able to make eight distinct profiles of single malt, using one unpeated and two peated grain bills, two different types of still, and two different cut points. Thus it ends up with a far wider array of whisky flavor to work with, which master blender Michael Henry uses to craft each unique expression.

Westward Oregon Pinot Noir Cask

Style: Single malt

Origin: Oregon

Age: Not stated

Proof: 45% ABV

Price: $90

Release: November 2020

Availability: Widely available

Need to know:

This whisky starts out as fully mature Westward single malt, and then is finished for up to 2 years in French oak pinot noir casks from the Willamette Valley.

Whisky Advocate says:

With this new release, which was previously available as a limited edition, Westward is debuting all new packaging as well. The whiskeys themselves remain the same, however.

Four Gate Eagle Thief

Style: Straight bourbon

Origin: Kentucky

Age: 12 years old

Proof: 61.35% ABV

Price: $299

Release: November 2020

Availability: 423 bottles; for sale in KY and online

Need to know:

This bourbon is made from a mash bill of 74% corn, 18% rye, and 8% malted barley and bottled at barrel proof in memory of Kevin McLaughlin, co-owner of Kelvin Cooperage, who passed away in December 2019. Many of the bottle's attributes nod to McLaughlin's passions and personality, including its color scheme (that of Pepperdine University, where he played collegiate golf); age statement (10+2, nodding to his +2 handicap); and name, which combines the golf score of "eagle" with the "thief" tool used to pull whiskey from a barrel.

Whisky Advocate says:

Since its founding a few years ago, Four Gate has partnered with Kelvin Cooperage to create unique finishing barrels for many of its releases, and co-founder Bob D'Antoni was close friends with McLaughlin. Proceeds from the sale of this bourbon will be donated to West End School of Louisville, which was close to McLaughlin's heart.

Maker's Mark The CommUNITY Batch

Style: Finished bourbon

Origin: Kentucky

Age: Not stated

Proof: 53.85% ABV

Price: $70

Release: November 2020

Availability: Limited edition

Need to know:

Made by combining multiple editions of Maker's Mark Private Select from 37 bars and restaurants, this whiskey is being offered at select events and in select areas. All proceeds will benefit The LEE Initiative, a non-profit that supports hospitality workers.

Whisky Advocate says:

This bourbon won't be for sale at traditional retail, but is going to be available at events and in other ways for a suggested donation of $70. There will be several virtual tasting events on Giving Tuesday (Dec. 1), hosted by chef Ed Lee and Maker's Mark director of innovation Jane Bowie, and anyone who purchases a bottle will be invited to participate. Full details can be found on The Lee Initiative's website.

Frey Ranch Single Barrel Straight Bourbon

Style: Straight bourbon

Origin: Nevada

Age: 5 years old

Proof: Varies (barrel proof)

Price: $85

Release: November 2020

Availability: For sale in NV only

Need to know:

Made at Frey Ranch Distillery from corn, winter cereal rye, winter wheat, and 2-row barley, this bourbon is aged at least 5 years and bottled as a single-barrel offering at barrel proof.

Whisky Advocate says:

Frey Ranch carries out every step of the whiskey-making process, from growing the grain to bottling, on-site, and it waited until its whiskeys were 4 years old before releasing them. We've been impressed, scoring the bourbon 87 points and the recently released bottled in bond rye 93 points.

Amrut Aatma Single Cask (Cask No. 661)

Style: Single malt

Origin: India

Age: 7 years old

Proof: 56.5% ABV

Price: $165

Release: November 2020

Availability: 90 bottles

Need to know:

The second release in Amrut's U.S.-exclusive Aatma single-cask series comes from a single bourbon barrel—hence the low number of bottles. It was distilled in October 2012 and botted in March 2020.

Whisky Advocate says:

Aatma bottlings are always single cask and exclusive to the U.S., but will vary with each release. The first one, a peated single malt matured in a port pipe, came out earlier this year and scored 94 points in the Buying Guide.

Spirits Lab Bull's Head Bourbon

Style: Straight bourbon

Origin: New York

Age: 5 years old

Proof: 45% ABV

Price: $40

Release: Fall 2020

Availability: For sale in NY, with expansion planned

Need to know:

Made by an undisclosed New York distillery, this bourbon uses a mashbill of corn, wheat, and malted barley, all grown in the state. Spirits Lab acquired the barrels last year.

Whisky Advocate says:

Spirits Lab opened its Newburgh, New York distillery right around the start of the pandemic in March. Despite the inauspicious beginnings, it's off to a good start, offering this sourced bourbon and a rye, pre-bottled cocktails, and other spirits. And there's more to look forward to: Next year, the distillery plans to age a couple of barrels of rye on board the Apollonia, a steel-hulled schooner making carbon-neutral deliveries between Kingston and Brooklyn, New York.

Corn Trooper United Craft Bourbon

Style: Blend of straight bourbons

Origin: Multiple

Age: 2 years old (minimum)

Proof: 50.5% ABV

Price: $71

Release: November 2020

Availability: For sale at flaviar.com

Need to know:

Blended by Flaviar co-founder Grisa Soba exclusively for the spirits e-commerce website, this whiskey combines straight bourbons that Flaviar acquired from undisclosed producers, as well as straight bourbons from seven craft distilleries:


  • Balcones (TX)

  • Breckenridge Distillery (CO)

  • Hartfield & Co. (KY)

  • High Wire Distilling (SC)

  • Kings County (NY)

  • Oola Distillery (WA)

  • New Holland (MI)


The bourbons in the blend range in age from 2 to 12 years old.

Whisky Advocate says:

Multi-state whiskey blends are becoming more common, with producers like Barrell and Lost Lantern offering bourbon, rye, and American single malt. This is Flaviar's first foray into the practice. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of Corn Trooper will be donated to the Michael James Jackson Foundation for Brewing & Distilling.