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Caol Ila 175th Anniversary Celebratory Bottling, Amrut Spectrum 004, & More [New Releases]

Caol Ila 175th Anniversary Celebratory Bottling, Amrut Spectrum 004, & More [New Releases]

February 11, 2022 –––––– David Fleming, , , ,

This week's crop of new whiskies includes a handful of ultra-aged expressions, among them an anniversary bottling of Caol Ila aged for 24 years and an 81 year old Macallan (distilled during WWII!). There's also the latest release of Amrut's Spectrum 004, and a new flagship bourbon from the revived Green River Distilling Co. in Kentucky. Read on for full details.

Caol Ila 175th Anniversary Celebratory Bottling

Style: Single Malt

Origin: Scotland (Islay)

Age: 24 year old

ABV: 52.1%

Price: £295 (about $400)

Availability: 3,000 bottles

Need to know:

This special bottling—released in honor of the distillery's 175th anniversary last year—is being sold at specialist retailers, malts.com, and Lagavulin Distillery. Lagavulin was chosen as the distillery sales venue because Caol Ila is currently closed to the public while undergoing a major revamp of its visitors center.

Whisky Advocate says:

Caol Ila is the workhorse of Islay, pumping out more whisky annually than any other distillery on the island. Much of its production is used as the peated component for the blended brands of its owner, Diageo—including Johnnie Walker, among numerous others. As a result, this rather unsung distillery rarely shares the spotlight with its more famous Ileach counterparts such as Lagavulin, Laphroaig, Ardbeg, and Bowmore. That scenario may start to change this summer, when Caol Ila unveils a newly overhauled visitor center as part of a multimillion-dollar transformation of Diageo's key Scottish visitor venues.

Amrut Spectrum 004

Style: Single malt

Origin: India

Age: Not stated

ABV: 50%

Price: $195

Release: February 2022

Availability: 6,000 bottles worldwide, with 1,050 bottles coming to the U.S.

Need to know:

This single malt was initially matured in a bourbon barrel before being transferred to a specially made cask constructed of four oak varieties: American oak with level three charring, French oak with slight toasting, an oloroso sherry stave, and a Pedro Ximénez sherry stave.

Whisky Advocate says:

This is the second release of Spectrum 004, which is part of Amrut's acclaimed Spectrum series (the original Spectrum won our World Whisky of the Year award in 2016). Every bottling of Spectrum features unique barrels—they're made with at least four oak types, though the premier Spectrum was made from five different woods.

Macallan The Reach

Style: Single malt

Origin: Scotland

Age: 81 year old

ABV: 41.6%

Price: $125,000

Release: February 2022

Availability: Limited

Need to know:

Distilled during World War II, this 81 year old Macallan is the oldest release from the distillery to date, and spent its entire maturation in a single sherry-seasoned oak cask.

Whisky Advocate says:

Only 288 bottles of The Reach are available worldwide, making it just as rare as you'd expect an octogenarian whisky to be. The packaging is not just ornate, but meaningful too: The glass decanter itself is cradled within a bronze sculpture of three hands, each of which represents characters integral to Macallan's history. One honors the distillery workers of 1940, one celebrates one-time Macallan chairman Allan Shiach, whose grandfather headed the company when The Reach was consigned to its cask, and the third hand celebrates Macallan's current master whisky maker, Kirsteen Campbell.

Old Parr 18 year old

Style: Blended scotch

Origin: Scotland

Age: 18 year old

ABV: 40%

Price: $70

Release: February 2022

Availability: DE, FL, MA, NY, TX

Need to know:

This is a permanent release for Old Parr, whose core label is its 12 year old. The key malt in Old Parr is Cragganmore, but this blend also includes numerous other Speyside and Islay whiskies.

Whisky Advocate says:

Old Parr, whose full name is Grand Old Parr, was first launched in 1909 and was named for Englishman Thomas Parr, who was said to have lived to the ripe old age of 152. It was among the world-famous blended scotch names of the mid-20th century. Today it is no longer sold in the UK, and only has small sales volume in the U.S., but it still does very well in Latin America—particularly in Colombia, where it is wildly popular.

Green River Bourbon

Style: Straight bourbon

Origin: Kentucky

Age: Not stated

ABV: 45%

Price: $35

Release: February 2022

Availability: KY, with eventual distribution to FL, IN, MO, TN

Need to know:

This bourbon, which was aged for more than five years, has a mashbill of 70% corn, 21% winter rye, and 9% malted 2 and 6-row barley.

Whisky Advocate says:

Green River is in Owensboro, Kentucky, which lies in the western reaches of the state—relatively far from bourbon beacons Louisville, Bardstown, and Lexington. It was originally founded in 1885, but Prohibition and a distillery fire ultimately led to its demise. Following ownership switches and several name changes, the distillery was rechristened under its original name in 2020. This new bourbon serves as the revived Green River's flagship expression. Green River also does contract distilling, most notably producing Wheel Horse, which finished at No.-19 on Whisky Advocate's Top 20 list last year.

Angel's Envy Cellar Collection Ice Cider Finished

Style: Rye

Origin: Kentucky

Age: 7 year old

ABV: 53.5%

Price: $250

Release: February 25, 2022

Availability: 6,000 bottles; at the distillery, CA, FL, IL, KY, NY, TN, TX

Need to know:

This 7 year old 95% rye whiskey was finished for just one day shy of a year in French oak ice cider barrels from Vermont's Eden Specialty Ciders. The ice cider was produced from tart Northern Spy apples that were naturally cold-concentrated before partial fermentation and aging. It takes Eden one to three years to produce its ice cider and over eight pounds of apples to produce one 375 ml bottle. This is the fourth release in Angel Envy's Cellar Collection and the first new finished rye offered by the distillery since 2013.

Whisky Advocate says:

Barrel finishing is certainly not uncommon to whisky, but ice cider cask finishing certainly is. The closest we've seen has been ice wine-finished expressions like Glenfiddich Winter Storm, Writers' Tears Inniskillin, and a few years ago, Wayne Gretzky No. 99 Ice Cask. All Angel's Envy whiskeys are finished—port, madeira, oloroso, mizunara, rum—with great result, consistently scoring well with our tasting panel.

Beginning February 10th, a presale lottery was opened to Angel's Envy 500 Main members for a chance to win one of 500 bottles of this expression before it becomes available to the public on February 25th. Winners must pick up their bottle at the distillery.

Tomatin 16 Year Old

Style: Single malt

Origin: Scotland (Highlands)

Age: 16 year old

ABV: 46%

Price: €90 (about $103)

Release: February 2022

Availability: Travel Retail only

Need to know:

This one joins a Tomatin range that includes an 8 year old, 12 year old, 21 year old, and 40 year old. It's bottled in 700 ml bottles, in conformity with international packaging guidelines.

Whisky Advocate says:

Most of Tomatin's production traditionally has been used for blended whisky, but over the years this Highlands distillery has released some very well received aged and ultra-aged single malt expressions as well. In 2016 it even launched a lightly peated single malt expression, called Cù Bòcan.

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