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Hibiki Blossom Harmony, Knob Creek 18 Year Old, & More [New Releases]

Hibiki Blossom Harmony, Knob Creek 18 Year Old, & More [New Releases]

October 7, 2022 –––––– David Fleming, , , ,

Fall is in full swing, and so are new whisky launches. In a burst of good news for Pappy fans, the 2022 Van Winkle lineup has been announced, and with it the word that more bottles than usual are available this year. Does that mean it'll be easier to get your hands on one ahead of the holiday season? Not necessarily, but here's to staying optimistic.

The Van Winkle whiskeys aren't the only specialty releases making their debut this week. There are two new whiskies from Hibiki—a cherrywood-finished blend and a 30 year old whisky—both of which are highly limited. Knob Creek, meanwhile, has introduced a rarity of its own, an 18 year old bourbon that marks its oldest release to date, and High West has unveiled the 10th edition of A Midwinter Night's Dram, along with a distillery-exclusive special to commemorate the 10th anniversary. From Scotland, Glendronach has debuted Grandeur Batch 11—aged for 28 years—while Gordon & Macphail is offering three new ultra-limited, ultra-aged bottlings. Read on for full details.

Hibiki Blossom Harmony

Style: Blend

Origin: Japan

Age: Not stated

ABV: 43%

Price: $160

Release: October

Availability: Limited, select global markets including the U.S.

Need to know:

As with other Hibiki expressions, this release blends whiskies from Suntory malt distilleries Yamazaki and Hakushu, as well as its grain whisky distillery Chita. Chief blender Shinji Fukuyo likes to experiment with a variety of wood types, and chose the cherry wood cask for this one.

Whisky Advocate says:

This release honors the sakura, which is the Japanese word for cherry blossom. The sakura is Japan's national flower, and cherry blossom season in Japan is a major celebratory occasion throughout the country. The blossoming carries a great deal of meaning for the Japanese people, who see it as symbolizing life's joy and beauty, but also of its transience.

Hibiki 30 year old

Style: Blend

Origin: Japan

Age: 30 year old

ABV: 43%

Price: $5,000

Release: October

Availability: Limited, select global markets including the U.S.

Need to know:

First released in 1997 as a limited edition, the 30 year old is a blend of malt and grain whiskies, all aged 30 years or more. It's an annual release, always in very limited quantities.

Whisky Advocate says:

Hibiki, which means “resonance” or “echo” in Japanese, first came on te scene in 1989. This complex blend is one of the most enigmatic—and sought-after—whiskies in the world. Other Hibiki expressions include its 17 year old (discontinued but still seen in many shops), 21 year old, and no-age statement Hibiki Japanese Harmony. The 30 year old is the oldest Hibiki release, though Suntory's oldest whisky ever is Yamazaki 55 year old, which came out last fall.

Knob Creek 18 year old

Style:Straight bourbon

Origin:Kentucky

Age:18 year old

ABV:50%

Price:$170

Release:October 2022

Availability:Limited

Need to know:

At 18 years old, this is the oldest Knob Creek released to date, aged for twice as long as its flagship bourbon.

Whisky Advocate says:

Knob Creek is gearing up to celebrate its 30th anniversary (and that of the Jim Beam Small Batch Collection overall), and this whiskey marks the brand's ongoing legacy. Quality older bourbons are an achievement, as many can become over-oaked from too much contact with the barrel.

Octomore 13.1

Style:Single malt

Origin:Scotland (Islay)

Age:5 year old

ABV:59.2%

Price:$220

Release:October 2022

Availability:Limited

Need to know:

Distilled from 100% Scottish barley, this heavily peated (137.3 phenol parts per million or ppm, to be exact) whisky is aged for five years in first-fill bourbon casks before finishing in fresh first-fill bourbon oak casks. The .1 edition of Octomore is always finished as such, while the other releases deviate to different cask types.

Octomore 13.2

Style:Single malt

Origin:Scotland (Islay)

Age:5 year old

ABV:58.3%

Price:$260

Release:October 2022

Availability:Limited

Need to know:

Also distilled from 100% Scottish barley and malted to 137.3 ppm, this is aged entirely in oloroso sherry casks.

Octomore 13.3

Style:Single malt

Origin:Scotland (Islay)

Age:5 year old

ABV:61.1%

Price:$300

Release:October 2022

Availability:Limited

Need to know:

The barley for this whisky was grown on Octomore Farm, which is located less than two miles from the distillery. It's malted to a slightly lower 129.2 ppm, and is aged in first-fill bourbon barrels as well as rivesaltes (a dessert wine made in France's Languedoc region) and ribera del duero casks.

Whisky Advocate says:

As with last year's Octomore releases, all three of these whiskies will be available in the U.S. (previously, the .2 was typically available exclusively in Travel Retail). Octomore's claim to fame is being the world's most heavily peated whisky, and these certainly deliver eye-popping phenol content for the peat lovers out there.

Basil Hayden Red Wine Cask Finish

Style: Finished bourbon

Origin: Kentucky

Age: Not stated

ABV: 40%

Price: $60

Release: October 2022

Availability: Limited; Nationwide

Need to know:

Eighth-generation master distiller Freddie Noe blends the signature Basil Hayden with bourbon that was partially aged in California red wine casks. Noe crafted the whiskey with aperitif sippingin mind.

Whisky Advocate says:

This is the third Basil Hayden line extension since August of 2021, following the release of Toastand Subtle Smoke. Beam just celebrated the 30th anniversary of its small batch line, which includes Basil Hayden, Booker's, Baker's, and Knob Creek, and was created by 6th-generation master distiller Booker Noe. Now his grandson is leading innovation at Beam, with Freddie at the helm of the new Fred B. Noe Distillery in Clermont. The one aims to appeal to wine drinkers and whiskey lovers alike.

High West A Midwinter Night's Dram: Act 10

Style: Finished rye

Origin: Utah

Age: Not stated

ABV: 49.3%

Price: $150

Release: October 2, 2022

Availability: Limited; Nationwide

Need to know:

The 10th edition of High West's sought-after limited release A Midwinter Night's Dram takes High West's flagship Rendezvous Rye and finishes it in a combination of ruby and tawny port barrels.

High West A Midwinter Night's Dram: The Encore

Style: Finished rye

Origin: Utah

Age: Not stated

ABV: 50.8%

Price: $150

Release: October 2022

Availability: High West General Store and Distillery only

Need to know:

In honor of the 10th anniversary of A Midwinter Night's Dram, High West is also releasing this limited edition as a distillery exclusive. The Encore likewise uses Rendezvous Rye as its base, with the blend of rye whiskeys receiving a finish in white port barrels.

Whisky Advocate says:

High West has undergone a few changes recently, relaunching its Campfire blend and renaming its American Prairie bourbon to High West Bourbon back in August. Those moves were part of a larger evolution for High West, which has been slowly incorporating more of its own-make whiskey into its blends and debuting new products on a larger scale like the American single malt High Country. As for its specialty releases, High West discontinued Yippee Ki-Yay in 2020 but continues to offer Bourye and A Midwinter Night's Dram, with the latter receiving a celebratory one-off this year. It's always special to visit a distillery and see where a whiskey you love is made, and distillery exclusives make great souvenirs and special additions to your home bar.

Four Gate Split Stave by Kelvin

Style:Finished bourbon

Origin:Kentucky

Age:7 year old

ABV:58.05%

Price:$175

Release:October 2022

Availability: Nationwide

Need to know:

This new release from Four Gate will be a permanent addition to the lineup and has a mashbill of 75% corn, 20% rye, and 5% malted barley. Until this release, Four Gate has focused exclusively on one-off whiskeys.

Whisky Advocate says:

Since debuting in 2019, Four Gate has worked closely with Kelvin Cooperage on unique barrels for finishing its whiskeys. The barrels for this new expression alternate between toasted and charred new white oak staves; ultimately, the whiskey, which is at least 7 years old, is finished in the Split Stave cask. Back in July, Four Gate swept in with a slew of new releases, among them an Australian tawny port-finished rye and an Australian apera sherry-finished bourbon.

Company Distilling Cask Strength

Style:Straight bourbon

Origin:Not disclosed

Age:4 year old

ABV:60.5%

Price:$100

Release:November 2022

Availability:Limited

Need to know:

As with Company Distilling's first bourbon, this whiskey is a wheater (with liquid sourced from unnamed distilleries from three undisclosed states) that features a maple wood finish. Unlike the original release, this one is bottled at cask strength.

Whisky Advocate says:

Company's latest release went on pre-sale this month, but all 350 commemorative gift packages sold out within two days. Not to worry if you're a fan of master distiller Jeff Arnett's work, though; there will be another release of Cask Strength at Company's bottle shops in Thompson's Station and Townsend, Tennessee on November 6th. Unfortunately, this means if you're not a local you'll have to make a trip to Tennessee, and even then there's no guarantee you'll get your hands on a bottle due to its very limited nature.

Widow Jane The Vaults 2022

Style:Blend of straight bourbons

Origin:Tennessee and Indiana

Age:14 year old

ABV:49.5%

Price:$250

Release:October 2022

Availability:Limited

Need to know:

This is the fourth release of Widow Jane's The Vaults, an annual fall release that highlights the oldest, rarest whiskey the distillery has in its stocks. The 2022 edition features a blend of whiskeys ranging from 14 to 19 years old, which is then finished in Missouri Ozark oak casks that were air-seasoned for three years.

Whisky Advocate says:

At this point, a new release of The Vaults is cause for excitement, as every previous release has proven delicious—last year's edition scored 93 points, while the 2020 whiskey scored a 94. While it will be available nationwide through the holiday season, it is on allocation, so keep your eyes peeled in-store and online if you're hoping to secure a bottle.

GlenDronach Grandeur Batch 11

Style: Single malt

Origin: Scotland (Highland)

Age: 28 year old

ABV: 48.9%

Price: $800

Release: October 2022

Availability: Limited; 3,181 bottles

Need to know:

Batch 11 in GlenDronach's much celebrated Grandeur series is a 28 year old single malt aged in Pedro Ximénez and oloroso sherry casks.

Whisky Advocate says:

Master blender Rachel Barrieis an expert at sherry maturation, and the GlenDronach Grandeur series represents some of her finest work. Batch 10 was released in 2019 with only 240 bottles sent to the U.S. Aged for 27 years, that whisky scored 93 points.

The ImpEx Collection Edition Two

Style: Single malt

Origin: Scotland, Israel, or Wales

Age: 3 to 23 year old

ABV: 49.5%-64.7%

Price: $120-$500

Release: October 2022

Availability: Limited

Need to know:

Importer ImpEx Beverage has announced the single cask whiskies and rums that make up its Collection Edition Two. The casks were selected by president and managing director Sam Filmus and vice president Chris Uhde. They are as follows, with the rums listed last:




  • 13 year old 2008 Ardmore Cask #5943 (refill bourbon barrel)—59.3%, $150, 304 bottles

  • 6 year old 2016 Ardnamurchan Cask #86P (first fill Oloroso Spanish oak)—58.2%, $135, 300 bottles

  • 23 year old 1998 Auchentoshan Cask #100984 (refill bourbon barrel)—49.5%, $500, 150 bottles

  • 10 year old 2011 Auchroisk Cask #806214 (hogshead)—57.8%, $130, 245 bottles

  • 11 year old 2010 Tormore Cask #800985 (refill bourbon barrel)—64.7%, $140, 213 bottles

  • 3 year old 2018 M&H Cask #2018-1069 (Muscat wine cask)—56.5%, $120, 279 bottles

  • 5 year old 2017 Penderyn Cask #138/2017 (Blandy's ex-Malvasia Madeira cask)—57.4%, $140, 486 bottles

  • 14 year old 2007 Clarendon Cask Jamaican Pot Still Rum #650 MBKB (oak cask)—53.4%, $100, 243 bottles

  • 14 year old 2007 Long Pond Cask Jamaican Pot Still Rum #13 ITP (oak cask)—54.4%, $110, 239 bottles

Whisky Advocate says:

ImpEx made its first foray into independent bottlinglast year with the release of its Collection Edition One. From that group, we scored the 3 year old M&H 2017 vintage single cask 91 pointsand a 17 year old single grain Japanese whisky 89 points. Other whiskies in the ImpEx portfolio include Kilchoman, Penderyn, Glenallachie, Fukano, and M&H.

Sláinte

Style: Blend

Origin: Ireland

Age: Not stated

ABV: 40%

Price: $38

Release: September 2022

Availability: CA, FL, NY, NJ, MA, RI, and slaintewhiskey.com.

Need to know:

This triple-distilled blend of single grain and single malt Irish whiskeys is the flagship expression from Sláinte, the drinks company co-founded by Richard Davies and actor/director Liev Schreiber.

Whisky Advocate says:

Sláinte (pronounced Slahn-cha) is a well-known phrase with Gaelic origin used as a toast to the health of your drinking companions. Master distiller Brian Watts developed this single blend for Sláinte, sourcing both malt and grain whiskeys from the same distillery in Co. Louth, Ireland. Back in July, Schreiber and Davies debuted a cask strength Sláinte 18 year old single malt Irish whiskey, sourced from a different Irish distillery, with proceeds going to support humanitarian causes through BlueCheck Ukraine, an NGO co-founded by Schreiber in March 2022.

Castle & Key Small Batch Wheated (Batch 1 and 2)

Style: Bourbon

Origin: Kentucky

Age: Not stated

ABV: 49%-50%

Price: $60

Release: October 2022

Availability: Limited; Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, New Jersey, New York, South Carolina, Tennessee, Washington, and Wisconsin

Need to know:

Castle & Key Distillery's first whiskey, Resurrection rye was released in 2020, followed by Small Batch bourbon earlier this year, and now Small Batch wheated, its first wheated bourbon. Both batches of wheated were selected from 49 barrels and vary in proof by only 1%.

Whisky Advocate says:

Castle & Key Distillery is housed in what was originally Old Taylor Distillery, which was built in 1887. Restoration of the site, and some of the remaining distilling equipment, began in 2014 and it became operational in 2018. In addition to its rye and bourbons, Castle & Key contract distills for other brands like Pinhook and Penelope.

Davidson Reserve Genesis (2022 Release)

Style: Bottled in bond bourbon

Origin: Tennessee

Age: Not stated

ABV: 50%

Price: $100

Release: October 18

Availability: 1,017 bottles at the distillery

Need to know:

Distilled by Pennington Distilling Co., Davidson Reserve Genesis is made with a mashbill of 70% corn, 25% rye, and 5% malted barley; barreled in October 2014; and is bottled in bond. The first batch of Genesis was released as a 4 year old in 2018. This year's batch is a blend of 6-8 year old bourbons.

Whisky Advocate says:

Tennessee has long been on the whiskey map thanks to Jack Daniel and George Dickel, but the distilling scene has burgeoned over the last few years. Nashville-based Pennington Distilling Co. shares its hometown with Corsair, Nelson's Green Brier, and Nashville Craft to name a few. Is Nashville your next whiskey-immersed destination? Check out our guide.

Samuel Maverick Private Reserve

Style:Straight bourbon

Origin:Texas

Age:4 year old

ABV:45%

Price:$75

Release:October 2022

Availability:Limited

Need to know:

This is a grain-to-glass whiskey, made from Texas-grown corn, rye, and barley and aged on-site within underground vaults at the Lockwood National Bank. Only seven barrels of this bourbon were bottled.

Whisky Advocate says:

Situated in San Antonio, Texas, Maverick Whiskey makes a host of wholly Texas products, including gin, agave spirits, rye, and a slew of bourbons. The distillery's namesake was a signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence; his actions during that period inspired the use of the word “maverick” when describing independent and free-thinking individuals. Today, Maverick Whiskey is run by Kenneth Maverick, Samuel's great-great-great-grandson, on property that Samuel himself purchased in the 1840s.

Gordon & MacPhail Private Collection St. Magdalene 1982

Style: Single malt

Origin: Scotland (Lowland)

Age: 39 year old

ABV: 54.8%

Price: $3,500

Release: October 2022

Availability: Global release of 165 bottles

Gordon & MacPhail Private Collection Glen Mhor 1982

Style: Single malt

Origin: Scotland (Highland)

Age: 40 year old

ABV: 50.8%

Price: $3,500


Release: October 2022

Availability: Global release of 174 bottles

Gordon & MacPhail Private Collection Lochside 1981

Style: Single malt

Origin: Scotland (Highland)

Age: 40 year old

ABV: 49.2%

Price: $5,000

Release: October 2022

Availability: 141 bottles globally

Need to know:

Independent bottler and distiller Gordon & MacPhail has launched the Recollection Series, an annual release of rare whiskies from closed distilleries bottled under its Private Collection label.

Whisky Advocate says:

Gordon & MacPhail has a deep inventory of rare whiskies laid down by previous generations of the Urquhart family. These liquid treasures all come from demolished distilleries; St. Magdalene/Linlithgow and Glen Mhor distilleries closed in 1983, and Lochside Distillery stopped production in 1992. The Private Collection label indicates whiskies selected by members of the Urquhart family, the fourth generation to own and run the 125 year old business, and each expression has been matured from the beginning under the stewardship of Gordon & MacPhail in its own casks. The St. Magdalene was matured in a refill American oak hogshead, and the Glen Mhor and Lochside come from refill sherry hogsheads. Beyond these three bottlings coming to the U.S., Gordon & MacPhail will also release bottlings from Pittyvaich, Inverleven, Convalmore, Imperial, and Banff in select international markets as part of the Recollection Series.

Bunratty

Style: Blend

Origin: Ireland

Age: Not stated

ABV: 43%

Price: $35

Release: October 2022

Availability: Widely available in AZ, CA, DC, DE, FL, KY, MD, MA, NV, NJ, NY, TN, TX, DC, and WI, adding IL, CT, and MO by the end of 2022.

Need to know:

Bunratty Irish whiskey is a blend of grain and triple distilled malt whiskeys balanced with peated malt whiskey and aged in bourbon, oloroso sherry, and new oak casks for about four years.

Whisky Advocate says:

Another week, another peated Irish whiskey! This triple cask blend is one of a small number of peated Irish blends on the market, and is bottled by Bunratty Fine Drinks, Co. Clare, The source of the whiskeys is undisclosed. The name may be familiar to those who have sampled Bunratty Mead, and both products depict local landmark Bunratty Castle.

BenRiach The Forty and The Forty Octave Cask Matured

Style: Single malt

Origin: Scotland (Highland)

Age: Not stated

ABV: 43.5% for the Forty, 51.5% for the Forty Octave Cask Matured

Price: $8,000 per twin set

Release: Online offering goes live October 11 at 10 a.m. EST

Availability: Sold as a twin set, with only 10 sets available, and only on blockbar.com

Need to know:

Sold with the digital NFT that certifies the right to acquire them, the twin sets also include a certificate of authenticity from BlockBar. The NFT owners of record on December 1, 2022 at 9 PM GMT, will also receive an invitation for an exclusive event at Benriach's Speyside distillery, where they will meet the distilling team and taste through the Benriach range.

Whisky Advocate says:

The crypto whisky space is a growing marketplace, mainly for rare collectibles. We explored the world of whisky non-fungible tokens (NFTs) in our Spring 2022 edition. Traders see a world where collectors can simply exchange tokens of ownership that give ownership rights to whiskies rather than physically procuring them at the time of purchase. For now this has primarily been the province of ultra-aged scotch, but other whisky styles will surely be joining the fray soon.