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Stellum Spirits, Highland Park 50 & More [New Releases]

Stellum Spirits, Highland Park 50 & More [New Releases]

April 2, 2021 –––––– Susannah Skiver Barton, , , ,

Joining the ranks of Scotland, Ireland, the U.S., and several other whisky-making nations, New Zealand has published guidelines setting out the standards for its native whisky styles. Though the country's exports to the U.S. have been tiny thus far, the new rules could help.

There's plenty of new whisky hitting shelves now, however. First up, the folks behind Barrell Craft Spirits have unveiled Stellum, a line of bourbon and rye, including single barrels. The whiskeys are all priced at $55 and widely available.

Highland Park is rolling out its third 50 year old single malt, priced at $30,000. There are just 274 bottles available.

The Spring 2021 release of Old Fitzgerald Bottled in Bond is hitting shelves, this time at 8 years old and with a suggested price of $85. As always, it's available in limited amounts.

The latest offering in Jack Daniel's Tennessee Tasters' Selection line is called 14E19 Twin Blend—a combination of Tennessee whiskey and rye. There are 24,000 375 ml bottles available, mainly at the distillery, priced at $40.

Amrut Distillery in India has released Bagheera, a sherry cask-finished single malt named for the "Jungle Book" character. The whisky is priced at $65 and widely available.

Chattanooga Whiskey is rolling out a port cask-finished bourbon, the first in its Barrel Finishing Series. It's available in limited amounts for $45.

Mississippi's Cathead Distillery has bottled a 13 year old version of its Old Soul bourbon, distilled in Kentucky. There are 2,400 bottles available, priced at $125.

Finally, Eastside Distilling is launching a slew of new whiskeys, including an American single malt ($200), rye ($45), 12 year old straight bourbon ($130), and corn whiskey ($20). The lineup is available in limited amounts in five states.

Read on for full details.

Stellum Bourbon

Style: Blend of straight bourbons

Origin: Kentucky, Indiana, and Tennessee

Age: Not stated

Proof: 57.49% ABV

Price: $55

Release: March 2021

Availability: Widely available

Need to know:

Made by the team behind Barrell, this whiskey is comprised mainly of three MGP Distillery bourbons—two high-rye and one almost entirely corn—with some older Kentucky and Tennessee bourbons in the mix. The components range in age from 4 to 16 years old but are focused on the 5-6 year range. It's bottled at barrel proof.

Stellum Rye

Style: Blend of straight ryes

Origin: Kentucky, Indiana, and Tennessee

Age: Not stated

Proof: 58.12% ABV

Price: $55

Release: March 2021

Availability: Widely available

Need to know:

This whiskey's foundation is MGP's signature 95% rye mashbill, with small amounts of malt-forward rye and other ryes from Kentucky and Tennessee also used. The age range of the component ryes is 4 to 10 years old.

Whisky Advocate says:

Unlike Barrell's other whiskeys, which are released in limited-edition batches, Stellum bourbon and rye will be consistently available and unvarying in flavor. The range also includes single-barrel bourbon and rye—also priced at $55—which are available as private picks for stores and bars, as well as general releases. That $55 price is well below the usual $90 for Barrell Bourbon; coupled with wide availability, Stellum could easily become a go-to for many whiskey lovers' daily dram. Look for a review of the bourbon and rye in an upcoming Buying Guide!

Highland Park 50 year old (2021 Release)

Style: Single malt

Origin: Scotland (Islands)

Age: 50 years old

Proof: 43.8% ABV

Price: $30,000

Release: March 2021

Availability: 274 bottles

Need to know:

Distilled in 1968, this whisky was put into refill casks and sat undisturbed for 40 years. In 2008, the remaining liquid was married and transferred to first-fill sherry seasoned casks for another 12 years. One of these casks was selected for this bottling, blended with a small amount of the 2018 edition of Highland Park 50 year old, which itself contains a small amount of the 2010 edition of the 50 year old.

Whisky Advocate says:

As befitting a whisky this rare, and expensive, the bottle comes in an elaborate package that includes a handmade wooden box, crystal decanter, and leather-bound book.

Even in a place like Scotland, where whisky matures slowly, it's not easy to get to the half-century mark and still be above 40% ABV (the minimum for whisky) and taste good. We spoke with Highland Park master whisky maker Gordon Motion about how the distillery manages it, and what the results have been like.

Old Fitzgerald 8 year old Bottled in Bond (Spring 2021 Release)

Style: Straight bourbon

Origin: Kentucky

Age: 8 years old

Proof: 50% ABV

Price: $85

Release: March 2021

Availability: Around 15,000 bottles

Need to know:

Made at Heaven Hill, the latest Old Fitzgerald Bottled in Bond bourbon is also the youngest so far at 8 years old.

Whisky Advocate says:

Previous releases of Old Fitz have ranged in age from 9 to 16 years old—and, correspondingly, in suggested retail price from $90 to $150. No matter the number on the bottle, the whiskey always scores well.

Jack Daniel's Tennessee Tasters' Selection 14E19 Twin Blend

Style: Straight whiskey

Origin: Tennessee

Age: 6 years old

Proof: 53.5% ABV

Price: $40 (375 ml)

Release: Spring 2021

Availability: 24,000 bottles; for sale in TN only

Need to know:

The newest release in Jack Daniel's Tennessee Tasters' Selection series combines 20 barrels of Tennessee whiskey with 30 barrels of rye. Both sets of whiskey were filled on the same date—May 19, 2014—and were selected and blended by master taster Jessica Hartline.

Whisky Advocate says:

Bourbon-rye blends aren't common, but there is precedent for them: High West Bourye and Wild Turkey Forgiven are the best-known examples. And before you correct us: Yes, Tennessee whiskey is bourbon.

Also: A new documentary about Jack Daniel's is hitting streaming platforms on April 9. "Chasing Whiskey: The Untold Story of Jack Daniel's" includes commentary from Eric Church, Tim Matheson, Shooter Jennings, and others.

Amrut Bagheera

Style: Single malt

Origin: India

Age: Not stated

Proof: 46% ABV

Price: $65

Release: March 2021

Availability: Widely available

Need to know:

Named for the panther of "Jungle Book" fame, this is Amrut's core single malt finished in sherry casks. It will be regularly available at festive times of year, such as Diwali, Christmas, Mother's Day, and Father's Day, and comes packaged with two tasting glasses.

Whisky Advocate says:

One of the pioneers of warm-climate single malt, Amrut has no shortage of innovation; just last week, it launched Fusion X, a sherry cask-finished version of its Fusion single malt—itself a creative whisky made using both Indian and peated Scottish barley. Most of the distillery's limited editions, however, are just that: limited. So Bagheera, which will have regular availability, is a great addition for fans who miss out on the smaller special releases.

Chattanooga Tawny Port-Finished Bourbon

Style: Finished bourbon

Origin: Tennessee

Age: 3 years old

Proof: 47.5% ABV

Price: $45

Release: March 2021

Availability: Limited edition

Need to know:

The first release in Chattanooga Whiskey's Barrel Finishing Series, this starts off as the distillery's Tennessee "high malt" bourbon—comprising six different mashbills—and is initially aged in new charred oak. The whiskey is then transferred to tawny port casks for a 6-month finishing period.

Whisky Advocate says:

Chattanooga Whiskey is one of Tennessee's most innovative distillers, creator of a style it calls Tennessee high malt bourbon which includes three specialty malts. It's also the creator of Chattanooga Straight Rye Malt, No. 18 in the 2020 Top 20—an exciting expression of rye well worth seeking out.

Cathead Old Soul 13 year old

Style: Straight bourbon

Origin: Kentucky

Age: 13 years, 6 months, 16 days

Proof: 49.5%

Price: $125

Release: March 2021

Availability: 2,400 bottles; available in AL, AR, GA, IL, KY, LA, MS, SC, TN, and TX

Need to know:

Cathead Distillery is based in Mississippi, but this bourbon comes from an undisclosed Kentucky distillery. It was made from a mashbill of 74% corn, 18% rye, and 8% malted barley.

Whisky Advocate says:

Cathead released a 15 year old version of its Old Soul bourbon in October 2020. That release was similarly limited, with its age and proof (51%) slightly eclipsing this new whiskey, though the price remains the same. Cathead's blended straight bourbon—a mix of house-made and MGP-sourced whiskeys—received 88 points in the Whisky Advocate Buying Guide.

Eastside American Single Malt

Style: Single malt

Origin: Oregon

Age: 3 years old

Proof: 55% ABV

Price: $200

Release: April 2021

Availability: Limited edition; available in CA, CO, OR, TX, and WA

Need to know:

Aged for 2 years in American white oak and then finished in 70 year old sherry casks for an additional year, this American single malt was distilled at Eastside's now-defunct Big Bottom Distillery. In 2019, at its new distillery, Eastside installed a custom-made, 500-gallon still that's designed specifically for production of single malts.

Eastside Lions Small Batch Rye

Style: Blend of straight ryes

Origin: Multiple

Age: Not stated

Proof: 46% ABV

Price: $45

Release: April 2021

Availability: Limited edition; available in CA, CO, OR, TX, and WA

Need to know:

This rye is a blend of whiskeys sourced from undisclosed distilleries across the U.S. While the youngest rye in the blend is 2 years old, other components are aged up to 8 years.

Eastside Straight Bourbon

Style: Straight bourbon

Origin: Tennessee

Age: 12 years old

Proof: 50% ABV

Price: $130

Release: April 2021

Availability: Limited edition; available in CA, CO, OR, TX, and WA

Need to know:

Made in Tennessee, this bourbon spent 12 years aging in American oak barrels.

Eastside Corn Whiskey

Style: Corn whiskey

Origin: Kentucky

Age: 5 years old

Proof: 40% ABV

Price: $20

Release: April 2021

Availability: Limited edition; available in CA, CO, OR, TX, and WA

Need to know:

Distilled by an undisclosed producer in Kentucky, this corn whiskey was aged for 5 years in used barrels.

Whisky Advocate says:

Eastside is no stranger to exploring unique barrel finishes, and this new collection augments that odyssey, emphasizing the use of American oak barrels and sherry casks. The new whiskeys, which hail from all over the country, are the inaugural eponymous releases from Eastside—separate from its Burnside brand, which exclusively features Oregon-made whiskeys.