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Wild Turkey Master's Keep One, Woodford Reserve Chocolate Malt Whisper, & More [New Releases]

Wild Turkey Master's Keep One, Woodford Reserve Chocolate Malt Whisper, & More [New Releases]

October 1, 2021 –––––– David Fleming, , , ,

Single malt scotch drinkers, it's your day: The latest Diageo Special Releases have been unveiled, and aside from a 26 year old Lagavulin, they're remarkably accessible, coming in at $250 or less. As with previous iterations, this year's collection—called Legends Untold—was curated by Diageo master blender Craig Wilson and includes eight whiskies in total.

It's an abundant week for American whiskey lovers, too, with new bourbons from Wild Turkey and Woodford Reserve, the latest edition of High West's A Midwinter Night's Dram, and a cask strength single malt from Westward Whiskey. Read on for full details.

Wild Turkey Master's Keep One

Style: Straight bourbon

Origin: Kentucky

Age: Not stated

ABV: 50.5%

SRP: $175

Release: October 2021

Availability: Limited

Need to know:

Master's Keep One is the sixth release in Wild Turkey's limited edition Master's Keep series. This one blends 8 to 10 year old bourbon with 14 year old bourbon—a collaboration that melds the preferences of master distillers Jimmy and Eddie Russell. Jimmy favors 8 to 10 year old bourbon, while Eddie prefers slightly older whiskeys. Following the initial blending, the combined bourbon was finished in new toasted and charred oak barrels.

Whisky Advocate says:

Wild Turkey Master's Keep bottlings reviewed to date have scored 91 or higher by our tasting panel, with Master's Keep Decades being named the No. 3 whisky in our Top 20 of 2017. If you are invested in Wild Turkey as a brand, like superfan David Jennings is, the Master's Keep releases signal instant collectibility.

Woodford Reserve Chocolate Malt Whisper

Style: Straight bourbon

Origin: Kentucky

Age: Not stated

ABV: 45.2%

Price: $50/375 ml

Release: September 2021

Availability: Limited; distillery gift shop and select Kentucky retailers

Need to know:

Woodford says this limited-edition release is the result of a “happy accident,” at the distillery. Following the production of the 2019 Master's Collection edition, Chocolate Malted Rye, some of the Malted Rye notes carried over into the next batch of bourbon, and Chocolate Malt Whisper was born.

Whisky Advocate says:

Chocolate Malt Whisper is part of Woodford's annual Distillery Series, which puts the spotlight on master distiller Chris Morris's creativity, as well as that of assistant master distiller Elizabeth McCall. Past releases have included Double Double Oaked, Four Grain, and Five Wood.

Benriach Malting Season

Style: Single malt

Origin: Scotland (Speyside)

Age: Not stated

ABV: 48.7%

Price: $149

Release: September 2021

Availability: Limited

Need to know:

A new whisky from Benriach, this is the first expression in a century to be produced using barley malted on the distillery's floor maltings. This inaugural edition of Malting Season was made with concerto barley and aged in bourbon and virgin oak casks. For each edition, master blender Rachel Barrie will select the type of barley and barreling strength, making each release different from the last.

Benriach Smoke Season

Style: Single malt

Origin: Scotland (Speyside)

Age: Not stated

ABV: 52.8%

Price: $72

Release: September 2021

Availability: Limited

Need to know:

A new whisky from Benriach, this is a small batch release that captures the distillery's time-honored seasonal production techniques and is its most intensely smoked whisky to date. It is made with Highland peat and aged in bourbon and virgin oak casks.

Whisky Advocate says:

These two new expressions reflect the traditional methods of scotch whisky-making that date back to the earliest days of Benriach and continue an entire brand relaunch that began in September 2020. Master blender Rachel Barrie has given the Benriach name new life with the overhaul, which includes a range of advanced age statements and the No. 3 whisky on our 2020 Top 20 list, The Smoky Twelve.

High West A Midwinter Night's Dram (Act 9)

Style: Finished rye

Origin: Utah and Indiana

Age: Not stated

ABV: 49.3%

Price: $100

Release: October 2021

Availability: Limited; High West General Store and at High West Distillery on Blue Sky Ranch in Wanship, UT

Need to know:

High West is bringing back this limited-release whisky starting October 1st at its distillery and General Store as well as at select retailers across the U.S. The ninth rendition of Midwinter takes the brand's Rendezvous Rye blend of straight whiskeys (MGP-made 95% rye aged 5 to 6 years, High West-made 80% rye aged 4 to 9 years), and finishes it in ruby and tawny port barrels for an additional 1 to 2 years.

Whisky Advocate says:

Since its founding in 2007, High West has been famous for blending sourced whiskey, but has been gradually changing the proportions of the blend to include more of its own-make whiskey. In May, it introduced a new version of Rendezvous Rye with more of its own pot still whiskey included. That whiskey serves as the base here. High West has likewise been rearranging some of its limited releases, discontinuing Yippe Ki-Yay in July of 2020. So fans of the brand, and A Midwinter Night's Dram, should snag this if they get the chance.

Westward Cask Strength American Single Malt

Style: Single malt

Origin: Oregon

Age: Not stated

ABV: 62.5%

Price: $100

Release: October 2021

Availability: Nationally

Need to know:

Portland, Oregon-based Westward is adding this cask strength single malt as a permanent expression to its lineup of whiskeys that also includes an American single malt, a stout cask finished single malt, and a pinot noir cask finished single malt. The cask strength expression previously was available at the distillery's tasting rooms but rolls out nationally beginning this month.

Whisky Advocate says:

More proof can mean more flavor, and that's true across all whisky styles. While we have a list of cask strength single malt scotches we favor, cask strength American single malt is less common. Balcones in Texas releases most of its whiskeys at cask strength, while Whiskey Del Bac's annual Distillers Cut is always bottled at cask strength. Elsewhere, Colkegan in Santa Fe and Old Line in Baltimore each scored 90 points with their cask strength single malts.

Mister Sam

Style: Blended whiskey

Origin: U.S. and Canada

Age: Not stated

ABV: 61.3%

Price: $250

Release: October

Availability: Limited

Need to know:

First created by Buffalo Trace owner Sazerac in 2019, this limited release whiskey honors Samuel Bronfman, the legendary founder of Seagram—the largest spirits company in the world for much of the 20th century—who was known to all as “Mister Sam.” This blend was created by Sazerac master blender Drew Mayville, whose career included 22 years at Seagram, where he served as the company's fourth and final master blender. He has been able to utilize Sazerac's best American and Canadian whisky stocks to create this expression.

Whisky Advocate says:

Mister Sam was bottled at Sazerac's Old Montreal Distillery in Montreal, Quebec, the city where Seagram was based. The ties between Seagram and Sazerac span nearly 80 years, as Sazerac's owners became one of the first distributors of Seagram brands in the U.S. Sazerac today owns 15 former Seagram's brands including Seagram's V.O., Seagram's Five Star, and Seagram's '83, along with the distillery in Montreal. Each bottle of Mister Sam is packaged in a wooden box and includes a copy of the “From Little Acorns” book on the history of Seagram, authored by Bronfman in 1970.

Castle & Key Restoration Rye Batch 2 & 3

Style: Straight rye

Origin: Kentucky

Age: 3 and a half year old

ABV: Varies

Price: $43

Release: September 2021

Availability: AZ, CT, CO, GA, IL, IN, KY, NJ, NY, SC, TN, TX, and WA

Need to know:

This year's release of Restoration Rye is split into two batches, each of which has its own flavor profile.


  • Batch 2 is 52% ABV and is a blend of 75 barrels, with 18,648 bottles available.

  • Batch 3 is 52.5% ABV and a blend of 70 barrels, with 16,830 bottles available.

Whisky Advocate says:

While the two ryes are touted as having markedly different tastes, they come from the same mashbill: 63% rye, 20% malted barley, and 17% yellow corn. This is just the second release of Castle & Key's Restoration Rye, which debuted last December.

Virginia Distillery Co. Courage & Conviction Cuvée Single Cask

Style: Single malt

Origin: Virginia

Age: 4 year old

ABV: 59.2%

Price: $150

Release: October 2021

Availability: Limited

Need to know:

This is the inaugural batch of Virginia Distillery Co.'s cask strength whiskey, which will be released on an annual basis. It's a barrel proof version of the original Cuvée Cask, which is the distillery's version of an STR cask—a barrel that originally held European red wine and was shaved, toasted, and re-charred before being used to age whiskey.

Whisky Advocate says:

While an extremely limited number of bottles—55, to be exact—will be available to Virginia consumers via direct-to-consumer shipping, select retailers across Virginia, North Carolina, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Texas will also carry small quantities of hand-picked single casks, and more retailers will be added in the coming months.

Douglas Laing Scallywag Cask Strength Winter Edition

Style: Blended malt

Origin: Scotland (Speyside)

Age: Not stated

ABV: 53.1%

Price: £50 (about $67)

Release: October

Availability: Limited

Need to know:

From Scotland independent bottler Douglas Laing, this is the second edition of Scallywag Cask Strength Winter Edition following last year's inaugural release. This whisky was matured in a combination of oloroso and Pedro Ximénez sherry butts, and was bottled at cask strength without coloring or chill-filtration. Just 4,200 bottles will be available worldwide, with each bottle presented with a mini Santa-like, woolen hat designed to inspire Christmas gift-giving.

Whisky Advocate says:

In addition to Scallywag, which is a Speyside expression, Douglas Laing's bottlings include such popular names as Timorous Beastie (Highlands), Epicurean (Lowlands), and Big Peat (Islay) in its Remarkable Regional Malts range. Douglas Laing is not to be confused with Hunter Laing. Back in 2013, brothers Fred and Stewart Laing divided the assets of Douglas Laing, the company started by their father in 1949. Fred remained in charge of Douglas Laing, while Stewart departed to launch Hunter Laing, his own independent bottling company. Hunter Laing's whiskies include its First Edition expressions, Hepburn's Choice, and numerous others.

The Perfect Fifth 30 year old 1989 (distilled at Aberlour)

Style: Single malt

Origin: Scotland (Speyside)

Age: 30 year old

ABV: 51.5%

Price: $2,500

Release: September 2021

Availability: 241 bottles globally

The Perfect Fifth 28 year old 1991 (distilled at Bunnahabhain)

Style: Single malt

Origin: Scotland (Islay)

Age: 28 year old

ABV: 50.5%

Price: $750

Release: September 2021

Availability: 165 bottles globally

Need to know:

The Miami-based independent bottler's second tranche of single cask releases follows their U.S. market debut in late 2019. The Perfect Fifth is building its name on high-end single cask bottlings, non-chill filtered, and bottled at cask strength.

Whisky Advocate says:

As a relatively new label aiming to discover exceptional whiskies, The Perfect Fifth sources and bottles mature casks rather than waiting for new fillings to mature themselves, which can be a more costly way to operate. Aberlour is relatively scarce as an independent bottling in comparison to Bunnahabhain, although the Islay distillery has stronger credentials in the secondary market. Does the quality and flavor justify the price? Look out for reviews in an upcoming edition of Whisky Advocate.

Garrison Brothers Cowboy Bourbon

Style: Straight bourbon

Origin: Texas

Age: Not stated

ABV: 65.65%

Price: $230

Release: October 2021

Availability: 6,440 Bottles

Need to know:

Released annually,this year's edition came from 118 barrels, all aged7 years. This bourbon is uncut and unfiltered, leaving a cask strength whiskey in the bottle. Unlike their Small Batch, the Cowboy Bourbon is set aside for a couple of years for further maturation.

Whisky Advocate says:

Garrison Brothers has gradually expanded its portfolio over the years, and claims pride of place as the first legal bourbon in Texas to hit the market years ago. The distillery dubbed this whiskey as the “crown jewel” of Garrison Brothers' Texas bourbon family, hence the hand-dipped, gold wax seal.

Good Deeds Malt Whiskey

Style: Blended malt

Origin: IL, NM, NV, CA, WI, TX, OR, MT, MA

Age: Not stated

ABV: 46%

Price: $75

Release: Oct 15, 2021

Availability: 1,000 Bottles

Need to know:

Blended from 10 American single malts, this whiskey was created in February, 2021. Blenders Johnny Jeffery (Bently Heritage Estate Distillery), Randy Hudson (Triple Eight Distillery), Reade Huddleston (Headframe Spirits), and John McKee (Headframe Spirits) blended over the course of two days in Butte, Montana. All of the whiskey was blended onsite, then returned to used bourbon barrels to marry for five months before proofing down to 46% for bottling and release.

Whisky Advocate says:

The whiskeys included in the blend come from a strong cast of craft distilleries. The list includes: FEW Spirits, Santa Fe Spirits, Bentley Heritage Estate, Thornton Distilling, Sonoma Distilling Co., State Line, Balcones, Rogue Spirits, Headframe Spirits, and Triple Eight. To top it all off, Good Deeds malt whiskey is founded with a mission of raising funds to increase inclusion and diversity in the drinks industry. Each of the Good Deeds releases will benefit a different cause, with 100% of proceeds going directly back to each beneficiary.

Burnside Black Barrel Strength Rye

Style: Rye

Origin: Undisclosed

Age: Not stated

ABV: 55%

Price: $69

Release: October

Availability: OR, WA, TX, CA, AZ, and online

Need to know:

A key attribute of Burnside whiskeys, which are made by Oregon's Eastside Distilling, is their finishing in barrels made from the Oregon oak species Quercus Garryana. Other Burnside expressions include its West End blend, Oregon-Oaked bourbon, Oregon-Oaked rye, Goose Hollow RSV bourbon, and Buckman RSV rye.

Whisky Advocate says:

Burnside is the signature whiskey of Eastside Distilling, but the distillery produces a wide range of spirits, including a tequila, vodka, and flavored rum, in addition to its Portland Mule canned cocktail. Eastside was founded in 2008, and is one of the few craft distillers in the U.S. that is a publicly traded company.

Eastside Oregon Marionberry

Style: Flavored whiskey

Origin: Undisclosed

Age: Not stated

ABV: 30%

Price: $40

Release: September

Availability: 950 cases, initially available in Oregon, Washington, and Texas, with expansion planned next year.

Need to know:

The Oregon Marionberry is a local favorite in the Beaver State, and is named after Marion County in Oregon's Willamette Valley. It is a cross between the Chehalem and Olallie berry varieties, and was bred at Oregon State University. This whiskey is a re-release of a previous product from Eastside Distilling, but with a new formula and new packaging. It is the first in what will be a new series of seasonal flavored whiskeys from the Portland, Oregon-based craft distiller. Upcoming releases will include the Eastside Maraschino Cherry and Oregon Cranberry expressions. Like many flavored whiskeys, this one is at lower proof (30% ABV), which is below the 40% ABV level needed for official classification as whiskey.

Whisky Advocate says:

Whisky aficionados have always taken something of a negative view toward flavored whiskies, but some craft players have done creative things with the genre—most notably with cherry flavored whiskeys from a variety of distillers, and Few Spirits with its FEW Immortal Rye. Eastside, best known in the craft whiskey world for the Burnside range, certainly has the track record to pull off a quality effort in this somewhat under-appreciated flavor space.