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Yamazaki 55 year old, Laphroaig Càirdeas Pedro Ximénez Edition, & More [New Releases]

At 55 years old, this Yamazaki is the oldest release from Japanese whisky maker Suntory.

Yamazaki 55 year old, Laphroaig Càirdeas Pedro Ximénez Edition, & More [New Releases]

September 10, 2021 –––––– Julia Higgins, , , ,

It's been quite the month for notable openings. After the James B. Beam Distilling Co. debuted the Fred B. Noe Distillery, a new, smaller-scale outfit where labels like Booker's and Baker's will be produced, in addition to more experimental whiskeys created by eighth-generation distiller Freddie Noe, Johnnie Walker has opened the doors to its massive Princes Street flagship home and visitor attraction. We take you inside the former luxury department store, detailing the many tours, bars, and drinking experiences on offer.


Onto the new whiskies. Yamazaki has released a 55 year old single malt, Laphroaig returns with the latest version of Cairdeas, and Daviess County has a new finished bourbon. Read on for full details.

Yamazaki 55 year old

Style: Single malt

Origin: Japan

Age: 55 year old

ABV: 55.46%

Price: $60,000

Release: September 2021

Availability: Limited

Need to know:

The whisky is a blend of single malts, with components distilled in 1960 and aged in mizunara casks and distilled in 1964 and aged in white oak casks. Some 100 bottles of Yamazaki 55 were released in Japan last year, and while this year's release is also limited to 100 bottles, it is now available in the United States, the United Kingdom, China, and Taiwan.

Whisky Advocate says:

This is the oldest whisky ever released by Suntory, and joins a Yamazaki lineup that includes a 12 year old, 18 year old, and 25 year old. Ultra-aged releases have assumed a prominent profile in the whisky world lately, most recently with Gordon & Macphail's Glenlivet distilled in 1940, which was unveiled earlier this month.

Laphroaig Càirdeas Pedro Ximénez Edition

Style:Single malt

Origin:Scotland (Islay)

Age:Not stated

ABV:58.9%

Price: $99

Release:Summer 2021

Availability:Limited

Need to know:

Since 2008, Laphroaig distillery manager John Campbell has created an annual limited edition whisky to celebrate the Friends of Laphroaig loyalty club and also friendship in general—“Càirdeas” being the Gaelic word for friendship. This latest Càirdeas release is triple-matured, first in bourbon barrels, then quarter casks, and finally in European oak casks that once contained Pedro Ximénez sherry. As with past Càirdeas releases, this is bottled at cask strength.

Whisky Advocate says:

Other Càirdeas releases have explored the influences of sherry maturation, including the 2019 edition, which was similarly triple matured but finished in oloroso sherry casks, and the 2018 edition, which was finished in fino sherry casks. Earlier this year, Laphroaig also released a 10 year old, oloroso sherry-finished whisky, which will be an annual limited release.

Glenallachie 12 year old Port Wood Finish

Style: Single malt

Origin: Scotland (Speyside)

Age: 12 year old

ABV: 48%

Price: $120

Release: September 2021

Availability: Limited

Need to know:

Ruby red in color, this single malt scotch was matured for 9 years in American oak barrels before it was transferred to ruby port barrels. Just 2,400 bottles of this limited edition have been released in the U.S.

Glenallachie 10 year old Rye Wood Finish

Style: Single malt

Origin: Scotland (Speyside)

Age: 10 year old

ABV: 48%

Price: $100

Release: September 2021

Availability: Limited

Need to know:

Golden in color, this release was aged in American oak barrels and then placed into Kentucky rye casks. The different toasting and charring levels of the casks, along with the rye maturation, add some spice. 2,400 bottles will be available in the U.S.

Whisky Advocate says:

Glenallachie recently began exploring cask finishing, and earlier this summer released two unusual wine cask-finished expressions, working with wine barrels from Grattamarco and Rioja.

Method & Madness Rye & Malt

Style: Irish whiskey

Origin: Ireland

Age: Not stated

ABV: 46%

Price: $95

Release: September 2021

Availability: Limited edition for Ireland, UK, and online (not available in the U.S.)

Need to know:

A double-distilled mash of 60% rye and 40% malted barley matured in bourbon casks chosen to emphasize the distillate character. Method & Madness, Irish Distillers' experimental line of whiskeys, debuted in 2017 and was launched in the U.S. last year. Simply labeled as Irish whiskey, this does not fit into any of the recognized categories set out in the Irish whiskey technical file.

Whisky Advocate says:

Rye returned to modern Irish whiskey with the release of Kilbeggan Small Batch Rye in 2018, which used a 30% rye mashbill, much lower than the 51% required for American rye whiskeys. Midleton distiller Katherine Condon drew inspiration from John Jameson III's records of 19th century rye mashbills for this first whiskey release from the micro distillery, which opened on the Old Midleton Distillery site in 2015. The hands-on nature of this experimental microdistillery enabled Condon to balance the flavor contributions of her chosen rye and malt ratio with the uncharacteristic use of double-distillation on the Midleton site. You can read more about Condon, Method & Madness, and Irish whiskey innovation in the summer issue of Whisky Advocate.

Daviess County Double Barrel

Style:Finished bourbon

Origin:Kentucky

Age:Not stated

ABV:48%

Price:$50

Release:September 2021

Availability:Limited

Need to know:

A collaboration between non-profit conservation organization Ducks Unlimited (DU) and Lux Row Distillers, this whiskey is finished in Missouri white oak barrels with toasted heads. DU members will have opportunities to sample and bid on this limited-edition release at a series of DU events, which will be announced later this year.

Whisky Advocate says:

Lux Row Distillers revived the Daviess County label last year. This particular expression has a mashbill similar to the label's previous releases—a combination of wheated bourbon and high-rye bourbon, both sourced from Kentucky.

Laws Whiskey House Bonded Henry Road

Style: Straight malt

Origin: Colorado

Age: 5 year old


ABV: 50%

Price: $75

Release: September 2021

Availability: 2,400 bottles; CO, CA, IL, MD, and DC

Need to know:

This is the second release of Laws Bonded Henry Road. It is distilled from heirloom varietals of two-row barley and Munich malt grown by Colorado's Wayne Cody at Cody Family Farm and malted at Cody's Colorado Malting Company. The mash is cooked, fermented, and distilled on-grain, an uncommon choice when making malt whiskey that leaves the spent grains in the mash, adding nuttiness to the new make. Henry Road is then matured in 53-gallon, #3 char barrels. Only eight barrels have been released totaling roughly 2,400 bottles.

Whisky Advocate says:

While bonded whiskeys continue their return to prominence, Denver's Laws Whiskey House has long offered BIB, with its bourbon and rye available as 6 year old bonded releases and, in years past, at the 4 year old minimum in accordance with the Bottled in Bond Act of 1897. The distiller is also a pioneer of using local grains, regularly partnering with Cody Family Farm to bring its grain-to-glass whiskeys to drinkers nationwide. Henry Road, along with Centennial straight wheat (also bonded), a rye finished in sauternes casks, a straight wheat whiskey finished in curaçao casks, and Farmers Select Four Grain bourbon (a distillery exclusive) are Laws current seasonal whiskeys.

JK Williams Bridge Series American

Style: Wheat


Origin: Indiana and Illinois


Age: Not stated


ABV: 47%


Price: $50


Release: September 2021


Availability: Illinois only

Need to know:

Peoria Illinois-based JK Williams Distilling is adding this wheat whiskey to its lineup. A good portion of it (73%) is comprised of 4 to 5 year old 95% wheat whiskey made in Indiana, while the remainder (27%) comes from their own stocks. It is the first release in the brand's Bridge Series, which pays homage to the Murray Baker Bridge, a landmark in the city, as well as recipes created by bootlegger J.K. Williams.

Whisky Advocate says:

Peoria was once known as the Whiskey Capital of the World,” with its proximity to waterways and access to grain. The city's status as a distilling hub never recovered from Prohibition, but JK Williams is looking to restore its place on the whiskey map. In addition to this whiskey, JK Williams also offers Gold Zephyr straight bourbon and Stormy River High rye, both aged 4 years.

Iron Fish Mad Angler

Style: Wheat 


Origin: Michigan


Age: Not stated


ABV: 45%


Price: $63


Release: September 2021


Availability: 2,844 total bottles; Michigan only

Need to know:

Iron Fish Distillery's Estate Series includes this expression, Two Peninsulas wheat whiskey, a rum, and a gin. This whiskey uses a mashbill of 51% jupiter winter wheat grown on Iron Fish's farm, 26% Whispering Meadows Ranch organic yellow corn, 14% Great Lakes Malting Co. malted barley, and 9% rye from Iron Fish's farm.

Iron Fish Two Peninsulas

Style: Wheat


Origin: Michigan


Age: Not stated


ABV: 45%


Price: $59


Release: September 2021


Availability: 2,868 total bottles; Michigan only

Need to know:

The first Michigan-made whiskey to use grain from both the state's lower and upper peninsula, this whiskey uses a mashbill of 51% Iron Fish estate-grown jupiter winter wheat, 44% Belsolda Farms rye, and 5% Great Lakes Malting Co. malted barley.

Whisky Advocate says:

Iron Fish is Michigan's first fully functioning farm distillery since Prohibition, with the Estate Series the end result of an initial business plan to create craft spirits from scratch.

The Gospel Straight Rye

Style: Rye

Origin: Australia

Age: Not stated

ABV: 45%

Price: $91

Release: Spring 2020 AUS (Fall 2021 U.S. Release)

Availability: 5,000 bottles per batch; available in 29 states

Need to know:

This whiskey is made using 100% Australian grown unmalted rye from a single farm in the Murray Mallee region of South Australia, and is then aged for a minimum of 2 years in charred new American oak barrels.

Whisky Advocate says:

One of the first legally labeled “straight rye” whiskies to come out of Australia. With this label, it'll be interesting to see how an Australian straight rye will fare with the American market in mind.