The Best New Whiskeys to Drink This November
Including the year’s best rye and a $30 bourbon standout. Plus, new bottles from Basil Hayden, Benriach, WhistlePig and more.
Welcome back to our monthly guide to all things whisk(e)y.
The 2022 edition of this award-winning Canadian whisky is once again crafted from a 100% prairie rye mashbill and Rocky Mountain spring water. And it’s once again spicy, full of chocolate, dark fruits, vanilla and wood. Somehow powerful and yet balanced, this might be the best rye of the year.
The core release from Sliabh Liag Distillers was a 2021 Ultimate Spirits Challenge winner for best blended Irish whiskey. Midnight is a tripled distilled peated single malt, matured in an array of casks (sherry, bourbon, oloroso, red wine, virgin oak and imperial stout). Given our love of the rare peated Irish whiskey (see: Blackpitts by Teeling), this is exciting — and here, orange zest, tobacco, dried fruits, baking spices and a very creamy and lush mouthfeel combine for an ideal winter sipper. Other critics seem to agree: Even before its debut this fall in the U.S., it won double gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
If you’re somehow still in the Halloween spirit, newcomer Filmland just launched a bourbon, a cask strength bourbon and rye that arrive in bottles that look like B-movie horror flicks — there’s even a story synopsis on the back of each bottle, and more script notes on the brand’s website. As for the taste? Well, the Moonlight Mayhem Extended Cut Cask Strength — or “Romeo and Juliet with fangs” — is full of rich cocoa and cherry notes, and interestingly leans a bit toward a Scotch. With, uh, fangs.
Wheel Horse whiskeys are distilled at the Green River Distillery (Owensboro Distilling Co.) in Owensboro, KY, aka the westernmost stop along the famed Kentucky Bourbon Trail. Besides racking up accolades, Wheel Horse also wins on price (roughly $30-$35/bottle). Their 101-proof bourbon, with a mashbill of 70% corn, 21% rye and 9% malted barley, might only be aged 3-4 years, but it offers a nice mix of tropical, oak and caramel notes, with plenty of rye and wood spice (and it’s unique almost ginger-like on the finish).
A limited-edition release, this is Basil Hayden bourbon partially aged in California red wine casks. You’ll still get a lot of caramel, vanilla and butterscotch here (along with plenty of charred oak), while the wine influence is fairly subtle — a little cherry and a bit more dryness on the palate. As always with Basil Hayden, this is an easy sipper and well-suited for cocktails.
And five more:
- This year’s Boss Hog entry from WhistlePig is a single barrel, bottled at proof and crafted by the Vermont distillery’s female whiskey makers, who were inspired by Greek muses. Hence: The Boss Hog IX: Siren’s Song. It’s a rye double finished in barrels that formerly held Greek fig nectar and Tentura, which the distillery describes as “a Greek style liqueur inspired by Ancient Patras.” Floral, fruity and full of baking spices.
- Brooklyn’s King’s County Distillery just released its first new core product since 2015, a Blended Bourbon made from house-distilled straight whiskeys (pot-distilled straight bourbon, straight corn whiskey, straight rye whiskey and malt whiskey). And it does take on all those characteristics — the malt in particular shines through.
- Speaking of malt, Colorado’s Laws Whiskey House just released the third edition of its Bonded Henry Road Malt Whiskey. This one is a 100% heirloom malted barley mash bill featuring a combination of specialty malts from the Cody Family Farm, including crystal malt, chocolate malt and biscuit malt. And it does, in fact, taste quite like a chocolate malted biscuit, with hints of apple and tobacco.
- Benriach recently released new bottles of Malting Season and Smoke Season, two annual expressions. The latter (52.8% ABV) in particular is exceptional — it’s creamy, fruity and peaty, with hints of caramel.
- Indri-Trini Single Malt Indian Whisky: The Three Wood is the first Indian whisky to be produced in three different wooden barrels: Ex-bourbon, French red wine and PX Sherry casks. At 46% ABV, this single malt, made from indigenous six-row barley grown for hundreds of years in Rajasthan, takes on elements of each barrel to the tropical, pineapple and raisin notes of the whisky.
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