The Best New Whiskeys to Seek Out This October
Including a 55-year old, $60,000 Yamazaki release and new limited expressions from Four Roses and Maker's Mark
Welcome back to our monthly guide to all things whiskey. This month: Hudson Whiskey showcases the best of New York (not just the rye); Four Roses and Maker’s Mark release knockout limited editions; and Yamazaki proves that there is life (for whisky) after 50.
Four Roses 2021 Limited Edition Small Batch
The barrel-strength Limited Edition Small Batch was released this month, this time created from batches aged 12-16 years and representing four of the 10 bourbon recipes Four Roses utilizes (you can read more about that process here). Berries, orange peel, vanilla and dark chocolate dominate this excellent annual release.
Hudson Whiskey Four Part Harmony
A four-grain bourbon whiskey aged a minimum of 7 years, Four Part represents the oldest and first-ever age-statement offering from New York’s pioneering Hudson distillery. Interestingly, while rye is only 15% of the mashbill, its spiciness is most present here, although cherry and toffee notes also abound.
Redemption Cognac Cask Finish Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Hitting shelves in October, Redemption’s newest release uses an additional maturation in former Cognac casks as a “foil for the rye,” as Master Blender Dave Carpenter told us this week during a preview tasting. Here, the high-rye bourbon is transformed into a sweet, fruity and luxurious sipper, with notes of buttered pecan and stone fruits.
Benriach Malting and Smoke Season
One of our favorite Speyside distilleries just launched two new expressions — Benriach Malting Season, the first release in a century (and soon to be an annual release) to be produced entirely using barley malted from the distillery’s floor maltings, and Benriach Smoke Season, a small-batch and, naturally, intensely smoky release. This one is made with Highland Peat, which is sourced from the mainland and derived from ancient trees and heather.
Maker’s Mark Wood-Finishing Series 2021 Limited Release FAE-02
Another limited edition, the FAE here stands for fatty acid esters, and this release is all about texture. The cask-strength release is full-bodied and mouthcoating, and it also hits similar sweet caramel notes as a prior Maker’s Mark wood-finishing release from 2020..
The oldest-ever and rarest release in the history of The House of Suntory, this 55-year expression was partly distilled in 1960 and aged in Mizunara casks and partly distilled in 1964 and aged in White Oak casks. The final blend was bottled in 2020 — it’s a lovely balance of sweet, woody and bitter (yes, we tried a few sips), but we’d be remiss if we didn’t say it’s $60,000 and the 12- and 18-year are perfectly great and not going to cost you five figures (the standout Yamazaki is the 25-year, but that is, unfortunately, also the cost of a car).
Other whisk(e)y news: Wolverine and Old Van Rip Winkle released their second boot collaboration (no whiskey included) … Support hospitality workers by drinking a cocktail or three as part of Elijah Craig’s Old Fashioned Week (Oct 15-24), which is, bonus, actually ten days and funds raised support the Restaurant Workers Community Foundation … Elvis. The man. The myth. And now, the whiskey … We need more strong women on whiskey bottles — and more female distillers. So while we haven’t tried it yet, we’re excited for Eastside Distilling’s Melissa Heim to introduce Big Nose Kate, a whiskey celebrating an Old West female compatriot of Doc Holliday … The Macallan Double Cask 30 is available if you have $4,000 … And finally, Glenmorangie opened its experimental distillery The Lighthouse this month.
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