Booze | July 6, 2023 5:48 am

The Best New Whiskeys to Drink This July

Including a Japanese whisky that embraces umami, a 40-year-old peated Scotch and the ultimate summer BBQ bourbon.

Four whisk(e)y bottles as part of the best whiskeys of June 2023
Four of our favorites this month
Photo illustration

Welcome back to our monthly guide to all the best new whisk(e)y. For July, Hakata debuts a unique line of Japanese whiskies while Bib & Tucker crafts the ideal summer BBQ bourbon.

Hudson Whiskey New York Straight Bourbon 5 Year Old
Hudson Whiskey New York Straight Bourbon 5 Year Old
Hudson Whiskey

Hudson Whiskey New York Straight Bourbon Whiskey 5 Year Old

Just the second age-statement release from this NY craft distillery — celebrating its 20th anniversary this year — this release is pot-distilled from a mash of 95% corn and 5% malted barley sourced from local family farmers in the Hudson Valley. Coming in at 46% ABV, this one is full of buttery caramel corn, vanilla, citrus, orange zest and even a cashew/nutty character. Fun fact: This one is also kosher-certified and available as part of Hudson’s Single Barrel Program.

Hakata whiskies
Hakata whiskies
Hakata Whisky


A new whisky, distilled and matured in Fukuoka, Japan and hailing from the Hikari Distillery (est. 1912), Hakata’s expressions are all distilled from 100% barley and aged in sherry casks. The launch range includes 10-, 12-, 16- and 18-year-old bottles. The twist here is that a fraction of that barely mashbill is fermented with Koji, which is supposed to impart an umami element — which it certainly does. These bottles (even the 10) are very dark in color and there is a pronounced savory/meaty note here, one that seems to flourish, not diminish, with age. This is sort of like the funky rum or mezcal of Japanese whisky…it seems ideal for unique food pairings or cocktails that lean into the savory character.

Old Pulteney The Coastal Series
Old Pulteney The Coastal Series
Old Pulteney

Old Pulteney The Coastal Series

The northeastern Scottish distillery has announced The Coastal Series, a collection of four new whiskies matured in different “seaside” casks; the first in the limited series is an expression created with Pineau des Charentes casks. So what happens when a Scotch, which starts out in ex-bourbon barrels, interacts with barrels that once held a lesser-known French aperitif? You get a decidedly sweeter note that balances out the briny and meatier notes of the Old Pulteney but also accentuates the undercurrent of butterscotch, orange and vanilla.

Hardin's Creek
Hardin’s Creek
Beam Suntory

Hardin’s Creek The Kentucky Series

The latest ultra-rare expression from this James B. Beam Distilling Co. line is actually a three-part release: These 17-year-old bourbons (Clermont, Frankfort, Boston) all feature the same mashbill and were laid down at the same time, but are differentiated by where on the Beam campus the barrels were aged. We can’t compare all three yet — Clermont is out now, while Frankfort and Boston follow in August and September, respectively — but the initial release (55% ABV) is a spicy number, featuring notes of sawdust, tobacco, burnt caramel and vanilla. Add a bit of water and let this sit for a bit. 

Review: Benriach Is Challenging Your Ideas of Peated Whisky

Time and cask selection reshape the smoke in these three new expressions

Benriach The Forty
Benriach The Forty

Benriach The Forty

You rarely find peated whiskies this old — that’s what the Benriach team told me in 2021 when discussing their peated 21, 25 and 30-year releases. But they kept going: The Scottish Speyside distillery’s new 40-Year-Old Peated Malt Scotch Whisky features a whisky aged in a combination of bourbon and port casks. With a list price of $4,500, this one’ll be a hard one to find, but it’s worth it — this is rich with a creamy mouthfeel and notes of cherry, tobacco, chocolate and walnut. The smoke is present but modest. 

  • Westward Two Malts Rye
  • WhistlePig Summer Stock
  • 291 E Colorado Whiskey Batch 12
  • Bib & Tucker Double Char Bourbon
  • Woodford Reserve Batch Proof 124.7

And five more…

  • Portland’s Westward latest release for its Westward Whiskey Club members — available as a direct-to-consumer membership in 35 states and allows access to limited releases — is Two Malts, which features a mashbill of 12% malted rye along with their Pacific Northwest grown and malted barley. The nutty rye spice is powerful but comes with a lot of citrus.
  • To celebrate achieving 100% solar power on its Vermont farm, WhistlePig recently came out with a limited-edition blend called SummerStock and teamed up with Pit Viper for a pair of custom sunglasses. Ignoring the, uh, purposely retro shades, this blend of rye and wheat whiskey was finished in an unusual toasted barrel “solara” method, which they describe as “ reimagining the traditional solera method with levels of toasted barrels – including ones quite literally toasted by the sun.” The whiskey itself? It’s a mellower rye, with hints of orange peel, oak, baking spices and cinnamon.
  • Colorado’s 291 now has a “wheated bourbon experiment” called E Colorado Whiskey Batch 12. Utilizing two different mashbills, Batch 12 — which appears to be a distillery exclusive — is a four-grain wheater and the distillery’s first wheated bourbon since 2013. Coming in at 121.6 proof, this one has a lot of graham cracker, cinnamon, marshmallow, mint and marzipan. 
  • Bib & Tucker just released a Double Char Bourbon, a bourbon aged six years in new white American oak followed by five in a heavily charred and sugar maple smoked new barrel (it also undergoes the Lincoln County process where the liquid is filtered through sugar maple charcoal before going into the barrels for aging). This is a smoky sweet BBQ in a bottle, with an underlying savory/meatiness and a fair amount of wood spice.
  • Batch Proof 124.7 (named after its proof) is part of Woodford Reserve‘s annual limited-edition Master’s Collection series. Here, the distillery blends barrels into a batch and then bottles the whiskey at its actual proof. There’s a lot of fruit and wood spice here, but even at the elevated proof this is as smooth as it is robust.