The Best New Whiskeys to Drink This January
Including Woodford Reserve’s take on “distiller’s beer,” plus a 30-year old Irish tipple and Chicken Cock’s ode to Prohibition rye
Welcome back to our monthly guide to all things whisk(e)y. This month: Woodford Reserve releases its take on a “distiller’s beer,” Teeling’s unique 30-year old expression and the latest in Bob Dylan’s whiskey line.
A cask strength 13-year-old Kentucky Bourbon finished in Vino de Naranja Casks for almost a year; you’ll get notes here ranging from buttered popcorn to orange to a spicy rye kick. Unique and memorable, like its bottling, a ceramic vessel featuring Bob Dylan’s painting Sunday Afternoon.
I’ve never been one to shy away from flavored whiskey, but even I was surprised at how much I enjoyed Duke & Dame, a salted caramel whiskey started by an investment banker and an international trade advisor. A Black-owned spirit brand, D&D offers up a smooth sipper that’s not overly sweet; it’s a crowdpleaser, but the actual “whiskey” isn’t lost here, even at a modest 70 proof. Works quite well if you want a different take on a Manhattan or espresso martini (and those buttery caramel notes work well in winter drinks, just saying).
Available this month for an eye-opening $2,200, this is the oldest expression in Teeling’s single malt series. Initially matured in bourbon casks, this release then spent over nine years aging in Sauternes wine casks. There’s a lot of fruit here that cuts through the peated smoke; it’s juicy and bright with just a hint of oak.
The 17th release in Woodford Reserve’s limited-editon Master’s Collection, this unique whiskey purposely exhibits the flavors of a traditional heavy-style beer. And that roasted malt note is certainly heavy on the nose; that maltiness (and some cocoa) continues on through the finish. This is a love-it-or-hate-it release (I like, but I’d probably stick with WR’s Doubled Oaked release for a day-to-day sipper), but it’s certainly one of the most interesting whiskeys you’ll try in 2022.
What happens when you craft a whisky in one of the lowest (and hottest) places on Earth? The Israeli distillery M&H was aged in the Dead Sea area, resulting in notes ranging from spearmint to black tea leaves to candied ginger notes, with a dry, smoky, tobacco undertone.
Chicken Cock was the house whiskey at the Cotton Club (a legendary Prohibition-era speakeasy) and supposedly a favorite of Duke Ellington. A 100-proof Canadian Straight Rye Whiskey aged for 20 years, the new limited-edition Cotton Club release is both earthy and citrusy, while a hint of vanilla slips in on repeated tastings. Outstanding, but also a hefty price — albeit the bottle does come with a commemorative tin, reflective of the tin cans the whiskey would arrive in via Canada during Prohibition. It’s available for pre-sale on the brand website for $500.
Other notable new releases:
- Ardbeg just released its Monsters of Smoke trio pack, featuring three 200 ml bottles of very smoky whisky from Ardbeg’s core range with packaging inspired by 1950s B-movie horror.
- If you missed it during your holiday shopping, the 2021 Distillers Edition Collection was released, featuring a collection of six limited-edition Single Malt Scotch whiskies via Oban, Talisker, Lagavulin, Cragganmore, Dalwhinnie and Glenkinchie. Each release is double-matured in a different type of cask wood — you can hopefully find some of these via Drizly.
- Pre-made tipple brand On The Rocks Cocktails just announced the launch of The Manhattan, crafted with Basil Hayden Dark Rye Whiskey.
- A. Smith Bowman Distillery just released Abraham Bowman Rum Finished Bourbon, which aged for nine years in American White Oak and then a whopping six additional years in rum casks.
- For such an extended age statement, Crown Royal Aged 18 Years is an almost velvety sipper, more exquisite than oaky and featuring notes of vanilla, caramel and stone fruit.
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