Welcome back to our monthly guide to all things whisk(e)y. This month, we’re still drinking up a lot of new Irish whiskey releases, trying out an age-statement Knob Creek rye and seeing if Scotch can go without an age number on its bottle.
While Knob Creek keeps pushing the age statement for their bourbon — it’s up to 18 — this is the brand’s first age-statement rye whiskey. Bottled at 100 proof (no mashbill given), this is both sweet and herbal; you’ll get notes of leather, vanilla, caramel and oak spice, with a hint of apple.
There’s a bit of smoke on The Legendary Silkie’s Irish whiskeys, but the focus on the limited-edition Red Silkie (a follow-up to a sold-out release from 2020; only 3,500 bottles are available) is more about the casks. Here, Silkie has been finished in Roja and Ribera red wine casks from the Ribera del Duero wine region, resulting in something equally luscious, fruity, malty and sweet
Buzzard’s Roost is all about secondary barrel treatments. So while this four-year-old rye (95% rye, 5% malted barley) is sourced, it’s been re-barreled into new oak casks that have been toasted and lightly cold-smoked. Overall, this a smoky sweet campfire winner, with a bit of earthiness and a hint of eucalyptus.
Also known as “All Rye, All Rye, All Rye,” Colorado’s 291 Distillery (which has had success with, surprisingly, white dog) just unleashed this 100% rye malt, which is finished with toasted aspen wood staves. Coming in at a whopping 132.6-proof, you’ll get a lot of spice and herbal notes on the nose, with some sweeter elements on the palate (still very spicy, though). It also has an oily mouthfeel and a lingering finish.
This Speyside distillery is under the guidance of Dennis Malcolm, Scotland’s longest-serving distiller (he has over 60+ years in the drinks biz). It also features a rather resplendent garden, with plants and fruits brought back on journeys from co-founder James Grant in the 19th century. The 21-Year is meant to capture some of those tropical notes from the garden; it’s aged in ex-Oloroso sherry and bourbon barrels, and you’ll find notes of peaches, toffee, raisins and crème brulée (it’s not a sherry bomb, but very well balanced).
And five more:
- So, rye is the next big thing in Irish whiskey? Method and Madness’s new release, Rye and Malt, produced by Irish Distillers and a U.S. exclusive (5,000 bottles available), is a triple-distilled mash of rye (60%) and malted barley (40%) matured in ex-bourbon American oak barrels. It’s a nice mix of vanilla, spice and fruit (particularly raspberry) with a rich mouthfeel.
- It took surprisingly long to get an official Jack Daniels & Coca-Cola Ready-to-Drink (RTD) here in the U.S.. Just launched, this canned cocktail (7% ABV) and a version made with Coca-Cola Zero-Sugar will be released next month (we’ll have a review soon).
- Virginia Distillery Company just launched a very limited edition of its new Scholar’s Craft Coffee Cask American Single Malt Whisky, available for purchase nationwide on ReserveBar with proceeds going to the Angela H. Moore – Women In Distilling Scholarship. We’ll have more on this soon (and a distillery profile), but our initial taste of 100% malted barley American Single Malt, aged in ex-bourbon casks and finished in barrels that previously held ethically sourced small-batch coffee, is that it’s fantastic in cocktails, where the coffee notes actually get more accentuated.
- We’ve passed St. Patrick’s Day, but the new Irish whiskeys keep coming. Triple Dog, created by Dan O’Shevlin in Dundalk, County Louth, is triple-distilled using copper pot and copper column stills and aged a minimum of four years in French oak. It’s very sweet on the nose, with lots of caramel and vanilla notes and a creamy mouthfeel … and, thanks to the dog collar on the bottle, a rather striking profile.
- A younger Scotch brand, Kingsbarns Distillery just released two brand new, non-age statement, non-chill filtered single malts: Kingsbarns Doocot Single Malt Scotch ($60) and Kingsbarns Balcomie Single Malt Scotch ($60). Doocot is matured 90% in casks ex-Bourbon and 10% STR (shaved, toasted and re-charred) ex-Portuguese red wine casks. A light hay in color, this one is full of fruit and vanilla. Meanwhile, Balcomie is bottled from 100% ex-Oloroso sherry casks; it’s sweet, a bit tropical and full of baking spices.
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