Welcome back to our monthly guide to all things whisk(e)y. This month, too much whiskey season begins. Don’t miss our deep dives on new releases from Maker’s Mark, Bruichladdich, Beam Suntory (their new blended Scotch called Ardray), Jack Daniel’s (a rye and a single malt), and Johnnie Walker.
The first nationally available product from Widow Jane inclusive of whiskey distilled at the brand’s home Brooklyn, this rye features both Widow Jane’s liquid and barrels from Kentucky and Indiana. It’s non-chill filtered, bottled at 46.5% ABV and proofed with limestone mineral water from the Rosendale Mines of New York. Both earthy and sweet on the nose, you’ll find notes of vanilla, mint, wood spice, burnt caramel, pear and Earl Gray tea on the palate.
An attempt to create a softer rye, this new permanent edition to the Basil Hayden lineup comes in at 40% ABV and features a 100% malted rye mash bill. Crafted by eighth-generation master distiller Freddie Noe, the distillery claims they’re using a distinct malting process. It’s certainly a softer and balanced rye, though still a bit herbal with notes of chocolate, cinnamon, oak and butterscotch.
The third of four Compass Box’s limited-edition Extinct Blends — homages to retired or “lost” blended Scotch releases — Metropolis takes its inspiration from a recently extinct whisky that was known for its “high malt content and rich honeycomb flavor.” For this one, the Compass Box utilizes barrels from Aberlour, Miltonduff, Bowmore and some parcels of blended Scotch that were matured in Sherry butts. You’ll get a nice mix of dried fruit, honey, fudge, apricot and a hint of smoke.
Meet John Glaser, Proud Heretic of ScotchHow an American ex-pat made Compass Box one of the most boundary-pushing whiskies in the world
The first Irish whiskey rarity from the “curators of the world’s most remarkable spirits,” Release No. 32 from The Last Drop Distillers is a 32-year-old single malt expression put together by Louise McGuane, founder of whiskey bonder JJ Corry. Bottled at 46.4% ABV and finished in an ex-Oloroso sherry butt, this is a very juicy, fruit-forward expression, with additional nutty, raisin and dark chocolate notes. For such a long maturation, it’s creamy and bright. You’ll start seeing this one roll in select markets in November.
Part of the spirits purveyor’s “Rarest Collection,” Port Ellen 1983 is a 40-year-old single malt whisky that hails from a single sherry cask dating back to March 16, 1983, just weeks before the Islay distillery permanently closed. Only 209 bottles of this rarity exist; coming in at 104.8 proof, this one is full of a lovely, almost citrusy campfire smoke, some maritime salinity and notes of toffee, raisin, toasted oak and dark chocolate.
Aging via G-Force. Selected by the Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake drivers, this limited edition rye whiskey is bottled 96.77 proof, a nod to Valtteri Bottas’ racing number (77). It’s finished in barrels that formerly held lychee and oolong tea, and trial barrels were tested in the Alfa teams’ wind tunnel in Switzerland before those same barrels were put through various G-Force experiments to accelerate the interaction between the whiskey and the wood. The one is quite juicy on the palate, with the more herbal and barrel notes soon setting in (along with a dry finish where the tea elements really shine).
Jefferson’s has been aging whiskey on ocean voyages for a while, but this one’s a bit different: This fully-matured Kentucky straight bourbon was finished in Singapore’s extreme heat and humidity for 18 months. The result is full of baking spices, caramel, roasted corn, toffee, cherry and a bit of salinity. If you were a fan of Jefferson’s Ocean Voyage 24, you’ll dig this one.
The Australian whisky brand, best known for aging its juice in local red wine barrels (among other casks), just launched two new ready-to-drink whisky cocktail bottles: The (New) Old Fashioned, a mix of whisky, distillery-crafted cacao syrup and orange bitters, while the Whisky Negroni, their take on a Boulevardier. At about 10 servings per bottle, these work out to less than $4 per drink — totally worth it. The Old Fashioned is an elevated take on the classic, offering hints of sweet milk chocolate along with orange peel. The Whisky Negroni, meanwhile, is a bit more herbal and bitter, though nicely balanced by orange and cherry notes.
Blender Dixon Dedman’s new-ish whiskey brand just released two new expressions that utilize the “Two Times Oak” process (essentially, additional charred oak is introduced to barrels with a moderate amount of rye in the mashbill…and also the reason the brand is called 2XO). American Oak is an everyday blend, full of caramel, baking spices and a little nuttiness; The Tribute Blend is the company’s third small batch blend of a high-rye and a lower-rye bourbon, which together offers a delectable mix of dark fruit, toffee, vanilla and oak spice.
The independent bottlers (we’re fans) just released their latest seasonal collection, this time focusing on unique single cask bottlings from the company’s most requested distilleries: Balcones Distilling (TX), Smooth Ambler (WV), New Riff (KY), and Corbin Cash (CA). The collection also includes Lost Lantern’s first release from its most-requested new partner, Andalusia Whiskey Co. (TX) — the last one being LL’s first triple-distilled release and the only way to enjoy the distillery’s single malts outside of its Texas home. The standout? New Riff, made from 65% corn, 30% rye, and 5% malted barley. It’s warming with rich, malty mouthfeel and layers of orange peel, caramel, vanilla and butterscotch.
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