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The 2021 Bourbon Releases We’re Most Looking Forward To

2020 is over. And while you’ve surely got a few half-full bourbon bottles on your shelf, it’s time to look forward to the new expressions coming down the pike in 2021. Generally speaking, you can expect brands to start dropping their new bottles now — with big releases landing in the spring, summer, and fall.

While most of the big-name bottles tend to arrive in mid-to-late fall, during awards season and in anticipation of the holiday drinking and gift-giving, there are some great bourbons getting released between now and October. We’re talking literally hundreds of drops, from the biggest names to the smallest craft distillers.

To mark the start of the year, we’re highlighting the scheduled bourbon releases that have us the most excited for 2021. While we’re sure to be a little light on the indie drops, we’re fully committed to covering small brands making big noise in the new year. Let’s dive in!

Thomas S. Moore Bourbon Finished in Port Casks

Thomas S Moore

ABV: 49.45%
MSRP: $70
Estimated Release: January

The Whiskey:

This expression is part of a new three-bottle roll out from Barton 1792 (Sazerac Company). Each of the bottles has its own special finishing cask: Port, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Chardonnay.

Why we’re excited:

Among these three releases, the Port Cask Finished expression has piqued our interest the most going into 2020 for two reasons. One, Port cask finished bourbons are generally very delicious. Two, we already tried this one and it’s a solid first entry for the new line (our full review of the line will be featured on @UproxxLife’s Expression Session this year).

Yellowstone 2021 Limited Edition

Yellowstone

ABV: 50.5%
MSRP: $150
Estimated Release: August

The Whiskey:

Limestone Branch Distillery (Luxco) drops this much-beloved bottle of bourbon every summer in very small quantities. The juice tends to include special barrels with unique finishing casks in very small batches to highlight the prowess of Limestone Branch out in Lebanon, Kentucky.

Why we’re excited:

Last year’s release was aged for seven years and then finished in Armagnac barrels (cognac’s French cousin). Whatever this year’s release holds, it’ll be an expertly crafted and unique bottle of bourbon worth giving a shot (if you can find it).

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof A Batch, B Batch, and C Batch

Heaven Hill

ABV: Varies
MSRP: $60/each
Estimated Release: Winter, summer, and fall 2021

The Whiskey:

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof (Heaven Hill) is a damn fine bottle of bourbon that you can still get at a fairly affordable price (though it’s starting to reach above it’s MSRP in some places). Still, this is a multi-award winning bourbon that’s often called out as a very underrated bottle of booze to have on hand.

Why we’re excited:

The beauty of these three releases is that you can test and compare the difference between each batch and find one that suits your palate. That being said, these batches will not vary wildly, but you should be able to find the nuance of the barrels in each.

Wild Turkey Master’s Keep

Wild Turkey

ABV: Varies
MSRP: $175
Estimated Release: June

The Whiskey:

The Master’s Keep line from Wild Turkey (Campari) is always a home run in a bottle. Last year’s Bottled-in-Bond was a masterpiece in a bottle and really highlighted the beauty of Eddie Russell’s dep understanding of bourbon.

Why we’re excited:

These are often seen as showpiece bottles. But the juice inside tends to be almost too drinkable, making these hard to keep on the shelf. Still, since it’s Wild Turkey, you should be able to find these for little to no mark up when they drop.

Old Fitzgerald Bottled in Bond

Heaven Hill

ABV: 50%
MSRP: $140
Estimated Release: March and October

The Whiskey:

Ah, Old Fitzgerald (Heaven Hill)… Their yearly Bottled-in-Bond releases have become some of the most sought-after drops throughout the year. One, the bottles themselves are awesome and serve as a decanter long after the juice is gone. Two, the whiskey tends to be some of the best from Heaven Hill’s wide array of spirits.

Why we’re excited:

Unfortunately, you’re not going to find this bottle easily or anywhere near its MSRP. Expect to pay at least double if you do happen upon a bottle. You can decide for yourself if it’s worth it (it is, at least once in a lifetime).

Colonel E.H. Taylor Limited Release

Buffalo Trace

ABV: Varies
MSRP: $70
Estimated Release: June

The Whiskey:

The yearly E.H. Taylor release from Buffalo Trace (Sazerac) is always a defining bottle for the bespoke line. Last year’s drop was their 18-year Marriage which was, well, a marriage of high-rye bourbons with a wheated bourbon (BT makes both Weller and Pappy on-site). That bottle now retails at $3,000.

Bottom Line:

This is going to be another of those bottles that’ll be really hard to find given the very limited amount that actually goes out. Still, if you can find one, it’ll be worth getting at least a taste of some seriously well-crafted whiskey (just maybe at a little closer to MSRP than $3,000).

Four Roses 2021 Limited Edition Small Batch

Four Roses

ABV: Varies
MSRP: $150
Estimated Release: September

The Whiskey:

Four Roses (Kirin Brewery) drops a Limited Edition Small Batch every year that really does hit a high watermark for the brand and bourbon in general. The whiskey is a one-off marriage of their best barrels from the ten mash bills (recipes) Four Roses uses to make all their expressions. It’s the finite and complete view of what they do at Four Roses in a single bottle.

Why we’re excited:

Generally, you’ll need to get these bottles through a ticketing system at the distillery. The beauty of that system is that you can snag these at MSRP. If you’re not in Kentucky (or nearby), expect to pay as much as two to three times more for the bottle.

Larceny Barrel Proof Batch A, B, and C

Heaven Hill

ABV: Varies
MSRP: $50/each
Estimated Release: Winter, summer, and fall 2021

The Whiskey:

Larceny Barrel Proof (Heaven Hill) ended 2020 strong by getting the top honor of “Whisky of the Year” over at Whisky Advocate. That’s a hell of an honor for the wheated bourbon. A big part of that lauding is due to the craft behind the bottle. Another big part is the growing adoration for wheated (instead of high-rye) bourbons.

Why we’re excited:

Whether you’re riding the bandwagon of wheated bourbons or have been on that wagon for decades, this is a solid bottle of booze. It’s also still accessible. You can grab last year’s bottle for around $70, not thousands of dollars. That will change as Heaven Hill continues to rack up awards and love from whiskey drinkers around the world.

Buffalo Trace Antique Collection

Buffalo Trace

ABV: Varies
MSRP: $69-$99/each
Estimated Release: September

The Whiskey:

BTAC (Sazerac) is one of the biggest drops in the bourbon year — second only to the Pappy drop in November. This year will see the new Eagle Rare 17, George T. Stagg, Sazerac 18, Thomas H. Handy, and William Larue Weller bottles. If last year’s drops are any indication, they’ll be a highwater mark for both bourbon and rye whiskey and very much sought after.

Why we’re excited:

This is another tough one as these bottles are extremely limited and, therefore, very expensive on the secondary market. That being said, it’s always fun to see how these bottles grow and develop year by year and 2021 should be another stellar outing.

Barrell Bourbon New Year 2022

Barrell Bourbon

ABV: Varies
MSRP: $90
Estimated Release: November

The Whiskey:

Barrell Bourbon is one of the most interesting blenders working in Kentucky today. Their end-of-the-year drop is always a bit of a celebration of American bourbon as a whole. Last year’s drop — New Year 2021 — had a blend of five, nine, ten, and eleven-year-old bourbons from (takes a deep breath) Kentucky, Tennessee, Indiana, New York, Texas, Wyoming, and Colorado.

Bottom Line:

At the very least, this will be an interesting bottle of bourbon that won’t be like anything else you try all year. That’s a good (and necessary) thing in our estimation. We’re looking forward to seeing what Barrell does next.

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