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The Best New Bourbons Released In Each Month Of 2019

We’re in a golden age of whiskey, especially bourbons. Every year sees a long list of new and specialty releases that’d make a great start to a collection — or add nicely to a growing collection of great bottles. The tough part is, great bottles of bourbon are released on a pretty regular schedule from huge distilleries to tiny operations in pretty much every single state in the union. There’s a ton to choose from.

That means it’s very easy to miss great bottles. Don’t worry, as the year winds down, we’ve got your back. New bourbon is always worth seeking out to expand your palate and grow your knowledge.

The list below contains the twelve bottles of bourbon that are tearing up the scene in 2019. The great thing about these releases is that they’re still available. This is new bourbon that just hit the shelves. Many of these bottles should still be floating around liquor stores and available from dealers. Others will take a little sleuthing to seek out.

January: BOOKER’S COUNTRY HAM

Story:

Jim Beam’s Booker’s line is well-known amongst staunch whiskey lovers. Every year, master distiller Fred Noe — son of Booker Noe, for whom the brand is named after — selects specific barrels from their rickhouse to blend into a magical bourbon elixir. Booker’s Country Ham is blended from 364 hand-selected barrels that were all filled on the same day, making this a small batch masterclass.

Tasting Notes:

Gentle notes of vanilla greet the sipper. There’s a clear sense of roasted sweetcorn slathered in browned butter and brown sugars. There are floral notes fluttering in the background with a hint of barrel char cutting through. The end has whispers of bitterness and sour biscuits as the warmth of the alcohol kicks in, tying the whole sip together with a nice bow.

February: ANGEL’S ENVY OLOROSO SHERRY CASK FINISHED

Story:

Angel’s Envy is already a big name in bourbon that sends whiskey-heads into a frenzy. The distillery executes an excellent bourbon and then has a knack for finishing their expressions in unique casks to add that extra depth that sets them apart. Their current release was an Oloroso sherry cask finished bourbon. The bourbon spent two to three years “finishing” in those casks, which is an unheard-of amount of time. That risk paid off and helped keep Angel’s Envy at the top of the 2019 bourbon conversation.

Tasting Notes:

Dried fruits and rich hazelnuts open this one up. There’s a clear sense of earthy spice with nice notes of prune sweetness. The sherry is present with an echo of vinous sourness under a clear caramel note — all of which is anchored by a classic vanilla rush. Oak and vanilla marry for a warming finish with a subtle kick of sherry florals creating a velvety final kiss.

March: LEGENT BOURBON

Story:

This unique expression comes from the Jim Beam family. Master distiller Fred Noe has teamed up with Japanese master distiller Shinji Fukuyo (Suntory) to create Legent Bourbon, which marries Kentucky and Japan bourbon traditions. Hand-crafted Kentucky bourbon is distilled from local grains and water. Then the juice is aged in new oak before going into finishing casks of sherry and red wine. Those three barrels impart a distinct roundness in the Kentucky bourbon that sets it apart from all others.

Tasting Notes:

Roasted almonds, sugary meringue, dried fruits, and baking spices lead the way. Vinous red fruit and spice mingle with plum sweetness. Notes of caramel and vanilla lurk in the background and play second fiddle to the tart berries and sharp spice. A whisper of leather arrives alongside the idea of cornbread in a skillet.

The finish lingers as it builds warmth from the spice and ends dry with a hint of sherry.

April: BLADE AND BOW 22 YEAR

Story:

Blade and Bow is carrying on the heritage of Louisville, Kentucky’s legendary Stitzel-Weller distillery. Their 22-year-old expression of straight bourbon whiskey is a stellar bottle of booze that’s worth hunting down and adding to any collection as a centerpiece. The juice reflects the union of select, well-aged barrels from both Heaven Hill and Buffalo Trace, finished in the old Stitzel-Weller rickhouse.

Tasting Notes:

Vanilla bean and figs are the opening notes at play. Caramelized sugars and candied apples sit next to big oak notes with more vanilla. Wisps of smoke and spice carry the drink to it’s warming conclusion with echoes of florals and more caramel.

May: TACONIC DISTILLERY COGNAC BARREL FINISHED BOURBON

Story:

Hudson Valley’s Taconic Distillery is a relatively new kid on the whiskey block (so some of their juice has been sourced and then aged in-house). Their bourbons are handcrafted and with local grains from New York farms and a true grain-to-glass focus. Taconic expertly builds a bourbon through grain selection, fermentation, distilling, and aging and, then, uses a unique cask finishing system to help their expressions soar. Case in point, their Cognac barrel finished bourbon brings big flavors with a well-crafted familiarity.

Tasting Notes:

Notes of dark chocolate pop with hints of ripe grapes. Honey and baking spices mingle with Cognac-forward alcohol that leans into floral notes with apples and pears adding a woody depth. The vinous feel of the sip lingers as the spices kick back in and bring a velvet warmth to the finish.

June: PEERLESS SMALL BATCH KENTUCKY STRAIGHT BOURBON WHISKEY

Story:

Peerless’ small-batch bourbon is a veritable TED Talk on how great bourbon can be. The biggest ripple afoot is the use of a sweet mash, meaning wholly new ingredients are used with every fermentation of grains (as opposed to sour mash which sees fermented grains used like sourdough from one fermentation to the next). The juice is then aged to perfection and bottled at cask strength — so far that’s been around 108 percent ABV or 54 proof.

Tasting Notes:

Classic bourbon notes of caramel and vanilla sit alongside leather and wet brown sugar. Cinnamon-forward baking spices cut in, bringing a rich warmth to the sip. More leather mingles alongside notes of rye spiciness as the caramelized sugars tie the finish up nicely with lingering alcohol warmth.

July: JEFFERSON’S OCEAN SPECIAL VOYAGE 19 WHEATED STRAIGHT BOURBON WHISKEY

Story:

Jefferson runs a very unique barreling program wherein they fill barrels with their expertly crafted juice and then send those barrels to sea. The whiskey ages on the deck of a boat as it crosses oceans and takes in the oceanic atmosphere — creating a one-of-a-kind expression. This year’s release used wheat in the mash bill, which gave the whiskey a softer tone than the usual spicy rye that most bourbons are cut with.

Tasting Notes:

Buttery kettle corn doused in salted caramel and spiked with vanilla comes to mind as this sip opens up. The subtly of the wheat allows the caramelized corn to really shine with hints of baking spices lingering far in the background. A slight briny nature sits next to more vanilla, oak, and caramel as the sip fades to a short, yet full finish.

August: YELLOWSTONE 2019 LIMITED EDITION BOURBON

Story:

Steve and Paul Beam carry one of the most important names in bourbon history. They’re carrying on their family’s legacy via the Limestone Branch Distillery in Lebanon, Kentucky where they carefully craft Yellowstone bourbon. Their new limited edition bottling is a blend of nine and 12-year-old bourbons that were hand-selected from the Beam rickhouses and blended with their own aged juices to create something truly special.

Tasting Notes:

This is a classic bourbon of the highest order. Vanilla, caramel, and oak lead the way. Cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and nutmeg make appearances alongside a nice whisper of library leather and pipe tobacco. A hint of orange zest rings in the background as the caramel, vanilla, and spice deliver a long, warming finish.

September: OLD FORESTER 2019 BIRTHDAY BOURBON

Story:

Old Forester has been releasing special “Birthday” bourbons for 19 years. This year’s expression was distilled and barreled back in 2008. After eleven years of aging, 120 barrels were hand-selected for this small-batch masterpiece. The bourbon is bottled at a cask strength of 105 percent of 52.5 proof, giving a mighty wallop.

Tasting Notes:

The sip opens with clear notes of butterscotch and rich toffee alongside hints a maple cake. Tart black currants, dense cornbread soaked in butter and maple syrup, and floral notes dominate. Finally, a slight minty base comes in with honeycomb sweetness and sharp red peppercorn spiciness.

October: HEAVEN HILL BOTTLED-IN-BOND BOURBON

Story:

Heaven Hill’s Bottled-in-Bond Bourbon is a throwback to a classic recipe from well over 100 years ago. This used to the be most popular bourbon in Kentucky before Prohibition hit, and it’s easy to see why when you take the first sip. The 100 proof juice is aged for seven years and carries an exactness of craftsmanship.

Tasting Notes:

Rich caramel, oily vanilla beans, and fresh honey come through first. The honey carries on and starts to mingle with a rye spiciness as the vanilla and oak encircle the palate. The oak char brings a bitterness that’s bolstered by the buttery corn-focused caramel and vanilla as the warm end lingers well after the sip is downed.

November: REMUS VOLSTEAD RESERVE 14-YEAR-OLD BOTTLED-IN-BOND BOURBON

Story:

This is a fascinating expression. Remus Volstead hails from the massive MGP Distillery in Lawrenceburg, Indiana. That’s the distillery that supplies a massive amount of juice to rickhouses around the country for distilleries and blenders to get up and running (WhistlePig sources some of their rye from MGP for instance). MGP has also started branding their own juice, aging it, and releasing it directly.

In this case, we’re dealing with a 14-year-old bourbon that is getting one release and that’s it. So, if you can snag one of these, you’ll have a masterful bourbon to add to your collection.

Tasting Notes:

Candied stone fruits and fire-roasted pecans greet you. There’s a rich caramelized corn feel alongside big oak notes and plenty of vanilla. Fresh herbs and spicy black pepper cut through the buttery richness and give a feeling of a spicy cornbread. The caramel cuts back in and brings along a bright and bold finish that warms and it lingers.

December: STRANAHAN’S SNOWFLAKE

Story:

This is a truly unique expression of booze. Stranahan’s Snowflake is a one-of-a-kind expression every single year. The juice is first aged for two years in newly charred oak. Then, the spirit goes into used wine, sherry, cognac, rum, and tequila barrels for finishing. As they mellow, the master blenders make a combination from the best of the best of those finishing barrels to create Snowflake — hence no two releases are ever the same.

Tasting Notes:

This expression is released for one day only in December at the Colorado distillery. This year it’s going down on December 7th in case you want to make a whiskey run before the end of the year.

If history tells us anything, expect a big whiskey with a sherry-forward finish that leans into fatty and sweet dried plums, plenty of baking spices, and a lot of wood. As we mentioned above, each release is unique, so there will be nothing else like this whiskey ever again.

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