While we’re still in the throws of the summer, the spirits industry is already in full fall release mode. Hell, fall is here as far as all commerce is concerned. There are already Halloween decorations in the stores, breweries are dropping their Oktoberfest beers, and, yup, whiskeys are hitting for the fall rush left and right. That makes this month’s list of the best whiskeys to try in August pretty goddamn big (and autumnal, flavor-wise).
Below, I’ve listed 30 new whiskeys that are worth your time, money, and effort to find. That’s a lot of new whiskey, folks. And, spoiler alert, there’s going to be even more by the time this column drops in September.
I didn’t rank these whiskeys. They’re all good in their own way. I did include a wide swath of options from various regions and styles though. There are great table whiskeys, new American blends, single barrel wood bombs, quintessential bourbons, grassy ryes, barrel strength barn burners, peated masterpieces, and some of the most elite Japanese whiskies money can buy right now.
My advice is simple. Read my tasting notes, find the bottle (or bottles) that speak to you, and hit those price links to see if you can score a bottle. Good luck out there!
Uncle Chicken’s Bourbon Sippin’ Whiskey
Average Price: $54
This is the new whiskey from Whiskey Myers. The bourbon in the bottle is produced and bottled by Bespoke Spirits out in California. The band came together to taste through tons of permutations before landing on this easy-sipping bourbon.
Nose: Rich butterscotch and soft vanilla sheet cake (with a hint of sugary sparkles) drive the nose toward a hint of baking spice and maybe some soft black pepper.
Palate: That black pepper pops on the palate with a sense of old oak wrapped in mild tobacco and accented with almonds and more butterscotch.
Finish: The butterscotch goes full caramel on the soft finish with a roasted almond vibe and some more of that oaky tobacco.
This is a great table whiskey. It’s not special or a homework project to parse when tasting. It’s just good standard whiskey that gets the job done over some rocks, in a highball, or as a base for a big cocktail. Sometimes, that’s enough.
Bib & Tucker Double Char Bourbon Aged 6 Years
Average Price: $57
This new release from Bib & Tucker starts off as a six-year-old Tennessee whiskey aged in new oak. Those barrels are batched and re-barreled into heavily charred and smoked new oak barrels for an additional five-month rest. Finally, those barrels are batched and then the whiskey is proofed and bottled.
Nose: Smoldering apple and cherrywood drive the nose toward creamy vanilla sauce and cake with sharp cinnamon, allspice, and clove spiciness.
Palate: Freshly fried maple bars and roasted corn are accented by salted butter and smoldering cinnamon sticks with a light sense of vanilla pods.
Finish: Those vanilla pods get a tad smoky on the end as toasted oak and old winter spice barks lead to a warm finish with hints of maple and cherry.
This is a solid addition to the Bib & Tucker line and really takes their whiskeys to a new level. The smokiness is so tied to the fruit and vanilla that it remains a very lush whiskey experience. This works over rocks or in any whiskey cocktail that you want to add a hint of fruity smoke to.
American Hell House Legend American Whiskey Finished With Oak Staves
Average Price: $49
This new whiskey from Lynyrd Skynyrd celebrates the cabin, Hell House, where the original band came together. The whiskey in the bottles is made and bottled by Bespoke Spirits out in California based on the current band’s multiple tastings and tinkering.
Nose: Rich caramel, boot leather, and allspice drive the nose toward soft raspberry ice cream and a sense of sweet honeydew and maybe even some caramelized watermelon.
Palate: More caramelized fruit leads to woody winter spices, a light sense of dried lavender, rosewater, and almost rich cotton candy just kissed with apple or pear.
Finish: The end is light but does lean into the sweetness of the cotton candy and the dryness of the florals with a slight oakiness and minerality.
This is just … interesting. It’s very unexpected and goes far deeper than you’d think from a celeb whiskey. It’s worth sipping over some rocks or mixing into a cocktail while you spin your favorite Skynyrd vinyl.
J. Rieger & Co. 2023 Monogram Whiskey Kansas City Whiskey Solera Reserve
Average Price: $124
This whiskey is made with Rieger’s classic Kansas City blended whiskey, which is a mix of straight bourbon, straight rye, and light corn whiskey. Once batched, that whiskey is re-barreled into 10 huge Oloroso sherry butts that held 15-year-old Oloroso Especial and were 50 to 100 years old when shipped to Kansas.
Nose: French toast leads to rich maple syrup on the nose before veering into candied orange, grilled peach, old cedar bark, and rich pipe tobacco with a sense of salted buttercream.
Palate: Pecan pies and cream soda drive the palate toward Black Forest cake, spiced winter nut cakes, rum raisin, and vanilla cookies with a hint of almond oil and fig.
Finish: The end leans into the winter cake of it all with tons of spice, brandy-soaked fruits, and nuts next to old cedar and tobacco braided together in an old leather pouch.
This is like Christmas in a glass. I’d save it for then and then pour it over a big rock or use it in a Manhattan.
Old Pulteney Single Malt Scotch Whisky Coast Series Pineau Des Charentes Wine Cask Matured
Average Price: $81
This limited edition expression is all about that seaside aging. The whiskey is left in old American oak casks for years, right next to the sea. Those casks are vatted and re-barreled into hand-made ex-Pineau des Charentes casks from France. Once those barrels are just right, they’re vatted, proofed, and bottled.
Nose: There’s a classic malted honey vibe on the nose that’s accented by a whisper of bourbon vanilla before apricot jam over buttery scones leads to rum raisin, white pepper, and smoldering winter spice barks.
Palate: Candied almonds and pecan pie leads to Nutella spread over malted honey cakes that turn toward rain on a rocky beach with a whisp of smoked nori floating on the air.
Finish: The Nutella leans into espresso beans as the spices get soft and powdery on the end with a sense of sea salt-flaked dark chocolate-covered orange close things out.
This is an excellent single malt. The balance of classic malted vibes and seaside depth just works wonders. This is a no-brainer sipper for anyone looking to marry old French orchards with the seaside.
Jefferson’s Reserve Very Rare Twin Oak Custom Barrel Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Average Price: $110
This special single barrel from ReserveBar and Jefferson’s takes their classic bourbon and re-barrels it in a custom-designed “wave barrel” for a final maturation run. The “wave barrel” is toasted and then heavily grooved with wavy grooves to create more surface space for the whiskey to interact with the wood.
Nose: Oak comes through like a freight train with moments of firewood, cedar, and woody winter spice accented by vanilla pods, old pipe tobacco, and boot leather.
Palate: That oak stays bright and toasted on the palate as woody apples and unripe peaches lead to woody braids of cedar, tobacco, and sweetgrass are accented by soft vanilla and caramel sauce.
Finish: That cedar, tobacco, and sweetgrass braid starts to smolder on the finish as the toasted oak takes on a cellar earthiness late on the finish.
If you’re into very oaked whiskey, this is going to be your jam.
Breckenridge Whiskey Finished in PX Naranja Cask
Average Price: $125
This is a batch of Breckenridge’s four to six-year-old whiskeys. Once batched, the whiskey is re-barreled into 20-year-old PX sherry casks that were used to macerate Seville oranges for eight months. The whiskey spends about three months finishing in those casks before batching, proofing, and bottling.
Nose: Candied peach and apricot lead to bitter chinotto orange with a deep sense of rum raisin and winter spice over lush vanilla.
Palate: That rum raisin really pops on the palate with a rich marmalade over cinnamon toast, fig pudding, and a touch of old spice barks and smudging sage.
Finish: The end leans hard into the chinotto with plenty of marmalade sweetness, winter spice, and cedar cigar humidors.
This is a nice and easy sipper that really leans into orange. That makes this a great candidate for an old fashioned or whiskey sour.
Nashville Barrel Company Small Batch Straight Bourbon Whiskey Cask Strength Aged 6 Years
Average Price: $69
This brand-new release from Nashville Barrel Company is their continued foray into small batching the best barrels. In this case, the whiskey in the bottles is a very small batch of six-year-old Kentucky whiskeys from a “fan favorite” distillery. Those barrels were stored and stewarded in Tennessee before batching and bottling as-is at cask strength.
Nose: The nose opens with a light sense of saddle leather and old tobacco humidors next to apple and peach orchards, winter spice racks, and soft vanilla cakes with a hint of maple.
Palate: The taste leans into those orchard fruits with a woody edge that leads back to the spices with a touch of brandy-soaked cherry, sultana, and marzipan.
Finish: The end really embraces the nuttiness of the marzipan as soft pear soda cut with deep vanilla leads to a dose of spiced holiday cakes and old tobacco vibes.
This is a nice and easy sipper. It’s quintessential bourbon from top to bottom and hits every note pretty much perfectly. This is a very “sit back and enjoy” pour of whiskey.
Penelope Straight Rye Whiskey Toasted Barrel Finish
Average Price: $70
This new edition from Penelope is an amped-up rye whiskey. The whiskey in the bottled is classic MGP rye that’s finished in a new barrel that’s been heavily toasted. Once the whiskey is just right, it’s bathed, proofed, and bottled.
Nose: Salted caramel chews and moist vanilla pound cake drive the nose with a sense of mint cotton candy and smoldering marshmallows just kissed with dark chocolate and winter spice.
Palate: The palate really leans into the campfire marshmallow with a nice caramel butteriness that’s counter by almost spicy fresh mint cut by brown sugar and holiday baking spices.
Finish: Those spices drive the finish toward warmth and woodiness with a sense of fresh cedar kindling, chewy pipe tobacco, and caramel cakes.
This has a great balance of wood and sweet that just works. I’d pour it over some ice to draw the wood back a tad, but it’s not necessary — especially if you’re looking for a nice woody bourbon.
Lost Lantern Single Distillery Series Soaring Spice Frey Ranch Nevada Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Average Price: $100
This new drop from Lost Lantarn celebrates a single distillery in a special small batch release. In this case, that’s a four-grain Frey Ranch bourbon. The mash is made with Frey Ranch-grown corn, barley, rye, and wheat. The hot juice spends four years aging in Nevada before Lost Lantern batched and bottled 900 bottles at cask strength.
Nose: Spicy holiday cakes dominate the nose before focusing on allspice berries, cardamon pods, and eggnog-heavy nutmeg creaminess with a hint of orange rind and vanilla as well.
notes of clove, nutmeg, orange peel, cardamom, and allspice, a deep oak flavor, and a long, warming finish
Palate: The palate is very winter nut cake with a lot of pecan, almond, and walnut next to rum raisin, brandy-soaked berries, and tons of dark winter spice with a touch of buttery toffee.
Finish: The end is warm and leans into the winter spice barks with a sense of hot chewing tobacco and chili-spiced chocolate sauce.
The end of this one gets firey hot, so I’d recommend a cube or two to calm it down. Once you add that water, this gets super creamy and even more holiday-forward.
Barrell Bourbon Single Barrel Cask Strength Barrel Z5G2 Topflight Series by ReserveBar
Average Price: $100
This single-barrel pick from ReserveBar is a very unique bourbon. The whiskey in the bottle is made from a 99% corn and 1% rye Indiana bourbon. The team at Reservebar picked one special eight-year-old barrel of that whiskey and bottled it 100% as-is at cask strength.
Nose: Rummy spice and fruit open the nose with a sense of nutty winter cakes, caramel sauce, and soft kindling with a light whisper of tobacco just kissed with chili chocolate.
Palate: The palate really leans into the chili-chocolate vibes with plenty of winter spice barks, soft vanilla lusciousness, and a good dose of mincemeat pie.
Finish: Stewed plums and dates drive the finish toward sharp spice barks, more tobacco, and a whisper of walnut bread.
This is a nice and spicy whiskey that really blooms with a little water, adding creaminess and more chocolate fruitiness. It’s a great experience.
Waterford Irish Single Malt Whisky Peated Fenniscourt 1.1
Average Price: $105
This Irish whisky is extraordinarily special. The whisky is made with Arcadian barley grown in Fenniscoury in County Carlow on the Byrne Family farm near the River Barrow. The barley was kilned with peat from Niall Carroll’s cuttings at Ballyteige in County Kildare before mashing and distilling. The whisky was then aged in first-fill bourbon barrels, French oak, and Vin Doux Naturel casks.
Nose: The nose opens with a bold sense of a football field after a rainstorm that’s accented by fresh lemonade, moist marzipan, buttermilk biscuits, pancake syrup, and dried pear slices kissed with sea salt and olive oil with these fleeting sense of roasting herbs.
Palate: Those roasting herbs take on a fatty smoked pork vibe on the palate as old tobacco leather and salty chili spice lead to dark cherry and lychee with a mild sense of plum jam.
Finish: The end circles back around to that rainy field with a sense of warming spices, old tobacco, and soft salted creaminess.
This is a wild ride and fantastically educational. These notes might sound intimidating, but there’s immense value in expanding your palate with this pour.
Laphroaig Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky Càirdeas 2023 White Port And Madeira
Average Price: $112
The new Càirdeas from Lahroaig has arrived. This whisky was aged right by the sea in Islay in White Port and Madeira casks until just right. Then the whisky was vatted and bottled at cask strength.
Nose: Fresh ginger coins and green apple pulp dance on the nose with caramelized pear cut with orange zest and ground cinnamon that’s all countered by a sense of old campfire coal that’s still just smoldering and spitting tiny drops of rain.
Palate: Honey malt cakes dipped in orange syrup draw the palate toward heavy oak dipped in Nutella and caramel before the peat kicks in with massive amounts of bandages, seawater, and smoldering orchard barks.
Finish: The smoldering bark gets ashy on the finish with a real sense of the inside of a cold smoker that’s smoked everything from pears to salmon to brisket before a lightly sea-salted dried pear comes in with a hint of brandy.
This is not for the faint of heart. The peat here is massive and takes no prisoners. If you’re looking for a funky and fire-peated malt, this is going to be your jam. If not, this could turn you off of peated whisky for life.
Lost Lantern Single Cask Series Tom’s Foolery Ohio Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Average Price: $120
This single barrel bottling from Lost Lantern is one-of-a-kind. The whiskey in the bottle is made in Ohio from a mash of 52% yellow dent corn, 20% winter rye, and 28% 6-row malted barley. That juice was left to age for nine long years before Lost Lantern came along and bottled it 100% as-is at cask strength, yielding only 117 bottles.
Nose: There’s a rich nuttiness on the nose that veers from marzipan to walnut cake (with plenty of cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice) before a rich and creamy peaches and cream ice cream takes over with a hint of buttermilk biscuit.
Palate: Fresh sourdough old fashioned doughnuts with a cinnamon frosting drives the palate toward honeyed Graham Crackers, caramel malts, and a deep sense of leathery pipe tobacco.
Finish: The end is lush with a sense of bourbon vanilla and dark cherry next to malted vanilla and cakey doughnuts cut with winter spices and light notes of pecan.
This is a classic nutty bourbon that feels like breakfast in a glass, especially if you’re looking for some doughnuts and vanilla malts. The best part is that the ABVs don’t overpower this one. It’s nicely balanced as a neat sipper. But adding some water or ice will expose creamy chocolate and espresso with more nuttiness.
Lost Lantern Blend Series Far-Flung Blend of Straight Bourbon Whiskeys from Nevada, Ohio, Colorado, & Texas
Average Price: $110
This new series from Lost Lantern highlights whiskeys from all over the American craft scene in one small batch release. The whiskeys in this batch are from Nevada’s Frey Ranch, Ohio’s Watershed, Colorado’s Boulder Spirits, and Texas’ Still Austin. All the barrels were three to seven years old and were all straight bourbons. Finally, once batched the whiskey was bottled as-is at cask strength.
Nose: Ancho chili spiked dark hot chocolate opens the nose with a sense of dried ginger candies, old oak staves, and sweet cornmeal cut with buttery toffee.
Palate: That spicy dark chocolate creates a lush palate with a sense of clove-studded orange, soft vanilla cakes, and rich winter spice barks with a pipe tobacco edge.
Finish: The tobacco takes on some Ancho chili and salted dark chocolate vibes as espresso beans, oily vanilla, and woody spice draw out the hot finish.
This needs a rock or water. Then it blooms into this beautiful chocolate sauce full of spice, tobacco, dried fruit, and florals that conspire to make this just lovely as a slow sipper.
Hunting Creek Straight Rye Whiskey
Average Price: $49
This new rye is from award-circuit darling Southern Distilling Company. The whiskey is made from a low-rye mash of 51% rye, 39% corn, and 10% malted barley. The whiskey then ages for at least four years before it’s batched and proofed to bottled in bond strength (100-proof) for bottling.
Nose: This opens with a medley of winter spices — clove, nutmeg, cinnamon, anise — that leads to a mixed berry jam with a touch of salted butter over rye toast next to dark cherry leatheriness.
Palate: The vanilla opens the palate with creaminess as the winter spices adhere to the dark berries and build a sort of berry crumble vibe next to woody dryness.
Finish: That woodiness drives the finish toward more winter spice, a hint of that rye toast, and more berries with a deep earthiness — think rich black potting soil — on the very end.
This has a nice earthiness to counter the sweeter notes. Overall, this is a really good sipper or cocktail base.
Pinhook Straight Rye Whiskey Vertical Series Rye Tiz Rye Time 7 Years Old
Average Price: $89
This rye whiskey is an experiment in curating Indiana MGP rye barrels (95/5 rye/barley) in Kentucky. The latest release is a batch of 28 Kentucky-aged barrels that are all seven years old. The rye was batched and bottled as-is to highlight the whiskey that came out of the barrel.
Nose: There’s a sense of black-tea-soaked and cinnamon-infused date-heavy sticky toffee pudding with a dollop of brandy butter that’s countered by a hint of grapefruit pith, soft suede, and Werther’s Originals.
Palate: The palate lets that leather get a little worn as the Werther’s get darker (almost burnt) and notes of black licorice ropes, clove buds, dry oak, and brandy-soaked raisins mingle.
Finish: The finish has a bit of a dry straw by way of a black pepper vibe that lingers on your senses for just the right amount of time, leaving you with a final note of gingersnaps.
This is an excellent rye that works wonders as a slow sipper or in your favorite Manhattan cocktail recipe.
Keeper’s Heart Whiskey Irish + Bourbon Cask Strength
Average Price: $49
This new release from Keeper’s Heart continues their tradition of blending Irish whiskey with classic American whiskeys. In this case, the whiskey in the bottle is a blend of triple pot still Irish whiskey (made with malted and unmalted barley) that aged for over four years in ex-bourbon barrels, a grain whiskey (made with corn and malted barley) that spent over four years in ex-bourbon barrels, and classic bourbon (made with 75% corn, 21% rye, and 4% malted barley) that aged for four years before batching.
Nose: Hints of chocolate malts mingle with dark caramel and old oily vanilla pods with a touch of apple/pear in the background with a note of woodpiles.
Palate: Spiced apple cider with a hint of sweet oak drives the palate toward vanilla cream with burnt sugars next to a hint of apple crumble with plenty of brown sugar, butter, and winter spice.
Finish: There’s a twinge of black pepper on the woody finish with dark vanilla and toffee next to a soft graininess and a hint more of that sweet oak and apple orchard.
This is a great Irish-American whiskey and feels like the future of the category. It also makes a mean cocktail or slow sipper over some ice.
Lost Lantern Single Cask Series New Riff Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Average Price: $90
This Lost Lantern single-barrel bottling is all about the high-rye bourbon. The whiskey from New Riff in Kentucky has a mash bill of 65% corn, 30% rye, and 5% malted barley. That juice was left to age for four years before bottling at cask strength, yielding only 214 bottles.
Nose: There’s a nice spiciness that leans toward chili, winter baking spices, and sharp herbs on the nose with a sense of oak staves and cherry.
Palate: Dark cherry comes through on the palate with deep vanilla buttercream and rummy molasses next to candied mint and lemon pound cake cut with poppy seeds.
Finish: That lemon, cherry, and vanilla vibe darkens on the warm finish with sharp mint and old winter spice barks wrapped up in tobacco leaves and worn leather.
This is delightfully fun. The lemon cakes and dark cherry just work. This is an easy-sipping bourbon that aims to please.
Heaven’s Door Aged 10 Years Decade Series II Straight Rye Whiskey
Average Price: $99
This brand-new release from Bob Dylan’s Heaven’s Door focuses on 95/5 rye whiskey. In this case, select barrels that were 10 years or older were chosen for the batch. Once batched, this whiskey was proofed to 50% and bottled as-is.
Nose: Holiday spice cakes and vanilla cookies lead on the nose with very dark and leathery dried fruit sheets over salted toffee rolled in roasted almonds and dipped in espresso-heavy dark chocolate with a rush of grassiness on the backend.
Palate: That grassiness rears its head on the palate and leads to dry roasting herbs with a sense of rye bread stuffing, dark fruit competes, and woody vanilla pods with a bark-heavy clove, anise, and cinnamon.
Finish: The end inches toward earthiness with an old woody spice vibe next to firewood stacked in fresh dirt with a sweet edge over lush vanilla cream.
This is a deep and satisfying rye. If you’re looking for a rye to really wow over rocks or in your favorite cocktail, this is it.
Sagamore 8-Year-Old “The First” The Prime Barrel Exclusive Single Barrel Straight Rye Whiskey
Average Price: $75
This new barrel pick from The Prime Barrel is a limited release that highlights the power of the folks picking the whiskey. The whiskey in the bottle is an eight-year-old Maryland rye produced in Baltimore. The whiskey went into the bottle as-is to highlight the local vibe.
Nose: Dark fruit leather kissed with clove, anise, and cinnamon drives the nose toward moist and buttery salted banana bread with black walnuts and plenty of real vanilla with this whisper of old cobwebby cellar oak staves.
Palate: The palate is luscious with deep vanilla buttercream, soft salted caramel dipped in lush dark chocolate cut with burnt orange rinds next to woody walnut shells, old cinnamon sticks, and a braid of smudging sage, cedar bark, and dill-laced tobacco.
Finish: The end just keeps going while layering in caraway-crusted rye crusts, old orange rinds soaked in brandy, more of that salted caramel, and this fleeting sense of singed marshmallow smushed into a shot of espresso.
This is another great rye whiskey. Though, this does lean very holiday-esque, so I might save it until there’s frost on the pumpkin.
Frey Ranch Cask Strength Straight Bourbon Whiskey Farm Strength Uncut
Average Price: $79
This new release from Nevada craft farm distillery, Frey Ranch, is a true grain-to-glass experience. The mash is Frey Ranch’s classic four-grain mash of 66% non-GMO corn, 12% Two-Row malted barley, 11.4% Winter rye, and 10% Soft White Winter wheat — all grown on the ranch. After almost five years of aging in the mountains of Nevada, the whiskey was batched and bottled 100% as-is.
Nose: The nose bursts forth on this one with deep cinnamon candy, nutmeg-heavy eggnog, creme bruleé, salted caramel, and buttery croissant next to old cedar kindling, dark boot leather, and a hint of dusty old wine cellar.
Palate: There’s a Black Forest cake vibe on the front of the palate that leads to clove-studded oranges, leathery apricot, black-tea-soaked dates, and rich and moist pound cake just kissed with poppy seeds and vanilla oils.
Finish: The end leans into black cherry with a flake of smoked salt, dark orange, and fresh cacao with a return of that cedar kindling and old boot leather next to this faint note of old rickhouses full of well-aged barrels of whiskey.
This is a great pour of bourbon. Great. Buy two.
Jack Daniel’s Distillery Series Straight Tennessee Whiskey Finished in Añejo Tequila Barrels
Average Price: $41 (375ml bottle)
This new edition of the Jack Daniel’s Distillery Series (number 11) is a classic Tennessee whiskey with a special finish. Classic Jack was re-barreled into añejo tequila barrels for a finishing run for this limited release. Those finishing barrels were originally new oak that the Jack Daniel’s was originally aged in that were sent down to Mexico to age tequila and then sent back to Tennessee to finish this whiskey.
Nose: There’s a light sense of old leather that gives way to dried chili spices on the nose with a sense of burnt orange, old oak staves, and light tobacco spiciness.
Palate: There’s a hint of peppery agave on the palate with soft apple butter, walnut bread, and old oak staves with a hint of winter spice and fruit orchard bark wrapped in leather.
Finish: White pepper just peaks in on the finish as apple and pear bread with cinnamon and walnut vibes with soft leathery tobacco and a whisper of clove and nutmeg rumminess.
This is a really easy sipper that just hints at old tequila by way of Tennessee. There’s a lot going on and it all makes sense, even neat. I can also see this working wonders in a cocktail.
Green River Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Full Proof
Average Price: $59
The latest addition to the core Green River lineup is a doozy. The Kentucky whiskey is a rye-forward single-barrel bourbon. The mash bill is 70% Kentucky-grown corn with 21% rye and 9% malted barley. That whiskey rests for at least five years before water is added to bring the proof back down to entry proof, hence “full proof”. The whiskey is then bottled directly from the barrel as-is.
Nose: Cream soda and honeycomb greet you on the nose with a light sense of spiced holiday cakes, vanilla sheet cake, soft dried chili, and old woody spice.
Palate: The honey and vanilla bond on the palate to create a luscious mouthfeel that leads to balanced notes of sharp dried chili spice, soft worn leather, pipe tobacco, and rich walnut bread with plenty of butter, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice.
Finish: The end leans toward the leather and tobacco with a chili-choco vibe that’s accented by soft walnut and even softer vanilla.
This is a lush and delicious pour. Let it wash over you and savor the layers of flavor.
Old Forester The 117 Series Bottled in Bond Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Average Price: $59
This new edition of the much sought-after The 117 Series is a throwback to old-school bottled-in-bond bottlings. The whiskey in the bottle was distilled in Louisville back in the spring of 2014 and filled into new oak in the same distilling season — as per bottled-in-bond law. That whiskey spent nine years mellowing before select barrels were chosen, batched, and proofed down with local water for this special bottling. The focus was to take a one-time look at Old Forester bourbon that shines the brightest when proofed to bottled-in-bond proof.
Nose: Blackberry hand pies iced in powdered sugar dance with a sense of vanilla buttercream, nutmeg-heavy eggnog, apricot brandy-infused marzipan, and a slight sense of an old cellar floor deep in the background.
Palate: The palate leans toward stewed pear and rich marmalade with a dark sense of cherry fruit leather, old dates, and figs before a rush of winter spice barks dipped in caramelized apple cider leads to sticky spearmint syrup-soaked tobacco.
Finish: That vanilla buttercream creates a luscious end with vibrant notes of stewed apricot, more marmalade, blackberry pie, and this whisper of mint tea cut with piney honey.
This is an excellent version of Old Forester’s bourbon. While it’ll be fleeting, it’ll be worth every moment spent to actually enjoy this delightfully deep and rewarding bourbon.
Whiskey Jypsi Legacy: Vol. 001
Average Price: $199
This new whiskey is from country star Eric Chruch. The whiskey in the bottle is a blend of American whiskeys. 70% is a corn-fueled Indiana bourbon that’s at least eight years old. 21% is a Canadian rye that’s 20 years old. And 9% is an American single malt that’s four years old.
Nose: There’s a hint of old dried roses on the nose that leads to caramel-crusted doughnuts dusted with cinnamon next to a whisper of dried cranberry and turkey roasting herbs.
Palate: The cranberry leans toward dried cherry dipped in chocolate with a dash of woody baking spices over honey-dipped kindling with a dash of fresh pipe tobacco.
Finish: That pipe tobacco takes in the tart red cherries and woody spice as a lush vanilla base with rich caramel and soft nuttiness slowly warms your palate with sharp winter spice barks and burnt orange.
This is a lush pour of whiskey. Take your time with this one and really dive deep on the palate with some water or ice and you’ll find maltiness, creaminess, and nuttiness that goes deep.
Rare Hare Lucky Bastard Aged 30 Years
Average Price: $599
This new whiskey from Playboy is a super-elite pour. The whiskey in the bottle is from 30-year-old Canadian rye casks that were finished in Pineau Des Charentes casks before batching, proofing, and bottling.
Nose: Soft vanilla is accented by rum-soaked raisins, old and funky honeycomb, and white summer flowers on the nose.
Palate: Dried chilis popping off in brown butter burst on the palate with a sense of moist walnut bread, old black licorice, and toasted coconut with a subtle sense of dry ginger root and old driftwood on a rocky beach.
Finish: The rum-raisin comes rushing back on the finish with winter spice barks, banana bread, and a light sense of floral honey with a deep oakiness that feels like walking through an old cellar.
This is another whiskey that is just plain old great. It’s a 30-year-old Canadian whisky that we’ll never see again, which adds to the mystique. Get it while you can.
The Hakushu Single Malt Japanese Whisky Peated Malt Aged 18 Years 100th Anniversary Suntory Whisky
Average Price: $1,199
This whisky was blended from 18-year-old peated single malt casks (a lot of different woods in play) to celebrate the centenary of Suntory. Once vatted, the peated whisky was mellowed with super soft mountain water that has spent millennia filtering through granite.
Nose: Bright fruit greets you on the nose with fresh and tart apples leading to juicy pineapple with a hint of woody honey, smoked pear, and a light sense of roasting sage.
Palate: The peatiness layers through roasting herbs, grapefruit peels, and more woody honey but never overpowers while minor keys of white flowers and creamed honey create a luscious texture.
Finish: Pomelo and grapefruit oils linger on the finish with a line of smoke that’s … clean. It’s like a thin whisp of smoke from whisky-soaked coal that wafts through an apple orchard in full bloom while you sip from green tea just kissed with fresh honey.
This is a bafflingly delicious whisky.
The Yamazaki Single Malt Japanese Whisky Mizunara Aged 18 Years 100th Anniversary Suntory Whisky
Average Price: $1,499
This Yamazaki was created to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Suntory. The whiskey is a blend of single malts that were aged for 18 long years in Mizunara casks before vatting, proofing with mountain spring water, and bottling.
Nose: Peach pits and cherry stems drive the nose toward lashes of cinnamon bark piled high with whole nutmeg next to a sense of dry gunpowder green tea leaves just touched by sandalwood.
Palate: The palate is impossibly delicate with a sense of old parchment paper and dry ink over soft incense, clove buds, and toasted coconut cream.
Finish: That clove and coconut bind on the finish with the sandalwood making an appearance with a dried sense of nutmeg tobacco by way of a cherry orchard in full bloom.
This is also really deep and deeply delicious. It’s so unique while somehow being light and almost airy. A masterpiece.
Wild Turkey Master’s Keep Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Finished in Jamaican Rum Casks “Voyage”
Average Price: $499
The latest entry in Wild Turkey’s Master Keep line is a collaboration between Wild Turkey’s Eddie Russell and Appleton Estate’s Dr. Joy Spence — both icons in their fields. The whiskey in the bottle is a 10-year-old batch of Wild Turkey bourbon that’s refilled into Appleton Estate rum barrels from Jamaica. Those barrels held classic pot still rum for 14 years before they were shipped up to Kentucky. The bourbon rested for 10 to 12 months before batching and bottling with a touch of local limestone water for bottling.
Nose: The nose opens with a sense of classic Kentucky bourbon with a sharply spiced cherry/apple vibe that gives way to a deep cellar funk next to rum raisin coffee cake, dark chocolate-covered espresso beans, and rich marzipan dipped in orange oils and maybe a whisper of palm flower (flor de izote).
Palate: The palate leans into rich vanilla creaminess as spice barks and black cherry combines for a moist Black Forest cake soaked in dark rum with a sense of green peppercorns and dried ancho chilis offering a sharp counterpoint next to a whisper of floral summer honey and old cellar oak.
Finish: The end softens dramatically toward orange-infused marzipan and vanilla malts with a cherry on top next to honey tobacco rolled with smudging sage, cacao nibs, and funky oak staves.
This is one of the best rum-finished bourbons on the market. Get it while you can. It’s divine.