20 Year Old Buffalo Trace, Bruichladdich Black Art & More New Whisky [Essential Info]

If you missed our big announcement on Monday, check it out: We’re bidding a grateful farewell to executive editor Jeffery Lindenmuth and welcoming in his place David Fleming, a longtime member of the Whisky Advocate blind tasting panel and experienced whisky writer. This doesn’t mean any big changes are coming to Whisky Advocate; we’ll still be bringing you the latest news, insights, reviews, and other whisky content in print and online.

Speaking of latest news, on to the week’s new releases. First up, The Last Drop has unveiled its second bourbon release, a whiskey distilled in 1980 at what is now Buffalo Trace Distillery. There are 240 bottles of the 20 year old bourbon available, with a recommended price of $4,600.

Islay’s Bruichladdich is rolling out the latest edition of Black Art, distilled in 1994. The single malt scotch is priced at $450, with 12,000 bottles available.

Bruichladdich neighbor Kilchoman Distillery is launching two new single malts: Fino Sherry Matured ($130; 1,140 bottles in the U.S.) and a cask-strength “Festive Edition” of Machir Bay ($75; 1,440 bottles in the U.S.). Both are limited edition.

Kentucky’s New Riff Distilling has three new releases this week: a duo of bottled in bond bourbons called Maltster, made with malted wheat and malted rye (both $50 and available only in Kentucky), and the seasonal Winter Whiskey bottled in bond bourbon, made with oats and specialty malts ($50; for sale in several states).

Bob Dylan-backed Heaven’s Door is adding its second release in the Bootleg Series, a 15 year old Tennessee whiskey finished in Jamaican rum casks. The whiskey is priced at $500, with 3,000 bottles available.

Independent bottler Gordon & MacPhail is releasing a rare single malt from the demolished Glenury Royal Distillery. Just 397 bottles of the whisky are available, priced at $2,500.

Walsh Whiskey’s The Irishman is expanding the Founder’s Reserve blend with a higher-ABV oloroso sherry-finished version, priced at $100. There are 8,000 bottles of the whiskey available.

Dublin Liberties Distillery is launching its core range in the U.S. The lineup includes the 5 year old Oak Devil blend ($50; widely available); 10 year old Copper Alley single malt ($65; widely available); 13 year old Murder Lane single malt ($90; limited edition); and 16 year old Keeper’s Coin ($160; limited edition).

Barrell Craft Spirits is rolling out Batch 026 of its bourbon. The whiskey is priced at $90 and available in limited amounts.

Buffalo, New York-based Tommyrotter Distillery has a new red wine-finished bourbon called Napa Valley Heritance Cask. Priced at $50, the whiskey is available in four states.

Proof and Wood Ventures is launching two straight whiskeys in honor of the presidential election: a 4 year old bourbon ($60) and an 8 year old rye ($115). Both are bottled as single barrels in limited amounts.

A new Irish blend called Proclamation is launching in the U.S. The whiskey is priced at $30 and widely available in Connecticut and online.

Firestone & Robertson Distilling Co. is launching two cask-finished versions of its TX bourbon: one in tawny port casks, the other in PX sherry casks. Both are available in Texas and priced at $65.

San Jose, California’s 10th Street Distillery is releasing its first blend, California Coast. The $40 whiskey is for sale in California.

Finally, Spirit Hound Distillers in Lyons, Colorado is debuting its first bourbon. The 3 year old whiskey is available at the distillery for $64.

Read on for full details.

The Last Drop 1980 Buffalo Trace 20 year old

The Last Drop 1980 Buffalo Trace 20 year old

Style: Straight bourbon
Origin: Kentucky
Age: 20 years old
Proof: 45% ABV
Price: $4,600
Release: October 2020
Availability: 240 bottles

Need to know:

Distilled in 1980 at what was then called the George T. Stagg Distillery (now Buffalo Trace), this bourbon matured for 20 years in new charred oak barrels, then was moved to stainless steel vats.

Whisky Advocate says:

If this whiskey was distilled 40 years ago, how does it have only a 20 year old age statement? The answer lies with those stainless steel vats. Only maturation time in barrels counts toward an age statement. Does whiskey keep changing and evolving once it’s in stainless steel? Probably; chemical reactions already in motion when the transfer was made will keep going. But this is by no means a 40 year old whiskey, and calling those 20 years in stainless steel “maturation,” as the press release for this bourbon does, is misleading.

Bruichladdich 26 year old Black Art 1994 (Edition 8.1)

Bruichladdich 26 year old Black Art 1994 (Edition 8.1)

Style: Single malt
Origin: Scotland (Islay)
Age: 26 years old
Proof: 45.1% ABV
Price: $450
Release: November 2020
Availability: 12,000 bottles

Need to know:

Bruichladdich deliberately withholds information about this whisky, other than its year of distillation. So there’s not much to say except that it was made at the Islay distillery in 1994.

Whisky Advocate says:

Black Art represents the pinnacle of Bruichladdich head distiller Adam Hannett’s blending prowess, and it’s always an exceptional whisky that nets high scores. Adam recently joined Whisky Advocate’s Instagram Live series, #TasteWithSpace, and discussed his process for Black Art in-depth. Catch the replay on IGTV.

Kilchoman Fino Sherry Matured

Kilchoman Fino Sherry Matured

Style: Single malt
Origin: Scotland (Islay)
Age: Not stated
Proof: 46% ABV
Price: $130
Release: October 2020
Availability: 10,500 bottles, including 1,140 bottles for the U.S.

Need to know:

Made with malted barley peated to 50 ppm, this whisky spent its full maturation period in fino sherry butts from Bodegas Miguel Martín.

Kilchoman Machir Bay Cask-Strength Festive Edition

Kilchoman Machir Bay Cask-Strength Festive Edition

Style: Single malt
Origin: Scotland (Islay)
Age: Not stated
Proof: 58.6% ABV
Price: $75
Release: October 2020
Availability: 15,000 bottles, including 1,440 bottles for the U.S.

Need to know:

This is Kilchoman Machir Bay—one of the distillery’s core whiskies—at cask strength. It’s being released in time for the holidays: Hence the sheep in Santa hats on the label.

Whisky Advocate says:

Fino sherry isn’t used for maturing whisky nearly as widely as oloroso or PX, and it creates a much different profile from those two cask types. Laphroaig fans may remember that the 2018 Cairdeas was finished in fino casks. Since Kilchoman is heavily peated like Laphroaig, this whisky will likely reflect similar notes.

As for the cask-strength Machir Bay? If you like the version at 46% ABV, there will be even more flavor in this bottling—that’s the beauty of cask strength.

New Riff Maltster Malted Rye and Malted Wheat Bottled in Bond Bourbons

New Riff Maltster Malted Rye and Malted Wheat Bottled in Bond Bourbons

Style: Straight bourbon
Origin: Kentucky
Age: 5 years old
Proof: 50% ABV
Price: $50
Release: October 2020
Availability: Limited edition; for sale in KY only

Need to know:

Made by New Riff Distilling in Newport, Kentucky, these 65% corn bourbons each include a malted grain in the mashbill: one with 30% malted rye, the other with 18% malted wheat, plus 10% unmalted wheat and 7% dark wheat. Like all New Riff whiskeys, they both meet the qualifications for being bottled in bond.

New Riff Winter Whiskey Bottled in Bond Bourbon (2020 Release)

New Riff Winter Whiskey Bottled in Bond Bourbon (2020 Release)

Style: Straight bourbon
Origin: Kentucky
Age: 4 years old
Proof: 50% ABV
Price: $50
Release: October 2020
Availability: Limited edition

Need to know:

The first seasonal release from New Riff, this bottled in bond bourbon is made with its own unique mashbill that makes use of oats and specialty malts: 65% corn, 20% malted oats, 7% pale ale malt, 5% steel-cut raw oats, and 3% chocolate malt. The distillery says it’s reminiscent of a chocolate oatmeal stout.

Whisky Advocate says:

New Riff’s core bourbon and rye are some of the best new American whiskeys available today, and the distillery’s penchant for experimentation (“riffing”) has also proved fruitful; its limited-edition Backsetter bourbon and rye, made with peated backset, both scored well in the Fall 2020 Buying Guide. I expect all three of these new releases to show similar high quality and offer unique flavors thanks to their unconventional mashbills.

Heaven's Door Bootleg Series 15 year old Jamaican Rum Cask-Finished Tennessee whiskey

Heaven's Door Bootleg Series 15 year old Jamaican Rum Cask-Finished Tennessee whiskey

Style: Finished Tennessee whiskey
Origin: Tennessee
Age: 15 years old
Proof: 52.3% ABV
Price: $500
Release: November 2020
Availability: 3,000 Bottles

Need to know:

Made in Tennessee, this 15 year old bourbon was finished in Jamaican pot still rum casks. It’s the second release in the Heaven’s Door Bootleg Series.

Whisky Advocate says:

Heaven’s Door is backed by Bob Dylan, and its bottles are decorated with his artwork. This release is packaged in a ceramic bottle with Dylan’s painting “Sunset. Monument Valley”, and encased in a leather-bound case resembling a journal.

Gordon & Macphail 1984 Glenury Royal

Gordon & Macphail 1984 Glenury Royal

Style: Single malt
Origin: Scotland (Highlands)
Age: 35 years old
Proof: 49.1% ABV
Price: $2,500
Release: October 2020
Availability: 397 bottles worldwide

Need to know:

Bottled as part of Gordon & Macphail’s “last cask” series in honor of its 125th anniversary, this single malt comes from Glenury Royal Distillery, which was shuttered in 1985. It was distilled on June 7, 1984 and bottled from a single first-fill sherry butt.

Whisky Advocate says:

Look at those dates—this whisky was distilled just a year before Glenury Royal closed and was subsequently demolished. It really is a “last cask,” and a great chance to taste whisky history if you have the means to buy a bottle.

The Irishman Founder's Reserve Oloroso Sherry Cask-Finished

The Irishman Founder's Reserve Oloroso Sherry Cask-Finished

Style: Blended whiskey
Origin: Ireland
Age: Not stated
Proof: 46% ABV
Price: $100
Release: October 2020
Availability: 8,000 bottles worldwide

Need to know:

This limited edition version of The Irishman—a blend of triple-distilled single malt and single pot still whiskeys—matured initially in bourbon barrels and then spent a full year finishing in oloroso sherry butts.

Whisky Advocate says:

Made by Walsh Whiskey, the Irishman is a blend, but features the unusual combination of single malt and single pot still, rather than the more typical single malt and grain. The core blend, at 40% ABV, scored 90 points when last reviewed; with higher proof and a sherry finish on this release, I’d expect even bolder and more robust flavors.

Liberties Irish Whiskeys

Liberties Irish Whiskeys

Style: Blended and single malt whiskeys
Origin: Ireland
Age: Varies
Proof: 46% ABV
Price: $50-$160
Release: October 2020
Availability: CO, FL, MA, MI, MN, NJ, NY, and WA

Need to know:

Previously available overseas, the core lineup of whiskeys from Dublin Liberties Distillery is now available stateside and includes:

  • 5 year old Oak Devil blended whiskey, $50: A blend of malt and grain whiskeys matured in bourbon casks. Widely available.
  • 10 year old Copper Alley single malt, $65: Double-distilled and aged for 10 years in oloroso sherry casks. Widely available.
  • 13 year old Murder single malt, $90: Triple-distilled and aged first in bourbon casks, then finished in Hungarian oak tokaji casks. Released in batches in limited amounts.
  • 16 year old Keeper’s Coin single malt, $160: Triple-distilled and aged in bourbon casks, then finished in Pedro Ximénez hogsheads. Released in batches in limited amounts.

Whisky Advocate says:

The Dublin Liberties Distillery opened in early 2019, one of several new whiskey producers in a historic center of Irish distilling. Its own whiskey is currently aging, and these four expressions were created by master distiller Darryl McNally from sourced stocks. They were previously available overseas, and were reviewed in the Whisky Advocate Buying Guide back in 2017; check out the full panel of scores.

Barrell Bourbon (Batch 026)

Barrell Bourbon (Batch 026)

Style: Blend of straight bourbons
Origin: KY, IN, and TN
Age: 9 years old
Proof: 56.32% ABV
Price: $90
Release: October 2020
Availability: Limited edition

Need to know:

This release of Barrell had a multi-step blending process. First, the blenders combined 9 year old high-rye bourbon with 10 year old oak-forward and 11 year old sweet and toasty bourbons. Then, they put together 10, 12, and 15 year old citrusy bourbons with a 9 year old, floral high-rye bourbon. Finally, the two separate blends were mingled to create this final whiskey.

Whisky Advocate says:

Each batch of Barrell is intentionally different, so there’s no guarantee that if you like one you’ll enjoy another. But we usually find the blends to be delicious and high quality; Batch 024 is freshly reviewed in the Fall 2020 Buying Guide, at 93 points.

Tommyrotter Napa Valley Heritance Cask

Tommyrotter Napa Valley Heritance Cask

Style: Finished bourbon
Origin: Indiana
Age: Not stated
Proof: 47.5% ABV
Price: $50
Release: October 2020
Availability: MA, NJ, NY, PA

Need to know:

Distilled at MGP and finished at Tommyrotter Distillery in Buffalo, New York, this starts off as a straight bourbon made from three mashbills, resulting in a four-grain combination (corn, rye, wheat, malted barley). It’s finished in cabernet sauvignon barrels from Taub Family Selections in Napa Valley, California.

Whisky Advocate says:

Tommyrotter previously offered Napa Valley Heritage Cask, a whiskey that scored 87 points in the Buying Guide. That was a limited edition, made with a single mashbill, while Heritance Cask is a permanent part of the lineup and uses a combination of mashbills.

The Presidential Dram Barrel-Proof Straight Bourbon and Rye

The Presidential Dram Barrel-Proof Straight Bourbon and Rye

Style: Straight bourbon and straight rye
Origin: IN
Age: 4 and 8 years old
Proof: Varies (barrel proof)
Price: $60 and $115
Release: October 2020
Availability: Limited edition

Need to know:

Bottled by Proof and Wood Ventures, these straight whiskeys come from MGP and are being released in honor of the presidential election. The straight bourbon ($60) is “one-term,” aged for 4 years; there are 20 barrels available. The straight rye ($115) is “two-term,” aged for 8 years, and just four barrels are available.

Whisky Advocate says:

While the upcoming election pits Democrats against Republicans, these whiskeys aren’t meant for specific political parties. According to Proof and Wood founder Dave Schmier, “We feel the most heated debate in America should be bourbon versus rye, and unlike political voting, in this case you can choose both.” I’ll drink to that!

Proclamation Irish Whiskey

Proclamation Irish Whiskey

Style: Blended whiskey
Origin: Ireland
Age: Not stated
Proof: 40.7% ABV
Price: $30
Release: October 2020
Availability: CT and online

Need to know:

Made by the same company and blender behind Grace O’Malley, this blend is comprised of malt and grain whiskeys that were aged in bourbon casks, along with a touch of sherry-finished malt. It’s available mainly online via BevMax and Mash & Grape.

Whisky Advocate says:

While its sister brand is named for a famous pirate queen, Proclamation takes its moniker from the 1916 Proclamation, also known as the Easter Proclamation, in which the Irish Republican Brotherhood declared the nation’s independence from the UK.

TX Tawny Port-Finished Bourbon and PX Sherry-Finished Bourbon

TX Tawny Port-Finished Bourbon and PX Sherry-Finished Bourbon

Style: Finished bourbon
Origin: Texas
Age: 4 years old
Proof: 50.8% ABV
Price: $65
Release: October 2020
Availability: TX

Need to know:

Made at Firestone & Robertson Distilling Co., these bourbons were aged for 4 years in new charred oak. One was then finished for 6 months in tawny port casks, while the other was finished for 8 months in Pedro Ximénez sherry casks.

Whisky Advocate says:

Unlike TX whiskey, which is blended from an undisclosed group of sourced whiskeys, these bourbons are all distilled and matured at Firestone & Robertson. The distillery uses a proprietary yeast, isolated from a pecan nut, that lends its bourbon spice and dark fruit notes.

10th Street California Coast

10th Street California Coast

Style: Blended whiskey
Origin: California
Age: Not stated
Proof: 42% ABV
Price: $40
Release: October 2020
Availability: CA

Need to know:

The first blended whiskey produced by San Jose, California’s 10th Street Distillery, this combines the company’s STR and Distiller’s Cut single malts with light whiskey made at MGP.

Whisky Advocate says:

In Scotland, bottling a blended whisky with the same name as a single malt likely wouldn’t be allowed, given the confusion it could potentially cause for consumers. But the field is wide open for American single malt, and 10th Street, one of the most exciting distillers of this style, is taking a bold step. Let’s see where it goes!

Spirit Hound Straight Bourbon

Spirit Hound Straight Bourbon

Style: Straight bourbon
Origin: Colorado
Age: 3 years old
Proof: 45% ABV
Price: $64
Release: October 2020
Availability: Limited edition; for sale at the distillery only

Need to know:

Made from a mashbill of 60% corn, 20% rye, and 20% malted barley, this bourbon was aged for 3 years.

Whisky Advocate says:

Spirit Hound has been making malt whiskey for several years in a delicate and aromatic style, but this is its first bourbon. Anyone who buys a bottle or a pour at the distillery is invited to participate in a tasting led by head distiller Craig Engelhorn on Nov. 1. In addition, Spirit Hound is auctioning off two commemorative bottles of the bourbon with burned “wildfire” labels to benefit the Lyons Fire Protection District and efforts to control the recent fires in Northern Boulder County.

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