Crown Royal 16 Year Old Rye, Nikka Taketsuru Pure Malt & More New Whisky [Essential Info]

No matter what’s going on in the world, the certainty that there will be new whiskies to look for stands firm. And so it is this week!

First up, Crown Royal is rolling out the latest release in the Noble Collection, a 16 year old rye. The limited-edition whisky is priced at $70.

Nikka has overhauled the recipe for Taketsuru Pure Malt while also updating the bottle. Priced at $80, the blended malt is widely available.

Indian single malt brand Rampur has a new release, finished in Indian cabernet sauvignon casks. Rampur Asava is priced at $90 and widely available.

Widow Jane is offering a higher-proof version of its 10 year old blended straight bourbon, with proceeds going to support hospitality workers and their families. Called “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” the whiskey is priced at $90, with 3,300 bottles available.

Barrell has unveiled a Private Release series of single-cask bourbons, each with a unique microblend. The whiskeys are limited edition, with a recommended price of $110.

Independent bottler Single Malts of Scotland, part of Elixir Distillers, is releasing five single casks in the U.S. this winter. With prices ranging from $100 to $600, the lineup includes whiskies from Ardmore, Clynelish, “Orkney” (aka Highland Park), Imperial, and Ardbeg.

Alternative-aging company Bespoken Spirits has launched with a variety of whiskeys, including Original Batch ($30), Special Batch ($33), Bourbon ($35), Straight Bourbon ($40), and Rye ($35). The whiskeys are available in a handful of states.

A historic brand, Old Wm. Tarr, has been revived, and is debuting with 7 year old Manchester Reserve. The Kentucky straight bourbon is priced at $80 and for sale in Kentucky.

London’s Bimber Distillery is making its first appearance in the U.S. with three single-cask single malts. The whiskies are limited edition, each priced at $100-$120.

Baltimore Spirits Co. is celebrating its fifth anniversary by releasing its first bottled in bond rye. There are less than 250 bottles, priced at $100 and available at the distillery.

San Jose, California’s 10th Street Distillery is offering a cask-strength version of its port cask-finished single malt. The whiskey is for sale at the distillery, priced at $80.

Teeling has unveiled the world’s first whiskey finished in ginger beer casks, priced at £45. U.S. customers can order it online.

Finally, the Singleton of Glen Ord is launching a 38 year old whisky. It’s priced at £2,100, but not available in the U.S.

Read on for full details.

Crown Royal Noble Collection 16 year old Rye

Crown Royal Noble Collection 16 year old Rye

Style: Rye
Origin: Canada
Age: 16 years old
Proof: 45% ABV
Price: $70
Release: Fall 2020
Availability: Limited edition

Need to know:

Made from 90% rye at Crown Royal’s distillery in Gimli, Manitoba, this whisky was aged for 16 years.

Whisky Advocate says:

Crown Royal releases a new whisky in the Noble Collection each year; this is its fifth. Some of the past releases have been exceptional, including 2018’s 13 year old Blenders’ Mash and 2017’s Wine Barrel Finished, which were both ranked in the Top 20 in their respective years. We’re looking forward to tasting this new rye and bringing you a review in an upcoming Buying Guide!

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Nikka Taketsuru Pure Malt (New Recipe)

Style: Blended malt
Origin: Japan
Age: Not stated
Proof: 43% ABV
Price: $80
Release: November 2020
Availability: Widely available

Need to know:

This “refined” recipe of Nikka’s Taketsuru Pure Malt blends single malts from the Yoichi and Miyagikyo distilleries. Sherry-cask notes remain a key part of the profile, but the new version has boosted the Yoichi element, adding more smokiness and an enhanced mouthfeel.

Whisky Advocate says:

Taketsuru Pure Malt has been available for several years, but you’ll be able to tell if your bottle is the new version by checking the label, which has changed with this new release. Among other differences, it’s now cream-colored instead of black.

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Rampur Asava

Style: Single malt
Origin: India
Age: Not stated
Proof: 45% ABV
Price: $90
Release: November 2020
Availability: Widely available

Need to know:

Made at Radico Khaitan Distillery in the foothills of the Himalayas, this single malt is initially matured in bourbon barrels and finished in Indian cabernet sauvignon casks.

Whisky Advocate says:

Many savvy drinkers already know about India’s single malt whisky makers, but how about the country’s wine industry? It’s still small, but Rampur is casting a unique spotlight on it through this whisky’s use of homegrown cabernet sauvignon casks. Will there be a discernible difference between these versus casks from France or California? Maybe not. But the whisky itself is likely to impress; Rampur consistently scores well, and its debut single malt earned the No.-5 spot in our 2017 Top 20.

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Widow Jane You'll Never Walk Alone

Style: Blend of straight bourbons
Origin: Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee
Age: 10 years old
Proof: 50% ABV
Price: $70
Release: November 2020
Availability: 3,300 bottles

Need to know:

This is Widow Jane’s 10 year old blend of straight bourbons, bottled at 50% rather than 45.5% ABV.

Whisky Advocate says:

Proceeds from the sale of this limited-edition whiskey will be donated to the United States Bartenders’ Guild and CORE: Children of Restaurant Employees, to benefit hospitality workers and their families who have been affected by the pandemic. Starting this month, Widow Jane’s social media channels will feature the stories of bartenders who have struggled and persevered through the last several months.

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Barrell Private Release Bourbon

Style: Finished bourbon
Origin: Kentucky, Tennessee, Indiana
Age: Varies
Proof: Varies (cask strength)
Price: $110
Release: December 2020
Availability: Limited edition

Need to know:

Released as single-barrel bottlings, each bourbon in the Private Release series is a unique “microblend” of four different straight bourbons, married in a used bourbon cask. The base bourbons will change continuously, ensuring that no Private Release recipe is ever repeated.

Whisky Advocate says:

Earlier this year, Barrell debuted a Private Release series of whiskeys (not classed as bourbons), each a different microblend finished in a unique cask. The series is meant to offer retailers and whisky clubs a vast—potentially infinite—array of options for private bottlings. Unlike the Private Release whiskeys, however, Private Release bourbons will not be finished in a secondary cask, other than the used bourbon barrel employed in the marrying process.

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Single Malts of Scotland Winter 2020 U.S. Releases

Style: Single malt
Origin: Scotland (varies)
Age: Varies
Proof: Varies
Price: $100-$600
Release: November 2020
Availability: Limited edition

Need to know:

The latest crop of U.S.-exclusive single-cask bottlings from independent bottler Single Malts of Scotland includes five whiskies:

  • 2009 Aird Mohr (Ardmore) 10 year old (cask #707921)—59.5% ABV, $100, 216 bottles
  • 2010 Clynelish 10 year old (cask #700051)—57.4% ABV, $130, 216 bottles
  • 2006 Orkney 14 year old (cask #45)—60.4% ABV, $145, 300 bottles
  • 1997 Imperial 23 year old (cask #2798)—45.4% ABV, $335, 144 bottles
  • 2001 Ardbeg 19 year old (cask #1-93)—51.8% ABV, $600, 216 bottles

Whisky Advocate says:

Although each of these whiskies is limited to a single cask’s worth of bottles, they’re worth seeking out if you’re a fan of the distillery and want to go beyond the offerings that are widely available. We recently reviewed the first crop of U.S. bottlings from Single Malts of Scotland, and found them to be excellent.

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Bespoken Spirits

Style: Whiskey, bourbon, rye
Origin: Indiana
Age: Varies
Proof: Varies
Price: $30-$40
Release: October 2020
Availability: CA, NY, and WI

Need to know:

Bespoken Spirits offers an array of different whiskeys that all go through a proprietary alternative-aging process called the ACTivator (ACT = aroma, color, taste). All the spirit is distilled at MGP, and only the bourbons include some maturation time in traditional barrels, per legal requirements. The lineup includes:

  • Original Batch whiskey—50% ABV, $30. Made with a bourbon mashbill and aged 3-5 days in the ACTivator.
  • Special Batch whiskey—45% ABV, $33. Intended to mimic a “Japanese style” and aged 3-5 days in the ACTivator.
  • Bourbon—47% ABV, $35. Matured for 3 months in a barrel before being aged 3-5 days in the ACTivator.
  • Straight bourbon—50% ABV, $40. Matured for 30 months before being aged 3-5 days in the ACTivator.
  • Rye—50% ABV, $35. Aged 3-5 days in the ACTivator.

Whisky Advocate says:

Silicon Valley-based Bespoken Spirits made the news recently after raising $2.6 million in seed funding; investors include Baseball Hall of Famer and former New York Yankee Derek Jeter, who also serves as an advisor and ambassador for the company. Bespoken’s ACTivation technology is meant to customize a whiskey’s aroma, color, and taste without barrel aging. We previously covered alternative aging techniques in our Spring 2018 cover story, and while Bespoken is focused more on tailoring its spirits to desired flavor profiles than replicating advanced aging, this type of activity is another continuation of the trend. The company is both releasing its own line of spirits and working with distillers to bring their unaged stocks to market sooner. —Ted Simmons

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Old Wm. Tarr 7 year old Manchester Reserve

Style: Straight whiskey
Origin: KY and TN
Age: 7 years old
Proof: 57% ABV
Price: $80
Release: November 2020
Availability: For sale in KY only

Need to know:

Blending a 7 year old Kentucky straight bourbon with 8 year old Kentucky straight rye, this whiskey is the first release from Wm. Tarr, a historic brand that has recently been revived in Lexington, Kentucky.

Whisky Advocate says:

The Old Tarr and Wm. Tarr whiskey brands originated in the 1870s but had fallen out of use by the time Prohibition rolled around, and the original distillery has long since been dismantled. (Those Pre-Pro Whiskey Men has a comprehensive history of the brand.)

In its modern iteration, Wm. Tarr is located at the James E. Pepper Distillery in Lexington, Kentucky, and co-founders Jill Bakehorn and Barry Brinegar plan to open a tasting room, bar, and tour experience there in 2021 while contract-distilling at a larger facility.

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Bimber Country Collection Single Casks

Style: Single malt
Origin: England
Age: Not stated
Proof: Varies (cask strength)
Price: $100-$120
Release: Late 2020 in the U.S.
Availability: Limited edition

Need to know:

As part of its “Country Collection” of single cask whiskies, London’s Bimber Distillery is debuting three U.S. offerings:

  • Cask No. 45, sherry cask—58.9% ABV, 293 bottles
  • Cask No. 95, virgin American oak cask—58.6% ABV, 253 bottles
  • Cask No. 154, bourbon cask—58.6% ABV, 254 bottles

The prices haven’t been set yet but are likely to be between $100 and $120.

Whisky Advocate says:

Bimber hasn’t yet announced its importer, but aims to have the U.S.-exclusive bottles on shelves before the end of the year. This will be only the fourth English whisky available in the U.S., after The English Whisky Co., Cotswolds, and Adnams.

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Baltimore Spirits Co. Bottled in Bond Rye

Style: Straight rye
Origin: Maryland
Age: 4 years old
Proof: 50% ABV
Price: $100
Release: November 2020
Availability: Less than 250 bottles; for sale at the distillery only

Need to know:

In celebration of its fifth anniversary, Baltimore Spirits Co. is releasing its first bottled in bond whiskey. It uses the same mashbill and production process as the distillery’s Epoch rye.

Whisky Advocate says:

This whiskey comes from a single barrel—the oldest in Baltimore Spirits Co.’s warehouse—and each bottle will be packaged in a wooden box, as wood is the traditional gift for the fifth anniversary.

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10th Street Port Cask-Finished

Style: Single malt
Origin: California
Age: Not stated
Proof: 59.9% ABV
Price: $80
Release: Fall 2020
Availability: 120 bottles; for sale at the distillery only

Need to know:

This is a peated single malt aged first in bourbon casks and then finished in port-style wine casks from California. It’s bottled at cask strength and available at the distillery only, although there’s also a 42.5% ABV version that’s for sale throughout California.

Whisky Advocate says:

10th Street is among the most exciting up-and-coming distillers of American single malt, and its peated whiskey has impressed us with its balance and complex flavor even at a young age. In addition to this seasonal finished whiskey, 10th Street is offering a cask-strength single cask (61.9% ABV, $90) at its distillery and donating a gallon of hand sanitizer for every bottle sold.

teeling-umbrella-ginger-beer-cask-finished-11-2020_300

Teeling Ginger Beer Cask-Finished

Style: Blended whiskey
Origin: Ireland
Age: Not stated
Proof: 46% ABV
Price: £45 (around $58)
Release: November 2020
Availability: Limited edition; for sale online only

Need to know:

Dublin’s Teeling Distillery partnered with English brewery/cidery Umbrella London to finish some of its Small Batch whiskey in ginger beer casks. The casks had previously been used to mature Teeling’s whiskey, then filled with Umbrella’s alcoholic ginger beer for two years, before returning to the distillery.

Whisky Advocate says:

The Whiskey Ginger is an essential (and dead simple) whiskey cocktail, and could there be any more perfect combination than this Teeling whiskey with Umbrella London ginger beer? It’s available as a single bottle and in a gift pack with the ginger beer.

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The Singleton of Glen Ord 38 year old

Style: Single malt
Origin: Scotland (Highlands)
Age: 38 years old
Proof: 49.6% ABV
Price: £2,100 (around $2,730)
Release: October 2020
Availability: 1,689 bottles; not for sale in the U.S.

Need to know:

Made at Glen Ord Distillery, this whisky initially aged for 12 years in bourbon casks, and then underwent a 26-year secondary maturation in a number of additional casks: bourbon, virgin American oak, Pedro Ximénez sherry, and oloroso sherry.

Whisky Advocate says:

There are three distilleries that supply the Singleton label—Glen Ord, Dufftown, and Glendullan—all owned by multinational spirits conglomerate Diageo. Each of the trio’s whiskies are available only in certain markets; for example, the U.S. gets the Singleton of Glendullan, but not the other two. In that vein, this super-aged Glen Ord whisky is for sale overseas, but not here.

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