Elijah Craig Toasted Barrel, Johnnie Walker Anniversary Blends & More New Whisky

As craft distilleries across the country find new ways to welcome visitors safely, many whisky lovers are looking for new bottles to try. There’s plenty to satisfy on that front this week, with fresh releases celebrating big moments and others pioneering novel flavors.

First up, Heaven Hill Distillery has debuted Elijah Craig Toasted Barrel, a bourbon finished in a second, new, charred, and heavily toasted cask. It’s available nationwide, priced at $50.

Heaven Hill is also rolling out the Spring 2020 release of Old Fitzgerald Bottled in Bond, this time at 9 years old. The bourbon is priced at $90 and available in limited amounts.

Jack Daniel’s has partnered with country singer Eric Church on a limited-edition single-barrel release. Roughly 60,000 bottles of the Tennessee whiskey are available, priced at $50.

Johnnie Walker has created a trio of special blended scotches to celebrate its 200th anniversary this year. John Walker & Sons Celebratory Blend is inspired by the brand’s earliest commercial release and priced at $75, while Johnnie Walker Blue Label Legendary Eight ($350) includes whiskies from eight distilleries that existed 200 years ago. Johnnie Walker Bicentenary Blend uses a variety of malt and grain whiskies aged 28 years or older, and is priced at $1,000. All three whiskies are available in limited amounts nationwide.

Angel’s Envy is also celebrating a significant anniversary—it’s 10 years old this year—and releasing a bourbon finished in mizunara oak casks. Just 1,200 bottles of the whiskey, priced at $350 each, are available to members of its fan club and at the distillery and select Kentucky retailers.

Four Gate Whiskey Co. is offering a 10 year old straight Tennessee bourbon as part of its Foundation series. The whiskey is priced at $150, with 812 bottles for sale in Kentucky and Tennessee.

Finally, Dallas-based Firestone & Robertson Distilling Co. has debuted its Experimental range, starting with a 100% rye whiskey. Priced at $50 for 375 ml with about 1,500 bottles available, the whiskey is available through curbside pickup at the distillery.

Read on for full details.

Elijah Craig Toasted Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon

Elijah Craig Toasted Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon

Style: Straight bourbon
Origin: Kentucky
Age: Not stated
Proof: 47% ABV
Price: $50
Release: September 2020
Availability: Nationwide

Need to know:

For the first time ever, Elijah Craig is doing finished bourbon: fully matured Elijah Craig Small Batch is filled into a new barrel that has been toasted and “flash-charred” and left to take on additional sweet and oaky flavors for a few weeks and up to a few months. Heaven Hill says the bourbon will be allocated, but plans to increase availability going forward.

Whisky Advocate says:

While this bourbon has had a finish—a period of extra maturation in a second barrel—it’s still a straight bourbon because that barrel is new and charred. Wondering what difference toasting and charring make? Check out this explainer by Chuck Cowdery.

Old Fitzgerald 9 year old Bottled in Bond (Spring 2020 Release)

Old Fitzgerald 9 year old Bottled in Bond (Spring 2020 Release)

Style: Straight bourbon
Origin: Kentucky
Age: 9 years old
Proof: 50% ABV
Price: $90
Release: July 2020
Availability: Limited edition

Need to know:

The Spring 2020 release of Old Fitzgerald is 9 years old, just like the Fall 2018 release. Like all Old Fitzgerald bourbons, this is bottled in bond.

Whisky Advocate says:

It’s coming out a little late this year, likely due to COVID-19, but better late than never for Old Fitzgerald. Since Heaven Hill relaunched the bourbon a few years ago, it has racked up the high scores in our Buying Guide, and we expect this one to be no exception.

Jack Daniel's Eric Church Single Barrel

Jack Daniel's Eric Church Single Barrel

Style: Straight Tennessee whiskey
Origin: Tennessee
Age: Not stated
Proof: 47% ABV
Price: $50
Release: August 2020
Availability: 60,000 bottles

Need to know:

This special-edition Jack Daniel’s comes from barrels selected by country singer Eric Church, a longtime friend of the whiskey brand.

Whisky Advocate says:

It’s no surprise that Jack Daniel’s and Eric Church would partner on a special single-barrel release; the singer’s 2011 album “Chief” featured a song bearing the whiskey’s name. While the lyrics aren’t very positive—Church is discussing overindulging—he has an obvious love of the Tennessee whiskey brand.

John Walker & Sons Celebratory Blend

John Walker & Sons Celebratory Blend

Style: Blended whisky
Origin: Scotland
Age: Not stated
Proof: 51% ABV
Price: $75
Release: Fall 2020
Availability: Limited edition

Need to know:

This blend commemorates Johnnie Walker’s 200th anniversary and was inspired by the brand’s first commercially available whisky, Old Highland, which debuted in the 1860s and carried an ABV of 51%—unusually high for contemporary Johnnie Walker.

Johnnie Walker Blue Label Legendary Eight

Johnnie Walker Blue Label Legendary Eight

Style: Blended whisky
Origin: Scotland
Age: Not stated
Proof: 43.8% ABV
Price: $350
Release: Fall 2020
Availability: Limited edition

Need to know:

Created in honor of Johnnie Walker’s 200th anniversary, this blend includes whiskies from only eight distilleries, all of which existed at the time John Walker and his wife blended their first whisky: Blair Athol, Brora, Cambus, Carsebridge, Lagavulin, Oban, Port Dundas, and Teaninich. (Notably, no Cardhu—Johnnie Walker’s “heart” malt—is included; that distillery opened in 1824.)

Johnnie Walker Bicentenary Blend

Johnnie Walker Bicentenary Blend

Style: Blended whisky
Origin: Scotland
Age: Not stated
Proof: 46% ABV
Price: $1,000
Release: Fall 2020
Availability: Limited edition

Need to know:

This special-edition blend draws inspiration from an inventory of John Walker’s store in Kilmarnock, where he and his wife began blending whisky in 1820. The blend uses a variety of malt and grain whiskies, including some from closed distilleries like Cambus, Pittyvaich, and Port Ellen and all at least 28 years old, to recreate the flavors found among the shop’s offerings.

Whisky Advocate says:

Whisky brands as old as Johnnie Walker have inevitably changed over the centuries; technology improves, production gets more efficient, and tastes evolve, which all impact the whisky. While none of these new blends aim to recreate the Johnnie Walkers of years gone by, each can offer a new angle of appreciation for the familiar. And personally, I’m excited to see a blend at 51% ABV—such a high proof isn’t common for blended scotch, and certainly not for Johnnie Walker.

Along with these three new releases, Johnnie Walker is offering limited-edition packaging for Blue Label outside the U.S.

Angel's Envy Japanese Mizunara Oak Cask-Finished Bourbon

Angel's Envy Japanese Mizunara Oak Cask-Finished Bourbon

Style: Finished bourbon
Origin: Kentucky
Age: Not stated
Proof: 48.9% ABV
Price: $350
Release: August 2020
Availability: 1,200 bottles

Need to know:

Created in celebration of the 10th anniversary of Angel’s Envy, this whiskey combined 4 and 9 year old straight bourbons, finishing them for 2 years in new, char #2 mizunara oak casks. It’s packaged in a crystal decanter that can be reused once the bourbon is consumed.

Members of Angel’s Envy fan club 500 Main get first dibs at securing a bottle of this special whiskey, with the remainder offered at the Louisville distillery and select Kentucky retailers.

Whisky Advocate says:

Mizunara casks have been used across the whisky world, from their native Japan to Scotland, Ireland, and North America. They typically impart flavors and aromas of spice, sandalwood, and coconut. Learn more about the influence of mizunara and other oak species with this quick explainer.

Four Gate 10 year old Foundation Tennessee Straight Bourbon

Four Gate 10 year old Foundation Tennessee Straight Bourbon

Style: Straight bourbon
Origin: Tennessee
Age: 10 years old
Proof: 56.1% ABV
Price: $150
Release: August 2020
Availability: 812 bottles; for sale in KY and TN

Need to know:

Distilled in Tennessee from a mashbill of 84% corn, 8% rye, and 8% malted barley, this bourbon aged for 10 years.

Whisky Advocate says:

Although Four Gate usually produces whiskeys that have undergone special barrel finishes, its Foundation series focuses on straight whiskey only. This offering is labeled as a Tennessee bourbon, rather than a Tennessee whiskey. That could mean a couple of things: Either it did not go through the Lincoln County Process, an essential part of Tennessee whiskey’s production, or it was distilled in Tennessee and aged elsewhere (something that likely happened with Peyton Manning’s brand, Sweetens Cove), or both.

No matter what, it’s a barrel-proof straight bourbon with a decade of age: It’s very likely to be quite good.

Firestone & Robertson Experimental Straight Rye

Firestone & Robertson Experimental Straight Rye

Style: Straight rye
Origin: Texas
Age: 4 years old
Proof: 63.05% ABV
Price: $50 (375 ml)
Release: July 2020
Availability: Around 1,500 bottles; for sale at the distillery only

Need to know:

The first in Firestone & Robertson’s new Experimental series, this whiskey was made from 85% rye and 15% malted rye and aged for 4 years and 5 months. The rye grain was grown in Canada, while the malted rye came from Germany.

Whisky Advocate says:

After its initial experiment distilling this 100% rye, Firestone & Robertson decided to make it a permanent part of the lineup. So while this first bottling is part of its experimental series, future releases will be more widely available. And they’ll all be made from Texas grains, grown on Sawyer Farm.

While Firestone & Robertson’s visitor facilities are currently closed to the public, fans can purchase the whiskey online for curbside pickup.

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