Dram Hunters 7 year old Southern Coast Distillers Single Cask Single Malt (Cask No. 112), 63.6%
Australian Whisky | $250
Without water, this oddball is deeply herbaceous and spiced with aniseed, coriander, hardwood smoke, brown sugar, and powerful oak throughout the nose and palate. Add some water, and suddenly the sunbeam breaks through the crack in the curtain. There are still plenty of herbal and spice notes, but now more dimension emerges—orange, forest fruits, semi-sweet chocolate, coffee ice cream, and sweet woodsmoke, fully relaxed in its integration. The finish is savory, then sweet—clean and rich, a revelation. (150 bottles; U.S. exclusive)
Amrut 6 year old Aatma Single Cask Single Malt (Cask No. 4675), 57.1%
Indian Whisky | $215
Sweet saline peat on the nose, along with red berries, milk chocolate, hazelnuts, dates, and nougat. It’s lush and rich, qualities that extend to the palate’s oily, dense character, which is floral and soapy before shifting into plummy red berry fruit, dark chocolate, roasted hazelnuts, and a panoply of spices. The finish is ashy, peppery, sweet, and mouthwatering, with long, lingering smokiness. Water is a must to showcase the rounded, powerfully flavorful balance of this whisky. (360 bottles; U.S. exclusive)
Penderyn 10 year old Madeira Cask-Finished Single Cask Single Malt (No. 047-3), 58.1%
Welsh Whisky | $110
When you feel you’ve earned a treat, pour a dram of this bottled candy. The nose is a tropical fruit basket, with papaya, guava, mango, jackfruit, and dried kiwi; extra goodies come in the form of Jordan almonds and vanilla sandwich cookies. Consistent tropical flavors on the silky palate. Nuttiness, gentle spice, milk chocolate, and coffee bean emerge with water. Intensely satisfying on the finish, with persistent fruit, integrated oak, almonds, and grapefruit peel. (243 bottles; U.S. exclusive)
Midleton Dair Ghaelach Knockrath Forest (Tree 5), 56.5%
Irish Single Pot Still | $320
A superbly balanced whiskey with huge spices meeting vanilla head on: a perfect complement between the American and Irish oak contributions. It has a softer body, with lemon, vanilla, and meringue in creamy custard sauce, but then the spices go off like a rocket, and as they glitter across the palate, there are glimpses of chocolate, coffee, and singed oak.
Midleton Very Rare Silent Distillery Collection Chapter One, 51.2%
Irish Single Malt | $35,000
Powerfully smoky for 45 years old, with charcoal, burnt turf, smoked venison, dark chocolate, Brazil-nut dark toffee, roasted chestnut, and a hint of smoked haddock. Thick golden syrup, peppery spice, and vanilla caramel; the peat smoke is heavier initially, then fades and darts between other flavors. Toasted oak, dark sugars, cocoa, and smoke finish an incredible sip of Irish whiskey liquid history. (48 bottles) Collectible
Single Malts of Scotland 21 year old Ardmore 1998 Single Cask (Cask No. 750753), 50.2%
Single Malt Scotch | $240
Exhibit A for never judging a whisky by its color: This straw-pale malt shows depth and complexity many sherry-dark whiskies would envy. The nose is briny and smoky, with a seaweed character; lemon poppyseed muffin and almond cake are present without water. Add a few drops, however, and fresh orchard fruit emerges, sweet and clean, and carries into the rounded, silky palate where it mingles with salt water, black pepper, a squeeze of lemon, and smoky peat. Good length on the finish, which has oak, nuts, and cigar wrapper. A paragon of balance. (240 bottles)
Single Malts of Scotland 23 year old Ben Nevis 1996 Single Cask (Cask No. 1479), 52.7%
Single Malt Scotch | $260
Thick with sherry fruit on the nose: cooked dark berries, raisins, and dried figs, though the fruit becomes more jammy when water is added. There’s also dark chocolate, hazelnuts, and leather. The palate is equally thick and chewy, offering figs, raisins, dark chocolate, coffee bean, and raspberry cake filling, as well as green apple and guava candy showing this whisky’s maturity. It finishes with coffee, chocolate, dark berries, white pepper, orange pith, and oak that verges on bitterness, but never tips over the edge. Stately and dignified. (405 bottles; U.S. exclusive)
Single Malts of Scotland 21 year old Glenburgie 1998 Single Cask (Cask No. 900896), 55.2%
Single Malt Scotch | $200
Powerfully tropical on the nose, with guava, jackfruit, mango, and papaya in spades; hibiscus, blueberry-pomegranate juice, almond, and a hint of caramel drizzle as well. The palate delivers on that aromatic promise, bursting with guava and papaya, as well as mouth-puckering citrus and almond pastry. The lengthy finish is still fruity but leans into dryness, with almond and clean cereal notes and, at the last, a wisp of cigar. Don’t be afraid to add water if you wish to reduce the alcohol; the intense flavors remain. (251 bottles; U.S. exclusive)
An herbal nose featuring menthol, eucalyptus, and horehound is endowed with plenty of earthy oak, evoking sawmill, empty wine casks, and dusty floorboards. Generous oak courses through the palate, the drying tannins reining in the dense sweetness as the whiskey brandishes bold spices, including allspice, pepper, and clove. Water gives this bourbon much needed room to run, revealing greater polish and rich layers of flavor.
A blend of different bourbons aged 15, 14, 12, 7, and 6 years. A bakery shop nose offers confectioners’ sugar and warm cherry pie. On the palate, wild strawberry and cooked fruit notes of baked apples and raspberry tart meld with tiramisu and black pepper, all well-balanced against leather and oak. The finish offers chocolate spice, raspberry, cinnamon, bitter almond, and lightly roasted coffee beans. Powerful but balanced, and superbly well-integrated. (10,314 bottles)
Stagg Jr. Barrel Proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon (13th Edition), 64.2%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $50
This kicks off with a bounty of dark fruit—dark berries, cherry cough drops, and currants—coupled with heaps of vanilla, mocha, and rich oaky notes. Big and brawny on the palate, it pours bold and viscous, the blueberry and blackberry fruit balanced with the sweet-bitter notes of burnt sugar and pipe tobacco. The flavors harmonize beautifully, culminating in a finish of dark jam, coffee, and semi-sweet chocolate.
Three Chord 12 year old Twelve Bar Reserve Barrel-Proof Straight Bourbon (Batch 0007), 53.5%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $70
Butter pecan ice cream, peanuts in the shell, oily grain, milk chocolate, cooked orange, cherry tart, and blueberries on the nose. The palate is spiced, nutty, and chewy, with milk chocolate, orange soda, cherry cough drop, baking spice, brown sugar, a hint of eucalyptus, and loads of peanuts. More rich spice, chocolate, and fruit on the finish, along with peanut butter, spearmint, and generous oak. Not a hair out of place.
Lovely lavender-like florals and sweet Bit-O-Honey candies introduce this whiskey, with secondary aromas that suggest the vivid spice and earthy leather that lurk on the palate. Pleasantly sweet pineapple and citrus keep things bright on the palate, along with flavors of chocolate-covered banana. The final show of dusty oak tannins is laced with bitter espresso, then cocoa powder, ending with hints of furniture polish. An intense volley of flavors, skillfully integrated.
Barrell 4 year old Cask-Strength Blend of Straight Ryes (Batch 003), 58.35%
Rye Whiskey | $90
There’s much to discover in the depths of this glass, which continues to develop over time. Dark fruit, tobacco, orange pekoe tea, white pepper, leather, dry-roasted peanuts, and varnish unfold on the nose, while the palate is fruity with blackberry, raspberry, blueberry, and orange; it also has dry oak, nuts, tobacco, and a lot of black pepper spice. The finish is leathery and peppery, with cigar and persistent dark berry flavors. A dense, decadent whiskey that makes it all seem effortless. (12,000 bottles)
Breuckelen 6 year old Brownstone Malt (Batch 1), 50%
Single Malt American Whiskey | $75
A peculiar nose of cucumber, cinnamon Red Hots, cedar shavings, fresh melon, jasmine tea, and tobacco barn, and somehow it all works. There’s much complexity to be explored here, with a whole spice cabinet tumbling out on the palate, dusting black tea, Cherry Coke, pecans, espresso, and taut oak with its clouds of blooming flavor. The finish expresses lovely barrel char, red chiles, coffee beans, herbaceous pops of licorice, and a lingering incense quality. Enchanting. (1,000 bottles)
This new permanent addition to the Redbreast range is partially matured in ruby port casks, which have helped the vitality and the complexity of the finished whiskey while still delivering a remarkable intensity of red berry fruit. Orange peel, pine cone, vanilla, and walnut on the nose. Raspberry, cherry, plums, and active spices like a wildfire across the tongue, with pepper and chile heightened by the strength and menthol late on the finish.
Honey, vanilla, peppercorn, Golden Delicious apples, macadamia nut, green banana, and clove-spiked orange. The flavors are bright with green apple, banana, vanilla, and citrus, developing a delicious creaminess to support the pot still spices. The creaminess really crowns this older whiskey as something special, with the bourbon wood playing a greater role than in younger, jammier Redbreasts. The finish is wonderfully long and warming, with spice, tangy orange, and oak.
Midleton Dair Ghaelach Knockrath Forest (Tree 7), 56.5%
Irish Single Pot Still | $320
Vanilla, white pear, meringue, caramel, and lots more toasted oak flavors with nutmeg, clove, and pepper. This is fruity and sweet with orange, pomegranate, and caramel, then a wild, crazy rush of spices. It has a bold and generous nature, moving from lime zest to grapefruit, with dry oak to finish.
A welcome addition to the Elijah Craig family, this rye has rock-solid heft and flavor that doesn’t quit. The nose swells with cooked blackberries and raspberries, fruit leather, iced tea, cola, and stately oak. It’s chewy and viscous on the palate, with more berries and grapes (often jammy), well-integrated oak, dark chocolate, and lush spice. The finish rides a long way on peppery dark fruit, wet walnuts, dark chocolate, and rich oak. Editors' Choice
Royal Salute 29 year old Pedro Ximénez Sherry Cask-Finished, 40%
Blended Scotch Whisky | $549
This second release in the Flask Collection epitomizes deft management of PX finishing to produce an opulent treat. Honey and sherry notes, chunks of fruit-and-nut chocolate, melting caramel, plummy fruit, chocolate-covered raisins, refined dry spices, and stimulating peppercorn notes as the whisky warms. Thick and luxurious texture with vanilla, caramel, Seville orange, plum pudding, crème caramel, crystallized citrus, and melted chocolate, with a lightly spicy, sweet caramel finish.
Angel’s Envy Tawny Port Wine Barrel-Finished Bourbon, 55.8%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $250
The second release in Angel’s Envy’s Cellar Collection, this one features 10 year old bourbon finished 10 months in tawny port casks. Pleasant oak and barrel char on the nose underpin playful notes of strawberry, cotton candy, and raisins. The palate is rich, with chocolate-covered mint, figs, and orange. Polished oak, bitter chocolate, red fruits, and blackberry punctuate the finish. A touch of water brings on a burst of flavors. (5,400 bottles)
A sack of dried corn and a basket of roasted peanuts go hand in hand with iced tea, Coca-Cola, dark berries, caramel, and earthy clay barn floor. Unsurprisingly brawny and chewy in the mouth, it’s packed with dark chocolate-covered peanuts, cola, cooked cherries, chocolate tart, and tingling spice that carries well into the finish, which also keeps up the dark fruit and peanut flavors.
Scan the dessert case and choose your favorite, because they’re all here in abundance: cake donuts, sticky buns, pralines, cocoa-dusted truffles, and strawberry tarts on the nose. Espresso, tea, and spice notes add some gravitas to the palate, which is chewy and oak forward, but dark fruit, milk chocolate, and sweet pecans and peanuts maintain balance. The finish is a dream, lengthy and well-developed, with nutmeg, chai spice, toasted oak, tea leaf, milk chocolate, and boysenberry.
A complex nose, rich in aromas of fresh peaches, wild beach roses, prairie sage, hints of rye spices, and lumber. A sweet, hot, peppery palate bursts with rye spices, high floral tones, gummy bears, then earthy herbal notes, river plants, and some pulling wood tannins Loaded with rye and apple juice. Fades slowly into herbal notes, brown sugar, and a hint of peach pits.
Redbreast 12 year old Cask Strength (Batch B2/19), 58.6%
Irish Single Pot Still | $84
An easy-drinking cask-strength whiskey, the nose has an equal balance between fruit and spice, as red apple and bright cherry meet Chinese five spice, savory undertones, and salted nuts. This has big, chewy sherry notes; it’s quite nutty, and the spice starts building early on. Hold out till the end for black cherry, toffee, and burnt fruitcake, with a finish of autumnal fruits, menthol, and aniseed.
Midleton Dair Ghaelach Knockrath Forest (Tree 6), 56.6%
Irish Single Pot Still | $320
There’s orange peel, strawberry fondant, vanilla custard, and finely ground pepper on the nose. It has plenty of fruit, with peach, citrus, strawberry, and vanilla which vie with peppery and clove spiciness before oak, vanilla, and caramel fade into the finish.
This expression was distilled from malt peated to 12 to 14 ppm, and aged for 9 years in 80% bourbon and 20% sherry casks before a final year in more sherry casks. Sweet smoke on the early nose, with malt, vanilla, quite dry sherry, apple, and toffee. Smoky barley, vanilla, subtle sherry, and light honey on the palate. Peaches, ginger, and woodsmoke on the medium-length finish. Very accomplished. Editors' Choice
The nose shows great maturity, with varnish, leather couch, black cherry syrup, dark chocolate, and wet walnuts. There’s a pleasant tartness to the palate, like just-ripe cherries, along with the richness of chocolate torte, blackberry jam, birch syrup, Concord grape jelly, and leathery oak. It finishes with lengthy cherry syrup, high-end dark chocolate, and more varnish and leather. Editor's Choice
WhistlePig The Boss Hog VI: The Samurai Scientist Umeshu Barrel-Finished Rye (Barrel 8), 60.3%
Canadian | $500
Made using koji during fermentation and finished in barrels seasoned with umeshu, a plum liqueur. Earthy and a bit mysterious, with sandalwood incense, cedar smoke, eucalyptus, barrel char, and sweet aromas of vanilla taffy, key lime pie, and lemon oil. There’s a lot of dry oak on the palate, but it’s balanced with chewy herbs, lapsang souchong tea, pistachio, orange peel, milk chocolate, fennel, and peppery spice. The finish is long, spiced, and herbal, with licorice, mint, eucalyptus, and dry oak. Collectible
Kentucky Peerless Double Oak II Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon (No. 150718105), 53.95%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $35
A nose of confectioners’ sugar and peach tart, as well as Toblerone, cherry cola, roasted almonds, barrel char, leather, and drying oak. More baking spice on the palate, melding with chocolate syrup, savory notes of roasted nuts and charred corn, pepper, and perfumed oak. Earthy notes emerge with water, along with spice and chocolate. An herbal finish offers flavors of cherry tart, light chocolate, and spice. Very tasty, and with plenty of panache.
Single Malts of Scotland 30 year old Glenrothes 1989 Single Cask (Cask No. 18177), 41.9%
Single Malt Scotch | $300
The nose is aromatic, with peach blossom, apple skins, sugared strawberries, strands of cotton candy, biscuity malt, blanched almonds, and green tea leaves. Rounded and soft on the palate, there are flavors of apricots, peaches, and bright red cherries, firmly supported by malt; with water, the fruit is more pronounced and uplifted by a bracing tide of nuts, milk chocolate, oak, and tea leaves. The finish retains fruitiness but is focused on nuts, tobacco, and leathery oak. (92 bottles; U.S. exclusive)
Single Malts of Scotland 14 year old Ledaig 2005 Single Cask (Cask No. 900178), 55.4%
Single Malt Scotch | $125
On the nose, intense fruit underlaid with smoke: a grilled half-peach. Hints of cinnamon and milk chocolate; blackberry jam; brisket. With water, the peat turns slightly rubbery and mineral, and that minerality carries into the palate, balanced by juicy berries, Raisinets, and almonds. Curling wisps of pipe smoke wrap around smoked almonds and sea salt-sprinkled dark chocolate on the finish. Though hefty, it’s pretty easy to drink at full strength; add a bit of water and you’ll soften the alcohol without diminishing any of the flavor. (607 bottles; U.S. exclusive)
Single Malts of Scotland 12 year old Linkwood 2007 Single Cask (Cask No. 804447), 55.8%
Single Malt Scotch | $125
The nose is rich but not heavy, showing applesauce, poached pears, grape jelly, raisin scones, nutty dark chocolate, and a hint of orange. Zingy with citrus oil, especially lemon, on the palate, though that’s tempered by oak, raisins, toasted nuts, dark chocolate, and leather. It finishes with more nuts, coffee bean, pipe tobacco, and persistent lemon oil; a final note of poached pear recalls the nose. Elegant. (246 bottles; U.S. exclusive)
Blackadder 22 year old Raw Cask Westport Single Cask (No. 3293), 53.2%
Blended Malt Scotch Whisky | $200
The nose is thick with bakeshop aromas: sponge cake filled with marzipan and thickly frosted with buttercream; butter pecan ice cream; and vanilla bean. It’s consistent on the palate, but more complex, with roasted lemons, vanilla malt powder, milk chocolate, cinnamon candy, pie crust, and buttercream frosting. No deviation on the finish, which is pastry-rich and dessert-like, veering toward flan. Westport is a “teaspooned” malt comprising mainly Glenmorangie with a bit of Glen Moray. (170 bottles; 90 for U.S.)
Bruichladdich 25 year old Black Art 1994 (Edition 07.1), 48.4%
Single Malt Scotch | $430
The nose reveals blackcurrant, damsons, black pepper, dark sherry, coconut, and nougat. Very smooth on the palate, quite full, with early oak, then leather, tropical fruits, honey, and resin notes from old component whiskies. A long finish, with mango, raisin, hazelnut, and lots of spice. Complex and intriguing. (12,000 bottles)
The nose starts with caramel-coated shortbread sprinkled with sea salt, then opens to reveal crushed almonds, raspberry jam, grilled pineapple, and a whiff of sweet peat smoke. Those raspberries explode on the palate, which is fruity and sweet but counterbalanced by brine, nuts, and smoke. The texture is oily and a bit waxy, mouth-coating and lush without being heavy: a slithering snake indeed, and pure elegance. (500 bottles for the U.S.)
Bardstown Bourbon Co. The Prisoner Wine-Barrel Finished Bourbon, 50%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $125
Part ofBardstown Bourbon Co.’s Collaboration Series, distilled in Tennessee and aged 9 years, then finished 18 months in French oak barrels that previously held The Prisoner wine. The nose offers raspberry, grape hard candy, bubble gum, and dried orange slices. A palate of chocolate fudge, coconut, cinnamon, and baking spice leads to a finish that’s rich and smooth, with more chocolate and lively fruit. Balanced and with excellent depth; a unified, harmonious whiskey. (10,000 bottles)
Lucky Seven 12 year old The Hold Up Kentucky Straight Bourbon (Batch 01), 50%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $99
Minty dark chocolate, maple syrup, iced tea, dark berries, tobacco barn, peanuts, and leather on the nose. The palate is chock-full of rich fruit—blackberry jam, plums in syrup, black cherries—and luscious dark chocolate, with well-integrated oak, leather, maple syrup drizzle, and overtones of herbs. It’s consistent into the finish, with cooked fruit, leather, mint and other herbal flavors, and plenty of chocolate. (2,500 bottles)
A well-choreographed interplay of rich dark fruit—plums, Luxardo cherries, Concord grapes—and deep spices on the nose, along with hints of wood char and licorice; it turns tropical and nutty when water is added. The palate is richly spiced—cedar, ginger, cloves, allspice—and silky with extra-dark chocolate, grilled plums, espresso beans, and hints of aged cigar. It ends rich and toasty, with lush oak, hookah tobacco, and coffee bean.
Mature but lively character; it has dark fruit, black tea, mint oil, fennel seed, and licorice on the nose. The palate is brawny and robust—it practically eats water—and swells with mint, licorice, root beer, black pepper, baking spice, espresso, and grape Robitussin. The lengthy finish is peppery and rich, with oak, herbs, baking spice, tea leaves, and dark chocolate.
From Colorado-based Wood’s High Mountain Distillery. A nose of apple, brown sugar, and blackcurrant, set against jalapeño spice and smoke. The palate offers flavors of cinnamon and burnt espresso beans, with an alluring smoky bitterness and notes of jalapeño, smoked chiles, and black pepper. On the finish, dried dark fruits and bitter chocolate emerge, with a blast of pepper at the end. Rich, brawny, and assertive, but also supple and well integrated.
Opening with fresh grain aromas, it soon develops to show complex cinnamon, clove, chai, black tea, dried orange peel, and smoked salt; delicate pastry notes also appear. The palate is rich, roasty, and hot without water, offering dark chocolate, dried chiles, barbecued brisket, cacao nibs, charred nuts, and peppery spice that starts as a small flame and builds into a burn on the warming, chocolaty, ashy finish. (1,200 bottles)
Virginia Distillery Co. Courage & Conviction American Single Malt (George G. Moore Batch), 46%
Single Malt American Whiskey | $75
The official debut of the distillery’s 100% own-make single malt. The nose has an earthy expression of the grain, and works in heady aromas of guava, pomegranate, blueberries, and kiwi, along with sandalwood soap. It’s oily and silky in the mouth, with forthright lemon and orange oil, guava, and kiwi, as well as dried leaves, nutty tobacco, and peppery spice. The finish is gentle and fades slowly, with lemon oil, milk chocolate, and a hint of ashy charred nuts. (9,600 bottles)
High West Bourye Blend of Straight Whiskeys (Batch 19L06), 46%
Blended American Whiskey | $100
A nose of herbs, candied oranges, cherries, treacle, and baking spice, with pleasant aged accents of leather armchair and earthy warehouse floor. The palate offers semi-sweet chocolate, spice, dark fruit, roasted pecans, blackberries, cola, and pepper. Water brings out richer chocolate, pistachio, and blackberry jam. The finish is nutty, spicy, and peppery, with balanced oak and light fruit. Excellent complexity, with spice melding well with notes of chocolate and fruit. (60,000 bottles)
A curious single malt smoked with native Australian peat and mallee wood stumps, and matured in port casks. The smoke expresses itself little on the nose, which shows aromas of nougat, apples, pears, blueberries, blackcurrants, raisins, and a mineral freshness. But the palate allows plenty of room for the smoke, which has a gentle, herbaceous pungency of tarragon, tobacco leaf, and eucalyptus; there’s also licorice, dark chocolate, coffee bean, and rich oak. The finish is equally rich, with lingering herbal smoke. (120 bottles for the U.S.)
Hammerhead 30 year old Czech Single Malt (Cask No. 378), 51.2%
World Whisky | $425
The malt shows well on the nose, with toasted almonds, cooked cereal, and rolled oats; there’s also coriander seed, dill, dewy grass, peaches, and nectarines. It’s intensely spiced and herbaceous on the palate: clove-studded orange, chai, sandalwood, pouch tobacco, and more coriander and aniseed. With water, milk chocolate, almonds, and hazelnuts emerge. The finish is oaky, with hints of tobacco and persistent spice, especially coriander. Compelling. (300 bottles; U.S. exclusive)
Midleton Dair Ghaelach Knockrath Forest (Tree 1), 56.6%
Irish Single Pot Still | $320
Cranberry, watermelon, and cherry, with deeper notes of raisin and prune, are lanced by piercing spices. There’s a thick and heavy mouthfeel that begins with caramel and vanilla, sliding into chewy toffee with coffee notes and a hint of raspberry, though harried by peppery spices so sharp they taste spiky.
Midleton Dair Ghaelach Knockrath Forest (Tree 3), 56.5%
Irish Single Pot Still | $320
A nose of oak, lemon meringue pie, lashings of vanilla, pink peppercorns, and paprika. It’s particularly mouth-drawing at cask strength, offering vanilla, toffee, a slight nuttiness, and banana, with a clove spiciness that really takes hold. It keeps surging forward, finding different ways for the spices to peak before settling on a vanilla finish.
Early Times Bottled in Bond Kentucky Straight, 50%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $25/liter
Delightfully rich on the nose, with grape jelly, raspberries, Raisinets, buttered pecans, toffee, dark chocolate, baking spice, leather, and the old oak smell of a rickhouse. Chewy and viscous, the palate shows excellent consistency, balancing raisins, Concord grape jelly, baking spice, and dark chocolate with coffee bean, cola, and lush oak. A lengthy and elegant finish highlights mocha, grape skins, cinnamon, black pepper, and rich oak. Best Value
The Last Drop Single Grain 1977 (distilled at Dumbarton), 48.4%
Single Grain Scotch | $3000
Fresh pear, grilled banana, chile oil, cardamom, brown sugar, oak sawdust, vanilla, snuff tobacco, and peppery crackers on the nose. Light vanilla and caramelized brown sugar, then mouth-drawing with apple and lemon peel. A spicy buildup spills into banana peel and banoffee pie; the mouthfeel gains weight over time. Smooth, sweet, caramel finish. (150 bottles) Collectible
Blackadder 11 year old Raw Cask Balmenach 2008 Single Cask (Cask No. 14), 58.5%
Single Malt Scotch | $165
Charred oak meets grape jelly, with aromas of crushed almonds, dried blueberries, new car leather, dark chocolate-covered raisins, and a whole lot of vanilla. In the mouth it’s chewy and well-textured; add water and it turns velvety. The water brings out better balance as well, tempering the very active cask and buttressing berry, orange, cinnamon-chocolate, and espresso bean. More coffee bean, cinnamon-dusted pecans, dark chocolate, raspberry coulis, and hints of tobacco on the finish. A scotch for bourbon lovers. (268 bottles; 90 for U.S.)
Buckets of fresh-picked berries, pastry cream, green banana, saline, and iodine peat on the nose. It stays consistent on the palate, with sweet berries, toasted baking spice, chocolate, salty and mineral peat, and a creamy texture. The flavor builds and then, on the finish, crescendos on a wave of dark chocolate, bittersweet oak, and smoldering peat smoke. The fruit doesn’t make it to the end, but there’s no lack of a sense of completion. (1,260 bottles; U.S. exclusive)
Port Askaig 18 year old 2000 Single Cask (Cask No. 309927), 50.8%
Single Malt Scotch | $265
Aromatic on the nose, with vivid fruitiness mingling with briny, rubbery peat: grilled apples and pears, lemon zest, and peach slices. On the palate, it presents as simple, but wait a beat to let the whisky settle—and add a bit of water—and that simplicity reads more as softness in texture. The flavors are expressive and consistent with the nose: lemon and lime zest, peach, apricot, and salty-peppery peat. It finishes with bittersweet smoke, tobacco leaf, black pepper, and lingering oak. (250 bottles; U.S. exclusive)
Single Malts of Scotland 30 year old Imperial 1989 Single Cask (Cask No. 362), 43.3%
Single Malt Scotch | $350
Perfumy in both aroma and flavor: rose potpourri, peach blossom, lemon drops, strawberry shortcake, talcum powder, and clean cereal notes on the nose. Candied rose petal on the palate, as well as dried fruit (especially with water), rich and well-integrated spice, cacao nibs, and dry oak. It’s distinctive and well-balanced, even when the oak seems a touch bitter. The finish is dry and leathery, with pipe tobacco, cinnamon, and, still, that rose note. (172 bottles; U.S. exclusive)
This was produced from barley grown on the distillery’s Cadboll Estate and matured for 15 years in first-fill bourbon casks. Soft malt, ginger, honey, tangerines, and rose petals on the pleasing, harmonious nose. Rounded on the palate, with malt, more honey, white chocolate, fudge, and tangy citrus notes. Citrus fruit, vanilla, and cocoa powder on the finish.
Aged at least 18 months in new charred oak, then finished with Texas pecan wood staves added to the barrel. The nose offers melted caramel, buttered pecan, vanillin, oak, and subtle fruit. A soft palate has notes of baked plum tart, chocolate, figs, allspice, tea leaf, and dusty oak. The finish is spiced, with dark chocolate, light tobacco, and hefty but well-integrated oak. Bold and robust, with an abundance of flavors. (42,000 bottles)
The Justice 14 year old Barrel-Proof Straight Bourbon, 47.1%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $99
The nose is thick with peanut brittle and peanut shells, blackberry cobbler, grape jelly, allspice, dried ginger, and mint and other herbs. Beautifully mature flavors on the palate: cooked plums, raisins, and dark chocolate mingle with integrated oak, with peanuts bringing up the rear. Silky, especially in the finish, which fades almost too quickly to relish dark chocolate-covered cherries, peanuts, and smooth oak. (2,000 bottles)
An herbal, lightly malty nose starts with notes of sweet barrel char, cherry hard candy, raspberry pastilles, and a hint of green banana. The palate is rich, with flavors of chocolate and burnt espresso beans, bitter orange, pepper spice, and burnt almonds. The lengthy finish has notes of candied raspberries riding atop some deeper notes of allspice and pepper. Balanced and fruity overtones throughout, anchored by earthiness and spice underneath. (24,000 bottles)
Westward Oregon Stout Cask-Finished American Single Malt, 45%
Single Malt American Whiskey | $90
Tropical and floral on the nose, with kiwi, mango, hibiscus, coconut cream, and pistachio and almond halva; add water and a big burst of honeysuckle blooms. There are more tropical notes on the palate: melon, guava, pineapple, and Juicy Fruit, as well as almond, coffee ice cream, milk chocolate, and spice. The mouthfeel is robust, becoming mouthwatering on the finish, which is oak-led but balanced with floral hop character.
The Whistler Double Oaked Blended Irish Whiskey, 40%
Blended Irish Whiskey | $30
Sweetness and richness were my first impressions of this sourced whiskey blended at Boann Distillery, and it’s the oloroso sherry finish that’s made all the difference. Apple, barley sugar, aromatic spices, baked citrus, cherry, and dried apricot against a backbone of grain. Vanilla fudge, baked fruit desserts, and apple, it’s rich, smooth, and creamy with swirling spices before returning to a finish of vanilla, spice, and dried apple.
Amrut 7 year old Single Grain Single Cask (No. 1431), 57.1%
Indian Whisky | $100
Clean and sweet on the nose, with confectionary aromas of vanilla, coconut, lemon curd, shortbread, and almond halva; there’s also concentrated orchard fruit, milk chocolate, and jasmine. It’s dry and chewy on the palate, with plenty to enjoy—spiced plums, raspberries, incense, milk chocolate—though the complexity flattens out into the finish, which is sweet with vanilla custard, milk chocolate, fresh raspberries, and lingering floral notes. (108 bottles; U.S. exclusive)
M&H Whisky in Bloom Lightly Peated Young Israeli Single Malt, 46%
World Whisky | $55
M&H (Milk & Honey), founded in 2013, is Israel’s first whisky distillery. This expression and its sibling bottling Double Cask are M&H’s first to hit the U.S. Aged 2 years in bourbon, STR (shaved, toasted, and re-charred), and Islay casks, its nose offers candied lemon, lime leaf, tea, and licorice. The palate is soft, fruity, and spiced, with chocolate and light peat. The finish is spiced and lightly peated, with tropical fruit accents. Brilliant texture and an unusual spice profile.
Midleton Dair Ghaelach Knockrath Forest (Tree 4), 56.1%
Irish Single Pot Still | $320
Heavy on the oak and spices, this has aromas of a carpentry shop, with salt and pepper, steak rub, and a touch of red fruit buried deep in the glass. It has quite a mouthfeel at cask strength; one of those whiskeys that makes your teeth squeaky. Vanilla, banana, and nicely balanced between the slowly unraveling spices, hazelnut, and oakiness.
Distillery 291 E Cherry and Peach Wine-Barrel Finished Bourbon (Batch 6), 61.3%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $115
The nose is earthy, chalky, and herbal, with notes of caramel and baking spice. The palate shows its proof well, with lots of balanced oak and bitter herbs, plus cherry and orange. The finish has flavors of bitter chocolate, coffee ice cream, burnt almond, dried orange slices, and a deft influence of toasted oak. This is a big, robust whiskey, with impressive complexity and plenty to like. (303 bottles)
A limited-edition cold-brew coffee infusion of roasted Arabica beans, this might be the most moreish drink I’ve had all year. Dark ruby in color with a nutty, velvety coffee bean aroma and dark fruits. While Jameson fruitiness is evident, floral notes are harder to detect. Smooth and creamy across the tongue, with blocks of cacao, praline, and dark toffee, it still finds a classic pot still spiciness to finish.
Single Malts of Scotland 10 year old Caol Ila 2009 Single Cask (Cask No. 317841), 58.3%
Single Malt Scotch | $95
A whole lotta beach: oyster shells, brine, vanilla saltwater taffy, and bonfire, plus fresh coconut shavings, jasmine, and freesia. Oily in the mouth, it’s drying without water, highlighting salinity, smoke, cigar wrapper, lemon oil, and Jordan almonds. With water, lemon, vanilla taffy, and mouth-puckering saline; the smoke is less overt. It finishes clean, sweet, and simple, with grilled lemon and lingering smoke. (298 bottles; U.S. exclusive)
This spent 9 years in a combination of bourbon and sherry casks, then 6 years in first-fill European oak oloroso casks. Sherry is to the fore on the nose, with apple pie, honey, vanilla, black pepper, and ultimately pipe tobacco. A viscous and rich palate, with more apple pie and vanilla, while the sherry is drier, with new leather and woodsmoke. Salted caramel and spicy oak on the finish.
First released in 2006, this expression was distilled from organically certified barley and aged in virgin oak casks. Spicy new oak and subtle smoke on the nose, with white pepper, bananas, cereal, and cut grass. The palate is oily, with more pepper, hazelnuts dipped in honey, and tropical fruits. Vanilla and toffee on the slowly drying finish.
This was matured in a combination of first-fill and refill bourbon casks before 70% was finished in deeply charred casks and 30% in first-fill Pedro Ximénez sherry casks. Char is apparent on the nose, along with pineapple, wood polish, blackcurrants, and a sprinkling of sea salt. Oily on the palate, with dark berry fruits, sherry, crème brûlée, and oak. The finish is spicy, with charred maritime oak.
This veteran from Knockdhu Distillery has been aged in a combination of bourbon and sherry casks. The nose is rich and inviting, with apricots in syrup, marzipan, caramel, and new-mown hay. Voluptuous in the mouth, with tangy fruits, barley sugar, cinnamon, sherry, and ultimately coffee grounds. An oaky finish with cocoa powder, white pepper, and lemon juice.
Matured in a mix of sherry casks and bourbon barrels for over 15 years, the nose is floral and fruity, with honeysuckle, nectarines, malt, and soft spices. Very smooth and creamy on the palate, with apple pie, butterscotch, honey, and tangerines, combining with dried fruits. Citrus fruit and spicy milk chocolate in the medium-length finish.
This was aged in a mix of bourbon and sherry casks. The nose yields Jaffa orange, plums, sherry, malt, and vanilla. Ginger, honey, more orange, dried fruit, and toasted oak on the full palate. The finish is relatively long, with spicy orange and oak. Complex and satisfying.
Butterscotch, vanilla, pepper, and citrus fruit emerge on the nose. A nutty, peppery palate features orchard fruits, chile spice, and a subtle meatiness. Lemon and oak tannins in the medium-length finish.
Glen Garioch spirit is sufficiently robust to cope well with virgin oak, and the nose of this expression yields the bold aromas you would expect from heavily-charred virgin oak maturation: spicy milk chocolate, buttery malt, and ripe peaches. Cocoa, malt, and cloves on the palate, plus lots of wood spice. The finish yields vanilla, ginger, and the inevitable oak.
Arbikie Highland Rye Single Grain (2020 Release), 46%
Single Grain Scotch | $350
Distiller Kirsty Black selected four casks laid down in 2015, made from rye grown on the Arbikie estate. The nose displays greater depth and fruit than the first (2018) release, with cinnamon, nutmeg, cocoa, dates, dried apricots, orange oil, and mango. Chocolate-covered peanuts, walnut, and cocoa on the palate, with peppery spices, raisin, date, and crème brûlée, then a dry finish of dark chocolate cookies, praline, and further spice. (1,220 bottles)
Chambers Bay 5 year old Captain’s Reserve Bottled in Bond Straight Bourbon (Release 1, No. 45), 50%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $55
Comforting aromas of fresh-brewed espresso, roasted pecans, warm arepas, chocolate-covered peanuts, Italian hot cocoa, mint chocolate, and hints of black cherry and grape. There’s a rich, tactile boldness on the palate, with flavors of cinnamon, peppermint, black pepper, cigar wrapper, barrel char, and lots of high-quality dark chocolate. The full finish has more dark chocolate, charred oak, spiced coffee bean, and hints of cigar. (450 bottles)
Lucky Seven 6 year old The Jokester Kentucky Straight Bourbon (Batch 01), 47.5%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $55
The nose offers notes of leather, oak, chocolate, blackberry, and baking spice. The mouthfeel is smooth, but with heat and power, as well as rich flavors of honey, cinnamon, blackberry tart, bitter chocolate, roasted peanuts, and leather. On the finish come playful flavors of baking spice, cherry tart, more blackberry, tobacco, and white pepper. An excellent blend of spice and chocolate with playful berry notes—rich, powerful, and delicate all at once. (2,500 bottles)
Penelope Barrel Strength Four Grain Straight Bourbon (Batch 4), 58.3%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $60
The nose offers cherry, raspberry tart, dried orange slices, butterscotch, black pepper, and antique closet. The palate is powerful, with sweet syrup up front, bold flavors of herbs and spice, grain, dusty oak, and an earthy note of warehouse floor. More spice emerges with water, bringing semi-sweet chocolate, cooked raspberries, and leather. Creamy and well-balanced, with its spice tempered by deep chocolate, cooked cherries, and a musty yet interesting character.
A nose of lemon drops, tea leaves, light barrel char, and herb-garden notes. The palate is honeyed, with lemon, licorice, herbs, and earthiness, balancing against vanilla cream and spice, all integrating well with the barrel. A lengthy finish is well-textured and spiced, highlighted by notes of tobacco, herbs, and chocolate. Creamy, spicy, and a bit unusual, this whiskey offers spiced complexity and impressive flavor balance on the palate.
Blinking Owl Single Barrel Straight Rye (Batch 2), 45%
Rye Whiskey | $75
Is there such a thing as “beach rye?” Wafting breezes carry coconut, almond orgeat, and tropical fruit aromas, along with dried orange rind, chamomile tea, clove, mint, and earthy pecans. The easy-drinking palate has less fruit and more herbs, with licorice, spearmint, and allspice, underpinned by nuts and dry oak. Rounded out with orange blossom water, chai, dark berries, and more spearmint, allspice, and oak on the finish. This should come with a hammock.
The nose is layered with mature baking spices, cacao nibs, tobacco barn, Cherry Coke syrup, praline, pistachio, and dusty oak. Spiced and herbal on the palate, with bracing oak, coffee with almond cream, roasted nuts, dark chocolate, cinnamon, licorice, and peppermint, all pillowed by a creamy texture. It finishes with minty dark chocolate, espresso, leather, and integrated oak. No need for an after-dinner coffee; this’ll do. (2,000 bottles)
Dry Fly Cask and Release Series Beer Barrel-Finished Wheat Whiskey, 45%
Wheat Whiskey | $50
It opens with floral and fruit aromas: strawberries, peach blossoms, dried apple rings, mulberries, plums. There’s also amaretto, dried ginger, licorice, and cacao nibs. Rich and a little hot on the palate, it’s chewy with dry-roasted almonds, cracked walnuts, coffee bean, chai spice, and grilled plums. Mouthwatering on the finish, drawing out chile heat, black pepper spice, chocolate-covered coffee bean, and dry oak. (450 bottles)
Broken Barrel Isle of Peat American Blended Whiskey, 55%
Blended American Whiskey | $50
A blend of American single malt and wheat whiskeys, finished on staves from peated Islay scotch casks using Broken Barrel’s proprietary process. The effect is herbaceous rather than smoky; this has tons of eucalyptus, bay leaves, black pepper, and juniper—more like an amaro in aroma than a whiskey. Dry and lean in the mouth, there’s mint, black pepper, eucalyptus, cola spices, dark chocolate, licorice, and honeyed lemon tea. The finish is medium-length with oak, mint, pepper, and persistent herbs. Profoundly outside the box, but it works. (6,600 bottles)
From Rochester, New York-based Cask & Crew, this was distilled in Canada, matured 4 years in new charred oak, then finished in another new charred oak barrel. Spice, pistachio, and a note of barrel char on the nose, and a nutty, creamy palate with notes of blueberry pie, chocolate, cooked plums, and light spice. The finish offers more spice, coffee cake, and almond nuttiness. The profile is young, but full of good flavors.
Drayman’s Highveld 5 year old French Oak Reserve Single Malt, 43%
South African Whisky | $100
This is a highly fragrant young whisky with aromas of peeled satsumas, zested lime, rosebuds, graham cracker, sponge cake, and a trace of aromatic spice. Light to medium-bodied with sweet orange honey, marmalade, walnut, and malt, then a slow crescendo of cocoa, spice, and cereal notes to a finish of grated chocolate. (1,200 bottles)
Midleton Dair Ghaelach Knockrath Forest (Tree 2), 56.3%
Irish Single Pot Still | $320
This has more vanilla and caramel, with less aggressive wood spices than Tree 1, and aromas of clove, sharpened pencils, and dried morel mushrooms. It’s fruity and mouth-drawing, yet less weighty than Tree 1, reminiscent of fruit Life Savers and baked apple, and when it peaks it breaks with more alcohol than spice.
What I love about this is that it’s fresh and fruity with plenty of zip. The nose has hard candy, fresh laundry, floral notes, apple, and peach puree. A fruit medley with nectarine, pear, and satsuma, followed by vanilla, lime, almond, and five spice, becoming more rounded, with apple and fudge and a spiced citrus finish. Best Value
After initial maturation in bourbon casks, this expression underwent a 2-month finish in first-fill oloroso sherry casks. Initially it offers char, then ginger, honey, and sweet smoke on the nose, with apricot tarts and toffee. The palate is quite earthy and peppery, with stone fruit, cinnamon, sea salt, and light smokiness. Medium length in the finish, with citrus fruit and salty oak.
Redemption High Rye Straight Bourbon (Batch 122), 46%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $30
The nose offers caramel custard, chocolate, and maple syrup. An oak-driven palate has lots of heat and integrated spice, but is also loaded with chocolate, coffee beans, almonds, and maple syrup. The finish is the best part, with rich notes of chocolate, coffee, and spice, but plenty of finesse. Water brings out more chocolate on a slightly tart but rich finish. Lots of assertive flavors, but with a gentle, smooth texture.
Saint Lawrence Spirits Kentucky Son Straight Bourbon, 45%
Blended Scotch Whisky | $46
Rich aromas of marzipan, black tea, blackberry, cherry, chocolate, brown sugar, and tobacco leaves. The palate is chewy, with oak char, black tea, roasted nuts, semi-sweet chocolate, root beer spices, ginger, red apple, and mint; water brings out cinnamon and pecans. It shows vivaciousness into the finish, with more oak char, mint, black pepper, and chocolate-covered almonds. (2,000 bottles)
Dark berries, cola, iced tea, dark chocolate, toasted oak, white pepper, and lime on the nose, permeated by an earthy character. Strong oak on the palate is kept in check by spice—ginger, cinnamon, pepper—and dark fruit, with notes of black tea and roasted peanuts as well. The finish is nutty and quite spiced, with lingering blackberries and a touch of bitter oak.
Wood’s 7 year old Sawatch American Malt (Batch 2), 49%
Single Malt American Whiskey | $75
At first, the nose is earthy and roasty, with dried chile, cocoa powder, toasted oak, curing tobacco, and dried clay, but a few drops of water reveal dried jasmine, honeysuckle, and rose petals: a delightful surprise. The palate is savory and earthy with plenty of mole sauce, cocoa powder, charred nuts, and pepper. It’s lengthy on the finish, unfurling into cigar, espresso, and unsweetened cocoa flavors.
Aromas of honey, vanilla extract, dried banana, and clove, with green herbal notes of parsley stems and kale. Dark sugar sweetness, vanilla, baked citrus, clove, and peppercorn flavors, though the spices don’t overwhelm the mellow mouthfeel, and it rounds off with vanilla toffee, sliced banana, herbal grain notes, and lingering spice. Worth getting to know this whiskey well to appreciate its full potential.
M&H Whisky in Bloom Double Cask Young Israeli Single Malt, 46%
World Whisky | $55
Clean fresh malt character manifests as a whole host of banana products: chips, bread, and pudding with Nilla wafers; there are also coconut shavings, sliced almonds, confectioners’ sugar, and lemon and lime peels. Though youth peeks through with heat on the palate, the bright flavors of lemon, banana, coconut, and a whole bouquet of violets and roses provide balance and lead into a clean short finish. A little more time and this whisky won’t just bloom—it’ll flourish. (1,560 bottles)
Unlike the Jane Walker package for Johnnie Walker Black Label released in 2018, this is a new whisky altogether, a blend of various malts aged at least 10 years, including Cardhu and Clynelish. The nose is floral and gently nutty, with rose water, salted almonds, green apple, nougat, and caramel chews. Light-bodied and silky in the mouth, it has bright flavors of lime, lemon, vanilla, and coconut, before edging into nutty milk chocolate and finishing with good length, and a final savory note. Best Value
Single Malts of Scotland 13 year old Glen Elgin 2006 Single Cask (Cask No. 9800011), 54.1%
Single Malt Scotch | $125
A bit reticent on the nose, with light aromas of jasmine, freesia, coconut, vanilla, and hints of kiwi, pineapple, and strawberry. The palate is oily and highlights more coconut, pineapple, vanilla, and strawberry, plus lemon, sandalwood, and mingled spices. On the finish, crushed nuts top a chocolate and vanilla malted milkshake, and lengthy oak caps things off. (156 bottles; U.S. exclusive)
The first peated expression from Glnglassaugh after reopening in 2008, Torfa is made from barley malted to 20 ppm and matured in bourbon barrels. Bonfire smoke, ozone, orchard fruits, malt, and black pepper are present on the nose. Slightly savory on the smooth palate, with sweet peat smoke, honey, dark chocolate, and a very mild maritime note. Ginger, apricot, and more sweet peat in the finish.
Highland Park 21 year old (November 2019 Release), 46%
Single Malt Scotch | $350
This latest release comprises the contents of nine first-fill European sherry-seasoned oak hogsheads, eight bourbon barrels, and nine refill casks, all laid down in 1998. Hints of warm machine oil and herbs on the nose, with pineapple, barley sugar, and white pepper, plus a touch of heather and faint smokiness. Slightly bitter on the palate, with wood spices, while fruitiness lurks in the background. Peppery oak char and coal in the finish.
Cathead Old Soul Blended Straight Bourbon (Batch 1), 45%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $45
Cinnamon babka, powdered donuts, pecan-studded coffee cake: Call this breakfast whiskey. The nose is sweet, light, and nutty—a beignet with sugary chicory coffee. Sturdy and spiced on the palate, it has flavors of cinnamon, allspice, pepper, stone fruit, cherry pie, roasted pecans, and bracing oak, along with garden herbs. The finish is medium-length, with milk chocolate, black pepper, and roasted nuts.
Grainy on the nose, with butterscotch haystacks, strawberry lollipop, sugared pineapple, mango, dried kiwi, and grape soda. Without water, the palate is crowded with oak, peppery heat, and cocoa; add a bit, however, and there’s room for sweet plums and cherries, grape jelly, butterscotch, and chai spices, finishing with dry oak, peanuts, licorice, and tobacco. Made with the distillery’s signature “Tennessee high malt” mashbill, which includes corn, malted rye, and two types of malted barley.
The barrel dominates here, by design, and it manifests on the nose with fresh-cut oak, cinnamon, black tea leaves, cashews, blackcurrant, dark chocolate, and a sprinkling of spices. Savory and oak-forward on the chewy palate, which has roasted nuts, grilled corn, dark chocolate, peppermint stick, dried chile, black pepper, espresso bean, and tobacco leaf, all sweeping into a lengthy, chocolaty finish.
Tumblin’ Dice 4 year old Single Barrel Barrel-Proof Straight Bourbon (No. 1), 57.85%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $59
The nose is redolent of tea leaves, peach skin, herbal honey throat lozenges, blueberries, brown sugar, licorice, and toasted grain. More herbaceousness hits on the palate, cooling some of the cinnamon spice of the high proof with spearmint and licorice notes; add water, and nuttiness emerges. Continued herbal flavors into the finish, which also has citrus oil and peppery spice. Strong barrel character throughout. (5,500 bottles)
Sweet cherries, bubble gum, and fresh blueberry on the nose, along with nougat, honey-roasted peanuts, and milk chocolate. The palate has flavors of clove-studded orange, spice, and the chewed end of a pencil. It’s light-bodied and verges on thin when water is added, so be judicious. The finish is gentle, with peppery oak, cinnamon, and espresso bean. This is a new higher proof and the whiskey is now non-chill filtered, so don’t be surprised by a little haze if you add water or ice.
Lovely, perfumy, fragrant nose: orange and peach blossoms, tea rose, lilacs, apricot jam, and blueberry muffins. It remains floral and sweet on the palate, but with a solid oak backbone surrounded by red berries, orange sherbet, ginger, baking spice, and a fizzy zing that finishes sweet and light, sprinkled with pepper and drizzled with Hershey’s chocolate syrup. (1,000 bottles)
Named after the infamous gang that weaponized their flat caps by stitching razor blades into the peaks, this whiskey threatens a nose of raisin, banana bread, Irish soda bread, beer mash, and dark honey. A lightweight mouthfeel, with dried apple, baked goods, oat bars, vanilla extract, and pancakes slathered with maple syrup, a spicy swallow, and a finish of burnt fruitcake. An easy-drinking whiskey.
This blend is made in Fuefuki, west of Tokyo, and seems custom-built for great Highballs. The nose presents fresh pear, baked pastry, straw, and slightly smoky roasted spices: coriander seed, peppercorn, and aniseed ball. It lacks body initially, with sweet orange, fruit syrups, and ginger root spiciness, but then it restores your faith with flavors of tropical fruits, vanilla, and orange cake, and a hot ‘n’ spicy peppery finish.
Hye-Land 12 year old Small Batch Armenian Whisky, 43%
World Whisky | $39
Hye-Land’s inaugural U.S. release, made from 100% malted wheat at Eraskh Winery in Armenia (which also has a distillery), aged in Caucasus Mountain oak barrels, and then finished in Armenian brandy barrels. The nose offers seasoned oak, citrus, ginger, and allspice. The palate brings sweet notes of melon, coconut shavings, tobacco, Christmas cake, ginger, and clove, all lightly accented by black pepper. The finish is viscous and has balanced sweetness.
One of two single barrel bourbons distilled in 2015, this one selected by Firestone & Robertson co-founder Leonard Firestone. The nose is light and airy, with notes of confectioners’ sugar, orange peel, peanuts, coffee beans, and semi-sweet chocolate. The palate offers rich chocolate, bitter orange, light tobacco, and oak. The finish is barrel-forward, with chocolate, peanuts, orange, and spice. Too much barrel influence at times, but the balance improves with water.
Single Malts of Scotland 26 year old Mortlach 1993 Single Cask (Cask No. 86), 60.5%
Single Malt Scotch | $300
Intensely fruity and floral on the nose, like a rosebush-lined berry patch; there’s also shortcake with lemon drizzle, almonds, and orange peel. With water, the fruit character deepens and takes on an edge of marzipan. The palate fizzes with citrus and soap flavors, tempered by milk chocolate, tobacco, and bitter leather. Without water, it’s intensely drying, though with it, the character turns cloying: Tread carefully. (134 bottles; U.S. exclusive)
Sweet peat on the early nose, with pineapple, toffee apples, and coconut. Slightly savory, with wood fire ashes. Somewhat oily on the palate, where sweet peat begins to dry, along with oranges, apricots, and marshmallows. The finish is relatively long, with vanilla and fresh oak dipped in hot tar.
One of anCnoc’s peated expressions, Rascan’s barley was peated to 11.1 ppm, and aged in bourbon barrels for what the distiller describes as “nearly a decade.” The nose gives sweet smoke, with ripe peaches and a hint of barbecue. Vanilla emerges, and the aroma becomes floral. Apples, vanilla fudge, and peat smoke on the palate. The smoke dries slowly, with citrus fruit giving way to oak and chile.
This is the second edition of Evolution, first released in 2013, and the ABV has been reduced from 57.2% to 50%. Like the first, it was matured in first-fill Tennessee whiskey barrels. The nose gives vanilla, ginger, honey, tropical fruits, and milk chocolate, plus a floral note. More vanilla, milky coffee, oak, honey, toffee, and pineapple on the oily palate. Spicy caramel in the finish.
John Crabbie & Co is in the process of returning whisky distilling to Leith, Edinburgh, but in the meantime it has launched this single malt from an unspecified Highlands distillery. The nose is light and youthful, with vanilla, apple peel, peanuts, and developing mild oak. Clean and straightforward on the palate, with more apple, butterscotch, and cinnamon spice. Spicy oak in the medium length finish. Perfect for cocktails.
Dewar’s 8 year old Ilegal Smooth Mezcal Cask-Finished, 40%
Blended Scotch Whisky | $22
Double-aged with a finish in Ilegal reposado mezcal casks, it has a zesty nose with plenty of bite: lime, cut grass, new bookbindings, grapefruit juice, and lilies. The glutinous mouthfeel has more mezcal influence, with dull fruit, herbal features, caramel, a snarl of pepper and chile flakes, and lengthy smoke and spice to finish. A bold creation, but I’m going to need more persuasion that this enhances the scotch.
Oregon Spirit Straight Bourbon (Barrel Series No. 150317), 47%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $45
The nose is dark and roasty: clay, dried leaves, walnut and pecan shells, cacao nibs, dried chiles, tobacco leaf, and darjeeling tea, as well as hints of tropical fruit. Full-bodied and oak-driven on the palate, with spiced tea-leaf complexity highlighted by tobacco leaf, cinnamon, clove, allspice, black pepper, mint oil, chocolate, and roasted corn. Continued chocolate, oak, and spice into the finish, interwoven with cigar wrapper and pops of licorice and mint.
Licorice, black tea, lemon, green apple, pomegranate, and almond on the nose. The palate is fruity, smooth, and light up front, with notes of dried orange slices, orange Creamsicle, lemon curd, and accents of nuttiness. The finish offers more orange, as well as flavors of vanilla cream and sweet raspberry, all spiced with an overlay of white pepper. Wispy and lacking deep complexity, but with balanced sweetness and some very pleasant notes.
Oregon Spirit Single Barrel Bottled in Bond Bourbon (No. 150330 01), 50%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $75
The nose starts with anise cookies and butterscotch, then reveals magnolia leaf, bergamot, sarsaparilla, and tea leaves. Barrel-driven, the palate is peppery, minty, and a little piney, with bitter chocolate and roasted nuts. More black pepper, chocolate, peppermint stick, and bitter oak into the short finish. Water recommended. (278 bottles)
Penelope Four Grain Straight Bourbon (Batch 2), 40%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $35
Fresh, green, and earthy: bell pepper, jalapeño, unshucked corn, and lime leaf, as well as cacao nibs, cedar cigar box, and cinnamon. More peppers on the palate, this time dried and smoked, along with roasted pecans, chocolate, nuts, bitter oak, and a hint of tobacco. The finish is short and light; a little more proof would go a long way.
Bright with lemon and lime, as well as gardenias and peonies—a fresh garden on the nose; there’s also uncooked corn on the cob, mint toothpaste, tea leaf, and pecan shell. The palate is spiced and oak-forward, countered by grape jelly, dark chocolate, coffee bean, and hints of tobacco. It’s occasionally jumbled, even into the finish, which has roasted pecans, pipe tobacco, leather, and black pepper.
There are nostalgic bubble gum notes on the nose—Bazooka and Big League Chew—as well as orange sherbet, strawberry shortcake, cherry pie, snickerdoodles, and milk chocolate. Sweet and fruit-forward on the palate, with grape jelly, cherry preserves, chocolate, cinnamon, clove, and a hint of rose water. It finishes a bit short and soft, rolling out spiced oak and a bouquet of candied violets. (700 bottles)
Pinhook Rye’d On Kentucky Straight (2020 Release), 48.5%
Rye Whiskey | $38
The first whiskey fully distilled at Castle & Key—site of the old Colonel E.H. Taylor, Jr. Distillery—since its revival in 2018. A fragrant, floral nose offers candied orange, lemon, toasted almonds, and banana cream pie. The palate is soft, with notes of creamy vanilla, baking spice, and pepper. A smooth texture characterizes the finish, with notes of banana and almond still emerging. Youthful in profile, but a promising start.
A tropical note of lime on the nose, as well as licorice and ginger root, offers youthful but balanced oak. The mouthfeel is creamy, with grapefruit and orange peel on the front palate melding into vanilla cream and underlying flavors of spice and pepper. The finish brings more citrus and creamy vanilla, along with cinnamon and drying oak. It seems young, but the profile is fresh and offers interesting flavors.
Piney and grassy on the nose, with fruity aromas of grape Kool-Aid, bubble gum, and grapefruit, as well as new wood. The palate picks up the herbal and pine notes, adding licorice and spearmint, as well as honey, orange, blueberry, grape, and grapefruit oil, with Popsicle stick throughout. Lingering mint, banana bread, citrus oil, and green wood on the finish. (8,400 bottles)
The nose has gooey butterscotch, pralines, toasted oak, vanilla custard, and blueberry muffin, with pops of green apple and Asian pear. On the full-bodied palate, stewed fruit and oak vie for pride of place, with baking spice, butterscotch, and lemon and orange peel urging restraint. The finish is hot and centers on toasted oak, stewed apples, and nuts; cloying at times. (16,500 bottles)
Tropical fruit on the verge of overripeness: pineapple, papaya, kiwi, plus jasmine flowers, almond halva, and the piney-lemon aroma of hops. The hoppiness is evident on the palate, which is light in body and consequently less expressive in flavor, though there’s dry nuttiness and grain, overlaid with sweeping tropical fruit. More of the same hoppy, juicy fruit flavors juxtaposed with oak on the finish. If you like beery whiskey, this is one to try. (10,000 bottles)
A blend of straight whiskeys that’s finished in brandy casks using proprietary “sonic enhancement.” Sweet vanilla, lemon cream pie, spiced apricots, ginger, cracked corn, and licorice start off the nose, balanced against a soft influence of new oak. The palate is sweet and well-textured, with notes of spice, candied apple, cooked plums, chocolate nuttiness, and a fair amount of barrel influence. There’s some good length on the finish, which offers sweet flavors of light chocolate, along with lingering spice and layered oak.
Luca Mariano Old Americana Small Batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon (Batch 2019-03), 41.5%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $45
Peanut brittle on wax paper, corn pudding, orange slices, grape Nerds, cotton candy, and kettle corn on the nose. The palate has plenty of oak, Corn Nuts, peanuts, tea leaf, apple, white pepper, and Fruit Stripe gum, though it begs for more proof. It finishes fairly quickly, with vanilla and oak. (7,000 bottles)
Fruit-forward on the nose with apples, blueberries, cinnamon, coffee ice cream, and chocolate-caramel milkshake. It’s silky and light-bodied in the mouth, with a heaping slab of dry oak, peanut shells, walnuts, pepper, cacao nibs, and orange peel. The oak persists on the finish, which is a bit abrupt.
Whiskey Acres Bottled in Bond Bourbon (Batch 1), 50%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $50
Cinnamon Red Hots, peanut shells, almonds, burnt sugar, pencil shavings, and fresh ears of corn on the nose. There’s more cinnamon on the palate, as well as milk chocolate, Goobers, orange oil, a pretty floral character, and plenty of chewy oak; a few drops of water straighten up the balance. The finish is all about the oak and cinnamon, warming and sweet. (2,100 bottles)
Broken Barrel Mizunara Blended American Whiskey, 50%
Blended American Whiskey | $50
A blend of 5 year old Kentucky and 4 year old Indiana corn whiskeys, finished on mizunara oak staves using Broken Barrel’s proprietary process. The nose is unusual, with candied fruit, grape Kool-Aid, blueberries, fresh coconut shavings, Popsicle stick, and a grassy character. Muted tropical fruit vies with oak on the palate, which is silky; soon chile pepper and oak dominate. It finishes with peppery heat and sweet oak. (6,600 bottles)
One of two single barrel bourbons distilled in 2015, this one selected by Firestone & Robertson co-founder Troy Robertson. The nose is somewhat green, but offers notes of iced tea, candied orange, graham crackers, and antique closet. The palate has flavors of dark chocolate, tea leaves, roasted nuts, mint, wild herbs, and barrel char. The finish is barrel-forward, with more char, drying tobacco, and roasted coffee beans.
Initially aged in first-fill bourbon barrels, then finished in Pedro Ximénez sherry casks. On the nose, ripe peaches, apricots, vanilla, caramel, and mildly smoky sherry surface. The slightly viscous palate offers more sherry, wood spices, cinnamon, salted caramel, oak, peanuts, and a hint of salt. The finish is medium in length, herbal, and drying, with sea salt.
A combination of first-fill and refill bourbon casks was employed for maturation, followed by 6 months of finishing in first-fill oloroso sherry butts. The nose proclaims youthfulness, with metallic notes and a hint of yeast, but the sherry casks provide walnut, old leather, tobacco, and orange. Sherry, freshly planed wood, white pepper, and red currants on the palate. Plums dipped in sherry on the finish.
Hints of lime, new oak, and new leather on the nose, as well as licorice candy. Well-textured—soft and fairly smooth—on the palate, but with only faint notes of toffee, praline, pineapple, and orange slices, all struggling to emerge. There is also an overarching youthful overtone of new wood. In general, the whiskey seems thin and lacking any great depth or vibrant flavors.