The Last Drop Distillers 50 year old Signature Blend Colin Scott, 47.2%
Blended Scotch Whisky | $4,250
Mellow soft fruits, honey, and barley crispness, with fire-roasted marshmallow, caramel apple, orange-scented cedar balls, panna cotta, ground ginger, peppercorn, and chocolate on the nose. The palate opens with honey and creamy puddings, then a depth charge explodes, radiating sweet orange warmth, followed by soft ripe fruits, caramel, and barley sugar. Gentle oak and mouth-coating fruits finish this stunning composition. (500 bottles; 125 for the U.S.)
Barrell Cask-Strength Blend of Straight (Batch 029), 57.94%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $90
Initially soft and reticent on the nose, with water revealing the sweet maltiness of a vanilla shake, as well as buttered toast, almonds, and melon. A smooth creamy palate shows honey, blueberry pie, and vanilla ice cream. Baking spice and more pie notes emerge, along with toasted walnuts, bitter coffee, chocolate, and a finish of cinnamon-sprinkled vanilla custard and baking spice. A hot one, even with water, but loaded with well-integrated flavors.
Honey, viennoiserie, and floral top notes combine with baked orange, ground hazelnut, baking spices, and dunnage floor to produce a solid nose with plenty of promise. Toffee, spices, and Dundee cake lead to an imposing spicy peak, followed by flavors of malty drinks, peppery spices, dark-roasted grains, and Smucker’s Magic Shell ice cream topping. Powerfully good, with a long spicy send-off. This oozes class and sophistication. (750 bottles for the U.S.)
Russell’s Reserve 13 year old Barrel Proof Kentucky Straight, 57.4%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $70
Refined maturity, but with plenty of vivacity. After the first whiff of sweet-scented antique oak, flavors of cherry pie, bubble gum, banana flan, honeyed vanilla, and maple syrup emerge, all tempered by rich herbs and mature oak. A formidable structure allows it to hold water ably, and brings out apple pie and blackberry tart against wood and spice, with a graceful, restrained oak influence.
Distilled from barley grown on eight western and central Islay farms in 2011. Light tropical fruit notes of kiwi and melon, along with pine nuts, ripe banana, lemon peel, and fresh hay, with excellent minerality and some salinity. A honeyed, refined palate with mature wood notes, espresso, porridge, peaches, and apricots. The finish offers vanilla cream, cinnamon spice, dark chocolate shavings, caramel, peach, and a dash of sea salt.
Fresh herbs greet the nose, followed by notes of marmalade, birthday cake, roasted peanuts, and musty antique shop. Well-tempered sweetness on the palate—a basketful of fresh blueberries, fresh peaches and golden raisins—with lemon iced tea, root beer, sugared espresso, and generous spice. A rich finish offers coffee ice cream, dark chocolate, allspice, French toast, and sweet banana. A superbly structured, complex whiskey that makes for very easy sipping.
Named after the 3rd zodiac sign of Indian astrology—but then of course you knew that—the nose has red cherry laces, ground black pepper, and hints of ginger, resin, and toffee apple. The flavors are colossal; beginning with warm fruity caramels and sweet vanilla desserts, it shows off burnt sugar toppings of crème brûlée, Seville orange peel, indulgent dark chocolate, generous layers of maltiness, and delicious mocha notes. Quite spectacular. (3,000 bottles for the U.S.)
Craigellachie 24 year old Exceptional Cask Single Cask (No. 4127013182), 52.2%
Single Malt Scotch | $300
Matured in a single oloroso sherry butt. Quite fruity on the nose, with notes of kiwi, juicy mango, fruit cocktail, blueberry pie, lemon bars, and strawberry shortcake, in addition to cinnamon graham crackers and raisin bread. The palate is lively, with cinnamon, tangy lemon-lime citrus, and orange scone. Good length on the finish with lemon-poppyseed muffin. (474 bottles)
Distilled from barley grown on Balvenie’s Dufftown estate and dried at the distillery over heather plucked from nearby Burnhead Wood. Tropical fragrance of lime and guava, refined by balanced minerality. Spiced honey greets the palate, followed by bitter chocolate and a deeper note of baked orange. Long and spiced on the finish of honey, lemon, vanilla, and a sprinkling of white pepper. All the elegance of Speyside, with added depth and complexity. (1,200 bottles for the U.S.)
Four Gate The Kelvin Collaboration III (Batch 12), 61.85%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $199
Part of Four Gate’s partnership with Kelvin Cooperage to create custom barrels for finishing. This expression blends two high-corn bourbons—a 9 year old and 12 year old—and finishes them in casks that first held Pedro Ximénez sherry and then rum. Aromas of pears and peach tart combine with sage and rickhouse floor. Smooth nutty sweetness on a palate of chocolate and black cherry, finishing with fruit notes that ride atop espresso and spice.
After 7 years in port and cognac, the extra year of sauternes cask finishing wraps an attractive layer of yellow fruits around this whisky. Sweet melon, vanilla, honeysuckle, apple pie, and golden syrup, with base notes of cranberry, cherry, and allspice. Incredibly smooth and silky mouthfeel with lush flavors of apple, golden sugar, tangy clementine peel, lime zest, and a shiver of peppery spices. A real gem. (18 bottles for the U.S.)
Blue Note 17 year old Barrel Proof Straight (Barrel No. 12841), 54.45%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $175
Herbs, spice, mint, and saddle leather quickly reveal this whiskey’s maturity. As it rests in the glass, vanilla ice cream emerges, along with melon and caffé latte. It’s hot and muscular, but its aged and herbal flavors soon cede ground to melted milk chocolate and cinnamon-topped cappuccino. A thoroughly pleasurable melding of chocolate, herbs, and cinnamon spice, with oak influence in tasteful balance.
Rich, malty, and bursting with pot still spices, time enables the appearance of deeper layers of toffee, Brazil nut, cherry, sultana cake, espresso foam, and the aromas of a dark cigar wrapper. Mouth-filling flavors of dark caramel, nuts, orange, clove, milk chocolate, and toasted almond, with firecracker pot still spices. A drying finish with malt, amaretti, and espresso. This is epic stuff. (1,500 bottles for the U.S.)
Part of a trio of 20-cl bottles, initially released without tasting notes or maturation details to present an open journey through a “spectrum” of flavors (the reveal came earlier this year). Sherry and American oak-matured Spectra 01 offers notes of hay, lemon zest, mint, pineapple, and melon. The palate reveals darker fruit notes as well as baking spice, chocolate-chip cookies, and tiramisu, leading to a creamy finish of honeyed pastries and angel-food cake.
Ardbeg’s Feis Ile 2021 release was made available to the general public in June. Matured in heavily charred bourbon barrels to create a “scorching” effect. Fragrant peat and malt, dried seashells, brine, sea salt, and dockside wood on the nose. Richly layered on the palate—charcoal, iodine, and surprisingly balanced peat influence, considering this whisky’s name. Baked apple and a hint of bitter chocolate, cooked bananas, and dark berries on a long finish.
Mossburn 10 year old Cask Strength 2008 (Distilled at Benrinnes), 57.1%
Single Malt Scotch | $100
Poached honeyed pears, vanilla cream, melon slices, and an undernote of minerality beneath the lilting sweetness. Delicate notes of golden honey, baking spice, ginger, and Christmas cake on the palate, with water softening the edges and bringing Nilla wafers, almond, and Christmas spice. A delicate veneer with power, depth, and complexity beneath. This one would seem like a summer sipper, but tastes like a winter warmer—and a very good one at that.
Vanilla custard, pie crust, peanut brittle, rich oak, dried oranges, old leather, and raspberry jam on the nose. Loads of sweetness on the palate, with pecan pie, dark chocolate, brown sugar, PayDay bar, and cherry cordial. The finish is long and spicy, with pine and mint fragrance alongside nutty almond notes. Add water to unlock a lovely mix of fruit, nuts, chocolate, and spice.
Barrell Cask Strength Blend of Straight (Batch 028), 54.43%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $90
Richly layered aromas of honeycomb, varnish, cola, licorice, and earth pour forth, with nicely balanced cedary oak and a sprinkle of cocoa powder. On the velvety palate there is a bounty of delicious orchard fruits—Golden Delicious apple and ripe peach—underscored by beeswax candle and furniture polish that suggest some older whiskey in the mix. On the finish, licorice and earth rise above lip-smacking citrusy sweetness.