George Dickel 11 year old Bottled in Bond (Distilled in Fall 2008), 50%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $40
Lush, rich, and deep from the start, with blackberry, cherry, spiced plum, cinnamon, mint, and maple syrup aromas. Even more density on the palate, which has deep flavors of cocoa powder, Raisinets, roasted walnuts, cinnamon, mint, maple syrup, and chewy oak. Extraordinary length on the finish, which carries the chocolate, dark fruit, spice, mint, and rich oak notes for minutes. A phenomenal follow-up to its 13 year old antecedent, our 2019 Whisky of the Year.
Amrut 10 year old Greedy Angels Bourbon Cask-Finished Single Malt (2019 Release), 55%
Indian Whisky | $800
An intense and enthralling whisky on the nose, with honey, brown sugar, and caramel, then molasses, cooked fruit, vanilla, shredded orange peel, chocolate, and baking spices, yet it still retains a barley freshness. This elegantly carries its potent ABV with aplomb, producing a palate of baked orange, dried pineapple, malt, milk chocolate, and a cascade of spice, sugar, caramelized fruits, and toasted oak. Simply incredible. (900 bottles, 300 for U.S.) Collectible
A basket of berries—blue, black, and rasp—plus brown sugar, dark chocolate, iced tea, and walnuts in syrup on the nose. The berries carry through to the palate, though it’s more chocolate-oriented, with cocoa powder, coffee bean, and peanut butter-swirled brownies. It’s full and deep, and remarkably smooth without water, though a drop or two doesn’t go amiss. The finish is full and lengthy, with chocolate, roasted walnuts, rich oak, and a hint of spice. Outstanding. (8,340 bottles)
Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch B517 was our Whisky of the Year in 2017, and this latest release continues the tradition. The nose exudes spice, rich chocolate, and caramel, followed by a palate that’s loaded with spice, herbs, vanilla, and more chocolate. Water enhances the spice, and also brings out an espresso note. A spice-filled finish is rich and chocolaty. Water enhances it all, but even without, it’s superbly balanced and rich.
Four Gate The Kelvin Collaboration II Cognac and Rum Cask-Finished Bourbon, 63.2%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $200
A very intriguing nose suggests brewed sweet tea, caramel, and eclectic fruits that span blackberry, cherry, and bruised apples, with flickers of baking spice and toasted almond. The palate is somewhat jammy, as sweet cooked fruit—damsons and currants—come sprinkled among more spice. Really beguiling and moreish with its dark fruit, perfect burnt sugar edge, and tea-like tannin on the finish. (2,474 bottles)
Knob Creek 15 year old Kentucky Straight Bourbon, 50%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $100
One sniff is like opening a box of chocolates—plenty of different aromas, from raspberry filling to pecans to spice, but all suffused with cacao, an impression borne out by the rich, full palate. Think dark chocolate torte, cocoa-dusted truffles, bits of semi-sweet baker’s chocolate broken off the bar and snuck into the mouth. More cocoa powder, toasted nuts, and polished oak on the finish, which is shot through with cinnamon and pepper.
Wild Turkey 17 year old Master’s Keep Bottled in Bond Kentucky Straight Bourbon, 50%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $175
Oak always leads the character of well-aged bourbon, sometimes dominating it, but here the balance is just right. The nose gives an impression of sweet syrupy fruit, like candied orange peel and cherries jubilee; there’s also creamy flan, dusty spice, cocoa powder, and leather bookbindings. Richly oaked and dense with flavor, the palate has dark chocolate, roasted walnuts, cola, black currant jam, and peppermint. It finishes generously with mint-flavored dark chocolate, blackberry jam, and coffee bean. Skip the water. (14,400 bottles)
Complex from the start, with a nose of roasted nuts and dark fruit—blueberry pie, grape jelly—along with bundled herbs, fresh-brewed iced tea, and weathered barn boards. Mint, cinnamon, pepper, concord grape jelly, peanuts, and black tea swirl on the palate, which is full and robust thanks to the absence of chill-filtration. Without water it finishes hot, but the oak, roasted nut, and tiramisu flavors help retain balance. Editors' Choice
Kilchoman 14 year old Impex Cask Evolution (Cask No. 18/2006), 53%
Single Malt Scotch | $220
Sweet, smoky, meaty peat aromas mingle with vanilla saltwater taffy, blueberry, dried
ginger, and bright bubble gum. The palate is consistent, juxtaposing fruity
spirit—orange, lemon, strawberry, blueberry—with savory peat smoke. Vanilla, nuts,
black pepper, cinnamon, and well-integrated oak are also at play. The finish lingers
with the sweet-savory pleasure of a cigar, nutty oak, spice, and peat. Does well with
water, showing excellent development. (208 bottles)
Cragganmore Prima & Ultima 48 year old 1971 (Cask No. 2301), 43.7%
Single Malt Scotch | $25,899
Rich sherried fruit aromas, machine oil, camphor, coal dust, marzipan, and freshly
polished oak. Full and sweet on the early palate, then drying, with black coffee,
licorice, and the distinctive flavor of coal. A long finish, with dark chocolate and
cherry liqueur. No negative oakiness despite its age. Superb! Price is for entire Prima
& Ultima Collection, of which this whisky is a part. (352 bottles) £20,000
Port Ellen Prima & Ultima 40 year old 1979 (Cask No. 6422), 51.2%
Single Malt Scotch | $25,899
The nose opens with coal-fire smoke and musty orchard fruits, which freshen in time.
Peaches and mandarins, a hint of brine, and lit cigar. Remarkably vivid orange notes
on the palate, with coal, sea salt, and black tea. Black pepper, tar, and persistent tangy
orange notes in the long finish. Price is for entire Prima & Ultima Collection, of
which this whisky is a part. (436 bottles) £20,000
After marrying in sauternes casks for many years, this bourbon-matured 1991
distillate has become epic stuff. Aromas of dried apricot, cooked apple, roasted
aromatic spices, red grape, candied peel, dried fig, smoked butter, and singed
fruitcake. The palate purrs like a contented cat. It’s dark and syrupy, with treacle,
cooked plum, a touch of peppery spice, and a medicinal finish of cough drops and
aniseed. (4,000 bottles) €500
The sweet vanilla, almond, and coconut aromas don’t prepare you for the chocolaty
richness of the palate, but don’t stress; just enjoy the journey. It starts with Almond
Joy, crème brûlée with fresh blackberries, nougat, and marzipan, then progresses to
cacao nibs, dried cranberries and cherries, and a striking amaretto flavor. Everything
wraps up neatly—and lengthily—with cocoa powder, black pepper, mocha, and
roasted walnuts. Don’t be shy about watering generously; this can quite a bit.
Brownie batter, toasted almonds, maple syrup, orange peel, ginger, raspberries, and
strawberries on the nose, with a touch of iced tea. The palate is oily and rich with
fruit, especially after water is added; orange marmalade and cherry soda mingle with
semi-sweet chocolate and chicory coffee. Chicory, mocha, polished oak, and cocoa
powder on the finish. Add water for more prominent fruit notes without losing the
rich character or stellar balance.
A sweet and enticing nose of marzipan, crème anglaise, blueberry compote, cooked
cherry, brown sugar, baking spice, and vanilla bean. The palate showcases rich
chocolate, with heaps of dark and cooked fruit: blackberry and blueberry preserves,
Luxardo cherries, as well as cinnamon, dried ginger, allspice, and roasted
walnuts—everything seamlessly interwoven. Lengthy on the finish, with mocha, dark
chocolate, polished oak, and white pepper.
The latest addition to Glenmorangie’s Bond House No. 1 collection is 23 years old. The nose is sweet and inviting, with honey, ginger, vanilla fudge, milk chocolate, and nectarines. Very smooth on the palate: peaches in cream, more milk chocolate, caramel, then spicy apricots. Long in the finish, with orange rind and a hint of chile.
Honey, vanilla, poached pears in cream, driftwood bonfires, and a sprinkle of wood spices comprise a clean, focused, and well-balanced nose. A golden and silky palate of sweet honey, vanilla, white chocolate, and lemon zest, with plenty of body. Enter caramel; the smoke cuts to the front, outstripping aromatic spices, orchard fruit, and baked citrus flavors. Compelling and moreish: drink whenever it’s raining in Glasgow and you can’t go wrong.
Bardstown Bourbon Co. Château de Laubade Armagnac Barrel-Finished Bourbon, 59.2%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $125
Thanks to its finishing casks, there are dried and syrupy fruits on the nose—cherry cordial candies, raisins, figs—along with sugared pecans, maple syrup, candied ginger, and leather. That finishing asserts itself even more strongly on the palate, which is fruity and sweet, becoming better integrated with water: cherries, blackberry and raspberry jams, figs, raisins, pecans, milk chocolate, ginger, white pepper, and coffee bean. Incredible length on the finish, with more dried fruit, leather, hazelnuts, ginger, and white pepper. (1,974 bottles)
Barrell Blend of Straight Bourbons (Batch 024), 56.95%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $90
A blend of straight bourbons from Tennessee, Kentucky, and Indiana, aged 9 to 15 years. Wild herbs, dried apricots, and red fruits punctuate the nose, while the palate is smooth but complex, offering spice and refined sweetness, along with notes of tobacco leaf, graphite, semi-sweet chocolate, and dried red fruit. The finish is lengthy, led by dark berry flavors and followed by undernotes of chocolate, toasted almonds, and baking spice.
Larceny’s barrel proof expression, released in three batches annually (January, May, and September) is a treat worth waiting for. A fragrant herbal nose offers notes of fennel, dark chocolate, peppermint, and light coconut. The palate is notably smooth, with flavors of chocolate, cooked dark fruit, black pepper, and generous spice, all underpinned by balanced oak. Water smooths it out even more, bringing out candied orange, pepper spice, and bitter chocolate.
The nose is fruity and deep, with cherry cough drop, grape candy, strawberry jam, buttered pecans, iced tea, dusty baking spice, and a hint of tobacco barn; water brings out fresher fruit, plus toasted grain and brown sugar. Mouth-filling and chewy, the palate has dimension and more berries and cherries, sweet with syrup; water focuses the profile on nuts and chocolate. The finish has peppery oak, chocolate-covered coffee bean, and nuts, with quickly fading dark fruit.
Three Chord 15 year old Whiskey Drummer Kentucky Straight Bourbon, 58.95%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $190
On the nose, figs, nuts, and integrated spice mingle with caramel-swirl brownie and tobacco barn; candy apple and grape Kool-Aid emerge with water. The palate has nutty, sweet, savory, and spicy flavors in abundance: dark chocolate-covered mint, Cherry Coke, cinnamon, pepper, allspice, roasted pecans, maple syrup, and polished oak. It’s consistent into the finish, which has cinnamon, black pepper, mint, dark chocolate, and lengthy varnish. Seamless to the last and, for a whiskey this mature, no water is necessary. (2,500 bottles)
Fragrant and inviting on the nose, with a juxtaposition of floral and fruit notes—rose petals, fresh cherries—then saddle leather, spice, mint oil, tea leaves, and almonds. Those aromas are echoed on the palate’s robust Gobstopper of flavors: dark chocolate-covered cherries, cinnamon, maple syrup, Italian plums, walnuts, and undertones of mint. More dark chocolate, mint, and almonds on the finish, which has remarkable length. Water is transformative, bringing out more fruit, but with or without it, this is an outstanding whiskey.
New Riff Backsetter Peated Backset Bottled in Bond Kentucky Straight Rye, 50%
Rye Whiskey | $50
Deep, complex, and ever-developing flavor that doesn’t quit. The nose shows cherry Robitussin, leather sofa, old books, polished oak, and a refined sweet nuttiness, like Jordan almonds. Chewy and oak-driven on the palate, with cherry cough syrup, roasted pecans, dried ginger, white and black pepper, and ample oak; flavors of burnt ends and burnt marshmallow hint at the peat—which comes from the use of peated malt whiskey backset—but could just as easily be mistaken for barrel char. The peppery, ashy, chocolaty finish keeps going and going. (2,250 bottles)
Blended in Co. Clare, this concoction of rare Irish whiskeys from 1991 is an utter delight. Honeydew, orange frangipane, rose Turkish delight, vanilla icing, and beguiling floral perfumes. Golden syrup, orange oils, vanilla, and caramel, sprinkled with lemon and lime zest; this has a slightly waxy mouthfeel that melts to become creamy and silken, with heavenly spun sugar and candied orange slice flavors. (60 bottles)
This latest unpeated vintage has aromas of maple syrup, peanut brittle, sesame snaps, aged balsamic, stretchy cherry taffy, toasted coconut, and snuff tobacco. It’s 6 years old, comprising a primary maturation in refill red wine barrels and a 2-year finish in cream sherry casks, producing a syrupy-textured dram with baked desserts of plum and orange, brown sugar, ginger pudding, vanilla, chocolate-covered nuts, and a burnt sugar finish. (2,400 bottles)
Knob Creek 12 year old Kentucky Straight Bourbon, 50%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $60
Coca-Cola, rich spice, dark chocolate, roasted walnuts, licorice root, maple syrup, Luxardo cherries, and varnish on the nose. Without water, the palate is chewy and full of puckering tannins; add a few drops to unleash dark chocolate, candied ginger, cooked berries, tea leaf, walnuts in maple syrup, black pepper, and a hint of orange oil. The lengthy finish offers chocolate-covered cherries, black tea leaves, and white pepper. Layered and engaging. Editors' Choice
An exceptional blend from first-fill American oak casks, which has Glenburgie
whisky at its heart. Dry oak, Rolos, cantaloupe, dried mango strips, papaya, and
cinnamon on the nose. Rewarding and weighty, with caramel, orange, raspberry,
layers of spice, and dark toffee, with a concentrated fruitiness and a smear of spices
leading to a warm, dark, lengthy finish. (Travel Retail exclusive)
Cranberry, red apple, candied peel, glacé cherry, red licorice, and black pepper, with
heather honey, florals, and festive spices on the nose. A fruity concoction of cherry lip
balm, cranberry sauce, caramel, peppercorn, and a hint of apple, the fruit sails through
as the spice and sugar fade. Water softens the impact, but widens the flavor spectrum
to embrace plum, orange, walnut, and cranberry. Price per 500 ml. (912 bottles) €490
Gordon & MacPhail Private Collection 1979 (Distilled at Glenlivet; Cask No. 19237), 54%
Single Malt Scotch | $2200
The nose yields tangerines, linseed, marzipan, ginger, and honey, followed by a mild menthol note. Rounded and chewy on the palate, with lively orchard fruit flavors, turning to slightly bitter Seville orange and light chile. Licorice root and tannins develop in the very long, citric finish. (62 bottles; U.S. exclusive)
Deep notes of wood polish on the floral nose, with toffee and a whiff of cloves. The palate is slick, with Christmas pudding, orange, caramel, oak, and dark chocolate. Black coffee, citrus fruit, ginger, and black pepper in the lengthy finish.
Bottled to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Ardbeg Committee. Woodsmoke on the nose, with coal fires, cedar, canned fruit cocktail, and mild antiseptic. Supple and sweet on the palate, with orchard fruits and an emerging wave of peppery, prickly peat smoke. Long in the sooty finish. Lively, with chile paste.
Full-on Ardbeg on the nose! Hot tar, lemon juice, charcuterie, thick peat smoke, ginger, and a hint of Jaffa oranges. The palate is oily and well-integrated, with black pepper, coal tar soap, cloves, vanilla, and orchard fruits. Spicy in the lengthy finish, with more tar, peat, and salty oak.
Laphroaig Càirdeas Port & Wine Casks (2020 Release), 52%
Single Malt Scotch | $100
The annual bottling for 2020 was matured in bourbon barrels and second-fill ruby port barriques, married together, and finished in red wine casks. Ripe strawberries, iodine, and peat on the nose. Red berry jam in time. Flinty, with sea salt. Creamy on the palate, with caramel, hot tar, sweet red wine, burning peat, antiseptic, chile, and brine. Licorice, pepper, and drying peat in the long, satisfying finish.
This new recipe Monster brings aromas of waxed lemon and firm peat smoke layered with charcoal, iodine, Band-Aids, custard creams, and blowtorched peaks of lemon meringue pie. Vanilla, fudge, and white chocolate on the palate quickly succumb to a dustbowl of aromatic peat smoke bristling with spices. Lemon bonbons and honeydew leave hints of cocoa to finish. This type of monster you do want to find under your bed.
It’s all about the grain with this whiskey, made with two high-rye bourbons and a wheated bourbon. Honey Nut Cheerios, strawberry shortcake, lemon tart, almonds, pistachios, candied ginger, and a touch of coconut cream on the nose. The palate keeps the mashbill in play, with sweetness and warm pastry notes, but showcases the barrel’s best qualities: chocolate, cinnamon, and integrated spice. Consistent into the finish, which is peppery and warm with cinnamon-laced dark chocolate, nuts, and toasted cereals. (30,600 bottles)
Doc Swinson’s 15 year old Exploratory Cask Series Kentucky Straight Bourbon (Barrel No. 18), 59.1%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $150
Richly oaked, its maturity is evident in the walnut, cigar box, burnt sugar, toasted marshmallow, and waxy furniture polish notes. On the palate, it pours rich, dense, and chewy with sweet treacle balanced against tobacco leaf. Mouth-coating and warming with generous proof, figgy fruit, and cinnamon on the mid-palate, culminating in a finish of bitter chocolate and fine wood tannins. (2,600 bottles)
Knob Creek 9 year old Kentucky Straight Bourbon, 50%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $30
Candied cherries and oranges on the nose, along with a note of fresh blueberry and a blast of cinnamon. Smooth on the front palate, with flavors of cinnamon gum, cooked dark berries, old leather, and dunnage warehouse floor. Water brings out chocolate and vanilla, as well as dark fruits and white pepper. A lengthy finish offers savory herbs, bitter chocolate, fresh coffee beans, and roasted walnuts. Great texture and well-balanced throughout.
Old Fitzgerald 9 year old Bottled in Bond Kentucky Straight Bourbon (Spring 2020 Edition), 50%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $90
Grain takes pride of place here, with kettle corn, honey peanuts, and corn muffin on the nose, as well as milk chocolate, licorice root, blueberry jam, cinnamon, allspice, and brown sugar. More sweet grain and nuts on the palate, along with blueberry, fresh ginger, cinnamon, and a hint of mint. Add some water to lift the veil on the more subtle flavors. The rounded finish continues with nutty sweetness, milk chocolate, and well-integrated oak. Excellent balance.
Sweetens Cove 13 year old Tennessee Straight (Batch 1), 51.09%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $200
Created by master blender Marianne Eaves for a group led by former NFL star Peyton Manning and tennis great Andy Roddick. Aromas of breakfast cereal, bananas, dried strawberries, leather, and integrated oak on the nose, and a smooth palate of Grape Nuts, allspice, bitter chocolate, pipe tobacco, and earthiness. The finish offers powdered sugar, cracked pepper, and baking spice. Future releases of Sweetens Cove are planned—very good news indeed. (14,000 bottles)
This is a colossal rye, the result of 2 years in first-fill and refill red wine barrels, and 2 years in malaga casks. The nose suggests a thick, velvety dram of dark rye bread, cinnamon, nutmeg, rosemary, prune juice, sultana, and pecan pie, with herbal undertones. On the palate there is dark smooth toffee, stewed plum, bramble, and spun sugar stalked by ginger, pepper, and cinnamon. Oh, the Manhattans you will make. (2,400 bottles)
Amrut 10 year old Greedy Angels Peated Rum Cask-Finished Single Malt (2019 Release), 57.1%
Indian Whisky | $950
The smoke on the nose is comfortingly thick and peaty, layered over cooked peaches in syrup, mango, and hints of ripening strawberry, becoming almost gum-like, with a back wall of oak and mild dry spices. On the palate, intense fruitiness assails the senses, with bitter plain chocolate, spices, and smoke. Be kind and add a generous dash of water, or prepare your taste buds for a pummeling from the cask-strength alcohol. (900 bottles, 150 for U.S.)
Chichibu Ichiro’s Malt U.S. Edition (2019 Release), 55.5%
Japanese Whisky | $275
Trademark rich, ripe fruitiness abounds here with a mashbill of malts consisting of Braemar, peated Concerto, and floor-malted Tipple. Fruit hard candy, pear, melon skin, green apple, and grassy turf smoke on the nose. It’s a big, juicy whisky on the palate with tangy citrus, pear, vanilla, and caramel, sideswiped by pepper and clove. Ride it out to discover Skittles, honeydew, and a lengthy finish of Golden Delicious apple. (1,556 bottles) Collectible
With its nose of honey, green apple, lemon, and fragrant spices, this kicks off Compass Box’s 20th anniversary celebration. Blended by lead whisky maker James Saxon, it has an unctuous, luxurious texture, malty and sweet, with dark toffee, gingersnaps, cinnamon, lemon zest, dried tropical fruits, and vanilla cream. The gentle spices ebb and flow, finishing on a last hurrah of dark cookies and vanilla. (2,400 bottles for U.S.) Collectible
Ardbeg’s 2020 limited-edition cask-strength Committee Release was matured mainly
in pinot noir red wine casks from New Zealand, a country notable for its sheep, like
Islay. Woodsmoke on the nose, with coal fires, cedar, and canned fruit cocktail in a
mild antiseptic solution. Supple and sweet on the palate, with orchard fruits and an
emerging wave of peppery prickly peat smoke. Long in the sooty finish. Lively, with
Sweet peat smoke and heather on the nose, with light ginger and smoked fish drizzled
with lemon. Oily and rounded on the palate, with more sweet peat, lemon, and sea
salt. Very long in the slightly waxy finish, with peat and licorice. Price is for entire
Prima & Ultima Collection, of which this whisky is a part. (1,013 bottles) £20,000
Fresh fruits and white pepper on the nose, with brine and rock pools. Very little
smokiness. The palate is also fruit forward—ripe red apples and pears—with barley
sugar. The peat is now much more apparent, along with prickly spice. Mildly
medicinal. Salt and black pepper in the long finish. Price is for entire Prima & Ultima
Collection, of which this whisky is a part. (721 bottles) £20,000
Forty Creek Three Grain Twentieth Anniversary, 40%
Canadian | $38
This final reprise of one of Forty Creek’s original whiskies is one juicy, succulent
dram. Fruity hints of red grapes on the nose mingle with sherry-sweetened pipe
tobacco and herbal earthiness. Sizzling peppers bolster a palate rich in nutty waxy
barley, soft oily corn, and dry dusty rye. Suggestions of halva and citrus zest lead into
a long, briskly spicy herbal finish.
Pastry shop aromas permeate the nose: blueberry crumble with crusted brown sugar,
fresh-baked muffin, boysenberry syrup, and fragrant peaches, nectarines, and orange
peel. The palate pops with lively citrus, a surprising but not unwelcome element that
plays well with toasted almond, chestnut honey, and nutty oak flavors. It finishes with
roasted peanuts, bittersweet chocolate, and tea leaf, still retaining peppy citrus.
The unusual cask finish lends a minty herbal note throughout, from the nose—which
is honeyed and sweet, also showcasing milk chocolate, peanuts, candy apple, maple
syrup, and a whiff of licorice—to the palate and finish. Overall, this serves as a great
example of the importance of texture in whiskey; the mouthfeel is oleaginous and
almost fatty, gliding over the palate and shedding flavors of chocolate-covered cherry,
white pepper, gingerbread, and roasted walnuts. The finish is zingy with ginger, white
pepper, and tingling peppermint, buttressed by bittersweet mocha, cherry, and dark
Initially, a fleeting aroma of farmyard, followed by furniture polish, spice, apple peel, and cocktail cherries. Smooth on the palate, with dried fruit, chewy oak, raisins, and more cocktail cherries. Spicy dark berries, ginger, and licorice in the finish.
The nose is strikingly different than what is typical of Chivas Regal; aside from tequila, there are a lot of floral notes, perfumed soaps, Jaffa orange, and a little pepper. Pear and tequila notes on the palate reverberate around a central hub of spice before sweetness breaks through, surfing a wave of orange, grapefruit juice, and fresh green apple. A very smooth drink; this is sweet, spicy, and invigorating.
Nostalgic aromas of wafers, white chocolate, hints of spice, and vanilla ice cream make this a mouthwatering choice. Sweet and creamy, there are rich flavors of vanilla panna cotta, candied fruit, pear, apricot, and white chocolate, adding caramel, custard creams, and sliced banana toward the end. Inspired by great blenders from many generations ago, this is astonishingly good for pleasurable drinking and mixing.
Chocolate-covered cherries, grape hard candy, iced tea, peppermint stick, and white pepper on the nose; with time, brown sugar and toffee emerge. The palate is chewy without water, velvety, and replete with dark, mature flavors: concord grape jelly, Cherry Coke, dark chocolate, roasted nuts, white pepper, and varnish. Seamless from start to rewarding finish. (51,000 bottles)
New Riff Backsetter Peated Backset Bottled in Bond Kentucky Straight Bourbon, 50%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $50
Made in the sour mash style, by adding in some of the backset—the liquid that’s strained from the spent mash after distillation. This particular backset is from a mash of peated malted barley, and the result is an earthy whiskey with spiced accents that meld with sweeter flavors of candied grapes and dark fruits. The finish is long, smooth, and rich, with back notes of spice and cracked pepper. (2,250 bottles)
Old Dominick Huling Station Very Small Batch Bourbon, 50%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $40
Swirling aromas in the glass make it hard to pick out distinct notes, but a few emerge: mint leaves, leather bookbinding, raisins, grape jelly, and—after some time and water—caramel and candied peanuts. Light and silky in the mouth, a few drops of water make the flavors pop: cherry pie filling, berry and grape jams, chocolate, polished oak, and maple syrup. The finish has dark fruit, dark chocolate, and lengthy mint and tea leaf. (18,000 bottles)
Sam Houston 14 year old Kentucky Straight Bourbon (Batch MKT-1), 49%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $120
Dripping with dark fruit aromas of blackberry, blueberry, raspberry, and black grapes. There’s also dark chocolate, leather, old barn boards, and cedar chest; everything hints at maturity and richness on the palate, which is jammy with dark fruit and shot through with bittersweet chocolate, coffee bean, polished oak, and well-integrated spice. It finishes with more of the same. Give this a few minutes in the glass before sipping, and it will open beautifully. (6,000 bottles)
A reluctant nose, with aromas that are difficult to discern, although a few emerge: white Necco wafers, cinnamon Red Hots, leafy herbs, and—with water—blueberry jam. The palate is chock-full of mint candy, even mint toothpaste, plus black pepper and tannic oak; water brings out more blueberry notes. The lengthy finish, laced with tobacco, has more mint and oak, black pepper, and dark fruit.
Spice forms the foundation, from start to finish. Allspice, cloves, and cinnamon Red Hots are interwoven with caramel-coated shortbread, dark chocolate, and walnuts on the nose. Zingy and lively on the palate, with cinnamon, allspice, cloves, sandalwood, nuts, and semi-sweet chocolate. With water the flavors deepen, adding burnt sugar, vanilla bean, orange oil, and roasted nuts. The spices fade with a slow burn, mingling with sturdy oak and coffee bean. (3,000 bottles)
Highly fragrant and floral, this single pot still and single malt blend exudes notes of vanilla fudge, lemon and lime zest, fresh fruit salad, watermelon, and green herbs. The full-bodied palate blasts a comet of orange across a night sky of vanilla, light spices, sponge cake, apricot tart, and stone fruit pastries, with a finish of spice and creamy orange fondant. If anything, it’s even more expressive with water. (3,500 bottles, 750 for U.S.)
Chichibu Ichiro’s Malt On The Way Japanese Single Malt (2019 Release), 51.5%
Japanese Whisky | $335
Drawn from bourbon casks, refill chibidaru quarter casks, and mizunara-head hogsheads, this has barley, dried apricot, finely ground pepper, and sugared apple on the nose. Wafting peat smoke aromas are accentuated by dilution. Incredibly fruity with plenty of body, the initial apple, pear, and spike of pepper are overtaken by golden syrup, vanilla, pastry, candied fruits, and fruity desserts. Stick with cask strength: Water releases gooseberry sharpness and quells the spices. (11,000 bottles, 288 for U.S.)
Mars Komagatake Double Cellars Japanese Single Malt (2019 Release), 47%
Japanese Whisky | $165
Distilled at the Shinshu distillery in Nagano, and matured both there and at the aging cellar on Yakushima Island, this whisky has a compelling balance of cask influences. Aromas of honey, cherry gummy bears, red apple, heady floral scents, banana muffin, vanilla essence, menthol, and feisty aromatic spices. The palate takes a journey through honey, grapefruit, lime zest, Honey Smacks cereal, red apple, playful spices, then more sherry fruit matched by ginger, clove, and pepper. (3,659 bottles)
Mars Komagatake Limited Edition Japanese Single Malt (2019 Release), 48%
Japanese Whisky | $145
If whisky were a warm hug, this would be it. The sweet nose is rich with a lovely fruitiness of satsuma, Seville orange marmalade, yuzu, and vanilla. This carries a velvety texture rippled with an orange-flavored effervescence; apricot jam, sweet orange, sherbet, fine spices, ground ginger, and hot pepper. If this well-made example is an indication of the Mars Shinshu house style, they are getting a lot of things right. (10,000 bottles)
This kosher whisky has abundant flavors from both the bourbon and shaved, toasted, and re-charred (STR) casks. Golden syrup, caramel, pastry, vanilla, and marshmallow on the nose with floral top notes, hints of dried apple, and bold nutmeg, cinnamon, and pepper. A firm, juicy-sweet palate with caramel, vanilla, shortbread, honey, orange, nectarine, pepper, nougat, and almond. The finish is short, sweet, and lightly spiced. Editors' Choice
Old Overholt Bottled in Bond Rye (2020 Edition), 50%
Rye Whiskey | $25
This relaunched version of Old Overholt’s bonded rye is not chill-filtered, and it makes a noticeable difference. Aromas of cinnamon-sprinkled apple slices, toasted grain, spearmint and peppermint candies, and Cinnamon Life cereal carry into the palate, which balances oak and grain superbly: fresh mint, licorice, black pepper, allspice, cinnamon, cacao nibs, and walnuts. The vivacious spices almost pop in the mouth, but settle down into a satisfying finish of black pepper, cacao, mint, and well-integrated oak. Well-balanced without water, but a few drops serve it well. Best Value
Mortlach Prima & Ultima 25 year old 1994 (Cask No. 2652), 55.1%
Single Malt Scotch | $25,899
Oily on the nose, with spent matches, resin, and grilled meat, then vanilla, citrus fruit,
old leather, and a developing floral note. Initially very fruity on the muscular palate,
with cracked pepper, stewed root vegetables, and dark chocolate appearing in time.
Peppery oak, ginger, and soy sauce in the finish. Price is for entire Prima & Ultima
Collection, of which this whisky is a part. (389 bottles) £20,000
Port Ellen Untold Stories 40 year old 9 Rogue Casks, 50.9%
Single Malt Scotch | $8417
Faint smoke on the nose, with orange and malt. Floral notes in time, plus nougat.
More orange, and star anise on the palate, with overt woodsmoke, old leather, and
developing dark chocolate. The finish is long and lightly smoky. (1,380 bottles) £6,500
Kavalan King Car 40 th Anniversary Single Malt, 56.3%
Taiwanese Whisky | $521
This stirred a primeval urge in me for a good steak: bramble, blueberry, ripe Victoria
plum, Morello cherry, exotic spices, and a hot and heavy perfumed scent from the
select wine cask maturation. Sweet berry fruit—though mouth drawing—and a
delicious chocolate note, then it lashes the tongue with an intense peppery spice that
made me double-check the ABV, so dilute liberally. Savory finish with charred
A 2015 addition to the Tomintoul range of single malts carrying age statements, this expression was matured in bourbon casks like the rest of the lineup, but has a slighter higher ABV than most. Toffee, peaches, and newly polished furniture on the nose. Pleasing rounded mouthfeel, with Jaffa orange, honey, malt, black pepper, and developing tannins. The finish yields more malt, lively spices, green apples, black tea, and nutty oak.
Hand-rolled tobacco on the early nose, floral, with sweet peat smoke, vanilla, ripe apples, and raspberries heated over a wood fire. Smooth and mildly herbal on the palate, with spicy smoke and rich soft fruit notes, and lingering peat, cinnamon, and cocoa powder. Licorice, smoky fruit, and tannins in the finish. (1,350 bottles for U.S.)
Warm leather on the nose, slightly prickly spice, damsons dipped in iodine, red berry fruits, barbecued meat, and underlying earthiness. The palate is oily, offering dry, fruity red wine notes, cinnamon, raisins, prune juice, wood embers, and discreet peat smoke. The finish dries, with black coffee, dark berries, and toasted oak. (1,920 bottles for U.S.)
Shoreline aromas, with lime, caramel, and sweet peat. Mildly medicinal, with coffee grounds. The palate offers Jaffa oranges coated in earthy peat smoke, with pipe tobacco and black pepper. Licorice, cocoa powder, dried fruits, brine, and drying peat in the finish. (30,000 bottles)
Initially aged in bourbon casks, this then spent an unspecified period of time in first-fill European oak butts. Rich fruit notes on the nose, marzipan, and light sherry. Sweet floral notes in time, with fondant cream and vanilla pods. Viscous palate delivery, with sweet sherry, cinnamon, baked apple, figs, caramel, and hot chocolate. Orange and allspice on the nutty finish.
The label of this distinctive blend of Highland and Speyside whiskies suggests it is designed for hotter and drier climates, and it works well in a variety of serves. Peach slices, pecan, peanut, cinnamon, nutmeg, grated milk chocolate, baked cookies, and toasted bakery aromas. It’s medium-bodied and eschews sweetness and fruitiness to inhabit a world of dark toffee, Brazil nut, dry oak, malt, plain chocolate, hot peppery spice, and licorice. (3,000 bottles)
A kind of luscious sweetness appears up front, as pecan pie, glazed banana chips, dried pineapple, dates, and green apple candies meet gentle spice. The maturity is really lovely, with sweet waxy notes of honeycomb, and a palate that smacks of chewy nougat, milk chocolate, and toasted nuts, ending with cinnamon and peppercorn spice; the oak is perfectly restrained. (4,000 bottles)
Sweet toasted grain, almonds, frozen banana on a Popsicle stick, vanilla, and green tea on the nose. Without water, the palate is overwhelmed by its proof; add a generous amount and you’ll find vanilla, almonds, toasted grain, sweet oak, green banana, and the freshness of mint leaves. The finish is sweet and velvety, with more almonds, toasted grain, and oak. Atypical profile for Booker’s, but plenty to like.
Doc Swinson’s 13 year old Flagship Series Sherry Cask-Finished Bourbon (Barrel No. 005), 45%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $50
The nose is lightly tropical, with notes of oak, pine, herbs, and orange peel. A buttery mouthfeel, and a palate that offers almond, butterscotch, chocolate fudge, caramel, and oak tannins, along with spice and black pepper. The finish has notes of salted peanuts as well as peanut butter, which sweeten to flavors of rich chocolate with a hint of marshmallow. Full-bodied, sometimes jagged, but with a spicy, nutty finish
Hirsch The Horizon Straight Bourbon (Batch AHH0320), 46%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $40
While the nose showcases primarily grain aromas, including cracked corn and peanut shell, it also has notes of white pepper, dark cherries, brown sugar, and Hershey’s chocolate syrup—a harbinger of things to come. The palate is a chocolate lover’s dream, rich and tantalizing without heaviness. There’s also mint, cinnamon, cashew butter, and well-integrated oak; time and water bring out sweet orange. It finishes with milk chocolate, toasted nuts, and lingering cinnamon.
If you’re searching for the perfect whiskey to pair with ribs, look no further. Chili powder spices of paprika, cumin, black pepper, and dried chiles leap out of the glass, along with tea leaf, dark berries, dark chocolate, and candied orange peel. The palate, chewy and textured, stays consistent with savory and spicy notes of Spanish chorizo, roasted nuts, dark chocolate, red pepper flakes, blackberry, raspberry, and orange peel. It finishes short but satisfying, with more chili powder, black pepper, and smoked almonds.
Initially, the nose is neutral and alcohol-laden, but notes of lemon, grape, and dried apricots gradually emerge, along with sandalwood, licorice, and herbaceousness. Spice, dark chocolate, bitter orange, and lemon show on the palate, as well as oak char, espresso, roasted walnuts, and herbs. More dark chocolate and spices ride on a long finish. Smooth but powerful, with light fruit notes emerging to balance refined herbs and spice. (1,382 bottles)
Sweet caramel, grainy Cheerios, root beer spices, and waxy crayon make for a captivating nose. The dark fruit and spice suggest toasted raisin bread, and diving deeper into the flavor reveals sweet black cherry, citrus zest, and intriguing notes of licorice and hot asphalt, with flickers of horehound and cough drop. The fruit, spice, and earthy notes are nicely woven together and soar seamlessly through the finish.
Distilled in 2014, this is the first rye from Rhode Island’s Newport Craft Brewing and Distilling. Lemon and potpourri start things off on the nose, followed by appealing notes of dried seaweed, seashells, licorice, peat, and wood char. The palate is rich and full-bodied; along with the finish, it offers lemon pie, espresso, herbs, more peat, and barrel char. Bold, spicy, and earthy, but also refined and balanced at the same time. (1,110 bottles)
From the first sniff, this whiskey defines itself as intense and full-flavored: candied kiwi, papaya, mango, pineapple, and jackfruit crowd out almost all other aromas, though if it sits for a while, brown sugar and pecans emerge. The palate is consistent, with plenty of tropical fruit but also cocoa powder, oak, and dry nuttiness. More pineapple, kiwi, and jackfruit on the finish, but they fade fairly quickly to allow vanilla bean and dry oak to shine.
A rich, full nose interweaves red wine, canned pears, smidgens of barrel wood, and dark maple syrup into a plush Christmas cake palate. Weighty and mouth-filling amid unsweetened breakfast cereal and mild tannins, balanced by candied fruit, prunes, crisp apples, and dried pears and apricots. Glowing peppery heat moves to the middle of the tongue before a long, spicy, and pithy yet creamy finish.
A unifying blend of 10 year old Chichibu, with select stocks of American, Canadian, Irish, and scotch whiskies matured in Japan, produces a nose of toffee apple, firm caramel, milk chocolate, ground hazelnut, roasted fennel seed, chopped cilantro stalks, green banana, and struck match. Cereal-led palate with Golden Grahams, light fruits of apricot, peach, and melon, base notes of pepper, moving through butterscotch, toffee, maple syrup, and crème caramel. (U.S. Exclusive)
Using kosher-certified oloroso and Pedro Ximénez sherry casks, this Tel Avivian whisky evokes dried strawberry, plum pudding, and black cherry aromas, with strong peppercorn notes and a dusting of cocoa powder. With early red fruits and black cherry, this glides through milky coffee and chocolate pudding, buffeted by growing spices and a rasp of oak char, before a pleasant finish of baking chocolate and bourbon biscuits.
Boosting the ABV gives this more versatility for whisky-based cocktails, but neat, there are aromas of honey, barley, exotic woods, ripening pear, box-fresh sneakers, citrus, and fruity acids, with the spices turned down low. A convoluted profile winds through vanilla, sugar cubes, and honey fudge, followed by pear, apricot, and a gentle crescendo of spice, before hitting a plateau of honey, breakfast cereal, nougat, and white chocolate to finish. Best Value
A moreish nose, rich and sophisticated, this was matured for 5 years in marsala vergine casks. A malty nose with cinnamon, dark rye bread, plain chocolate, toasted cereals, worn leather, plum sauce, dry spice, and dark red fruits is testament to the cask influence. Mouth-drawing on the palate, there’s raspberry, black grape, brown sugar, cherry syrup, blueberry, and bramble, with a finish of fruit skins and spice.
Singleton of Dufftown Prima & Ultima 30 year old 1988, 48.8%
Single Malt Scotch | $25,899
Dull tropical fruits, followed by emerging vanilla, and more fragrant and perfumed
notes on the nose. Full-bodied, with very sweet citrus fruits on the early palate, which
turn to green berries and dry slowly. Bitter orange, fennel, and oak tannins in the
lengthy finish. Price is for entire Prima & Ultima Collection, of which this whisky is a
part. (469 bottles) £20,000
Caol Ila Prima & Ultima 35 year old 1984 (Cask No. 5773), 50.8%
Single Malt Scotch | $25,899
Sweet antiseptic, brine, new leather, and spice on the nose. The palate is lightly oily,
with lemon juice, grapefruit, salt water, soft peat, and fish smoked on a beach
barbecue. Smoky citrus fruits in the lengthy, gingery finish. Price is for entire Prima
& Ultima Collection, of which this whisky is a part. (499 bottles) £20,000
Melon, honey, red apples, buttercups, and butterscotch on the nose, with classic
Clynelish wax on the palate. Herbal, with lemon juice that has a little sea salt mixed
into it. Licorice and white pepper in the slightly oily finish. Price is for entire Prima &
Ultima Collection, of which this whisky is a part. (941 bottles) £20,000
Cherry pound cake, ground almond, and light vanilla, with delicious layers of sherry
and top notes of acacia honey on the nose. Surprisingly nimble on the palate, with
apple, waves of sherry, black cherry jelly, and a gentle buildup of spice, then caramel,
dark sugar, vanilla, and red apple in later phases, though it is still light on its feet. A
smooth clean finish propels more vigorous spice notes across the palate. (Travel
Great Plains 18 year old Brandy Cask-Finished (Batch 1), 54.5%
Canadian | $91
A year in brandy casks brings maple syrup, Fig Newtons, red grapes, and graham
crackers to a nose teeming with rye spices, dry fruits, and roses. The juicy Christmas
pudding palate turns hot and oily, with sweet butterscotch balancing bitter chocolate.
Pipe tobacco and oak tannins speak to maturity. As the long sweet finish fades, a
warming glow and lingering barrel tones move to the fore. $120 CAD
Sourcing Pedro Ximénez casks used since 1918 at a bodega in Jerez, Teeling left this
whiskey to finish for 3 years. A bouquet of sweet red apple, black grape, dried fruits,
and blueberry, with sweet roasted cashews, dry spices, and a slight herbal edge. Blue
fruits, plum, cinnamon, and bitter chocolate are harried ferociously by spicy
peppercorn, leaving a finish of bruised orchard fruit. Add water and the fruit really
shines. (10,000 bottles) €95
Glenallachie 10 year old Cask Strength (Batch 2), 54.8%
Single Malt Scotch | $90
Mellow on the nose, even at cask strength, with vanilla, lemon curd, honey, and warm ginger cookies. Strawberry jam notes emerge in time. An initial flavor of berry on the palate, then malt, honey, and slightly bitter oak. The finish features black pepper, more ginger, and jam-like notes. (2,400 bottles for U.S.)
Tomintoul 12 year old Kedem Port Cask-Finished, 40%
Single Malt Scotch | $75
The latest addition to the Tomintoul range, this is exclusive to the U.S., and is finished in port-style wine casks from Kedem Winery in New York. Sweet on the nose, with slightly spicy red wine notes, followed by strawberries and cream. The palate is smooth and creamy, with red cherries, cinnamon, and dark chocolate. Spicy in the finish, with ginger cookies and cherry brandy-filled liqueur chocolates. (12,000 bottles)
Subtle on the nose, with orchard fruit, barley, honey, and vanilla, becoming more fragrant in time. Quite full-bodied, overtly fruity, with orange rind, red apples, malt, and cocoa powder. Fruit persists in the grassy finish. The higher strength makes this a standout among the Tomintouls.
Released in 2017 to replace the well-regarded 27 year old, this Tomintoul presents a nose of malt and gentle spice, with lemon drizzle cake. Medium-bodied on the palate, very sweet, with brittle toffee, honey, sultanas, wood spice, and black tea with sugar. Vanilla, licorice, allspice, and subtle oak in the finish.
Gordon & MacPhail Cask-Strength Connoisseurs Choice 2005 (Distilled at Glenturret; Cask No. 1760), 52.8%
Single Malt Scotch | $160
Freshly polished oak, walnuts, damsons, vanilla, and orange blossom are present on the nose. The slightly oily and peppery palate features sweet sherry, more vanilla, nutmeg, then black currants and raisins. Prunes, drying oak, and black coffee in the medium-length finish. A very solid Highlander for lovers of sherry cask maturation. (298 bottles; U.S. exclusive)
Bold, forward flavors on the nose, with spiced stewed apple, nutmeg, dunnage floors, and a waft of grilled mushroom, settling down to peeled cooking apples and sour plum candy. Spices run through a malty palate of fudge, cooked apple, cinnamon, and butterscotch, with grain notes, oat bars, and a hint of chocolate nibs. A little reticent at first, but it’s worth persevering to get better acquainted with this dram. (2,400 bottles)
A revival brand from Lux Row Distillers’ owner Luxco, and part of a trio that also features a cabernet cask-finished bourbon and another finished in new toasted French oak casks. This one is herbal and earthy on the nose, with a light note of citrus. The palate is delicate, with flavors of vanilla cream, cola, and raspberry. Well-balanced and smooth on the finish, ending with pleasant notes of spice.
Daviess County Cabernet Sauvignon Cask-Finished Bourbon, 48%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $45
A nose of mint and red and blue fruits suggests teaberry, with crushed herbs adding savory appeal. On the palate, the fruit really leaps forward; decadent black plum and red Hawaiian Punch turn ever-more dark and deep, as raisin and currants meet distinctive clove and cinnamon-spice notes for a finish of Christmas cake. Unconventional, but lovely in the way it combines lush sherried fruit with rye-like spice.
Daviess County French Oak Cask-Finished Bourbon, 48%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $45
This evokes walking into a cabin deep in the woods, surrounded by fresh cut oak, as wisps of pine boughs and resin pour in on the wind, along with earth and warm cocoa. The palate is pleasingly plush, with vanilla sweetness that suggests orange Creamsicle, almond pastry, and plenty of toasty oak. There is also some fresh orange zest and grated ginger, with only a gentle suggestion of spice.
Widow Jane 13 year old Lucky Thirteen Straight Bourbon (Barrel No. 2007), 49.5%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $90
French burnt peanuts, caramel, warming spice, citrus, and lots of varnish and solvent suggest some age here. However, the palate never lacks for verve, with juicy citrus drive including a bright key lime note, grapefruit, and some melon fruit that picks up more varnish and adhesive tape on the long finish.
Widow Jane 13 year old Lucky Thirteen Straight Bourbon (Barrel No. 2010), 48.5%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $90
Aromas of dusty basement, varnish, earthy spice, and old leather reveal the whiskey’s age, and the palate delivers plenty of complexity, beautifully balancing sweet and bitter notes as violet candies meet orange pith. Candied walnuts and butterscotch flavors leap from the folds of a leather wallet. The finish brings allspice and nutmeg, peanut brittle, and more earthy oak.
Made at B.R. Distilling Co. in Memphis, this rye has a fragrant nose of dried herbs and a subtle scent of lemon grove, tempered by an earthy minerality. Light and dry on the palate, with flavors of cracked pepper, aged herbs, and tilled earth, set against rich, sweet undernotes of cinnamon baked apple, blackberry tart, honeysuckle, and vanilla. The finish is smooth, malty, and fruity, with balanced sweetness and earthiness. (4,000 bottles)
Dried leaves, toasted nuts, and plenty of fresh oak emerge from this big, broad-shouldered malt that ably handles all the new oak that’s been thrown at it, with the solid wood structure propping up pretty orange pekoe tea, buttered toast, biscuity malt, caramel, and chocolate flavors. Finishes with dark toasted spices and anise. A distinctly oaky, American interpretation of single malt that is both bold and balanced. (5,000 bottles)
Clear Creek Distillery 3 year old McCarthy’s Pot Distilled Oregon (Batch W18-01), 42.5%
Single Malt American Whiskey | $50
A blast of peat bonfire starts on the nose, before moving into more subtle peat on the palate. Here it creates a delicate overlay to notes of vanilla, toasted marshmallow, peaches and cream, dried red fruits, and pepper. The finish offers length, more dried red fruits, peat, and peppery spice, with an earthy note of char at the end. Delicate, refined, and balanced, particularly in light of its relative youth. (6,192 bottles)
This doles out big pot still character from the start and feels like it’s taking a deep cut into the distillate, lending a bold and somewhat rustic note that suggests rhum agricole. The nose has smoky and vegetal notes that border on rubber tire, adding a fair amount of intrigue to the nutty malt lurking just below. Generous in body, with sweet vanilla and a fudge-like finish. (1,350 bottles)
Honey crackers, cornbread, and floral notes introduce this highly distinctive whiskey. The palate is sweet and oily in texture, with a nice warming ginger note. The mouthfeel is creamy and polished, as vanilla and marshmallow carry through the finish with only a gentle impression of wood. Made from 99% corn and 1% barley and aged in used casks.
Akashi 5 year old Sherry Cask-Finished Japanese Single Malt, 50%
Japanese Whisky | $230
Juicy and punchy nose with highly promising sherry notes; blueberry, bramble, nutmeg, and fine pepper, with date, currant, stewed Bramley apples, and fruity Madagascan dark chocolate. The palate doesn’t quite reach the heights of the nose, but sweet fruit sugar, barley, and orange peel keep the peppery spice in check, before settling down to a final plateau of strawberry jam with hints of tobacco and plum.
An accomplished blend packed with appealing flavors from Miyagikyo and Yoichi Distilleries. Honey, baked lemon, vanilla essence, brioche, golden syrup, and spring tree blossom aromas, with hints of butterscotch and caramel. Smooth, rich, and rounded, this has toffee, chocolate, red berry fruit, plum, vanilla pod, a touch of oak char, and clipped spices. A flash of peat smoke on the finish, with flavors of burnt sugar, baked fruits, and spices.
Vanilla, coconut, confectioner’s sugar, tart pickled plums, and savory meaty aromas, thanks to the koji used to convert the rice’s starch to sugar. The palate is sweet and chalky-dry, with a silky, rounded texture and flavors of vanilla, bubble gum, coconut, and marzipan. It finishes sweet with a touch of umami: vanilla frosting tempered by oak and warm nuts.
A fruity tour de force matured for 5 years in bourbon barrels, this revels in aromas of vanilla sponge cake, honey, summer fruits in syrup, fresh cream, apricot, nectarine, apple, and green mango. Very approachable on the palate, with vanilla cream, thick custard, citrus, lime, lemon zest, baked apricot, peppercorn, green melon, apple, and candied peel. The spices drop out, leaving fruit flan, orange honey, and a gooseberry sharpness on the finish.
A decent progression of flavor, with PX cask influences: heather honey, toasted oat and sultana granola, hearty prune and fig notes, vanilla essence, roasted spices, peppercorn, and baked ginger loaf. Plenty of flavor here, but it needs more body to complete the experience; golden syrup, spices arrive and depart quickly, leaving oozy caramel, cereal bars, dried and tropical fruits, fruitcake, and nutmeg, ending with bramble, black cherry, and peppery spice.
This balances sweetness, vanilla, and smoke extremely well, and I found it preferable
to Monkey Shoulder for sipping neat. On the palate, there’s sweet smoke from
blackened oak logs, fragrant spices, a well-developed vanilla note, and a hint of
orange peel. The structure hangs lightly, and more weight behind the smoke would
have been preferable, but the sweetness and spice yield to lovely creamy vanilla
flavors, banana, and a finish of milky coffee. £32
This gem from Forty Creek revives the tradition of adding herbs to whisky. Subdued
toffee on the nose rolls into a general earthiness, followed by prune juice and gentle
spirit. The palate immediately shows white pepper with sweet soothing caramels
behind, finishing in a long, vaguely woody herbal essence. Added herbs subtly
enhance the whisky flavors rather than offering their own. If ever a whisky sparkled,
this is it. $35 CAD
Pike Creek 15 year old Ontario Cabernet Sauvignon Barrel-Finished, 42%
Canadian | $53
This masterpiece of wine finishing yields a massive fruity nose with rich maple
toffee, greyed cedar, barrel wood, and baseball glove. A sweet, very fruity complex
palate features black pepper, cinnamon hearts, bristling spices, slightly bitter pulling
tannins, red wine, figs, and sandalwood. A longish finish shows grape tannins,
grapefruit pith, and red wine over maple notes and tingling spices. $70 CAD
Rose blossom, vanilla, and cocoa powder to start, while sultana, walnut, and oloroso notes develop in time on the nose. Soft on the palate, with tingling spices, malt extract, cake mix, raisins, dates, figs, and dark chocolate, all set against relatively dry oak. Dates, prunes, and spicy dark chocolate in the lingering finish.
As with most of the Tomintoul range, the nose is quiet, with diluted orange juice and fondant cream in time. The fruity palate majors in canned peaches in cream, with encroaching nuttiness and white pepper. Fruit remains a feature in the medium-length finish, with cocoa and malt.
Gordon & MacPhail Connoisseurs Choice Hermitage Wood Finish 2004 (Distilled at Caol Ila; Batch 18/002), 45%
Single Malt Scotch | $110
Strong brine on the early nose, with subtle peat, red berry fruits, and a beach barbecue. On the palate, raspberries smoked over a peat fire, then served with cream, plus a slight meatiness. Citrus fruit, char, white pepper, and cocoa powder in the finish.
Like its 15 year old sibling, this was matured in bourbon casks before being finished in first-fill European oak butts. The spicy nose yields toffee, sherry, and poached pears. The palate is supple, spicy, and slightly herbal, with dried fruits, then big caramel, vanilla, and orange notes develop. The finish is quite dry and earthy, with oak and a hint of chile.
Laws Whiskey House 6 year old San Luis Valley Bottled in Bond Straight Rye (Batch 1), 50%
Rye Whiskey | $75
An unconventional flavor profile with a nose featuring fresh mint and chocolate in abundance, along with secondary notes of candle wax tinged with a bit of alcohol heat. It’s the chocolate that sticks around through the palate, as gentle sweetness is quickly swept up in warming spices and bitter Mexican chocolate, supported by flavors of nutty, honeyed malt. Enjoyable and highly original.
The grain shows itself richly on the nose, with baking spice, peppermint stick, and nutty aromas; with time, candied fruit notes emerge. They reappear on the palate, especially after adding a few drops of water, as cherry skins and grape jelly. There’s also peppermint, cocoa powder, roasted walnuts, chicory, and black pepper. The finish veers toward bitterness, with dark chocolate and coffee bean, but retains a peppermint verve.
Clean, pure, clinical aromas of a boutique, with light lemon fondant, vanilla, and basil leaves. Icing sugar, lemon, almonds, and sweet rose-scented Turkish delight flavors develop into butterscotch, peppercorn, ginger, fudge, and banana, rounded off with ripe fruits, melted butter, dried apple, sherbet, raspberry taffy, and raspberry bubble gum. Named after the exciseman that proposed to J.J. Corry’s daughter, this whiskey has plenty of stories to tell.
Blended from select stocks by Irish whiskey bonder Louise McGuane, this new batch has a fine combination of aromas of lemon, white flowers, lychee, peach, lime, grapefruit peel, white pepper, sliced cucumber, and cold-pressed olive oil. Initially mouth drawing, it has a medium-weight, silky, buttery texture that explores melon, vanilla, pepper, cream-filled doughnuts, and sweet banana, with lemon and nimble spices on the finish. (3,500 bottles)
Mars Iwai Tradition Yamanashi Wine Cask-Finished, 40%
Japanese Whisky | $68
This carmine dram has a soft, mellow nose of raisin, earthy red wine notes, wet slate, prune flesh, stewed rhubarb, caramelized brown sugar, and maple syrup. It’s fruity rather than sweet on the palate, but it seems held back at 40% ABV without a heavier mouthfeel, showing date, red plum, sultana, fudge, red velvet cake, brown sugar, and peppery spice, with a raspberry and spice finish.
The nose yields orange and lime, canned pineapple, and light caramel notes. Elegant, with some substance on the palate, with vanilla and brittle toffee underpinned by vibrant orchard fruits, honey, and milk chocolate. The finish features more milk chocolate, gentle oak, and ginger. Best Value
Apricots and candle wax aromas on the early nose, with honey, caramel, and a hint of
cinnamon. Supple on the palate, with juicy peaches, ripe banana, malt, licorice, and
wood spices. The finish is long, with aniseed, spicy oak, dark chocolate, and black
pepper. (1,468 bottles) £65
A 2020 addition to the Fettercairn stable, this expression was distilled using chocolate
malt, and matured in first-fill bourbon casks before a finishing in sherry and port
casks. The nose is slightly meaty, with raisins, black treacle, white pepper, and dark
chocolate. Smooth on the substantial palate, with drinking chocolate, plums, black
pepper, cinnamon, and a savory note. Ginger, chile, instant coffee, and pipe tobacco
in the finish. £70
Warm machine oil on the early nose, slightly herbal, with apricots and vanilla
emerging in time. Slick on the palate, with light smoke, honey, delicate spices, and
eventually, burnt toffee. The finish features licorice, pipe tobacco, and white pepper.
Ultimately mouth-drying. £170
Spirit of Yorkshire Distillery has two Forsyths pot stills and a four-plate copper
column, giving them plenty of options. An encouraging step toward their flagship
single malt, this lemon-pale dram evokes aromas of lemon, herb gardens, clotted
cream, marshmallow, and a little vanilla. It’s sweet as candy, with flavors of sugared
almonds, Sweethearts, butter icing, candied lemon peel, pancakes, and a finish of
peppery arugula leaves. (6,000 bottles) £55
Tlàth is Gaelic for “mellow” or “gentle.” Rich malt, caramel, and milk chocolate on the initial nose, with developing ginger, honey, and red apples. Fresh and approachable on the palate, with more chocolate and ginger, plus aniseed, wood spices, and light pepperiness. The finish is medium in length, with milky coffee, more aniseed, and citrus fruits.
This was aged in a combination of bourbon and double-fired American oak barrels. Pears on the initially light nose, then malty, with soft spices, figs, and diluted orange juice. Quite full on the palate, showing more pears, vanilla, caramel, honey, and barley sugar. The finish is peppery, with lemon, dark chocolate, and black tea.
From Washington, D.C.-based distiller Republic Restoratives, this is an Indiana-made bourbon aged 5 years and then finished in armagnac casks for about 8 weeks. The nose offers light notes of dried figs and fragrant herbs, as well as a distinct back note of earthiness. Nutty, oily, and somewhat dry on the palate, with spice and restraining oak tannins leading to a finish that’s also dry but with flavors of vanilla and light nuttiness. (14,000 bottles)
The nose is light, sweet, and mildly chalky, like talcum powder or freshly whipped meringue; it also has pistachio pudding and hints of flavored tobacco. On the palate, embers burn gently beneath apple, almond, and milk chocolate, with a pleasantly silky mouthfeel. The medium-length finish rounds things out with smoked vanilla sugar, dark-roast coffee, and bittersweet oak. This has plenty of personality, but a light touch.
Old Tub Bottled in Bond Kentucky Straight Bourbon, 50%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $23
This is more about mashbill than barrel, a fine showcase of grain. Light and sweet on the nose, with peanuts, nougat, creamed corn, banana pudding, coconut cake, and Popsicle stick; water brings out fresh apple. It stays consistent on the palate, showcasing the purity and sweetness of the grain: cream, vanilla taffy, toasted coconut, and toasted wood. It finishes with peanuts, toasted coconut, clean grain, and oak.
Basil Hayden’s 10 year old Kentucky Straight Rye, 40%
Rye Whiskey | $70
Floral notes of violets meet heaps of spices: allspice, cloves, and nutmeg. The oak is right in your face, but not overwrought, woven with vanilla and cedar. The flavor shows good maturity, with leather, lanolin, and wax crayons, before more drying oak and spices bring it to a close. Brings some age to the table, but also feels just a bit tired, perhaps owing partly to the low proof.
A bright, floral, citrusy rye that is almost grassy, offering a lot of primary grain notes of toasty breakfast cereal, fresh rye bread, and even some caraway. The floral sachet and potpourri notes are distinctively young rye, as are the vivid sizzling spices. Certainly a rye lover’s rye, as clove-studded orange sails into drying minerality and cracked pepper on the finish.
Made using cuts that emphasize its peat and malt notes, this starts off with a nose of brine, seaweed, and iodine, but there’s a captivating, tempting tropical fruitiness too. On the palate, that tropical note shows up fleetingly as blueberry and pomegranate, with peat continuing to commandeer the ship into an ashy finish of coffee bean, black pepper, and dark chocolate. (1,200 bottles)
Balcones has partnered with fellow Texan Spoetzl Brewery in the past, supplying barrels for the Shiner bock and märzen-style beers. This is its first whiskey distilled from Spoetzl beer. Its dark hue hints at an earthy, malty profile, and the nose delivers rich malt, spice, dried fruit, dried leaves, and oak. Rustic on the palate, with caramel and oak char. More malt on the finish, with water bringing out some sweetness. (6,000 bottles)
Satsuma peel, mandarin segments, butter biscuits, dry oak, bookbindings, and hints of baking spices on the nose. Warm orange, sweet vanilla, creamy pudding, sherbet, and a mellow pepperiness on the palate, but as the citrus theme swells, a taste of grapefruit bitterness washes over it, making for a sharp, bitter finish. With its 46% malt content, this has grace, but seems a bit mild for a warrior pirate queen’s tastes.
Kujira 20 year old Ryukyu Japanese Rice Whisky, 43%
Japanese Whisky | $350
Toddy-like aromas of ginger and honey, along with vanilla bean, sugared pecans, cinnamon, allspice, apricot, and savory koji. The palate is sweet and fruity, a cup of Mott’s applesauce with drizzled honey and sprinkles of cinnamon. It finishes with more sweet apples, vanilla, and caramel. Water not recommended.
Backyard bonfire smoke, black pepper, charred oak, aniseed, and smoked fish, going from peppered mackerel to Arbroath smokie, but the smokiness from the Islay cask finish overpowers this young whisky at times, hindering the appreciation of other distillate characters. To taste, there’s sugared breakfast cereal, fudge donut glaze, vanilla, stewed apple, black currant, pepper, clove, and background smoke, with a pepper and salted caramel finish.
Lemon and lime, grapefruit peel, and vanilla sugar are the most striking
characteristics, with base notes of caramel, milk chocolate, and dry spices to round off
the nose. Vanilla, fudge, and muted peppery spices on a lightweight structure, but it
blossoms in flavor—if not mouthfeel—with citrus peel, creamy milk chocolate, and
coffee notes, leaving cocoa, spices, and citrus acidity on the finish. (Travel Retail
Highland Park suggests this is its peatiest whisky to date. Smoky roasted malt notes
on the nose, with singed wood and a slowly developing floral note. Initially, sweeter
than expected on the palate, with vanilla and apricots, then dark peat, licorice, and
treacle toffee notes appear. Black tea and black pepper in the finish, along with a hint
of pineapple. £60
A portion of the whisky that went into the mix was finished in Caribbean rum casks, not the final whisky. The rum barrel finish does shine through. The nose is sweet with cane sugar, tropical fruits, malt, coconut, and banoffee pie. Smooth on the palate, relatively light-bodied, and easygoing, with clear rum notes, fudge, honey, cereal, and developing bitter orange. Cinnamon and oak char in the relatively short finish. Great for mixing.
The longest-standing expression in the range, 10 year oldwas introduced in 2002. It offers a nose that is light and initially green, with unripe apples, acetate, ripe pears, bananas, and light fudge. The palate is relatively insubstantial, with nutty milk chocolate, vanilla, brittle toffee, and oak. Nutty in the short finish, with a hint of malt and drying oak.
An easy drinker, with typical caramel and vanilla notes tinged with herbal flavors of horehound and pine boughs. Nicely balances bright fruit and sweetness with generous rye spice, suggesting an oatmeal cookie with vanilla frosting. While not overly complex, flavors are nicely integrated with charred oak. (5,000 bottles)
The Clover 4 year old Single Barrel Straight Bourbon (No. E-010), 46%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $50
A new brand honoring golf legend Bobby Jones and offering three expressions—a rye, a 10 year old Tennessee whiskey, and this single-barrel bourbon. The bourbon has a nose of mint, red berries, blueberries, orange slices, and pine forest. The palate is smoothly textured and full bodied, with generous notes of vanilla, spice, cedar, and pepper. The finish is somewhat oak-heavy, but with good texture and pleasant fruit notes. Solid and well balanced. (24,000 bottles)
An aromatic nose reveals chamomile tea, dried herbs, peanut shells, fresh sawdust, snickerdoodles, brown sugar, and stone fruit. The palate is simple but pleasing, with black tea, licorice, bitter nuts, dry oak, and a touch of cinnamon. It finishes fairly short, with pleasant flavors of eucalyptus, black pepper, and oak.
Pinhook Bohemian High Proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon, 57.25%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $50
Pinhook’s first bourbon distilled at Castle & Key Distillery, following an earlier release of a rye. The palate is smooth despite the high proof, with tart notes of orange peel. Water smooths it out, with some pepper and spice emerging against restraining oak tannins. Aged 2 years and 10 months, it has a young and dry profile, but some pleasant spice and earthy notes on offer.
Made with 95% soft red winter wheat, this whiskey is reticent at first, giving up little of its personality, though there are glimpses of violet, dried rose petals, berries, and oranges on the nose. The palate has more dried flowers and a bit of fruit, along with oak, nuts, and dark chocolate, but a peculiar herbal, piney top note elbows its way to the front. Everything resolves on the finish with semi-dark chocolate, pepper, dark fruit, and oak.
Fruit-forward on the nose, with stewed prunes and spiced apple cake, as well as rose potpourri, cinnamon, sassafras, and chai masala. The palate is oak-led with red fruit, chocolate, spice, walnuts, almonds, vanilla syrup, and sliced lemon. More oak on the finish, along with mocha, dark chocolate, walnuts, and cinnamon apple.
The nose is a bit reticent, starting with baked apple heaped with peppery spice, then discarded coils of apple peels, with hints of date, roast beef, and peanut, but it never really takes off. A tasty autumnal dram with rich savory juices, cooked apple, dark toffee, and background oakiness, with the stewed juices of plums, prunes, and raspberries squaring off against a wave of spices. (60 bottles)
First released in 2008, Peaty Tang is a blend of 4 to 5 year old heavily peated and 8 year old unpeated whiskies. Pipe tobacco on the nose, with damp undergrowth, canned pears, and smoked meat. Medium-bodied, with light sweet peat smoke, vanilla, cereal, green apples, and licorice on the palate. Dark chocolate, caramel, and tangy smoke in the short to medium finish.
Easy Rider 4 year old Kentucky Straight Bourbon, 40%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $25
A simple and enjoyable whiskey with pleasant sweetness and fresh oak sawdust on the somewhat tight nose. While light-bodied on the palate, there is a nice oiliness to the texture, as flavors of toasted marshmallow, fresh citrus, and gentle cedar give way to a finish with some clove spice. (39,756 bottles)
A nose of cinnamon-sugar and citrus leads to flavors of orange gumdrop, tangerine,
and sweet tea. The body is quite light and quickly succumbs to drying spices and a
finish of bitter tea leaves. Passable, but just not a lot to see here. (1,428 bottles)
Spirit Works Four Grain Straight Bourbon (Batch 001), 45%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $50
From Spirit Works Distillery in Sonoma County, California, pot distilled from a blend
of two bourbon formulas that feature 60% corn with wheat, rye, and barley, aged a
minimum of 4 years. Herbs, black pepper, and caramelized sugar on the nose, with
lots of minerality. The palate has notes brown sugar, fennel, bitter chocolate, almond
oil, and white pepper, followed by a finish of wild herbs and tart spices. (1,020