Your search returned 107 results.

97 points

Midleton Very Rare Silent Distillery Chapter 2 1973, 53.6%

Give this an hour to unfurl; the nose reveals aged oak, pot still spice, and engine-oiled machine parts, then milk chocolate, sesame seeds, vintage maps, and calfskin vellum, before chocolate orange and lighter, more pliable wood notes, and eventually shortbread and buttercream. The flavors are so vibrant: a brilliant chocolate-orange creaminess, penetrating pot still spice, gingersnap, barley sugar, and a treacle-like spicy finish that lasts an eternity. (70 bottles)

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

95 points

Ardbeg 25 year old Aged and Caged, 46%

ardbeg 25 year old aged and caged Briny smoke integrates with sweet bakery aromas: vanilla, streusel, ginger-spiced pound cake, cinnamon, and allspice, studded with nuts and dried apple. With water, butterscotch oozes out. The palate’s silky texture is an ideal base for warm vanilla, toasted nuts, toffee, and milk chocolate, swirling with iodine peat and gentle gingerbread spices. The finish is complex, compelling, and quite lengthy with ginger, white pepper, allspice, saline, coffee grounds, dried apple, and lingering smoke. (Collectible)

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

95 points

Benriach The Thirty, 46%

benriach the thirty scotch Benriach digs into the vaults for this rare gem, and it’s a tour de force. The maturity shows at once, with an antique note of well-aged peat char and dark sherried aromas of dried figs and raisins. The palate offers flavors of cooked berries and baked apple, along with candle wax, dark chocolate, and roasted espresso beans. It all finishes with rich chocolate, old spice rack, and a parting note of ashy peat. A complete whisky.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

94 points

Port Askaig 12 year old Sherry and Bourbon Cask (Autumn 2020 Edition), 45.8%

port askaig 12 year old autumn 2020 edition scotch Loaded with briny peat and barbecued bacon up front, before fresh undernotes of peach, lemon spritz, and ginger begin to emerge. On the palate, bonfire embers are followed by orchard fruits, raspberry jam, and grapefruit, with subdued flavors of vanilla, lacings of chile pepper, and smoldering peat. Water brings out more—lemon cream pie, chocolate, galia melon, and cooked pears. True to the Islay character in its assertiveness, yet also delicate and subtle. (720 bottles)

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

94 points

GlenDronach 18 year old, 46%

Sherry lovers, alight here: This stop is full of Fig Newtons, dates, raisins, brown sugar, candied citrus, dark chocolate, and a delightful dried mango aroma. Generous flavors of berry jam, raisins, figs, and dates mingle with white pepper, dried ginger, candied orange peel, nuts, and dark chocolate tinged with leather and tobacco, along with a mouthwatering salinity. The finish has a phantom chewiness: There’s nothing left in the mouth, but it’s still textured and rich, with smoked nuts, cigar wrapper, and raisins.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

94 points

GlenDronach Single Cask 1993 (No. 7102), 51.4%

glendronach 1993 single cask 7102 Dark and rich in both color and aroma, with a deep sherried nose of blackberry cobbler, grape jelly, raisins, dried figs, baked brown sugar, light rancio, and milk chocolate. Tear yourself away from that captivating nose, because it gets even better—a palate of jammy dark fruit, cigar ash, bitter chocolate, and roasted espresso beans, as well as notes of cigar ash, candle wax, and light smoke, all pouring it on at the finish. (633 bottles)

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

94 points

GlenDronach Single Cask 1994 (No. 5287), 51.3%

glendronach 1994 single cask 5287 A mature but still fragrant nose offers mint, dried leaves, antique leather, red berry tea, cherries, and milk chocolate. A deliciously gooey sherried palate is packed with notes of cooked strawberries, dark berry jam, chocolate layer cake, and cinnamon spice, balanced by earthy tones of the warehouse. A smooth, rich finish offers more deep red-fruit jam, rancio, and aged cigar wrapper. Layer upon layer of flavors to enjoy in this elegantly aged beauty. (638 bottles)

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

94 points

Bardstown Discovery Series #4, 57.5%

Powerful aromas of blackberry cobbler, brown sugar, honey, baking spices, cola, peanuts in the shell, and hay loft give way to a muscular palate that, despite its big oak character, never becomes bitter. Zingy lemon oil, dark berries, cola syrup, espresso, dark chocolate, and roasted peanuts fill out a chewy mouthfeel. The finish has excellent length with rich flavors of chocolate, coffee, roasted nuts, and spices.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

94 points

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Kentucky Straight (Batch A121), 61.8%

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Kentucky Straight (Batch C920) bottle. A generous nose, with chocolate-covered cherries, candied orange peel, menthol, cola, pine nuts, caramel, corn bread, and varnish. Piles of baking spice and dark chocolate shavings on the palate mingle with raspberry jam, orange peel, gingersnaps, cinnamon, and mint; water amplifies and brightens the fruit character. A lip-smacking finish of dark chocolate, mint, tobacco, and polished oak.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

94 points

Widow Jane 15 year old The Vaults Blend of Straight Bourbons (2020 Release, Batch 1), 49.5%

Mature aromas of leather, shoe polish, blueberry pie, and iced tea mingle with brown sugar, walnuts, gingerbread, and—after some time in the glass—rose perfume. The palate is chewy like a well-made chocolate bar, rich with roasted and candied nuts, blackberry cobbler, dark chocolate, dried ginger, and white pepper; water and time bring out rose water. The complexity of the palate carries through to the finish, full of coffee bean, Coca-Cola, gingerbread, bittersweet oak, and a touch of mint oil. (5,000 bottles)

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

94 points

Midleton Very Rare 2021, 40%

Midleton master distiller Kevin O’Gorman’s debut vintage accentuates the elegant nature of Very Rare, and evokes an indulgent nose of rich caramel, dry spices, apple strudel, vanilla fudge, seasoned oak, banana, and toasted coconut. The palate revels in soft orchard fruits with a gentle undertow of spice, bananas in custard, and caramelized sugar. Including single pot still whiskey from 1984, this is fruit-led and so sippable. (Collectible)

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

94 points

Benriach The Twenty Five, 46%

benriach the twenty five scotch Subtlety sets the tone on this well-matured whisky, starting with the gentle smokiness of the nose, presenting as smoked almonds and crème brûlée, along with snickerdoodles, honey, marmalade, dried apricots, milk chocolate, and brown sugar. Water brings out black licorice, dried ginger, and hazelnut cream. Oily citrus, dried apricot and fig, milk chocolate, and candied ginger on the palate, with drying smoke and char. It finishes with cocoa powder, char, and well-woven spice and dried fruit.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

93 points

GlenDronach Single Cask 2005 (No. 1928), 58%

glendronach 2005 single cask 1928 The sweet aromatic nose offers confectionery notes of cherry candy, candied coconut, cherry coulis, raspberries, marzipan, and a hint of lime. Thick, jammy, and rich on the palate, with notes of almond, strawberry jam, and chocolate syrup. It goes even further with water, unlocking fresh notes of strawberries and cream, allspice, and sherried oak. The finish is equally rich, exploding with cinnamon spice, cooked red fruits, dark chocolate, and a Christmas-spice finale. (612 bottles)

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

93 points

GlenDronach Single Cask 2008 (No. 3017), 59.8%

glendronach 2008 single cask 3017 Baked apples, cooked berries, and antique leather on the nose, along with scents of cedar chest, spice cabinet, and vanilla frosting. The palate is richly sherried and chewy, but also bright and loaded with figs, caramelized sugar, chocolate, dark berries, tea, clove, and ginger. A mid-length finish reveals even more pronounced sherried notes and lively spice. Deliciously sippable; a slightly less complex but delightful bookend to the more mature GlenDronach cask expressions. (628 bottles)

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

93 points

Barrell Cask Strength Blend of Straight Bourbons (Batch 027), 57.85%

barrell bourbon batch 027 Pleasant aromas of confectionery store on the nose—candy apples, milk chocolate, grape jelly, and candied coconut—as well as some fresh red fruit notes. Agreeably smooth on the palate, with balanced sweet flavors of chocolate-covered raspberries, candied almonds, cinnamon spice, and coffee. A rich finish offers mint, dark chocolate, drizzled caramel, espresso beans, and cinnamon. A crescendo of fresh red fruit completes a pleasant tasting journey through this well-structured whiskey.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

93 points

Barrell 15 year old Cask Strength Blend of Straight Bourbons (2020 Release), 52.45%

Peanuts, corn muffin, blueberry pancakes, well-integrated spice, grape soda, maple syrup, and orange peel on the nose. Chewy and rich with dark chocolate on the palate, studded with dried blueberries and cherries, Spanish peanuts, and dark mocha flavors; water brings out rancio notes but stays on trend with the fancy trail mix profile. Very lengthy mocha, cacao nib, polished oak, and roasted peanuts on the finish.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

93 points

Booker’s 2020-03 “Pigskin Batch” Kentucky Straight, 63.65%

booker's batch 2020-03 bourbon pigskin batch Roasted herbs, peanuts, and fragrant oak start things off on the nose, followed by notes of dried cherries, cornbread, vanilla frosting, and blueberry pie. A chewy palate offers honeyed almonds, cherry pie, and allspice. Water unlocks dark chocolate, more cherry pie, cinnamon spice, and tobacco leaf. A long spiced finish shows lively herbs, cinnamon sugar, and strawberry jam. Water is highly recommended—it takes this already superb whiskey to even greater heights.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

93 points

Larceny Barrel Proof Kentucky Straight (Batch A121), 57.4%

Complex aromas of peanut butter on toast, dulce de leche, strawberry hard candy, lemon iced tea, dark berry jam, orange cake, and cola spices. More spice on the palate—cinnamon and dried ginger—along with peanut brittle, milk chocolate, mint, orange peel, green tea, and ample oak. The finish is lengthy, drawing out all the highlights of the nose and palate: cinnamon candy, peanut butter, peppery spice, baking chocolate, and sweet oak.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

93 points

Nashville Barrel Company 7 year old Single Barrel Straight, 57.5%

Demonstrating clear maturity and complexity, this is sweet right off the bat, with cocoa-dusted truffles, dark chocolate-covered cherries, crème brûlée, and gingersnap cookie on the nose. The palate is chewy, with more dessert notes like tiramisu, mocha, and candied apple in addition to tobacco leaf and, with water, dried ginger, allspice, and raisins. The finish displays savory spices, cocoa powder, espresso, peppermint stick, and blueberry jam, with excellent length.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

92 points

Arrrrrrrdbeg!, 51.8%

arrrrrrrbeg mickey heads committee release Fully matured in rye barrels. Butterscotch, almond paste, shortbread, lemon cake, and vanilla frosting on the nose—bakery aromas integrating with notes of crushed seashells and briny peat. The palate is soft, honeyed, and sweet, offering flavors of candied orange slices, iced tea, chocolate, and sugared espresso as a more pronounced peat influence emerges. A lengthy finish, as the peat drifts into the background, leaving a delicious pot of honey, candied fruit, and dark chocolate.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

92 points

Port Askaig 12 year old Bourbon Cask (Spring 2020 Edition), 45.8%

port askaig 12 year old spring 2020 edition scotch Tropical notes of lemon and lime on the nose, along with delicate peat. Creamy on the palate, with a blast of peat smoke integrating seamlessly with notes of vanilla, manuka honey, tropical fruit, and dried seashells. The finish offers red berries, apples, hibiscus, and more honey, along with a flavorful back note of peat char. Smooth and lightly fruited, with the peat providing a balanced backdrop for the sweeter notes in store. (510 bottles)

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

92 points

Oban Distillers Edition (Bottled in 2019), 43%

The nose is sweet but a bit shy, needing time to fully open into rose petal, raspberry, fig jam, raisin, sweet orange, candied grapefruit peel, and green apple candy. It gives no indication of the sweeping, elegant smoke of the palate, which brings dryness to the dark and dried-fruit flavors. A touch of water helps integrate and lengthen the experience, though it finishes rather quickly, with soft ashy smoke, raspberry jam, and persistent bitter chocolate.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

92 points

Highland Park 18 year old Viking Pride (2019 Batch), 43%

Christmas warmth in a glass, its maturity showing in complex aromas of baked apple, poached pear, Christmas cake, cinnamon, gingerbread, and cloves, enlivened by a tropical note of lime and a hint of peat. More baking spices on a rich palate that offers milk chocolate, melted caramel, and strawberry jam, with water bringing out notes of candied fruit, chocolate, and more light peat. Nimble, spiced, and replete with flavors to treasure.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

92 points

Dewar’s 19 year old The Champions Edition, 43%

This limited edition, released for the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, is bourbon cask-finished after following Dewar’s customary double-aging process. It tees off with manuka honey, toasted English muffin, vanilla seed, toasted coconut, and baking spice aromas. It goes down the hole smoothly, with creamy flavors around a core of vanilla intensity plus cream soda, dried banana, and green fruits, gliding through honey, butterscotch sauce, and caramel.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

92 points

The ImpEx Collection 40 year old 1980 Blend, 45.5%

Bales of aged tobacco, damp autumnal leaves, aromatic backyard bonfire smoke, barrel staves soaked in aged sherry, dried fig, prune flesh, milk chocolate, and polished antique wood grab the attention of the olfactory system. Deep wells of concentrated dark fruits give this a studied intensity, with chocolate-hazelnut ganache, date, plum, and a dry finish reminiscent of barrel char and oak tannins. Majestic, one might say. (525 bottles)

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

92 points

The ImpEx Collection 28 year old 1992 (Distilled at Cameronbridge), 51.8%

Sherry butt-matured grain whisky evoking aromas of raisins, runny caramel, crème caramel, polished oak furniture, and inky blue plums. It glides with a buttery texture; it’s disarmingly drinkable for its strength, enabling the discovery of deep pockets of dark sweetness, caramelized sugars, chocolate-flavored toffee, oak tannins, and berry notes. A long finish of cacao nibs, wood spices, peppercorn, and dark fruit. One not to miss. (425 bottles)

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

92 points

World Whisky Society Reserve Collection 15 year old Kentucky Straight (Batch 257), 56%

Dried herbs and tobacco, and then a fragrant rush of fresh cherries, caramel, Klondike bar, orange Creamsicle, clove, sweet black licorice straps, and sweetened ice tea. The sweeter notes rule on the nose, while the palate is balanced with spice and bold with notes of orange tart, vanilla ice cream, and black pepper. More balanced sweetness on a thick finish that’s rich in flavors of coconut, baking spice, angel food cake, and vanilla frosting.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

92 points

Amrut Aatma Port Pipe Single Cask (No. 4670), 56.5%

The color of polished horse chestnuts with the opulent aroma of mature vintage port, this concentrates the fruits around a firm spicy core, with red Twizzlers and a mischievous smirk of hot paprika. Red jelly and black grape flavors tangle with oak tannins, vanilla pod, red apple, clove, black pepper, plain chocolate, and vanilla essence. An almost local-anesthetic effect on the tongue at cask strength, so dilute liberally. (360 bottles)

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

92 points

Shibui 15 year old Sherry Cask Matured, 43%

Double distillation in stainless steel produces a higher filling strength than single distillation, which may account for the naturally dark color and rich flavors here. From Masahiro Distillery, this carries caramelized sugars, orange oil, blackberry, allspice, ground ginger, and dried pineapple on the nose. Flavors of dark fruits, cocoa powder, chocolate, plum, cherry, blackberry, and pepper; more body and intensity than other Shibui and it gets deliciously nuttier as it dilutes.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

92 points

Highland Park 12 year old Viking Honour, 43%

A whiff of peat and a maritime breeze of salt air, seashells, and beach bonfire embers, drifting into tropical notes of lime and pineapple, as well as baked apples. Sweetness on the palate, with a dash of peat atop vanilla cream, graham cracker, milk chocolate, zesty lime, and espresso beans. Water brings out fruit notes of melon, strawberries, and red apples, and the finish settles things with a back note of cocoa and a bang of winter spice. (Editors' Choice)

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

92 points

Bowmore 30 year old (2021 Release), 45.3%

bowmore 30 year old 1989 vintage bottle and box Orange peel and black tea greet the nose on this mellow, ultra-aged expression, and lead to delicate notes of raisin, strawberry coulis, and a whiff of incense and light peat. An overlay of muted spice and peat hovers above the palate, which offers orange marmalade, cooked red berries, and chocolate eclair, punctuated on the finish by an appealing cigar ash note. Dessert and a fine stogie rolled into one. (Collectible)

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

92 points

Redbreast Dream Cask Oloroso Sherry Edition (Cask No. 400294), 51.5%

A wave of pot still spice and high alcohol carries aromas of blueberry muffin, Victoria plum, ground ginger, nutmeg, and lush sherry. In time, greater complexity develops scents of juicy raspberry, black olive, and rose and violet creams. Dense sherry-wood flavors with chocolate-covered Brazil nuts and nippy, peppery spices encircle the tip of the tongue, then it finishes with blueberry gum and flashes of candied peel.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

91 points

GlenDronach 12 year old, 43%

Wet pine bough, tobacco leaf, tea, light rancio, and dark fruit aromas on the nose, as the sherry cask lets you know it’s in the game. More pronounced sherry notes on the palate—chocolate brownies, tiramisu, and a hint of candle wax. Water unlocks chocolate, baking spice, and cinnamon bread. Smooth and creamy on a finish that adds drizzled caramel and honeyed almonds. Balanced sweetness and very smooth sipping—a treat for sherried scotch fans.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

91 points

Compass Box Magic Cask (2020 Release), 46%

Banana-flavored candy, royal icing, and cocoa powder, with tangerine, cantaloupe, and soft pear on the nose. It’s lush, groaning with fruit, but still has plenty of body. Expect fresh fruity flavors of pear and apple strewn across a bed of honeyed sugary sweetness propped up by a big wedge of vanilla. Structured around whiskies of the now-closed Imperial Distillery, it’s one to sip and savor as it weaves its magic spells. (5,538 bottles, 1,800 for U.S.)

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

91 points

Backbone Uncut Decade Down Anniversary, 55%

Distilled in Indiana from a mashbill of 74% corn, 21% rye, and 5% malted barley, the nose has notes of toasted bread, almond butter, honey-roasted peanuts, and caramel topping. The palate is creamy and sweet, with rich oak, well-integrated spice, and peanuts—densely packed flavors that compose a full and rich body. The finish boasts admirable length, with savory nuts and semi-sweet chocolate. This has delightful sweetness throughout; everything is perfectly ordered and arranged. (2,700 bottles)

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

91 points

Lucky Seven The Holiday Toast Double Oak Bourbon (Batch 1), 57.5%

A lively herbal nose leads to sweeter aromas of chocolate syrup, baking spice, and toasted almonds. Loads of cherry on the palate—cherry pie, cherry muffins, and a note of raspberry tart. A long, pleasing finish shows chocolate, roasted pecans, and cooked red fruit. Smooth and balanced, with depth and lively fruit integrating with semi-sweet chocolate and oak. Whiskey lovers with a sweet tooth will adore this one, but it has plenty of appeal for all. (7,500 bottles)

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

91 points

Old Bones 15 year old Reserve Straight (Batch 1), 53.5%

Distilled in Kentucky from a mashbill of 78% corn, 13% rye, and 9% malted barley, the nose showcases notes of orange peel, butterscotch, flan, and honey-roasted peanuts. The palate is tart and acidic; orange marmalade and lemon peel, with loads of nuts and spices. Even with water added, dried citrus peel and roasted nuts break through. The finish is mouthwatering, with tingling spice and rich oak. Well-balanced and flavorful with density and dimension. (1,290 bottles)

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

91 points

Penderyn 10 year old Ruby Port Single Cask (PT–178), 60.06%

A good single cask pick should stand up proudly at cask strength yet still show plenty of character after dilution: This aged Welsh whisky does both superbly. Aromas of stewed rhubarb, cherry syrup, five spice, fresh oak, ripening black currants, and ground ginger. It opens with sweet flavors of lemon shortbread, vanilla, cherry gummy bears, and raspberry, building to a climax of clove, cinnamon bark, and tannic fruit skins. Don’t miss!

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

91 points

Amrut Bagheera Sherry Cask, 46%

amrut bagheera With the magnificent Mysore Palace on its label, and a nose of garam masala, overripe banana, coffee bean, hazelnut, and prune juice, this is definitely an Amrut to experience. Flavors ebb and flow through cereal notes, Agen prunes, raisins, vanilla essence, dried fruits, stewed apple, and dark autumnal fruits, all underpinned by glittering spicy base notes. It finishes with cola-flavored candy, dwindling sweetness, and encroaching leathery notes. (Editors' Choice)

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

91 points

Dewar’s 8 year old Japanese Smooth, 40%

The Dewar’s 8 year old line is developing into one of the best series in contemporary blending. This noses of vanilla sponge cake, roasted spices, exotic woods, lemongrass stalks, walnuts, and spun sugar nests. Vanilla, honey, yellow apple, lemongrass, and some understated herbal notes; the smoothness is noteworthy, and its glossy mouth-coating finish is studded with spices. (Editors' Choice)  

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

91 points

Benriach The Twenty One, 46%

benriach the twenty one scotch Sweet and beguiling smokiness, with wild mint, vanilla bean, and chocolate-coated raspberries on a complex, vibrant nose. The mouthfeel is thick and flavorful, with warm notes of sweetened peat, red berries, and dark chocolate, followed by a long, velvety finish offering notes of orange tart, more chocolate, licorice, dark espresso, and a touch of wood-fired brisket. Lively, agreeable, and inviting—like the warm hearth of a mountain cabin at nightfall.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

91 points

Dunville’s 1808, 40%

Named after the founding date of Dunville’s Irish whiskey, this stellar blend combines barley, honey, finely ground pepper, nutmeg, and aniseed balls, with light vanilla and soft fudge aromas. The beautiful transition through phases of flavor is impressive: light citrus, vanilla, and honey initially, becoming tangy with orange flan and mandarin, then hitting a baked orange note as the sweetness rises. Spices push through, concluding with cantaloupe and mango notes.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

91 points

Dunville’s Three Crowns Peated, 43.5%

More peated and peated cask-finished Irish whiskeys are emerging and this one is no half-measure. It’s smoky but balanced, with vanilla sponge, lemon zest, golden syrup, rock pools, iodine, and maritime notes, with a whiff of creosote. Elegant and smooth, with vanilla cream, lemon meringue pie, and developing creamy fudge notes with pepper and smoke. Lots of top-quality American oak at play and plenty of smoke on the finish.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

91 points

Shibui 30 year old, 43%

shibui 30 year old single grain whisky Aromas of fresh orange peel burst with tart acidity, mixed with milk chocolate, stone fruit, peppercorns, chile flakes, five spice, and red Twizzlers. A lithe and supple character of mandarin and runny caramels on the palate, with elements of walnut and gentle spices, then developing greater tanginess, creaminess, and red berry fruits. Longevity is quite attainable with rice whiskies, though don’t expect them to match the body and texture of 30 year old malts.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

91 points

Method & Madness Mulberry Cask Finish, 46%

Substantial wood character, caramel-drizzled pecans, pears poached in red wine, and bananas Foster, balanced handsomely by the pot still spice. Sweet orchard fruits—from pulpy pear to a rounded Cox’s apple note—plus dark toffee, the heat of red chiles, red currant, more wood, and milk chocolate. A soothing finish, with raisins and a flare of spices that linger with the fruit. Dark and wood-driven, but this never topples the balance. €95

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

90 points

Scots Gold 8 year old, 40%

Rounded and expressive on the nose, with a rich malty heart, vanilla, toffee, apple chips, dried banana, and an array of freshly ground spices. Flavors of delicious caramel, banana, red apple, and vanilla custard keep the taste buds occupied as the spices slowly build up a head of steam. The controlled delivery of flavor and balance from this blend is impressive, though there’s still sufficient punch for mixing.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

90 points

Black Button Distilling Cask Strength Straight (Batch 4), 55.1%

Complex and layered on the nose; what starts off as herbaceous, with pine cone, tea leaf, lemon oil, and toasted nuts, develops into sweet aromas of candied nuts, cinnamon challah bread, maple syrup, and toffee. A full-bodied and chewy palate is heavily spiced with cinnamon, pepper, caraway, and roasted elements once water is added. A mouthwatering finish shows good length, herbaceous oak, licorice, and coffee bean. Time and water both help this whiskey’s full plumage to emerge.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

90 points

Starlight Distillery Carl T. Huber’s Bottled in Bond Indiana Straight (Barrel No. 16238), 50%

Bakery shop aromas of shortbread, vanilla cupcake, sugared almond, melted marshmallow, and banana bread batter form a base for fragrant herbs, spice, and orange. The palate expands on the herbal character with cedar boughs, incense, and chamomile alongside orange peel, orange blossom water, black cherries, allspice, and lively pepper. Sweetened herbal tea, black pepper, dried ginger, cinnamon, cooked cherry, and toasted oak to finish.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

90 points

Starlight Distillery Carl T. Huber’s Limited Release Double Oak Finished Straight (Batch DB003), 48%

Starlight’s straight bourbon gets an 8-month finish in new vanilla toast American white oak barrels from Napa Valley cooperage Seguin Moreau. That oak influence shows itself on the nose as pecans, rich caramel, and antique bookcase. A youthfulness emerges with water. The palate is chewy, with generous oak, root beer, and a dark earthiness. Cocoa powder, mint, and tea leaf highlight the finish. The structure is clean and the flavors work with or without water.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

90 points

Four Gate Ruby Rye Springs, 56.7%

four gate ruby rye springs whiskey Finished in casks that first held ruby port, then rum. The nose is dominated by mature vanilla and dark fruit aromas: blueberry syrup, Concord grape juice, and Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper, along with tobacco barn, tea leaf, chocolate orange, and maple syrup. It’s thick and chewy on the palate, blackberry cobbler and cherry syrup mingling with mint-flavored dark chocolate, orange oil, and well-integrated spice. The finish is soft but not shy, a gentle fade of dark fruit, dark chocolate, and candied ginger. (1,444 bottles)

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

90 points

Fugitives Tennessee Artisan Spirits Tennessee Waltz Straight, 47%

A pleasant, pretty nose with sweetened notes of almond, vanilla milkshake, milk chocolate, candy corn, caramel, and grape hard candy. Smooth and delicate on a palate that is draped in flavors, with notes of spiced chocolate, candied orange slices, and toffee. Water brings out a fresh array of sweet flavors—vanilla cream, birthday cake, raspberry tart, creamy chocolate, and a light influence of tobacco leaf. The finish continues the theme, offering length and delicate flavor.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

90 points

Boulder Spirits Peated Malt, 47%

Sweet barbecue smoke, vanilla bean, milk chocolate, sesame breadstick, grilled apples, and charred peppers on the nose. On the palate, the smoke is sweet and savory, a little meaty—grilled sausage—and supported by dark chocolate and tobacco leaf. There’s also lemon and orange oil, raspberry, vanilla, and satisfying nuttiness. More sweet-savory smoke into the gently fading finish, overlaid on cocoa powder, mint leaf, and vanilla. (2,500 bottles)

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

90 points

Old Line Double Oak Series Sherry Cask, 50%

The nose presents a complex, almost condensed array of aromas: cantaloupe, vanilla, Rocket Pop, raspberry jam, sandalwood, tobacco leaf, fancy mixed nuts, and incense. Equally complex and layered on the palate, which highlights herbal and delicate spice notes of clove, mint, cedar, sandalwood, and black pepper, along with dark fruit—raspberry, blackberry, grape—and roasted nuts. Cacao nibs, Andes mint chocolates, clove, nutmeg, and charred oak overflow on the lengthy finish.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

90 points

Bushmills 16 year old, 40%

Distinctive for its classic three-wood maturation profile, this has complex layers of dark fruits to unravel on the nose: Dried cranberry and blackberry mingle with walnut and black pepper. It’s a satisfyingly smooth and spicy number amid the flavorsome tussle of port and sherry elements in the mouth. Damson and other plums occupy the mid-palate; it’s enjoyably nutty and soaked in delicious portwood flavors.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

90 points

M&H ImpEx Beverages Ex-Islay Single Cask (No. 2017-0267), 57.8%

Toasted malt, fresh grapefruit and lemon, coconut, vanilla, honeysuckle, poached pears, saline, candle wax, and campfire smoke on the nose. Despite the high proof, the mouthfeel is silky, fizzing with lemon and dry with chalky minerality, though savory malt and a smoky backbone make up the meat of the flavors. The finish is ashy, with oak char, coffee bean, and the slight tang of lemon peel. (229 bottles)

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

90 points

Shibui 10 year old Pure Malt, 43%

shibui niigata 10 year old pure malt whisky The combination of mature single malts from Lowlands, Scotland and Niigata, Japan that have been double distilled in pot stills works well here. This has a copacetic nose of dry spices, pepper, sandy seashells, and Whoppers, but it’s the comforting, warming flavors—applesauce, cream, malted chocolate-chip cookies, cinnamon, brown sugar, and spiced gingerbread—that really unmask its full potential.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

90 points

Kilbeggan Traditional, 40%

Cereal-led aromas on a classic Irish whiskey nose with wood shavings, straw, crisp spices, hints of honey, burlap, extra virgin olive oil, and other savory notes. A scrumptious palate of lemon, white chocolate, soft-serve vanilla ice cream, and sweet honey followed by tangerine, gentle peppery spices, hints of lemon and lime, and an ebullient spicy aftertaste. Perfect for a lazy Sunday: There’s very little wrong with this. (Best Value)

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

90 points

Dunville’s Three Crowns, 43.5%

An attractive proposition of granola, toasted nuts, dried fruits, vanilla pod, grist box, and wood spices greets the nose. It’s light bodied but tasty, with nutty flavors, initially whole almond and nougat, then walnut, as orange peel flavors blossom into marmalade on hot buttered toast, with baked muffin and cinnamon, while the spices rip along under the tongue. Warm fruitcake on the finish.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

90 points

Shibui 8 year old Small Batch Sherry Cask Matured, 40%

shibui 8 year old single grain whisky Manzanilla and fino casks were selected to mature this elegant single-distilled rice whisky from Shinzato Distillery, instilling it with delicate sherrywood flavors of plum flesh, damson jam, dried apricot, sticky dates, and fine dry spices. This builds slowly on the palate, so don’t rush it: citrus zest, peppery spice, clove, orange Jell-O, mixed peel, and dried apricot before departing with a long lingering aftertaste.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

90 points

M&H Apex Collection Rum Cask, 57.3%

This is one of those delightful whiskies where the aromas leap from the glass; a battle of citrus between lime, pineapple, and clementine, obvious rum notes, and a strong hit of pepper. A fast-paced turnover of brown sugar, candied lemon and lime slices, vanilla fudge, pepper, and ground ginger flavors, while the latter stages race through nectarine, pear, banana-flavored candy, tropical fruits, and notes of cookie dough. Utterly electrifying! €100

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

89 points

Torabhaig 2017 The Legacy Series, 46%

torabhaig legacy series 2017 bottle Peated notes galore—peat embers, iodine, Band-Aid, lime juice, smoked meats, smoked paprika, and dried leaves on the nose and palate. Flavors of dark chocolate and coffee start to emerge as the peat yields to dessert notes of crème brûlée, cooked pears, and butterscotch, ending with a fleeting hint of charcoal embers. An impressive debut for this new distillery from the Isle of Skye, showing the promise of great things to come.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

89 points

Black Dog Triple Gold Reserve, 42.8%

Toast spread with raspberry jam, lemon slice in hot tea, zwieback crackers, nutty malt, earthy oak, and a touch of spice on the nose. Sweet and velvety on the palate, with earthy malt, hazelnuts, chocolate, red apple, raspberry, lemon, and a pinch of cinnamon and dried ginger. The medium-length finish is well rounded with semi-sweet chocolate, toasted nuts, and rich oak. Great balance on this mild-mannered but never one-note whisky.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

89 points

Glasshouse, 46%

For a Highball, you want a whisky with enough spice, flavor, and strength to carry through. This just nails it. An innovative 100% malted barley single blend of Coffey still and pot still distillates from Loch Lomond, it bursts with toasted oat aromas, cinnamon, white pepper, hazelnut, and soft dried apricot. Quaker Oat Squares, spice, thick textured honey, mint chocolate, and graham cracker, with a short, sharp, spicy finish.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

89 points

Still Austin The Musician Straight, 49.2%

The flagship straight bourbon from Still Austin. There is a rich sweetness on the nose; vanilla angel food cake with sugared strawberries, toasted marshmallow, candied pecans, maple syrup, banana bread, and berries and cream. A velvety palate showcases orange blossom, honeysuckle, chocolate-covered cherries, and cream soda. The fairly consistent finish shows spiced orange and sweet oak. The structure here works well.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

89 points

Black Button Distilling Empire (Batch 3), 42%

A captivating nose with perfumy aromas, licorice, dry pine needles, and eucalyptus. There’s also a rich array of spices and herbs—cardamom, black pepper, anise, dried mint—and water brings out a rounded brightness of strawberry, blueberry, and lemon. Spiced and herbal notes dominate the creamy palate along with dry toasted oak and nuts, tobacco, and root beer. The finish is soft, with toasted oak and persistent dry herbs.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

89 points

Hochstadter’s Straight Vatted (Batch 3), 50%

hochstadter's vatted rye batch 3 A blend of straight rye whiskies aged 4 to 18 years from Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Alberta. There’s dill pickle, peach iced tea, mint leaves, and boysenberry syrup on the nose. With water, sliced apple and pear, and a chalky sugary sweetness. The palate is piney, with rich dark chocolate and coffee. A tangy finish brings with it citrus and mint oil. There is clear maturity and nuance here. (9,000 bottles)

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

89 points

Nashville Barrel Company Small Batch (Batch 1.1), 50%

A combination of 4 year old and 7 year old rye distilled in Indiana, the nose has earthy aromas of pine needles, fresh muddled mint, and dill, in addition to pecan, orange peel, and blueberry pie. The palate is spiced with more pine, some blackberry jam, lemon tart, and clove. Water brings notes of cedar and grapefruit zest, and overall gives this whiskey better cohesion. The finish shows coffee bean and mint oil.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

89 points

Virginia Distillery Co. Courage & Conviction (Dr. Jim Swan Batch), 46%

Oily lemon, orange, and grapefruit zested over an earthy malt base lead into a nose of leafy forest floor, sliced apples on a crisp fall day, toasted hazelnuts, and banana bread with caramel drizzle. The palate is spiced with nutmeg and cinnamon, savory with nutty toasted malt and tobacco leaf, rich with dark chocolate, and brightened by grapefruit oil. Espresso, cigar wrapper, cinnamon dark chocolate, and persistent nutty oak to finish. (9,900 bottles)

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

89 points

Boulder Spirits Port Cask, 47%

Bakery shop aromas pervade the nose: vanilla frosting, almond cream, apple pie a la mode, and lemon bars. There’s also rose petal perfume, plums, and red gummy bears. The creamy-textured palate showcases nutty pastry, buttered scone, toasted almonds, vanilla, and candied orange peel; water brings out cinnamon and Nesquik. Quick to finish, with more nuts and vanilla, but ultimately a satisfying conclusion. (1,500 bottles)

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

89 points

Tullamore D.E.W. Cider Cask, 40%

Thinking differently led to this early example of modern finishing at Tullamore D.E.W., which marries the strong tradition of Irish cider making with whiskey. The nose shows off toasted waffle and sweet cider notes, but green apple too, and a prickle of white pepper. Credit where it’s due, this tastes of sugared golden apple slices at its core, with crisper cider elements, caramel, vanilla, then pepper and clove.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

89 points

M&H Apex Collection Cognac Cask, 59.4%

Head distiller Tomer Goren took parcels of bourbon and shaved, toasted, and re-charred (STR) cask whisky and finished them in French Limousin oak cognac casks, delivering a nose of chocolate brownie, mixed baking fruit, and pepper. The palate delivers vanilla essence, malty sweetness, and butterscotch, with young green fruits, toffee, and honeycomb, then concludes with notes of nutmeg and clove just as the mouthfeel develops a luxurious velvety and slightly oily texture.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

89 points

Shibui Grain Select, 43%

shibui grain select whisky This blend of Scottish and Japanese grain whiskies matured in bourbon, oloroso sherry, and mizunara oak offers a nose of baked lemon, aniseed, gently roasted spices, crispy roast chicken, rock pool minerality, and sandalwood. Light bodied, floral with lemon and lychee, then greater complexity develops as juicy mandarin, dried apricot, and tropical fruits emerge, while peppercorn mounts a rearguard action leaving a citrus and ground-ginger finish

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

89 points

Shibui 18 year old Sherry Cask Matured, 40%

shibui 18 year old single grain whisky Shibui’s only bottling from Kumesen Distillery is single distilled in a stainless steel still and matured in manzanilla and fino casks. More oakiness on the nose, with milk chocolate, dried cranberry, slightly bitter cherry notes, hints of toffee, and muted wood spices. Citrus freshness, vanilla fudge, gingersnap spiciness, licorice, walnut, and fresh fig, with a finish of lime and green melon, imply the influence of the lighter-style sherries.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

89 points

Shibui 10 year old Virgin White Oak Matured, 43%

shibui 10 year old white oak cask single grain whisky Ripe fresh-fruit aromas of watermelon, strawberry, red gooseberry, fresh plum, and coconut strips, with a hint of orange peel singed over a flame. This whisky was double distilled in stainless steel at Masahiro Distillery and tastes gently fruity with blueberry, black currant juice, red fruits, stewed apple, clove, and pepper, tempering to cranberry and orange, then a flare of spice over orange fondant to signify the finish.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

88 points

Scots Gold 12 year old, 40%

A mixture of butter toffee, vanilla, dried fruit, Oreo cookies, candied peel, fennel seed, and white pepper on the nose. The palate shows vanilla toffee, blackened oak, macaroon bars, rich malt, and robust peppercorn spiciness. Yes, it’s full-bodied and satisfyingly malty, bathing the tongue in deliciously smooth toffee flavors with blackened staves and plenty of spice on the finish, but it’s a bit too straightforward. Vanilla in more ways than one.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

88 points

Compass Box Menagerie, 46%

compass box menagerie The aromas comprise golden syrup, toasted oats, and hard toffee under muscular flavors of nduja and mint sauce on lamb cold cuts. Heavyset on the palate, with abundant dried fruits, honey, butterscotch, chile heat, ginger, and clove, it opens up dense baked orange flavors ahead of a robust finish, with citrus peel and ground ginger. If you relish meaty Speyside single malts like Benrinnes and Mortlach, this one’s for you. (7,741 bottles)

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

88 points

Beacon Small Batch, 50%

From New York’s Denning’s Point Distillery, this bourbon was aged for 4 years. Sawdust and chestnuts on the nose, along with sprinklings of cinnamon, allspice, and clove. Clean barrel and grain flavors permeate the palate: peppermint hard candies, cinnamon gum, peanut shells, and fresh-cut wood. There is plenty of oak and spice on the finish, rounded out with a touch of savory tobacco.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

88 points

Black Button Distilling Distiller’s Select Single Barrel Straight (No. 724), 45%

The nose is at times sweet, fruity, herbal and minty, with notes of grape Kool-Aid, strawberry lemonade, Ricola cough drop, and pine needles. With water, more herbaceous aromas emerge and temper the very sweet fruitiness. The herbal notes are gentle yet persuasive, though the palate has a hard time finding its feet, with baking spices, nuts, and chocolate vying for attention. More grape and a touch of peppery spice on the finish.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

88 points

Jefferson’s Reserve Single Barrel Kentucky Straight, 50%

jefferson's reserve single barrel bourbon Granola bar notes of toasted oats, honey, chocolate chips, and sweet nuts on the nose, along with blueberries, vanilla, orange blossom, and a touch of spice. Creamy vanilla latte, dark chocolate, dried cherries, peppermint, and root beer spices on the palate, which benefits from a drop of water. The finish has more spice, a sheen of mint oil, savory oak, and coffee bean.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

88 points

Watershed Distillery Barrel-Strength Apple Brandy Barrel-Finished (Batch 001), 59.65%

Aged 6 years. A dark, earthy, woodsy character gives this whiskey definition, bringing notes of cedar and pine cones on the nose along with eucalyptus, maple syrup, brown sugar, and—when water is added—lemon balm and dried apricots. The palate shows consistency, robust with dried mint, orange peel, dark chocolate, roasted walnuts, and a touch of licorice. Tangy citrus highlights the warming finish, along with cacao nibs and savory oak.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

88 points

Starlight Distillery Old Rickhouse, 46%

Aged at least 4 years. The nose is fruity with orange slices, cherries, and tangerines, but also floral and spicy with notes of honeysuckle and candied ginger. The palate is dry and nutty, with ample baking spice and more fruitiness: tangy citrus and flamed orange disc. Sweet cherries mingle with baking spice and dry oak on the finish. This demonstrates good balance and a lovely nose.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

88 points

Cedar Ridge Slipknot No. 9 Reserve, 49.5%

Same components as the No. 9 Iowa whiskey, but selected from casks aged at least 4 years and bottled at a higher proof. A vibrant nose shows signs of lemon oil, cake batter, and sunflower seeds. There’s toasted oak, wintergreen gum, and vanilla on the palate with better balance achieved when water is added. The finish isn’t quite as lively as the rest of the experience, with sweet oak and persistent hot spices.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

88 points

Alberta Premium Cask Strength Rye, 66%

alberta premium cask strength whisky There is a pronounced graininess up front, with toasted coconut, brioche bun, and cereal box on the nose. Add water, and toasted nuts, brown sugar, and pastry case aromas emerge. Take a sip and there’s a rich interplay of mint and chocolate, Andes mints along with some herb and spice notes, lemon curd, and candied nuts. The finish is sweet, spicy, and slightly minty. There’s an in-your-face boldness to this whisky—one that reveals complexity over time.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

88 points

Bushmills Black Bush, 40%

This all-Ireland blend is resplendent in rich oloroso sherry aromas, whole peppercorn, concentrated raspberry coulis, and blueberry notes as the triple-distilled single malt component lets the fruits shine. Its flavors start in a tight embrace with sherry fruit, then break open expansively with plum, cherry, raisin, black grape, cinnamon, spices, and chocolate cigarillos. Now, if you’re thinking you want this in your next Old Fashioned, you’re probably right.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

88 points

M&H Apex Collection White Wine Cask, 61.2%

A floral, fruity nose with apricot, mango, sour lemon, and snuff tobacco on this chardonnay cask-finished whisky. Tangerine flesh, honey, sweet confectioner’s sugar, vanilla fudge, and a dusting of earthy spices, it’s best to imbibe at full strength as this is smooth and easy to drink. Tel Aviv’s climate exacts an appreciable angels’ share, but it would be fascinating to revisit this style once the whisky has mellowed further.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

88 points

Loch Fyll, 43%

Bakery shop character throughout, starting with raspberry thumbprint cookies, hazelnuts, orange peel, and crème brûlée on the nose. The creamy palate is sweet with black and white cookie, frosted vanilla cake, coconut pudding, and chocolate-covered frozen banana, finishing with more of the same. Balanced and well textured, with a simplicity that’s easy to enjoy. (Best Value)

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

88 points

Starlight Distillery Carl T. Huber Signature Indiana Straight (Batch 0217), 46%

From Huber’s Orchard, Winery & Vineyards in Indiana comes this well-made whiskey with elements of originality and surprise. Hickory wood spice, cinnamon candy, and coffee cake on the nose. The palate is full of spice with some tropical fruit—mango and guava—plus good balance and body. These notes shine brighter without water. Guava carries over to the palate where it’s joined by mint, more cinnamon, and oak. This is one to keep an eye on as stocks mature. (Best Value)

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

88 points

Shibui 10 year old Bourbon Cask Matured, 40%

shibui 10 year old bourbon cask single grain whisky Single distilled in Shinzato Distillery’s stainless-steel still, the nose is replete with bourbon-barrel character including vanilla, honey, toasted oak, generous wood spices, fresh cream, and lemon zest. The mouthfeel is light, with honey, maple syrup, vanilla, a slight nuttiness, glazed doughnuts, ground ginger, and pepper, with hints of milk chocolate on the finish.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

87 points

Scots Gold Black Label, 40%

The nose presents pencil shavings, finely tuned aromatic spices, vanilla toffee, peppercorn, clove, and milk chocolate caramels. The palate opens with quick flashes of lime, followed by vanilla, toffee, citrus-tinged sweetness, and clamorous peppery spices, then becomes more malty, and slackens into flavors of butterscotch, ice cream cone, and ground nuts. Lingering malty sweetness on the finish with hints of blackened oak, though the spices have the final word. A satisfying pour.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

87 points

Scots Gold Red Label, 40%

Lean and crisp grain notes on the nose, with Bramley apple peels, warm gentle spices, a little vanilla fudge, dry grasses, and custard cream biscuits. The flavors are sweet with creamy buttercream, vanilla, honey, banana, and a streak of mild spices, though it’s not until the finish that the spices really steal the show, making for a more impactful tasting experience. Solid, decent, and worth a try.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

87 points

Catoctin Creek Ragnarök, 46%

Made in collaboration with Virginia-based band GWAR, this 100% rye whiskey was finished with sugar maple and cherrywood. The nose shows signs of herbal cough syrup, clove, green almonds, and orange marmalade. The palate is piney, with lemon oil, mint, and bitter chocolate all present. Water brings out black pepper and coffee bean. The finish is short but satisfying, with more herbs and cocoa powder. It’s consistent and tasty, if at times a tad simple in its construction. (2,000 bottles)

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

87 points

Cedar Ridge Slipknot No. 9 Iowa, 45%

This whiskey blends 60% straight bourbon with 40% straight rye. The nose is zesty with citrus notes of lemon, lime, and a touch of grapefruit, with additional fruit qualities like strawberries and cream, watermelon candy, and cherry juice. The palate mingles citrus and spice with orange marmalade, cinnamon, white pepper, and fresh ginger. The finish is nutty and warm with persistent peppery spice and toasted oak. Its nuance shines brighter without water.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

87 points

Talnua Continuum Cask American Single Pot Still, 43%

Made with unmalted and malted barley, triple distilled, and matured in virgin white oak before a finish in Pedro Ximénez and amontillado sherry casks. There is a musty funkiness on the nose, but underneath lurk aromas of banana Runts, herbal cough syrup, and fruit cocktail. The light and nimble palate buzzes with fizzy lemon, sweet nuts, cinnamon, and allspice. Frozen chocolate-covered banana on the finish. It shares DNA with some American single malts.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

87 points

M&H Apex Collection Pomegranate Wine Cask, 60.3%

Turbocharged sour cherry aromas are propelled from the glass by high-strength alcohol, leaving a backwash of toffee, coffee grounds, dunnage, and pepper. After its 6-month finish in a kosher Rimon Winery barrel, it’s become a skittish prospect of fiery pomegranate and rose-hip jelly, its mighty strength runs amok with the spices among the sourness of dark fruits. Use water to emphasize the pleasurable maraschino cherry notes.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

87 points

Shibui Pure Malt, 43%

shibui niigata pure malt whisky Bourbon, oloroso sherry, and mizunara oak casks were used to mature this blend of double-distilled Lowlands single malts from Scotland and Japanese single malts. The nose is dry and spicy, with crushed nuts, coriander seeds, mizunara spiciness, and salted peanuts. Starts like a fishtailing car before finding its grip, then delivers caramel, bitter orange, boiled fondant, sherry fruitiness, mango, malt, pepper, and clove, with the spiciness enduring through the finish.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

86 points

Bardstown Bourbon Co. Fusion Series #4, 47.45%

The nose is nutty, sweet with marmalade on toast and caramel apple, and spiced like gingerbread sprinkled with dried cherries and Craisins. The palate is hotter than expected at this proof, tannic with oak, and spiced with cinnamon candy, dried ginger, and red pepper; spearmint emerges with water. More cinnamon, chocolate, coffee bean, and sweet oak on the finish. This updated blend of the Fusion series has a rougher character than previous iterations.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

86 points

Black Button Distilling Four Grain Straight (Batch 20), 42%

Comprised of 60% corn, 20% wheat, 11% malted barley, and 9% rye, this whiskey has hay, fresh apricot, wood shavings, and vanilla sugar on the nose. With water, lemon and fresh berries atop pancakes emerge. The silky palate trends toward sweet, though with plenty of oak, gentle spice, roasted almonds, and Hershey’s chocolate. The spice turns zestier, with a spray of citrus oil when water is added. The finish overlays generous tobacco on oak.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

86 points

O.H. Ingram River Aged Straight (Batch 1), 49%

o h ingram river-aged rye whiskey Distilled in Indiana and aged for 3 years on a “floating rickhouse” on the Mississippi River, this rye has a nose of blueberry muffin, cinnamon babka, crushed nuts, and banana peel. The palate demonstrates nice spice, with additional notes of lemon curd, dill, and orange slice. The finish is moderate in length with sustained cinnamon spice and a bit of bubble-gum sweetness. The barrel impact here is prominent. (2,400 bottles; Tennessee only)

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

86 points

Fugitives Tennessee Artisan Spirits Grandgousier Single Barrel (No. 6), 47%

An unconventional mix of aromas: pistachios in the shell, jasmine tea, banana peel, butterscotch, and furniture polish. Robust oak tussles with grain-forward distillate on the palate, supported by spice, roasted nuts, cacao nibs, and peppermint stick; water brings out burnt marshmallow and cinnamon stick. It finishes on a peppery and peppermint note, dotted with cacao, peppery spice, and charred oak.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

86 points

Boulder Spirits New American, 47%

A shy nose that tends toward doughy aromas: saffron buns with lightly sprinkled spices, coconut-flaked vanilla macaroons, Nilla wafers, and rice pudding, plus chalky candy cigarettes and talcum powder. Graham cracker, Luden’s cherry cough drop, candied orange peel, and vanilla on the palate; the flavors are nice, if simple. Chocolate-cherry cordial, cinnamon, and toasted almonds to finish. An uncomplicated pour.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

86 points

World Whiskey Society Goalong 5 year old Bourbon Cask Single Malt, 40%

goalong 5 year old chinese single malt The first Chinese single malt to be exported to the U.S. Toffee apples, butterscotch haystacks, peonies, and orange wedges on the light and sweet nose. More sweetness on the palate, flowers and fruit undergirded by grain: candied rose petals, citrus peel, vanilla Pudding Pop, green banana, and pencil shavings. The texture is velvety but the flavors don’t leave much of an impression, with a finish of vanilla and sweet oak that’s barely there. (2,884 bottles)

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

85 points

Boulder Spirits Straight, 42%

An unusual mashbill of 51% corn, 44% malted barley, and 5% rye gives this whiskey notes of spearmint, chile flakes, Nesquik powder, and cherry pie. There’s more chocolate on the palate in the form of mocha and cocoa powder along with pistachio and herbal oak. A bitter finish paired with the silky mouthfeel leaves things slightly off-balance, but the earthy chocolate notes show signs of promise for this oddity. (5,000 bottles)

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

85 points

Castle & Key Restoration Straight (2020 Release, Batch 1), 51.5%

castle and key restoration rye bottle The debut rye from Kentucky’s Castle & Key is a batched product that will vary in proof. Batch 1 has cooked cherries, birch beer, almond shell, and wood shavings on the nose. Banana Popsicle, almond extract, and light caramel sauce atop vanilla ice cream on the palate. With water added, orange gummies and roast coffee. The finish is sweet, short, and woody, with pepper and Popsicle stick. (13,200 bottles)

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

84 points

Brother’s Bond Straight (Hand Selected Batch), 40%

brothers bond bourbon Actors Ian Somerhalder and Paul Wesley introduce this 4 year old Indiana bourbon made with 64% corn, 22% rye, and an undisclosed percentage of wheat and malted barley. The nose is corn-forward and sweet: notes of candy corn, butterscotch candies, and orange Popsicle. The palate is light-bodied making it highly sippable; vanilla pudding, a touch of honey, and boiled peanuts. That light and sweet quality carries over to the finish. No water necessary.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

84 points

McCabe’s Irish Whiskey, 40%

A light and reticent nose, with scant aromas of grain, vanilla, marmalade, rose water, and honeysuckle. The palate is grain-driven and sharp with ethanol, along with Popsicle stick, vanilla, and almond shells. A woody and rather sharp finish underscores the immaturity of this whiskey, which needs time to soften its youth and rough edges.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

83 points

Finger Lakes Distilling McKenzie Pure Pot Still 40%

Made from unmalted barley, malted barley, and oats and aged in used bourbon and rye barrels. The nose is promising and evocative of a florist’s shop, with notes of flower stems, lime peel, peach jam, and orange blossom. The palate, which can be rough and thin at times, is less encouraging, with faint floral notes, grainy, sawdust mustiness, overripe fruit, and hints of mushy citrus. The finish is short with dull oak. An Irish homage that needs further development.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

80 points

Black Bear Irish-Style Colorado Whiskey, 40%

Sweet candied aromas pervade the nose: caramel corn, watermelon Jolly Rancher, orange Popsicle, and strawberry Blow-Pop. There’s also shaved wood and construction paper. The silky palate holds dilute flavors of bubble gum, candy, vanilla, and toasted wood, and rapidly turns bitter on the finish

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)


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