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95 points

The Last Drop Distillers 50 year old Signature Blend Colin Scott, 47.2%

Mellow soft fruits, honey, and barley crispness, with fire-roasted marshmallow, caramel apple, orange-scented cedar balls, panna cotta, ground ginger, peppercorn, and chocolate on the nose. The palate opens with honey and creamy puddings, then a depth charge explodes, radiating sweet orange warmth, followed by soft ripe fruits, caramel, and barley sugar. Gentle oak and mouth-coating fruits finish this stunning composition. (500 bottles; 125 for the U.S.)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

94 points

The Irishman Vintage Cask (2021 Release), 54.8%

Honey, viennoiserie, and floral top notes combine with baked orange, ground hazelnut, baking spices, and dunnage floor to produce a solid nose with plenty of promise. Toffee, spices, and Dundee cake lead to an imposing spicy peak, followed by flavors of malty drinks, peppery spices, dark-roasted grains, and Smucker’s Magic Shell ice cream topping. Powerfully good, with a long spicy send-off. This oozes class and sophistication. (750 bottles for the U.S.)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

94 points

Barrell Cask-Strength Blend of Straight (Batch 029), 57.94%

Initially soft and reticent on the nose, with water revealing the sweet maltiness of a vanilla shake, as well as buttered toast, almonds, and melon. A smooth creamy palate shows honey, blueberry pie, and vanilla ice cream. Baking spice and more pie notes emerge, along with toasted walnuts, bitter coffee, chocolate, and a finish of cinnamon-sprinkled vanilla custard and baking spice. A hot one, even with water, but loaded with well-integrated flavors.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

93 points

Writers’ Tears Cask Strength (2021 Release), 54.2%

Rich, malty, and bursting with pot still spices, time enables the appearance of deeper layers of toffee, Brazil nut, cherry, sultana cake, espresso foam, and the aromas of a dark cigar wrapper. Mouth-filling flavors of dark caramel, nuts, orange, clove, milk chocolate, and toasted almond, with firecracker pot still spices. A drying finish with malt, amaretti, and espresso. This is epic stuff. (1,500 bottles for the U.S.)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

93 points

August 17th Rare Cask 8 year old Single Malt, 48%

After 7 years in port and cognac, the extra year of sauternes cask finishing wraps an attractive layer of yellow fruits around this whisky. Sweet melon, vanilla, honeysuckle, apple pie, and golden syrup, with base notes of cranberry, cherry, and allspice. Incredibly smooth and silky mouthfeel with lush flavors of apple, golden sugar, tangy clementine peel, lime zest, and a shiver of peppery spices. A real gem. (18 bottles for the U.S.)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

93 points

Paul John Mithuna, 58%

Named after the 3rd zodiac sign of Indian astrology—but then of course you knew that—the nose has red cherry laces, ground black pepper, and hints of ginger, resin, and toffee apple. The flavors are colossal; beginning with warm fruity caramels and sweet vanilla desserts, it shows off burnt sugar toppings of crème brûlée, Seville orange peel, indulgent dark chocolate, generous layers of maltiness, and delicious mocha notes. Quite spectacular. (3,000 bottles for the U.S.)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

93 points

Russell’s Reserve 13 year old Barrel Proof Kentucky Straight, 57.4%

Refined maturity, but with plenty of vivacity. After the first whiff of sweet-scented antique oak, flavors of cherry pie, bubble gum, banana flan, honeyed vanilla, and maple syrup emerge, all tempered by rich herbs and mature oak. A formidable structure allows it to hold water ably, and brings out apple pie and blackberry tart against wood and spice, with a graceful, restrained oak influence.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

93 points

Balvenie 19 year old Edge of Burnhead Wood, 48.7%

balvenie 19 year old the edge of burnhead wood scotch Distilled from barley grown on Balvenie’s Dufftown estate and dried at the distillery over heather plucked from nearby Burnhead Wood. Tropical fragrance of lime and guava, refined by balanced minerality. Spiced honey greets the palate, followed by bitter chocolate and a deeper note of baked orange. Long and spiced on the finish of honey, lemon, vanilla, and a sprinkling of white pepper. All the elegance of Speyside, with added depth and complexity. (1,200 bottles for the U.S.)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

93 points

Craigellachie 24 year old Exceptional Cask Single Cask (No. 4127013182), 52.2%

craigellachie 24 year old single cask scotch Matured in a single oloroso sherry butt. Quite fruity on the nose, with notes of kiwi, juicy mango, fruit cocktail, blueberry pie, lemon bars, and strawberry shortcake, in addition to cinnamon graham crackers and raisin bread. The palate is lively, with cinnamon, tangy lemon-lime citrus, and orange scone. Good length on the finish with lemon-poppyseed muffin. (474 bottles)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

93 points

Glenlivet Spectra (Bottle 1), 40%

Part of a trio of 20-cl bottles, initially released without tasting notes or maturation details to present an open journey through a “spectrum” of flavors (the reveal came earlier this year). Sherry and American oak-matured Spectra 01 offers notes of hay, lemon zest, mint, pineapple, and melon. The palate reveals darker fruit notes as well as baking spice, chocolate-chip cookies, and tiramisu, leading to a creamy finish of honeyed pastries and angel-food cake.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

93 points

Mossburn 10 year old Cask Strength 2008 (Distilled at Benrinnes), 57.1%

Poached honeyed pears, vanilla cream, melon slices, and an undernote of minerality beneath the lilting sweetness. Delicate notes of golden honey, baking spice, ginger, and Christmas cake on the palate, with water softening the edges and bringing Nilla wafers, almond, and Christmas spice. A delicate veneer with power, depth, and complexity beneath. This one would seem like a summer sipper, but tastes like a winter warmer—and a very good one at that.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

93 points

Ardbeg Scorch, 46%

Ardbeg’s Feis Ile 2021 release was made available to the general public in June. Matured in heavily charred bourbon barrels to create a “scorching” effect. Fragrant peat and malt, dried seashells, brine, sea salt, and dockside wood on the nose. Richly layered on the palate—charcoal, iodine, and surprisingly balanced peat influence, considering this whisky’s name. Baked apple and a hint of bitter chocolate, cooked bananas, and dark berries on a long finish.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

93 points

Bruichladdich Islay Barley 2012, 50%

Distilled from barley grown on eight western and central Islay farms in 2011. Light tropical fruit notes of kiwi and melon, along with pine nuts, ripe banana, lemon peel, and fresh hay, with excellent minerality and some salinity. A honeyed, refined palate with mature wood notes, espresso, porridge, peaches, and apricots. The finish offers vanilla cream, cinnamon spice, dark chocolate shavings, caramel, peach, and a dash of sea salt.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

93 points

Bib & Tucker 6 year old Small Batch (No. 22), 46%

Fresh herbs greet the nose, followed by notes of marmalade, birthday cake, roasted peanuts, and musty antique shop. Well-tempered sweetness on the palate—a basketful of fresh blueberries, fresh peaches and golden raisins—with lemon iced tea, root beer, sugared espresso, and generous spice. A rich finish offers coffee ice cream, dark chocolate, allspice, French toast, and sweet banana. A superbly structured, complex whiskey that makes for very easy sipping.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

93 points

Blue Note 17 year old Barrel Proof Straight (Barrel No. 12841), 54.45%

Herbs, spice, mint, and saddle leather quickly reveal this whiskey’s maturity. As it rests in the glass, vanilla ice cream emerges, along with melon and caffé latte. It’s hot and muscular, but its aged and herbal flavors soon cede ground to melted milk chocolate and cinnamon-topped cappuccino. A thoroughly pleasurable melding of chocolate, herbs, and cinnamon spice, with oak influence in tasteful balance.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

93 points

Four Gate The Kelvin Collaboration III (Batch 12), 61.85%

four gate whiskey co. kelvin collaboration III bourbon Part of Four Gate’s partnership with Kelvin Cooperage to create custom barrels for finishing. This expression blends two high-corn bourbons—a 9 year old and 12 year old—and finishes them in casks that first held Pedro Ximénez sherry and then rum. Aromas of pears and peach tart combine with sage and rickhouse floor. Smooth nutty sweetness on a palate of chocolate and black cherry, finishing with fruit notes that ride atop espresso and spice.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

92 points

The Irishman 17 year old Single Malt Single Cask (2021 Release), 56%

With a well-matured sherry cask character, this whiskey works beautifully paired with Belgian chocolates after a fine dinner. Rich dried fruits, molasses, prunes, black cherry, aromatic spice rubs, walnut oil, and savory juices on the nose. Luxuriant palate of raisin, stewed fruits, black coffee, treacle, pepper, and clove, with a slight savory return. It rounds off with toffee apple, Brazil nut, and a long finish of peppercorn. Another excellent barrel this year. (600 bottles for the U.S.)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

92 points

Kamet Indian Single Malt, 46%

Produced in Northern India from six-row barley and matured in bourbon, sherry, and wine casks; aromas of boxed dates, white pepper, stewed apple, raisin, antique oak, blackcurrant, and hints of licorice emerge. A fruity whisky with flavors of strawberry, raspberry syrup, sugary dark honey, stewed fruits, and discarded peels in empty cocktail glasses. Lebkuchen hearts, brown sugar, pepper, blackberry, and black cherry follow, before melting deliciously into chocolate brownie. (6,720 bottles for the U.S.)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

92 points

George Dickel 13 year old Bottled in Bond (Distilled in 2007), 50%

Dickel’s now-annual return to bottled in bond, this one following the release of an 11 year old last year and a 13 year old in 2019, which became our Whisky of the Year. Roasted peanuts, marzipan, sweet corn, and bakery shop, with water unlocking cherries, jelly donut, raspberry jam, blueberry pie, fresh grains, and melted caramel. Mouth-coating overall, with a delicate finish that ends with a savory back note of wild herbs.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

92 points

Glenlivet Spectra (Bottle 2), 40%,

The second Spectra expression in the trio was finished in peated casks. Fragrant whiffs of woodsmoke, fresh meadow, and pleasant waxiness, then lemon cake, ripe mango, green apple slices, green grapes, and manuka honey. It’s delicate and only lightly smoked, with layers of blackberry jam, chocolate, blueberry pie, vanilla cream, poppy seeds, and baking spice. A gentle finish of lemon, green apple, and vanilla. Engaging, with intriguingly subtle peat.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

92 points

Glenlivet Spectra (Bottle 3), 40%

Bottle 3 of the Spectra series was finished in double-charred casks. Light notes of lemon sorbet, fresh pineapple, and strawberry shortcake on the nose, set against gentle oak. A honeyed palate has soft flavors of apple tart, cooked pears, dark chocolate, baking spice, and back notes of black currant. Superbly balanced, lightly spiced, with hints of green banana and lemon peel. A smooth, delicate finish offers honeysuckle, melon, vanilla wafers, almond, and lemon cake.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

92 points

Single Malts of Scotland 11 year old (Distilled at Glen Elgin) 2009, 59.7%

From UK independent bottler Speciality Drinks.Scents of a perfume counter, vanilla shortbread, star anise, and grapefruit skin, followed by an evolving lush citrus note and sliced Golden Delicious apple make this a nose to return to again and again. The palate presents flavors of apple, toffee, and hazelnut, mingling with chocolate, peppery spice, praline, and stewed fruits, then ending with mocha coffee. This is very impressive. (U.S. exclusive; 242 bottles)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

92 points

Port Charlotte PAC:01 2011, 56.1%

This year’s edition of the Port Charlotte Cask Exploration Series was aged in French oak red wine casks from Bordeaux’s Pauillac region. Sweet peat on the nose, honey, sugared banana slices, vanilla flan, barley sugar, green apple, and fresh-cut grass. The palate offers charcoal, bonfire, and pepper spice, with water taming the peat and drawing out candied lemon, orange, apricot, sweet tea, and cinnamon spice. A fiery but serenely refined peat profile.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

92 points

Talisker 43 year old Xpedition Oak, 49.7%

Talisker’s oldest whisky bottled to date, topping a 41 year old manzanilla cask finish released two years ago. Fragrant notes of sandalwood, lavender, and lemon spritz, sweetening to lemon meringue pie and warm peach tart. Vanilla, ginger, melon, and persimmon mark the palate, artfully accented by scents of old candle wax. The subtle Talisker peat has become even gentler with age, and the finish offers spice, old leather, and graceful oak. (1,830 bottles)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

92 points

MacNair’s Lum Reek 21 year old, 48%

Bold, flavorsome smoke exudes from the glass of this new blend, mingled with a zesty citrus sweetness, vanilla, and an extra blast of peppery smoke when you delve deeper. It’s mouth-drawing on the palate, with caramel, marmalade, and vanilla sponge cake, getting tangier as the spices kick in, before a conclusion of spice, smoke, chocolate, burnt butter, and stewed fruits. Perfect for outdoor drinking in the colder months.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

92 points

Barrell Cask Strength Blend of Straight (Batch 028), 54.43%

barrell bourbon batch 028 Richly layered aromas of honeycomb, varnish, cola, licorice, and earth pour forth, with nicely balanced cedary oak and a sprinkle of cocoa powder. On the velvety palate there is a bounty of delicious orchard fruits—Golden Delicious apple and ripe peach—underscored by beeswax candle and furniture polish that suggest some older whiskey in the mix. On the finish, licorice and earth rise above lip-smacking citrusy sweetness.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

92 points

Booker’s 2021-01 “Donohoe’s Batch” Kentucky Straight, 62.65%

booker's donohoe's batch Vanilla custard, pie crust, peanut brittle, rich oak, dried oranges, old leather, and raspberry jam on the nose. Loads of sweetness on the palate, with pecan pie, dark chocolate, brown sugar, PayDay bar, and cherry cordial. The finish is long and spicy, with pine and mint fragrance alongside nutty almond notes. Add water to unlock a lovely mix of fruit, nuts, chocolate, and spice.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

92 points

Heaven’s Door Master Blender’s Edition Redbreast Finish, 50%

Citrus and herbs on the nose—lemon custard, licorice, dried herbs—plus pine boughs and vanilla frosting. Water brings out ripe banana. The palate is chock full of peanuts and spiced on the front, with notes of caramel, chocolate syrup, raspberry tart, and with water, coffee cake and cracked pepper. The finish reveals more red fruit. Nuanced and mature, this is dry and fruity with great depth and length.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

92 points

Virginia Distillery Co. Courage & Conviction Nancy Fraley Batch Sherry Cask, 46%

virginia distillery co. courage and conviction sherry cask american single malt Even amid the deeper complexity of the sherry cask influence, the tropicality comes through—lemon grove and Spanish melon, set against a backdrop of dried leaves, forest floor, and pine wood. Elegant and honeyed on the palate, with the sherry cask influence showing a winey note, banana flan, apricot, milk chocolate, orange tart, and vanilla cream. A long smooth finish brings forth baking spice, sugared lemon, banana, honeysuckle, caramel, and savory oak. Impressive.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

91 points

Yamato Takeda Shingen Edition, 40%

Named after a 16th century daimyo in feudal Japan, the mizunara oak influence on the nose is distinctive, with aromas of exotic wood, apricot compote, fragrant spices, baked orange, grilled croissant, and peppermint. Flavor development is composed and serene, so don’t swallow in a hurry: Golden Delicious apple, vanilla fudge, mint, and ground pepper, with a later surge of more concentrated vanilla and banana chips. (3,000 bottles for the U.S.)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

91 points

Belgian Owl Identité 3 year old, 46%

An appealing array of honeysuckle, lilies, lemon zest, sanded oak, vanilla sweetness, honey, fresh linen, and sliced apple draws in a crowd. This is a very fine dram for its age, with flavors of lemon sherbet, toffee, vanilla sponge cake, and orange zest, plateauing toward marmalade, espresso foam, and chocolate. Matured entirely in first-fill bourbon barrels, this is an easy drinking crowd pleaser. (Oklahoma and Illinois)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

91 points

Michter’s 10 year old Single Barrel (No. 21D1210), 47.2%

A rush of fresh herbs on the nose, making way for sweeter notes of cola, milk chocolate, and caramel, balanced against licorice, tobacco leaf, and leather. A bright, spicy, and warming palate, with water bringing out fresh cherries, vanilla, fragrant oak, cedar box, and spice. A long, smooth, and chocolaty finish, lightly spiced with the flavorful bitterness of an espresso ristretto, all combining to create a classic bourbon profile.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

91 points

The Gladstone Axe The Black Axe, 43%

Blended using a portion of peated malt from an undisclosed Islay distillery, this delivers a smooth and polished nose, deftly balancing honey sweetness with moderate peat smoke, supported by barbecued dry fruits and orange peel. Citrus, honey, and toasted pastry flavors, with flashes of dried apricot, tropical fruits, and grapefruit flesh, which yield before a delicious final phase of chocolate, malt, and cocoa usher in the dry finish.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

91 points

Slyrs Fifty One Single Malt, 51%

Plenty of intrigue on the nose, with floral top notes, light vanilla fudge, the juiciness of blood orange, pomegranate, and a sprinkling of whole pepper. Syrupy texture with flavors dominated by pears, slowly overcome by the long buildup of spice—pepper, clove, and cinnamon—with a final act of black cherry, black currant jelly, and praline. Dilution provides a shortcut to those fleshy dark fruits. Quite delicious and heartily recommended.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

91 points

Single Malts of Scotland 10 year old (Distilled at Caol Ila) 2011, 61.9%

Dried peel and lemon oils meet the brisk arrival of earthy peat smoke aromas, pepper, and ground ginger. The smoke builds over roasted apricot, ripe gooseberry, and maritime notes of the tideline. The high strength is undeniable on the palate, with a wave of intense pepper sweeping away the initial dominant vanilla, golden syrup, and lemon flavors, finishing with barbecued stone fruit, ashy smoke, and dried fruit. A great pick. (U.S. exclusive; 612 bottles)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

91 points

MacNair’s Lum Reek 12 year old, 46%

The new recipe is a big step forward, with a dry nose that abounds with rich aromatic peat smoke, wiry heather moorlands, rabbi dates, raisins, and mixed peel. The palate bursts with red berry sweetness, and comes full of juicy cherry notes, dark toffee, and gentle spices. Reformulating a whisky can be a difficult decision, as some people will cherish the old version, but this truly deserves the Lum Reek name

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

91 points

Bardstown Bourbon Co. The Prisoner French Oak Red Wine Barrel Finish (2021 Release), 50%

A syrupy sweet nose of maraschino cherry, peanut butter cookie, and strawberry rock candy. With water, savory barbecue smoke emerges, as does dusty oak. There’s more sweetness on the palate: peanut brittle and strawberry shortcake with whipped cream, along with coffee bean, vanilla cream, and water with lemon. The finish finds pipe tobacco, bitter chocolate, and barrel char. A rich and intense showcase for the finishing cask.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

91 points

Bib & Tucker 10 year old Small Batch (No. 2), 46%

Gracefully layered maturity, with a creamy palate melding savory and sweet. Creamed buttered corn, peanut brittle, and vanilla-almond cream veer into dried herbs, mint leaves, old leather, and eucalyptus. Water brings out red fruit notes of raspberry and cherry, grape juice, cinnamon toast, cider donuts, dark chocolate, and bitter espresso. Peanut notes merge well with caramel and a hint of spice. Almond, drying cocoa, more red fruit, and spice end things with a flourish.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

91 points

Bower Hill Special Edition Sherry Cask Finished Straight, 50%

Red berry and cherry hard candy aromas are anchored by oak and earthy smells of the rickhouse. Water unlocks a vanilla sweetness that lingers, plus distinct notes of orange peel and mint. The palate is spiced and smooth, with more orange and red berry, as well as bitter chocolate and pepper spice. Musty oak balanced by raisins, figs, cinnamon, and allspice on a finish that shows maturity and a solid structure.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

91 points

Old Forester The 117 Series High Angels’ Share Barrels Kentucky Straight (Batch 001), 55%

old forester the 117 series high angels share Rich and concentrated aromas of torched crème brûlée, warm caramel, molasses, cigar wrapper, and charred oak introduce this flavor-packed whiskey. The alluring sweetness is persistent, dense, and chewy on the palate, with honeycomb and waxy fruit notes tempered by bitter chocolate, an herbal menthol note, and a touch of furniture polish on the finish. High Angels’ Share indicates this is from unusually low-yielding barrels. (Kentucky only)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

91 points

Oppidan Smoke + Sea Straight, 46%

This French oak and peated Islay scotch barrel-finished bourbon is bright and delicate, with a scotch-like nose offering gentle notes of kumquat, potpourri, and candle wax, with water bringing out vanilla and saltwater taffy. The palate is deeper and more brooding, as orange peel melds with allspice, mince, and a hint of pipe tobacco. The finish isn’t terribly lengthy, but offers sweetness punctuated by an appealing touch of light citrus, all integrating well with the spice notes.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

91 points

.36 Cask Strength Texas Straight (Batch 560), 67.1%

Pleasant grapey and oak-influenced berry aromas on the nose. Sizzling and spicy on the palate, but water ushers in a rich array of flavors—raspberries, chocolate, bitter espresso, walnut, and pepper spice. Heat and lots of spice reemerge on the finish, with the berry and chocolate notes lingering. Hot and powerful, but it’s worth braving the heat for this one. A bit of water turns a sledgehammer into a flavorful, friendly whiskey.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

91 points

The Representative 4 year old Straight, 57.4%

Bakery sweets in the form of chocolate chip cookie, vanilla bean scone, confectioners’ sugar, and Nutella, along with fresh garden herbs and red apple on the nose. The full and rich palate turns to lemon meringue, vanilla cake, blackberry tart, bitter chocolate, and pecans. A long syrupy finish delivers peppery spice, musty attic, and, with water, nutty milk chocolate and baking spice. Well-built, with depth and dynamic flavors.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

91 points

Lucky Thirteen (2021 Release, Batch 1, Bottle 1), 46.5%

Aromas of dried herbs and new leather waft above grape jam, candied raspberries, and cherry cough drops, with more candied notes emerging over time. Water accentuates the cherry flavors, but also brings forth dry, earthy elements of hayloft and fresh-cut grass. Slightly abrupt on the finish, but this is certainly a concentrated and flavorful whiskey with luscious dark berry, cinnamon bun, café au lait, and loads of savory spice.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

91 points

Coalition Sauternes Barrique Finished Kentucky, 47.1%

coalition sauternes wine cask finished rye bottle Part of a series of ryes finished in wine barriques from regions of Bordeaux. On this one, the nose offers vanilla frosting and a hint of bitter chocolate. Spice and sweetness meet happily on the palate, bringing chocolate-covered raspberries, brown sugar, baking spice, and lemon meringue pie. Water unlocks more spice, along with cocoa powder and dark chocolate. A creamy finish offers dried berries, bitter chocolate, and vanilla cream.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

91 points

Kentucky Peerless Single Barrel Straight (Smoked Sassafrass, No. 160506102), 54.7%

Candied orange slices, new leather, nutmeg, raspberry jam, dried earth, and a hint of barrel char on the nose. Grape jelly, orange Creamsicle, and citrus notes lead on the palate, followed by sweet cinnamon-raisin bread, cherry candy, chocolate notes of hot fudge sundae, lemon pepper, and spiced oak. Coffee and almond nuttiness on a creamy finish that also shows tangy citrus and subtle herbs. A complex, layered array of flavors.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

91 points

Nashville Barrel Co. Small Batch (Batch 2), 50%

A blend of 4 and 8 year old Indiana ryes. Orange marmalade, savory spices, Juicy Fruit gum, toasted oak, and gingersnaps highlight the nose. There is a velvety texture on the palate, with notes of fruit punch, dark chocolate, cooked plums, and allspice. Add water and the richness deepens, with blackberry jam, roasted walnuts, and milk chocolate. A superb finish boasts more spice and dark fruits, butterscotch, and black cherry.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

91 points

Stellum, 58.12%

stellum rye The first permanent branded label from Barrell Craft Spirits (featuring a bourbon and this rye), departing from its batch release format. Lemon tea, orange peel, and confectioners’ sugar on the nose. The spiced smooth palate begins with notes of orange, lemon, and candied pineapple. Water unlocks licorice laces, treacle, Fig Newtons, mince pie, dusty oak, and maltiness. Spice, maple syrup, clove-studded orange, and cinnamon close out this nimbly balanced effort.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

91 points

WhistlePig 10 year old Small Batch, 50%

Maturity meets verve with aromas of leather, dark berry fruit, and damp earth, lifted by lively spices—clove and cinnamon—along with vivid citrus and licorice nibs. The palate also sits in a sweet spot of maturity, as bright flavors of clove-studded orange and Creamsicle give way to bold peppery spice, before a finish of drying leather with fine oak tannins.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

91 points

Andalusia Whiskey Co. Stryker Smoked, 50%

Thick and chewy, with dark untamed notes of prune, cooked blueberries, incense, sage, and saddle leather. There’s a luscious sherried-like quality here, coupled with an appealingly rugged earthiness, both integrating with cedar, barbecue fire, smoked brisket, rich dark chocolate, and espresso, then sprinkled with paprika and cayenne pepper. This is a whiskey with deliciously wild abandon—beautiful smoke notes as well as succulent dark fruit, zingy orange, apple, chocolate, and spice.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

91 points

Virginia Distillery Co. Courage & Conviction Nancy Fraley Batch Bourbon Cask, 46%

virginia distillery co. courage and conviction bourbon cask american single malt Lightly floral tropical aromas dance with notes of vanilla wafers, lemonade, jasmine tea, green banana, cut grass, and old library. A soft subtle palate offers lemon iced tea, caramel, dark chocolate, roasted peanuts, and toasted oak, with pain grillé and lightly sweet maltiness. Vanilla flan on the finish, with great texture and length—accompanied by grilled pineapple, blueberry, a hint of coffee, and rich integrated oak. Like a great single malt scotch.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

91 points

Rogue Spirits Rolling Thunder Stouted, 58.13%

Distilled from Rogue’s Dead Guy ale without hops. Captivating aromas of charcoal, barbecue rub, dark berries, licorice, and vanilla. The palate is laden with spice and more barbecue notes—along with grilled oranges, succulent dark berries, molasses, burnt marshmallow, savory spices, and ashy fire pit. The finish comes on strong—abounding with heat and barbecue, grilled fruits, chocolate-covered espresso beans, toasted vanilla, caramel, and burnt sugar. Lovely charred and burnt notes throughout, creating our highest-scoring Rogue whiskey to date.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

90 points

The Whistler Bodega Cask, 46%

the whistler bodega cask irish single malt Just 5 years old and matured in oloroso sherry butts for the duration, this has a rich, lush nose of sherry wood, baked orange, pepper, ground ginger, orange bitters, new brogues, and tobacco leaf. Extremely nutty on the palate, with marmalade, walnuts, spicy gingerbread, bitter orange, clove, pepper, chile flakes, and Seville orange notes to finish; this has plenty of flare amid its fiery temperament.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

90 points

August 17th Julius 7 year old, 51.5%

Apple slices caramelized in butter and brown sugar, with a tart cranberry note, baked orange, fruity aromatic smoke, gingernuts, and background spices, suggesting the cognac cask casting greater influence than the port. Waves of fruit break over the palate, with baked apple, peppery spice, clove, and ginger, backed by malt and a gentle smokiness in the aftertaste. Comforting as a neat pour, with shortbread and caramel emerging with a splash of water. (576 bottles for the U.S.)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

90 points

Yamato, 40%

Small batch whisky with a pleasant nose exhibiting good balance and an excellent combination of complementary flavors: crisp barley aromas with blossom honey, graham crackers, toffee, pistachio nut, sesame oil, and gentle dusty spices. This builds a lip-smacking flavor profile around vanilla fudge, with a buttery texture supported by apple, pepper, caramelized sugar, and baked fruits.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

90 points

The Fighting 69th Regiment, 40%

A classic nose, equally enticing and reassuringly traditional, with aromas of cinnamon and toasted oats wrapped in rich vanilla toffee, whole spices, crisp cereal notes, millionaire’s shortbread, and hints of malt and drying tobacco.  The palate is fruity and juicy, with ripe stone fruits, orange, caramel, and peppery spice, with bright flashes of lime zest, ending with an irrepressible rolling spicy finish flecked with grapefruit peels.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

90 points

The Singleton of Dufftown 54 year old Paragon of Time No. 2 1966, 44.1%

The nose is dry, with scents of cherry liqueur, madeira, menthol, clove, York Peppermint Pattie, herbal notes, rich fruitcake, and polished wood. A glossy palate of russet apples, malt, baked orange, cherry, creamy milk pudding, black currant cassis, cloves, raisins, prunes, and vanilla pod. Gracious and stately. (235 bottles)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

90 points

Mossburn 10 year old Cask Strength 2008 (Distilled at Auchroisk), 57.1%

Speyside fragrance—floral notes of lavender and lilac—a citrusy hint of dried orange peel, heather, minerality, and fresh-cut grass. Lean and dry on the palate, with the barrel eliciting light hints of vanilla. A gentle citrus influence swathes the palate, complementing a touch of cherry pastry, both balanced against pleasant soapiness and pepper spice. A bone-dry refinement that at times is almost too restrained, and not singing as loudly as it might.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

90 points

Angel’s Envy Madeira Cask Finished, 50%

A summer carnival of toffee, honeyed peanuts, and Sugar Daddy on the nose, along with lemon iced tea and a musty note of old books. Spiced and perfumed on the palate, with pronounced but balanced heat, bitter espresso, chocolate, and light caramel, accented by notes of eucalyptus and lemon zest. More spice on a finish of milk chocolate, coffee, toasted almonds, orange tart, and cooked blueberries. Lively, flavorful, mature, and balanced.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

90 points

Bowman Bros. 10 year old Virginia Straight Cask Strength, 70.55%

Dry notes of bitter herbs merge with grape jelly, cooked blueberries, candied oranges, vanilla custard, and tobacco pouch, all gently muffled by fragrant oak and antique shop maturity. The palate is powerful and hot but creamy, and filled with orange, cherries, and spice, while water brings out softer oak, caramel, and baking spice. More of the smooth texture on the finish, which highlights fudge, honeyed almonds, and chile peppers.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

90 points

Stellum Cask Strength Blend of Straight, 57.49%

stellum bourbon From the minds at Barrell Craft Spirits. The nose is fruity, with notes of mixed-berry preserves, cherries, blackberries, and Smarties, with additional dessert-like aromas of tiramisu and milk chocolate-covered caramel. A velvety mouthfeel showcases more caramel, plus orange and berry flavors, while also providing a good deal of spice that carries over to a slightly underwhelming finish. Enough complexity and proof to handle water well.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

90 points

Sweetens Cove Tennessee Blended Straight (2021 Release), 56.85%

Milk chocolate, vanilla custard, peanut brittle, toffee, gentle spice, and hints of banana bread on the nose. Brown sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon, chocolate, and bitter espresso on a palate that benefits from water, giving way to notes of blueberry pie and old library books. Good length on the finish which is dessert-like with balanced spice. A lot to offer with lush textures and flavors. (42,000 bottles)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

90 points

Tahwahkaro Cask Strength Straight (Barrel No. 18-0076), 64.3%

Alluringly dark and fragrant, sending forth aromas of grape jelly, dried strawberries, and apricots. The rich palate is loaded with blackberry tart, cooked prunes, buttered popcorn, malt, and vanilla cake. More berries and luscious dark fruit on a finish that kicks in with rich chocolate and spiced oak, all tinged with char and aged barrel notes. This is Texas bourbon’s answer to a top-flight jammy California cabernet.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

90 points

Wilderness Trail 6 year old Bottled in Bond Kentucky Straight, 50%

Oily on the nose, with hints of dried peanut shells, Grape-Nuts, mint leaves, fragrant oak, and earthy spice. A smooth palate of dried herbs and spice leads to sweeter notes of ripe banana, vanilla cream, and lashings of milk chocolate, all dusted with oak. The finish offers cocoa powder, black coffee, dark chocolate, and cooked red fruits. Once this fresh, spiced whiskey settles down in the glass, it becomes very sippable indeed.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

90 points

Woodinville Oloroso Sherry Cask Finished, 47%

Looking into a glass of this dark bourbon can be mesmerizing, especially when combined with its alluringly sweet aroma, which urges you to take a sip. There’s a charry wood influence to this whiskey, which offers flavor-laden notes of rich coffee bean and jammy dark fruit, buttressed by tannins of leather and cigar box cedar. A delicious, enticing drink that more than lives up to its handsome appearance. (Distillery only)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

90 points

Old Forester Barrel Strength Single Barrel, 63.5%

Don’t be fooled by the gentle honeysuckle aroma coming from this whiskey—it’s a powerhouse. From the first sip there’s a sensory overload of bold, zingy flavor. There’s a caramel core buried deep inside, with layers of oak, bracing licorice, chile oil, and a long spicy finish. This is a lip-smacking dram, one best suited as the final one of the night, a memorable toast to a day well spent.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

90 points

Virginia Distillery Co. Courage & Conviction Nancy Fraley Batch Cuveé Cask, 46%

virginia distillery co. courage and conviction cuvee cask american single malt Delicate and pretty on the nose, with tropical notes of lime and lemon, warm baklava on a tray; syrupy, with cinnamon almond and walnut nuttiness. Silky and honeyed on an equally delicate palate of dark chocolate, cinnamon baked apple, vanilla frosting, and honeyed malted barley. A superbly long finish offers even more flavors—raspberry jam, blueberry muffin, and that marvelous maltiness—with water enhancing it all. Graceful, balanced, and sustained.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

90 points

Whiskey Del Bac Distiller’s Cut Sauternes Cask Finished (Summer 2021), 57%

A blend of the distillery’s two flagship whiskeys, Dorado and Classic (both made from 100% mesquite-dried malt), finished in sauternes casks. Licorice, cedar, and sandalwood, with Del Bac’s signature campfire and mesquite influence presiding. Powerful and chewy on the palate, led by lush flavors of blackberry tart, cooked peaches, figs, dark chocolate, and campfire smoke. A long finish offers more dark fruits, chocolate, and coffee. A big whiskey with plenty to savor. (751 bottles)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

90 points

Westward American BridgePort Two Malts, 45%

women of westward benefit barrel 2021 barrel no 002 Distilled from a recipe from now-closed BridgePort Brewing’s Kingpin Red ale. Floral and perfumed at first, with lilac and rose water, moving to earthy wood notes, dried orange peel, and hops. Full and creamy on the palate, with café au lait, fudge, and strawberry jam, developing to reveal cooked berries and jammy concentration and depth, balanced against barrel char, burnt coffee beans, and roasted maltiness. Good length on the finish with a hint of sandalwood, mintiness, tangy citrus, oak, and spice.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

89 points

The Whistler PX I Love You, 46%

the whistler PX I love you irish single malt This is triple distilled and finished in Pedro Ximénez casks. The nose suggests coconut, baked orange, and darker sherry, accompanied by roasted almonds, ground cumin, dried fruit, mixed peel, and glacé cherry. The palate’s brown sugar sweetness and cherry are blunted by nippy spices of pepper and ginger, leaving nuts, orange fondant, Jaffa cakes, and walnut.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

89 points

Penderyn 12 year old Ex-Ruby Port Single Cask (PT136), 60.38%

This one comes out fighting, with notes of pepper, red chiles, leather boots, cherry stone, church candles, and black currant on the nose. At full strength, it’s wild and untamed, with flavors of Cherryade, strawberry syrup, cough syrup, gingersnaps, and an uppercut of pepper and clove. Quenched with water, it’s much less combative, and while on its best behavior, it delivers fruity milk chocolate and coffee notes. (U.S. exclusive; 258 bottles)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

89 points

Slyrs Classic Single Malt, 43%

All the colors of the rainbow: a vibrant citrus nose with early herbal notes that quickly yields to scents of fresh gooseberries, key lime pie, and orange peel. Initial vanilla and caramel suggest new American oak on the palate, before a surge of sharp citrus acidity with grapefruit, lime juice, green plum, taffy, and sherbet, transitioning to vanilla and toasted oak, then ripening into blueberry and black currant at the end.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

89 points

Glenallachie 14 year old Port Pipe ImpEx Single Cask (No. 7862) 2006, 55.4%

glenallachie 2006 14 year old single port pipe scotch The remarkable blush color from the port pipe heralds a nose of watermelon, rock candy, peppermint, and grapefruit, in addition to rose petals, old leather, tilled earth, and cherry pipe tobacco. Spice arrives on the palate, as well as confectioners’ sugar, cinnamon, chocolate, and copious red berry notes. Loads of spice and black pepper follow the berry blast, with hints of bitter chocolate and roasted walnuts. (332 bottles)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

89 points

Single Malts of Scotland 12 year old (Distilled at Teaninich) 2008, 57.7%

The vapors deliver vibrant bright citrus notes to the olfactory senses, replete with zested lime, mandarin, floral and grassy notes, pressed linen, and grapefruit, developing into aromas of white peach. The palate revolves around a honeyed-citrus theme, plus sugared almonds, pepper, and ginger, and becomes creamy in time. Decent, if familiar territory for this Highland distillery. (U.S. exclusive; 296 botttles)    

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

89 points

Blood Oath Pact No. 7 Sauternes Finished, 49.3%

blood oath pact no. 7 A blend of 14 year old and two 8 year old bourbons, with one of the 8 year olds finished in sauternes casks. Fragrant, with mature oak, honey-roasted peanuts, sassafras, citrus, and sandalwood. A dense chewy palate, but without an overly heavy oak influence. Coffee beans, black cherry jam, and dark chocolate notes, with water adding cola, ginger, candle wax, and winter spice. Chocolate malt, blueberry pie, toffee, and spice on the finish.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

89 points

Devils River Barrel Strength Texas, 58.5%

Fruity and grain forward on the nose, like grape jelly on an English muffin. Blueberry yogurt, mixed berries, sweetened almonds, plus hints of caramel and lemon with water added. The palate is honeyed up front, with gummy candy sweetness, vanilla, and baking spice. Water helps bring out chocolate and cinnamon powder. Vanilla fudge and spice notes on the finish, which is improved with water.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

89 points

Driftless Glen 5 Year Old Single Barrel Straight (No. 1487), 48%

Sultry on the nose, with hints of new leather, fresh cherries, and drying oak. Flavorful and agreeable on the palate—dried strawberries and other dried fruit, pepper spice, and more drying oak, with water bringing out savory herbs, clove, and hints of clementine and cherry pie. Light but palatable on a finish of spice, chocolate-covered toasted marshmallows, and cinnamon caffe latte, with a touch of gentle earthiness at the back.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

89 points

Firestone & Robertson TX Single Barrel Bottled in Bond Single Barrel Texas Straight, 50%

firestone and robertson tX bottled in bond bourbon Stewed prunes, mushy pears, toasted oak, orange peel, butterscotch, and vanilla on the nose. With water, it settles in with toasted marshmallow, blackberry cobbler, and fig jam. The palate has a creamy texture and notes of chocolate fudge, allspice, and cherries. Water brings out nutmeg and brown sugar. Solid texture carries over to a medium-length finish, with darker fruits, like figs and raisins, as well as chocolate syrup and black cherry.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

89 points

Goodwood Honey Ale Barrel Finished Kentucky Straight, 45%

Licorice, root beer, and ripe dark fruit aromas, with dried tobacco leaf, savory musty oak, and cedar wood. The palate is closed at first, but then lets fly with a peanut blast—peanut oil and peanut butter, with peppery spice and bitter espresso. Water releases fresh grapes and red apples, with the spice lingering. The finish offers roasted peanuts and pleasant earthiness. Unusual, but appealing.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

89 points

Journeyman Distillery Featherbone, 45%

Dried herbs and savory spice up front, along with corn cake, cedar dresser, licorice, hay, and, with water, vanilla frosting and tree bark. Continued spice and depth on the palate, with notes of blackberry jam, chocolate bar, vanilla ice cream, and cooked prunes. Add water, and crunchy peanut butter comes through. Good length on the finish brings cinnamon spice and red fruits. It’s spicy, bold, and woody.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

89 points

Three Chord Strange Collaboration (Batch 001), 49.5%

Finished in pinot noir casks. Stewed fruit on the nose, along with cream soda, lemon oil, graham cracker, honeyed granola, and herbal tea. Palate is creamy and rich; notes of baking spice, cocoa powder, cooked blueberries and cherries, and well-integrated fruit. There is great length on the finish, where rich almond nuttiness emerges with ginger and more cocoa powder. With water, berried sweetness and honey roasted almonds. Well balanced.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

89 points

Woodinville Port Cask Finished, 45%

Molasses, brown sugar, roasted nuts, cinnamon candies, baking spice, and cherry cough syrup on the nose. Warm bakery notes intensify with water in the form of cinnamon bun. The palate is silky and thin, but quite fruity and honeyed, with baked apple, cooked blueberries, and added spice. There’s more spice on the earthy finish, with bready corn muffin sweetness. Water helps to round things out.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

89 points

Angel’s Envy Caribbean Rum Cask Finished, 50%

Melted caramel, birch beer, and fresh violets on the nose, leading to a creamy palate of cooked bananas, chocolate syrup, butterscotch, licorice, gingerbread, marzipan, raisins, burnt brown sugar, and complex oak. Honeyed almonds and balanced spice take the lead on a solid finish, with trailing notes of melted caramel, plus cinnamon babka, barrel char, light smoke, and an earthy old leather note. A plentiful array of flavors, all meshing well.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

89 points

Coalition Barrel Proof Kentucky Straight, 54.4%

The same liquid used in Coalition’s finished expressions, but bottled at barrel proof. Tropical aromas on the nose, along with bitter lime and softer notes of guava, cantaloupe, and fresh strawberries. Cinnamon, dark chocolate, peppermint, and horehound candy on the palate. Sweeter notes of vanillin and toffee are reined into balance by the drying oak tannins. The finish offers cooked dark fruits, cinnamon, and coffee, concluding with a note of dried earth.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

89 points

Coalition Pauillac Barrique Finished Kentucky, 46.3%

The red wine barrel elicits maraschino cherries and sweet pipe tobacco, leading to a smooth palate of chocolate fudge, spice cake, bitter espresso, charred pecans, strawberry ice cream, and more cherries. A lively finish offers nutty notes of almond, sweet coffee ice cream, honeyed berries, spice, well-integrated barrel char, and dusty earth. Great texture and more berries on the finish, with balanced oak influence and complexity throughout.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

89 points

Jefferson’s Single Barrel Cognac Cask Finished (No. 63), 47%

jefferson's cognac finished rye Finished for 9 months in cognac casks. The nose is sweet and zesty with corn muffin, honey bun, lemon peel, blueberry cobbler, raisins, and rye bread. With water, Ricola cough drop and lemongrass emerge. The palate is sweet and spiced: Honey Nut Cheerios, cantaloupe, spiced chocolate cake with a sprinkling of coffee and black pepper. The finish is short but flavorful, with chocolate-covered strawberries, vanilla ice cream, and added spice. Balanced and nuanced.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

89 points

Berkshire Mountain Distillers Spencer Trappist Ale, 43%

berkshire mountain distillers craft brewers whiskey project spencer's trappist ale american whiskey Distilled from Spencer Trappist ale. Fresh citrus grove aromas of clementine, satsuma, and lemon. The palate is smooth if perhaps light, offering notes of lemon peel and lemon curd, orange Creamsicle, orange oil bitterness, a hint of coconut oil, and overall tropicality. This is bright, delicate, and playful, delightful at its best moments—a summertime sipper with a fruity profile that may not be for everyone, but will find favor with many.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

89 points

Black Butte 5 year old Malt, 47%

Distilled from unhoped wash to the recipe of Black Butte porter. A tartness on the nose is quickly joined by sweeter notes of root beer and red apples. Rich and dense on the palate, with vanilla malt, dark chocolate, baking spice, raisins, figs, mint chocolate-chip ice cream, and an appealing barrel-char note. Spicy, with plenty of sweet chocolate on the finish, plus back notes of cocoa powder, dried dark fruits, and another hit of char. Complex and enjoyable.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

89 points

Huling Station Very Small Batch Blend of Straight Whiskeys, 50%

Initial craft store aromas give way to cherries and berries, then a floral nose like a wildflower garden, with notes of salted caramel, cocoa powder, and birthday cake. Water brings out new leather and drying oak. On the palate, cooked raspberries, vanilla ice cream with cinnamon, caramel flan, black tea, and roasted pecans. It shows an interesting complexity. The finish has good length, with tiramisu, coffee, and rich chocolate.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

89 points

Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Tasters’ 14E19 “Twin” Blend of Straight Tennessee Whiskey and Straight Tennessee Rye, 53.5%

jack daniel's tennessee tasters selection 14E19 twin blend A blend of whiskeys distilled on the same date. Dulce de leche, cherry cordial, vanilla custard, candied raspberries, and dark chocolate on the nose. The palate has a creamy texture and notes of peppery spice, sweet red berries, raspberry ganache, and chocolate ice cream. It opens up well with water, becoming even fruiter, with roasted walnuts and allspice. More cherries on the finish with a light tobacco note. (Tennessee only)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

89 points

Lone Elm Single Barrel Texas Straight Wheat (No. 521), 61.4%

Dried leaves, oven-roasted peanuts, blueberry pie, caramel fondue, candied ginger, and orange peel on the nose. There is more sweetness on the palate, with brown sugar and chocolate peanut butter cup paired with peppery spice, pine needles, and an earthy dusty oak. With water, notes of chicory, coffee, barrel char, and burning sage emerge. On the finish, cooked dark berries, honey, and whole wheat toast. Jagged at times, but rich and dense.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

88 points

Huling Station Very Small Batch Straight Wheat, 45%

Made with 83% wheat. The nose is earthy, with notes of tree bark, potting soil, and musty attic, along with spicy cayenne pepper, dried apple slices, and green tea. The palate is silky, with sustained earthiness, bitter chocolate, pistachio, and a hint of coconut. Add water and the oak is more pronounced. A mouth-coating finish has a lot to offer, with chocolate, caffe latte, and espresso.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

88 points

Sensei Mizunara Japanese Oak Cask, 40%

The lack of sweetness or fruitiness on the nose makes this feel austere, with aromatic five spice, oiled woods, bell pepper, celery stalks, and tulips. The taste profile starts light with bitter lemon, vanilla, and a little waxiness, then develops flavors of gentle pepper and vanilla ice cream, then leaves a palate coated in unctuous creaminess. It turns out to be rather moreish in the end.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

88 points

Belgian Owl Evolution 4 year old, 46%

The nose is refreshing and uplifting; waxed lemons, white pepper, snuff, jellied fruits, pine needles, florals, and soft vanilla ice cream indicate first-fill bourbon barrels. It takes a while for its wings to unfurl, slowly revealing nougat, lemon sherbet, toffee, vanilla, walnut, and pepper flavors, then roasted coffee beans, dark fruit, baked peach, and plain chocolate; however, the fluctuating flavor trajectory doesn’t all quite link up. (Oklahoma and Illinois)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

88 points

Amrut Fusion X, 50%

amrut fusion x A deeply intense whisky, with prunes, molasses, black grape, peppercorn, black mustard seed, and allspice notes, then a waft of burnt heather twigs. The palate is a dense concoction of brown sugar, stewed fruit, pepper, oxidized apple peels, bramble, oak tannins, clove, and hints of savory juices. Water tames the tannins, flushing out a softer, fruiter side, but this sophisticated profile is still quite an acquired taste. (216 bottles for the U.S.)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

88 points

Formosa 12 year old Single Malt, 40%

A gentle beauty, with an excellent balance of fruit and spice on the nose, this has aromas of pear, lemon peel, baked apple, and caramelized brown sugar, with a touch of menthol. Sipping reveals pear, parma violets, and blueberry, threaded with mild spice and a little vanilla fudge, concluding with an active peppercorn finish with a hint of clove. (3,000 bottles for the U.S.)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

88 points

Formosa 5 year old Pure Malt, 40%

This expression has a nose of vanilla sponge cake, macaroon, shortbread, coconut halves, and lemon scents. Creamy vanilla, banana custard, lemon meringue pie, fudge fingers, and gentle peppery spice on the palate make it an appealing prospect, with herbal notes on the finish. (3,000 bottles for the U.S.)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

88 points

Formosa 5 year old Pure Malt, 40%

This expression has a nose of vanilla sponge cake, macaroon, shortbread, coconut halves, and lemon scents. Creamy vanilla, banana custard, lemon meringue pie, fudge fingers, and gentle peppery spice on the palate make it an appealing prospect, with herbal notes on the finish. (3,000 bottles for the U.S.)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

88 points

Jura 12 year old, 40%

Finished in oloroso sherry casks. Stewed plums and Raisinets on the nose, along with raspberry pastilles, dried pineapple, honeysuckle, lemon drops, and pear. The palate is creamy up front, offering notes of apple pie, vanilla fudge, and semi-sweet chocolate. On the finish there’s some cinnamon and other baking spices, hints of strawberries, and more chocolate. Shows good balance, with softer, lightly fruited flavors.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

88 points

The Gladstone Axe American Oak, 43%

Complex aromas of caramel, toffee, vanilla, white pepper, dried banana, dried apricot, green apple, honey-oat granola, pistachio shells, and burlap. An abundance of American oak character on the palate, with vanilla, ice cream cone, caramel, a hint of cocoa powder, then pepper, cinnamon, banana bread, ginger root, rum and raisin, and creamy coffee to finish. Admirable flavor development across the entire tasting experience, from sniff to swallow.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

88 points

Angel’s Envy Port Finished, 43.3%

Cherry cough syrup, cinnamon French toast, spearmint gum, boiled peanuts, dried flowers, hay, and a hint of sandalwood on a sweet and earthy nose. Creamy texture on a bitter palate, with dried cherries and strawberries, cinnamon sugar, and chocolate. With water there is tart cherry cobbler. Good length on a woody finish, with some vanilla cream and spice.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

88 points

Bowman Brothers Small Batch Virginia Straight, 45%

Candied on the nose, with saltwater taffy, bubble gum, sweet watermelon, cherry ganache, and cinnamon French toast, along with earthy aromatics of leather and dried grass. Chocolate-covered cherries, orange tart, vanilla cream, and mint on a palate that shows lots of berried sweetness, savory spice, and well-integrated oak. Cinnamon coffee cake and vanilla-almond ice cream anchor the finish. Shallow but pronounced flavors.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

88 points

Chattanooga Tawny Port Cask Finished (Batch 21C11R2), 47.5%

chattanooga tawny port cask finished bourbon This high-malt bourbon was finished for 6 months in tawny port casks. Orange marmalade, grapefruit oil, and raspberry preserves highlight a fruity and citrus-forward nose that also features roasted grains. The silky and spiced palate displays roasted walnuts, dark berries, semi-sweet chocolate, plums, and coffee ice cream. Deceptively light all the way through the finish, which has hints of chocolate, cinnamon, and red fruit. An adept balance of spirit and cask.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

88 points

Goodwood 5 year old Stout Barrel Finished, 45%

An earthy nose of burnt marshmallows, clay, tree bark, and birch beer along with nutmeg, cinnamon, and other baking spices. The palate is hoppy, with licorice, zesty citrus, vanilla cream, and dark chocolate. A bready finish shows notes of allspice and ginger, as well as fudge brownie and peanut butter cookie. The finishing cask does the bulk of the talking here, with creamy dark chocolate notes throughout.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

88 points

High Wire New Southern Revival Straight, 57.05%

Root beer float and vanilla ice cream balance with spiced sassafras on the nose, along with notes of old library book and lemon tartness at the edges. The palate bursts forth with heat and some arch oak, offering licorice, dark chocolate, jalapeño pepper, and cooked dark fruit. Spice takes control on the finish, trailed by bitter chocolate and coffee. Rambunctious at times, but well spiced and with complex, mature flavors.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

88 points

Ironroot Harbinger Straight, 57.5%

Rich dessert notes on the nose: dulce de leche, flan, wet walnuts, strawberry syrup, milk chocolate, and blueberry pie. Syrupy with or without water. Plenty of heat on the palate alongside caramel and fruity sweetness, barrel char, and new wood. Water tames things down, bringing out cinnamon Red Hots, red chile pepper flakes, and chocolate-covered cherries. Fiery spice and barrel char continue on to the finish.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

88 points

Kings County 6 year old Blender’s Reserve, 70%

Syrupy in appearance and aroma. Barrel char, raw honey, orange marmalade, honey-roasted peanuts, and candied raspberries on the nose. Add water, and zesty lemon and lime, fresh oak, and chamomile tea emerge. The palate is jammy—warm notes of vanilla and strawberry preserves—with a peppery spice underneath. Spiced wood on a big and powerful finish. Heft and heat are present, as is a woody bluntness. (300 bottles)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

88 points

Kings County Barrel Strength (Batch 14), 64%

Powerful from the onset, with pronounced rich oak, woodsmoke, charred marshmallow, caramel, dried leaves, and bitter chocolate. Big and brawny on the palate as well, offering cooked prunes and a profusion of other dark fruit notes, milk chocolate, espresso, and balanced oak influence. Dark berries and chocolate-fudge syrup mark the finish. A big, assertive whiskey that definitely needs water, but is solidly built and has plenty of character.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

88 points

Treaty Oak Ghost Hill Texas, 47.5%

Notes of tropical fruit highlight the nose, with tangerines, orange peel, and papaya alongside hay, licorice, butterscotch, and pronounced grain. The palate is smooth and creamy, with pancake syrup, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, balanced oak, roasted peanuts, coffee, and earthen warehouse floor. Flavors peak on the finish with more orange, cherry, cinnamon, almond, and, with water, cocoa powder, baking spice, blackberry jam, and charred oak.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

88 points

Woodinville PX Sherry Cask Finished, 47.5%

Earthy and vegetal on the nose, notes of celery salt, cherry cola, nutmeg, and honey bun. With water, aromas of leather, licorice, and hints of sandalwood and allspice surface. On the palate, more honey, brown sugar, maple syrup, baked apple, pepper spice, and bitter oak. Water adds chocolate, cinnamon coffee cake, and a gentle nuttiness. Bitter chocolate on the finish. Loaded with spice and balanced sweetness. An undeniable composition of flavor. (Distillery only)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

88 points

Barrell Seagrass Martinique Rum, Madeira, and Apricot Brandy Finished, 59.65%

barrell seagrass rye Candied oranges and watermelon, pineapple, and confectionery shop meet tropical fruit grove, anchored by an earthy note of potpourri. There’s sweetness on the palate, but a chile powder heat serves as counterweight when things become spicier—quite different from its dulcet start, though water evens out the balance. The finish reveals cinnamon-raisin cake and Christmas spice. There’s generous spice and sweetness here, but at times a lack of balance.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

88 points

WhistlePig 12 year old Old World, 43%

This rye flaunts some obvious age through the wood and varnish notes on its nose; earthy and lean, with ample oak, like opening an old wooden dresser drawer to find a spent sachet hinting of dried flowers and cardamom. The palate offers gentle sweetness, nougat-like, but is driven mostly by toasted pecan and walnuts, with dark chocolate-covered almonds on the finish.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

88 points

Berkshire Mountain Distillers Samuel Adams Boston Lager American, 43%

One of 12 whiskeys released in Berkshire Mountain Distillers’ Craft Brewers Whiskey Project. Tropical on the nose, followed by bright hoppy bitterness on a palate that also features bittersweet chocolate, more citrus, lemon iced tea, lemon cake, candied oranges, and spice cabinet. The finish is light but flavorful and lengthy, and is accented by savory notes and bitter spice. This is citrus-forward, with appealing bitterness and a well-integrated balance of sweetness and spice.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

88 points

Charbay R5 Hop Flavored (Lot No. 5), 49.5%

Distilled from Racer 5 IPA. Quite citrusy at first—candied orange slices, orange tart, fresh lemon, lemon soda, sugary oak, honeyed breakfast cereal, vanilla, and lilac. Ashy, charred oak on a very complex palate, with a silky, syrupy texture that offers black cherry and maple syrup, honey on toast, burnt brown sugar, roasted grains and malt. Chocolate and more roasted malt on a creamy spiced finish, while water adds orange peel. Unusual, but certainly creative.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

88 points

Foundry Distilling Co. Furious American Malt, 47%

Distilled from unhoped wash produced to the recipe of Surly Furious IPA. A rush of citrus on the nose, accompanied by an earthy hint of dried flowers and sweeter aromas of dark fruit and ripe blackberries. A dense rich palate of dark chocolate, Christmas cake, confectioners’ sugar, honeyed raisins, and mint, all merging into a spiced, tasty finish of subtly integrated chocolate, cinnamon, kiwi, orange, and apricot. A well-executed balance of spice, citrus, and sweetness.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

87 points

Boston Harbor Distillery Spirit of Boston Merry Maker, 42%

Distilled from Sam Adams Merry Maker gingerbread stout. Lime slices, root beer, chocolate-covered cherries, anise, and pecans on the nose. A honeyed palate reveals more chocolate and cherries, as well as cinnamon toast, gingersnaps, allspice, and a hint of kiwi, with nutmeg and pepper spice. Lightly spiced on a finish loaded with chocolate and cinnamon, plus soft vanilla ice cream. Less bitterness and more warming spice than is found in other distilled beers.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

87 points

Seven Stills Amongst the Trees, 47%

Distilled from an aggressively hopped West Coast double IPA. Loads of fresh lemons up front, along with citrus-scented air freshener, lemon frosting, and powerful orange and clementine notes. It is similarly perfumed on the palate, where a good tanginess emerges in the form of lemon meringue, alongside sandalwood and more orange flavors. The finish is slightly soapy with decent length. Specific in its perspective and composition.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

87 points

Formosa 12 year old Pure Malt, 40%

Wood spices, vanilla, tangerine peel, and hints of stewed cooking apples reach the nose. A light and honeyed palate offers warm orange, tangy peels, and marmalade on buttered toast, with quite a creamy mouthfeel, a slow buildup of accompanying spices, and a touch of bitter lemon and grapefruit. A finish of orange peel, crystallized pineapple, and bitter lemon. (3,000 bottles for the U.S.)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

87 points

Formosa 5 year old Single Malt, 40%

Formosa Distillery selected Taiwanese malted barley grown in the Daya district, a suburb of Taichung City. A spritz of peel oil, clementine segments, allspice, and walnut, verging on marmalade dusted with white pepper. As a drinking experience, I would recommend this as a gentle aperitif, one that reveals itself unhurriedly: shortbread, coconut macaroons, vanilla, orange notes, and tangy mixed peel with a spicy finish. (3,000 bottles for the U.S.)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

87 points

Yellow Rose Outlaw (Batch L19-19), 46%

Made with 100% Texas corn. Dried peaches, cooked raspberries, and a hint of orange peel and vanilla on the nose. There’s zippy cinnamon spice on the palate: cinnamon bun with vanilla icing, white pepper, Fig Newtons, allspice, rice pudding with cinnamon, and a touch of bubble gum. Good length on the finish, with lighter notes of chocolate, cinnamon, cola, and cooked cherries. Improves with time in the glass.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

87 points

Belle Meade Oloroso Sherry Cask Finished, 45.2%

Fragrant and gently herbal, with scents of oak, a hint of cherry coulis, and plentiful berry notes. Soft on the palate, with vanilla and cherry sundae, warming cocoa, subtle spices, and drying oak. Bakery shop, cinnamon toast, Honey Nut Cheerios, and sweet cereal grains emerge with time in the glass, while the finish brings caramelized apples, coconut, and ripe bananas. Well-made, with the sherry influence not overplaying its hand.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

87 points

Breckenridge, 43%

Powerful aromas on the nose, foreshadowing a palate that is quite chewy, with hints of toasted vanilla and other sweet notes punctuated by an earthiness that is reminiscent of a pot distilled rum, along with drying oak tannins. The finish is compact if a bit jagged—and also nicely spiced with some light fruit and dessert flavors, then more dried earth and oak.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

87 points

Garrison Brothers Small Batch Texas Straight (2021 Release), 47%

Dark, with a slightly musty nose, this chewy bourbon has an underlying earthiness. There are flavors of spicy gingersnap, cinnamon, and toasted pecan, along with a medicinal note and some oak-forward astringency, which lead into caramel and vanilla on the finish. This is a drink of contrasts, showing pleasant malty notes along with some harshness, though in the end there is a general lack of harmony.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

87 points

Widow Jane Baby Jane, 46.5%

There’s something of an oaty flavor to this whiskey, which takes its name from a special varietal of corn grown specifically for this project. The cereal notes abound on the palate, complemented by an overt honey influence, as well as cinnamon spice, caramel, and chocolate—all flecked with bits of menthol cough drop and a hint of damp earth. Overall a sweet, herbaceous, and honey-laden bourbon with a unique flavor profile.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

87 points

Wyoming Whiskey Small Batch, 44%

The nose is earthy, with dried herbs like parsley and dill alongside new leather, vanilla bean, and celery soda. A bitter palate showcases more grassiness, plum tart, and creamy sweetness. It’s dry and improves with water: spiced oak, bitter cherry, and licorice chewing gum flavors surface, as do dried apple and hints of sandalwood. What might be lacking in structure and balance is compensated by some appealing flavors.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

87 points

Coalition Margaux Barrique Finished Kentucky, 45.4%

coalition margaux wine cask finished rye bottle The Margaux barrique finish creates a nose of woodfire char, smoked maple, coffee, bitter cherry, and fragrant orange slices. The mouthfeel is rich, with notes of bitter blackberry and raspberry, dark chocolate, coffee, spice, a hint of caramel, and a light tobacco leaf note. The finish has an ashy, smoky char influence that’s balanced against red fruits, almonds, bitter chocolate, and dried herbs. Disjointed at times, but with a complex, idiosyncratic profile.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

87 points

High West Rendezvous (Batch 21030), 46%

High West’s flagship rye has transitioned from being a year-round offering to a limited seasonal release, containing 20% of High West’s own-make malted rye. Dried flowers, new leather, orange peel, and spiced oak duel with sweeter flavors of gingerbread, pfeffernüsse, and mint chocolate-chip ice cream. Hot and spiced overall, with classic rye notes of dried herbs, tropical fruits, bitter chocolate, brown sugar, and caraway all holding court.  

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

87 points

Sagamore Spirit Distiller’s Select Tequila Finish (2021), 49%

sagamore spirit distillers select tequila cask rye Finished in barrels that held tequila for at least seven years. Tangy citrus dominates the nose with lemon-lime soda, orange blossom, and lemon peel, as well as a grassy freshness and some dill pickle. There’s more citrus on the palate in the form of tart key lime pie, along with roasted pecans and chocolate-covered cherries. The finish is balanced and flavor-forward with pronounced rye grain and chocolate. Inventive but too grainy.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

86 points

Samuel Maverick Alamo (Batch 001), 46%

Sweet and sugary with candied strawberries, cherry cobbler, cough syrup, SweeTarts, raspberry preserves, and fruit gummies on the nose. The palate is viscous and creamy up front: creamed corn and black pepper, brown sugar, and some youthful vanilla sweetness. The finish has similarly nice textures, with tasty notes of cocoa and dark chocolate, plus wood and paper playing the background. Better without water. (Distillery only)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

86 points

Johnnie Blonde, 40%

johnnie walker blonde Designed to mix with lemonade, ice, and a wedge of orange rather than as a slow sipper, the nose has vanilla ice cream, wood shavings, crusty bread, demerara sugar, cookie dough, baking spice, and a faint hint of hot chocolate. The first sip seems thin and wheaty, with a burst of vanilla, lemon, butterscotch, ice cream cone, peppercorn, and a little nuttiness; it takes a while to reach its peak. (Houston, Texas exclusive)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

86 points

Coopers’ Craft Barrel Reserve 100 Proof Chiseled and Charred Kentucky Straight, 50%

A perfumed nose showcases potpourri, lavender, lemon, licorice, cedar chest, and with water, orange slices, lemon-lime, dried flowers, and spring forest. The palate is creamy, with more loud lemon flavors, generous pepper and oak influence, tart stone fruits, and sweeter nutty and dark chocolate notes with water. The fleeting finish has more peppery spice and tangy oranges, and also improves with water, as cherry and vanilla custard emerge.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

86 points

Jefferson’s Reserve Old Rum Cask Finished, 45.1%

An 8 year old bourbon finished for 15 months in casks that previously held Gosling’s Family Reserve Old Rum. Orange peel and lemon oil on the nose, along with vanilla frosting, dried figs, pleasantly spiced oak, and old library books. Chocolate-covered cherries, orange marmalade, lemon peel, honey, vanilla, and sweet grains on the palate. The finish offers chocolate syrup and spice notes of ginger, cinnamon, allspice, and citrus.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

85 points

Belgian Owl Intense 58 month old, 72.9%

The nose has zesty lemons, apricot, high alcohol, nippy pepper and clove, vanilla seed, and Seville orange peel. The high strength makes this pretty extreme for neat consumption—a wild ride of lemon peel and pepper—so dilute and dilute again, to carve out a more manageable experience with flavors of chocolate, pepper, and chile flakes. The strength is intense, yes, and it could be alienating to an inexperienced palate. (Oklahoma and Illinois)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

85 points

Leatherwood Snake Eater, 42.5%

A briny nose with notes of mint chocolate-chip ice cream, new wood, sea breeze, lemons and limes, apple fruit leather, and pencil shavings. The palate is silky and light, with creamy milk chocolate, peppery spice, and more new wood. With water, orange notes emerge as it becomes fruitier. A tangy finish shows improvement, with chocolate fudge and cinnamon, as orange flavors are once again brought out with water.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

85 points

Longhorn Texas Straight (Batch 54203), 40%

Hay-like in color. The nose has maritime notes of seaweed along with York Peppermint Pattie, wood shavings, and dunnage warehouse. Aromas improve over time, with lime, orange peel, vanilla cream, and a hint of leather. The palate is silky with bitter chocolate and new wood. With water, peppery spice, black currant, and cooked pears. The finish is fairly short. At a minimum of 2 years old this shows its youth and wood influence.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

84 points

Miyabi 3 year old Single Grain, 40%

One of the palest whiskies I’ve ever put in my glass. The aromas are turned down low with the scent of dried flowers, straw dolls, lemon fondant, vanilla, and a distant whiff of whole spices. Initially, there are flavors of white grape, vanilla, pepper, and clove, followed by lemon peel, bubble gum, and almonds, showing more grain character, with a lift of lemon sweetness and pepper to finish.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

84 points

Khodays Black Single Malt, 42.8%

The nose is rather subdued and half-hearted, with a backdrop of caramel, ground ginger, mace, cereal bar, warm breakfast pastries, and conference pear. More dynamic on the tongue, it has a light texture and flavors of cooking apple peels, Lotus biscoff, nutty toffee, peppery spice, and ground hazelnut, developing a spicy vanilla creaminess into the finish. This pleasant aperitif-style dram from Bengaluru also works well in a Highball. (3,000 bottles for the U.S.)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)


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