Russell’s Reserve 2003, Rare Macallan & More New Whisky [Essential Info]

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On to the week’s new releases. Wild Turkey has unveiled its latest limited-edition bourbon, a 2003 vintage of Russell’s Reserve. Priced at $250, there are just 3,600 bottles available.

Macallan is launching the newest entry in its Fine & Rare series, distilled in 1993. Just 256 bottles are available, priced at $18,000 each.

Jack Daniel’s has unveiled the latest Tennessee Tasters’ Selection, a Tennessee whiskey finished in Jamaican allspice barrels. With 24,000 half-size bottles for sale mainly at the distillery, the price is $40.

Compass Box has created a limited-edition version of Peat Monster to celebrate the company’s 20th anniversary. Peat Monster Arcana is priced at $95, with just over 8,300 bottles available.

Aberfeldy is launching another limited-edition single malt, this one exclusive to the U.S. Aberfeldy 20 year old is finished in sauternes casks and priced at $200.

Jim Beam will offer a Travel Retail exclusive starting early next year. Jim Beam Lineage is a 15 year old straight bourbon, priced at $250.

Also at Travel Retail is Suntory Ao, a “world blend” combining whiskies from Beam Suntory’s distilleries in Scotland, Ireland, the U.S., Canada, and Japan. The whisky is priced at $71.

Blue Run Spirits has released its first straight bourbon, selected by legendary master distiller Jim Rutledge. There are just 2,600 bottles available, priced at $170.

Widow Jane is releasing a 10 year old blend of bourbons finished in maple syrup casks. Widow Jane Decadence is priced at $80, with 3,300 bottles in the first batch.

A rare whisky from the old Rosebank Distillery has been bottled. Rosebank 30 year old is priced at £1,650 (about $2,170), with 4,350 bottles available.

Pinhook is rolling out 5 year old Bourbon War straight bourbon. There are 36,000 bottles available, priced at $50.

Indiana-based Hard Truth Distilling Co. is importing an Irish whiskey. McCabe’s Irish whiskey is priced at $30 and available in Indiana.

Brown Water Spirits has released O.H. Ingram River Aged whiskey. For sale in Tennessee, there are 10,300 in the first batch, priced at $80.

Daddy Rack Tennessee whiskey has launched its first batch of 6,000 bottles. The whiskey is priced at $30 and available in Tennessee.

Finally, Pottstown, Pennsylvania-based Manatawny Still Works is offering a whiskey aged in Scorpion mezcal barrels. Scorpiones is priced at $35, with 650 bottles available.

Read on for full details.

Russell's Reserve 2003

Russell's Reserve 2003

Style: Straight bourbon
Origin: Kentucky
Age: 16 years old
Proof: 44.75% ABV
Price: $250
Release: October 2020
Availability: 3,600 bottles

Need to know:

This straight bourbon was made in 2003, back when Wild Turkey was still filling barrels at 107 proof (in 2004, it switched to filling at 110 proof and now fills them at 115 proof). The distillery says this is the last Russell’s Reserve release that used that barrel entry proof.

Whisky Advocate says:

Barrel entry proof is not the same thing as barrel proof. Over years in the barrel, the spirit’s ABV may rise or fall, depending on whether its alcohol or water content evaporates more quickly. “Barrel proof” is usually used in reference to the alcohol level of the whiskey after dumping the barrel and bottling with no added water. “Barrel entry proof,” on the other hand, is the alcohol level of the new-make spirit when it first goes into the barrel, and it can make a big difference in how the whiskey ends up maturing.

1993 Macallan Fine & Rare 27 year old

1993 Macallan Fine & Rare 27 year old

Style: Single malt
Origin: Scotland (Speyside)
Age: 27 years old
Proof: 50.2% ABV
Price: $18,000
Release: October 2020
Availability: 256 bottles

Need to know:

The 57th release in Macallan’s Fine & Rare Collection, this whisky was distilled in 1993 and matured in a single sherry-seasoned American oak hogshead.

Whisky Advocate says:

As a vintage series typically drawn from single casks, Macallan Fine & Rare whiskies offer snapshots in time, and the metaphor is particularly apt with this release, as the distillery partnered with fashion photographer Tim Walker to create a unique photo series surrounding it.

Jack Daniel's Tennessee Tasters' Selection Jamaican Allspice-Finished

Jack Daniel's Tennessee Tasters' Selection Jamaican Allspice-Finished

Style: Finished Tennessee whiskey
Origin: Tennessee
Age: Not stated
Proof: 50% ABV
Price: $40 (375 ml)
Release: October 2020
Availability: 24,000 bottles; for sale in TN only

Need to know:

This whiskey starts off as fully mature Old No. 7 and is then finished for 180 days in barrels made of Jamaican allspice wood.

Whisky Advocate says:

The Tennessee Tasters’ Selections offer experimental and innovative takes on Jack Daniel’s traditional profile, and they’re often quite good—just check out the recent scores. This allspice-finished whiskey will be followed in early 2021 by 14E19 “Twin” Blend, a 53.5% ABV whiskey that mixes Jack Daniel’s Tennessee whiskey and rye.

Compass Box Peat Monster Arcana

Compass Box Peat Monster Arcana

Style: Blended malt
Origin: Scotland
Age: Not stated
Proof: 46% ABV
Price: $95
Release: October 2020
Availability: 8,328 bottles, including 3,900 for the U.S.

Need to know:

Released in celebration of Compass Box’s 20th anniversary this month, this whisky started off as regular Peat Monster. That blend was put into French oak casks to mature for another 2 years, then blended with malts from Ardbeg, Miltonduff, and Talisker. The final blend recipe can be found on Compass Box’s website.

Whisky Advocate says:

Compass Box is a big one for special releases, but anniversary blends are special creatures, often revisiting and building upon past and current releases. A few weeks ago, the company announced Hedonism Felicitas—an amped-up version of the groundbreaking Hedonism blended grain whisky—and now we have this transformed Peat Monster. And check out that price—on the low end for a Compass Box special release. I’d run out now to find this one if I were you.

Aberfeldy 20 year old Sauternes Cask-Finished

Aberfeldy 20 year old Sauternes Cask-Finished

Style: Single malt
Origin: Scotland (Speyside)
Age: 20 years old
Proof: 43% ABV
Price: $200
Release: October 2020
Availability: Limited edition

Need to know:

This single malt aged for 19 years in refill bourbon barrels and then was finished for a year in sauternes casks.

Whisky Advocate says:

This whisky is a U.S. exclusive, and joins the previously announced Aberfeldy 18 year old finished in red wine casks from Bordeaux. The distillery is known for the honeyed character of its whiskies, so a finish in casks that previously held sauternes—which is a syrupy, sweet, complex dessert wine—will only enhance those natural flavors.

Jim Beam Lineage

Jim Beam Lineage

Style: Straight bourbon
Origin: Kentucky
Age: 15 years old
Proof: 55% ABV
Price: $250
Release: Early 2021
Availability: Travel Retail only

Need to know:

Made by the James B. Beam Distilling Co., this bourbon aged for 15 years in Warehouse K at the Clermont, Kentucky facility. It’s the first bourbon that Beam master distiller Fred Noe collaborated on with his son, distiller Freddie Noe.

Whisky Advocate says:

While Fred Noe has been overseeing Freddie’s education and progress as distiller for several years, Lineage marks the first bourbon they’ve officially made together. It will be a batched product, always at 55% ABV and 15 years old.

Suntory Ao

Suntory Ao

Style: Blended whisky
Origin: Multiple
Age: Not stated
Proof: 43% ABV
Price: $71
Release: October 2020
Availability: Travel Retail only

Need to know:

Created by Suntory chief blender Shinji Fukuyo, this blend comprises whiskies from distilleries in the five major whisky-making countries: Ardmore and Glen Garioch in Scotland, Cooley in Ireland, Jim Beam in the U.S., Alberta Distillers in Canada, and Yamazaki and Hakushu in Japan. The name Ao means “blue” in Japanese and refers to the oceans that connect all these nations.

Whisky Advocate says:

Initially launched in 2019 in Japan only, Ao is not the first multi-national blend in existence. In fact, there are several trans-continental whiskies to try. What makes Ao special, however, is the fact that all its component whiskies come from sibling distilleries; such is the reach of a multi-national corporation like Beam Suntory.

Blue Run 13 year old Straight Bourbon

Blue Run 13 year old Straight Bourbon

Style: Straight bourbon
Origin: Kentucky
Age: 13 years old
Proof: 56.5% ABV
Price: $170
Release: October 2020
Availability: 2,600 bottles

Need to know:

Distilled in Kentucky, this bourbon was selected by former Four Roses master distiller Jim Rutledge, who serves as the “liquid director” for the Blue Run brand.

Whisky Advocate says:

Many new whiskey brands have launched with contemporary aesthetics and a goal of appealing to younger or newer drinkers, but few come out of the gate with extra-mature bourbon or the bona fides of a whiskey legend like Rutledge. Blue Run will apparently have more releases selected or distilled by Rutledge in the future. This doesn’t mean old Four Roses liquid, however. Rutledge has been trying to start construction on his own distillery for several years, though so far no ground has been broken. In the meantime, he has apparently done some distilling at Castle & Key, so perhaps that will be the source of future Blue Run releases.

Widow Jane 10 year old Decadence

Widow Jane 10 year old Decadence

Style: Finished blend of bourbons
Origin: KY and TN
Age: 10 years old
Proof: 45.5% ABV
Price: $80
Release: October 2020
Availability: 3,300 bottles in first batch

Need to know:

Released in batches, this 10 year old blend of bourbons, distilled in Kentucky and Tennessee, was finished in maple syrup barrels from Crown Maple, located in the Hudson Valley.

Whisky Advocate says:

Maple syrup finishes aren’t a new trend—the barrels used for the maple syrup were originally bourbon barrels, after all—but, like whiskey itself, the impact and sweetness of the finish varies widely. Stay tuned for a review of this Widow Jane in an upcoming issue of Whisky Advocate!

1990 Rosebank 30 year old (Release One)

1990 Rosebank 30 year old (Release One)

Style: Single malt
Origin: Scotland (Lowlands)
Age: 30 years old
Proof: 48.6% ABV
Price: £1,650 (about $2,170)
Release: October 2020
Availability: 4,350 bottles; not for sale in the U.S.

Need to know:

Distilled in 1990 at Rosebank, just three years before it was mothballed, this whisky matured in 62% refill sherry butts and 38% refill bourbon hogsheads. It’s the first in a series of limited-edition Rosebank releases, which will eventually culminate in the first spirit to come from the revived distillery.

Whisky Advocate says:

The plans to rebuild and reopen Rosebank have been in place for several years, although construction came to a halt earlier this year due to the pandemic. It will restart in early 2021, and the plan is to open and begin distilling the following year. The wait for mature whisky from the new distillery is at least three years, but could be longer; it all depends on when the master distiller and distillery manager think the spirit is ready for release.

Pinhook Bourbon War 5 year old

Pinhook Bourbon War 5 year old

Style: Straight bourbon
Origin: Indiana
Age: 5 years old
Proof: 52% ABV
Price: $50
Release: October 2020
Availability: 36,000 bottles

Need to know:

The second bourbon release in Pinhook’s Vertical series, this is one year older and slightly higher in proof than its predecessor. It was distilled at MGP from a mashbill of 75% corn, 20.5% rye, and 4.5% malted barley.

Whisky Advocate says:

The Vertical series is meant to explore how whiskey changes in the barrel, year by year. Pinhook is also offering a rye vertical, which began this year with the release of 4 year old Tiz Rye Time.

The debut 4 year old Bourbon War scored 86 points in the Buying Guide.

McCabe's Irish Whiskey

McCabe's Irish Whiskey

Style: Whiskey
Origin: Ireland
Age: Not stated
Proof: 40% ABV
Price: $30
Release: October 2020
Availability: For sale in IN only

Need to know:

Distilled in a pot still and matured 3 years in ex-bourbon casks in Ireland, this unblended whiskey is proofed and bottled by Hard Truth Distilling in Nashville, Indiana.

Whisky Advocate says:

Although the distillery makes bourbon and other American whiskeys, Hard Truth founder Jeff McCabe wanted to offer an Irish whiskey to honor his heritage. There’s little information about this whiskey’s grain makeup or its distillery of origin, other than it being in the Munster province, but my best guess is West Cork Distillers.

O.H. Ingram River Aged Whiskey

O.H. Ingram River Aged Whiskey

Style: Blend of straight whiskeys
Origin: Indiana
Age: 3 years old
Proof: 48% ABV
Price: $80
Release: October 2020
Availability: 10,300 bottles; for sale in TN only

Need to know:

This whiskey blends straight bourbon made with 36% rye and a 95% rye, both distilled at MGP and aged on board a barge in the Mississippi River in Ballard County, Kentucky. The final composition of the blend is roughly 67% rye grain.

Whisky Advocate says:

Although there are a couple of other examples of whiskies aged on the water, this is the first one we’ve heard of that spends its whole life maturing off-land. We spoke with creator Hank Ingram to understand why he chose such an unorthodox maturation method—and what else is coming up for his company, Brown Water Spirits.

Daddy Rack Straight Tennessee Whiskey

Daddy Rack Straight Tennessee Whiskey

Style: Straight Tennessee whiskey
Origin: Tennessee
Age: 3 years old
Proof: 40% ABV
Price: $30
Release: October 2020
Availability: 6,000 bottles in first batch; for sale in TN only

Need to know:

Made from a mashbill of 80% corn, 10% rye, and 10% malted barley, this whiskey was selected and bottled by J. Arthur Rackham, the brand’s namesake, whose daughter christened him “Daddy Rack.”

Whisky Advocate says:

A native of London, Rackham is a spirits industry veteran with experience making and selling cognac, armagnac, calvados, rum, and gin. He decided to get into whiskey because it is, in his words, “the holy grail.”

Manatawny Still Works Scorpiones

Manatawny Still Works Scorpiones

Style: Whiskey
Origin: Pennsylvania
Age: 9 months old
Proof: 45% ABV
Price: $35
Release: October 2020
Availability: 650 bottles; for sale in PA only

Need to know:

Made from a mashbill of 39% malted barley, 39% wheat, 17% oats, and 5% rye, this whiskey spent 9 months in Scorpion mezcal barrels.

Whisky Advocate says:

Manatawny master distiller Max Pfeffer says this spirit hits a middle ground between whiskey and mezcal, with floral and vegetal notes balanced by smoke. It’s only the third mezcal-matured whiskey I know of, and the first from the U.S. (J.J. Corry has an Irish whiskey partly matured in mezcal, and Dewar’s released its Ilegal Smooth blended scotch earlier this year.)

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