Four Roses Small Batch Limited Edition Al Young’s 50th Anniversary (2017 Release), 54.49%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $150
A caramel-laden fruit bouquet, followed by unending vanilla, leather, tobacco, cotton candy, marshmallow, quince, cinnamon, hints of juniper, and wildflowers. Then, brown sugar butter and maple syrup over buttermilk pancakes, Cracker Jack, raw honey, bittersweet chocolate, and hints of pecan shell. Extremely long finish with a fried apple pie note. An incredibly complex and intense, must-have sipper. Perfection.
This is High West Rendezvous Rye finished in port and French oak barrels. It is a campfire pour. An arsenal of smoke, spice, and sweet, alternating back and forth. Just when you think the nuance ends, pronouncements of chocolate, cinnamon, plum, pepper spice, and barbecue. Its complexity hits a homerun, offering honey, red fruits, and citrus to a lingering, tickling, spicy finish. A must have. Sourced whiskey.
Just beautiful. Long, rounded notes of caramel, cinnamon roll, taffy, butterscotch, brisket burnt ends, nutmeg, Jamaican jerk, plum pudding, ginger, light sassafras, root beer, roasted marshmallow, cotton candy, orange peel, raw honey, and pie crust. If it sounds complex, it’s because it is, and the finish just doesn’t quit, giving you a lingering taste of every note.
William Larue Weller (Buffalo Trace Antique Collection 2017), 64.1%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $90
This is a work of art. It begins by revealing vanilla, from custard to cake icing. Then it speaks caramel with a dark chew, crème brûlée, and Werther’s Original hard candy. From here, complexity takes over, with candied popcorn, butterscotch, chocolate ganache, French toast, maple, honey, pumpkin pie, fried pie dough, blueberries, and cinnamon, with hints of molasses and pecan. The long finish seems to offer a concentration of all the flavors. Delicious. Editor's Choice.
A blend of three rye and three bourbon barrels ranging from 10 to 33 years old. Powerful and mouth-coating. Initially, a French bakery, with caramel, vanilla, and torched brown sugar dominating. Then, more complex notes, such as cinnamon roll, coconut, chocolate, slight hints of oak, allspice, hints of smoked paprika, chipotle, roasted almond, and Polish sweet bread. A long finish offers fruit and nutmeg. Tasty sipper at the perfect proof.
This is the Wild Turkey limited edition bourbon we’ve been waiting for. Only 2,070 bottles exist. Deep amber hues and non-chill filtered, it opens up to straight-from-the-woods campfire smoke, caramel, vanilla, fresh-baked macaroon, leather, woodworking shop, and cigar box. But it’s not a smoke bomb or saturated in sweet; its delicate baking spices meet hatch chile, cinnamon, hints of mint and citrus. It finishes strong and long with a lingering caramel chew.
Simply beautiful. It’s so complex, with notes of molasses, apple butter, toffee, salt water taffy, hazelnut, burnt brown sugar, crème brûlée, caramel flan, butterscotch, crystallized ginger, nutmeg, cardamom, fenugreek, roasted almonds, and marshmallow. With a drop of water, another complex layer forms with cotton candy and burnt pie crust. In both cases, it finishes extremely long.
Four Roses Limited Edition Small Batch (2017 Release), 53.95%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $130
This is an ode to this bourbon’s old-school style that, post-caramel and cinnamon, is balanced with dried blueberries, sweet cornbread, nutmeg, saffron, citrus, and slight hints of chipotle, ginger, and clove. Under the beautiful spice come vanilla cake batter, almond butter, and salt water taffy that walk it to a finish that just doesn’t quit. It’s the vanilla-forward finish that makes this an upper-echelon whiskey. (13,800 bottles for the U.S.)
George T. Stagg (2017 Buffalo Trace Antique Collection), 64.6%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $90
Caramel. Caramel. Caramel. It comes early and remains to the finish. In between this caramel sandwich, it’s nutmeg, cinnamon, jasmine, rose petals, baked apples, fudge, pecan pie, peanut brittle, and roasted peanuts. Over a mouth-coating palate, its complexity tingles and every note plays just under the rich and layered caramel that presents itself as a chew on the extremely long finish. This is a must-have sipper.
Here, a perfect harmony delivers crème brûlée, butterscotch, fruit, cinnamon, and rising cornbread. Right away complexity sets in, delivering salted baked almonds, cashews, dried apricot, pistachio gelato, Nutter Butters, salted caramel popcorn, rye toast with brown sugar butter, and sugarcane. Somehow, a drop of water makes it even more complex, amplifying the butterscotch and presenting cinnamon-soaked roasted pecans and almonds. Pure bliss; a must-sip.
Wild Turkey often exhibits a delightful earthiness, and when earth meets sweet in whiskey, it’s a beautiful thing. Wild Turkey Master’s Keep Decades achieves a rich texture where deep-tilled soil, fresh-cut grass, and mushrooms meet leather and dark chocolate, followed by dill, oregano, and oak. Caramel and vanilla explode over a heavy dose of cinnamon. Master distiller Eddie Russell mingled barrels ranging from 10 to 20 years old in order to strike this balance and complexity. His method displays the potential of combining extremely old stocks into batches with younger barrels to build a great whiskey. Number 3 in the 2017 Top 20
This sings a tune of balance, with caramel, coconut, chocolate, barrel char, and campfire smoke harmonizing at the opening. Next comes an amazingly complex series of herbal notes: dill, oregano, and thyme. That’s when cinnamon bread, coffee, and crème brûlée take over; each note super concentrated and rounded. The long finish presents a hint of cinnamon. This is a must-have sipper. (450 bottles)
A 7 year old single barrel. Fruit and flowers jump out of the glass, with caramel popcorn and dried apricot not far behind. Caramel, berry fruit, and baking spices develop into complex and rounded notes of crème brûlée, blackberries, blueberry pie, burnt brown sugar, coconut, and pumpkin pie with extra nutmeg. Long finish delivers a hint of peach cobbler crust. The perfect example of a below 90-proof whiskey with complexity. (Liquor Barn Springhurst exclusive)
Old Fitzgerald 11 year old Bottled in Bond (Spring 2018 Release), 50%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $110
Fruit bliss. Filled with apple, pear, dried apricot, and peaches, it then offers floral and rich caramel notes. Chocolate fried pie, pumpkin pie, and vanilla custard follow over a creamy mouthfeel. Then nuts set in, including roasted almonds, salted walnuts, and pecans. Honey and malt appear toward the end for a long and wonderful finish with a light hint of cinnamon. Editor’s Choice
When earth meets sweet in whiskey, it’s a beautiful thing. Here, soil tilled deep, fresh-cut grass, and mushrooms meet leather and dark chocolate, followed by dill, oregano, and oak. Caramel and vanilla explode over a heavy dose of cinnamon. There’s more: apple fritters, spice, and saltwater taffy tingle the palate until the long finish introduces, for the first time, a hint of doughy pie crust. A must-have.
When complex spice meets complex caramel, it makes for a wonderful American whiskey experience. That’s exactly what happens here with a cadre of baking spices over fruit, such as cinnamon baked apples, nutmeg sprinkled over pears, and peaches dusted with clove, followed by butterscotch, vanilla custard, and crème brûlée. The balanced and brilliant finish stays true to its complexity.
It packs a beautiful nose, with arcs of chocolate, vanilla wafer, cherry, caramelized brown sugar, baked pears, crème brûlée being torched, and coconut. These notes become concentrated and are complemented by cola, tobacco, spice, toffee, and pepper. Then hazelnut and vanilla coat the mouth, sitting there for a couple of minutes until the end—a supremely long finish. What complexity!
Whoa...this sherry-finished bourbon offers an up front impression you don’t find in American whiskey: marzipan meets ground-up raw almonds sprinkled over pistachio gelato. Then caramel, nuanced cinnamon, delicate vanilla, and a slight hint of campfire smoke. It’s supremely complex, with the third layer being honey, dried apricot, dried pear, figs, and prunes over a sublime nuttiness and rich caramel. The finish lingers with salted-caramel cashew. If this is the future of barrel-finished American whiskey, let there be more. (Jack Rose Dining Saloon private selection)