Categories
Whiskey

10 Whiskies Everyone Should Own

whisky recommended best

The folks over at Whisky Advocate magazine have put together a list of their “10 Essential Whiskies Everyone Should Own (And Why).” I love whiskey and I love lists, so I was delighted to read it.

I’m going to list their selections below along with my own commentary. The article is worth clicking through to see their thoughts — it’s a very quick read.

1. A Versatile Mixer: Jameson
Every bar needs some Jameson. I only ever use it for Irish Coffees, but it’s the perfect whiskey for them, in my opinion.

2. The Quintessential Blend: Chivas Regal 18 year old
I’ve never really explored the world of blended Scotch, so I’ve never had this. But Chivas is very highly regarded in the industry.

3. A Dependable Straight Bourbon: Evan Williams Single Barrel
A staple of the bourbon world, this is as reliable as Old Faithful. Which is why I included it in my recent Good Bourbon You Can Afford (and Actually Find) post.

4. A My-Oh-My Rye: High West Rendezvous Rye
I’m a big fan of High West ryes. They are very gifted in the art of blending. This one has long been on my list to try, but haven’t done so yet. But their Double Rye is a staple in my house.

5. A Dram with Universal Appeal: Highland Park 12 year old
One of the legendary Scottish distilleries, this one makes most lists of the best. I haven’t had it in years and really need to revisit it.

6. The Power of the Pot Still: Green Spot
Pot still Irish whiskey has grown increasingly popular in recent years. (Redbreast is probably the better known one.) I have a bottle of Green Spot hidden in a box somewhere, so have not tried it.

7. A Guileful Persuader: Glenmorangie Nectar D’Or
Glenmorangie doesn’t get the attention that the better known “Glens” do, but it’s a top-notch distillery. This whisky is finished in sauternes casks before bottling, given the spirit a slight honeyed sweetness to go along with all the malty goodness.

8. A Japanese Grand Master: Yamazaki 18 year old
If you can find it, this is a $400-500 bottle of whisky. I have not had the pleasure of tasting it. But the 12-year-old version is wonderful, so I assume this is a real delight.

9. A Smokin’ Good Islay: Lagavulin 16 year old
I have been slowing coming around on the topic of peated whisky. It’s definitely one of those flavors that takes some getting used to in my experience. I have not yet tried this one, but it’s on my list.

10. A Trophy Whisky: Glenfarclas 40 year old
“Trophy Whisky” is right. A bottle of this will run you close to a grand. I would never spend that much on a whisky, but if you would, please share.

Categories
Whiskey

Good Bourbon You Can Afford (and Actually Find)

glass of bourbon whiskey

We’ve all heard of the great bourbons that exist somewhere, even if we’ve never seen or tasted them. Pappy Van Winkle, George T. Stagg, Parker’s Heritage, and A.H. Hirsch Reserve are just a few. The problem is you’ll never see them on the shelves of your local liquor store. And if by some miracle you did actually find them, you probably wouldn’t want to pay the price tag.

But fear not! Despite everything you might have heard or read about bourbon shortages, strict allocations, and skyrocketing prices, there are still plenty of top-quality whiskeys that can be found without too much trouble and won’t cost you an arm and a leg.

These aren’t bargain bourbons, per se. They’re reasonably priced, but aren’t the cheapest, and they generally come from a slightly higher spot on the quality scale.

If you’re more interested in getting good booze for cheap, I’d recommend trying bourbons such as Very Old Barton, Benchmark, Evan Williams Black, Old Grand Dad, and Jim Beam Black. Each of them can usually be had for under $20. They might not be as good as these, but I think you’ll find them quite acceptable.

On the other hand, if you want to drink some really fine whiskey, here are some suggestions that I enjoy.

 eagle rare bourbon whiskey Eagle Rare 10 Year Old Bourbon ($30-$40)

Made by Buffalo Trace, this still has an age statement and remains a fine bourbon no matter the price. This is made with a “low-rye” mashbill and is an excellent balance of sweet and spice.

makers mark bourbon whiskey Maker’s Mark Bourbon ($25-$30)

A wheated bourbon — just like Pappy! — that you can always find and always enjoy. Maker’s is a shining example of Kentucky distilling excellence on proud display. There are few spirits in the world that reflect such a high level of craftsmanship as this. (The cask-strength version is a more expensive, but even better.)

 1792 small batch kentucky straight bourbon whiskey 1792 Small Batch Bourbon ($25-$35)

This brand, from Sazerac’s Barton distillery, seemed to fly under the radar for a long time. But with the new variations they’ve been producing (full proof, sweet wheat, etc.), it’s suddenly become a hot brand. You probably won’t be able to find those other labels. But that’s okay because the regular expression is very good, too.

 weller bourbon whiskey W.L. Weller Special Reserve Bourbon ($30-$40)

You’re unlikely to find the 12-year-old Weller for a reasonable price, but the Special Reserve (90 proof) and Antique (107 proof) can often be found, especially the former. Weller is one of the original wheated bourbons and if you’re craving Van Winkle, this is probably the next best thing.

knob creek bourbon whiskey Knob Creek Small Batch Bourbon ($30-$35)

Another old standby from Beam, this is a high quality whiskey at a good price. With nine years in wood and a full 100 proof, Knob Creek packs a wallop, both in alcohol and flavor. If people say there are no good, affordable bourbons around, hand them a bottle of this and see if you can’t change their mind.

evan williams single barrel bourbon whiskey  Evan Williams Single Barrel Bourbon ($25-$35)

One of the best ongoing releases in the bourbon world, these annual single-barrel picks from Heaven Hill never disappoint.

four roses small batch bourbon whiskey  Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon ($30-$35)

Despite not producing a whiskey with a Pappy-level cult following, Four Roses is one of the most popular distilleries with bourbon conniseurs. The reason is no surprise: they made damn good bourbon.

 henry mckenna single barrel bourbon whiskey  Henry McKenna Single Barrel ($30-$40)

This is probably the least well-known bourbon on this list, but it’s also one of the best. A single-barrel, bottled-in-bond whiskey from Heaven Hill for around $35? Yes, please!

There you have it. Good whiskey at good prices, and any halfway decent liquor store should have several of them on the shelf. So drink up! The good folks of Kentucky are hard at work making more.

Categories
Recipes

Cocktail Recipe: Strawberry Whiskey Smash

The Whiskey Smash, resurrected and tweaked many years ago at the Rainbow Room by Dale DeGroff, is one of the best summertime bourbon drinks. Cold and refreshing, the mix of tart citrus and sweet mint/fruit makes for a delicious balance with the whiskey. (And it’s also, in my opinion, a better drink than the far more popular Mint Julep. It’s certainly a more complex one.)

Here is a variation with strawberries from Benny Hurwitz, bartender at Jack Rose Dining Saloon in D.C. This is an easily modifiable cocktail, so you can change up the ingredients based on what you have, as long as you stick to the same basic concept and proportions. And, as always, use a good bourbon.

Strawberry Whiskey Smash

Strawberry Whiskey Smash

Adapted from a recipe by Benny Hurwitz of the Jack Rose Saloon in Washington, D.C, after Dale DeGroff.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 oz. Bourbon Whiskey
  • 3/4 oz. Simple Syrup (1:1)
  • 1/2 Lemon (cut into 3 wedges)
  • 2-3 Strawberries (depending on size)
  • 5 Mint Leaves

Instructions

  1. Muddle the strawberries, lemon and mint with the simple syrup in the bottom of a shaker. Add the whiskey and shake with ice. Fine strain into a rocks glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with a mint sprig and strawberry.
  2. For a stronger drink, you can increase the amount of bourbon to 2 oz.
https://professorcocktail.com/2017/07/20/cocktail-recipe-strawberry-whiskey-smash/

Original recipe courtesy of WTOP.

Categories
Whiskey

New Whiskey: Hirsch 8 Year Old High Rye Bourbon

Here’s a press release from Anchor Distilling that I thought might be of interest to whiskey fans. They’re releasing a blend of high-rye bourbons from MGP under the Hirsch label. You might ask: do we need another MGP whiskey on the market? To which I say: the more the merrier. Especially when it’s a bourbon and not a rye.

hirsch high rye bourbon whiskey

***

The story of American whiskey is not complete without mention of A.H. Hirsch and A.H. Hirsch Reserve 16 Year Old, widely considered the best American bourbon ever produced – even inspiring revered whiskey expert Chuck Cowdery to write the book, The Best Bourbon You’ll Never Taste. The True Story of A. H. Hirsch Reserve Straight Bourbon Whiskey, Distilled in the Spring of 1974 (Made and Bottled in Kentucky; May 2, 2012). Today, Anchor Distilling Company seeks to keep the legend alive through a range of sourced whiskies inspired by the Hirsch heritage. Following the sold-out introduction in 2016 of the Hirsch Small Batch Reserve Straight Bourbon, of which F. Paul Pacult, Spirit Journal, said, “I’d give it a solid Four Stars,” Anchor now introduces Hirsch Small Batch 8 Year Old High Rye Straight Bourbon Whiskey (46% ABV; $52 SRP).

A.H. Hirsch was an investment banker that invested in the Schaefferstown Distillery in the decades leading up to its shutdown in 1989 in an effort to keep it operational. The distillery was a historic landmark for American whiskey in operation for more than two centuries, and while it would eventually close, his contribution would ultimately result in the legendary A.H. Hirsch Reserve 16 Year Old.

The newly released Hirsch Small Batch 8 Year Old High Rye Straight Bourbon Whiskey marries together two mash bills – one with 21% rye and another with 36% rye, resulting in a high rye content that adds spiced character while balancing the sweet notes of corn sourced from Indiana and Ohio. The oak barrels are a #4 char around the base and a #2 char at the head; the whiskey is barreled at 60% ABV.

“This is a whiskey that is punching far above its weight,” says Morgan Robbat, Vice President of Marketing at Anchor Distilling. “With a high rye content that makes it ideal for American whiskey fans as well as craft cocktail enthusiasts, this 8 Year Old expression over delivers on quality – as you’d expect given the Hirsch heritage.”

Hirsch Small Batch 8 Year Old High Rye Straight Bourbon Whiskey is distilled in Lawrenceburg, IN. For more information, visit AnchorDistilling.com or email info@anchorsf.com.

Categories
Recipes

Cocktail Recipe: The Apple Claus

A charming seasonal cocktail, containing two of my favorite cold-weather flavors: bourbon and apples.

The Apple Claus

The Apple Claus

Adapted from a recipe by Laura Moore at The Epicurean Hotel Edge rooftop bar.

Ingredients

    Cocktail:
  • 1 1/2 oz. Four Roses Bourbon Small Batch
  • 3/4 oz. Apple Cinnamon Tea Syrup
  • 1/2 oz. Lemon Juice
  • Dash of Angostura Bitters
  • Orange Twist or Apple Slice (for garnish)
  • Apple Cinnamon Tea Syrup:
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 whole apple (minus core) cut into pieces
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 tea bags or 4 tbsp loose tea

Instructions

  1. To Make the Cocktail
  2. Shake all ingredients with ice, then strain into a chilled coupe. Top with sparkling wine (prosecco, Champagne or Apple Cider.) Garnish with an orange twist or apple slice.
  3. To Make Apple Cinnamon Tea Syrup
  4. In a saucepan, bring the water to a boil, then remove from heat. Add tea and steep for 5 minutes. When finished, remove the tea bags or strain out loose tea.
  5. Return tea to the stove and add sugar, cinnamon and apples. Bring to a low boil over medium-high heat, then simmer on low for approximately 5 minutes.
  6. Cool and strain, then pour into a sealed bottle. The syrup will easily keep in the fridge for at least 2 weeks.
https://professorcocktail.com/2016/12/16/cocktail-recipe-the-apple-claus/

Categories
Whiskey

Jim Murray’s World Whisky of the Year (2017)

Whisky connoisseur Jim Murray has released the winners from his 2017 edition of the Whisky Bible. Last year’s choice was a controversial one — Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye — as was the year before that: Yamazaki Sherry Cask 2013.

Murray’s selection for 2017 will no doubt raise some eyebrows as well, as he named Booker’s Rye 13 Year Old as his World Whisky of the Year.

bookers rye whiskey

 

From the press release:

A unique Kentucky rye has been crowned the planet’s finest dram by the latest edition of Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible.

Booker’s Rye 13 Years, 1 Month, 12 Days began life as an experiment by Booker Noe – grandson of Jim Beam – at the family distillery in Clermont, KY, shortly before his death in 2004.

Now it has become his remarkable legacy after landing the title of World Whisky of the Year.

Jim lavishes praise on its “brain-draining, mind-blowing” nose and finish of “amazing depth”.

And he hails it as a “staggering example of a magnificent rye, showing exactly what genius actually means. A very big, unforgettable whiskey from a very big, unforgettable man”.

Booker followed in his iconic grandfather’s footsteps by becoming master distiller at Jim Beam, but he was long-retired when he dabbled one final time.

After he passed away aged 74, son Fred kept an eye on his casks – and the result is pure liquid gold, scoring 97.5 out of 100 in Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible.

The top three whiskies of the year, in Murray’s view were:

1. Booker’s Rye 13 Year Old
2. Glen Grant 18 Year Old
3. William Larue Weller Bourbon (Bot. 2015)

Here are the rest of the named winners.

Scotch Whisky
Scotch Whisky of the Year: Glen Grant 18 Year Old
Single Malt of the Year (Multiple Casks): Glen Grant 18 Year Old
Single Malt of the Year (Single Cask): That Boutique-y Whisky Co Macallan 25 Year Old Batch 5
Scotch Blend of the Year: The Last Drop 1971
Scotch Grain of the Year: Whiskyjace Invergordon 24 Year Old
Scotch Vatted Malt of the Year: Compass Box Flaming Heart 2015 Edition

Single Malt Scotch
No Age Statement (Multiple Casks): Glenlivet Cipher
No Age Statement (Runner Up): Port Askaig 100 Proof
10 Years & Under (Multiple Casks): Glen Grant 10 Year Old
10 Years & Under (Single Cask): Kilchoman Guze Cask Finish
11-15 Years (Multiple Casks): Lagavulin 12 Year Old
11-15 Years (Single Cask): The Single Cask Glentauchers 2002 14 Year Old
16-21 Years (Multiple Casks): Glen Grant 18 Year Old
16-21 Years (Single Cask): Scyfion Choice Mortlach 1996 19 Year Old (Berry Bros & Rudd)
22-27 Years (Multiple Casks): Dalwhinnie 1989 25 Year Old Special Releases 2015
22-27 Years (Single Cask): The Boutique-y Co Macallan 25 Year Old Batch 5
28-34 Years (Multiple Casks): Port Ellen 1983 32 Year Old Special Releases 2015
28-34 Years (Single Cask): Cadenhead Caol Ila 31 Year Old
35-40 Years (Multiple Casks): Brora 37 Year Old Special Releases 2015
35-40 Years (Single Cask): Cadenhead Glentauchers 38 Year Old
41 Years & Over (Multiple Casks): Gordon & MacPhail Glen Grant 1952
41 Years & Over (Single Cask): Gordon & MacPhail Glen Grant 1950 65 Year Old

Blended Scotch
No Age Statement (Standard): Ballantine’s Finest
No Age Statement (Premium): Ballantine’s Limited
5-12 Years: Johnnie Walker Black Label 12 Year Old
13-18 Years: Chivas Regal 18 Year Old Ultimate Cask Collection First Fill American Oak
19 – 25 Years: Royal Salute 21 Year Old
26 – 50 Years: The Last Drop 1971

Irish Whiskey
Irish Whiskey of the Year: Redbreast 21 Year Old
Irish Pot Still Whiskey of the Year: Redbreast 21 Year Old
Irish Single Malt of the Year: Bushmills 21 Year Old
Irish Blend of the Year: Jameson
Irish Single Cask of the Year: Teeling Single White Burgundy Cask 2004

American Whiskey
Bourbon of the Year: William Larue Weller 2015 Release
Rye of the Year: Booker’s Rye 13 Year Old
US Micro Whisky of the Year: Garrison Brothers Cowboy Bourbon 2009
US Micro Whisky of the Year (Runner Up): Koval Four Grain

Bourbon
No Age Statement (Multiple Barrels): William Larue Weller 2015 Release
No Age Statement (Single Barrel): 1792 Single Barrrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon
9 Years & Under: Garrison Brothers Cowboy Bourbon 2009
10 Years & Over (Multiple Barrels): Blade & Bow 22 Year Old

Rye
No Age Statement: Thomas H Handy 2015 Release
Up to 10 Years: Pikesville 110 Proof 6 Year Old Straight Rye
11 Years & Over: Booker’s Rye 13 Year Old

Wheat
Wheat Whiskey of the Year: Bernheim Original

Canadian Whisky
Canadian Whisky of the Year: Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye

Japanese Whisky
Japanese Whisky of the Year: Yamazaki Sherry Cask 2016 Release
Single Malt of the Year (Multiple Barrels): Yamazaki Sherry Cask 2016 Release

European Whisky
European Whisky of the Year (Multiple): English Whisky Co. Chapter 14 Not Peated
European Whisky of the Year (Single): Langatun 6 year Old Pinot Noir Cask

World Whiskies
Asian Whisky of the Year: Kavalan Solist Moscatel
Southern Hemisphere Whisky of the Year: Heartwood Any Port in a Storm

Categories
Whiskey

A. Smith Bowman Distillery Releases Limited Edition Gingerbread Cocoa Finished Bourbon

A. Smith Bowman Distillery announces the latest release in its Abraham Bowman line of expressions, the Abraham Bowman Limited Edition Gingerbread Cocoa Finished Bourbon.

Marrying two Virginia gems, this limited edition bourbon was aged in a special batch of barrels used by A. Smith Bowman Distillery and Hardywood Park Craft Brewery in Virginia.  The barrels originated at A. Smith Bowman in 2010, where they aged bourbon for four and a half years.  The barrels were emptied and sent to Hardywood Park Brewery to be filled with two special beers: six barrels aged Gingerbread Stout and four barrels aged Foolery Imperial Milk Stout. 

Both of the beers aged inside these barrels for eight months before being emptied again and sent back to A. Smith Bowman in December 2015. They were then finally filled for the last time with bourbon that had aged for nine years inside of new charred white oak barrels. This bourbon was distilled in December of 2006 and was allowed to finish for 17 months inside these special barrels. Master Distiller Brian Prewitt determined through periodic tasting evaluations that the rich caramel and oak flavors of the bourbon had intermingled with the spice notes of gingerbread and hints of cocoa in an extraordinary way.

“This bourbon tastes of ginger, vanilla, and cinnamon topped off with notes of cocoa. The gingerbread spice aroma gives way to caramel and toasty oak and finishes with a smooth and pleasant finish,” states Prewitt. 

The Abraham Bowman Limited Edition Gingerbread Cocoa Finished Bourbon is part of a series of limited edition whiskies, named after Abraham Bowman, the commander of the 8th Virginia Regiment in the American Revolutionary War. Each edition of the Abraham line is a different expression and a new release is offered a few times a year.  This is the 15th release in the Abraham line.  The Abraham Bowman Limited Edition Gingerbread Cocoa Finished Bourbon will be available for Virginia residents to purchase through the VA ABC Lottery on Thursday Sept. 29th, and in the A. Smith Bowman Distillery Visitor Center starting Oct. 1st. It will also be available in limited amounts in other states starting in mid-October. Quantities are very limited and most product will be available in Virginia. The Abraham Bowman series aims to release new and different expressions of innovative whiskey for each release, so it is unlikely this exact bourbon will be repeated. The age of this bourbon is 9 years and 8 months and it is 90 proof. It is available in a 375 ml only and suggested retail pricing is $39.99.abraham-bowman-gingerbread-cocoa-finish

Categories
Whiskey

Buffalo Trace Distillery Introduces O.F.C. Range of Very Rare and Collectable Vintage-Dated Bourbons

PRESS RELEASE

This fall, Buffalo Trace Distillery will release three unique vintage-dated bourbons honoring the National Historic Landmark’s original name – the O.F.C. Distillery. During Colonel E. H. Taylor, Jr’s tenure, the O.F.C. Distillery was renowned for producing top class whiskey. The first vintages of O.F.C. Bourbon Whiskey coming in November are sure to be collector’s items and will be offered exclusively to non-profit organizations at no charge to raise money for their causes.  Although these rare whiskeys will not be available in stores or bars and restaurants, later vintages will be released to the overall market starting in the Spring of 2017.

All of the O.F.C. collection releases will be vintage dated according to the specific year in which the bourbon was distilled at Buffalo Trace Distillery. Each hand-cut crystal bottle will feature the vintage year on the label.

The first release is comprised of only 200 bottles; 100 bottles from the year 1980, 50 bottles from 1982, and 50 bottles from 1983.  Future releases will unveil whiskeys from the 1990s, including a 1993 vintage and several consecutive vintage years thereafter. Subsequent O.F.C. releases will follow year after year as vintages are produced and reach maturity.

Straight Bourbon whiskey must be aged in oak for at least two years, but these O.F.C. releases matured much longer. Recipe and age will vary by vintage, but many are expected to mature for twenty years or more. Barrels are evaluated regularly and some whiskey will be removed from the barrels as taste reaches the peak of flavor.

The packaging for O.F.C. matches the splendor of the whiskey itself, in lead free crystal bottles with detailed fluting engraved into the mold. Glass artisans cut the shoulder facets using equipment created exclusively for Buffalo Trace Distillery.  Each bottle then is manually polished to achieve maximum glass brilliance before in-laying cut copper lettering to spell out “O.F.C.” on the front.  A paper label is then hand applied below with the vintage prominently noted, along with a label on the back of the bottle noting the milestones for the vintage year of the bottle.  For example, the 1980 label memorializes the U.S. Ice Hockey team’s stunning victory over the Soviet Union, along with pop culture happenings and Ronald Reagan’s presidential election.  The bottle is then given one last polish for the ultimate premium presentation, while a cork stopper with a copper top adorns the top of the bottle to finish out this stunning bottle. 

This bottle is a replica of an O.F.C. decanter dating back to the early 1900s found in the Buffalo Trace Distillery archives.  Equally as impressive as the bottle is the display box in which the bourbon is presented. The dark wooden box prominently bears the O.F.C. name in copper, along with a copper plaque depicting the year the bourbon was distilled. Upon opening the revolving door on the wooden case, the bottle is proudly displayed on a small riser, commanding attention as its prized possession is revealed. A provenance card is inside each display box, containing the same information found on the back label. Finally, each box is then packaged in a tasteful cream colored bag to protect it from any damage before placing it into the shipping boxes. 

Non-profit organizations located in the United States who are interested in obtaining a bottle to use as a fundraiser for their charity should visit http://ofcvintages.com/ to fill out an application.  To be considered, organizations must submit an official U.S. non-profit tax ID number and use the bottle for fundraising purposes only. Applications will be taken online only and recipients of the bottles shall be notified by email by November 1st, 2016, at which time bottles will be shipped free of charge. Charities will have until March 1st, 2017 to auction their bottle and report back to Buffalo Trace Distillery how much money was raised.

      This is the second time Buffalo Trace Distillery has partnered with non-profit organizations to raise money. In 2011, the Distillery gave away 174 bottles of its Millennium Barrel, the last bourbon barrel filled on the last day of the last century. In total more than $150,000 was raised for various charities across the United States, with the top organization raising more than $7,000 for their cause. 

      “These vintages are certainly unique and special whiskeys. We hope this O.F.C. collection can pay tribute to the many years gone by here at the Distillery. Each vintage has a story to tell indeed,” stated Kris Comstock from Buffalo Trace Distillery.  “To offer this first release to charitable organizations for their fundraising efforts makes this even more rewarding. We expect bottles to raise upwards of $10,000 each for worthy causes.”

Collectors interested in a chance to participate in a fundraiser can start checking the website in November http://ofcvintages.com/ for a list of non-profit organizations who will receive bottles for fundraisers.

ofc-bottle-canister

Categories
Whiskey

Buffalo Trace Distillery Releases 2016 Antique Collection Whiskeys

It’s the best time of the year for whiskey fans, as Buffalo Trace Distillery releases its 2016 Antique Collection. The highly anticipated collection will once again feature five limited-release whiskeys of various ages, recipes and proofs. Here’s what ardent fans can expect:

George T. Stagg

The powerhouse favorite of the Antique Collection, George T. Stagg weighs in at a hefty 144.1 proof this year.  Past releases of this uncut and unfiltered bourbon won many top awards, including twice named the number one spirit in the world by F. Paul Pacult’s The Spirit Journal. This year’s release contains bourbon from barrels filled in the spring of 2001. This batch contained 142 barrels, but not as many bottles as expected, due to some very greedy angels!  Storage location of these barrels varied across warehouses M, N, H, L and K.  Finding a bottle this fall will be difficult due to the low yield.  This whiskey tastes of dark chocolate, coffee and vanilla.

William Larue Weller

The Antique Collection’s uncut, unfiltered, wheated recipe bourbon is William Larue Weller. Previous editions of this wheater have won many accolades, including the “Bourbon of the Year” by Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2016 edition. The 2016 offering was distilled in the spring of 2003 and aged on the third and sixth floors of Warehouses D, K, and L.  This bourbon registers in at 135.4 proof – one of the stronger Weller releases.  The bold flavors include plum, figs and vanilla.

Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye

Thomas H. Handy is the uncut and unfiltered straight rye whiskey. The 2015 edition was named “Best American Rye Whiskey” at the 2016 World Whiskies Awards.  This year’s Handy was distilled in the spring of 2010; aged on the fourth, fifth and seventh floors of Warehouses I, K, and M, and weighs in at 126.2 proof.  The flavor has been described as toffee and cinnamon.

Eagle Rare 17 Year Old

The previous edition of this bourbon was honored with a Silver Outstanding Medal at the 2015 International Wine and Spirits Competition. The 2016 edition has been aging on the first, second and third floors of Warehouses H and K.  This 90 proof bourbon was aged for seventeen years and tastes of leather, vanilla, tobacco and toffee.

Sazerac Rye 18 Year Old

Last year Sazerac Rye 18 Year Old was named the Best Rye Whiskey 11 Years and Older by Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible2016 edition.  This 2016 straight rye whiskey release has notable flavors of smoke, clove and all-spice with a dry finish.  The barrels for this whiskey were filled in April of 1998, making them the first “new” batch in years not drawn from the stainless steel tank as the previous past few editions have been.  From this year onward, this whiskey will be drawn directly from barrels put away for 18 years, versus using any tanked whiskey.

The Antique Collection was introduced more than a decade ago and has become a cult favorite among whiskey connoisseurs. Since 2000 these whiskeys have garnered numerous awards from such notable publications as Whisky Advocate Magazine, Spirit Journal, and Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible.

The 2016 Antique Collection whiskeys will be available in limited quantities starting in late September or early October.  Suggested retail price is $90 each.  For more information visit http://www.buffalotracedistillery.com/brands/antique-collection.

buffalo trace antique collection whiskey

Categories
Press Releases

Van Winkle Bourbon Available Soon

Van Winkle Bourbon

FRANKFORT, FRANKLIN COUNTY, KY (Oct. 14, 2015) – The long anticipated annual release of the Van Winkle bourbons is nearly here, but unfortunately some of the angels were extra greedy over the past two decades, leaving us less bourbon than in previous years.

“When bourbon ages over 15 years, much is lost to the angel’s share.  Many of the 53 gallon oak barrels often yield less than 20 gallons,” said Kris Comstock, bourbon marketing director. “Unfortunately this year we experienced poor yields on the older Van Winkle whiskeys.  Furthermore, we have strict quality standards here at Buffalo Trace and several of the older Van Winkle barrels did not meet those standards. This makes a drastic difference in volume, considering we have very few barrels as it is. The result is less 15 year-old Pappy Van Winkle than usual, and far less 20 year-old and 23 year-old. Frankly, about half as much as last year.”

Known for their smoother and sweeter flavor, Van Winkle bourbons are aged years longer than most others and garner an impeccable reputation among connoisseurs.  Although the bourbons have become increasingly popular worldwide in recent years, very little is sold overseas, so that most of these coveted bottles are available in the United States. 

The Van Winkle collection consists of several whiskeys. Suggested retail prices are as follows:

  • $49.99 – Old Rip Van Winkle Handmade Bourbon 10 Year Old 107 proof
  • $59.99 – Van Winkle Special Reserve Bourbon 12 Year Old
  • $99.99 – Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye Whiskey 13 Year Old
  • $79.99 – Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve Bourbon 15 Year Old
  • $149.99 – Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve Bourbon 20 Year Old
  • $249.99 – Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve Bourbon 23 Year Old

“Although a lot of retailers charge more than our suggested pricing, we are not asking them to do so,” said Julian Van Winkle, president, Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery. “We have not raised prices and do not intend to do so drastically in the future. We are committed to our quality and our pricing.”

The Van Winkle line of whiskeys has won a multitude of awards through the years, including the 15-year-old being named “Excellent/highly recommended” in the 2014 Ultimate Spirits Challenge; the 20 year-old awarded “Extraordinary/ultimate recommendation” in the 2013 Ultimate Spirits Challenge; a double gold for the 20 year-old in the 2014 San Francisco World Spirits Competition; and the Chairman’s Trophy and “Extraordinary/Ultimate Recommendation” for the 20 year-old in the 2015 Ultimate Spirits Challenge.

The Van Winkle Whiskeys will be available starting in November, but please be mindful that supply is quite limited and bottles shall be hard to find in stores, bars and restaurants. They will be packed three bottles per case.