Categories
Whiskey

Heaven Hill Launches Two New Whiskeys

First up is a remaking of one of the distillery’s old stand-by bourbons: Heaven Hill Bottled-in-Bond. This was a workhorse bottling for many years, usually located on the bottom shelf, but still a reliable and tasty whiskey.

At six-years-old and 100-proof, this was one of the best sub-$20 whiskeys you could find. But nothing in the whiskey business ever stays the same — not these days, anyway — so the label was discontinued last year.

Heaven Hill Bottled in Bond Bourbon Whiskey

Now Heaven Hill is relaunching it in a beautiful new package — truly one of my favorite redesigns I’ve seen of a bottle. It’s still bottled-in-bond, which means it’s still 100-proof, and they’ve added a year to the age, so now it comes in at a very respectable seven years.

Naturally, this all comes at a price — namely an estimated $40 per 750-ml bottle. It’s a lot more than it used to cost. But considering how much NAS bourbons with lower proofs are selling for, it’s still a bargain.

According to Josh Hafer, Senior Manager for Corporate Communications at Heaven Hill Brands, this will only be available in California, Texas, New York, Georgia, Florida, Illinois, South Carolina, and Colorado to start. But it will presumably be rolling out wider in the months to come. I have not yet had a chance to try it. But once I do, I’ll try to report back.

Elijah Craig Rye WhiskeyEven more exciting, for me anyway, is the news that Heaven Hill will be launching a straight rye whiskey under the Elijah Craig banner. Elijah Craig is one of Heaven Hill’s most-respected whiskeys, a bourbon that wins awards and pleases fans, even after they removed the 12-year-old age statement.

(As an aside, they still make an 18-year-old bourbon and, when you can find it, it’s superb. It’s hard to believe that as recently as 2012 when our review was written, you could still find Elijah Craig 18 for $36 in almost any liquor store. Those days, sadly, are long gone.)

But now comes Elijah Craig Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey. It won’t officially be available until January 2020, but I’m already looking forward to it. It will initially launch in limited markets — North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Oregon — but I hope a bottle makes its way to me sooner than that. At a suggested price of $29.99, I predict this will become a favorite rye of a lot of people very quickly.

To compare the Elijah Craig Rye to the two other ryes available in Heaven Hill’s portfolio — Pikesville Rye and Rittenhouse Bottled-in-Bond Rye — I’d say it falls somewhere in the middle.

All three whiskeys have the same mashbill: 51% rye, 35% corn, and 14% malted barley. The differences come with the aging, blending, and proofing.

Rittenhouse Rye is bonded, so it’s bottled at 100-proof and consists of all four-year-old whiskey. Pikesville Rye is all six-year-old whiskey and is bottled at 110-proof.

The new Elijah Craig, on the other hand, will be bottled at a gentler 94-proof and will consist of whiskeys from age four on up, whatever mix it takes to get the flavor profile they’re looking for. It is expected to contain at least some older barrels.*

Hats off to Heaven Hill for keeping things interesting, and for giving us some new whiskeys to be on the hunt for.

*The information on the age of Elijah Craig Rye comes to me from Bernie Lubbers, the Whiskey Brand Ambassador for Heaven Hill.

Categories
Whiskey

Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2018

jim murray whisky bible 2018Today is another important date in the whisk(e)y-lover’s year, circled on everyone’s calendar: the day when Jim Murray announces the latest selections from his Whiskey Bible.

Murray is a controversial figure in the whisky world, for a variety of reasons that others would be better positioned than I to explain. (Although I’m guessing that pose on his book cover isn’t helping.)

But two things are certain about him and his humbly named book: his selections are sure to cause plenty of eye-rolling — and they’re also sure to set off a buying frenzy.

Whiskies that nobody previously paid any attention to will suddenly become the “it” spirit of the year, just by being named in Murray’s book. It’s not because he has such wonderful taste. He may or may not, and it scarcely matters either way. But much like with Robert Parker in the wine world, Murray is a “name,” he gives a number, and he gets lots of publicity.

So without further blather, here are his picks for 2018 (which are really his picks from the last 12 months).

THE FULL WINNERS LIST

2018 World Whisky of the Year
Colonel E.H. Taylor 4 Grain Bourbon

Second Finest Whisky in the World
Redbreast Aged 21 Years

Third Finest Whisky in the World
Glen Grant Aged 18 Years

SCOTCH WHISKY

Scotch Whisky of the Year
Glen Grant Aged 18 Years Rare Edition

Single Malt of the Year (Multiple Casks)
Glen Grant Aged 18 Years Rare Edition

Single Malt of the Year (Single Cask)
Cadenhead’s Glendullan 20 Year Old

Scotch Blend of the Year
Compass Box The Double Single

Scotch Grain of the Year
Cambus Aged 40 Years

Scotch Vatted Malt of the Year
Compass Box 3 Year Old Deluxe

SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY

No Age Statement (Multiple Casks)
Ardbeg Corryvreckan

10 Years & Under (Multiple Casks)
Glen Grant Aged 10 Years

10 Years & Under (Single Cask)
Scotch Malt Whisky Society Tomatin Cask 11.32 8 Year Old

11-15 Years (Multiple Casks)
Gordon & MacPhail Ardmore 2002

11-15 Years (Single Cask)
That Boutique-y Co. Clynelish 15 Year Old

16-21 Years (Multiple Casks)
Glen Grant Aged 18 Years Rare Edition

16-21 Years (Single Cask)
The First Editions Ardmore Aged 20 Years

22-27 Years (Multiple Casks)
Sansibar Whisky Glen Moray 25 Years Old

22-27 Years (Single Cask)
Hunter Laing’s Old & Rare Auchentoshan 24 Year Old

28-34 Years (Multiple Casks)
Glen Castle Aged 28 Years

28-34 Years (Single Cask)
Old Particular Glenturret 28 Year Old

35-40 Years (Multiple Casks)
Brora Aged 38 Years

35-40 Years (Single Cask)
Xtra Old Particular Caol Ila 36 Year Old

41 Years & Over (Multiple Casks)
Gordon & MacPhail Glen Grant 1957

BLENDED SCOTCH

No Age Statement (Standard)
Ballantine’s Finest

No Age Statement (Premium)
Compass Box The Double Single

5-12 Years
Grant’s Aged 12 Years

13-18 Years
Ballantine’s Aged 17 Years

19 – 25 Years
Royal Salute 21 Years Old

26 – 50 Years
The Antiquary Aged 35 Years

IRISH WHISKEY

Irish Whiskey of the Year
Redbreast Aged 21 Years

Irish Pot Still Whiskey of the Year
Redbreast Aged 21 Years

Irish Single Malt of the Year
Bushmills 16 Year Old

Irish Blend of the Year
Bushmills Black Bush

Irish Single Cask of the Year
Dunville’s VR First Edition Aged 15 Years

AMERICAN WHISKEY

Bourbon of the Year
Colonel E.H. Taylor Four Grain

Rye of the Year
Thomas H. Handy Sazerac 126.2 Proof

US Micro Whisky of the Year
Balcone’s Texas Blue Corn Batch BCB 16-1

US Micro Whisky of the Year (Runner Up)
291 E Colorado Aged 333 Days Bourbon

No Age Statement (Multiple Barrels)
George T. Stagg 144.1 Proof

9 Years & Under
Buffalo Trace Experimental Collection Organic 6 Grain Whisky

10 Years & Over (Multiple Barrels)
Colonel E.H. Taylor Four Grain

RYE

No Age Statement
Thomas H. Handy Sazerac 126.2 Proof

Up to 10 Years
Pikesville 110 Proof

11 Years & Over
Sazerac 18 Years 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
Nikka Coffey Malt Whisky

Single Malt of the Year (Multiple Barrels)
Nikka Coffey Malt Whisky

EUROPEAN WHISKY

European Whisky of the Year (Multiple)
Penderyn Bryn Terfel (Wales)

European Whisky of the Year (Single)
The Norfolk Parched (England)

WORLD WHISKY

Asian Whisky of the Year
Paul John Kanya (India)

Southern Hemisphere Whisky of the Year
Limeburner’s Dark Winter (Australia)

Categories
Recipes

Cocktail Recipe: Brooklyn

Now that I have a bottle of Amer Picon, it was time to make a Brooklyn cocktail. This was long one of the better variations on the Manhattan, but it has frustrated bartenders in recent years due to the unavailability of the French bittersweet liqueur.

There are some substitutes for Amer Picon that have gained popularity over the years. Assuming you don’t want to make it yourself, Bigallet China-China liqueur is probably the best replacement, although you can also use Amaro CioCiaro in a pinch. But I wanted to try it with the real thing.

If you like the taste of a Manhattan — strong, yet balanced, with the rich, spicy flavor of rye — but are looking for something a little less sweet, then the borough of Brooklyn is definitely where you want to go.

Brooklyn Cocktail

Brooklyn Cocktail

The whiskey is the star of the show here, so make sure to use a good one.

Ingredients

  • 2 oz. Rye Whiskey
  • 1/2 oz. Dry Vermouth
  • 1/4 oz. Maraschino Liqueur
  • 1/4 oz. Amer Picon

Instructions

  1. Add all ingredients to a mixing glass with ice, then stir until very cold. Serve in a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a maraschino cherry, if desired.

https://professorcocktail.com/2017/09/20/cocktail-recipe-brooklyn-2/

Categories
Whiskey

Buffalo Trace Distillery Releases 2017 Antique Collection Whiskeys

Here is the press release, straight from the barrel’s mouth:

FRANKFORT, FRANKLIN COUNTY, KY (Sept. 19, 2017) Whiskey lovers rejoice, Buffalo Trace Distillery is releasing its 2017 Antique Collection. The highly anticipated collection will once again feature five limited-release whiskeys of various ages, recipes and proofs. Master Distiller Harlen Wheatley notes, “The team had another great year with the Antique Collection.  From distillation, to barrel selection, to bottling, this year’s collection showed very well.  I was particularly excited about the William Larue Weller with its extra richness, and the Eagle Rare 17 seemed more rounded and full of flavor.  None of these disappointed.”

(Note from Professor Cocktail: For addition information on the individual bottles, please visit my post on the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection.)

Here’s what fans can expect this year:

George T. Stagg

The powerhouse favorite of the Antique Collection, George T. Stagg weighs in at 129.2 proof this year.  Past releases of this uncut and unfiltered bourbon have won many top awards, including “5 Stars – Highest Recommendation” by F. Paul Pacult’s The Spirit Journal. This year’s release contains bourbon from barrels filled in the spring of 2002. This batch contained 309 barrels, a few more than last year.  Storage location of these barrels varied across warehouses C, K, M and Q.  This whiskey tastes of expresso, chocolate fudge and tobacco.

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 a Double Gold Medal at the 2016 San Francisco World Spirits Competition and “Bourbon of the Year” by Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2017.  The 2017 offering was distilled in the winter of 2005 and aged in Warehouses D, I, and P.  This bourbon registers in at 128.2 proof.  The bold flavors include toffee, marshmallow and leather.

Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye

Thomas H. Handy is the uncut and unfiltered straight rye whiskey. Previous editions of this whiskey have been named “World Whisky of the Year” by Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible and “World’s Best American Whiskey” by Whisky Magazine.  This year’s Handy was distilled in the spring of 2011; aged on the third, fourth and fifth floors of Warehouses K, L, and Q, and weighs in at 127.2 proof.  The flavor is described as fig, allspice and cinnamon.

Eagle Rare 17 Year Old

The previous edition of this bourbon was honored with a Silver Outstanding Medal at the 2017 International Wine and Spirits Competition. The 2017 edition has been aging on the first, second and third floors of Warehouses C, K and P.  This 90 proof bourbon was aged for seventeen years and tastes of oak, tobacco, toffee and vanilla.

Sazerac Rye 18 Year Old

Last year Sazerac Rye 18 Year Old received “4 Stars – Highly Recommended” by F. Paul Pacult’s The Spirit Journal.  This 2017 straight rye whiskey release has notable flavors of leather, clove and all-spice.  The barrels for this whiskey were filled in the spring of 1998, and then put into a stainless steel tank in 2016 to stop further aging and evaporation.

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 2017 Antique Collection whiskeys will be available in limited quantities this October.  Suggested retail price is $90 per bottle.  For more information visit http://www.buffalotracedistillery.com/brands/antique-collection.

Buffalo Trace Antique Collection

Categories
Whiskey

The Buffalo Trace Antique Collection 2017 Is Coming

It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for: the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection (BTAC) 2017 edition is coming.

Fall is the time of year when rare and awesome American whiskey is released … and none of us are able to find any of it in stores. But someone is going to be lucky and find a bottle. So find that person and make friends with them.

Buffalo Trace Antique Collection

I’m going to have more details coming soon, but in the meantime, here is some additional information on the individual bottles.

George T. Stagg Bourbon Whiskey, 129.2 Proof, 15 Years and 3 Months Old

2017 George T. Stagg

Sazerac Rye Whiskey, 90 Proof, 18 Years Old

2017 Sazerac Rye 18 Year-Old

William Larue Weller Bourbon Whiskey, 128.2 Proof, 12 Years and 6 Months Old

2017 William Larue Weller

Eagle Rare Bourbon Whiskey, 90 Proof, 17 Years Old

2017 Eagle Rare 17 Year-Old

Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye Whiskey, 127.2 Proof, 6 Years and 5 Months Old

2017 Thomas H. Handy Sazerac

Categories
Whiskey

Rye Whiskey Tasting from the New York Times

The New York Times recently convened a panel of experts to taste several rye whiskies. If you’re a fan of Professor Cocktail’s, you’ll know we’re rye lovers around here. So we were interested to see the results.

The tasting panel consisted of Eric Asimov, David Wondrich, Robert Samuelson, and Florench Fabricant. I think we can rest assured that this quartet knows their whiskey very well.

The article includes a lot of interesting background on rye whiskey and what’s happening with the category these days. So I highly recommend reading it.

Here were their favorites. (They mention several others as well.)

#1: Knob Creek Straight Rye Whiskey 100 Proof (3 stars)
#2: Jim Beam Pre-Prohibition Style Rye 90 Proof (3 stars)
#3: Woodford Reserve Distiller’s Select Rye 90.4 Proof (3 stars)
#4: New York Distilling Company Ragtime Rye 90.4 Proof (3 stars)
#5: Michter’s U.S. 1 Straight Rye 84.8 Proof (2.5 stars)

The only two I have tried are the Knob Creek and the Michter’s. I liked both of them, but I don’t think either would be in my top five.

rye whiskey tasting best

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

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

Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye is the 2016 World Whisky of the Year

NORWALK, Conn., November 19, 2015 – Renowned whisky writer Jim Murray today announced Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye as the 2016 World Whisky of the Year, marking the first time a Canadian Whisky has received the honor. The recognition comes at a time when both the Canadian and Rye whisky categories continue to gain popularity amongst whisky aficionados and consumers alike.

“Crown Royal Northern Harvest pops up out of nowhere and changes the game,” said Murray of the whisky, which he awarded a record-tying 97.5 out of 100 points. “It certainly puts the rye into Canadian Rye. To say this is a masterpiece is barely doing it justice.”

Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye was first released in the U.S. in early 2015. The variant showcases the distinctly Canadian rye whiskey featured in the traditional Crown Royal Deluxe Blend that consumers have grown to love throughout the last 75-plus years. The latest variant to be introduced by Crown Royal, Northern Harvest Rye (90 proof, 45% ABV) is the brand’s first ever blended, 90% rye whisky and embodies a smooth and spicy flavor profile that can be mixed into traditional rye cocktails or enjoyed neat or on the rocks.

“Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye showcases the rye whisky that has been such an integral component of the Crown Royal Deluxe blend since 1939. This is a testament to the unbelievable blending and distilling that’s been taking place in Gimli for over 75 years,” said Yvonne Briese, Vice President of Crown Royal. “We are thrilled that Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye has been named World Whisky of the Year!”

The recognition comes on the heels of the launch of Crown Royal’s new campaign titled “The One Made for a King.” The creative, which will run across TV, print, out of home, digital and social, was developed to share the 75-year-old brand’s royal origin story and liquid credentials with consumers. To view the TV spots, please visit www.YouTube.com/CrownRoyalBrand

In addition to being named 2016 World Whisky of the Year, Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye received a double gold medal at this year’s San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye is part of Crown Royal’s vast portfolio of variants for whisky lovers to enjoy, including Crown Royal Regal Apple, the #1 innovation launch across U.S. Spirits over the past 12 month period, according to Nielsen and NABCAand Crown Royal Hand Selected Barrel, a double gold recipient and winner of “Best Canadian Whisky” in the 2015 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye

Categories
Reviews Whiskey Reviews

Whiskey Review: Abraham Bowman High Rye Bourbon

Abraham Bowman bourbon is made in Kentucky by the Buffalo Trace Distillery and then redistilled, aged, and bottled at the A. Smith Bowman facility in Fredericksburg, Virginia. (This is what is generally believed to happen anyway. Sazerac, the owners of Buffalo Trace, are quiet about some of the details of this whiskey.)

The Bowman company has been using the Abraham Bowman brand in recent years to release experimental versions of the company’s whiskey. (I reviewed one of their standard bottlings, the John J. Bowman bourbon, a few years back.) The Abraham Bowman line has included such things as bourbon with a coffee or vanilla bean finish, and even whiskey aged in barrels previously used to hold Gingerbread Beer.

Does it work? The verdict is usually mixed (isn’t the verdict with whiskey almost always mixed?), but these limited edition bottlings have become highly desired among bourbon fans.

The latest is a “High Rye” bourbon, which means a bourbon that contains a high percentage of rye as the “flavor grain,” along with the requisitie majority of corn. (For more of the specifics about what makes bourbon, see the Professor’s Bourbon 101 post.) According to the distillery, this contains “five times more rye” than their standard recipe, which means this must clock in at something close to 50% corn, 45% rye, and 5% malted barley.

My particular bottle is Release #12, Bottle #1256. It was aged for 8 years and 10 months and bottled at 100 proof (50% abv).

The bourbon has a dark color in the glass — darker than I was expecting at under 9 years of age,  and has a strong smell of sweet fruit. (It made me think of bubblegum.) It also has strong ethanol vapors which prevented me from discerning much else.

The taste was equally fiery. I would have guessed this was higher than 100 proof if pushed. There is a lot of rye spice, some vanilla, and dry, almost bitter oak. Hardly any sweetness. Again, it seems older than its stated age; woody, and not necessarily in a good way.

The Abraham Bowman High Rye Bourbon felt somewhat thin in the mouth, although it did have a long, hot finish. The downside here is that I had to add a splash of water in order to appreciate more of the flavor, but that just made it even thinner.

I’m torn about this one. Looking at it as a bourbon, it doesn’t really match the profile I prefer. (I tend to go for wheaters like W.L. Weller, or just lower-rye bourbons like Elijah Craig.) But that doesn’t mean it’s bad — it just means it’s not for me. It certainly has a lot of flavor, even if I found it somewhat one-dimensional.

And if you look at it as a rye whiskey…Well, there are certainly a lot of ryes out there that I prefer for less money. (Like High West Double Rye or Templeton Rye, or just good old stand-by Rittenhouse Bonded.) Although I suspect that given the strength of this whiskey, it would make a very nice Manhattan.

Ultimately, I’d saw that the Abraham Bowman High Rye Bourbon is an interesting whiskey and worth trying, but I’m not sure I’d pay $70 for it again.