Distiller’s Friday Roundup – May 29th, 2020

May 29, 2020

This week we’re seeing whiskey releases continuing to roll out. First, Wild Turkey Master’s Keep Bottled in Bond 17 Year is set to arrive just in time for Father’s Day. In fact, we expect the next couple of weeks to be loaded with new whiskey releases to mark the occasion. Stay tuned for details on those landing soon at a retailer near you. Meanwhile, Laphroaig announced its 2020 Càirdeas release, this one getting a double dose of red wine in its finishing.

In future release news, The Balvenie has a new batch for its Tun 1509 series ready to debut. And 2020 marks anniversary dates for a couple of whiskey brands so limited edition bottlings have been set to celebrate the occasions. Finally, we’ve got a sneak peak at the Diageo 2020 Special Release collection. It seems that the Scotch whiskies are all to be bottled at cask strength this year.

As we bid May adieu and look forward to the summer, we hope you all are staying safe and sound through this ongoing crisis. Wherever you are, there are restaurants, bars and other service establishments that need your patronage. Craft distilleries are especially vulnerable at this time as many rely on bars or visitors to purchase their wares. If you can, please reach out to a distillery near you and purchase a bottle or two. When you do, don’t forget to let us know what you think by adding a tasting note to its listing.

Now, let’s take a look at the Friday roundup for the week of May 29, 2020!

Wild Turkey Master’s Keep Bottled in Bond 17 Year Arrives

The Master’s Keep series first launched in 2015, the same year that Eddie Russell was named the master distiller for Wild Turkey (his father Jimmy Russell is the master distiller emeritus). Eddie selects the Master’s Keep editions, and this year’s edition not only has an age statement, but it’s bottled in bond as well. In fact, this is just the second bottled in bond bourbon released by the brand. The last time was thirteen years ago with the Wild Turkey American Spirit 15 Year release.

As the bottled in bond regulations dictate, Wild Turkey Master’s Keep Bottled in Bond 17 Year is the product of one season, from one distillery, aged in a federally bonded warehouse—the Camp Nelson rickhouses, in this case. The aging requirement of four years is clearly exceeded in this case. Of course it’s bottled at 100 proof. With limited availability at 14,400 bottles, it will be available in June 2020 with an SRP of $175.

Wild Turkey Master’s Keep Bottled in Bond 17 Year

Laphroaig Announces 2020 Càirdeas Release

Laphroaig Cairdeas 2020 Port & Wine Casks is a no-age statement release for the Friends of Laphroaig. Its release coincides with what would have been the 2020 Fèis Ìle (Islay Fest), which was cancelled due to COVID-19. This single malt is a marriage of classic Laphroaig whisky rested in second-fill ruby port barriques along with whisky double matured in ex-bourbon barrels followed by ex-red wine casks. It’s bottled at 52% ABV without chill-filtration with an SRP of €73/$80.

Laphroaig Cairdeas 2020 Port & Wine Casks


Let’s take a quick look at what else is going on around the world this week…

Port Ellen 9 Rogues Hits Shelves

Available as of June 2020, Port Ellen 9 Rogue Casks is a single malt release made up of a combination of nine casks set aside in 1979. For its creation, Master Blender Dr. Craig Wilson blended five European oak butts and four American oak hogsheads. Bottled at a cask strength of 50.9% ABV, just 1,380 bottles were produced.

Diageo has also announced that a donation of 20 signed bottles including Port Ellen 9 Rogues and bottles from Islay distilleries Lagavulin and Caol Ila will be donated to the Islay Fèis Ìle Committee. The 20 special bottles, worth a total value of £10,000, will be used to support fundraising activities to raise money for Islay based charitable organizations and community groups.

Available in June, it has an SRP of £6,500/~$8000.

Barrell Craft Spirits Launches Private Release Whiskey Series

Barrell Craft Spirits has launched the Private Release Whiskey Series with 24 batches of Kentucky whiskey finished in a secondary cask. The oldest component in the batches will be 18-year-old Kentucky whiskey. Each batch will yield 150-180 bottles in total and will be bottled at cask strength. Secondary barrels include ice wine, rhum agricole, sherry, and various brandy casks among others.

Check the brand’s website for purchasing details. SRP $109.

Barrell Craft Spirits Launches Private Releases /Photo Credit: Barrell Craft Spirits

New Releases On The Horizon

We try to keep an eye on all of the label approvals that go through the TTB (The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau) so we know which releases to look out for. Here are a few of the most interesting looking approval submissions we’ll likely see in the not-too-distant future.

The Balvenie Tun 1509 Batch 7

The latest batch from this popular single malt distillery is soon to be released.

John Walker & Sons Bicentenary 28 Year

The Johnnie Walker brand celebrates its 200th anniversary this year. This limited edition blended scotch whisky commemorates that occasion.

Angel’s Envy Bourbon Finished in Mizunara Oak

Also celebrating an anniversary this year—its 10th—is Angel’s Envy. This limited edition bourbon is finished in Japanese Mizunara oak.

Diageo 2020 Special Release Labels Approved

Each year Diageo releases a limited edition collection of the Scotch whiskies in its portfolio. Often the series will feature a special cask finishing and/or a non-standard age statement. As was the case in 2019, it appears that the eight single malts set to be released in 2020 are also all at cask strength.

We’ll post more details such once the 2020 Special Release bottlings are officially announced. Expect a fall release. Please note: ABV could vary slightly once released.

Diageo 2020 Special Release labels

Talisker 8 Year (2020 Special Release)

Featuring a rum cask finish bottled at a cask strength of 57.9% ABV.

Cardhu 11 Year (2020 Special Release)

Bottled at a cask strength of 56% ABV.

Lagavulin 12 Year (2020 Special Release)

Bottled at a cask strength of 56.4% ABV.

The Singleton of Dufftown 17 Year (2020 Special Release)

This is the first release from the brand to be aged exclusively in refill casks. Bottled at a cask strength of 55.1% ABV.

Cragganmore 20 Year (2020 Special Release)

Bottled at a cask strength of 51.4% ABV.

Mortlach 21 Year (2020 Special Release)

This single malt from the Beast of Dufftown is finished in oloroso and Pedro Ximenez sherry casks. Bottled at a cask strength of 53.3% ABV.

Dalwhinnie 30 Year (2020 Special Release)

Featuring single malt distilled in 1989, this is bottled at a cask strength of 51.9% ABV.

Pittyvaich 30 Year (2020 Special Release)

Also distilled in 1989, this single malt from the closed distillery is finished in bourbon casks. Bottled at a cask strength of 50.8% ABV.

Looking to grab a bottle of Wild Turkey Master’s Keep Bottled in Bond 17 Year?

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