Distiller’s Friday Roundup – October 11th, 2019By Mikael Mossberg
First comes the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection release, then the annual Van Winkle bourbon releases. That’s when you know that it’s really fall. This week, we got that confirmation as Buffalo Trace released details about the six bourbons in the Van Winkle lineup. Next, Beam announced that Baker’s Bourbon will transition exclusively into a single barrel release. Then, fans of Heaven Hill got word of a barrel proof Larceny bourbon. Irish Distillers unveiled Midleton Very Rare 2019, the 36th release in the line. Templeton is putting out a maple cask finish whiskey. FEW Spirits out of Illinois followed up its Flaming Lips collaboration with a new Alice in Chains whiskey. Finally, Mount Gay and Havana Club both have new rums on the way. Let’s dive in.
Buffalo Trace Shares Details of Annual Van Winkle Bourbon Releases
Every year bourbon fans and black market resellers alike wait with bated breath for news of the Van Winkle whiskey releases. People camp out, drive hundreds of miles and enter lotteries, all for a chance to score one of these elusive bottles. While we don’t know all of the details yet, Buffalo Trace did release the suggested prices for each bottle—not that retailers ever adhere to them. These bourbons will be available starting in November 2019, so if you want a chance at them, contact your local retailers now to see if they plan to have a lottery. As always, be wary of buying bottles found on social media or in forums, as it is quite common for bad actors to sell counterfeits and refilled bottles.
Van Winkle Bourbons
Old Rip Van Winkle Whiskeys
1) Old Rip Van Winkle Handmade Bourbon 10 Year Old 107 proof: $69.99
2) Old Rip Van Winkle Special Reserve Bourbon 12 Year Old: $79.99
3) Old Rip Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye 13 Year Old: $119.99
Pappy Van Winkle Bourbons
4) Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve Bourbon 15 Year Old: $119.99
5) Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve Bourbon 20 Year Old: $199.99
6) Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve Bourbon 23 Year Old: $299.90
Remember that supplies are incredibly limited for these whiskeys.
Baker’s Becomes A Single Barrel Bourbon
Baker’s Bourbon has long lived as one of the unsung heroes of the Beam Small Batch Bourbon Collection. Brands like Booker’s and Knob Creek get the lion’s share of the spotlight, yet Baker’s was always a reliable, and incredibly high proof, bourbon. Now, however, it’s time for Baker’s to shine. Beam has announced that it will transition exclusively into a single barrel bourbon and receive a new bottle and packaging.
Baker’s Single Barrel Bourbon 7 Year will take over and the original small batch releases will be phased out over time. It will continue to be bottled at 53.5% ABV and be aged for 7 years. The new bottles will display the barreling date as well as the warehouse it aged in and the exact barrel age. The new single barrel offering is available now nationwide, though in limited quantities. It carries a suggested price of $59.99 per 750ml bottle.
Furthermore, Beam plans to release the additionally aged Baker’s Single Barrel Bourbon 13 Year in the fall of 2019. It will be a limited-time offering and comes in a premium gift box. This bourbon is also available nationwide as of October 2019 with a suggested price of $99.99.
Heaven Hill Launches Larceny Barrel Proof Bourbon Nationwide
This week Heaven Hill announced that for the first time it will expand the Larceny Bourbon line with Larceny Barrel Proof Bourbon Batch A120. Heaven Hill plans to release three allocated batches a year, starting in January 2020. The second batch will come in May, followed by the third in September. Each batch will have a different proof and will consist of barrels that are six to eight years old.
Each batch will also follow an alphanumeric naming convention where the letter denotes which of the three annual batches it’s a part of. The first number denotes the month, and the following two numbers denote the year. Since this will be the first release of the year (A) and it’s coming out in January (1) 2020, it is Batch A120.
Larceny Barrel Proof Bourbon Batch A120 is bottled at 64% ABV, is non-chill filtered, and has a suggested price of $49.99.
Irish Distillers Announces Midleton Very Rare 2019 & 1825 Room Members Program
Marking the 36th release in the Midleton Very Rare range is Midleton Very Rare 2019. The 2019 release uses the oldest collection of casks ever used to create a Midleton Very Rare release. It is a combination of hand-selected single pot still and single grain Irish whiskeys aged at the Midleton Distillery in County Cork, Ireland in lightly-charred ex-bourbon American oak barrels for between 13 and 34 years.
In addition to the Midleton Very Rare 2019 release comes 1825 Room, an online members program. The program offers exclusive content and features about Midleton Very Rare. In addition to content, the site includes an exclusive store offering five rare vintages for sale for one month. Members will have the opportunity to buy the very first 1984 vintage of Midleton Very Rare for €50.80 (~$55.75). Due to expected high demand, purchasers will be selected via lottery.
Midleton Very Rare 2019 is bottled at 40% ABV and is available globally starting in October 2019 with a suggested price of €180 (~$198).
Templeton Rye Releases Maple Cask Finish Whiskey
The first release in Templeton’s limited-edition Barrel Finish Series is Templeton Rye Maple Cask Finish. Templeton collaborated with Wood’s Vermont Syrup Company to season ex-Templeton Rye American oak barrels with maple syrup. Wood’s produced the maple syrup at its Vermont farm and shipped it to the Templeton distillery in Iowa. There, the Templeton team season 80 empty Templeton barrels with the maple syrup, turning them twice daily for two months straight.
After the barrels finished seasoning, the syrup was removed and the barrels were filled with Templeton Straight Rye Whiskey which then finished for two months.
Only 24,000 bottles were produced for the global market. It is bottled at 46% ABV with a suggested price of $34.99 per 750ml bottle.
FEW Spirits Releases Tequila-Aged Bourbon with Alice in Chains
FEW Spirits has just announced a new collaboration whiskey with rock band Alice in Chains called All Secrets Known. The whiskey takes fully matured FEW Bourbon then finishes it for six months in tequila barrels.
This is not the first time FEW has partnered with musicians to create a whiskey. In 2016, the brand partnered with The Flaming Lips to create Brainville Rye Whiskey.
FEW Alice In Chains All Secrets Known is a limited-edition bourbon release and will only be available in CA, CO, IL, NY and WA. It is bottled at 50.5% ABV and has a suggested price of $75 per 750ml bottle.
Mount Gay Announces Second Rum in The Master Blender Collection
Mount Gay Pot Still Rum is the second rum in Barbados-based Mount Gay Distillery’s Master Blender Collection. The Collection is Mount Gay’s way of showcasing the skill of its master blender. The first release in the collection came in October 2018 with Mount Gay XO The Peat Smoke Expression.
This new expression uses only rums distilled in the brand’s double retort pot stills and celebrates the way Mount Gay made rum for roughly 200 years. Starting in 1703 when the distillery was opened, until the early 1900’s when the brand introduced a full copper Coffey column, Mount Gay made its rums entirely in pot stills.
To create this limited-edition release, Master Blender Trudiann Branker chose a 2009 vintage that was aged in American oak casks for 10 years. Six months before bottling the rum, she placed it into virgin ex-whiskey casks. The distillery produced only 4,920 barrels of Mount Gay Pot Still Rum. It is bottled at 48% ABV and has a suggested price of $170 per bottle.
Havana Club Debuts Two New Professional Edition Rums
First unveiled in 2018, The Havana Club Professional Edition range was developed for bartenders. The first two rums in the range, Professional Editions A & B, launched last year. Now, Havana Club is back with Havana Club Professional Edition C and Havana Club Professional Edition D.
Havana Club Professional Edition C and Havana Club Professional Edition D
The brand worked with bartenders Alex Kratena and Carina Soto Velasquez to create these rums. Havana Club Professional Edition C is a gold rum made using young aguardiente blended with older Havana Club rums. It matured for up to 12 years in large white oak barrels.
Havana Club Professional Edition D is a white rum. It is a blend of destilado de caña and extra-aged aguardientes. Edition C is bottled at 50% ABV and Edition D is bottled at 40% ABV.
If you’re an Irish whiskey fan, start saving up your money for Midleton Very Rare 2019 now!