New Booze News: October 2018 RoundupBy Stephanie Moreno
October brought us a host of new releases including flavored gins, a category which is growing each year. We got our hands on Luxardo Sour Cherry, Beefeater Pink and a pair of gins from Malfy which featured pink grapefruit (Rosa) and blood orange (Con Arancia) to go with the brand’s Limone version—reviews coming soon. And we can’t forget about the new-to-the-US Roku Gin from Suntory. As an added bonus from the revered Japanese company, Haku—a 100% Japanese white rice vodka—is a new US exclusive.
However, as exciting as these unaged spirits are, this post will focus on matured spirits, specifically our heart and soul, whiskey. All of these bottles are limited edition releases, some more limited (and pricier) than others. We recommend to buy these treats (no tricks!) whenever and wherever you see them available.
This Irish whiskey is made from a mash bill of malted and unmalted barley and around 30% rye. Since single pot still whiskeys cannot have more than 5% of any grain other than barley, it doesn’t qualify as such technically. Small Batch Rye is double distilled in copper pot stills, one of which was made in the early 1800s and is the oldest working pot still in the world.
Rye was used by Irish distillers in the late 1800s, but it disappeared around the time of Prohibition and the Irish War of Independence. This is the first Kilbeggan whiskey to be 100% distilled and matured at the Kilbeggan Distillery since it was restored in 2010. Available beginning mid-November 2018.
Midleton Very Rare 2018 is the 35th annual edition of the Very Rare series which was first launched in 1984. Created by master distiller Brian Nation, this is a blend of single grain and single pot still whiskeys. The whiskey aged exclusively in lightly charred American oak ex-bourbon barrels for 12-28 years. Available globally beginning October 2018.
SRP €180 (~$210)
Jack Daniel’s Experimental Whiskey Series: Tennessee Tasters’ Selection
These three bottles mark the first to be released in this experimental series featuring whiskeys selected by Jack Daniel’s Master Tasters. Each limited edition release will have about 24,000 bottles produced with additional releases to follow every few months. Tennessee Tasters’ Selection will be sold at the brand’s distillery in Lynchburg and at selected Tennessee retailers. Available in 375ml sized bottles beginning in the end of October.
SRP $39.99 each.
Jack Daniel’s Experimental Whiskey Series: Tennessee Tasters’ Selection / Photo Credit: Jack Daniel’s
This Tennessee whiskey was barreled in January 2013 and yielded an unusually small amount of whiskey, hence the name. High Angel’s Share Barrels was selected by assistant master distiller & master taster Chris Fletcher. 53.5% ABV.
Reunion Barrel gets its name from the reunited barrel Jack Daniel’s uses to finish maturing this whiskey. It is an ex-wine barrel, but not just any barrel. It matured Tennessee wine for a time, but before that it aged Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey. The used barrel has returned to the distillery to finish the aging cycle. Reunion Barrel was selected by master distiller Jeff Arnett. 45% ABV.
This Tennessee whiskey release takes fully matured Jack Daniel’s and finishes it with charred hickory staves. Hickory Smoked Finish was selected by master taster Marsha Hale. 50% ABV.
Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection
The Master’s Collection from Woodford Reserve is a series that highlights one of five elements in whiskey production: water, grain, fermentation, distillation and maturation. It is a limited edition series conceptualized and crafted by master distiller Chris Morris. This fall brings a pair of Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey releases. While Select American Oak will be released internationally, Oat Grain is a US exclusive.
SRP $129.99 each.
Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection / Photo Credit: Woodford Reserve
Select American Oak Bourbon focuses on maturation, as the bourbon was matured in a particular type of white American oak—Ozark oak, known for its fast growing characteristics. 45.2% ABV.
Oat Grain Kentucky Bourbon focuses on the grain. Oats are included in the mash bill recipe, reducing the rye content typically used by the brand. 45.2% ABV.
Old Forester 1910 Old Fine Whisky is the fourth and final limited edition whiskey in the brand’s Whiskey Row series—first introduced in 2014. The Kentucky straight bourbon attempts to recreate a whiskey created in October 1910 when a fire caused the brand’s bottling line to be shut down.Without the ability to immediately bottle the whiskey, it was instead stored in new, charred oak containers until the bottling line could be brought back into operation.
This recreation enters the second barrel at 100 proof and is placed into lightly toasted, heavily charred barrels to finish maturation. Bottled at 93 proof, this is available beginning October 2018.
This cask strength Kentucky straight bourbon aged for up to 7 years. The bourbon barrels are hand-selected and blended before finishing its maturation in port wine casks. First released in 2012, Angel’s Envy Cask Strength Bourbon 2018 Edition is bottled at 124 proof. Available October 2018.
Michter’s 20 Year Kentucky Straight Bourbon returns to the market in November 2018 after its last release in November 2016. Master distiller Pamela Heilmann and master of maturation Andrea Wilson both deemed these barrels worthy of bottling from stock purchased years ago. The Kentucky straight bourbon is bottled at 57.1% ABV after 20 years of maturation. Limited availability.
Laphroaig 28 Year is a limited edition single malt which first matured in a host of selected casks of varying sizes—from quarter casks to butts. The whisky is then married in sherry butts for its final 12 months. Bottled at 44.4% ABV, this release is available beginning October 2018.