New Expert Spirit Reviews - January 10, 2024 - High West A Midwinter Night's Dram, Heaven's Door Homesick Blues, Westland Garryana 8 and More!

Check out the latest spirits reviewed by our Tasting Table experts! Photo Credit: High West
Jan 10, 2024
  • 12
    A Midwinter Night's Dram is a seasonal release from High West and Act 11 marks the 11th annual edition. It begins with the brand's Rendezvous Rye, a blend of straight rye whiskeys which are made from two mash bill recipes: one is a 95% rye/5% malted barley distilled in Indiana and the other is an 80% rye/20% malted rye made at High West in Utah. Then the rye blend is further finished in ruby and tawny port casks. Prior to 2018, the brand sourced the rye whiskeys for this release, but it now features its own distillate. Please note: The Act reflects the batch number (Act 11 is the 2023 release) while the Scene is the bottling date. Available in limited quantities at High West Distillery and Saloon locations as well as select retailers nationwide beginning October 2023. (SRP $149.99)
  • 11
    Garryana is part of Westland's Outpost Range Collection, a limited edition series highlighting the provenance of the Pacific Northwest. This eighth edition continues to put a spotlight on Quercus garryana, a type of oak indigenous to the area. But other casks were used in its production including Washington State red wine (12%), first-fill ex-bourbon (5%), and Pedro Ximenez sherry butt (45%). There were six different types of barley used for this American single malt including Washington Select pale malt, pale chocolate malt, and golden promise among others. Only 7,380 bottles were produced and availability begins November 2023.(SRP $149.99)
  • 10
    Homesick Blues is a limited edition release from Heaven's Door Spirits founded by musician Bob Dylan. It's a wheated bourbon which was cultivated, distilled, and aged in Dylan's home state of Minnesota. Made from a mash bill of 70% corn and 30% wheat, it was aged for 7 years. Bottled at cask strength, it's available for pre-order via the brand's website as of October 2023 with deliveries to coincide with the release of the biography Bob Dylan: Mixing Up The Medicine on October 24, 2023. This coincides with a nationwide release. (SRP $79.99)
  • 9
    This is the first in an expected annual release of a Sour Mash Single Malt with slight variations expected from year to year. For this project, New Riff has 6 different mash bill recipes available (4 mash bills with 100% barley varietals as well as 2 beer inspired mash bills). Additionally, the casks used range from new charred oak, de-charred toasted oak, red wine casks, Portuguese brandy casks and more. For the 2023 release, 5 of the 6 mash bill recipes were used and it was distilled in 2014-2016 with the age of the whiskey ranging from 7-8 years. It was bottled without chill-filtration at cask strength. Available at select retailers nationally as of October 2023. (SRP $69.99)
  • 8
    Balcones Cataleja is a Texas Single Malt made with 100% Golden Promise malted barley that celebrates the brand's 15th anniversary. Initially, it was aged in refill casks before being placed into a variety of decommissioned sherry solera puncheons: Moscatel, Amontillado Dulce, Oloroso, and Palo Cortado. It is bottled at 59% ABV and has a suggested retail price of $125. Balcones Cataleja will be available to purchase for a limited time from retailers in Texas, California, Illinois, Colorado, New York and Florida starting in November of 2023.
  • 7
    Crown Royal has followed up its 2022 Extra Rare release with this 30 Year blended whisky aged one year older. All the whisky in this blend was distilled in the brand's renowned Coffey still. It's bottled at 92 proof and is available for a limited time in select US markets and military bases as of November 1, 2023. (SRP $499)
  • 6
    The first release in BEARFACE's Wilderness Series puts the spotlight on wild matsutake mushrooms. The whisky is a blend of three parcels of Canadian whiskies aged in different casks including French oak (red wine & virgin oak), sherry pipes (PX, cream, and amontillado), and casked Matsutake. The Matsutake cask was made by adding wild foraged matsutake mushrooms to a cask filled with BEARFACE whisky where it was allowed to infuse for 2 months. All casks were "elementally aged" in repurposed shipping containers where they're exposed to the elements. The US gets its allotment in December 2023. (SRP $44.99)
  • 5
    This second annual limited edition Cigar Cut bottling was crafted by Melinda Maddox, production manager for Old Elk and apprentice to Master Distiller Greg Metze. Maddox blended a variety of Old Elk's base straight whiskeys, each of which had been aged a minimum of 6 years. A secondary maturation was given to each base whiskey as follows: high malt bourbon finished in sherry casks - 2 years, rye finished in rum casks - 8 months, high malt bourbon finished in port cask - 6-10 months, and wheat whiskey finished in sauternes wine casks - 6 months. It was bottled at 111.7 proof. This limited edition is available beginning October 2023 at select retailers nationwide. (SRP $129.99)
  • 4
    Five Farms is produced in County Cork, Ireland using small batches of dairy cream sourced from local farms. It is then blended with Irish whiskey, more than is typically used in an Irish cream. It is bottled in packaging reminiscent of vintage milk bottles at 34 proof.
  • 3
    First introduced in 2003, Family Reserve Old Rum is a blend of aged rums originally produced for members of the Gosling family. Here, aged rum was filled into rye barrels in three separate years (2018, 2019, and 2020) with Goslings blending the three rye-finished rums in 2023. This release is the first extension in the Family Reserve portfolio with others to follow. Available in November 2023 at select US retailers and online via ReserveBar. (SRP $79.99)
  • 2
    Puntas refers to a thin cut in the distillation process taken from the end of the heads and the beginning of the heart. Traditionally, this cut is set aside for the distiller to enjoy with their friends and family. For this 2023 release, two high proof cuts were blended and then proofed to 106 proof. Like all other Tequila Ocho bottlings, this tequila was made from a single estate. Here, the agaves were harvested from Rancho Mesa Colorada, located 28 kilometers from the brand's new home at Tequilera Los Alambiques. This additive-free tequila is available beginning October 2023 with the US getting 1,100 cases. (SRP $74.99)
  • 1
    Casamigos Cristalino begins with their reposado tequila as its base. Like the other tequilas in their portfolio, it's made with 100% blue Weber agave sourced from the Highlands of Jalisco. After resting in American white oak barrels it's then charcoal filtered to remove its color. Casamigos Cristalino launched nationwide in summer 2023 and is sold in the following bottle sizes: 375ml ($31.99), 750ml ($60.99), and 1L ($73.99).