By now, you're probably familiar with Angel's Envy, those beautiful bottles with the angel wings gracing the back of the glass. The port cask finish that gives it a unique, easy sipping taste. Now imagine all of that, but at 127.9 proof. Angel's Envy Cask Strength Bourbon is just that, but it's only released once a year, and this year, the yield is only 7,500 bottles. So do whatever you can do locate and sample one of the best barrel proof bourbons available before it's long gone, until next year.
Usually, if you're talking about a wheated bourbon from the now extinct Stitzel-Weller Distillery, it's Pappy Van Winkle that you're referencing. But John E. Fitzgerald Very Special Reserve Bourbon fits that same criteria, and might garner the same attention as well. Heaven Hill acquired 12 barrels from the old distillery when they bought the Old Fitzgerald line, and those barrels were aged for 20 years before they produced a very limited 3,000 bottles of bourbon. Each of these hard to find bottles are housed in a handmade wooden box with die-cut keyholes and hinged doors that close with magnets — increasing the appeal for this sought after product even more.
If Wild Turkey Master Distiller Jimmy Russell ever does retire, it'll be tough to top the tribute that fills the bottles of Russell's Reserve 1998 Bourbon. His son, and fellow Master Distiller Eddie Russell set this bourbon aside back in 1998 with his father in mind, and while Jimmy has yet to stop working after 61 years at the helm, the bourbon is ready for consumption right now. It aged gracefully in the Wild Turkey timber rickhouses and was bottled at 102.2 proof when Eddie deemed it ready. But only 23 barrels, or a little over 2,000 bottles will ever see the light of day, making this a turkey worth hunting.
Every year, Four Roses release their Limited Edition Small Batch Bourbon in the fall, and every year it's one of the best whiskies made. This year is no exception, and you could argue that it might be the best one yet, especially since it's the last one Master Distiller Jim Rutledge will have his fingerprints on before his retirement. It's a barrel strength blend of 16-year-old OBSK, 14- and 15-year-old OESK and 11-year OBSV recipes and won't be on store shelves long if it makes it there at all.
Woodford Reserve amped things up a couple years ago with the release of Double Oaked, and now, they've taken things even further with Double Double Oaked Bourbon. The most recent release in their Distillery Series — which Master Distiller Chris Morris uses to experiment with special batches — sees Double Oaked matured for an additional year in heavily toasted lightly charred new oak barrels. More time in the barrel means more complex flavors, including a spicier finish you won't find in regular Double Oaked.