The latest release from Compass Box is an extraordinary scotch whiskey that is both rare and mysterious. The General is a blend of a 33 year old batch, while the rest of the blend is made up of a batch with an unknown age statement. It's named after a Buster Keaton film from the 1920's and is limited to only, and exactly, 1,698 bottles. You won't feel like you're getting a bargain, but if the taste comes anywhere near the backstory, this whiskey will be a runaway hit.
If spiciness is one of the reasons you enjoy rye whiskey, we think you'll get a kick out of High West Double Rye Whiskey. It's a blend of two ryes, one, a vibrant, feisty 2-year-old, and the other, a mellow, mature 16-year-old. They fuse beautifully, and despite the rye itself being a dominant flavor, it's elder partner in the blend mellows it out incredibly well. A standout in the burgeoning rye whiskey market.
You might already be familiar with WhistlePig Rye, it's one of the only 100% rye whiskies on the market, and is run by former Apprentice cast member Raj Peter Bhakta. The standard WhistlePig is a great rye, and now the family is growing with the release of The Boss Hog ($150), a select bottling from the Vermont based distillers. The Boss Hog weighs in at barrel strength, with no water added, at a hefty 134 proof after over 12 years of aging. The flavors also push their weight around as caramel, vanilla and gingerbread are present and welcome. This release is a must for rye whiskey lovers, and with less than 3,000 bottles, it's sure to be gone quickly.
One of the most trusted blenders in the scotch whiskey game is switching things up again this winter, with the introduction of Johnnie Walker Gold Reserve ($87). The scotch itself isn't brand new, but the limited edition, reflective gold bottle certainly is. Of course, it's what is inside the bottle that ultimately matters, and Johnnie Walker delivers again with a fruity nose, plenty of oak flavors and some subtle smoke to round things out. An addition to your collection that even King Midas would be proud of.
We love it when great design teams up with great whiskey, so that's why Lock Stock and Barrel Rye Whiskey ($120) is easy to recommend. It's aged for 13 years in American oak barrels, and is modeled after something even older, the Prohibition era. Before Prohibition, rye was king, and thanks to a new group of great ryes like Lock Stock and Barrel, it's experiencing a renaissance. At barrel strength, 101.3 proof, it sounds quite aggressive, but for something this robust, it's actually quite mellow and easy to sip. A limited, rare, high quality whiskey that could help push rye to the forefront again.
If you're looking to dip your toes into the world of Japanese Whiskey, we suggest starting with Yamazaki, the first distillery in the country, which began production in 1924. And if you are looking to dive in headfirst with a premium offering, Yamazaki 25 Single Malt Whiskey ($1,600) should fit the bill. This complex whisky was aged for over 25 years in sherry casks, giving it an unusually dark color and huge amount of flavor. It's available in limited quantities of only around 12,000 bottles every year.
One thing Ron Burgundy takes as seriously as news is scotch, so it should come as no surprise that San Diego's top newsman has a scotch of his own, and it's kind of a big deal. Ron Burgundy Scotchy Scotch Scotch ($TBA) is a blend of whiskies from Speyside, Highlands and Islay worthy of the Burgundy catchphrase "Great Odin's Raven." It sounds like a must have bottle, especially if you have many leather-bound books and your apartment smells of rich mahogany. Don't act like you're not impressed.
For the past 39 years, Anchor Brewing has released one of the most unique and tasty holiday beers on the market, Our Special Ale. Every holiday season we look forward to celebrating with a new batch and a new hand drawn label. As the holidays wound down last year however, Anchor decided to do something different with their remaining stock. Instead of scrapping the leftovers, they decided to pass it to Anchor Spirits, where they distilled the leftovers into a unique white spirit aptly named White Christmas ($50). It's gentle upfront with a nice long and spicy finish featuring notes of clove, holiday spice, and dried fruits. This limited production white whiskey is sure to sell fast, especially since this year it's only available in California.
Whiskey collectors and connoisseurs are constantly hunting for the tastiest and rarest bottles around. Some bottles carry a hefty price tag, while others are just difficult to find. The latter is the case with Willett Family Estate Rye Whiskey ($35) which isn't outside of most price ranges, but not much is made and it's tough to track down. Every bottle contains a hand marked age statement and barrel number, but the amount of each batch rarely exceeds 200 bottles. Despite the 110 proof, it's an easy sipper, with a classic rye mintiness and a clean, crisp finish. Add it to your Whiskey Envy list.
If you aren't familiar with great rye whiskey, it might be time to get acquainted with one of the best, E.H. Taylor Straight Rye Whiskey ($70). Rye Whiskey has seen a resurgence of late, after mostly disappearing after Prohibition. Taylor Rye is made by the same folks who bring you the fantastic Sazerac Rye, but is a totally different recipe. One thing that is not different however, is the high quality it's produced with, and the satisfying taste it yields. A quick whiff brings notes of vanilla, black pepper and dark sugars. Of course the taste meets our standards as well, packing a spicy punch with a satisfying dry finish.
When it comes to Scotch whiskies, Johnnie Walker sits in the company of the most well known and best distributed in the world. To fit this description, they have a nice collection of options. Johnnie Walker Platinum ($110) falls in between Blue and Gold in their line, and is the latest release from the Scottish master blenders. Platinum was inspired by the Walker family's tradition of crafting private blends for company directors and special occasions. It was crafted from single malt and grain whiskies and is an incredibly smooth sipper with the subtle addition of the trademark Johnnie Walker smokiness. At 18 years old, it's a mature, exceptional blend worthy of your next significant event.
One word that we don't usually associate with whiskey is "sexy", but it certainly applies when it comes to Brenne Whiskey ($60). After all, a Single Malt Whiskey from France aged in Limousin Oak and finished in Cognac Casks sounds pretty damn sexy. And the taste lives up to that billing as well, with a fruit forward aroma and plenty of creamy goodness for your palate. Brenne isn't trying to be a bourbon or a scotch, but instead aims to embody a true French Whiskey. It's sophisticated, exclusive and most importantly, downright delicious.