To celebrate the journey of a special batch of Ardbeg Whiskey, which has spent nearly three years orbiting the globe aboard the International Space Station, Ardbeg is releasing a new batch of Supernova, their super-peaty whiskey that hasn't been bottled since 2010. Previous iterations were the peatiest Ardbeg has ever released and the new batch follows suit, delivering a cloud of smoke along with a sweet oily finish. A unique beast that not unlike a Supernova, could be gone in a blink.
The Fall season sees temperatures beginning to drop, leaves changing color, and most importantly, a steady stream of great new whiskey releases. Heaven Hill releases Parker's Heritage every fall, a special series named for Master Distiller Parker Beam, who was diagnosed with ALS several years ago. This year for the first time, Parker's Heritage is not a bourbon, but instead is a 13-year-old Wheat Whiskey that is bottled at a hefty 136.2 ABV cask strength. What emerges is a big, bold whiskey with a long, spicy tail. And $5 from every bottle sold goes directly towards ALS research and treatment.
As the thirst for Rye Whiskey escalates among spirits appreciators, it's getting tougher and tougher to find one that is good, available, and affordable. Old Scout Rye Whiskey from Smooth Ambler fits that profile to a tee, as the distillery quickly climbs the ladder of reputation in the industry despite only being around since 2009. Their Rye Whiskey is 7 years old, uses 95% rye in the mashbill, and clocks in at 99 proof — making it an excellent candidate to drink neat or to add to your next Old Fashioned.
When it comes to single pot still Irish Whiskey that won't cost you an arm and a leg, it's tough to beat Green Spot. The biggest problem for those of us in the United States though, is the fact that you couldn't find a bottle — until earlier this year that is. Green Spot is one of the only remaining bonded Irish whiskeys and is produced for Mitchell & Son of Dublin, an independent wine merchant. Sourced from the famed Midleton Distilleries, Green Spot is not only one of the best Irish Whiskies around, and now that it's on store shelves stateside, you have no reason not to seek it out.
How important is water in your whiskey? Not the water you add to cut it, but the water the distillery adds. Tincup Whiskey thinks it's a vital ingredient, and after a taste, it's tough to disagree. Tincup is a brand new American whiskey that boasts a high rye content, making for a spicy but smooth and flavorful quaff. But the water, sourced directly from the Rocky Mountains, combined with a price point that makes it an easy choice, takes this to another level. Tincup celebrates Colorado's first mining towns and the American pioneer spirit, making it a great addition to any whiskey lover's collection.
It's one of the newest trends in the distilling industry, craft beer brewers are beginning to distill spirits like whiskey in addition to brewing the beers that put them on the map. Rogue Brewing isn't following a trend, instead they helped start it with their award winning Dead Guy Whiskey. Made using the same three malts that are used in the legendary Dead Guy Ale, Dead Guy Whiskey is distilled twice through copper pot stills and then aged in American oak barrels for three months before bottling.
With a handful of giant companies owning most of the whiskey market share in the US, it's not easy for craft distilleries to make a name for themselves. But Koval Distillery in Chicago is beginning to break through in a big way with spirits like their Single Barrel Millet Whiskey. It's a whiskey distilled entirely from millet — a tasty, but mostly underused grain. It's aged in oak for less than two years, and just like all of Koval's spirits, is handcrafted using grains, fruits, herbs, and flowers sourced from the Midwest and is kosher and certified organic.
Lets see: people made whiskey, whiskey was outlawed, people made moonshine, whiskey was legal again, moonshiners went into hiding — or NASCAR. Prohibition-era cocktails make a comeback, so does (legal) moonshine, whiskey makers start making moonshine, so moonshiners make... whiskey. That might be an oversimplification, but the fact is that Ole Smoky Charred Moonshine takes the company's celebrated moonshine and transforms it into whiskey by aging it in barrels to add color, flavor, and character. Just like, you know, regular whiskey.
If you're a bourbon drinker there is a chance you think Canadian Whiskey is a lesser spirit. If that's true, the latest offering from Crown Royal might change your mind. XO is a premium offering from Crown, and is a unique blend of more than 50 of the best from the CR family. It's finished in cognac casks from the French Limousin Forest, adding some complex sweetness. If you normally overlook Canadian whiskey, don't pass up this excellent blend.
We tend to place younger whiskies a step or two behind their more mature brethren. This is, of course, because some of the qualities that are evident in those drinks are due to the extra time mingling with the oak. Westward Oregon Malt Whiskey however, is an exception to this rule. What it lacks in age, it makes up for in complexity and flavor. It's made from 100% malted barley grown in the Pacific Northwest and is double pot distilled, which gives this unique drink many of the smooth characteristics you'd expect from an Irish whiskey. Proof that even a two year old whiskey can exceed expectations.
While the upcoming St. Patrick's Day holiday lends itself incredibly well to beer drinking, there are more options than a few pints of the black stuff available to sip this year. Redbreast 21 is the latest Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey on the market from the kings of Irish whiskey, Midleton Distillery. Not unlike the 12 or 15 year expressions, Redbreast 21 is incredibly easy to drink, but with some notable complexities — in large part due to the extended aging — that really cause it to stand above its younger siblings. The perfect drink to finish off your fun-filled (or laid-back) St. Patrick's Day.
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.
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.
For those of you looking to explore a new area of the rye whiskey circuit, we present to you Angel's Envy Rye Whiskey ($70). This unique liquid is finished in Franco Caribbean Rum Casks which previously carried French cognac. The result is a rye whiskey that begins in a somewhat traditional fashion, but finishes like one you've never tasted before. The aroma is strong with brown sugar and spice, and the taste brings vanilla oak, maple sugar and a dry but sweet finish. It's as if a really great rye whiskey was made by rum runners in the Caribbean.
Our third president, Thomas Jefferson, played a big role in the repeal of an unpopular whiskey tax back in 1801, so it's no surprise that his face is emblazoned on bottles of bourbon and rye whiskey. Jefferson's Straight Rye Whiskey ($33) not only borrows his name and face, but boasts a taste that's impressive as well. It's aged longer than most Ryes at 10 years, and is one of only four that can claim to be 100% Rye. It also has dibs on a sweet but spicy taste with a very smooth finish. A presidential addition to any well rounded liquor collection.
Who doesn't love a good, stiff drink? We certainly do, and want to feature more great beer and booze here on Uncrate. If you're a brewer or distiller and want to be considered for coverage on Uncrate, send an email to email@example.com.
It's such a catchy name that we're surprised no one's using it commercially, but these two bottles of Shipwreck Whiskey ($TBA; auction) are actually very rare. They were among eight bottles recovered from the SS Politician, an 8,000-ton cargo ship that sank off the coast of Scotland in 1941, bound for Jamaica and New Orleans with 28,000 cases of whiskey. Bottled by W & A Gilbey with an original cork and wax sealed by Christies, you can be sure it'll be one of the more interesting drinks you can take.
One of the great things about small distilleries is their ability to try out new flavors that the bigger outfits can't. Take Kings County Distillery Chocolate Whiskey ($20) for example. This unique, limited edition spirit is made by infusing Kings County Distillery Moonshine with the leftover cocoa husks from Mast Brothers Chocolate, craft chocolate company that's not too far from Kings County's own distillery in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The resulting drink is rich, with a nice mix of sweet and savory flavors, and at 40% ABV, quite stout, as well. [Scouted by Kenneth]
What do The Rolling Stones do to celebrate their 50th anniversary? They drink some booze, of course! Actually, they release booze, in the form of The Rolling Stones 50th Anniversary Whisky ($TBA). Crafted by legendary Japanese distillers Suntory, this special blend contains malts distilled and casked in milestone years throughout the band's history, giving it a very rich, complex flavor. If you want one of the commemorative bottles, which are designed around the iconic lips and tongue logo, you'd best hurry — only 150 will be produced.
In case you didn't know, Frank Sinatra was known to drink Jack Daniel's. A lot of Jack Daniel's. Now Jack is returning the favor by honoring the man who was such a loyal fan. Jack Daniel's Sinatra Select ($TBA) arrives at 90 proof inside a specially-designed one-liter bottle and gift box that both feature accents of orange — Frank's favorite color — and a distinct "hat" logo. The whiskey is made from barrels that are hand-selected by Master Distiller Jeff Arnett for a fuller flavor and darker color, then mingled with classic Old No. 7 to result in a drink with a smooth, bold character — just like the man himself. [Scouted by Tom]
How better to celebrate the upcoming holiday than by a sampling of booze? The Whisky Advent Calendar ($245) is just the traditional advent calendar you've come to know, only behind each of the 24 doors lies a different 3cl sample of whisky. For added fun, one of the doors contains a sample of 50 year old single malt Scotch, a full bottle of which would run you over $550. Happy holidays indeed.