There’s a tongue-and-cheek nature to Diageo’s Orphan Barrel Collection that often places them in conflict with whisky geeks. The original concept included barrels from distilleries that have long-since stopped producing whisky. At least, that was the concept. But whisky geeks quickly sought after the origins of the whisky, and found that sometimes they weren’t orphaned, and sometimes they weren’t accidents.Read More
In 2016, Glenmorangie started a new line of single malts named after their featured warehouse; The Bond House No. 1 Collection. Glenmorangie Grand Vintage Malt 1990 was the first release of this set. It has, as one can tell, a very grandiose name! It’s listed at about $600 US. Some have said this is the best Glenmorangie ever released, and I was fortunate enough to get a sample from Bry Wilson, the Canadian Brand Ambassador for the distillery.Read More
Ardbeg’s annual special releases come in two flavors: Regular, and Committee Release. The latter is typically a few points higher proof, and distributed specifically to the Ardbeg’s fan club and select stores.
However, sometimes a bottle apparently sneaks through into retail. Back in 2017, I was able to pick this one up in Kentucky the day of its official release. I also seemed to have purchased it at the regular non-Committee Edition price. Miracles do happen!Read More
Alberta Distillers has new limited released out—Cask Strength Rye and a 20 Year Old. And I got samples! Like many of Canada’s large distilleries, Alberta Distillers is an enigma of delicious whisky.Read More
Canadian Club continues to move forward to fifty years with their Canadian Club Chronicles series with this year’s release; the 42 year old. The Canadian whisky industry is a blender’s paradise, and this is another great example of what can happen with ingenuity. More importantly, the allotment of barrels this whisky comes from is probably one of the oldest allotments available at quantities to produce a collectable product of this magnitude.Read More
What’s with the *e* in whisky?
When noting American and Irish whisky, a sense of tradition obligates writers to add the extra vowel. But how traditional is the extra letter? The truth is the use of the *e* has less to do with tradition and more to do with marketing.Read More
Gooderham & Worts 49 Wellington demonstrates two rarely used components from Hiram-Walker Distillery that hint at where future product development is going. First, the whisky is partially matured with red oak inserts. Second, the four grain blend includes whisky matured in barrels made from 100% red winter wheat. Both these elements are a look into the exciting products that’ll be coming out from the distillery in the future.Read More
I was recently listening to a podcast that outlined all the weird riders that rock bands have had over the years. Many included whisky; usually something from Tennessee or Kentucky. I briefly thought, what would be on my list? I didn’t have an answer because I always want to drink something a little different. Would I be in a mood for an oaky bourbon? A smoky scotch? A rye spicy Canadian whisky?Read More
If it’s only going to do a few things, it needs to do them well. That’s what J.P. Wiser’s 23 Year Old brings to the table. This is a clean beautiful whisky with a ton of intense flavours, and I think it’s going to be a favorite of many.Read More
In this year’s vintage release of the Northern Border Collection (Canada’s version of BTAC), Pike Creek 21 Year Old is finished in Oloroso Sherry Casks. Aged Canadian whisky comes with a heavy fortitude of flavours, and this rich sweet Oloroso casks compliment those rich char and caramel notes perfectly.Read More
Lot No. 40 Cask Strength is Canada’s version of George T. Stagg in rye format—it’s a powerhouse rye with plenty of peppery notes, deep new oak caramel flavours, and a wallop of herbal notes, orange citrus, and other complex flavours.Read More
The Balvenie continues to flirt with peated whiskies. A Week of Peat is the second in The Balvenie Stories Collection, and this one focuses on Balvenie’s lesser-used flavor component. In fact, they only use heavily peated barley for a week each year! Ian Miller calls peat week the most joyous week of distillation because of the new smells that come from the distillery. After releasing Triple Peat, and Peat Week, how’s A Week of Peat differ from the other expressions?Read More
While it’s sister distillery, Glenfiddich, has been releasing a bunch of innovative products, Balvenie seemed to be in a slumber (with the exception being the Balvenie DCS Compendium series for the mega rich). But in truth, there were products brewing, and we finally have a taste of what’s to come. The Stories Collection is here! It starts with a series of three single malts at three different price-points. The first of the series, The Sweet Toast of American Oak, is finished in virgin American barrels. This has been a growing theme in single malt scotch the last handful of years, so did Balvenie manage to do something different?Read More
Great Northern Distilling is a new Irish distillery that primarily sells vodkas and gins, as most young distilleries do. However, they were able to get their hands on older barrels of whisky, and Burkes Single Cask 14 Year Old is a product of one of those barrels. Bottled at 59% ABV, I was really excited to taste a rare high-proof Irish whiskey.Read More
In 2014, when Suntory purchase Jim Beam, fans speculated on how this new ownership might affect Jim Beam’s whisky. While there have been minor tweaks to the product line over the years, it be difficult to attribute any of them to Suntory—until now.Read More
Henry McKenna was once an affordable bottled-in-bond bourbon that rapidly sold out when it won best whisky in the world at the San Francisco Spirit Awards. It went from affordable ($30s US), to gone, to now being difficult to find for under $50 US.Read More
Mister Sam Whiskey is Sazerac’s continued foray into Canada. The company is in the process of opening a distillery in Montreal, and two years ago they launched High River Canadian whisky. That whisky, sourced from another distillery, entered the market at an affordable price point. Mister Sam Whiskey is a monster of a whisky, with a monster price of $250 per bottle. It distribution is limited to only 1,200 bottles between US and Canada. Spoiler: It’s worth it for most whisky collectors.Read More
The Okinawa Japanese islands slinks down south from Japan toward Thailand. It’s a hot climate, and the home of Awamori, a traditional distilled rice spirit unique to the region. Awamori is thought to be the predecessor to Shochu, a more popular fermented and distilled product made in many parts of Japan.Read More
The Irishman is produced by Walsh Whiskey, the same group that’s behind Writers’ Tears. The Founder’s Reserve Caribbean Cask Finish is a terrific addition to the line-up. From their website:
The Irishman Founder’s Reserve – Caribbean Cask Finish is the second expression in The Irishman Founder’s Reserve Cask Series. It is a limited edition finished in rum casks from the tiny tropical Caribbean island of Saint Lucia. A super-premium whiskey, it is a rare vatting of Single Pot Still and Single Malt whiskeys finished for 6 months in Chairman’s Reserve Rum casks. The release is limited to just 12 casks with 380 bottles per cask. Each bottle is individually numbered and signed by Bernard Walsh.
The brand of Writers’ Tears is affectionally enjoyed by writers, partially because of the name, and also partially because the whisky is just gentle enough to sip without distracting the writer from the task-at-hand. When writing The Whisky Cabinet I went through a few bottles of Writers’ Tears. Back then there was only one type of whisky, but today the brand has expanded, and this is a look at their sherry barrel matured whisky, Red Head.Read More