The following list are whiskies to buy today, because they will be gone tomorrow. If you have a whisky friend on your gift list, any of these purchases will not only impress them, but they'll soon realize that they're not likely to see them at the LCBO again.
Ontorians are a fickle bunch. We've been wanting online ordering from the LCBO for years, but when it arrived, sales are reportedly not that significant. It's true that for your common wines and whiskies, going to a nearby store is the better choice. However, LCBO does have rare whiskies available online that you are unlikely to see in your local store. Previously to this, you'd have to drive to the LCBO Summerhill location to guarantee yourself one of these rare buys, but now they're available online.
If you haven't used the LCBO online service before, it is relatively easy to sign-up and you can ask for delivery to your nearest LCBO store or to your home (home delivery is extra).
Under $80 at the LCBO
Cutty Sark Prohibition Edition Blended Scotch $34.95
Cutty Sark is in the category of cool and modern blended scotch whisky. It tastes just like it looks: it’s a young scotch, high-proof (50% ABV), and delicious. Plus, it’s affordable. Prohibition Edition might be back at the LCBO, but this is a limited release, and there are no guarantees. I've been watching the online sales the last week, and the supplies are rapidly decreasing. As I learned on episode 80 of The Whisky Topic, it also makes a delicious Rob Roy!
Elijah Craig 12 Years Old Straight Bourbon $47.95
Elijah Craig has been a staple of the bourbon world. Aged for 12 years in New American Oak, you won't find a more affordable 12 year old bourbon. Earlier in the year, Heaven Hill (the company behind Elijah Craig) announced that the 12 Year Old product will be no more (it was too good to true!). Instead, it’s being replaced by a no-age statement variety that's a blended from 8 to 12 year old barrels.
The LCBO still has some stock of the 12 Year Old Elijah Craig variety. If you love Elijah Craig, this is the time to pick it up! It might not be my favourite bourbon, but it is a good. You can read my review of Elijah Craig 12 Year Old.
J.P. Wiser’s Last Barrels Canadian Whisky $64.95
This is a Canadian whisky made in (nearly) the style of an American bourbon. I say nearly, because Last Barrels is aged in once-used oak while bourbon is always made in brand new oak. However, it is bourbon-style in the way this whisky has been fermented. You can read my review for more of the details. The LCBO ordered 2000 cases of this one-time whisky, and once it's gone, it's gone for good. It's also only available at the LCBO.
Under $100 at the LCBO
Pikesville Straight Rye 6 Years Old American Rye $89.95
Pikesville is high-proof, and probably not a beginners rye, but this is one of the best ryes in the world. It's a 95 in my score book. It’s entirely possible Pikesville Straight Rye will be back next year, but the risk of not having it at the LCBO is too high to pass it up. Priced at $89.95, it’s relatively reasonable for a high-proof rye, and this is consistently rated as one of the best ryes in the world.
Glenfiddich Distillers Edition 15 Years Old Single Malt Scotch $94.95
Glendiffich has various varieties of whiskies aged for fifteen years. The Distiller’s Edition is the one bolted at 51% ABV, and a favourite among whisky enthusiasts. While this bottling might not disappear immediately, it is rumoured to be discontinued for 2017. This is one of the few releases of Glenfiddich above the cautious 43% ABV marker, and an excellent expression of whisky from the distillery. It’s also quite reasonably priced. There might be a few bottles left-over for next year, but I doubt we'll see this release by this time next year.
Lagavulin 8 Years Old Peated Single Malt Scotch $99.95
Lagavulin celebrated its 200th anniversary in 2016. As part of that celebration, this young single malt scotch was released. It’s half the age of the 16 Year Old, higher in proof (48%), and truer to the distillery’s original tasting profile. This isn’t a loud whisky. It’s a gentle malty sipper (you can read the review here).
There is a rumour that due to its popularity, Lagavulin 8 might be back next year, but this will be the only one that's the 200th anniversary bottle.
Under $200 at the LCBO
Writers Tears Cask Strength Irish Whiskey $179.95
An Irish Whiskey, Writers Tears is a regular favourite of many whisky enthusiasts, but the cask strength release is a rare treat (53% ABV). While this whisk isn't incredibly rare, we don't know if we'll see it at the LCBO again. With so many fans of the regular Writers Tears, this is a special occasion whisky that'll do well within your Whisky Cabinet.
Laphroaig Lore Peated Single Malt Scotch $199.70
Only a handful left. Laphroaig can do little wrong in the whisky world. Lore is a no-age statement release that is a mix of very old and very young scotch. The use of many barrel types and ages of whisky brings out a complex single malt scotch flavor monster. While I hope to see this product back, it’s listed as a one-time release. I've given this one a score of 94, and I'm picking up my second bottle.
Over $200 at the LCBO
Redbreast 21 Years Old Irish Whiskey $249.75
This falls into the category of “it’s likely to come back, but don’t risk it just in case!” Redbreast 21 Year Old is undoubtedly on of the best Irish Whiskey that makes its way to North America, and it often wins awards ahead of single malt scotches. At $249.75, the price is reasonable (I’ve seen this go for $350+ in the US). Yes, it will likely be back at the LCBO, but probably not at this price.
Bruichladdich Black Art 4 Single Malt Scotch $350
On the side of ridiculously priced, Bruichladdich Black Art are intended to be a mysterious mix of barrels from the famous terroir-focused Islay single malt distillery. Bruichladdich comes out with new releases of the Black Art series annually, but each release tastes a little different. This is the fourth release, already sold out in many parts of the world. The fifth release is likely (hopefully!) to be released via the LCBO. It’s hard to recommend a $350 scotch, but if you enjoy a truly exquisitely rich single malt scotch, this is the one to buy.