With so many new and exciting whiskeys being released each month, often it’s difficult to drown out the noise and identify which bottles are worth pursuing. Here, we’ve tried to narrow it down for you with a handpicked selection of bourbon and single malt scotch that we’re most excited about in 2022 (and very keen to get our hands on!)
What will become of 18? A full rebrand? Slight tweaks? It’s anyone’s guess at the moment as to what Stagg ‘Jr’ Batch 18 will look like, but we can say with confidence that whatever the release is named and however it is presented, it will do well to keep the same quality, consistency and punchiness that the brand became synonymous with from Batch 17 and below.
It makes sense that Sazerac feel the need to jettison the ‘Jr’ labelling associated with Stagg, particularly given this silo’s big energetic proof and bold flavor profile. Naming a bourbon of this caliber and quality 'junior' is counterproductive and rather misleading. In reality, there is nothing junior about Stagg Jr Batch 1 through 17, so Stagg 18 is a logical step and will no doubt have an even bigger impact on the appetite and demand for the line.
Some may think it a happy coincidence that there will be no release in this year’s BTAC and a new, rebranded Stagg Batch 18 is planned to take its place, but we think it’s rather noble of Buffalo Trace Distillery to place such high-quality benchmarks and standards on its flagship limited-edition collection - at the end of the day, you would rather wait for the 2023 GTS than receive a subpar 2022 George T Stagg…
Stagg 18 will undoubtedly become one of the most talked-about releases of 2022, and we can't wait to see what all the hype is about.
It’s the investment opportunity of a lifetime… a celebration of The Macallan’s rise to fame and the advertising campaigns that gave birth to a legend. The Archival Series is a scarily exclusive collection made available in eye-wateringly small quantities. Let’s be honest… 99% of buyers and collectors who have been waiting for Folio 7 aren’t even planning on drinking the whisky. There’s little chance of that for us purists, with the Archival Series so ridiculously coveted that ownership is nothing more than a pipe dream.
A ballot draw release, direct from The Macallan, for the lucky few who are selected they will be the new owners of what is quite possibly the most anticipated whisky of the last 2 years. With Folio 6 released way back in December 2020 and the hotly anticipated Folio 7 not reaching the public in 2021, this year is the year!
Another spectacular limited-edition release from The Macallan that will likely become more myth than reality, the Folio 7 is absolutely essential whisky in 2022 for any high-end collector of the finest and rarest single malt scotch whisky.
While it mightn’t hold the same allure as the Archival Series and Folio 7 (what with the market’s pure obsession, lust and appreciation for the Folios), The Macallan’s Harmony Collection is another piece of very hot property, with the 2nd instalment in what is likely a 6 bottle series set to be released imminently.
The Macallan Intense Arabica extends on the , with the same eco-conscious ethos as the inaugural release. The Harmony Collection appears to represent the Speyside powerhouse’s adoption of a more sustainable and ethical approach, with innovative techniques and natural materials becoming the primary focus of this series.
The whisky itself is believed to have been aged in European and American sherry seasoned oak casks, and bottled at 88 proof or 44% ABV, the same concentration at which the Rich Cacao was bottled - a nice piece of consistency. In keeping with the theme set by the Rich Cacao, Intense Arabica is a collaboration with another one of the world’s foremost masters in the world of coffee, and as such, the profile will reflect a rich, intense espresso flavor.
Demand is swarming for the Harmony Collection with many predicting that this range has the same potential trajectory as the Editions, with the Edition 1 and 2 now worth a very pretty penny at auction. If this speculation is true, then the Intense Arabica is a must-buy and an essential addition to any scotch collection in 2022.
The first-ever barrel finished Blanton's release, the 'Honey Barrel' is going to be a ridiculously rare Kentucky whiskey release, and is believed to be limited to just 5 barrels. We’re currently unsure as to whether or not this is the long-awaited M&P Festival 2021 Polish Edition, but what we’re certain of is that the Blanton's 2021 'Honey Barrel' Single Barrel Bourbon is possibly set to become the most coveted and collectible single barrel bourbon in the world.
Never before has Blanton's released a 'finished' spirit, with its variations always previously based on age and proof. The 2021 Honey Barrel Blanton's will break this mould and is interestingly a nod to Colonel Blanton’s use of Honey Barrels at the brand’s early inception. Buffalo Trace still sells honey directly from the Distillery, and the Honey Barrel Finish will likely be beset with a remarkably sweet, honey inspired profile and a lush, viscous mouthfeel.
A stunning collector's item and a bottle deserving of a place on any connoisseur's top shelf, Blanton's Honey Barrel Special Release is a guaranteed must-have for bourbon whiskey collectors the world over.
What do you look for when purchasing your next bottle? The best value whiskey, the most underrated bourbon, or perhaps just another bottle that you hope won’t disappoint? Are you one of the millions of people hunting the same thing, that ever-elusive Pappy van Winkle or BTAC unicorn, a bottle that will impress your friends, a bottle that you mightn’t ever open and enjoy?
With so much competition for popular, well-marketed bourbon whiskeys, it’s easy to forget that there are exceptional bottles right under our noses that might not have the same hype or allure thanks to large advertising budgets and extremely short supplies. Often, we forget to explore uncharted waters in the pursuit of those undiscovered hidden gems, so today we take a look at 5 of the most seriously underrated bourbons anywhere in the world (that you can access at affordable and reasonable prices).
The best kept secret in bourbon? Those who know just how good the 1920 Prohibition Style from Old Forester is might disagree with us including it in this list for fear of it being spoiled and harder to find, but the cat’s out of the bag - this is possibly the best widely accessible Kentucky whiskey of the last 5 years (before the market exploded and bottles began fetching astronomically high prices).
A profile that swims with licks of vanilla and caramel and dives into heavy oak undertones, a charred nuttiness and subtle hints of dark fruit, baking spice and sweet cereal - at the price point, you’re set an almost impossible task trying to find a whiskey that holds its own against some of the heavier hitting allocated bottles.
Another staple of the Kentucky whiskey landscape that deserves more attention than it receives, while Evan Williams is the second-largest selling bourbon it is also one of the most overlooked and disrespected in general terms. When it comes to excellent bourbon and remarkable value, the Bottled in Bond White Label, distilled at Heaven Hill, is one of the pound-for-pound heavyweights.
A 100 proof high-quality bourbon aged for at least 4 years, the mashbill is 78% corn, 10% rye and 12% malted barley and makes for a classically appointed bourbon with a sneaking, subtle sweetness that ties the spirit together exceptionally well. From the outset, caramel and vanilla prevail, before earthy rye resounds alongside smoky barrel char. The finish is understated, with a distinctive dryness and a lengthy but not overpowering heat.
114 Proof. Beset with a label that features an old man. A unique, rye heavy mashbill. In the current landscape that is bourbon, a few of these elements can be found in bottles that fetch upwards of $1000, so it’s perhaps ironic that the Old Grand-Dad 114 sits at a fraction of the price when compared to extremely similar products.
With the rising popularity of rye-heavy bourbons, it’s surprising that Old Grand-Dad isn’t a more sought-after bottle. The mashbill is exceptionally unique, comprised of 63% Corn, 27% Rye, 10% Malted Barley, making for an exciting, full-bodied flavor bomb that’s instilled with the expert craftsmanship of Beam, as well as the peerless quality standards for which the distillery is renowned.
A brilliant bourbon at a budget price, enjoy the bouquet of spice, cinnamon and rye heat before it gives way to a fierce yet fruity body that licks with fire and finishes with a candied cinnamon flurry.
So good it was voted 2019’s 4th best bourbon (in any price category) by the Whisky Advocate, Heaven Hill’s 7 Year Old Bottled in Bond Bourbon is a classy and charismatic whiskey that’s silky on the palate and seriously interesting from start to finish.
A collision of complex flavors defines the 7 Year Old BiB, with the 100 proof somehow more potent than it should be. The nose is brimming with nuanced flavors, spanning from honey to roasted nuts and sweet caramel, before the proof explodes and introduces a cacophony of chocolate, baking spice and the anise of herbal clove and tobacco smoke.
There is something different about this whiskey, a meticulous and methodical bourbon that conjures an otherworldly aura through bold, brazen flavors, the powerful proof and languid, length of finish - a spectacular bourbon for the price point and one that must be included in any collection.
There’s history in this bottle, a lineage that dates back to the early 90’s; it’s a bourbon that has learnt about itself over time, about its strengths and weaknesses, good and bad - there is little weak or bad about this whiskey however. The Rare Breed from Wild Turkey is a barrel proof straight bourbon that blends 6, 8 and 12 year old Kentucky whiskeys and marries them to produce something akin to nectar.
Bottled in the region of 108-115 proof, and composed of a corn heavy mashbill (75% Corn, 13% Rye, 12% Malted Barley), the Rare Breed is one of the best value, most underrated whiskeys found anywhere in the world, a balanced and bold bourbon that boasts big classic flavors and subtle nuances that make it a step above almost any other whiskey in its class.
From the outset, caramel and toffee intertwine with the zing of orange peel and citrus before oak takes hold and adds a mature elegance and depth. The palate is coated in butter and the mouthfeel is silky and smooth, a complex mixture of rye spice and the sweetness of caramel and burnt sugar is foregrounded before more citrus presents itself and is bruised by swathes of tobacco and leather. The rare breed is a unique and rather rare experience, a most excellent bourbon that is perhaps the most underrated of the lot.
Join us next week as we take a look at part 2 of the most underrated bourbons, exploring more of the best kept secrets in Kentucky whiskey.
For those beginning (or continuing) their journey in whiskey collecting, one of the biggest challenges faced is navigating the noise from within the community and the ‘hype’ generated by each and every new release. The next big thing is always around the corner, and popularity in whiskey circles is incredibly fleeting. A must-have for your collection today could very easily be a huge pass for your bottom shelf tomorrow, such is the fickle nature of the game.
Nevertheless, there are still countless bottles that transcend the volatility of popularity by simply being excellent, best-in-class, value whiskeys. For collectors that are also connoisseurs of the finest, rarest and best, these are bottles essential to your collection, whisk(e)ys that represent the ideal balance between exclusivity, quality and timelessness. Here are 10 essential releases that you should have in your collection for 2022 (that also won’t break the bank), and will allow you to drown out the noise of hype this coming year and enjoy focusing on collecting the truly excellent.
An homage to Scotland's Hogmanay, New Year's Eve and the last day of the year, Macallan's A Night On Earth Single Malt Scotch Whisky is a celebratory limited edition Scotch that ensnares the joy and conviviality of change of year celebrations and bottles this feeling with uncanny likeness.
A collaboration with Japanese-French illustrator Erica Dorn, expect a bold aromatic experience defined by vanilla, baked biscuits and stone fruits, as well as shortbread, dried citrus and cinnamon on the palate.
What better whiskey to bring into 2022 than a single malt that celebrates the end of the year and 2021? To us, the perfect addition to any collection, and certainly a dream for connoisseurs looking for rare and unique bottlings that will appreciate in value and taste very very good.
An incredibly unique single-barrel bourbon and one of the most unusual to come out of Buffalo Trace Distillery, Hancock’s President’s Reserve is a whiskey shrouded in mystique.
This is a bottle that you don’t come across very often, which is the perfect reason why it should be on your list of bottles to bring into the New Year, an understated and somewhat muted high-rye whiskey, which is composed of Buffalo Trace’s Mashbill 2.
With Hancock’s, the bourbon lets its flavor do the talking, with a sophisticated bouquet that’s reminiscent of the esteemed company it holds (think Elmer T Lee, Rock Hill Farms and Blanton’s).
Expect a considered balance of sweet vanilla, cinnamon, and subtle stone fruits on the nose, before a silky mouthfeel that swims with faint oak, refined ethanol, caramel and cherry notes, before slight spice and swathes of black pepper round out the long, lavish finish.
Blue Run Spirits, just a marketing powerhouse or perhaps a phenomenal whiskey distiller? If you ask us, it’s the latter. Blue Run may be one of the best up and coming producers of bourbon and rye whiskey anywhere in America, winning countless awards and acclaim for its limited edition, expertly crafted spirits.
The High Rye is no different, a considered small-batch rye that offers peaks and troughs that range between sticky caramel and baking spice, to toasted oak, stone fruits and black pepper. Bottled at 111 proof, this punchy and peppery rye is another highly collectible release from Blue Run that is surely set to increase in value.
If the trajectory of previous releases is anything to go by, then the High Rye is a must-have for those who collect the best from Kentucky.
A new offering from esteemed distiller The Macallan, the Harmony Collection Rich Cacao is the first release in a new annual line of limited edition single malt scotch whisky designed to celebrate 'perfect pairings' and harmonious flavor profiles - and on that might very well be the most hyped and anticipated whisky of 2021.
The Rich Cacao, a collaboration with world-renowned pastry chef Jordi Roca (of 3 Michelin star fame at El Celler de Can Roca), is specifically tailored to pair with fine chocolates, crafted from a combination of European and American oak casks with a 'zero-waste' approach. A homage to the cacao plant in its entirety, the gift box is made using discarded cacao pod husks and is 100% recyclable, another aspect of this fine whisky that tells a unique and interesting narrative from inception to final product.
For those looking for a statement piece, and something that is going to define their collection for years to come, the Macallan Rich Cacao is a must-include.
Don’t let the price tag fool you… this is a bottle that’s impossibly rare outside of Kentucky due to its extremely limited availability.
Old Fitz Prime is a bourbon lover's bourbon, a classic traditional whiskey that’s swimming with vanilla, caramel, baking spice and cinnamon.
While it’s a low entry-level bottle, the Prime is genuinely a stone's throw from the revered Old Fitzgerald Bottled-in-Bond series, and is a slightly softer, more approachable whiskey defined by the sophisticated smoothness of its wheated mashbill.
A staple in Stitzel-Weller’s catalog since in the early 1900's, Old Fitzgerald has stood the test of time, and today is one of the most refined and renowned bourbons produced in Kentucky.
An award-winning full-proof bourbon that brings barrel entry proof heat from the oldest fully-operating distillery in Bardstown Kentucky, 1792's Full Proof is an exhilarating fireball and a piece of whiskey engineering that has brought countless accolades and critical acclaim.
A deserved winner of 'World's Best Whiskey' by the World Whiskies Awards in 2018, the Full Proof is 1792’s magnum opus, a stunning and inspired bourbon, aged for 8.5 years before undergoing a special filtration process that circumvents traditional chill-filtration.
The result is nothing short of transformative and breathtaking; an unassuming and elegant bourbon whiskey that will stop you dead in your tracks.
Expect bold oak and maple flavors, nuanced hints of toffee and cinnamon and an awe-inspiring heat that will certainly put hairs on your chest.
The best of the rest? Definitely the best from Vegas.
We’ve said it before, the small batch is a transportive and mesmerizing bourbon whiskey that’s symptomatic of the resounding skill and passion of the acclaimed Smoke Wagon whiskey house.
This is a captivating and cultured bourbon that ensnares the senses and mobilizes the palate, enchanting the taster with a journey that spans from hints of sweet oak and lashings of fresh fruit, to new depths of bourbon complexity and nuanced, subtle rye spice.
Having won numerous awards for its caricature of high-rye bourbon whiskey, the Smoke Wagon boasts full-bodied flavor, punchy spice, and a sumptuous, smooth mouthfeel - impeccably balanced and masterfully blended.
Bringing together the electrifying bite of younger vintage batches with the sensual sweetness of older vintages, this complex, 100 Proof Bourbon Whiskey will captivate your tastebuds and envelop them with hints of sweet oak, fresh fruit, and rye spice.
While it isn’t the most recent from their catalog, it’s the standout for the turn of the decade.
Perhaps the finest release from Stagg Jr. to date, this is one that Buffalo Trace truly got spot on. Often it is the pattern for exceptional whiskeys to hit the ground running and then fade away before the next big thing arrives, however for Stagg Jr’s 15th instalment, the opposite is true.
Aged for almost a decade. Released in extremely limited, small run batches. Today, Stagg Jr. is one of Buffalo Trace's most fearsome and formidable offerings. First released in Fall of 2013 with the exceptional Batch 1, Stagg Jr. has garnered cult status and critical acclaim over 8 years of production and has cemented its place as one of the finest names in barrel-proof bourbon whiskey.
Heavy-hitting and hearty. Batch 15 is a rich and robust bourbon defined by lush praline and brown sugar, powerful potency on the palate, and a long luscious finish that's beautifully complemented by nuanced orange peel, pepper, and oak notes. Staying true to the recipe that has made Stagg Jr a household name, Batch 15 is not to be missed by collectors and connoisseurs.
With 9 releases hitting shelves since the renaissance of this powerhouse bourbon, Old Fitzgerald's Bottled in Bond Decanter series has become one of the finest expressions of Kentucky whiskey available to the public.
The Spring 2021 Release, aged for 8 years (the youngest bottling in the entire series thus far) and bottled at the requisite 100 proof, is the latest in this storied lineage and brings forth a vibrant and robust flavor profile with the familiar silky smooth mouthfeel and quintessential Old Fitz character.
Dark auburn, full of subtle oak and sweet brown sugar which give way to toasted cereal notes, oatmeal and pecan with subtle hints of clove and delicate spice on the palate, beautifully accentuated by a long, warming finish - Old Fitzgerald's Bottled in Bond is a must-have for anyone looking to add a bottle that does more than just carry hype to their collection.
Did you miss this limited edition from Wild Turkey in 2021? Well if you didn’t manage to snap up a bottle of this highly sought-after 13 year old bourbon, then now’s the time. Extremely collectible and never to be repeated again, the Father & Son edition from Wild Turkey is a must-have for collector’s of the acclaimed Kentucky distiller.
The bottle itself is a triumphant celebration of the world's only father and son master distiller duo, Jimmy and Eddie Russell, and represents a masterful, sophisticated and distinctive bourbon which personifies the quality and consistency for which Wild Turkey is revered.
Aged for 13 years and with a nuanced, subtle profile that's exceptionally balanced thanks to its 86 proof alcohol content, this fantastic 1L travel exclusive will singvon the palate and makes the perfect Father's Day gift and a dram fit for any occasion.
Welcome to Islay. This small grey, wet magical land is where all of our peated fantasies come true. With nine distilleries and two in planning, Islay is a veritable Disneyland for those hunters of smoke, seaweed, and other rich maritime characters.
Hailing much further south than the rest of the Scottish Isles, Islay enjoys a moderate climate that is the backbone of the region’s terroir. When you drink a classic dram of Lagavulin 16 or Bowmore Darkest, one cannot help but be instantly transported to rocky coasts spotted by lighthouses or walking amongst the green and grey, wellies and all!
Many distilleries like Ardbeg and Bunnahabhain are putting out limited releases sprinkled throughout the year. For those lucky enough to be within driving distance, the limited releases are attainable. But the rest of us can only hope for a few bottles to trickle our direction.
Taste is subjective. Peat isn’t for everyone. Campfire, leather, and iodine will not bring world peace (well, maybe?).
But whether you’ve just gotten your 4th Ardbeg tattoo or the thought of peat churns your stomach, some legendary and rare releases can’t be passed up if found in the wild! And really, no collection is complete without ample representation of perhaps the most beloved and hated of all whisky-producing regions!
Searching for Islay whales may cause one to transform into Captain Ahab, willing to risk it all. While attaining these whiskies may not require you to go down with the ship, they will take your hard-earned cash and patience for the long hunt.
Unlike some of its peers, Bowmore is known for smoky yet softer whiskies. This whisky was released in 2017 after 5 decades in a single ex-bourbon hogshead. Bottled at 41.5% ABV, and with only 74 bottles ever produced, it is, without doubt, one of the rarest Bowmore’s ever released.
This 1966 vintage celebrates a special milestone at the Bowmore distillery. It was in the same year that Bowmore bottled its first official single malt. This was the same year that distillery manager Eddie Macaffer joined Bowmore before retiring in 2016.
This collectible comes in an oak case with five hand-laid silver rings at its center. The rings represent each decade the spirit was aged and make for a stunning display of this refined whisky in any collection.
Should you dare to kill this bottle off you will be in for a rollercoaster ride! Instead of smoke, you get a tropical fruit salad of lychee and pineapple with floral notes and baking spices. It goes down painfully smooth. Each guilty sip will make you feel personally responsible for world deforestation.
You can’t talk about rare Islay whiskies without including those from the legendary Port Ellen Distillery. It was shut down in 1983 but a treasure trove of stock has been stored in a warehouse since, with Diageo tantalizing followers with sporadic and rare releases.
With each new iteration, the age of the whisky becomes older and the spirit reserves approach nil. Port Ellen 37 Year Old is the 16th release from the closed distillery and it is a massive dram of spice, smoke, leather, and notes of blackcurrant. Bottled at 55.2% ABV, the flavors explode on the palate with moreish notes of citrus and cinnamon and finish with woody, earthy notes and hints of dark chocolate.
If you see it in your price range, click that buy now button with no remorse!
Another Port Ellen on this list should be no surprise! And while it’s true that in Diageo announced plans to refurbish and reopen the distillery in the future, those plans have already been delayed. Once again, whisky will be distilled at Port Ellen in the future. But why wait until the 2030s to get your hands on some?
Get used to seeing “product not available” while searching for Port Ellen 40 Year Old 9 Rogue Casks. True to its namesake, this bottling comes from 9 highly unusual and previously rejected casks at the distillery.
This spirit was bottled at 50.9% ABV and the trademark Port Ellen oiliness is on steroids! A dram full of apricot, honey, and peach with notes of tobacco and leather. The campfire smoke is there, but only just more than a hint. These 9 rogue casks have come together to produce a delicate and refined drink that can be enjoyed by connoisseurs and amateurs alike.
Hunting for Port Ellen will always reap rewards for those with the right constitution.
Laphroaig proclaims to be the “most richly flavored of all Scotch whiskies” and after sampling a few drams of the 10-year-old cask strength bottling, we are inclined to agree. The distillery practically sits on the sea itself and this maritime influence makes it into every dram produced.
This rare Laphroaig bottling is the oldest to ever come out of the distillery. A piece of history in itself, the spirit was distilled in 1960 before being bottled in 2000. Initially, 3300 bottles were released and now two decades later, the number of available bottles is surely much lower.
Laphroaig 40 Year Old is bottled at a “natural cask strength” of 42.4% and gives drinkers a more refined experience than the distillery's young and aggressive 10-year-old variants. Smoke and peat phenols are balanced by green notes of fruit and a surprising mint character. The whisky holds a fat, creamy mouthfeel and finishes with trademark smoke, iodine, and fresh herbal notes.
A delicious whisky that can be saved for the ultimate occasion, put away as a valuable investment, or the crown of your Laphroaig collection. Pick one of these up while you still can!
Ardbeg is known for putting out some of the most aggressive and in-your-face whiskies in the world, and the Islay distillery has garnered much hype for its highly evolving selection of limited and special releases.
It was Ardbeg’s Manager’s Choice that vaulted the distillery to the heights of the whisky stratosphere. This is a bottling of whisky distilled in 1976 and 22 years later, distillery manager Stuart Thomson chose a single sherry butt for the exclusive run. The whisky was bottled at 56% ABV in a limited run of just 497 bottles and there are far fewer available today!
Other Ardbeg single cask bottlings would follow but none would garner the attention of the first sherry cask release. Polishing the rough edges of a typical Ardbeg dram, this first release of the Manager’s Choice marries the character of spirit and wood in a perfectly balanced expression. Expect the smoke and tobacco to be turned down while weighed against rich notes of dried fruit.
If you run into one of these highly sought bottles, it’s best to pick it up. Now whether you can resist opening it up right away or not is totally on you!
Revered the world over for their tireless pursuit of quality and excellence when it comes to crafting outstanding Scottish-inspired whisky, Japan has a lengthy history of masterful whisky making with many of the world's best blended and single malt whiskies being produced by the powerhouses of Suntory and Nikka.
As with any whisky that gains such cult status and critical acclaim, certain limited edition bottles become increasingly popular due to their exceptional profiles, the hunger and demand within the market, and the resultant scarcity of availability.
When a bottle begins to move towards this trajectory, it can be said to achieve "unicorn" status, so rare and so sought-after that even seeing them becomes a mythical, otherworldly experience. Below are 5 of the rarest and most sought-after Japanese whiskies in the world, each with its own story and each with an allure and mystique that goes above and beyond the confines of a typical whiskey.
Truly formidable, aged gracefully and remarkably rare, Suntory’s Hibiki 30 year old is the cream of the crop. A recipient of “World’s Best Blended Whisky” (at the world whiskies awards in 2007 and 2008), this celebrated and highly coveted Japanese whisky is one of the most enigmatic and elusive drams in the world.
Composed of a mixture of grain and malt whiskies, aged for 30 years and over, this 86 proof Japanese whisky is a testament to the revered quality and peerless dedication to craftsmanship for which Suntory is renowned. A statement piece and collector’s item that will be the center of attention at any dinner party, for those with a penchant for rare, exceptional whisky, the Hibiki 30 is a must-have.
An iconic name in Japanese whisky, revered for its place in the foundations and beginnings of the single malt movement at early Suntory, the Yamazaki represents the height of Japanese whisky craftsmanship and is a testament to the company’s first-ever distillery.
The 25 Year Old, winner of World's Best Single Malt at the World Whiskey Awards, is a delightful journey that traverses the planes between depth, character and charisma, inviting the taster to experience the true nature of Suntory whisky. Devilishly deep and seductively complex, the Yamazaki 25 year old is one of the rarest modern Japanese whiskies, and with hints of dried fruit, warm marmalade, coffee and almond - it boasts one of the most unique flavor profiles of any whisky, anywhere.
With only 13 sets ever produced, the Japanese Trees Collection from Karuizawa is perhaps the most exclusive ‘set’ of whiskies anywhere in the world. The set itself presents 3 individual bottles that represent 3 National Treasures of Japan, while the whiskies are undoubtedly treasures that deserve credit beyond recognition for their remarkable craftsmanship and the elegance of their composition. Beautifully appointed and inspired by the nature for which Japan is renowned, for whiskyphiles and lovers of all things Japan, the Karuizawa Japanese Trees Limited Edition Collection is the zenith of sophistication.
Botted in 2012, the Taketsuru 25 is nothing short of a work of art, combining the outrageously sophisticated aesthetics of Nikka whisky with the unadulterated dedication and propensity for quality for which the Japanese distiller has become renowned. Named after the iconic distiller, Masataka Taketsuru, who holds one of the most revered positions in Japanese whisky-making history - due to his status as a chief component of both Suntory and Nikka - the Taketsuru 25 year old is ingrained in Japanese whisky folklore. Distilled in 1987, this single malt is an apparition for most collectors and connoisseurs, more myth and mystery than an attainable bottle.
A breathtaking single malt whisky that personifies Masataka Taketsuru’s unique approach to crafting whisky with the meticulous precision of his home, Japan, with the tradition, history, and heritage of Scottish whisky methodology, the Yoichi 20-year-old single malt is one of the rarest and most celebrated Japanese whiskies in circulation. The profile itself is an unfathomable success that blends honey, vanilla, cream, and caramel with rich, spiced fruits, herbal notes, and anise. A complex and considered single malt that requires an experienced palate, for collectors and connoisseurs, the Yoichi 20 is the pinnacle of refined Japanese whisky under 25 years old.
Often overlooked as the ugly sibling of bourbon and American whiskey, Rye once held the hearts of North Americans everywhere, and while Kentucky Bourbon and Tennessee Whiskey are still the kings, Rye is making waves across not just the country, but in whisky circles all around the globe!
Many of the most widely available ryes on the shelves of speakeasies and prohibition-style cocktail bars will feature brands like Rittenhouse or Wild Turkey. Great for mixing or drinking neat, these Kentucky-style rye whiskies are known for their drier, spicier complexion and slightly more peppery profile when compared to many corn-based whiskies.
Kentucky Rye just about meets the minimum legal requirements of having at least 51% rye in the mash bill, the rest of which can be made up of corn, barley or other grains. However, for the more adventurous, we have classifications for regions and their typical mash bills. There are styles of rye like Monongahela from Pennsylvania (70-100% rye) and Indiana Rye (95%) among others. This is a good thing! Many of us simply cannot get enough rye!
Rye enthusiasts like ourselves are not satisfied with a Rye whiskey that is nearly half other grains! We want full cinnamon, clove, cardamom, white pepper and a refreshing dryness. We expect that aggressiveness on the palate to be backed up with a massive body and the taste of alcohol on the finish.
To appease the discerning Rye drinker, many producers of long ago and those today continue to put out these high-rye ryes. These refined libations are from another time. They have turned back the clock on whisky lovers and collectors everywhere.
Because of their aggressive nature, these ryes can be found in limited quantities and typically are not more than seasonal releases or one-offs. Of course, there are always exceptions, producers like the High West Distillery in Park City, Utah have made it their modus operandi to put out big ryes.
Speaking of big ryes, we’re getting thirsty!
According to Redemption’s Master Blender Dave Carpenter, “Rye is the past and future of American whiskey.” Putting those words into action, Redemption has released the ultimate expression of pre-prohibition Rye whiskey for modern times.
Redemption 18 Year Old Rye was distilled in 1998 when the distillery first started production. The 95% rye mash bill was laid to barrel to mature and 18 years later, this dream of rye was packaged at a cask strength of 109 proof with only 600 bottles released!
This whiskey is described as having notes of cedar, dark chocolate, and all the hallmarks of a big rye. Expect a beast on the palate brimming with baking spice, baked apple, peaches, rich caramel, and maple. Let this resurrection of early twentieth-century American rye transport to you back to simpler times.
Adding this bottle to your collection is a tribute to the American Dream!
Another relative newcomer to whiskey production, WhistlePig Pig was founded in 2007 with the dream to bring back the 10-year-aged rye whiskey. They paired with Master Distiller Dave Pickerell, formerly of Maker’s Mark, and procured some 10-year-old Monogahela style (100% rye) whiskey and the rest is history.
Continuing their success, they opened the doors to their distillery in Shoreham, Vermont in 2015. Based on a 150-year old dairy farm, there is nothing barnyard in the house flavors of WhistlePig’s rye!
The Boss Hog represents an evolving string of highly limited releases from this elite rye producer. The first of these, Spice Dancer, is a release of “pure barrel strength” straight rye whiskey from 24 of WhistlePig’s oldest and most unique barrels.
This bold rye weighs in at 130 proof. According to the distillery, “nowhere available, is a barrel strength aged rye of the highest-rated rye whiskey around.”
Expect vanilla and fruit on the nose with musty and funky wood-aged notes. On the palate, you will get the bright character of Whistlepig’s high-rye. It’s almost like biting into cinnamon bark and cloves with a delicious oaky finish of red pepper and dark chocolate. It’s a whiskey and desert in the same glass!
Good luck finding one of these rare initial releases! But if you acquire one and are tempted to get it into your decanter, opening this beautiful rye is a special occasion in itself!
Utah might be one of the last places on earth that one would expect to find high-end whiskey. But being the first legally licensed distillery in the state since the end of American Prohibition, High West has been at the forefront of the resurrection of American rye.
Beginning in 2007, biochemist David Perkins sourced 6-year old rye from MGP and 16-year-old Barton rye for blending in what would become the distillery’s flagship, Rendezvous Rye. More than a decade later High West now puts out core offerings with their own distillate.
But in 2012, they released the Rock Mountain Rye 16 Year Old. The distillery states that the whiskey was found “quietly aging in a Kentucky warehouse” and that these “incredible whiskeys were destined for blending into Canadian Whiskey… until we sipped them.”
High West was only able to procure a small number of barrels of this beautiful rye but we are all the better for it. Weighing in at 80% rye with an ABV of 46%, this whiskey explodes with a big rye character but is subdued with a soft finish. The drinker is greeted with fiery cinnamon and baking spices and lifted up with a slightly sweet, vanilla finish.
Unlike most high-ryes, the Rocky Mountain Rye is more approachable. It’s a sheep in wolf's clothing. Any High West limited release is worth grabbing for any collector or as an investment. But High West released only 1300 bottles of this beast into the wild! This bottle is a must-buy for any lover of rare American whiskey!
Booker Noe was the grandson of Jim Beam and a master distiller for more than 40 years. He is also renowned among connoisseurs for the Beam group’s releases of small-batch bourbons under his namesake.
Many of these bottlings are beloved by collectors and can be difficult to procure. However, none may be more important than the sole release of Noe’s small-batch rye. Unfortunately, Booker himself would not live to see the day, but the “Big Time Batch '' was released posthumously by the distillery.
Breaking the bonds of Kentucky traditions at nearly 80% rye, this limited batch has reached mythical status. All sentimentality cast aside, this whisky says “f**k your feelings”. Its alcohol content of 68.1% laughs at all that stands in its way.
Those who dare to try this monster will have their senses assaulted by complex layers of freshly kilned baking spices. It’s Christmas, pepper, wood, citrus and so much more! Dark chocolate and plums and sweet teas on the palate. It finishes with satisfying oak vanillins and mouth-drying tannins before the alcohol warmth takes you to church on Saturday. Only, you actually wanna be there!
But with high-quality rye, it isn’t just about who can make the most noise. In 2017, The Whisky Bible crowned this as the best whiskey in the world. And since then, it became that much harder to get one’s hands on a bottle! Thanks, Jim!
In the rarified atmosphere that is limited edition Scotch, sometimes one might find themselves in the echelons beyond the metaphysical, encountering a bottle so enigmatic that it makes Loch Ness and Stonehenge look commonplace. Few will ever encounter these beasts, and fewer will ever have the chance to purchase them, but should you - they are destined to become more than just whiskies in your prized collection. They represent the finest craftsmanship in Scotland, true pieces of cultural and spiritual engineering that resonate with whiskyphiles - enchanting and ensnaring the soul. Read below to learn about some of the rarest Scotch whiskies in circulation, and stay tuned for part 2 where we explore some even rarer, once-in-a-lifetime Scotch whiskies.
An annual limited edition release that typifies the class and charisma of Scotland's finest whisky producer, The Macallan Editions are a stunning collection of collaborative and uniquely inspired Scotch whiskies that have captured the hearts of collectors across the world. From the Edition No. 1, a luxuriously appointed Scotch whisky, made in collaboration with master whiskey maker Bob Dalgarno, aged in 8 different styles of European and American oak casks, to the Edition No. 5, an inspired collaboration with the Pantone Color Institute that accentuates and illustrates the natural colors and flavors of the Speyside distillery, the Editions showcase the best of the Macallan distillery and have become the height of collectible Scotch since the first release in 2015.
The Macallan x Sir Peter Blake "An Estate, A Community and A Distillery" 750ml combines one of the finest single malt Scotch whiskies in the world with artwork from one of the most iconic pop artists in history. Magnificently crafted and highly collectible, this 95.4 proof single malt Scotch is one of the most coveted bottles ever released by The Macallan, and comes beautifully presented with an artwork by Blake printed on a scroll and included with the bottle. Complex, balanced, and with a bouquet of flavors that spans from rich dried fruits and spice to subtle black pepper, vanilla and treacle, don't miss a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to secure one of the rarest single malt Scotch whiskies ever produced by Macallan.
An elegant and decadent Scotch that’s testament to the Balvenie’s remarkable reputation for crafting quality whisky, the Balvenie 50 year old is a masterful statement piece that blends a marriage of four different fifty-year-old casks. Produced by Balavenie’s Master Whisky Maker David Stewart, there are only 110 bottles of this remarkable Scotch whisky in circulation globally, making it one of the most revered, celebrated and coveted bottles on the face of the earth. The historical bottling is carefully crafted and presented with a bespoke wooden tube, adding to the allure and illustrious nature of this iconic piece. A deep and mature Scotch that resounds with oaky, syrupy flavor which is complemented by nuanced hints of orange, toffee and brown sugar, for collectors and connoisseurs, there is no finer Scotch.
Cask number 843, a whisky nurtured by generations of Glenfiddich’s Malt Masters - it was considered to be one of the finest and oldest whiskies that the world would ever see. After 64 years, this nectar was distilled in one of the smallest releases of all time - just 61 bottles. While many speculated that the quality and strength of the whisky would have depleted over 6 decades of maturation, the 1937 Rare Collection Single Malt would retain an incredible potency that boasted a huge aroma and one of the most intricately complex palate experiences - one that Glenfiddich could only dream of. Coming around once every few years, if you’re able to find one of these occasions, don’t hesitate as the bottle will be gone in the blink of an eye.
A record-breaking Scotch whisky, the Dalmore 62 is considered to be the world’s most expensive whisky - and is undoubtedly one of the world’s rarest ever. A historical release, reduced to only 12 bottles globally, this collector’s item is one of the Scotch world’s most elusive and coveted bottles. For connoisseur’s and whisky buffs, this bottle is the Holy Grail, and a bottle that will only continue to become more and more elusive given the state of the market. In 2002, a bottle sold at auction for £22,000, in 2011 a bottle sold for £125,000, and today, it would fetch an eye-watering amount. Perhaps the most elegant, sophisticated and luxurious expression of Scotch in history, the Dalmore 62 is an enigma that few will be lucky to encounter in their lifetime.