As we’ve said lately, this time of year becomes like playing a game of whack-a-mole at Distiller. Every time we think we’ve accounted for every new bottle coming to market, we turn around and realize that there are 10 more we’ve missed. That makes our jobs harder, but it also makes your lives quite a bit more exciting. There are more new spirits hitting shelves over the next few months than we can capture here, but these were the most notable announcements from the month of September 2018.
The Glenrothes Soleo Collection
This collection from the Speyside distillery reflects a complete departure from the brand’s vintage and reserve portfolio and a move to age statement releases. The Soleo Collection is named for the process of sun-drying grapes in the production of some sherry wines, like Pedro Ximenez. Available beginning September 2018, the initial Soleo Collection is four age statement releases and a NAS bottling. All five releases aged exclusively in sherry seasoned oak casks with 100% natural color. A 40 year version is expected in early 2019.
Note: The name refers to master whisky maker Gordon Motion and his preferred strength for this bottling. Produced using only first-fill sherry seasoned oak casks.
High proportion of first-fill sherry seasoned oak casks used.
High proportion of first-fill sherry seasoned oak casks used.
The Glenrothes Soleo Collection / Photo Credit: The Glenrothes
Buffalo Trace Antique Collection 2018
Last Tuesday (September 18th, 2018), Buffalo Trace announced its yearly limited edition releases that are collectively know as the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection. We wrote a fuller deep dive on each bottle that day, but here are the main points. All of the bottles are technically set for a suggested retail price of $99, but there is approximately a 0% chance that you’ll find a bottle in a store for that amount.
Eagle Rare 17 Year Bourbon: Increased from 90 to 101 proof.
George T. Stagg Bourbon: Uncut, unfiltered, bottled at 124.9 proof.
Sazerac Rye 18 Year: Distilled in spring of 1998, bottled at 90 proof.
Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye: Uncut, unfiltered, bottled at 128.8 proof.
William Larue Weller Bourbon: Uncut, unfiltered wheated bourbon, bottled at 125.7 proof.
Buffalo Trace Antique Collection 2018 / Photo Credit: Buffalo Trace
Inspired by a rock song, Flaming Heart was first introduced in 2006. Like all previous editions, this one combines single malt aged in new heavily-toasted French oak with peat-fired malt from Islay. However, for this 2018 edition, the brand has reintroduced sherry casks to the mix, something that hadn’t been done since the 2012 release. The exact recipe is featured on the Compass Box website. This limited edition is comprised of 15,050 standard bottles along with 800 large format (1.5L/1.75L) bottles. Available in Europe beginning September 2018 with the US to follow. SRP: $150.
Inspired by a bespoke bottling Compass Box created for a New York bar named The Spaniard, this bottling explores the sherried style further in this new permanent addition to the portfolio. At its core are single malt whiskies from the Highlands aged in Spanish sherry and Spanish red wine casks. 48% of the whisky aged in ex-sherry and 25% in ex-Spanish red wine casks. As always, the full recipe and exact proportions are listed on the brand’s website. Compass Box The Story of the Spaniard was released in September 2018. SRP: $65.
Announced in fall 2018, Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Heritage Barrel is a limited edition release for the brand’s single barrel series. As is the case for all Jack Daniel’s whiskeys, the barrels were constructed at the brand’s own cooperage facility. Master distiller Jeff Arnett selected 200 American white oak barrels to be toasted and then charred. Additionally, the whiskey entered the barrel at 100 proof, a lower proof than is typically used for Jack Daniel’s. The whiskey matured at the top of the highest elevated warehouses on Coy Hill. Bottled at 100 proof, this is a US exclusive release. SRP: $65.
Four Roses 130th Anniversary Limited Edition Small Batch Bourbon marks the 130th anniversary for the brand which launched in 1888. Crafted by master distiller Brent Elliott, the Kentucky straight bourbon is made from bourbons aged 10-16 years with varying mash bills and yeast recipes.
Two bourbons use a high-rye recipe (35% rye) in their mash bill: a 10 year-old with a floral essence yeast strain and a 13 year-old with a herbal yeast strain. The other two bourbons use a 75% corn mash bill recipe: a 14 year-old with a delicate fruit yeast strain and a 16 year-old with a slight spice yeast strain. Bottled at a barrel strength of 108.3 proof, it will first be made available at the distillery beginning September 15, 2018 with additional retailers in the weeks following. SRP $140.
FEW, the grain-to-glass Illinois distillery, makes its American Whiskey by blending FEW Bourbon and FEW Rye whiskeys along with its new experimental cherrywood-smoked malt whiskey. There is no-age statement for this whiskey which is bottled at 46.5% ABV. The initial release for this product begins in September 2018 and is limited to Chicago and New York City with planned expansion for spring 2019. SRP: $50.
Proper No. Twelve Irish Whiskey is a brand founded by Mixed Martial Arts Champion, Conor McGregor under his Eire Born Spirits company. The name refers to the southwest area where McGregor hails, Dublin 12. McGregor worked in concert with master distiller David Elder, formerly of Guinness, to decide on the final blend selected from almost 100 blends. This is a triple-distilled blended whiskey matured in former bourbon barrels. Notably, the company will donate $5 for every case sold to local first responder organizations & charities up to $1 million annually. SRP: $25.
Blackened Whiskey is a collaboration between the rock band Metallica and master distiller Dave Pickerell. It is a blend of straight whiskeys sourced from undisclosed North American distilleries. The whiskey is finished in “black brandy barrels” for a few weeks. Additionally, the barrels are sonically enhanced in a process called “Black Noise”. Low hertz sound waves—playing Metallica’s music of course—cause the whiskey to further interact with the wood. The inaugural batch is labeled 081, to signify the year the band formed. Each batch of 5000 bottles will come with an accompanying playlist on Spotify and Apple Music. SRP: $43.
Goslings Papa Seal Single Barrel Bermuda Rum is a limited edition release available in the US beginning fall 2018. The rum is a blend of column and pot still rums distilled from molasses. This single barrel rum is aged for 15 years in once used bourbon barrels with a medium char. This Papa Seal release comes from 12 selected barrels which yielded 2592 bottles. Each bottle will display both the barrel and bottle number as well as the bottling date. Due to the nature of single barrel releases, slight variances in flavor are to be expected. SRP: $199.
This rum is made from a blend of column and pot still distilled rums that were selected by master blender Allen Smith. The rums aged from 8-15 years in American oak before finishing its maturation in peated whisky casks from Islay for a final six months. It is bottled at a cask strength of 57% ABV. Mount Gay XO: The Peat Smoke Expression is a limited release with just 6,120 bottles produced—only 1,200 for the US. Available beginning October 2018. SRP: $250.
That does it for the New Booze News from September 2018.