The world of whiskey just keeps getting larger. The US and Scotland still get the bulk of the attention, but Canada and Ireland are both putting out exciting new whiskey releases each year. Japan has gotten perhaps too much press, but none of it is undeserving. Sadly, age statement favorites like Nikka Yoichi 15 Year and even Yamazaki 12 Year are difficult to find. But if it’s in your budget, by all means, buy them. If not, don’t fret. There are other places like Australia joining in the fun.
But we understand that when you see the stocked shelves at the liquor store, it can be overwhelming. There are so many whiskeys to choose from and you’d hate to make a bad selection. Fortunately for you (and us, truth be told), we’ve tasted quite a few of the whiskeys released Stateside in 2019. Check out our world whiskey gift guide to see our favorites of the bunch.
Gooderham & Worts celebrates the history behind a Toronto grist mill and distillery which first produced whisky in 1837. It closed in 1990, but at its height was producing over 2 million liters of whisky a year, which at the time was half the production in the whole of Canada. This whisky was first released in the late ’90s as part of the failed Canadian Whisky Guild Series along with Lot 40 and Pike Creek. This bottling was distilled by Corby Distillers and production was overseen by Dr. Don Livermore. The four grains blended are corn, wheat, rye and barley. It is bottled at 44.4% ABV. As of summer 2019, Gooderham & Worts is now available in the US.
Flavor Profile: Floral & Fruity
Starward was founded in Melbourne in 2007 by David Vitale. The ingredients used in the brand’s whiskeys are just a day’s drive away from Melbourne. Starward Nova is a made from 100% Australian malted barley. It fully matures in uncharred wine barrels which held Australian wines such as shiraz, cabernet sauvignon and pinot noir. Nova debuted in Australia in 2016, but as of May 2019 this single malt is now available in the US.
Flavor Profile: Vanilla & Rich
Crown Royal Noble Collection French Oak Cask Finished is the fourth release in this limited edition collection which first launched in 2016. We spoke with Crown Royal’s Master Blender Mark Balkenende, and Director of Whisky Engagement Stephen Wilson if you’d like a full report on the makeup of this expression. But in short, Crown Royal DeLuxe Whisky is used as the base. Then the brand blends and re-barrels it into toasted new French oak casks for further aging. The French oak used to craft the barrels was sourced from the Vosges region where the oak is known for its straight and tight grain. The oak is open air-seasoned for two years before a two-step fire roasting. It has been available as of June 2019.
Flavor Profile: Spicy
Knappogue Castle Marchesi di Barolo is the third release in the brand’s Cask Finish limited edition series. Like the other releases, this single malt starts out as Knappogue Castle Bourbon Cask Matured 12 Year and finishes in a wine cask. In this case, casks from esteemed Italian winery Marchesi di Barolo are used to finish maturing the whiskey. Bottled without chill-filtration at 92 proof, only 1,020 bottles were produced. It has been available since September 2019.
Flavor Profile: Sweet & Full-Bodied
Tyrconnell 16 Year Oloroso & Moscatel Cask Finish is a single malt release which spends its first 16 years maturing in American oak ex-bourbon barrels. Then the whiskey ages for a time in wine casks, from the Andalusian region, which initially were seasoned with oloroso sherry before a second seasoning of moscatel wine.
Flavor Profile: Fruity & Full-Bodied
Canadian Club Chronicles Issue 2 is a 42-year-old whisky called The Dock Man. The whisky pays homage to the Hiram-Walker distillery dock workers that tirelessly loaded freighters with crates of Canadian Club during American Prohibition. Just like last year’s 41-year-old Chronicles, this whisky was batched and barreled in 1977. This time, Canada’s 9.09% rule, which allows producers to add up to 9.09% of non-whisky to a blend and still label it as Canadian whisky, was exercised to blend the ultra-aged corn whisky with 16-year-old rye, 12-year-old pot-distilled rye and a splash of brandy. It’s available across Canada, the United States and travel retail in limited quantities.
Flavor Profile: Rich
The Saumura Scientist is the sixth edition (六) of The Boss Hog series from WhistlePig. At its base is a straight rye whiskey distilled in Canada which was created using koji fermentation, a technique pioneered by Dr. Jōkichi Takamine. As he was known as the Samurai Scientist, the pewter Samurai bottle top adorning each bottle is a nod to him. The rye whiskey is finished in barrels which held Japanese umeshu—a Japanese liqueur made from ume, or plum fruits. The whiskey is bottled at barrel strength and will range from 120-122 proof depending on which batch you have.
Flavor Profile: Rich & Full-Bodied
SRP $ 499