Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon

Elijah Craig is a small-batch bourbon made by prolific distiller Heaven Hill in Bardstown, Kentucky, and is named after Reverend Elijah Craig who is apocryphally credited with the invention of oak aging of corn whisky to create bourbon. This version replaces the old 12 year-old bottling, and is instead comprised of whiskey aged between 8 and 12 years.

Glenmorangie Bacalta

…Bacalta, for instance, is aged in standard ex-bourbon casks and then finished in Malmsey Madeira wine casks. Apparently “Bacalta” is Scots Gaelic for “Baked”, and these casks were, at one point, “baked under the sun” or some nonsense. Personally, I think that means someone forgot the shipment from Madeira had arrived in the parking lot and left the barrels there for a few weeks before someone brought them inside, but maybe I’m a skeptic.

Hirsch Small Batch Bourbon

Anchor Distillers (which is a distillery in California, but also does business importing and bottling sourced spirits) has loaded down the Hirsch label with every whisky marketing adjective in the book. This is – no, really – Small-Batch Reserve Selected Straight Bourbon Whiskey, which is “Crafted” in the USA. It also says “artisanally produced” on the back. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of anyone accusing MGP of being a “craft” distillery, but there’s the word on the bottle none-the-less.

Laphroaig Select

…this is the first addition to the core range of Laphroaig in awhile. The official back story for the Select (why does every new release need a back story these days?) is that because the last distillery manager when Laphroaig was family-owned, Ian Hunter, was among the first to utilize ex-bourbon barrels in the maturation of single malt. At the time, Laphroaig would have been primarily aged in used (and reused) European oak wine and fortified wine (sherry, madeira, port, etc.) casks.

Michter’s US*1 Bourbon

… industry contacts allowed the brand to distill its recipe under contract at an undisclosed Kentucky distillery. The recipe, incidentally, includes not only a specific strain of yeast and a mash bill of 79% corn, 11% rye, and 10% barley, but the unusual choice of filling barrels at 103 proof (instead of the more cost-effective 120+ proof).

Laphroaig Cairdeas 2016

An unusual, decadent take on the standard Laphroaig brashness. While most of me enjoys the layering of fruit and peat, a small part misses the straightforward intensity, austerity, and rough edges of the Laphroaig 10, which seems to say, “I don’t need any of that fruity nonsense”, and which comes with an age statement to boot. Despite my quirks, I can say that this is an accomplished, well-balanced, and rewarding dram at a perfectly reasonable $80.

Old Forester 1920 “Prohibition Style” Bourbon

Brown Forman’s Old Forester brand, in an attempt to avoid being left in the dust of the whisky hype train, is releasing a series of special-edition whiskies in honor of the brand’s history of per-Prohibition distillation. … uses a mashbill of 72% corn, 18% rye, and 10% malted barley (for enzymes), the same as other Old Forester bottlings, and is by law at least 4 years of age. The 115 proof (57.5% ABV) is the distiller’s estimate of the probable bottling proof that would have been used during Prohibition for whisky intended for “medicinal purposes”.

Glengoyne Cask Strength (Batch 4)

Glengoyne’s whisky is distilled from Golden Promise barley, a low-yield heritage strain of barley used rarely in today’s big-volume whisky industry (The Macallan is also known for using the strain). Glengoyne is also notable for the speed of its distillation (purportedly the “slowest” in Scotland), its total lack of peat even in the process water, and its location very near or perhaps on top of the invisible line dividing the Highlands and the Lowlands of Scotland. The Cask Strength batches are bottled without added coloring and without chill-filtration.

Sonoma County Distilling Co. Cask Strength Bourbon No. 2

Sonoma County Distilling, located in Rohnert Park, CA and opened in 2010, uses direct-fired copper alembic pot stills for its whiskies, which are twice-distilled (like most single-malt scotches, which are also distilled in pot stills). The West of Kentucky Bourbon No. 2 has a mashbill of Midwest yellow corn, unmalted Canadian wheat, and malted barley from Wyoming.

Glenfarclas 105 Cask Strength

Glenfarclas has been known in whisky circles as a way to get old-fashioned, independently-distilled, sherry-forward single malt at insider prices. … The ‘105’ in the name refers to the proof, which in the British proof system is 60% ABV. Around here we use the US proof system, which means the 105 is actually 120. Got it? … Glenfarclas uses only sherry casks to mature whisky, which previously held oloroso or fino sherry, and are either 500 liters (butts) or 250 liters (hogsheads).