Elijah Craig Straight Rye

Elijah Craig straight rye, which is distilled at Heaven Hill not sourced from elsewhere, shares an unusually high barley component with its bourbon siblings. That 14% barley is mashed with 51% rye (the legal minimum) and 37% corn. As Rittenhouse Rye is also made by Heaven Hill and only differs from this by 2% barley (and 2% corn) and 3% ABV, one could be forgiven for calling this…

Highland Queen “Majesty” Single Malt (16 Year)

So it turns out that when I see a 16 year-old single malt for $23 on sale, I should buy a lot more than 1 bottle. This stuff, which is essentially 16 year-old Tullibardine, retails for $60! Now that’s a steal … The brand website is devoid of useful information, but assume this is 16 year-old Tullibardine single malt bottled at 40% ABV after chill filtration and added color. The label says it was aged in “oak casks”. Duh.

Pinhook ‘Rye’d On’ Rye

My first time tasting Pinhook products was this “Inaugural” release of Straight Rye Whiskey distilled at the Castle & Key facility. Each Pinhook seasonal batch is named after a Kentucky Derby racehorse, and this one (Inaugural 2020) has an illustration of “Rye’d On”. The rye is distilled from a mash bill of 60% rye, 20% corn, and 20% malted barley. It’s non chill-filtered straight rye aged for…

Talisker (8 year) Special Release 2021

Instead of an innovative cask finish (like last year’s funky rum), this year Talisker simply selected the 8 year-old warehouse casks that were in refill (re-used) casks and which showed the heaviest peat character. Diageo would like you to think of this as maturing in “ex-Talisker” casks, or perhaps as a “Talisker finished in Talisker”, but refill casks are hardly new, and honestly that sounds a bit…

Wild Turkey Rare Breed

Rare Breed is Wild Turkey’s approach to the fairly-standard “Small Batch, Cask Strength” expression that you’ll find in most distillery lineups. Rare Breed is made from a batch of Wild Turkey Kentucky straight bourbon aged in number 4 char bourbon barrels for 6, 8, and 12 years and bottled at cask strength. While a lot of bourbon distillers these days (especially the trendy ones) are marking up their cask strength bottles to portray them as…

Highland Queen “Majesty” Single Malt (12 Year)

Highland Queen, which I confess I’d never heard of before I saw this bottle on sale, is a line of blended scotch and single malts owned by Picard Vins & Spiritueux SA, a family-owned firm based in France that also owns the Tullibardine distillery. Picard acquired the brand from Glenmorangie in 2008, but the name dates back to 1893 when a blended scotch was named after…