Whiskey fanatics are a lot like Star Wars fans and comic book nerds: Whenever a new bourbon, scotch or rye is released, especially one from a beloved brand, whiskey lovers will line up in droves to get a bottle. It’s one of the few groups of spirit lovers that has a devoted, almost cultish fan base. If you’re a dedicated follower of the golden dram, these eight new whiskies from eight of the most iconic whiskey brands should be on your radar. From a new Jack Daniels rye to a limited single malt from Japanese behemoth Suntory Whisky, here are eight of the hottest whiskies to buy from your favorite whiskey brands.
The first new recipe from Jack Daniels since Prohibition, this Lynchburg, Tennessee-made rye is everything we were hoping it would be and more. With a mash bill of 70 percent rye, 18 percent corn and 12 percent malted barley, Jack Daniels Tennessee Rye is rich, malty and boldly fruity—with a peppery swagger on the finish that rye enthusiasts will love. At only $26 a bottle, we foresee this spirit becoming a new contender for the best well rye whiskey in cocktail bars.
An incredibly unique blend, Basil Hayden’s Dark Rye mixes Kentucky rye and Canadian rye with a touch of California port wine. Rich and decadent on the palate with a flourish of autumnal flavors—including allspice, clove and maple—the whiskey opens up to reveal dark red fruits like black cherry and cassis, wet earth, and woodsy notes of briar patches. Do yourself a favor and buy this spirit before it disappears from your liquor store because you’ll be kicking yourself if you miss out.
Extremely limited in supply, this highly anticipated whisky is the fourth batch to be released in Balvenie’s Tun series. A blend of 23 different barrels from Balvenie’s private whisky stocks, this batch includes spirits from 10 European sherry casks and 13 traditional American oak casks. After the barrels are married, the liquid is left to rest and meld together before it’s non-chill filtered and bottled. If this whisky wasn’t so limited (or expensive), we’d cozy up to it nightly. Once it hits your palate, it reveals its dense layers slowly, with notes of cinnamon toast, buttercream frosting, malt, candied ginger and honeycomb rolling in waves across your tongue. Its finish is long and dry with a hefty, boozy spiciness that lingers and coats your mouth. If you do pick up a bottle, check the code. The company has recalled bottles bearing the code: VAT 17004470.
Previously only available at duty free shops, this limited, cultish Irish whiskey is finally being more widely distributed. To create the unique expression, distillers aged this whiskey for an additional three months in casks that previously held Irish apple cider (and also bourbon, at one point). Extremely balanced and drinkable, the Cider Cask retains an appley flavor that is reminiscent of young Calvados. As the spirit opens up, it yields flavors of malt, cereal grain, clementine and honeycomb. The whiskey finishes mellow with flashes of tannins and whisps of a cider’s crisp acidity. While we’re totally okay with drinking this whiskey neat, it will be our new go-to spirit for holiday punches.
Pappy Van Winkle fans, take note: There’s a new wheated bourbon on the block, and Redemption is not messing around. With a mashbill of 45 percent winter wheat, 51 percent corn and four percent malted barley, this bourbon takes the wheat to a whole new level (most wheated bourbons, including Pappy, use only 20 to 30 percent of the grain in their mash bills). After distillation, the bourbon is rested in New American Oak for four years before being bottled at a whopping 96 proof. Robust, full-bodied and intense, the whiskey is a nutty, grain-heavy flavor bomb. Earthy, savory notes of cardamom, fried sage, bay leaf and pork fat intermingle with the spirit’s softer, sweeter flavors, including candied nuts, honey, vanilla and toffee. Only on the finish do you get traces of the high alcohol, and the weight of the spirit gives it a tannic heft that lasts. Available in limited release, it’s the type of spirit that you buy in pairs every time you see it on a shelf.
Aged for 17 years, this barrel strength bourbon is one of Wild Turkey’s oldest spirits ever released. It’s made with a blend of whiskies that were aged in brick rickhouses at the Old Crow Distillery (which eventually donned the name the “Master’s Keep”) and hand-selected by Master Distiller Eddie Russell for their balance and flavor. On the palate, the bourbon is dense and woodsy with oaky heft and lots of brawny spice notes. On the palate, flavors of tobacco and wet earth mix with vanilla, black pepper and butterscotch. Long, tannic and spicy, this limited whiskey is meant to be sipped neat and savored slowly.
In 1992, Beam’s sixth generation master distiller, Booker Noe, created the now iconic Knob Creek bourbon brand. Separate from the traditional Beam label, Knob Creek was one of the first super-premium, small-batch bourbons that replicated pre-Prohibition styles of American whiskey. Twenty-five years later, Booker’s son Fred Noe released this ultra-limited bourbon to celebrate his father’s creation. Bottled unfiltered at cask strength, it is composed of whiskies that were aged for 13 to 14 years and hand-selected for this historic occasion (it’s the first time Knob Creek has released a single-barrel, cask strength spirit). Each bottle is hand-numbered, and potency varies from batch to batch—the bourbon can be anywhere from 120 to 125 proof. Beam-Suntory claims that it’s “the truest expression of Knob Creek’s iconic flavor.” Dense and in your face, the bourbon is satisfyingly heavy with flavors of charred oak, freshly grated cinnamon, allspice and buttered pecan pie. Its finish is at once mouth coating and rich, with wafts of alcoholic heat and bold, palate-drying tannins. Whether it’s the truest expression of Knob Creek or not, this is everything a bourbon should taste like.
Just when you thought that a Yamazaki single malt couldn’t get any more mouthwateringly delicious, Suntory went and released this absolutely stunning whisky. A blend of several hundred Yamazaki whiskies that were aged a minimum of 18 years (some exceeding as much as 50) and chosen by chief blender, Shinji Fukuyo, this extremely limited single malt is the pinnacle of luxury. Mizunara, a rare oak indigenous to Japan, is the most expensive hard wood in the world, cut from 200-year-old trees. Extremely prone to leakage (and dramatic angel’s share loss), Mizunara casks are not ideal for long-term storage, but this whisky proves that it can be done. The spirit has a distinctive spiciness on the palate, which starts small and builds towards a full-bodied creaminess that lingers for an eternity in your mouth. There are flavors of dried apricot, honeycomb, sandalwood and condensed milk. It’s soft, silky and almost ethereal. “Encountering [this whisky] should yield a moment of epiphany,” says Fukuyo. If we could have one whisky to be poured at our funeral, and buried with us for enjoyment in the afterlife, this would be it.