St. Patrick’s Day is behind us, but International Whiskey Day is fast approaching (on March 27th, to be exact). While you never need an excuse nor a holiday to enjoy one of the most complex spirits, it sure doesn’t hurt to always have some on hand. Some of these sips are tried and true, and others you may have never heard of, but they do all have one thing in common — they taste great. From surprisingly affordable options to special occasion splurges, here are some of our favorite whiskeys to get your hands on this season.
Cascade Moon Edition No. 2 ($249.99): Honoring the heritage of the George A. Dickel & Co., Cascade Hollow Distilling Co. launches their latest edition using whiskey from a small batch blend curated around the first barrel of Tennessee whisky filled after the distillery returned from shutdown back in 2003. The result is a bold, mature whiskey, with notes of oak, leather and vanilla. The whiskey, which is available regionally in Tennessee, California, and Texas, comes in a sandblasted ceramic bottle with hand-printed labels made from a 130 year-old printing press.
Coopers’ Craft Barrel Reserve Kentucky Bourbon ($29.99): This Kentucky bourbon was created in celebration of Brown-Forman’s long history of raising its own barrels. If you’re thinking Brown-Forman sounds familiar, that’s because they are the producer and marketer for brands like Jack Daniel’s, Woodford Reserve, and Korbel, to name a few. Utilizing a unique charcoal finishing process, the resulting bourbon has a soft, spicy finish, with notes of caramel, vanilla and cinnamon.
Shibui Single Grain 10-Year White Oak ($169.99): Launched late last year, Shibui Japanese Whisky is the only single brand range of whiskies crafted from multiple award-winning Japanese distilleries. Their first launches came from four distilleries across Niigata and Okinawa, but they plan on launching even more. Tasting thousands of whiskies, Shibui aims to release a few expressions each year and their Single Grain from Masahiro Distillery in Okinawa and has noted of caramel, whipped cream and tropical fruits.
Redwood Empire Emerald Giant Rye ($39.99): This California-based distillery produces an award-winning rye comprised of 95% rye and 5% malt barely. It’s aged for over three years in new charred oak barrels, giving it a spicy, yet slightly sweet taste with notes of honey and orange peel. In a cocktail or on its own, this rye whiskey stands out.
Egan’s Irish Whiskey Legacy Reserve III ($200): This incredible whiskey is a great special occasion steal if you can find it. Only 1,000 bottles are available worldwide! The spirit is aged for 15 years in American bourbon cask, boasting a spicy palate with notes of toffee, vanilla, oak and citrus, with a long finish. Each bottle of this complex single malt is hand-selected by Maurice and Jonathan Egan.
Starward Two-Fold Double Grain Whiskey ($32.99): Comprised of malted barley and dry wheat, this whiskey is aged in Australian red wine barrels, where the local climate allows it to be aged for just three short years. The resulting whiskey has notes of caramel and tropical fruit, giving way to a smooth, dry finish.
The Macallan Double Cask 18 ($340.99): Launched this past summer, the double cask series from The Macallan features three different expressions, including the 18 year old Scotch. Meticulously crafted and aged in American and European oak sherry casks, the 18-year whisky has notes of raisin and caramel, along with oak spice and ginger. It’s definitely a statement piece to have in your home bar, and certainly worthy of any special occasion.
Rozelieures Subtil Collecion ($55.99): A single malt French whiskey, this expression from Rozelieures is aged in old bourbon, cognac and new oak casks, to give off notes of candied fruits, vanilla and cereals on the palate. It is also known for being the first unpeated single malt whiskey produced in Rozelieures, located in northeastern France.
Widow Jane The Vaults 2019 ($150): Brooklyn’s own Widow Jane released their first ever bourbon from their new “The Vaults” collection. The distillery plans to release a new expression annually, comprised of the oldest and rarest bourbons from their stocks. The inaugural release is a blend of 14-year and older Tennessee and Indiana bourbons drawn from 20 barrels that were hand-selected and blended by their head distiller. Notes of tobacco, vanilla, campfire and nutmeg are apparent and only about 500 cases of this bourbon will be released to the public. Get your hands on a bottle if you can!
Writers’ Tears Copper Pot ($45): This blend of aged single pot still and aged single malt Irish whiskey is one of the highest rated whiskies for good reason. Distilled from both malted and unmalted barley and triple distilled, non-peated, and aged in flame charred American oak bourbon casks, Writers’ Tears is indeed the right choice of intoxicant for both writers and non-writers alike. Flavors of ginger, spices and fruits round out to a long, chocolatey finish.
Slane Irish Whiskey Triple Casked ($28.99): This affordable whiskey blends grain and malt whiskeys together using three distinct casks (hence the name). It’s complex, drinkable, and easily enjoyed on its own or mixed up in a cocktail. Notes of vanilla, banana, and baking spices make this multi-layered whiskey a staple on the bar cart.
Woodford Reserve Straight Kentucky Bourbon ($38.99): Long touted as one of the tastiest and most consistent bourbons on the market, this Kentucky bourbon, which is also the official bourbon of the Kentucky Derby, is distilled using both malt and rye grains. With a silky smooth finish and notes of caramel, spice and chocolate, Woodford is always a solid choice to have on hand. We love making the classic Woodford Spire cocktail with ours.
Penderyn Celt ($59): I bet you didn’t know that Wales has its own whiskey distillery and that it’s racked up numerous awards. The bottle, which features the red dragon, the national flag of Wales, is a work of art in and of itself, perfect for any home bar. This single malt is finished in ex-peated quarter casks, giving it smoky flavor with a long, lingering finish.
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