As summer comes to a close and we look to the fall season, we have to remember that beautiful weather and warming flavors are on the horizon.
For this month’s new releases, some great whiskies have hit the market just in time for leaf peeping, along with two excellent gins and a savory saffron liqueur. As you stock your home bar for September, take a look at the best new spirit releases from August.
Uncle Nearest 1884 Small Batch Premium Whiskey ($50)
Uncle Nearest Whiskey is inspired by Nearest Green, the first African-American master distiller on record and the man who taught Jack Daniels how to make whiskey. The premium brand just released their 1884 Small Batch bottling, a seven-year-old minimum whiskey that commemorates the final year that Nearest is thought to have put his own whiskey into barrels before he retired. The pale, 93 proof spirit has a bright, fruity flavor with notes of cherries and dark chocolate that sips beautifully on its own or in an Old Fashioned.
Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Wheat Whiskey ($35)
At the end of Prohibition, the federal government permitted four styles of American straight whiskey—bourbon, rye, wheat and malt. With the launch of the latest expression in their core line, Woodford Reserve now has all four grain types in their collection. Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Wheat Whiskey clocks in at 90.4 proof and offers aromas of cooked, spiced apples and vanilla. On the palate, a fruit-forward flavor of applesauce, mint and coconut makes it perfect for mixing in your favorite whiskey cocktails.
Wild Turkey Master’s Keep Cornerstone Rye ($173)
As the fourth release in the Master’s Keep series, and the oldest rye ever released by the brand, Wild Turkey Cornerstone Rye is truly something special. For this limited-edition expression, Master Distiller Eddie Russell handpicked a lot of his best ryes from char #4 barrels, all aged from nine to 11 years, and blended them to created a balanced, flavorful rye whiskey. The nose is soft with hints of vanilla and baked apple, while the palate delivers bold but smooth notes of black pepper, honey and cherry. Bottled at 109 proof, this is an exceptional expression to sip during moments of celebration.
Apologue Saffron Spiced Liqueur ($40)
Chicago-based Apologue wowed the liqueurs space when they released their savory Celery Root Liqueur late last year. Now, the brand is back with another aromatic expression that will give your palate a break from the sweet. Apologue Saffron Spiced Liqueur uses a fragrant mix of saffron, cardamom, coriander, lemongrass, cinchona and turmeric for a bright, savory liqueur that tastes delicious when mixed with club soda or sparkling wine. If you want to get funky with it, use Apologue Saffron in place of Grand Marnier in a classic Sidecar.
Dingle Single Malt Whiskey, Batch No. 4 ($90)
Dingle opened its distillery doors in 2012, and although it’s a relative newcomer, their excellent spirits have ushered in a new class of modern Irish whiskey distilling. Now, their Batch No. 4 Single Malt Whiskey is finally available in the United States. Dingle sources their own grain, triple distills four casks per day, then marries a combination of whiskies from bourbon, sherry and port casks for this expression. The resulting flavor is a balanced mix of oak and vanilla with notes of dried apricots and raisins that come through from the fortified wine casks. It’s a perfect whiskey to sip neat or on the rocks after a big meal.
Dorothy Parker Rose Petal Gin ($29)
In honor of Dorothy Parker’s 125th birthday, New York Distilling Company has released a pale pink-hued gin to celebrate the lauded writer. The base of Dorothy Parker Rose Petal Gin starts with their award-winning original recipe, which includes botanicals like hibiscus peels and green cardamom pods. The Rose Petal Gin gets its natural color from an infusion of red and pink rose petals, as well as crushed elderberries, which is also one of the key botanicals in the original gin. This expression makes a gorgeous Gin and Tonic, especially when garnished with fresh citrus.
Tod & Vixen’s Dry Gin 1651 ($40)
Located in New York’s Hudson Valley, The Vale Fox Distillery was founded by Eral Gokgol-Kline, who brought in experts like bartenders Gary (gaz) Regan, Leo Robitschek and Jeffrey Morgenthaler, and experienced Master Distiller Roselyn Thomson (formerly with John Dewar & Sons). This month, The Vale Fox released its very first spirit, Tod & Vixen’s Dry Gin 1651. This expression gets the date 1651 because that’s the year Gokgol-Kline’s great, great grandfather arrived in New York from Holland and was given a license to distill. The vibrant gin is made by macerating botanicals like juniper, angelica root and rooibos tea for a smooth, Martini-ready spirit.
Sagamore Spirit Cognac Finish ($70)
Sagamore Spirit has been making a case for Maryland rye, and they’ve released some of our favorite whiskey expressions these last couple years. Their latest bottling, Cognac Finish, is one of the best to date. Sagamore’s straight rye whiskey is finished in French cognac barrels to give the spirit a nose of apricot and cinnamon with a velvety flavor of apple, vanilla and brown sugar. Even at 101 proof, this spirit is smooth enough to sip neat, but we also love it in a Black Manhattan with chocolate bitters.