Fall is more than just that time of year when the air turns crisp and trees lose their leaves.
For managers of whiskey bars, it’s also when folks start coming around asking about “Van Winkle.” Yet, this time of year is more than just when Pappy Van Winkle bourbons and ryes are released. Most of the annual limited release whiskeys that enthusiasts have come to crave are released at this time, too.
Angel’s Envy Cask Strength
Amping up the port-finished goodness of regular Angel’s Envy, this cask strength version bursts with dried fruits and oaky flavors. It takes everything people like about Angel’s Envy up a couple of notches, while also being an excellent example in general of what happens when you raise the proof on a bourbon into the 120 range.
Buffalo Trace Antique Collection
This set of five whiskeys is a mix of bourbons and ryes that are all either cask strength (Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye and William Larue Weller Bourbon), ultra-aged (Eagle Rare 17-Year-Old Bourbon and Sazerac Rye 18-Year-Old), or both cask strength and ultra-aged (George T. Stagg Bourbon). As a group, they have earned more medals and awards than General Patton, while Weller and Stagg come second only to Pappy Van Winkle for desirability.
Elijah Craig 18-Year-Old and 23-Year-Old
Although at one time these two bottles were only released periodically, in recent years they have become annual releases. Both are bottled at 90 proof and take Elijah Craig Small Batch—a mature, pleasant, easy sipper—further and deeper into oak-barrel aging. Some consider the 23-Year-Old over-oaked, in fact, in the same way as Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve 23-Year-Old, making the younger 18-Year-Old expression more popular with bourbon aficionados.
Four Roses Small Batch Limited Edition 2018
Fans of Four Roses are obsessed with the distillery’s ten recipes of yeast and grain, and every year the distillery releases a special version of its Small Batch that blends aged versions of a handful of those recipes. This year’s edition draws on a 16-Year-Old of the fan favorite OESK recipe, plus 10-Year-Old OBSV, 13-Year-Old OESV, 13-Year Old OBSF, and 14-Year-Old OESV.
Parker’s Heritage Barrel Finish 2018
The annual prestige series for Heaven Hill, Parker’s Heritage has been all over the whiskey board. The release is a 110 proof, 10-year-old bourbon, and what makes it unusual is the orange Curacao finish. That last touch turned a traditional whiskey into a superbly yummy one.