Whether it be for a home collection or a public bar, a row of top shelf whiskeys always attracts the eye, and people will come around to sample them.
The problem with the best stuff is your ideal window for getting it will be shortly after it’s released, because after that you’ll be dealing with substantial retail mark-ups. These six bottles are all worthy of top shelf status and came out in the last few months.
Bardstown Bourbon Company Collaboration Series The Prisoner
The last time Bardstown Bourbon Company collaborated with a winery, it was its Phifer-Pavitt Reserve, and that ambrosia. The Prisoner follows a similar pattern, taking a 9-year-old Tennessee-made bourbon and giving it an extra-long, 18-month finishing period in The Prisoner French Oak red wine barrels.
Glendalough 17-Year-Old Mizunara-Finish Irish Single Malt
Glendalough is a new Irish distillery, and thus reliant on sourced Irish malts for an old release like this one. This expression was 15 years old at the start, but Glendalough gave it a two-year finish in casks made by rare Japanese Mizunara oak, noted for its potent aromatic properties.
Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Proof Rye 2020
This year’s special release from Jack Daniel’s celebrates the early craftsmanship of the distillery with pure whiskey straight from the barrel, uncut at full proof. In honor of American whiskey when it was often high in rye content, Tennessee Rye is the brand’s first new mash bill since Prohibition and the grain bill is 70% rye, 12% malt, and 18% corn matured at the highest reaches of Barrel House and limited to just 200 barrels. Each sip lingers with molasses, sawn oak, and bold rye spice.
Laphroaig Ian Hunter Series 30-Year-Old Single Malt
This is the first installment in a new series from the Islay distillery, celebrating the legacy of Ian Hunter, who owned and operated Laphroaig from 1908 to 1944. This is a great start, drawing as it does on 30-year-old stock aged in first-fill bourbon barrels.
Midleton Very Rare Vintage 2019
The 36th release in this oldest series of Irish super premium whiskeys draws on single pot still and grain whiskey stocks ranging from 13- to 34-years old, all aged in ex-bourbon barrels.
Old Fitzgerald 15-Year-Old Bottled in Bond, Fall 2020
This is the latest release yet from the Old Fitz Bonded series, but that isn’t the only thing that makes it special. As some experts know, once upon a time Pappy Van Winkle was sourced through the Bernheim Distillery, where Old Fitz is made. That makes this release something like a slightly younger, half-sibling of the Pappy Van Winkle 15-Year-Old of yesteryear, before Buffalo Trace became the main supplier.