The hottest new whisky releases for the winter
While there’s undoubtedly a whisky for any occasion, and any time of year, we’re entering peak whisky season at the moment, as the nights draw in. Fortunately, there’s been no shortage of new whisky releases in 2023, and in the past few months in particular.
Torabhaig Allt Gleann Batch Strength (61.1% ABV, RRP £75)
Concluding a chapter in its Legacy Series, Isle of Skye distillery Torabhaig recently dropped a limited edition batch strength release entitled Allt Gleann. The series charts the journey of the distillery, operational since January 2017, and only the second single malt distillery on the island in nearly 200 years. The whisky itself, distilled in Torabhaig’s early days, is powerfully peaty, with brine aromas alongside a good hit of smoke, leading to a savoury, mouthfilling palate with a touch of ashy peat towards the finish.
Port Askaig new core range
Sticking with peat, Islay distillery Port Askaig has refreshed its range, recently introducing a new core range consisting of three whiskies. Central to the range is Port Askaig 8 Year Old (45.8% ABV, RRP £49.95), made with a new recipe. This single malt is matured for three years in American oak, followed by an additional five in a selection of ex-bourbon, toasted American oak, PX sherry butts and refill hogsheads. Port Askaig Cask Strength (59.4%, £64.95), meanwhile, is a limited expression, with the cask recipe set to change every batch. For this first batch, it’s first fill toasted bourbon barrels and refill American oak hogsheads, resulting in a peaty seaweed notes alongside sweet vanilla. The third, Port Askaig 17 Year Old (51.8%, £125), is the inaugural whisky in what is planned to be an annual release, aged for at least 17 years in American oak casks.
Glenmorangie A Tale of Tokyo (46% ABV, RRP £76)
The latest limited-edition whisky from Glenmorangie is inspired by Japan’s capital city, using Japanese Mizunara oak casks for the first time. A percentage of the whiskies in Glenmorangie A Tale of Tokyo are aged in these rare casks, blended with Glenmorangie aged in bourbon and sherry casks. The result combines marzipan and spice notes with sweet, ripe citrus – an approachable yet complex single malt. The distillery collaborated with Japanese artist Yamaguchi Akira to create artwork for the release.
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Bladnoch The Peated Collection
Lowland scotch distillery Bladnoch has unveiled their new Peated Collection, consisting of five peated whisky. At its core is Bladnoch Alinta (47% ABV), previously the only peated whisky in the distillery’s range, and aged in a combination of PX sherry and ex-bourbon casks. New to the range are four new whiskies, starting with Bladnoch Alinta Reserve (46.7%), which will be an annual release. This first 2023 release of Alinta Reserve is aged entirely in first-fill amontillado sherry hogsheads. Also in the new collection is three single cask releases from Bladnoch’s 2009 stocks, all 100% peated. These are Bladnoch 2009 Sherry Hogshead (58.3%), Bladnoch 2009 Rum Cask (54.1%) and Bladnoch 2009 Bourbon Barrel (55.9%).
The Cotswolds Distillery Spanish Oak Single Malt Whisky (50% ABV, RRP £100) and Flaxen Vale Single Malt Whisky (53.9%, RRP £125)
Two new limited-edition single cask whiskies landed from English distillery Cotswolds recently. The first, Spanish Oak Single Malt Whisky, is aged in oloroso sherry casks, as well as former red wine and bourbon barrels. The distillery recommends serving it as a cocktail, Spanish Flight, combining the whisky with sweet vermouth, Pedro Ximénez sherry and orange bitters. Flaxen Vale Single Malt Whisky, meanwhile, is the second in the distillery’s Harvest Series, aged in both American oak Pedro Ximénez casks and Spanish oak oloroso casks. The cocktail suggestion for this is entitled The Whisky Harvest, pairing the whisky with hazelnut liqueur, lemon juice and honey syrup. Each year, the distillery’s Harvest Series release is accompanied by a painting, this year created by Cotswolds artist Annabel Playfair.
Bunnahabhain 1990 (54.8% ABV, RRP £2,000)
The Whisky Exchange recently revealed its latest exclusive, Bunnahabhain 1990. This rare whisky has been matured in an oloroso sherry butt for over 30 years before being bottled this year. The result is a powerful, rich whisky, with deep notes of spice, mahogany and a touch of potpourri on the nose, leading to a concentrated palate with sweet oak, dried black fruit, treacle notes and an exceedingly long finish.
The Oxford Artisan Distillery: The Dissertation (47.3% ABV, RRP £97.50)
The Dissertation is The Oxford Artisan’s 12th batch of rye whisky, a blend of two different whiskies, each with distinct mash bills and aged in different casks. The first, 100% rye, has been aged in casks previously used to age Ramandolo, an Italian sweet wine, while the second, using a mash bill more traditional for the distillery – 70% rye, 20% wheat and 10% malted barley, has been aged in American oak casks. As with previously releases, this whisky highlights the distillery’s work to improve farming practices, using biodiverse populations of heritage grains.
Aberfeldy 25 Year Old (46% ABV, RRP £500)
It was 1898 when Highland single malt distillery Aberfeldy first started producing whisky. To mark its 125th anniversary, it has bottled a 25-year-old single malt, finished in oloroso sherry casks. These casks give the whisky a spicy, dried fruit element, joining a rich, honeyed whisky with ripe stone fruit notes on the palate, as well as sweet caramel and some deeper dark chocolate notes too.
Rhythm and Booze Records #1: The Rhythm and Booze Project 13YO Single Sherry Butt Blended Malt (50% ABV, RRP £65/50cl)
Bridging the worlds of spirits and music, new bottler and record label Rhythm and Booze has launched its first whisky, a 13yo single sherry butt blended malt, alongside an EP from blues duo and co-founders of the project, Felipe Schrieberg and Paul Archibald. The whisky is a single cask blended malt, matured in a former oloroso sherry butt. Just 1050 bottles are available, each with a QR code on the label that leads to a link to stream and download the EP.
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