With Father’s Day approaching, many whiskey makers have new releases that could be perfect for the Dad in your life. Or the Mom, if yours likes bourbon and isn’t picky about belated presents.
Here are few worth checking out:
Knob Creek 2001, Limited Edition
Jim Beam’s Knob Creek is a consistent favorite of bourbon fans. Created more than 20 years ago by legendary distiller Booker Noe, Knob Creek was handed over to his son, and current Beam master distiller, Fred Noe, in 2001.
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What makes it special: This version is the oldest to date, aged 14 years, a full five years longer than regular Knob Creek. It’s a big, full-flavored bourbon, 100 proof, with lots of complex oak and char notes, subtle vanilla and warm spice. There are three batches: Batch 1 is sweeter, more caramel; Batch 2 is woodier and more tannic; Batch 3 is somewhere between the two.
Price: About $130 for a 750ml bottle. Very limited quantities.
Bourbon lovers know Booker’s as a true barrel bourbon, bottled uncut and of the highest quality. This is the first release of a rye edition.
What makes it special: It’s from a never-before-released mash bill that was used to create some of the last rye barrels Booker Noe filled in 2003. Full of spicy, robust flavor, and a distinct woodiness from spending 13 years in the barrel. Bottled uncut at 136.2 proof, it’s an intense flavor bomb best enjoyed neat or on the rocks.
Price: About $300 for a 750ml bottle. Extremely limited quantities.
Canadian Club Rye
Also from the Beam family, Canadian Club 100 percent Rye is a great addition to the portfolio.
What makes it special: Although whiskey can be labeled “rye” with as little as 51 percent of the grain, this one goes all the way, with real Canada-grown rye, giving it a spicy flavor, smoothed by blending with liquid from three types of barrels — new oak, once-used bourbon barrels and Canadian whiskey barrels. Bottled at 80 proof, this award-winning whiskey has been available in Canada but is just now hitting U.S. shelves.
Price: About $20 for a 750ml bottle.
One last entry from Beam, a Scotch from the legendary Laphroaig Distillery, known for the intense peaty aroma and flavor.
What makes it special: All Laphroaig is smoky. But Lore is billed as the most richly flavored expression ever. It has rich layers of smoke, peat and the sea, tempered with sweetness from aging in bourbon barrels, new oak, Olorosa sherry butts and even used Laphroaig casks. According to the tasting notes, underneath the smoke you can nose a hint of ash and bitter chocolate, vanilla and oily unroasted chestnuts, fudge and malty sweetness. Add water for a hint of clotted cream and unripe citrus. Bottled at 96 proof.
Price: about $125 for a 750ml bottle.
Full Proof 1792
From the historic Barton 1792 Distillery in Bardstown, this limited-edition bourbon is the fourth release of special 1792 expressions, following Sweet Wheat, Port Finish and Single Barrel.
What makes it special: This bourbon was blended from barrels filled in fall 2007 and left to age for 8 1/2 years. Bottled at 125 proof, the same proof it went into the barrel, Full Proof has a lot of vanilla and dried cherry notes, with an almost jammy finish.
Price: About $45 for a 750ml bottle. Very limited quantities; will be released annually for the next few years.
Orphan Barrel’s Rhetoric 22-year-old
This is the eighth Orphan Barrel release from Diageo, which pulls out whiskeys from its voluminous stocks, many bought from now-lost distilleries including the famed Stitzel-Weller in Louisville.
What makes it special: This is the third Rhetoric label, each a year older than the previous version. According to Diageo, the whiskey was distilled between 1990 and 1993 at the Bernheim Distillery at 17th Street and Breckenridge in Louisville, while it was owned and operated by the now-defunct United Distillers. This version has more hints of cherries and ripe bananas than the previous year’s, and a long woody finish with dark chocolate notes. Bottled at 90.4 proof.
Price: About $110 for a 750ml bottle.
Four Roses Elliott’s Select
Last year, longtime Four Roses master distiller Jim Rutledge retired and Brent Elliott was named to the post. This is his debut single-barrel offering and his first limited-edition release.
What makes it special: Thanks to years as the Four Roses director of quality, Elliott was familiar with the stocks he could pull from. He selected a 14-year-old bourbon made with Four Roses’ “OESK” recipe, one of 10 the distillery makes with various mashbills and yeasts. This one has subtle aromas of peach jam and magnolia blossoms with hints of spiced vanilla, fresh nutmeg and ripe fruit flavors. Bottled uncut, at about 116.8 proof.
Price: About $125 for a 750 ml bottle. About 8,000 hand-numbered bottles are available.
Jack Daniel’s 150th Anniversary Commemorative
Brown-Forman’s Jack Daniel’s Distillery in Lynchburg, Tenn., is celebrating its 150th anniversary this summer with a unique bottle.
What makes it special: The label says it all, celebrating 150 years, a big moment for fans of the biggest-selling American whiskey in the world. This version is also bottled at 86 proof, slightly higher than regular Old No. 7 Black Label.
Price: About $30.
If your dad is the kind who doesn’t mind a rain check, Brown-Forman will release Coopers’ Craft Bourbon on July 1.
What makes it special: This is the first new bourbon from the company in 20 years. Coopers’ Craft celebrates the contribution of the wood and barrel makers to the whiskey, and uses a special beech and birch charcoal filter finishing process to create a smooth, flavorful bourbon. Bottled at 82.2 proof.
Price: About $29 for a 750ml bottle.