Raise a glass to warmer weather with these 8 new & exciting whiskeys


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It’s an exciting time to be a spirits writer these days, especially when a new product or brand launches and you’ve been selected as one of the first to give it a try. Some of the whiskeys on this list I’ve been savoring for a few weeks, going back to them at different times to see how their flavor profile changes. And others, like the latest in Jack Daniel’s Aged Series, I just now got and it inspired me to finish up this list so that we here at Alcohol Professor might inspire you to broaden your whiskey horizon. 

Enjoy! I know I did. 

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Jack Daniel’s 12-Year-Old Tennessee Whiskey

107 Proof | $80

Details: There are innovative things happening at Jack Daniel’s as of late, and thankfully for us whiskey connoisseurs, we get to reap the benefits. One such product is the brand new 12-Year-Old release as part of the Aged Series, which started in 2022 with the release of the Jack Daniel’s10-Year-Old. Just this month, it was announced there would be another 10-Year release coming out (Batch 2), plus the 12-Year. I was fortunate to try both new releases side by side, which is why I am focusing on the stunning 12-Year for this roundup. Not that Batch 2 of the 10 is bad — it’s quite the opposite. But this thick and creamy whiskey is worth more words. 

Tasting Notes: Just pouring the whiskey in the Glencairn, you can see the incredible viscosity of the whiskey. Bottled at one of my preferred proofs, 107, I knew this one was going to be a treat. The nose is straight up molasses and banana with just a hint of blackberry. And on the palate — oh my! — I literally want to chew this whiskey. It coats the mouth with lovely notes of melted caramel, dried banana chips, mild oak and butterscotch. The finish is also a delightful experience, with pops of brown sugar, smoke and banana pudding. I need at least five bottles of this in my life. 

Image Credit: alcoholprofessor.com.

Bardstown Bourbon Company Origin Series Bourbon

96 Proof | $44.99

Details: It’s been six years since Bardstown Bourbon Company began distilling bourbon and whiskey, and now they’re ready to debut their first flagship brands featuring 100% of their pride and joy: The Origin Series. There will initially be three core products — this high-rye bourbon, a Bottled-in-Bond wheated bourbon, and a rye whiskey — and the first two have already been released and gobbled up by bourbon aficionados like you and me. But don’t worry … there will be more coming to shelves near you soon. The Origin Series will be their main brand going forward, in addition to the Discovery and Collaboration series. Since I had to pick just one, I’m focusing here on the high-rye bourbon release that has a mash bill of 60% corn, 36% rye and 4% malted barley. 

Tasting Notes: Typically in a bourbon mash bill, if the secondary grain is 20% or more, it is considered a high-rye (or whatever grain you use) bourbon. In this case, Bardstown Bourbon Company went with a whopping 36% rye, making for phenomenal sip from the get-go. But at 6 years old, the time in the oak softened those rough edges of the rye.

On the nose I get candied peach drizzled in caramel — and some hints of baked apple and citrus. And on the palate those fruit notes come to life, sprinkled with cinnamon, nutmeg, more caramel and a reward of vanilla on the finish. I get the spice up front from the rye, but by the time it reaches the base of my tongue, it’s as smooth as molasses. Knowing I can get a quality bourbon like this under $50 makes me happy.

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Bernheim Barrel Proof Wheat Whiskey Batch A223

118.8 Proof | $64.99

Details: Since the barrel-proof releases of Elijah Craig and Larceny have been doing so well with fans, Heaven Hill decided to launch a barrel-proof iteration of their underappreciated wheat whiskey, Bernheim Original. This special allotted release will come out nationwide twice a year and features whiskey that is 7-9 years old pulled straight from the barrel and bottled without chill filtration. The mash bill on this is 51% winter wheat, 37% corn and 12% malted barley. 

Tasting Notes: I believe this barrel-strength version of Bernheim is really going to open people’s eyes to the richness, depth and intricacy of wheat whiskey. Sure, the wheat makes things softer and smoother, but there are so many more layers to explore and adjectives to use than just those general terms. On the nose I get a little oak from the older 9-year-old barrels in this mix, but I also get citrus, caramel and fresh-baked wheat bread. And on the palate, I get a little walnut, toasted marshmallow and even a little sunflower seed note, which I’m not sure I’ve ever had before in a whiskey. The finish lingers with tantalizing tingles of honey and apricot. Definitely doesn’t drink like 118.8 proof whiskey. 

Image Credit: alcoholprofessor.com.

Catoctin Creek Rabble Rouser Rye Whiskey

100 Proof | $99

Catoctin Creek Rabble Rouser Rye Whiskey

Details: I got this bottle right before Valentine’s Day and I’ve been romancing it ever since. This limited release from the venerable Virginia distillery is Bottled in Bond, so it’s at least 4 years old and 100 proof. While the mash bill is 100% rye, the amount of complex taste layers in this whiskey is astonishing. Some days I’ll get cinnamon and clove, and other days I’ll get honey roasted peanuts. 

Tasting Notes: I gave you some hints above on some of the intricate tasting notes, but let’s start from the beginning. The nose is somewhat lackluster when compared to the taste of this rye whiskey, but I get a little oak and Cinnamon Toast Crunch if I really dig. But once you take a sip of this, the warmth of the rye washes over your tongue like sitting by a fire, wrapped up in Grandma’s quilt. I get a little spice — cinnamon and clove as noted above — and then a layer of sweet goodness creeps in as a reward. I taste honey, peanuts, loads of creamy caramel and even a little moist cigar tobacco. The finish is equally delightful with notes of brown sugar and crackling firewood. 

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Monk’s Road Wheated Bourbon From Log Still Distillery

94 Proof | $42.99

Details: This release actually came out late in 2022, but it slipped under my radar until now. Log Still Distillery has been making a name for itself since opening in 2021, and this is their latest bourbon to join the Monk’s Road brand, which includes a 6-year-old straight bourbon whiskey (with rye) and a barrel-finished gin. This wheated bourbon mash bill isn’t listed, but it comes from 4-year-old small batch bourbon. 

Tasting Notes: At 94 proof, the feel of this bourbon is light and sippable. On the nose I get graham cracker and just a dash of cinnamon, plus that delicious, toasted marshmallow. And on the palate, I get some oak notes that remind me of trail mix with raisins. I’m also getting a ton of vanilla and a splash of baked cherries. The finish packs a surprising punch of black pepper and butterscotch.  

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Heaven Hill Heritage Collection 20-Year-Old Kentucky Straight Corn Whiskey

115 Proof | $289.99

Heaven Hill Heritage Collection 20-Year-Old Kentucky Straight Corn Whiskey

Details: Yes, I know this is a unicorn bottle that most of us will never be able to purchase, but I received a small media sample of the juice, so the least I can do is explain what it is, how it tastes and the significance of this rare 20-year-old corn whiskey. For its latest Heritage Collection, Heaven Hill went on a deep dive in one of its many rickhouses and pulled out a batch of 110 barrels that went into this limited release. The mash bill is 80% corn, 12% malted barley and 8% rye (which is interestingly the same mash bill as Jack Daniel’s). Heaven Hill’s longstanding corn whiskey brand is the often looked-over Mellow Corn. 

Tasting Notes: This will come to nose surprise (heehee), but the whiskey wafts aromas of sweet corn, oak and dried fruit. The palate is truly unique with notes of oak, of course, but there’s also this sweet river of Corn Pops that presents itself from start to finish — not Corn Pops after they’ve gotten soggy in milk, but fresh, crispy Corn Pops pulled right out of the cereal box. The finish is where the party’s at with the familiar caramel and toasted marshmallow flavors, plus a little bit of walnut and wood spices that most likely come from the oak. 

Image Credit: alcoholprofessor.com.

Redwood Empire Whiskey Cask Strength Pipe Dream Bourbon

116.8 Proof | $70

Pipe Dream Bourbon  

Details: Redwood Empire Whiskey is one of California’s largest whiskey producers, and they’ve been putting out some great whiskey for fans and connoisseurs. This new line features cask strength expressions of some of their core products, and for the sake of this review, we’re choosing the Cask Strength Pipe Dream Bourbon because it was our favorite of the three. The mash bill of this four-grain bourbon is 74% corn, 25% rye, 4.5% malted barley and 1.5% wheat. 

Tasting Notes: On the nose I get a lot of vanilla, brown sugar and sweet corn from the majority grain, and then I get some lovely notes of pecan and coffee. On the palate, I get a blast of that sweet and rich brown sugar right from the start, followed by a little black pepper spice, baked fruit, honey and more of that mild coffee buzz. The finish is long and savory, like a drop of honey sliding down the side of a ripe green apple. 

Image Credit: redwoodempirewhiskey.com/.

Michter’s 10 Year Kentucky Straight Bourbon

94.4 Proof | $185

Michter’s 10 Year Kentucky Straight Bourbon

Details: Michter’s knows its fans are patient, because oftentimes they’ll just not release a coveted bottle and expect us to wait 365 days without it. This is exactly what happened last year when they deemed the 10 Year Kentucky Straight Bourbon not ready for the bottle, but thank god this year Master Distiller Dan McKee and Master of Maturation Andrea Wilson agreed to release it into the world. This is a solid pour year after year, which is most likely why they stick to their standards to such a high degree. Much respect. 

Tasting Notes: On the nose get a little sorghum and honey, along with the pleasant wafts you get from a fresh bouquet of flowers. It makes me feel like a busy little bourbon bee buzzing around the sweet nectar. I land for a quick taste and am rewarded with bold notes of campfire, oak and vanilla, plus a little cinnamon on the tip of the tongue and a wash of peanut brittle and baked cherries. Hell, there are even some milk chocolate notes that pull me back in. The finish, although I don’t want to finish, is a nice long stream of mild black pepper, maple syrup and more peanut brittle. 

This article originally appeared on AlcoholProfessor and was syndicated by MediaFeed.

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