Since its 2012 launch, Caskers has established itself as one of the premiere online destinations for rare spirits. The team behind the site applies their keen palates to exploration, tastings and selection—and the result is a marketplace of top quality, hard-to-find, small-batch spirits. After sampling a variety of casks from many of their favorite distillers, Caskers launches, today 27 June 2014, a series of exclusive bottlings, available only to their members. (You can be become a member for free by signing up, or using your Facebook login.) The following bourbons and ryes reflect the expertise of the organization and, in one instance, a first for a well known brand.
Masterson’s 10-Year-Old Single Cask Rye (Cask 16 and Cask 17)
Artisan crafted at Masterson's historic distillery in pot stills, the 10-Year-Old Single Cask Rye's are two unique variations of their celebrated rye. Both are a solid 90 proof and aged at least 10 years in white-oak, but the similarities end there. Cask 16 is nuttier with citrus notes—leaving a long, full and spicy finish. Cask 17 is slightly sweeter, with a nice presence of vanilla and butterscotch. Each retails for $70.
Angel’s Envy Kentucky Straight Bourbon
This particular expression of the celebrated Angel's Envy Kentucky Straight Bourbon is actually composed of three casks, selected specifically by Caskers, for the blend—each with a 72% corn, 18% rye and 10% malted barley composition (the standard at Angel's Envy). While seeking the perfect taste profile, they ultimately produced a spirit that's incredibly smooth. There's a little bit of cinnamon at the start and a finish of ginger. The select casks were aged between four to six years and this bourbon clocks in at 86.6 proof. The exclusive bottle costs $50.
Black Dirt Single-Barrel Bourbon Whiskey
A first for Black Dirt, their only exclusive Single-Barrel Bourbon Whiskey is crafted from 80% Black Dirt corn, 12% malted barley and 8% rye which is distilled in a Christian Carl copper-pot still. Aged for two years, this 90 proof bourbon is very bold. It sports a little dried fruit, peppercorn and cloves, with a touch of milk chocolate at the finish. Every bottle is signed by the master distiller Jason Grizzanti and sells for $50.
Four Roses Single-Barrel Bourbon Whiskey
The soon to be available Four Roses Single-Barrel Bourbon Whiskey hails from one of the six Kentucky distilleries that was able to operate during Prohibition. While it's 100 proof, there is incredible complexity to the liquid. From honey dew and apples to caramel and citrus, the bourbon is as flavorful as it is potent. It's been aged for over eight years in American white oak cask, and like all of Four Roses bourbons it's aged in a one story warehouse, guaranteeing every cask takes on time in the same way. Caskers will announce the price when the product becomes available in late July 2014.
Caskers continues to release exclusive bottlings seasonally, which they announce on their website.
Lead, Mastersons and Four Roses photos by David Graver, other images courtesy of Caskers