We're well into fall and no drink fits the season with as much comfortable class as whiskey. Whether neat or on the rocks, the thoughtful, warming power of this dark spirit continues to deliver upon its historic identity. It just so happens that many of our favorite brands have offered up new expressions worth trying. We selected the following eight from over 28 sampled. From special vintages to entirely new imaginings of a flavor profile, there's a lot to be excited about. Across a myriad of price points from some of the masters and some emerging distilleries, the following selections are fit for explorers and adventures, beginners and experts.
M by The Macallan
Undeniably an impressive offering, The Macallan's luxe M is far more than just an exquisite Lalique decanter. This limited edition release, with vibrant rosewood coloring, happens to be one of their most complex. Matured in The Macallan’s Spanish oak sherry casks, this rich liquid contains more than 25 identifiable flavors—including port-like notes, brown sugar and dark chocolate. There are only 355 bottles in the US, and it's retailing for $4,500.
The Balvenie Tun 1401, Batch 9
The latest from hand-crafted Scotch masters, The Balvenie, this refined production includes decades-spanning selections from 11 traditional whisky casks and three sherry butts. The Tun 1401, Batch 9 is a limited edition, tasting of sherried fruits, matured oak and leaves the tongue with spice and a syrupy finish. It retails for $250.
Suntory Yamazaki 25-Year Single Malt
We've been fans of Suntory, Japan's original whiskey distillery, for a while now. To mark their 90th anniversary, a new edition—the Yamazaki 25-Year Single Malt—delivers multi-layered taste, invoking cocoa, almond and finishing with dried fruit. This rare, majestic spirit retails for $1,600 in select markets. It's also goes perfectly with a whiskey ice ball.
Glen Grant Five Decade
In celebration of his 50th year with the brand, Master Distiller of the Glen Grant Distillery Dennis Malcolm has hand-selected his favorite casks, personally laid down over the last five decades. The resulting Five Decades marries the slowly aged casks, yielding a rich yet mellow Single Malt. Remarkably complex, with orange blossom and honey, intensely creamy and a very smooth finish, the Five Decade sells for $150.
Tullamore D.E.W.'s Phoenix
One of the fastest growing Irish whiskey companies, Tullamore D.E.W. has a new limited edition, high-proof variant dubbed Phoenix. This offering contains a mellow complexity, drawing forth deep leafy taste sensations, accompanying malty notes pair with a vanilla oakiness from finishing in Old Oloroso Sherry casks. Phoenix is a blend of all three types of Irish whiskey, pure pot-still, malt and grain whiskey and is sold at a retail price of $55 per bottle.
Glenfiddich’s Age of Discovery Bourbon Cask Reserve
Exclusive to America, the 2013 Age of Discovery Bourbon Cask Reserve by Glenfiddich delivers on the promise of warmth with a long, full finish. Reminiscent of vanilla, fine leather and tobacco, it develops a sweet, velvety mouth feel, ending with hints of cardamom and nutmeg. It's been aged for 19 years in American oak casks and is sold for $150.
Wild Turkey's Forgiven
Straight from Kentucky, Wild Turkey's made an ever-growing name for their bourbons and with the newly released bourbon-rye blend—called Forgiven—they have consumers talking. This mix, 78 percent six-year-old Bourbon and 22 percent four-year-old rye (both corn-based spirits) was a distillery accident, at first. It turned out to make one potent 91 proof "mash bill" pairing that opens boldly and gently parts leaving a cinnamon finish. Forgiven will sell in limited quantities for $50.
The Glenrothes 2001 Vintage US
From its golden straw color to the initial bouquet of lemon meringue pie, deep sandalwood and a hint of black cherries, the Vintage 2001 single Speyside malt from The Glenrothes is a sheer delight. Ripe black cherries mingle with the maturity of oaky vanilla, and as with all of their whisky, there's an emphasis on the soft spice finish. Bottled in 2012, it's finally available stateside for $67.
Images courtesy of respective brands