Old Forester The 117 Series, Dalmore Sherry Cask Select & More [New Releases]

ben and jerry's whiskey biz ice creamThough it’s not a new whiskey release, the latest Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavor is worth reporting here as it incorporates whiskey—in this case, WhistlePig 6 year old Piggyback rye. (The distillery and ice cream manufacturer are Vermont neighbors.) Ben & Jerry’s Whiskey Biz flavor has a brown butter-bourbon ice cream base and incorporates blonde brownies, Piggyback-infused caramel swirls, white fudge chunks, and white chocolate ganache. It’s kosher, which means Piggyback is now certified kosher, as are all WhistlePig whiskeys with the exception of 12 year old Old World.

On to new whisky releases, starting with The 117 Series from Old Forester. This limited-edition collection debuts with High Angels’ Share bourbon, priced at $50 for 375 ml.

Dalmore Distillery’s 12 year old Sherry Cask Select is landing on U.S. shores. Priced at $80, the single malt is initially for sale only at Total Wine & More stores, with expanded availability starting in September.

Jefferson’s is launching a new rye finished in cognac casks. The whiskey is widely available, priced at $70.

The first batch of Booker’s bourbon for this year is hitting shelves. Booker’s 2021-01 “Donohoe’s Batch” is priced at $90 and available in limited amounts.

India’s Amrut Distillery is celebrating the tenth anniversary of its Fusion expression with Fusion X, a limited edition with a sherry cask finish. There are just over 1,000 bottles available worldwide, priced at $350 in the U.S.

Highland Park has teamed up with popular Instagram account @scotch_in_the_city to release a single cask benefiting a first responders charity. There are 594 bottles available, priced at $155.

Westland Distillery is also benefiting a good cause with the release of some new bottles—in this case, 25 “single-bottle” whiskeys called The Inheritance which will be available at auction on April 1.

Finally, Castle & Key Distillery is launching Slow Hands, its first single-cask rye. The whiskey is priced at $60 and available at the distillery only.

Read on for full details.

old forester the 117 series high angels share

Old Forester The 117 Series High Angels' Share

Style: Straight bourbon
Origin: Kentucky
Age: Not stated
Proof: 55% ABV
Price: $50 (375 ml)
Release: March 2021
Availability: For sale in KY only

Need to know:

The first whiskey in a new series created by Old Forester master taster Jackie Zykan, this bourbon comes from barrels with an unusually high rate of evaporation, known as the angels’ share. The resulting liquid is concentrated in flavor, amplified by a generous 110 proof. The name, 117 Series, refers to Old Forester’s distillery and visitor center on Whiskey Row in Louisville.

Whisky Advocate says:

The 117 series will bear Zykan’s name, the first time a woman’s signature has appeared on a bottle of Old Forester in its 150-plus year history. Each release will showcase something unique resulting from the distiller’s experimentation and innovation. For the most part, the bottles will be available at the distillery, though a small allocation will go to Kentucky retail stores.

dalmore 12 year old sherry cask select

Dalmore 12 year old Sherry Cask Select

Style: Single malt
Origin: Scotland (Highlands)
Age: 12 years old
Proof: 43% ABV
Price: $80
Release: March 2021
Availability: For sale only at Total Wine & More until September, then widely available

Need to know:

Initially aged for 10 years in bourbon casks, this single malt then spent 2 years in custom sherry casks. The casks themselves were designed for Dalmore by three suppliers—Tevasa, Vasyma, and Paez—and filled with a special Pedro Ximénez-oloroso blend for seasoning.

Whisky Advocate says:

Dalmore 12 year old Sherry Cask Select launched overseas in late 2020, and was reviewed in the Winter Buying Guide, scoring 91 points. Now that it’s in the U.S., the whisky is initially available only at Total Wine & More stores, expanding to other retailers starting in September.

jefferson's cognac finished rye

Jefferson's Cognac Cask-Finished Rye

Style: Finished rye
Origin: Kentucky
Age: Not stated
Proof: 47% ABV
Price: $70
Release: March 2021
Availability: Widely available

Need to know:

Made at Kentucky Artisan Distillery, this rye was initially matured in new charred oak barrels, then finished for 9 months in cognac casks.

Whisky Advocate says:

While cognac has proven to be a popular, though at times finicky, finishing cask across bourbon, scotch, and other whiskies, it’s still not common for rye. Sagamore Spirit released a cognac-finished rye a couple of years ago that scored 88 points. Look for a review of this new Jefferson’s soon!

booker's donohoe's batch

Booker's 2021-01 "Donohoe's Batch"

Style: Straight bourbon
Origin: Kentucky
Age: 6 years, 11 months, and 4 days
Proof: 62.65% ABV
Price: $90
Release: March 2021
Availability: Limited edition

Need to know:

The first Booker’s release of 2021 is named for Mike Donohoe, an ex-NFL player who became a sales manager and later a top executive for Jim Beam back in the 1980s. He worked and was friends with Booker Noe, and apparently was instrumental in convincing Noe to bottle the first batch of what would become Booker’s bourbon.

Whisky Advocate says:

We’re big fans of Booker’s here at Whisky Advocate; it’s hard not to be, when every batch is barrel proof and packed full of flavor. Though variations occur from batch to batch, Booker’s always scores well with our blind tasters, so no matter which bottle you pick up, you’re in for a treat.

amrut fusion x

Amrut Fusion X

Style: Single malt
Origin: India
Age: Not stated
Proof: 50% ABV
Price: $350
Release: March 2021
Availability: 1,010 bottles, including 216 for the U.S.

Need to know:

Created in honor of the 10th anniversary of Amrut Fusion, this is Fusion with an additional finishing period in Pedro Ximénez sherry casks. It’s packaged in a custom bottle by Wade Ceramics and includes a blockchain-style tracking device in the cap.

Whisky Advocate says:

Though nearly all Amrut whisky is made with Indian barley, Fusion includes a portion of peated Scottish barley as well. It’s typically matured in bourbon casks, and like all Amrut single malts highlights bright tropical fruit flavor, so the addition of PX sherry here is likely to layer on even more fruity richness.

highland park scotch in the city single cask

Highland Park 11 year old @scotch_in_the_city Single Cask (No. 150)

Style: Single malt
Origin: Scotland (Islands)
Age: 11 years old
Proof: 65.4% ABV
Price: $155
Release: April 2021
Availability: 594 bottles

Need to know:

Distilled in 2008, this whisky matured for 11 years in a first-fill American oak sherry puncheon. It was selected by master distiller Gordon Motion and Kevin and Nick, the friends behind @scotch_in_the_city. The collaborators plan to donate $15,000 from sales of the whisky to the First Responders Children’s Foundation COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund.

Whisky Advocate says:

Kevin and Nick are both first responders by vocation, so the decision to partner with Highland Park on a single cask to benefit the families of fellow first responders affected by the pandemic was an easy one. The whisky is available for pre-sale on Caskers now, with wider distribution coming next month.

westland the inhertance

Westland The Inheritance

Style: Single malt
Origin: Washington
Age: Varies
Proof: Varies
Price: TBD
Release: April 1, 2021
Availability: Auction only

Need to know:

Westland Distillery likes to have fun on April Fool’s Day, releasing a different satirical but very much real whiskey each year. This year, the distillery has the auction and collectors’ market in its sights, with a series called The Inheritance—25 “single bottle” whiskeys to be auctioned off in support of Big Table, a charity for restaurant and hospitality workers.

The whiskies themselves range in age (the youngest being about 3 and half years old with most between 5 and 6 years old) and ABV (52.6% to 63.9%) and were made from a variety of malt types including peated malt, heavily peated malt, 5 malt, and Washington malt. The auction catalog, which is available online, lists additional information including cask types, which include a variety of wine barrels including pineau des Charentes, moscatel, jurançon, madeira, banyuls, amarone, and marsala.

Whisky Advocate says:

While Westland is cleverly poking fun at those who purely collect whiskey and don’t drink it, these releases are still worth bidding on for those looking to get their hands on some exclusive bottlings. Past Westland April Fool’s Day releases include Celebrious, which spoofed celebrity whiskies and Sport Dram, which played off the sports drink craze. The auction starts on April 1.

castle and key slow hands rye

Castle & Key Slow Hands Single Barrel Rye

Style: Straight rye
Origin: Kentucky
Age: Not stated
Proof: Varies (barrel proof)
Price: $60
Release: March 2021
Availability: Limited edition; for sale at the distillery only

Need to know:

The first single-barrel whiskeys from Castle & Key are all distilled from 63% rye, 20% malted barley, and 17% corn. The initial batch launches with four barrels, all bottled at cask strength and yielding around 200 bottles apiece:

  • Barrel No. 237, 57.95% ABV
  • Barrel No. 281, 54.15% ABV
  • Barrel No. 334, 57.55% ABV
  • Barrel No. 396, 55.95% ABV

Whisky Advocate says:

Opened in 2014, Castle & Key released the first whiskey under its own name in late 2020, though the distillery also supplies whiskey to other brands, like Pinhook, which had been released earlier. Look for a review of Castle & Key’s Restoration rye in an upcoming issue of Whisky Advocate!

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