Winter 2018 Collectibles: Four Roses, Caol Ila, William Larue Weller

The closing months of any year typically bring waves of special releases, bottles that pop up and disappear from store shelves in mere minutes—if they even make it that far. Winter 2018 was no exception as we tasted the full Buffalo Trace Antique Collection, each of the Diageo Special Releases, and more special launches. Winter is a great time to stockpile more than just fire wood, and these collectible whiskies should be at the top of your list. In each issue, we choose three whiskies from the Buying Guide that generally are limited releases and show the most potential to gain in value. For all whiskies reviewed in the Winter 2018 issue, visit our Buying Guide.

William Larue Weller 12 year old Straight Bourbon
96 points, 62.85% ABV, $99

Tilled earth, tobacco, and leather meet clover honey, maple syrup, and pecan pie sweetness. It pours broad and mouth-coating across the palate, with a lovely softness and pervasive vanilla and apple sweetness, gently tugged at by oaky tannins and more tobacco leaf. A touch floral and gently spiced, with cinnamon leading the way. Overall, this exudes beautiful balance right through the long finish that resonates both prettily and powerfully with dried citrus. —Jeffery Lindenmuth

Caol Ila 35 year old Single Malt Scotch Whisky (Diageo Special Releases 2018)
93 points, 58.1% ABV, $989

A rare veteran bottling from Caol Ila, and the oldest of the 2018 Special Releases, this was aged in refill American oak hogsheads and refill European oak butts. The nose is fragrant and inviting, with dried fruit, ginger, and beach bonfire. Vibrant tropical fruit on the palate, with cinnamon and developing brine-sodden peat. Bold fruit flavors along with white pepper and soft peat remain in the lengthy finish. (3,276 bottles) —Gavin Smith

Four Roses Small Batch 130th Anniversary Edition Straight Bourbon
93 points, 54.15% ABV, $140

A beguiling nose balances maturity and freshness, with charred oak, caramelized sugar, blackberry pie filling, floral notes, and toasted almond evolving in deep layers. The concentration on the palate is jaw-dropping—so much richness, power, and grace, as flavors flit across the tongue. Robust and drinkable, the fruity pie filling turns to candied orange peel and buckwheat honey before a licorice-laced finish. (13,140 bottles) —Jeffery Lindenmuth

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