Hunting Unicorns: Blanton's Polish Enigmas
In previous installments of Hunting Unicorns, we've put some of the rarest and most sought-after bourbon and rye whiskeys under the microscope, deep-diving into the nuances and intricacies of each bottle and what makes them so hard to find. Today, we take a different approach, uncorking a few bottles that are arguably rarer than anything we've covered before, a Kentucky-produced silo that's rarely found in America and is scarce all over the globe; enter Blanton's Poland Editions.
An annual "LE" release, and one that represents the zenith of exclusivity, is specific to the European nation's M&P Wine and Spirits Festival, made available each year in eye-wateringly limited numbers.
While reserved only for the Polish retail market, these bottles do trickle into markets internationally following their annual release, and as a result of the cap on the number of bottles (which varies between seasons and can be less than 1000), they tend to fetch a pretty penny if and when they do surface.
So are they worth the money? The answer depends on who's asking it. While the Poland Edition doesn't stray too far from the classic, iconically smooth Blanton's Original Single Barrel, there are several points of difference that potentially warrant the heftier price tag.
Blanton's is notorious for its silky smooth mouthfeel and the almost casual ease with which it drinks. From the first sip, the profile is lavish and languid. It relaxes on the palate and caresses the tastebuds with vanilla, sweet caramel, baking spice, and chewy toffee prominent and pronounced. The same rings true with the , yet, there is more energy and gusto to the experience. Here, heat and spice accentuate and elevate the primary flavors, creating a decadence and elegance that is never overbearing and always in tune with the rest of the bourbon.
The vibrancy and power of the Poland Edition's profile are multi-faceted, but it largely owes this vitriol to the heightened proof and residual potency that come with these elements. The hum in the finish is something that not many Blanton's bottles possess or achieve (save the precise cutting warmth of the 'SFTB' and 'Gold'), and this aspect of the M&P release makes it all the more outstanding. At 117 proof, or 58.5% alcohol, it is a fearsome beast of a bourbon that punches well above its usual weight and is quite simply more than the sum of its parts.
Or perhaps, the lack thereof. The fact is that the Poland Editions are unicorns. For the everyday bourbon drinker, these are mythical bottles, the absolute precipice of rarity and exclusivity. The 2020 M&P Wine and Spirits Festival 'Special Release' is a remarkably elusive iteration of the Poland Edition silo, with barrels 366, 368, 371, and 376 used in the production. Given that each barrel yields an average of 200 bottles, there were very few bottles released globally, and there are far fewer available today.
To secure your bottle of , click here.
Review: The Macallan x Sir Peter Blake
A limited-edition single malt from Macallan, is inspired by the appreciation of nature, beauty, and legacy shared by Macallan and Sir Peter Blake. Aromas of rich dried fruit, cinnamon, and clove fill the nose, complemented by notes of black pepper, orange oil, vanilla, treacle, and dark chocolate throughout the palate. This specially-created single malt is presented in a blue and green presentation box which houses the bottle, a certificate detailing the history and heritage on which the art was based, and Sir Peter Blake artwork printed on a scroll.
One of the most iconic pop artists in history, Blake is revered for his collage and pastiche artworks which were prevalent in the '70s and '80s and drove the pop art movement in the United Kingdom. For An Estate, A Community and A Distillery, Blake draws on inspiration from the Macallan Distillery and its surrounding landscapes and brings forth a nostalgic trip that transgresses Scotland's nature and iconic historical figures.
The bottle itself is magnificently crafted and highly collectible, a 95.4 proof single malt Scotch which will undoubtedly become one of the most coveted bottles ever released by The Macallan, and is beautifully presented with an artwork by Blake printed on a scroll and included with the bottle.
It is rare that a whisky release comes with such intricate presentation and novelty, however, such is the beast that is Macallan, they have created a most intriguing and enticing whisky to accompany what is a truly captivating experience. Complex, balanced, and with a bouquet of flavors, An Estate, A Community and A Distillery is a once-in-a-lifetime single malt Scotch that's testament to Macallan's status as the foremost innovator and leader in the modern Scotch making industry.
Interested in adding one of the finest Highlands Scotch whiskies to your collection? Then
A nip from Loch Ness: The top 10 rarest Scotch whiskies (part 1)
In the rarified atmosphere that is limited edition Scotch, sometimes one might find themselves in the echelons beyond the metaphysical, encountering a bottle so enigmatic that it makes Loch Ness and Stonehenge look commonplace. Few will ever encounter these beasts, and fewer will ever have the chance to purchase them, but should you - they are destined to become more than just whiskies in your prized collection. They represent the finest craftsmanship in Scotland, true pieces of cultural and spiritual engineering that resonate with whiskyphiles - enchanting and ensnaring the soul. Read below to learn about some of the rarest Scotch whiskies in circulation, and stay tuned for part 2 where we explore some even rarer, once-in-a-lifetime Scotch whiskies.
An annual limited edition release that typifies the class and charisma of Scotland's finest whisky producer, The Macallan Editions are a stunning collection of collaborative and uniquely inspired Scotch whiskies that have captured the hearts of collectors across the world. From the Edition No. 1, a luxuriously appointed Scotch whisky, made in collaboration with master whiskey maker Bob Dalgarno, aged in 8 different styles of European and American oak casks, to the Edition No. 5, an inspired collaboration with the Pantone Color Institute that accentuates and illustrates the natural colors and flavors of the Speyside distillery, the Editions showcase the best of the Macallan distillery and have become the height of collectible Scotch since the first release in 2015.
The Macallan x Sir Peter Blake "An Estate, A Community and A Distillery" 750ml combines one of the finest single malt Scotch whiskies in the world with artwork from one of the most iconic pop artists in history. Magnificently crafted and highly collectible, this 95.4 proof single malt Scotch is one of the most coveted bottles ever released by The Macallan, and comes beautifully presented with an artwork by Blake printed on a scroll and included with the bottle. Complex, balanced, and with a bouquet of flavors that spans from rich dried fruits and spice to subtle black pepper, vanilla and treacle, don't miss a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to secure one of the rarest single malt Scotch whiskies ever produced by Macallan.
An elegant and decadent Scotch that’s testament to the Balvenie’s remarkable reputation for crafting quality whisky, the Balvenie 50 year old is a masterful statement piece that blends a marriage of four different fifty-year-old casks. Produced by Balavenie’s Master Whisky Maker David Stewart, there are only 110 bottles of this remarkable Scotch whisky in circulation globally, making it one of the most revered, celebrated and coveted bottles on the face of the earth. The historical bottling is carefully crafted and presented with a bespoke wooden tube, adding to the allure and illustrious nature of this iconic piece. A deep and mature Scotch that resounds with oaky, syrupy flavor which is complemented by nuanced hints of orange, toffee and brown sugar, for collectors and connoisseurs, there is no finer Scotch.
Cask number 843, a whisky nurtured by generations of Glenfiddich’s Malt Masters - it was considered to be one of the finest and oldest whiskies that the world would ever see. After 64 years, this nectar was distilled in one of the smallest releases of all time - just 61 bottles. While many speculated that the quality and strength of the whisky would have depleted over 6 decades of maturation, the 1937 Rare Collection Single Malt would retain an incredible potency that boasted a huge aroma and one of the most intricately complex palate experiences - one that Glenfiddich could only dream of. Coming around once every few years, if you’re able to find one of these occasions, don’t hesitate as the bottle will be gone in the blink of an eye.
A record-breaking Scotch whisky, the Dalmore 62 is considered to be the world’s most expensive whisky - and is undoubtedly one of the world’s rarest ever. A historical release, reduced to only 12 bottles globally, this collector’s item is one of the Scotch world’s most elusive and coveted bottles. For connoisseur’s and whisky buffs, this bottle is the Holy Grail, and a bottle that will only continue to become more and more elusive given the state of the market. In 2002, a bottle sold at auction for £22,000, in 2011 a bottle sold for £125,000, and today, it would fetch an eye-watering amount. Perhaps the most elegant, sophisticated and luxurious expression of Scotch in history, the Dalmore 62 is an enigma that few will be lucky to encounter in their lifetime.
The Most-Hyped Whiskeys of the Month (August)
It’s not always about the classics… quite often new, exciting and innovative whiskeys see meteoric rises in popularity, which in turn impacts their availability and inevitably their price. The hype train can often lead to an explosive gain in a bottle’s popularity, and when this happens - you will have hoped to have already secured your bottle before it becomes unattainable, such is the nature of the beast.
So what are the most hyped whiskeys this month? Below we take a look at the talk of the town, showcasing a few of the most , most sought-after and most-searched-for whiskeys in the United States.
The whiskey that saw the largest rise in popularity this week was Blue Run Spirits, and namely the recently released 14 Year Old Small Batch Bourbon iteration. A critically acclaimed double gold medal winner at this year’s San Francisco World Spirits Competition, the 14 Year Old Small Batch Bourbon earned top honors at the prestigious SFWSC in the small-batch bourbon 11 years and older category - one of the most hotly contested categories in modern whiskey making.
The 3rd offering from Blue Run’s collection, and the highly anticipated sequel to the 13-year-old small batch and 13.5-year-old single barrel, the 14 Year Old Small Batch Bourbon is something to behold, and brings forth the same mature complexity and inspired craftsmanship for which the first two offerings have become so well renowned. Weighing in at 113 proof, the same ABV that the inaugural release was bestowed with, the 3rd release possesses a silky smooth mouthfeel and a flavor profile that oozes character and charisma.
Expect sumptuous sweetness on the nose, followed by subtle baking spice, a fleeting hint of French toast that slowly transforms into a complex balance of white pepper, cherry, and caramel, before a long, lavish finish that sings on the throat and caresses the taste buds. There’s no wonder it’s one of the most hyped bourbons this month, a top-of-the-class award winner, and a brand that has garnered cult status with its designer and executive credentials.
Next up on the most-hyped list, we come to Penelope Bourbon, whose inspired and oft-innovative releases featured widely in bourbon circles and conversation throughout August. The MGP distilled brand’s barrel strength was a double gold medal winner in 2020, and the 7th iteration of this barrel strength silo was recently made available. With a formidable resumé and countless references that lend weight to this already award-winning brand, it’s easy to see why Penelope was talked about at length this month. Interestingly, the new barrel strength wasn’t the only Penelope Bourbon offering to gather whiskeyphiles’ attention this month, with their Rosé Cask finish also earning itself plaudits and attention following its annual July release (it would seem that this year’s batch is rather popular).
The barrel strength is a potent 115.2 proof, four-grain straight bourbon whiskey that combines three separate mashbills and ages these for between 3.5-5 years to produce a punchy, pronounced bourbon whiskey beset with hot heat and offering considered complexity. Expect a smorgasbord of flavor, spanning from sweet caramel and maple syrup to charred sugar and crème brûlée, which then gives way to an emphatic heat and subtle spice both of which linger and laze about in the finish to keep you wanting more and more.
On the other hand, the Rosé Cask Finish Bourbon presents a more novel approach to whiskey making and is no doubt a bottle for those with an adventurous side. Using French Grenache Rosé Wine Casks from the Southern Rhône region to finish their signature four-grain blend, this delicate and elegant 94 proof bourbon is aged between 3-4 years and presents an inspired and refreshing tasting experience. Expect generous floral and botanical notes that resound throughout the nose, body and finish, tying together the classic cream, caramel and vanilla for which Penelope has become renowned. Sweet and refreshing, yet rich and luxurious, there’s good reason for this bottle to have been one of the month’s most sought-after and searched-for bottles.
Penelope Bourbon is certainly a brand to look out for and an up-and-coming powerhouse in unique and innovatively finished bourbon whiskeys, perhaps this one isn't all talk after all.
Thirdly, and lastly, we come to Chicken Cock Whiskey, the ‘famous old brand’ and a distiller with over 150 years of history, now resurrected and producing fine Kentucky whiskey once more - so good that they have recently been nominated for USA Today’s Best Craft Whiskey Distillery of 2021 alongside such names as Heaven Hill, High West, Redwood Empire, and Widow Jane. This nomination once again places Chicken Cock amongst esteemed company, and reminds us of the quality and caliber of their Paris, Kentucky whiskeys.
The Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is a throwback to the prohibition era and is imbued with the charisma and charm that makes Chicken Cock’s story so interesting. Distilled, aged, and bottled in Kentucky, while it may only weigh in at 90 proof, there is no denying this bourbon packs a punch, offering heat and harmony between smooth sips that possess notes of sweet caramel, smooth cream, and butterscotch, as well as a faint and lingering nod to wafer biscuit and the mandatory hint of oak.
Though it may face an uphill battle in its claim at Best Craft Whiskey Distillery in the country, it is with good reason that Chicken Cock is one of the most talked-about bourbons this month. It may well be one of the most talked-about bourbons next month too!
Top-shelf Treasures: The whiskeys you must have in your collection (part 1)
For most new collectors, 'hype' whiskeys represent the best bourbons in 2021 and are the top priority when it comes to filling out the top shelf. Everyone wants the latest and greatest bottle from Buffalo Trace, or that bottle that was just featured on the front page of your favorite bourbon blog. But are these hype trains really the best bourbons of 2021, and what happens if you can't seem to successfully hunt down that elusive Pappy 23 or a BTAC unicorn? Where do you turn to next? If this sounds like you or someone you know, then it's time to take a look at some of bourbon's better-hidden gems. Here are some classic bourbon and rye whiskeys that you simply have to consider when building out your collection. These are the bourbon and rye whiskeys that are truly top-shelf, bottles that do more than just "talk".
Kentucky's most iconic bottled-in-bond bourbon, Heaven Hill's Old Fitzgerald has one of the most revered, rollercoaster histories in the bourbon state. Building a reputation in the late 19th century for its exceptional distilling pedigree and peerless manufacturing standards, Old Fitz was purchased by Pappy Van Winkle himself during the prohibition era - a perfect storm, that would combine Old Fitz's character and charisma with the hunger and zeal of an inspired innovative whiskey maker. Resurrected in 2018 by Heaven Hill Distillery, the Old Fitzgerald bi-annual release is one of the most anticipated and widely acclaimed in bourbon whiskey circles, and securing a Decanter should be on the list of every keen collector and connoisseur.
With 9 releases hitting shelves since the renaissance of this powerhouse bourbon, Old Fitzgerald's Bottled in Bond Decanter series has become one of the finest expressions of Kentucky whiskey available to the public. The Spring 2021 Release, aged for 8 years (the youngest bottling in the entire series thus far) and bottled at the requisite 100 proof, is the latest in this storied lineage and brings forth a vibrant and robust flavor profile with the familiar silky smooth mouthfeel and quintessential Old Fitz character. Dark auburn, full of subtle oak and sweet brown sugar which give way to toasted cereal notes, oatmeal and pecan with subtle hints of clove and delicate spice on the palate, beautifully accentuated by a long, warming finish - Old Fitzgerald's Bottled in Bond is a must-have for anyone looking to add a bottle that does more than just carry hype to their collection.
Personifying Sazerac's seemingly faultless ability to produce exceptional whiskeys, 1792's Full Proof is proof that sometimes venturing outside of the typical Buffalo Trace prototype can pay dividends. A distillery with a significant amount of history, surprisingly, it only produces two major bourbons, those being 1792 and Very Old Barton, both of which are shaped by the distillery's traditional distilling processes - outside fermenters, coal-heated boilers, and column stills to name but a few.
There are numerous iterations of 1792 that have garnered widespread critical acclaim, with the 1792 Single Barrel winning 2021's Best Single Barrel Bourbon at this year's 2021 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. You may ask why then, have we selected the Full Proof variety as our must-have bourbon whiskey on this list? The answer is simple enough, the 1792 Full Proof was awarded World Whisky of the Year in Murray's 2020 Whisky Bible, and has received two Gold Medals (2021, 2020) and one Double Gold Medal (2019) at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, which make it one of the best, most-consistent barrel proof whiskeys in the world. Bottled at 125 proof, balancing sweet vanilla, caramel, alongside subtle smoke, and imbued with a depth of character that is unsurpassed at its price range, the 1792 Full Proof is an essential addition for whiskyphiles across the globe.
We previously wrote a short piece called 'Beyond Kentucky', which explored a handful of the best and brightest distilleries outside of the bourbon state. WhistePig Distillery was one of those listed, a dedicated rye distiller from Vermont that produces some of the finest and fiercest rye whiskeys in America, and the world. Though WhistlePig may not have the history that many Kentucky based distillers possess, it has experienced a rapid rise to fame since its inception in 2015, it makes up for this with the sheer inspiration and audacity of its products, along with the experience of Master Distiller Dave Pickerell, previously of Maker's Mark.
The most acclaimed and celebrated series from WhistlePig's extensively popular catalog is none other than the Boss Hog Collection, a (so far) 7 part series that explores the distillery's pursuit of the most interesting, innovative and inspired rye whiskey in the world. The latest installment, the Magellan Atlantic 7th Edition, is a testament to this ethos - paying homage to the first recorded circumnavigation of the globe by mirroring the native wood finishes of Magellan's journey. A single barrel, full-proof rye, the Boss Hog VII is aged for 17 years in American Oak, and then finished, first in Spanish stave casks and then in South American teakwood. Producing a rare balance of spice, smoothness and sophistication, expect potent power, creamy vanilla and caramel which intertwine with charred oak, baking spice and woody warmth - a must-have for collectors and connoisseurs of fine rye.
So there you have it, a few of the finer whiskeys available today that you simply must have in your collection. This list is by no means exhaustive and only scrapes the surface of the essential additions to any connoisseur's collection. Join us next week for part 2 of this list where we take a look at a few of the less talked about, non-hype whiskeys that should feature on your top-shelf. Cheers
The Comprehensive Beginner's Guide to American Whiskey
For the uninitiated, American Whiskey is the umbrella term used to describe any distilled spirit that's produced using a fermented cereal mash in the United States of America.
This encompasses an extensive range of whiskey types, the most common of which are bourbon whiskey, rye whiskey, malt whiskey, wheated whiskey, Tennessee whiskey, and corn whiskey.
Within these general categories there are further intricacies and specifics that define how an American whiskey has been crafted or distilled, with blended whiskeys, straight whiskeys and single-barrel whiskeys to name but a few more granular varietals.
So what are the characteristics that determine what constitutes each of the various strains of American whiskey? Here we discuss the finer points and delve into the definitions of each sub-variety.
But before we get into discussing this, first we need to understand what a mash bill is…
A mash bill is a specific mix of grains and cereals used in the process of whiskey making. These grains are cooked, fermented, aged and then distilled, with typical whiskey mash bills being comprised of corn, wheat, rye and barley.
The percentage of each grain fluctuates depending on the type of whiskey being produced, as well as the specific distiller producing a spirit, but generally, one of these grains will be the dominant ingredient in a mash (usually when one grain is represented by 51% or more of the total mash bill) and will determine the varietal of the spirit itself.
Bourbon whiskey is, by law, a whiskey composed of 51% or more of corn in the mash bill, with the other 49% being barley, wheat or rye, with a fairly even mix being common for standard bourbon mashes.
In a bygone era, a bourbon was also required to be made and distilled in the state of Kentucky, however today numerous distilleries exist in states such as Virginia (John J. Bowman), Nevada (Nevada Distilling Co.), Texas (Garrison Bros.), and many more.
It’s common for larger, well-known distillers to use a similar mash bill for a variety of their catalog offerings, with the differences in flavor and profile derived more from the aging and specifics of the distilling process.
At Buffalo Trace, for example, there are 3 generic bourbon bills:
While there are countless other distilleries that have similar processes and practices defining their mash bills and the bourbon whiskeys they produce, this gives a good insight into the general ways in which bourbon can be produced.
Now we know that a 51% corn-based mash bill constitutes a bourbon whiskey, what about others that use less corn?
For rye whiskeys, a similar rule applies, requiring a 51% or higher rye content. The remaining 49% is generally a mixture of corn and barley, however, this depends on the preferences of the distiller and the type of taste/flavor that the whiskey will be instilled with. High-rye whiskey generally possesses a more robust earthiness and a spicy and powerful flavor, while low-rye content whiskeys resemble bourbon more closely but a more distinctive, natural undertone.
To provide some context about how composition can affect ryes, let’s take a look at the ryes produced by two acclaimed distillers - High West and Buffalo Trace.
Like bourbon’s Kentucky-based heritage, Tennessee Whiskey is made in the same way and is a 51% corn composed spirit, with the remaining 49% similarly mixed up of barley, rye and potentially wheat depending on the preferences of the distiller.
The spirit does, however, have to be aged in charred new white oak barrels, and must also be charcoal filtered prior to ageing. These are the requirements for a whiskey to possess the ‘Tennessee Whiskey’ label, and the filtration process is known as the Lincoln County Process.
The charcoal used for the filtration is derived from sugar maple trees, and is burnt to produce a ‘smoother’ product designed to mellow the distillate and make an overall smoother whiskey.
Popular Tennessee whiskeys, such as Jack Daniel’s or Dickel, have made this process world-famous, and continue to use the boundaries of fine whiskey craftsmanship with a deep respect for history.
Well, the great thing about starting a whiskey journey is that you get to start from the beginning, and the best way to begin is to learn what you like, and how do you do that? By diving in head first and trying your first bottle.
If you are a fan of hard-hitting flavor and like heat and spice, a higher-proof bourbon might be something you’re interested in, or a high-rye content whiskey may be more to your liking. For those who aren’t sure where to begin, then a great starting point can be found in our (which are also fantastic value).
This is the fun part of the journey, so if you’re keen and willing to explore the world of whiskey, why not take a look at the following drops:
The signature whiskey of , arguably Kentucky's finest whiskey distillery, this Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is a testament to Buffalo Trace's respect for the art of whiskey craftsmanship. Melding vanilla, barrel char, and complex spiciness, this particular straight bourbon whiskey is inspired by American wilderness and seeks to emulate the rugged, rich flavors that define Kentucky's countryside. No collection is complete without this stalwart of the American whiskey scene.
A blend of straight Rye whiskeys ranging in age from 2 to 7 years, this rye is a "must-try for rye Whiskey aficionados," according to Whisky
Advocate. Marrying two straight rye whiskies that perfectly combine the feisty and fiery properties of high rye, this mature, corn-heavy blend provides some additional sweetness to calm the classic rye bite. Perfect for collectors of rye searching for a complex and considered daily drinker or for beginners looking to explore intricately crafted rye varieties, does not disappoint.
A beautifully refined bourbon whiskey from is one of the finest exponents of the Buffalo Trace distillery. Impeccably balanced and remarkably complex, this straight bourbon is widely considered a 'dual-barrel' as it was once a single barrel but has now adopted a new, unique production method. As is tradition with the Eagle Rare brand, this bottle is most difficult to source thanks to its exceptional flavor and popularity with purists, so given the opportunity, it's a must-buy!
This Tennessee whisky is crafted from 10 barrels, all aged 10-12 years and personally selected by Master Distiller John Lunn. A specially selected whiskey from , blended from casks chosen each year by the master distiller - hence 'Barrel Select'. It's made in a batch of about 10 casks, each having aged their contents for 10-12 years.
Hunting Unicorns: The top 10 rarest American whiskeys in the world (part 2)
In case you missed our first installment of Hunting Unicorns, feel free to read part 1 .
So we've covered a few of the big names, the heavy-hitters, some of the rarest, most-sought-after and hardest-to-find bourbon and rye whiskeys anywhere in the world. Now what? Well, we start on the next 5 rarest bourbon and rye whiskeys in the world! Below are five of our absolute favorite drops, some of the most enigmatic, elusive and exceptionally excellent bottles money can buy.
One of the most highly regarded and critically acclaimed bourbon whiskeys to be produced by Buffalo Trace, Elmer T Lee’s standard Sour Mash Bourbon is hard enough come by, let alone the uber limited edition commemorative releases that they celebrate milestones with.
While the 100 Year Anniversary bottle is more widely known as one of the rarest and most exclusive bourbon whiskeys to come out of the realm of Kentucky bourbon, the 90th Anniversary is much hard to come by, and has solidified its place in folklore as one of the most elusive, exclusive and highly sought-after bourbons in the world.
Expect a generous, silky smooth mouthfeel and lashings of succulent flavor spanning vanilla, caramel and toffee, as well as nuanced hints of butter, oak and light citrus. Signed by Elmer T. Lee himself, this bottle is the definition of collector's item, and is likely a bottle that even the most seasoned connoisseurs will never set eyes upon in their lifetime.
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What a gift this would be… Released in ridiculously limited numbers just once a year, the ‘birthday’ bourbon moniker is incredibly fitting, commemorating founder, George Garvin Brown’s birthday. Old Forester’s most exclusive bottling has a new iteration each year, and each year is entirely different to the last.
As with any annual release, there is a finite number of bottles in circulation, and as a result, there is an extremely high level of demand and an increasing appetite for each year’s vintage. Whenever a new release is announced, the previous year’s release appreciates in value - so collectors will be hard-pressed to find older vintages and competition is high for each upcoming version.
The 2020 vintage release for example, is made from a single batch distilled on a single day from a grand total of 93 barrels. Beautifully balancing soft butterscotch, subtle hints of banana, oak and some nuanced citrus, it is deliciously appointed and swimming with complex yet majestically balanced flavor profiles.
A must-own for Kentucky whiskey purists, the bottle is an eye-catching centerpiece for any collection that will be a talking point for anyone who knows whiskey.
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With only 273 bottles made available to the public, Michter’s Celebration Sour Mash is a challenger for the most limited bottle on this list, owing its extreme exclusivity to Master Distiller Willie Pratt and his meticulous and unwaveringly dedicated approach to blending the finest barrels in the Michter’s distillery.
This blended Kentucky Whiskey combines a number of the best barrels produced by Michter’s, all of which are aged for a minimum of 20 years, with some aged more than 30 years, to produce a flavor profile unlike anything else in circulation. As you can imagine, whiskeys of this age lend themselves to extremely limited numbers, so it is no surprise that this particular bottle is more than a ‘unicorn’ it is effectively an apparition.
For those who are lucky enough to uncover one in its natural habitat, the opportunity should not be passed up - try or buy, do not squander the chance to enjoy one of the finest bottles that money can offer. It might take deep pockets, but the expense is surely worth the indisputable rarity and exclusivity of a 1/237 drop.
Cause for celebration, Michter’s Celebration Sour Mash is a bottle to die for.
Rare rating: 10/10
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Iconic and exceptional, for collectors and connoisseurs, this is a statement piece that will impress and inspire. The elegant crystal decanter is a stunningly crafted conversation starter, and the bourbon itself is decadent and magnificently appointed.
Aged for twice as long as the standard Eagle Rare Kentucky Straight, the Double Eagle Very Rare is a 20 year matured bourbon whiskey that is both complex and captivating, beautifully balancing subtle vanilla and caramel notes, a toasted oakiness and a luxurious and sophisticated mouthfeel.
For fans of Buffalo Trace’s Antique Collection seeking a little bit more bravado and panache, the Double Eagle Very Rare is a superb addition to any top-shelf, the only difficulty will be sourcing this ever-elusive variety.
Released annually in extremely limited numbers, there have only been 3 full releases in the history of the brand, meaning it is nothing short of an enigma and incredibly difficult to locate. For those who manage this impressive feat, however, the hunt is undoubtedly worth it - a prized possession for any collector or connoisseur with a passion for sublime Kentucky bourbon.
Rare rating: 10/10
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Named by Colonel E. H. Taylor in 1870, O.F.C or Old Fashioned Copper has long been a tour de force in Kentucky whiskey folklore. One part myth, one part magic, O.F.C was the ultimate state-of-the-art facility in its era, and has produced some of the finest, most critically acclaimed and most widely celebrated bourbons the world has ever seen.
Produced in incredibly small numbers and bottled in hand-cut crystal decanters, O.F.C’s Buffalo Trace releases are some of the rarest and most refined Kentucky bourbon whiskeys around. Bottled at 90 proof and aged for 25 years, each annual vintage has a character and charisma that is second to none, and a flavor profile that aptly encapsulates the spirit that is O.F.C, known today as Buffalo Trace.
A warm, buttery nose with lashings of cherry, molasses and oak is complemented beautifully by robust caramel, cinnamon and wood tones on the palate, which resounds in a herbaceous, oaky finish that tantalizes and entices the tastebuds.
For many collectors, this is a bottle they will never have the privilege of adding to their collection, however for those that are lucky enough, it is a bottle that they will never forget.
Rare rating: 10/10
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