St. George Spirits single malt whiskey 40th-anniversary edition. St. George has been championing American single malt whiskey for 40 years, and with this late 2022 release they have reason to celebrate.
Master Distiller Lance Winters and Head Distiller/Blender Dave Smith went through their collection of more than 600 barrels of whiskey and narrowed the list to 14. The aging component of St. George single malt whiskey is former bourbon barrels, as it has been since 1997, but with this special release they used whiskeys that had finished in cognac, apple brandy, umeshu (Japanese plum liqueur), port, sherry and California sauternes-style casks.
We tasted notes of tangerine skin, like the classic St. George single malt. The cherry tones turned deeper, to cherry cola and a hint of milk chocolate. The drink had a biscuity finish, with hints of coconut and candied ginger.
It will cost more than $500 at a reputable store, but secondary sellers are charging up to $1,000 or more.
Jameson 18 Years. We grew up on Jameson, so to speak, with a college buddy’s mom making us Christmas Eve Irish coffees. And we remember Midleton Rare, made at the same distillery, being as delicious as it was costly.
But we started to worry about Jameson when things like Jameson Orange or Jameson Cold Brew whiskey started being released.
Jameson 18 Years is a return to form. Three different distillates are matured in oak for a minimum of 18 years, then blended and aged together in new American oak for six months. It is easier to drink than its 92-proof label might indicate, and it has a viscous, glycerin-like texture. We tasted toffee and hay, with a spicy gingerbread finish.
The price should be $150-$200.
Old Forester Birthday bourbon. Released on Sept. 2 every year, this bourbon commemorates the birthday of George Garvin Brown, the founder of Old Forester Bourbon and its parent company, Brown-Forman. Brown was the first to seal his bourbon in a glass bottle, as an assurance of quality, back in 1870.
The 23rd limited edition is 12 years old, with the barrels all produced on the same day in 2011. This is the most full-bodied of the whiskies listed here. We tasted pecan brittle and creme brulee on the palate, with cinnamon and spice notes on the finish, from Old Forester’s high-rye mash bill. The wood tannins are lingering and pleasant.
The list price for Birthday bourbon is $169.99, and a reputable dealer wouldn’t charge you more than $200, but a quick internet search shows prices in excess of $2,000.
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