Two big guns just dropped in. They're both pretty f-ing good. See what you think. Get some.
Smooth Ambler Very Old Scout 14 Year Old Bourbon $64.99 – My official notes are below. Let me reiterate my feelings about this whiskey right now: it’s very good and it’s definitely worth your time. It’s not a Pappy 15 replacement, however. It’s not a big wheated Bourbon (in fact, there’s no wheat in it at all). If there wasn’t a vast shortage of mature Bourbon right now, it probably wouldn’t be that big a deal. HOWEVER, it does scratch that itch. It has that extra burst of wood and richness that you get from older American whiskies. The Bourbon itself is well balanced and the casks were expertly married by John Little. It delivers for the price and it also offers a chance to see what older LDI Bourbon stock tastes like (as we all know, their mature Rye was dynamite in the High West Rendezvous). I personally am going to buy a few because 1) it’s delicious, and 2) I want to give some to friends who like Bourbon and want to try something new. Just wanted to make that clear before I get the “this isn’t as good as Pappy” emails. :)
The Very Old Scout is likely to be the best mature Bourbon you'll taste this year. It might not be the best Bourbon of 2012, but unlike other limited edition items that sellout in seconds, you'll actually be able to get one. The days of seeing Pappy Van Winkle on the shelf are over. We get hundreds of requests every week for bottles we don't have and cannot get. Bourbon is the hottest ticket in town and sadly the mature stocks were gobbled up faster than producers could replenish them. We're stuck in a drought and there's no end in sight because it takes time to age new whiskey. That's where John Little comes in. His West Virginia distillery purchased the last mature stocks of Bourbon from LDI distillery some time back and he's been secretly crafting them into a special cuvee - 40% 14 year, 40% 15 year, 15% 17 year, and 5% 19 year, bottled at 100 proof for a bold and spicy flavor. The result is a knockout. The sweetness from the charred oak permeates deep into the whiskey, baking spices dance on the palate, cinnamon and vanilla come big on the finish. While there isn't much of this whiskey (about 3000 bottles total), we jumped on it fast and secured a fifth of it. If you know someone who loves Bourbon, you need to act now. We're not expecting more, not for the holidays, not for Xmas - nothing on the horizon. Again, this is the best deal we're going to see for Bourbon this year, or perhaps next year as well. A fantastic deal while it lasts.
Ardbeg Galileo Single Malt Whisky $94.99 – A new 12 year old single malt from Ardbeg bottled at 49% ABV and comprised of whisky aged in marsala casks and first-fill Bourbon barrels. Soft red fruits from the wine marry with creamy vanilla from the Bourbon, both intertwining with the big peat smoke of Ardbeg to create a rich and exotic experience.
I just tasted the Ardbeg and it’s by far the richest release we’ve seen in some time. However, it’s an odd richness because it comes from the marsala fruit rather than from sherry. I’m not sure how excited about it I am yet, but I definitely liked what I tasted. It’s better than the Alligator, Rollercoaster, and Day releases in my opinion, mainly because it’s entirely different than the three standard expressions. Big smoke on the entry that gets swallowed up in tangy fruit and creamy textures, before turning into savory herbs and aniseed. Quite interesting and loaded with depth. I’ll need another few tastes before I can decide how much I like it. If I had to choose one or the other, I’d probably choose the Cairdeas right now, but I don’t have to choose, so I’ll probably end up buying both.
While they last!