There is such a dizzying array of new juice hitting market as the holiday season approaches, even we can barely keep it all straight.

But we certainly know a whiskey worth drinking when we see it, and here are six new ones in a variety of styles we can’t wait to try.

Jefferson's Tropics Aged in Humidity

Vitals: Straight Bourbon; 104 Proof (52% ABV); Limited Release; $100
Origin: Kentucky, USA

Jefferson’s founder Trey Zoeller loves stashing whiskey barrels in weird places. Case-in-point is Jefferson’s Ocean, which began in 2016 as a simple experiment to see how the effects of finishing aged bourbon on a cargo ship would affect the liquid. Twenty six “voyages” later, this experiment has become a popular recurring staple for the brand. With Jefferson’s Tropics Aged in Humidity, Zoeller takes his Ocean concept to another level by shipping 720 barrels of matured bourbon to Singapore in July 2019 to finish in the blistering heat for an additional 18 months.

How Does It Taste?

Expect aromatic baking spices on the nose, notes of Bing cherry, toffee, and sea salt, and a long, textured, full-bodied finish.


New Riff Sour Mash Single Malt Whiskey

Vitals: Single Malt; Proof: Cask strength; Annual Release; $70; Annual Release
Origin: Kentucky, USA

New Riff’s foray into American single malt has been a work-in-progress since the earliest days of the distillery’s existence in 2014. Since then, the New Riff team have been experimenting with a variety of malt barley strains and barrel types, five of six of which are present in this inaugural bottling. Distilled between 2014-2016, these whiskeys were matured in Northern Kentucky, then bottled cask strength and non-chill filtered.

How Does It Taste?

Samples or company tasting notes not available at press time.

Learn More About NEW RIFF

Ardbeg Anthology Collection: The Harpy’s Tale

Vitals: Single Malt; 92 Proof (46% ABV); Limited Release; $165
Origin: Islay, Scotland

From the wonderfully twisted mind of Director of Whisky Creation, Dr. Bill Lumsden, comes the debut of Ardbeg Anthology Collection. This latest Ardbeg series is a range of experimental, peat smoked single malt matured in a variety of experimental casks new to the brand. The first release is The Harpy’s Tale, a hybrid of whiskies matured thirteen years in classic ex-bourbon barrels and Sauternes casks, a French sweet wine from the Sauternes Region in Bordeaux.

“We have embarked on a bold maturation experiment to fuse Ardbeg’s signature smokiness with more nuanced, sweeter notes for our new release,” says Lumsden. “The Harpy’s Tale  represents a battle between sweet and smoke – one I believe fans are yet to experience in an Ardbeg dram, and one that I’m sure they will be excited to taste for themselves.”

How Does It Taste?

Expect herbal aromas of coriander and sage mingling with olive oil, sweet briar wood, and smoked lemon peel. The palate is soft, sweet, and oily, with Aniseed lozenges, apricots and eucalyptus oil enveloped in Ardbeg’s signature smoky profile.

Learn More About ardbeg

Redbreast Tawny Port Cask Edition

Vitals: 92 Proof (46% ABV); Limited Edition; NAS; $100
Origin: Cork, Ireland

At its heart, Redbreast is single pot still Irish whiskey aged in a combo of ex-bourbon and Spanish oak Oloroso sherry butts. To create this Tawny Cask expression, Midleton Distillery’s Master Blender Billy Leighton and cohort Dave McCabe re-casked a portion of this whiskey in tawny port casks. After a couple of years the whiskey is blended and once again finished in tawny port hogsheads from Portugal’s Douro Valley for 14-25 months.

“Redbreast Tawny Port Edition’s flavour profile is well within our flock’s DNA, yet it provides an exciting twist from another part of the Iberian Peninsula,” McCabe adds. “Each subsequent expression in the series will represent a new discovery from this rich region which to date has greatly influenced the Redbreast style over the course of its history.”

How Does It Taste?

Company tasting notes: Notes of praline, salted caramel, and a hint of toasted oak, wrapped in a rich, velvety texture.

Learn More About REDBREAST

Jack Daniel’s Bonded Rye Whiskey

Vitals: 100 Proof (50% ABV); $32 (700ml)
Origin: Tennessee, USA

The newest member of the Jack Daniel’s Bonded Series is the company’s first rye whiskey ever to wear the bottled-in-bond designation. This means the whiskey is required to be distilled by a single distiller during a single season, aged in a government bonded warehouse for at least four years, and bottled at 100 proof. Made from a grain recipe comprised of 70% rye, 18% corn, and 12% malted barley, this Bonded Rye is the third expression in the BIB series lineup, sitting alongside Jack Daniel’s Bonded and JD Triple Mash.

How Does It Taste?

Jack Daniel’s promises notes of dried fruit followed by lingering hints of toffee, imparting a
bold, complex, and balanced taste with a rye spice finish.


Barrell Craft Spirits Cask Finish Series: Amburana

Vitals: 118.22 Proof (59.11% ABV); Limited Edition; $85
Origin: Kentucky/Indiana

Barrell Craft Spirits is a Louisville based sourcing and blending company who seeks out tasty barrels of whiskey and rum then blends them into their own mega award winning expresssions. The latest entry in the BCS Cask Finish Series is Amburana, a combo of 5, 6, 7, & 10-year bourbons distilled In Indiana, which is joined by a 5-year-old Kentucky bourbon finished in Amburana casks, a Brazilian oak strain. Like all BCS products, Amburana is bottled cask strength and non-chill-filtered.

How Does It Taste?

Expect a big time cinnamon nose along with with other baking spices, horchata, coffee notes and banana. The buttery palate shows off more oak influenced spices along with licorice , Pumpkin pie, herbs, and ginger.


Spirits writers, marketers and designers are among the most influential forces in the spirits industry. Their opinions, ideas and creative talents inform and influence consumer perceptions and buying decisions. The John Barleycorn Society was started by a group of spirits journalists seeking to honor excellence in all facets of the industry. The journalists spent several years creating a comprehensive competition that became the John Barleycorn Awards. An elite team of authoritative and influential spirits journalists was selected to administer the flagship component of the Awards, a blind tasting competition destined to become the preeminent arbitrator of spirits taste, quality and character.