Fall has officially arrived, even if the weather in a lot of the country still feels like midsummer. That means its time to reevaluate the whiskey cabinet, pick out some new featured whiskeys, and get started enjoying the coziest time of the year.
Don’t have the cash or chutzpah to dive into the collectible bourbon fray this fall? Don’t fret. Let the tickers elbow one another for the chance to spend $850 on a bottle of George T. Stagg and snuggle in with a bottle of lil’ old Stagg Jr. It’s a little younger (and a lot easier to find) than its more grown-up sibling, but Stagg Jr. still offers that irresistible combination of big spice and high proof. Great for cutting the chill.
Longer evenings and cooler temperatures call out for sherry. The GlenDronach Distillery in the Speyside region produces one of Scotland’s great sherried malts, and its 18-year-old “Allardice” expression is just right for autumn. Polished, nutty, and dense as a fruitcake (in the best way possible), this is a classically delicious whisky. While in Scotland earlier this year, I heard rumors from a couple of bartenders that the 18-year-old might be discontinued, so get it while you can.
Bruichladdich Islay Barley
Fall is all about harvest and bounty, and Bruichladdich Islay Barley is the whisky equivalent of amber waves of grain. Made entirely from Islay-grown barley, this unpeated single malt is rich with cereal intensity, with a creamy mouth feel and delicate finish. If you think Scotch whisky isn’t for you, Islay Barley might change your mind.
Fall ‘tis the season for collectible high-end bourbon releases, and the Parker’s Heritage collection from Heaven Hill is always among the best. This year, it’s an 11-year-old bourbon with big, bass-heavy spice notes and plenty of dark caramel. Even sweeter, Heaven Hill is donating $10 from each bottle sold to the ALS foundation in honor of late Distiller Emeritus Parker Beam, who passed away earlier this year.
Santa Fe Spirits Colkegan Single Malt Whiskey
Made in New Mexico, this American malt whiskey is made from 100% malted barley, 30% of which is smoked over mesquite. It’s smoky and nutty, with a nice richness and a pronounced mineral component to keep things interesting. Line this up with a couple of classic Islay malts in a blind tasting for a bit of fun.
Margarett Waterbury is the author of Scotch: A Complete Introduction to Scotland's Whiskies and a full-time freelance writer and editor. Her work has appeared in Whisky Advocate, Food and Wine, Spirited Magazine, Artisan Spirit, Edible Seattle, Sip Northwest, Civil Eats, Travel Oregon, Artisan Spirit, and many other publications. She is...