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New Releases: Basil Hayden, Barrell Craft Spirits, & George Dickel

Spring is finally upon us, and with the new (hopefully warmer) weather comes a whole host of new releases in the American whiskey and bourbon category. 

This week’s new releases include a Mizunara finish from Barrel Craft Spirits, Basil Hayden brings back its popular Subtle Smoke expression, and George Dickel releases a 12 Year Old Bottled-In-Bond expression. 

Basil Hayden Subtle Smoke 

Credit: Basil Hayden

Basil Hayden, a whiskey brand owned by Jim Beam, has delighted bourbon fans by bringing back its popular Subtle Smoke expression. 

The whiskey was first released in 2022 and subsequently “racked up $1.9M in Nielsen Sales in its first six months on shelf,” according to Basil Hayden. 

The Basil Hayden Subtle Smoke bourbon is distilled from the brand’s signature high-rye mash bill and matured in American white oak, before being aged for six weeks inside toasted and lightly charred barrels. These barrels are pumped with “a special smoke that was made from the delicate ignition of hickory smoked chips.” 

The result is a smooth spirit with a subtle, but not overpowering, hint of smoke. The tasting notes for the bourbon feature “mellow smoke with a hint of vanilla” on the nose. The palate is “soft char with light sweetness reminiscent of caramel and apple”, leading to a “crisp yet delicate smokiness with light toasted hickory wood.” 

Basil Hayden Subtle Smoke (40% ABV) will be available for a limited time only from wine and spirits retailers across the US, with an RRP of $49.99. Click here to find a bottle near you. 

Barrell Craft Spirits Cask Finish Series: Mizunara 

Credit: Barrell Craft Spirits

Barrell Craft Spirits, which recently launched in the UK, has expanded its Cask Finish Series with the release of a new Mizunara finished bourbon. 

The bourbon is a blend of whiskeys from three different states and with varying age statements: 

  • Indiana – 6, 7, & 9 years old 
  • Kentucky – 8 years old 
  • Tennessee – 8 & 14 years old. 

According to Barrell Craft Spirits, the derived mash bill is comprised of 76% corn, 20% rye, and 4% malted barley. 

The whiskeys were married together before being finished in Mizunara casks for one and a hald years. Mizunara is a species of oak native to Japan. The wood is notoriously rare and difficult to work with, but yields fantastic results including distinctive notes of sandalwood and Japanese incense when used for whiskey maturation. 

The Mizunara cask finish was bottled at 115.2 proof (cask strength). 

On the nose expect aromas of “strawberry, golden raisin, amontillado sherry, and a touch of sawdust. Then sweeter notes of honey, vanilla, sugar cookie, and white peach appear, followed by cocoa, cherry, oiled leather, toasted corn, and palo santo.” 

The palate is defined by “herbaceous notes of lemongrass, star anise, and peppermint striking first. Honey, sweet cornbread, and dates appear followed by galangal and a woodsy note.” 

The Barrell Craft Spirits Cask Finish Series: Mizunara is available on the brand’s website for an RRP of $84.99

George Dickel Bottled-In-Bond 12 Year Old 

Credit: George Dickel

George Dickel has expanded its award-winning Bottled-In-Bond series with the release of a 12 Year Old. The fifth release in the series was distilled in Spring 2011 from a mash bill of 84% corn, 8% rye, and 8% malted barley. The whiskey was charcoal-mellowed before being bottled at 100 proof at 12 years old. 

Tasting notes for this new release feature “notes of overripe cherries, macadamia nut cookies and toasted oak.” 

The George Dickel Bottled-In-Bond 12 Year Old certainly impressed the judges at this year’s San Francisco World Spirits Competition, in which the expression won a Double Gold medal. 

Nicole Austin, Director of George Dickel & Luxury Whiskey said: “Something that makes this series so special is that whisky fans have the rare opportunity to try expertly crafted bottled in bond offerings at a great price,” said Austin. “If you’re a fan of the category, you know the designation requires the liquid to be from just one distillation season, among other regulations. Our bottled in bond offerings are a testament to the quality of our inventory and the commitment at Cascade Hollow to consistently produce outstanding whisky. I can’t wait for both old and new fans of the series to try it!” 

George Dickel Bottled-In-Bond 12 Year Old is available from retailers across the US for an RRP of $44.99. 

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Beth Squires

Beth joined Mark Littler Ltd full-time in October 2020 following the completion of her university degree. Since then she has gained wide-ranging knowledge of all things whisk(e)y, and has written extensively for both company and external publications. Beth is passionate about industry innovation, marketing, and sustainability. With a particular affinity for independently bottled rare scotch, Beth is also a whisky bottle investment specialist.

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