Photo: Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert (Getty)
The weather has quickly moved from sunny and hot to dark and cold, and the days have gone from long and full of outdoor activities to short and full of Netflix. The best way to get through the dark days of winter is to enjoy a dram or two of whiskey, right?
Here are some of the best whiskeys to enjoy this winter:
Hibiki Japanese Harmony
In recent years, Japanese whisky has become one of the hottest styles of whisky in the world. One of the best is Hibiki. Their Japanese Harmony is exactly what it seems: a perfect mix of malt and grain whiskies that play off of each other as if they were an orchestra of flavors. You shouldn’t expect anything less from the House of Suntory.
FEW Brainville Rye
The Flaming Lips are one of the most fascinating bands in the World. That’s why it’s so amazing that they collaborated with FEW Spirits to create a rye whiskey worthy of the iconic band. The 80-proof rye whiskey launched this fall in a very limited quantity of only 5,000 bottles. If you can get your hands on some, you’ll be treated to a subtly spicy, full-flavored rye whiskey.
Jameson Black Barrel
There are few guarantees in the World. One guarantee is that Jameson is always going to put out a tremendous product. This goes for the original Jameson Irish Whiskey as well and is even more true for Jameson Black Barrel. The reason this whiskey is so special is because it is aged in three different barrels, including: American oak, sherry and charred bourbon barrels.
Old Potrero Hotaling’s 16 Year Old Single Malt Rye Whiskey
This 100 proof rye whiskey is no joke. It has the spiciness rye whiskey drinkers love with hints of pepper and cinnamon, but it also has flavors of candied fruits and woody oak. You’ll be hard pressed to find a better slow sipping rye this winter.
Balvenie Tun 1509 Batch 3
Balvenie is one of the most famous names in Speyside Scotches. Their newest offering Tun 1509 is the third offering in the Tun 1509 series. This is a very limited whisky for Balvenie fans with only 2,100 bottles available in the United States. To create this special expression, Balvenie used 31 expertly picked barrels, including: 8 American oak butts distilled in ’92 and ’93, 11 American oak hogshead barrels that were distilled in 1989 as well as 12 sherry butts that were distilled between 1989 and 1992. At 52.2% alcohol, this is definitely a slow sipping whisky perfect for the cold winter nights ahead.
Jim Beam Double Oak
The newest release from Jim Beam, Double Oak, is like your regular Jim Beam if instead of bottling it after maturing it in an American oak barrel, you take it out and place it into another new charred oak barrel to mature even longer. This give it a richer, fuller, more oaky, sweet flavor that is incredibly smooth. You’ll want to drink this on the rocks and in your favorite bourbon cocktails all winter long.
Templeton Rye 6 Year Old
Back in 2010, Templeton decided to keep a few barrels of their famous rye to continue to age. The rye whiskey spent the next six years in new American oak casks. This offering is a limited release because Templeton didn’t set out too many barrels. What was left after the aging process was a 91.5% alcohol spicy, smooth rye whiskey that works just as well on its own as it does in an Old Fashioned.
Elijah Craig Small Batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon
Heaven Hill Distillery makes some of the most well-known whiskies in the US, including: Evan Willians, Larceny and Elijah Craig. This 94 proof bourbon comes in a recently re-designed bottle and is exactly what you hope to get out of a premium bourbon. Even though this offering is fairly high in alcohol, you wouldn’t know it. It remains smooth, rich and full of flavors like dried cherries, caramel and oak. It’s great for sipping or mixing into your favorite hot toddy to warm you up on a snowy winter eve.
I.W. Harper Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Continuing on the bourbon bandwagon, I.W. Harper is a hidden gem in the saturated market. This is one of the oldest bourbon brands and it has remained in the market for a reason. At 82 proof, it’s lower proof than the likes of Elijah Craig, but just as smooth and rich. It’s the gentleman’s bourbon and deserves to be imbibed in a tall, leather chair while wearing a smoking jacket (if they still make them).