As we rapidly approach the holiday gift-giving and partying season, amazing whiskeys are starting to drop fast. October is when things get very interesting and basically non-stop. Over the last week, dozens of new whiskeys have hit shelves; and over the next week, dozens more will. So, I’m going to do my best to keep track of them all for you by calling out (a mere) 15 whiskeys that I think you should track down in October below.
As you can probably tell from the first paragraph, this list is only scratching the surface. Some of these whiskeys have been released in the last week and some are hitting shelves right now or about to, others dropped in the last couple of weeks at distilleries only and are going wider on store shelves currently. Moreover, this list isn’t looking forward to releases that haven’t dropped yet — we’ll cover those as they do (things like Buffalo Trace’s 2022 Antique Collection and the 2022 Pappy line, which drop later in October).
Look at it this way, the 15 whiskeys below are some of the best bottles you can stock on your bar cart right now. Yes, the list is bourbon heavy, but there are also new rye whiskeys, a brand new US-exclusive Scotch single malt, an Australian drop, a new Irish blend, and plenty of one-off special releases that slap. So without further ado, let’s dive in and find you a great whiskey to drink this October.
Also Read: The Top 5 UPROXX Bourbon Posts Of The Last Six Months
- We Blind Tasted A Whole Bunch Of $30-60 Bourbons To See If Any Could Beat Weller
- We Put A Whole Bunch Of Bourbons To A Giant Blind Test And Discovered Some Absolute Gems
- We Blind Tasted Classic Bourbons And Were Shocked By The Winner
- The Best-Known Basic Bottles Of Bourbon, Blind Tasted And Ranked
- All The Double Gold-Winning Straight Bourbons From This Year’s San Francisco World Spirits Competition
Average Price: $150
This whiskey heralds back to Michter’s historical roots in the 19th century before the brand was even called “Michter’s.” The juice in the bottle is rendered from a very small batch of bourbons that were aged in Chinquapin oak which was air-dried for three years before charring and filling. The Kentucky bourbon was then bottled in an extremely small batch that only yielded 2005 bottles this year.
This nose is subtle with echoes of sticky toffee pudding, black-tea-soaked dates, sharp cinnamon, salted toffee sauce, vanilla cream, and a twinge of cedar sticks wrapped in old leather. The palate is a lush and silky crème brûlée with dustings of allspice, nutmeg, orange zest, and dark cacao with just a flake of salt and a whisper of dry cedar bark. The end stays lush as prunes and figs mingle with marzipan with a fleeting hint of orange lingering on the senses.
This is often called “secret Michter’s” and that’s pretty apt. The expression is a yearly release that always hits high marks amongst those in the know. This year’s drop is stone-cold classic bourbon with a deep flavor profile and satisfying nature.
Not for nothing, but this makes one the best Manhattans you can make.
The Dalmore Aged 14 Years
Average Price: $110
This Highland single malt is classic malted whisky from The Dalmore that spends 14 years mellowing. Then The Dalmore’s Master Whisky Maker Gregg Glass hand-selects specific barrels for vatting and re-barreling in very rare Pedro Ximénez casks from the House of Gonzalez Byass in Spain. Once Glass deems those barrels just right, they’re vatted, proofed, and bottled exclusively for the U.S. market.
The nose on this one is light and almost playful with hints of pomelo rind, burnt orange, and salted black licorice next to salty, rich caramel ice cream with a hint of brittle toffee and maybe some poppy seed. The palate is all about the sticky toffee pudding with black-tea-soaked dates, soft cinnamon and nutmeg, a sprinkle of orange zest, and a flake or two of salt next to brandy butter and maple-infused toffee syrup. The end has a moment of sharp cinnamon warmth before descending toward dried figs, a pinch of marzipan, and a fleeting sense of dark chocolate next to sweet prunes.
This is a delicious pour of single malt. It has a very fall/winter vibe on the palate with all that dried fruit, spice, and sticky toffee pudding vibes. Still, this isn’t heavy. It’s silky and luxurious.
Bardstown Bourbon Company Fusion Series #8
Average Price: $65
The second to last Fusion Series this year highlights Bardstown’s 100% estate-distilled bourbon whiskey in a lead-up to them releasing their own line — the Origin Series — early next year. The blend is a mix of 58% of a four-year-old Bardstown Bourbon Company bourbon with 70% corn, 18% rye, and 12% malted barley, 30% a 12-year-old sourced Kentucky bourbon with 78% corn, 10% rye, and 12% malted barley, and 12% a four-year-old Bardstown Bourbon Co. bourbon with 75% corn, 21% rye, and 4% malted barley. Those barrels were vatted and just touched with water before bottling.
There’s a full orchard on the nose with tart apples, ripe apricots, and a hint of pear next to fresh honey, mild winter spices (especially clove), and a hint of green tea with little ginger. The palate leans into the ginger and spices with a spiced Christmas cake next to minced meat pies just touched with powdered sugar icing while the apricot gets dried out and the cinnamon turns toward dried chili on the mid-palate. The finish has a subtle layer of vanilla that supports woody cinnamon and allspice berries next to an apricot-laced tobacco leaf braided with some soft cedar bark.
This is a subtle whiskey that hits all the right marks. It’s deep yet fresh and light. It really goes down easily while delivering a full-bodied tasting experience without over-challenging your palate. It’s great on a couple of rocks but also works wonders in a cocktail as well.
Redemption Sur Lee Straight Rye Whiskey
Average Price: $55
This brand new whiskey from Redemption is going deep on drawing out flavors from the spirit and wood by utilizing the “wine less” method. Very basically, when MGP is contract distilling Redemption’s 95% rye, they take the backset or “whiskey lees” that usually would be redistilled and instead put that into the barrel to activate the wood before the heart cut of rye distillate goes into the barrel for its aging period. The barrels are then rolled and rotated throughout that aging spell before vatting, non-chill filtering, proofing, and bottling.
The nose has a sense of bitter orange next to pecan and walnut shells with hints of dried apricot, dried apple chip, and floral honey. The palate leans into the nuttiness with a sense of pecan waffle cooked in butter next to eggnog lattes and singe marshmallow with a hint of caraway rye bread crusts and a hint of fennel. The end is lush with a hint of apple pie in a lard crust next to salted popcorn with a dash of brown butter before a woody sense of dried figs and old cedar leads to a whisper of cinnamon-orange on the finish.
This is another winning release from the team at Redemption. It’s well-balanced and has serious depth but not overly so. In the end, this is going to be a great old fashioned base as the leaves start to fall this October.
Chattanooga Whiskey Bottled In Bond Vintage Series Fall 2018
Average Price: $53
The latest seasonal drop from Tennessee’s Chattanooga Whiskey is another winner. The juice is a blend of four of their mash bills. 30% comes from mash bill SB091, which is a mix of yellow corn, malted rye, caramel malted barley, and honey malted barley. Another 30% comes from mash bill B002, which has yellow corn, hardwood smoked malted barley (smoked with beech, mesquite, apple, or cherry), caramel malted barley, caramel malted, and honey malted barley. The next 20% is mash bill B005, which is yellow corn, malted wheat, oak smoked malted wheat, and caramel malted wheat. And the last 20% is from mash bill R18098, which is yellow corn, pale malted barley, naked malted oats, double roasted caramel malted barley, peated malted barley, cherrywood smoked malted barley, chocolate malt, and de-husked chocolate malt.
It’s a complex whiskey, folks.
This opens with a sense of those grains with oatmeal cookies with walnuts, raisins, and plenty of cinnamon next to buckwheat pancakes cooked off in brown butter with a hint of dried apple, vanilla wafer, and maybe some cherry-infused honey with this faint hint of dried sage and maybe some sweet basil in there. The palate has a light sense of vanilla sauce beneath layers of cherry barks, prunes, dates, woody cinnamon, allspice berries, and maybe some cumin and dried red chili with a dash of old leather. The end is dry with dark chocolate tobacco leaves on top of cedar planks, dried mint, dried-out orange rinds, and maybe a whisper of lime leaves.
This is complex, yes. But that’s only if you really want it to be — that is if you take your time going back and forth on the nose and taste. You can just drink it over some rocks and it’ll be delightful and fun. In fact, maybe just do that.
George Dickel Bottled In Bond Fall 2008 Aged 13 Years
Average Price: $43
Nicole Austin has been killing it with these bottled-in-bond releases from George Dickel. This release is a whiskey that was warehoused in the fall of 2008. 13 years later, this juice was bottled at 100 proof (as per the bottled-in-bond law) and left to rest. This fall, new releases of that Tennessee juice were sent out to much acclaim.
Another classic nose! Maple syrup on buttery pecan waffles leads toward apple chips, old leather, and a mix of winter spices and sour cherry vanilla wafers. The palate leans into an apple pie with plenty of nuts, spices, and raisins next to malted vanilla milkshakes, blueberry cotton candy, and a hint of dark chocolate milk powder. The end has a hint of dry anise mixed with cherry and brown sugar with a slight nuttiness leading toward a cherry-cinnamon tobacco finish.
This is a great value for a truly great whiskey. This is one of those bottles that you should buy two of every time you see it on a shelf. One for you and one to give as a gift. Or just two for you in case your store runs out this season.
Woodford Reserve Honey Barrel Finished Bourbon
Average Price: $60
This brand-new whiskey from Woodford Reserve takes classic Woodford bourbon that’s aged at least four years and finishes it with some honeyed oak. The bourbon is filled into barrels that aged honey for a final maturation before blending, very light proofing, and bottling.
The nose has a lovely floral honey note with a hint of orange peels studded with cloves next to Almond Joy and a touch of Graham Cracker dipped in honey and dusted with cinnamon. The palate has a touch of fresh ginger next to more fresh honey with a hint of sticky toffee pudding underneath it all. The end has a touch of old cedar with a whisper of coconut tobacco next to creamy honey cut with vanilla.
This is a nice and easy sipper. There’s a real sense of fresh honey, so the whiskey delivers on what’s promised on the label. This also makes for a nice cocktail base thanks to that sweet and smooth honey base.
Slainte Irish Whiskey Smooth Blend
Average Price: $38
The new Slainte Irish Whiskey Smooth Blend starts off with classic barrels of grain whiskey aged in both ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks. Those barrels are batched and then the whiskey is re-barreled into new ex-bourbon casks for a final maturation before vatting, proofing, and bottling.
Minor notes of black pepper and soft lemon oils mix with vanilla and a hint of banana bread on the nose with a touch of green grass. The palate leans into a buttery brioche with orange marmalade, almonds, and vanilla next to a hint of oak and floral honey. The end is light and quick with a sense of dried honey wafers next to a final touch of that black pepper from the nose.
This is a quality Irish whiskey. It’s very much for mixing drinks so treat it that way.
Average Price: $150
Chinquapin oak is at the core of this release as well. The variable here is that this isn’t bourbon. This straight whisky leans heavily into rye but isn’t rye, not by law, anyway. The juice is devised to highlight the best of both worlds with a unique barreling that really brings something unique to the table and palate.
Soft leather, burnt orange, spiced Christmas cake, fresh vanilla beans, sultanas, and a hint of fresh firewood round out the nose with a hint of almost sweet oak char. The palate has a nice sweet spiciness to it like a box of Hot Tamales next to allspice and orange with raisins, nutmeg, and a whisper of espresso bean sneaking in late. The end marries the orange oils to soft cedar notes with a woody spiciness next to soft notes of sweet cinnamon, stewed plums, minced meat pies, and brandied cherries layered into chewy tobacco leaves.
This sour mash whiskey is just goddamn delicious. Pour it over a rock or sip it neat. Either way, you’re in for a treat.
Five Trail Blended American Whiskey Small Batch Limited Release
Average Price: $72
This is another big blend of whiskeys that leans into the new Coors Distilling out in Colorado (yes, that Coors). The whiskey is a blend of sourced whiskeys from Indiana (a four-year wheated bourbon), Kentucky (a four-year, four-grain bourbon), Tennessee (a 17-year TN whiskey), and Colorado (an eight-year-old American single malt). Those whiskeys are vatted in a small batch and bottled proofed down a tad with that Coors Rocky Mountain water.
The nose opens with a classic sense of burnt orange, cardamom pods, dried chili pepper (only a dash), and soft leather with a touch of ginger lurking in the background. The palate leans into Honey-Nut Cheerios with an almost floral honey vibe next to creamy vanilla sauce. The mid-palate leans back into the burnt orange with a hint of spicy apple pie filling and a touch of spiced cherry tobacco on the finish.
This was a pretty nice surprise when I cracked it open. It’s not the greatest whiskey ever, but it works as an on-the-rocks sipper or solid cocktail base for your favorite drink.
Lost Lantern 2022 Single Cask #13 Cedar Ridge Iowa 5-Year-Old Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Average Price: $100
This single barrel from Lost Lantern’s latest 2022 barrel release is a special one. The juice is from Iowa’s famed Cedar Ridge and is made with 74% corn against 14% rye and 12% malted barley. The barrel they picked was aged for five years before they found it. It turned out to be a “short cask,” meaning that the standard 53-gallon oak barrel only yielded 100 bottles (a little less than half of what’s normal at that age). What was left from the angel’s share was bottled as-is.
The nose on this one is luxurious with salted caramel drizzled over apple pies full of walnuts, cinnamon, and nutmeg with plenty of brown sugar and butter next to oily vanilla pods and a hint of bruised peach and sun-kissed wicker lawn furniture. The palate simmers those old peaches in winter spice with a woody edge and plenty of brown sugar with a hint of cardamom and mace next to supple vanilla cream sauce with poppy seed and a hint of warmth from those woody spices. The end levels off toward rich toffee next to very creamy eggnog with a hint of cream soda before old cedar bark and sweetgrass are braided together and wrapped up in an old cinnamon/apple tobacco leaf and put into a leather pouch.
This might be the best Cedar Ridge bourbon out there. It’s supple and nuanced and inviting. You’ll have to move fast though, there are only 100 bottles of this one.
Morris Australian Single Malt Whisky Muscat Barrels
Average Price: $85
This whisky from Down Under is made with 100% locally grown malted barley in the mash. The juice is aged in Muscat wine barrels from local wineries for three years. Those barrels are then batched and proofed down with local pure water from the nearby Snowy Mountains.
The nose opens with a matrix of dried fruits — dates, prunes, figs, cherries, sultanas — next to blackstrap molasses sweetness with a twinge of bitterness, soft vanilla smoothness, and a touch of caramel malts. The palate leans into those roasted caramel malts and layers in vanilla chewing tobacco, cinnamon bark, fresh nutmeg, and almond shell. The end meanders through dried orchard wood, cedar bark, cinnamon sticks, and allspice berries with a hint of malted vanilla tobacco.
This is an easy-going sipper. It really opens up with rock or water, which makes it a good candidate for some simple whisky cocktails too.
Woodinville Moscatel Finished
Average Price: $70
This whiskey starts as Woodinville’s award-winning five-year-old bourbon. That juice is then re-barreled into Moscatel wine casks for a finish maturation period. After nearly a year, the whiskey goes into the bottle having just been touched by water but otherwise as-is.
The nose presents as sweet with hints of sweet prunes and dates but runs deep and dark with smoked apricot, five spice, dark chocolate creaminess, and black tea cut with burnt orange. The palate mixes Almond Roca (toffee covered in roasted almonds) with peach pits, vanilla pound cake, poppy seeds, black molasses, rum-raisin, black-tea-soaked dates, and rich Christmas cake spices with candied zests. The end leans into those dark spices and adds a woody edge that leads to dry porch wicker, choco-date tobacco, and cedar bark dipped in toffee.
This is slowly becoming one of my favorite pours of the year. It’s delicious yet approachable. It’s also finally available nationwide, so you might be able to find it finally outside of Washington.
Russell’s Reserve Single Rickhouse Limited Release Rickhouse Collection Camp Nelson C
Average Price: $249 (Limited time and only in CA, FL, TX, and CO)
For this release, classic Wild Turkey barrels were stored in Rickhouse C at Camp Nelson (an off-site warehouse campus). They were left alone on floors three and four for several years (those are the central floors of the seven-story rickhouse). As the rickhouse started falling apart (it was built in the late 1800s), it became clear it was beyond repair. So the Russell crew started tasting whiskey to see what they could do with it. 72 barrels rose to the surface with a parallel flavor structure that became this whiskey, which was then bottled completely as-is without filtration or proofing.
The nose opens with soft marzipan fondant that leads to plenty of rum-raisin, brown sugar, and mild cinnamon/nutmeg/clove spice with a sense of brandy butter, salted caramel, and vanilla taffy next to a faint whisper of apple fritters. The palate is lush and silky with rich buttery toffee rolled in roasted almonds and toasted coconut and dipped in dark and creamy chocolate sauce with plenty of orange zest and flakes of salt. The mid-palate leans into cinnamon bark, allspice berries, and a freshly ground nutmeg next to tart apple pies loaded with pecans. The finish circles back around the brandy butter, rum-raisin, and powdered sugar frosting for a sweet and luxurious end.
This is another one of the great pours of 2022. But it’s very limited, so good luck whiskey hunting out there!
Garrison Brothers Cowboy Bourbon
Average Price: $249
Cowboy Bourbon is Garrison Brother’s signature bottle of whiskey. This year’s release was made from hand-selected 118 25-gallon barrels, aged between eight and nine years. Master Distiller Donnis Todd went through all of their small-format barrels over the course of the year to find a dozen or so that he thought met the high standards of Cowboy Bourbon without filtering or cutting with water. That makes this a very as-is representation of what makes Garrison Bros. special.
The nose opens with a rush of sharp cinnamon bark wrapped up with old saddle leather, freshly fried apple fritters, walnuts, and old cedar bark with dried wild sage and a hint of dried yellow mustard flowers. The palate leans into the spice with a hint of allspice and ginger next to apple pie filling with walnuts, brandy-soaked raisins, and plenty of brown sugar next to a soft vanilla creaminess. The mid-palate works through spiced Christmas cake made with plums and dates and dipped in dark chocolate sauce. The end leans into salted caramel, stewed plums, a hint of vanilla Dr. Pepper, and a mild sense of chocolate-cinnamon-spiced chewing tobacco buzziness with a warming Texas hug that’s part Hot Tamales and part chili-spiced green tea.
There are only 8,600 bottles hitting shelves in 42 states. They’re going to move fast when they hit shelves. And, as always, this one is worth seeking out. It’s a great and very unique bourbon that just tastes wonderful.