Spring is a great time for whiskey releases. Between March and June, we’re going to see some of the best small batch releases, single barrel limited editions, a ton of special oak finishes, and some of the coolest barrel proof whiskeys of the year. That makes April a great month to add some seriously good whiskeys to your bar cart.
But what new bottles should you buy this month? I’m here to guide you along the path of great American single malts, bourbons, ryes, Irish whiskeys, and Scotch whiskies you can find right now.
For the list below, I’m calling out 20 bottles that just don’t miss. They all slap, so I’m not really ranking these. Each bottle offers something unique in the world of whiskey from heavily peated Islay malt whiskies to new American single malts to the return of classic bourbons to new game-changing Tennessee whiskeys. It’s a wide net. My advice, read through my tasting notes and find the whiskey that speaks to you or sparks your interest, and then hit that price link to see if you can find that bottle in your neck of the woods.
Check Out The Best New Whiskeys Of The Last Six Months:
- The Best Whiskeys To Chase Down This March
- The Best New Whiskeys To Chase Down This February
- The Best Whiskeys To Chase Down For January 2023
- New Bourbon Whiskeys To Track Down This December
- The Absolute Must-Have Whiskeys Of November (AKA The Best Month Of The Year For Whiskey)
- All The Whiskey You Need To Chase Down This October
Woodford Reserve Kentucky Derby 149 Secretariat 50th Anniversary
Average Price: $55
The mash bill on this bourbon is mid-range rye heavy with 18% of the grain in the bill for support. Triple distilling in pot stills (like Irish whiskey) and blending with column-distilled whiskey is utilized. The bourbon then rests for six to seven years — taking time to mature before barrels are pulled for blending, proofing, and bottling.
The bump with this bottle is that it’s Woodford Reserve’s once-a-year Kentucky Derby release (which takes place in May). The bottle art is highly collectible. But just to be absolutely clear, this is standard Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey.
Nose: This opens with a rush of Martinelli’s Sparkling Apple Cider, pear candy, and vanilla cake with a hint of dark chocolate, orange zest, salted caramel, and some sour red berries tossed with fresh tobacco and mint.
Palate: The palate opens with some dried apple skins next to cinnamon sticks floating in hot and spicy apple cider, a hint of mint tobacco, and salted orange dark chocolate bars.
Finish: The end has a nougat wafer vibe next to caramel and vanilla cookies with a hint of old porch wicker and boot leather.
This is the buy for anyone who’s into the Derby. When it comes to the whiskey in the bottle, it’s great standard Kentucky bourbon that works best in mint juleps and old fashioneds.
Virginia Distillery Co. Scholar’s Craft American Single Malt Whiskey Coffee Cask
Average Price: $69
This brand-new release from American single malt titan, Virginia Distillery Co., is more than just a coffee-finished whisky. The actual whisky in the bottle is a 100% malted barley whisky that’s aged in ex-bourbon casks. Those barrels are vatted and then re-barreled into ethically sourced, small-batch coffee barrels for a short final maturation.
The ripple here is that 100% of the proceeds from the sales of this whisky will go to support the newly endowed Angela H. Moore Women In Distilling Scholarship at Appalachian State University. The $100,000 endowment is from a women-owned and operated distillery to help bring more women into the industry, which makes this a must-buy on that merit alone.
Nose: The nose opens with a creamy bourbon buttercream with deep vanilla next to sour yet creamy espresso bitterness countered by cinnamon-spiced dark chocolate
Palate: Soft mocha lattes drive the taste toward sharp winter spices — clove, allspice, and nutmeg dominate — next to salted dark chocolate and a hint of malted biscuit dipped in vanilla syrup.
Finish: The end leans into the espresso bitterness with a nice note of dark chocolate and cinnamon gingersnaps.
This is a very easy-going sipper that has a nice depth that lets the finishing cask shine. It also supports a great cause. That’s a win-win, folks.
Bushmills Aged 30 Years Single Malt Irish Whiskey
Average Price: $1,899
This is a serious whiskey from Bushmills. The Irish single malt rests in ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks for 14 years. Those barrels are batched and then re-filled into first-fill Pedro Ximénez sherry casks for another 16 years of slow aging. Finally, that whiskey is proofed down and bottled as-is.
Nose: There’s a mix of mincemeat pie and sticky toffee pudding on the nose with salted toffee sauce, rich buttercream, and leathery dried fruit countered by soft and powdery dark winter spices.
Palate: The lushness is amazingly silky with fresh figs, black-tea-soaked dates, and rum-soaked raisins with burnt orange, old vanilla pods, and poppy seed dessert rolls with brown sugar syrup icing.
Finish: The dried and dark fruits get leathery as the toffee sweetens with a touch of old oak stave and cellar floor dirt lurking in the background of the finish.
This is stellar whiskey. If you’re looking for the mountaintop of Irish single malt, this might be it.
Green River Kentucky Straight Wheated Bourbon Sour Mash Whiskey
Average Price: $37
This new release from Bardstown Bourbon Company’s Green River distillery is a wheated classic. The whiskey in the bottle is made from a mash bill (recipe) of 70% Kentucky-grown corn, 21% wheat, and 9% malted 6-Row barley. That whiskey then spends four to six years mellowing before batching, proofing, and bottling as-is.
Nose: This pops on the nose with rich caramel next to soft roasted peach and apricot next to a rush of cinnamon bark and nutmeg with a creamy vibe.
Palate: Toffee drives the palate toward Nutella and honey over buttermilk biscuits with an apple/pear tobacco aura that leads to a soft orange.
Finish: The end is rich and full of stewed fruits — peach, pear, orange, raisins — and a mild sense of oaky spice and a mild graininess.
This is a no-brainer if you’re looking for a cocktail base. I’d also argue that this makes a good table whiskey for everyday sipping over a lot of ice too.
291 All Rye 100% Rye Malt Colorado Whiskey Finished with Aspen Wood Staves
Average Price: $115
This Colorado whiskey is made with a 100% rye mash bill — 50% Colorado malted rye (from Root Shoot Malting) and 50% German rye malt — on a bespoke still. The hot juice is then aged in new oak with signature toasted aspen wood staves added to help refine the aging process. Finally, the barrels were batched and bottled 100% as-is, yielding only 1,000 bottles.
Nose: The nose opens with dark fruit leather, dark black tea leaves, cinnamon bark, and a fistful of dry dill and marjoram with a whisper of salted caramel sweetness.
Palate: The palate has a cinnamon toast vibe next to more of that dark black tea with a hint of clove-spiced plum jam, freshly cracked black pepper, and more of that salted caramel.
Finish: The plumminess drives the finish with a hint of cracked almond shell and dark dill next to fresh flat-leaf parsley and a touch of sweet-sour cherry packed in sawdust.
This is fantastic rye. This whiskey hits every note so clearly and well that it’s hard not to fall in love with it. It’s so good.
Bruichladdich Port Charlotte Heavily Peated Islay Barley 2014 Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Average Price: $99
This brand-new release from Bruichladdich is all about Islay and local malt. The mash bill (recipe) is hewn from 100% Islay Concerto and Propino barley malts (grown in 2013) that are heavily peated. In 2014, the whisky was made and filled into a first-fill bourbon cask (84% of the final blend), second-fill new oak (8% of the final blend), and second-fill Bordeaux wine casks (8% of the final blend). After seven years, those barrels were vatted and just proofed with local water for bottling.
Nose: Old pear and apple orchards mingle with singed vanilla pods, salted toffee, rum-raisin, and grapefruit pith next to smoked peach and melon over cinnamon bark dipped in seawater.
Palate: That grapefruit leads to burnt orange with a deep smoked plum, cherry, and apple vibe next to grilled peaches, toasted coconut, and burning wild sage with a slight sense of moist marzipan and apricot tobacco.
Finish: Apricot jamminess and chewy malty spice drive the finish toward smoldering coals in a barbecue and a bit more of that smudging sage.
This is a peat monster that runs super deep. Still, if you’re not into the peatiness turned up to 11, this might be a bit much for you. You’ve been warned.
Knob Creek Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey Aged 7 Years
Average Price: $36
This new whiskey from Beam marks the first big age-statement version of their iconic Knob Creek Rye. The whiskey in this case was aged seven years before batching, slight proofing, and bottling.
Nose: Classic Beam caramel sweetness with a vanilla underbelly drives the nose toward rye bread crusts, a hint of dried savory herbs, apple blossoms, and a whisper of soft leather gardening gloves.
Palate: The spiciness arrives after lush vanilla cream and salted caramel with a dose of freshly cracked red peppercorns, dried red chili, and sharp winter brown spices next to a spiced oak.
Finish: The creaminess, sweetness, and spiciness coalesce on the finish with a deep sense of fruit orchards full of fall leaves and apple bark.
This is excellent rye whiskey for mixing up killer cocktails. It totally works as a nice on the rocks sipper too. Basically, this is a whiskey that can do anything!
Westward American Single Malt Whiskey Single Barrel Selection Grand Cru Sauternes Cask
Average Price: $99
This is Portland’s classic American single malt taken up a level. After years of resting, a single barrel was re-barreled in a sauternes cask from France’s Grand Cru Classé estate. 14 months later, Westward bottled that whiskey with a kiss of local water.
Nose: This has a deep nose that takes you on a journey through green chili, soft caramel, burnt orange peels, grilled peach, summer flowers, and danish filled with vanilla cream and red fruit compote.
Palate: There’s a sharp cherry soda on the palate with a hint of grapefruit, pineapple, and ripe peach next to bright ginger, soft coconut, and a hint of honeyed malt with a whisper of nuttiness.
Finish: That orange comes back on the finish with a soft fresh floral edge next to light cedar bark braided with chewy fresh tobacco dipped in honey and dusted with citrus zest.
This is great American single malt and the bottle you should buy to convert any whiskey drinker into the wonderful world of ASM.
Elements of Islay Bourbon Cask Islay Blended Malt Scotch Whisky
Average Price: $63
The Elements of Islay is a small bottler that highlights beautiful specialty barrels from Islay, Scotland. This release (from late 2022 technically) is made with barrels from both north coast and south coast Islay whiskies that were finished in bourbon casks. Those barrels are small-batch blended and then bottled as-is.
Nose: Vanilla cookies dusted with powdered sugar mingle with grilled tropical fruits, toasted coconut, and coal from a beach grill fire.
Palate: Orange mocha frappucinos drive the taste toward poached pears and peaches with maple syrup and vanilla next to a butter croissant with a hint of smoked chocolate and spiced malt cakes.
Finish: Creamy vanilla mingles with soft chocolate and peat smoke attached to spiced malts.
This is a classic easy Islay peated malt whisky. The blended malt is subtle yet clearly built to highlight the fruits, malts, and smoke. I would argue that it’s easy-going enough to be attractive to the peat curious.
Rare Character Single Barrel Series Selected by ReserveBar Topflight Series Straight Rye Whiskey Finished in Jaqueira Casks
Average Price: $88
Japqueira is a Brazilian wood that most notably grows jack fruit and is used to age cachaça. The whiskey in the bottle is 95/5 rye from Indiana that’s then refilled into a Jacqueira barrel that previously held cachaça and let it rest in Kentucky for a spell. After four years and six months, ReserveBar bottled a single barrel 100% as-is.
Nose: The nose is deeply nutty with a dark and worn leatheriness next to a soft sense of mild mushrooms, green banana, macadamia, and anise with a soft Kentucky cherry/vanilla/winter spice undertone.
Palate: The palate is lush and silky with a sense of vanilla oils, star fruit, clove, cinnamon bark, and nutmeg next to creamy nuttiness with a dash of toffee and alder planks.
Finish: The finish just lingers and lingers while slowly fading through vanilla buttercream, sour cherries tossed in maple sea salt, and moist marzipan cut with orange and pomelo oils.
This is a next-level rye that goes places that you’d never expect while still holding the thread of a complete story/journey on/in your senses. It’s wildly delicious and lush with a deep profile that just kind of keeps going deeper. This is where rye whiskey is going and I can’t wait to go on that ride.
15 STARS Triple Cask Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Average Price: $179
This new release from 15 STARS is a blend of two bourbons with a big finishing run. The whiskey is made from an eight and 16-year-old blend that was finished in Kentucky in port, cognac, and rum casks for eight additional months before batching and bottling.
Nose: Woody huckleberry jam over raisin scones mingle with eggnog spices and brown sugar cookies, spiced cherry fruit leather, and a twinge of sweet yet old oakiness.
Palate: That dark fruit leather leans into brandy-soaked dates and prunes with a sense of old oak cellars next to rich vanilla, soft apples, and sticky toffee pudding.
Finish: There’s a dark cherry spiced vibe to the finish that leans into fresh chewy tobacco packed into an old oak box and then wrapped in leather with a burnt orange rind and winter spice bouquet on top.
This is excellent. I can easily see sipping this on a sunny day next to a smoker or grill in the backyard.
Method And Madness Irish Whiskey Triple Distilled Rye And Malt USA Limited Edition
Average Price: $89
This whiskey is from Midleton Distillery’s (the place that makes Jameson, Powers, Spot, and Redbreast) craft distillery. The whiskey is made from a mash (recipe) of 60% rye and 40% malted barley. The whiskey is twice-distilled as per most Irish whiskeys before a long rest in ex-bourbon casks. Once those barrels were ready, they were batched, proofed, and bottled for the U.S. marketplace.
Nose: There’s a nice deep leatheriness on the nose with a sense of old dry lemon rinds next to lavender oils, clove buds, and a fleeting sense of eggnog with a lightness to it.
Palate: Oats and winter spices lead the way on the palate with a sense of fresh firewood, honey-dipped malt cookies, and raisins dipped in dark chocolate and flaked with salt.
Finish: Those malt cookies drive the finish toward more raisin and oats with a honeyed vibe, a hint of dry red chili, and a dash of white pepper.
This rye whiskey feels like a good bridge between classic Irish whiskeys and bolder ryes from the U.S. Overall, if you’re looking for something a little different but still very drinkable, then grab one of these. I think with the honey vibes on the palate, this will make a great citrus-forward cocktail too.
The Glen Grant Rothes Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky Aged 21 Years
Average Price: 360
This brand-new release from The Glen Grant Distillery is a part of their Principal Collection. The whisky was crafted by Master Blender Dennis Malcolm, OBE, using at least 21-year-old ex-bourbon and ex-Olorosso sherry casks. That final batching was just proofed down for this special bottling.
Nose: The nose opens with a rush of spicy and sugary tropical fruits that range from grilled pineapple dusted in nutmeg and clove to stewed peaches in cinnamon and allspice next to a hint of caramelized malts and old cellar oak.
Palate: Those singed tropical fruits and stewed stone fruits drive the palate toward a hint of caramel-chocolate malt biscuits next to a faint hint of old golden honey and burnt sugars over lush vanilla buttercream.
Finish: That lush vanilla creaminess drives the finish toward a sweet and caramelized end with a hint of pear and apricot over lush marzipan.
This is one of those bottles that just really f*cking nice. Sometimes that’s all you need.
Lost Lantern 2023 Single Cask #3 Watershed Distillery Ohio Straight Bourbon Whiskey 7 Years Old
Average Price: $119
The latest Lost Lantern single barrel release is a five-grain bourbon from our in Ohio. Watershed Distillery used corn, rye, wheat, malted barley, and locally-grown spelt for the mash of this bourbon. The whiskey then spent five years mellowing in Ohio before the barrel was shipped to Vermont for two more years of mellowing. Finally, the team at Lost Lantern thought this one was ready and bottled it as-is only yielding 65 bottles.
Nose: This smells rich and lush with deep creamy eggnog next to sweet dark fruit leather, old oak cellars, and a sniff of vanilla cake bespeckled with crumbled-up hard-toffees covered in dark salted chocolate.
Palate: Those toffee chocolate candies drive the palate toward spiced oatmeal cookies with walnuts and raisins dipped in vanilla buttercream and dashed with brown sugar and salt with a fleeting sense of orange and vanilla.
Finish: Spiced cookies with plenty of fatty nuts appear on the finish as a matrix of orchard fruits — cherry, plum, orange — slowly fade toward burnt ends of rock candy dipped in winter spice liqueur with a brazen heat to it.
This is a great whiskey. Great. Add some water and let this beauty bloom in the glass and take your time with it. Just hurry, this will be sold out very soon. And then that’s it — forever.
WhistlePig “Béhôlden” Small Batch Single Malt Whiskey Aged 21 Years
Average Price: $799
This new whiskey from WhistlePig is a big one. The whiskey in the bottle is a 21-year-old Canadian single malt. That whiskey rested in American oak for two decades before being shipped to Vermont for a finishing run in WhistlePig’s rye barrels. Only 18 barrels were selected for this very limited release.
Nose: Sultanas and Graham Cracker buttery crust drive the nose toward old oak cellars, peanut brittle, and a hint of chocolate nut clusters with a hint of salinity.
Palate: There’s a deep and dark black cherry on the lush palate that builds on moist marzipan, soft malted spice cakes, and a hint of black licorice and salted toffee.
Finish: The finish leans into the old oak and cellar vibes with a hint of malted chocolate cut with winter spices and folded into old tobacco leaves with a fleeting sense of smudging sage lurking in the background.
This is a luxurious whiskey that has a deep sense of malted whiskey vibes. Overall, it’s such a unique bottle that it’s worth it if you’re a collector. If you’re looking for a single malt with a very American (North American, I suppose) aura, then this is a good place to start.
Jim Beam Lineage Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey A Father And Son Collaboration
Average Price: $250
This whiskey was released for the struggling travel retail market late last year. The whiskey in the bespoke bottle is a 15-year-old classic Beam bourbon that was aged on specific ricks in Warehouse K (the most famed warehouse on the Clermont, Kentucky campus). Father and son Fred and Freddie Noe both selected the barrels to make this blend and released it almost completely as-is with just a drop of that soft Kentucky limestone water.
Nose: The nose is classic from the jump with a soft caramel candy with vanilla buttercream frosting over spiced choco-cherry cake, a touch of clove-studded burnt orange rind, and soft marzipan with a hint of old oak cellars.
Palate: The palate is lush with a sense of Black Forest cake — stewed cherries, vanilla cream, moist chocolate cake, dry dark chocolate shavings — next to a bunch of woody and barky winter spices with a hint of hazelnut and burnt orange.
Finish: The end leans ever-so-slightly into old cedar bark and rich spiced cherry tobacco layered with dark chocolate-covered espresso beans and a hint of sharp mint and maybe some more of that clove.
This is one of the best Beam products there is. You can even get it at the distillery (and travel retail) right now. If you’re in any way a fan of Knob Creek, Booker’s, or Basil Hayden, then this is a no-brainer buy.
Lost Lantern 2023 Single Cask #4 Corbin Cash California Straight Rye Whiskey 7 Years Old
Average Price: $119
This rye is from a tiny California distillery. The distillery was founded on a sweet potato farm that uses rye as a cover crop. The whiskey in this single barrel pick bottle is made with 100% Merced rye grown in sweet potato soil. That whiskey aged for seven years on the farm before Lost Lantern came along and bottled it into 217 bottles completely as-is.
Nose: Chili-spiced old chocolate bars sit next to mint chocolate chip ice cream in waffle cones with a hint of old grain silos off in the distance.
Palate: There’s a clear ABV buzz on the palate with a clear sense of fresh green tea leaves, sweet stone fruits, spiced hot chocolate topped with vanilla buttercream, and a light sense of nuttiness.
Finish: The end has this vibe that’s kind of like a hot green matcha creamy tea (the ones made with condensed milk from the can) that’s rolled into a mint mochi ball and dipped in dark chocolate.
This is next-level rye whiskey. It’s warm on the palate but offers just a wild and exciting ride of flavors so much so that you just want more. Get a bottle before this one disappears.
Jack Daniel’s 10 Years Old Tennessee Whiskey, Batch 2
Average Price: $199
This age statement released from Jack Daniel’s is a throwback to a bygone era in Tennessee Whiskey. The whiskey is aged for at least 10 years before batching. During that time, the barrels spend time in the “Buzzard’s Roost” at the top of the rickhouse. Once they hit the right flavor profile, those barrels are moved to the bottom floors of other warehouses to slow the aging down. Finally, the whiskey is batched, proofed, and bottled.
Nose: This opens with a rich matrix of cherry syrup, apple cores, sticky toffee, vanilla ice cream, and a bold line of wet and sweet oak with a mild earthiness.
Palate: The palate opens up towards the dark fruit but dries it out and marries it to a woody and spicy tobacco leaf alongside toasted cedar soaked in salted caramel paired with dry corn husks that are just singed.
Finish: The finish really takes its time as the cherry attaches to an old cinnamon stick and the tobacco takes on a sticky chewiness with an almost smoked oak woodiness.
This was an oaky whiskey with a nice fruitiness to balance things out. I’d say if you’re looking for something oaky but more fruity than spiced, then get this.
Jack Daniel’s 12-Year-Old Tennessee Whiskey, Batch 1
Average Price: $80 (MSRP)
Jack Daniel’s doesn’t hide any of its processes. The mash at the base of this whiskey is a mix of 80% corn, 12% barley, and 8% rye. Those grains are milled in-house and mixed with cave water pulled from an on-site spring and Jack Daniel’s own yeast and lactobacillus that they also make/cultivate on-site. Once fermented, the mash is distilled twice in huge column stills. The hot spirit is then filtered through 10 feet of sugar maple charcoal that’s also made at the distillery. Finally, the filtered juice is loaded into charred new American oak barrels and left alone in the warehouse. After 12 years, a handful of barrels were ready; so they were batched, barely proofed, and bottled.
Nose: The nose is creamy with deep notes of old boot leather, dark and woody winter spices, black-tea-soaked dates, plum jam with clove, and an underbelly of chewy toffee-laced tobacco.
Palate: That creaminess presents on the palate with a soft sticky toffee pudding drizzled in salted caramel and vanilla sauce next to flakes of salt and a pinch of orange zest over dry Earl Grey tea leaves with a whisper of singed wild sage.
Finish: The end leans into the creamy toffee chewy tobacco with a hint of pear, cherry, and bananas foster over winter spice barks and a deep embracing warmth.
This is so well-balanced, nuanced, and just freaking tasty. It leaned more into the sweet fruit yeasty flavor notes while still holding onto classic and deep bourbon flavor notes. This is the good stuff, folks.
Michter’s Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey 10 Years Old 2023 Batch
Average Price: $185
The whiskey barrels sourced for these single-barrel expressions tend to be at least 10 years old with some rumored to be closer to 15 years old (depending on the barrel’s quality, naturally). Either way, the whiskey goes through Michter’s bespoke filtration process before a touch of Kentucky’s iconic soft limestone water is added, bringing the bourbon down to a very crushable 94.4 proof.
Nose: There’s a peppery sense of cedar bark and burnt orange next to salted caramel and tart red berries with a moist and spicy sticky toffee pudding with some brandy butter dancing on the nose.
Palate: The palate blends vanilla tobacco with salted dark chocolate-covered marzipan while espresso cream leads to new porch wicker and black peppercorns.
Finish: The end has a pecan waffle vibe with chocolate chips, maple syrup, blackberry jam, and minced meat pies next to old tobacco and cedar with a sweet yet toasted marshmallow on the very end.
This is quintessential and bold Kentucky bourbon from top to bottom and felt like a warm hug from an old friend. Plus, it’s hitting shelves right now, which means you might be able to snag a bottle if you’re savvy.