Whisky Advocate Spring 2020

Whisky Advocate magazine is the premier source for whisky information, education and entertainment for whisky enthusiasts.

United States
M Shanken Communications
4 Issues

in this issue

2 min
why can’t i find this whisky?

The single most common complaint we hear from readers is that they can’t find a particular whisky at their local retailer—especially when it comes to bourbon and other American whiskeys. Many of you write us asking where to locate a particular bottle, or why you can’t find it, or expressing frustration because a coveted whisky is available, but priced many times higher than expected. Unfortunately, there is no simple explanation. So in this issue, writer Sean Evans illuminates the unusual times in which we are living, where American whiskey, and to some extent Japanese and other whiskies as well, disappear from the shelves of licensed retailers almost instantly. In chasing down the whereabouts of these rare whiskeys Evans spent over three months interviewing more than two dozen sources including law enforcement,…

6 min
dear whisky advocate…

BAFFLED BY BOTTLED IN BOND Dear Whisky Advocate, As I celebrate the New Year I can attest that your Whisky of the Year award (First place out of 20) to George Dickel 13 year old Bottled in Bond is a good decision. Cascade Hollow Distilling Company is punching above their weight with this release. However, I do have questions about the labeling of this product. My understanding of the Bottled in Bond Act of 1897 is that distillers must store and age whiskeys in government bonded ware-houses under the supervision of Treasury agents for it to comply with the act and be labeled as such. I have toured distilleries that produce bonded products where tour guides point out bonded warehouses as something separate and different than regular ware-houses. Correct me if I am…

2 min
meet our 2019 top 20 sweepstakes winner

Although he doesn’t necessarily consider himself unlucky, Norbert “Norb” Vnek says he has never won a contest. That unfortunate streak came to a surprising end when his name was drawn at random from 12,947 entries in Whisky Advocate’s 2019 Top 20 Sweepstakes, awarding him the top three whiskies, including the Whisky of the Year. “It was just pure happenstance,” Vnek says, adding that he entered the sweepstakes on a spontaneous whim. And while winning may be new for the 53 year old Montclair, N.J. resident, his appreciation for whisky dates back decades. “I’m not a casual drinker,” he declares. “I’m definitely an ardent whisky advocate.” By Vnek’s recollection, his love for the spirit blossomed in graduate school. “That’s when I started appreciating scotches,” he says. Vnek honed his taste for scotch both…

2 min
whiskyfest new york delivers whisky bliss

Legions of whisky fans flooded the Marriott Marquis in Times Square on December 3, 2019 for Whisky-Fest New York, thirsting for whisky, knowledge, and kindred spirits. And they found all three in abundance thanks to distillers, blenders, and experts pouring more than 425 whiskies from around the world, in-depth seminars, and fellow whisky enthusiasts who’d flocked from near and far. Many of the 2019 and past years’ Top 20 whiskies—including Whisky Advocate’s 2019 Whisky of the Year, George Dickel 13 year old Bottled in Bond—flowed throughout the night, alongside drams from producers from around the globe: single malt scotch titans such as Glenmorangie and Laphroaig; American whiskey heavyweights, including Jim Beam and Jack Daniel’s; and innovative distillers from less-heralded whisky regions, like France’s Brenne and Mexico’s Sierra Norte, plus a smorgasbord…

9 min
harboring charm

No city shares a greater affinity with rye whiskey than Balti-more. Locals remained loyal to Maryland’s Pikesville rye even long after the brand moved to Kentucky’s Heaven Hill Distillery in 1982. The city is also the epicenter for the revival of Maryland-style rye, which is distinguished by a significant portion of corn, anywhere from 15% to 45% of the mashbill, giving it a lighter, sweeter taste. Its reemergence is a sign of Baltimore’s, and Maryland’s, return to the East Coast’s whiskey-making vanguard. Like rye playing second fiddle to bourbon, there is an underdog quality to Baltimore, living in the shadow of Washington, D.C. “We’re excited to show the world what sort of spirits Baltimore is creating, and return the city to its rightful place in the pantheon of world booze meccas,”…

2 min
fresh baked

Whisky is often redolent of the warm scents of a neighborhood bakery. Whether it’s notes of baking cookies, buttery pastry, sweet sticky buns, or a toasty baguette, these heady aromas can transport us back to childhood memories of tasty treats. The way whisky can evoke aromas and flavors of fresh-baked goodies is understandable given that whisky is also made from grains and fermented with yeast. However, no single compound is responsible for the complex aromas and flavors of baked goods that often span sweetness, cereal notes, toast, and spices. As with bread, the cereal variety weighs heavily on our impression of baked goods: wheat whiskeys and bourbons with wheat may display a soft, bready character in contrast to the bold and spicy notes of rye. If higher kilning temperatures are used,…