Even though we’re in the middle of 2022, that won’t stop us from taking a look toward the future. And we’re not talking about movies, TV shows, or events. We’ve got our sights set on the best new whiskey releases of 2023. Even though you can purchase many of the same bottles of single malt Scotch whisky, bourbon, rye, and other types of whiskey all the time, there are myriad limited whiskey releases and new expressions just waiting to be discovered.
One of the big trends for 2023 is corn whiskey, according to Josh Radigan, director of food and beverage at Viceroy Washington DC.
“I believe corn whiskeys have a much softer landing in drinks and tend to blend well with more fruit components, whereas products like straight bourbons have more wood elements,” Radigan says. “Reservoir Whiskey from Richmond, VA, shows off a more stand-up style that’s less about sweetness and, instead, more developed in its oak aging with hints of black cherry and baking spice on the nose. This is what I’m looking forward to in 2023.”
While Radigan is all-in on corn-based whiskey, there are many other expressions and styles to look forward to next year. And who better to find them than your friendly neighborhood bartenders? We asked a few of our favorites to tell us what they’re most excited to drink in 2023.
Experts Share the Most Exciting New Whiskey Releases of 2023
1. Barrell Bourbon New Year 2023
“When it comes to whiskey—American whiskey, in particular—I’m always excited with whatever Barrell Craft Spirits is releasing. They’re really pushing the boundaries in terms of blending and maturation in the bourbon world, in particular. Their seasonal batch releases—’New Years’—are always exciting. Last year’s Batch 32 release was one of the best whiskeys of the year.” — Will Krepop, beverage director at Wiggle Room in New York City, NY
2. Widow Jane The Vaults
“Since opening in the spring of 2021, our program has focused on local New York spirits and brands such as Widow Jane. We enjoyed last year’s offering of Widow Jane’s ‘The Vaults’ at their distillery in Red Hook. The Vaults is a special annual release that, since 2019, has come out in time for the holidays. The first one was a 14-year-old, 99-proof bourbon finished in eight-year, air-seasoned American oak casks, and the last two years have been blends of 15- to 17-year-old bourbons. I’ve heard that the 2022 edition will be aged in Ozark Oak. I can’t wait to taste and serve that unique dram and I’m looking forward to the 2023 edition as well.” — Frank Caiafa, bar director at Beast & Butterflies at M Social Times Square in New York City, NYLearn More
3. Kilchoman 100% Islay Barley Single Malt Scotch
“The one I’m looking forward to most is Kilchoman’s 100% Islay Barley. Next year will mark the 12th edition of this bottling and it’s been a favorite of mine for many years. This is true farm distilling and very rare to find these days. [Distillers at] Kilchoman grow the barley themselves, then malt, mash ferment, distill, and mature on-site, making a truly terroir-driven whisky. All of the previous years have been excellent, and I can’t wait to try next year’s bottling when it’s released.” — Adam Montgomerie, bar manager at Hawksmoor in New York City, NYLearn More
4. Barrell Batch 004 Rye
“I’m really looking forward to the 2023 release of the Barrell Batch 004 Rye. Barrell Rye is delightfully balanced yet complex and refined with a smooth finish. The caramel notes sit softly on the palate. This is a dynamic spirit when served neat or on the rocks. The craftsmanship comes through in each subtle sip.” — Cosimo Bruno, beverage curator at Daxton Hotel in Birmingham, MI
5. Michter’s 10-Year-Old Bourbon
“Michter’s 10-Year Bourbon was slated for 2022 but pushed back a year for further maturation. Master distiller Dan Mckee is supposedly following in the footsteps of his predecessor, Willie ‘Dr. No’ Pratt, who was given his nickname for never releasing anything before its time. Michter’s earthy, woodsy, rustic notes paired with sweet corn are enhanced with increased depth through age.” — Shawn Miller, beverage director at Forsythia in Philadelphia, PALearn More
6. Angel’s Envy Cask Strength Bourbon
“Angel’s Envy Cask Strength Bourbon is a limited-time offer released annually—usually around November—so it’s one we’re waiting to put in the lounge for 2023. Popular, high-proof, bold, and flavorful, this whiskey is worth the wait.” — Vernice Reyes, bartender at Pivat Cigar Lounge in Rancho Mirage, CALearn More
7. High West A Midwinter Night’s Dram
“High West A Midwinter Night’s Dram is an expression to look out for in 2023. It’s a very exclusive whiskey and virtually impossible to find in Florida. Finished in Port barrels and limited released. There is Act (a.k.a. Year) and then a series of Scenes (a.k.a. Releases from that year throughout).” — Sean Wirtemburg, bartender at Driftlight Lounge in Tampa, FLLearn More
8. Uncle Nearest Rye
“Uncle Nearest has been the fastest-growing whiskey brand for several years in a row. Its master blender has been able to create a great product. This is the first rye offering so I’m excited to see how ‘spicy’ it is and how it mixes in cocktails.” — LaShan Arceneaux, mixologist at Quotes Willowbrook in Houston, TX
9. Leopold Brothers Three Chambers Rye
“The Three Chamber Still project was one of the most groundbreaking things to happen to the rye whiskey category in centuries. The first two releases rewrote the book on what rye could taste like in the modern era and it’s only going to get better with each release.” — Jason Snopkoski, owner of Drinks For Days in Denver, COLearn More
10. Woodford Reserve Legacy Barrel Bourbon
“Woodford Reserve is a well-recognized name in the whiskey world for its delicious finish—and its releases never disappoint. That includes the Reserve Legacy Barrel believed to be releasing sometime in 2023. It’s a 90.4 proof whiskey finished in brandy barrels. The complexity in the finish, thanks to the character of brandy, is what I look forward to the most.” — Julian Flores Torres, beverage director at Mayfield Restaurant & Marketplace in Orange County, CALearn More
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