You can’t accuse Kiefer Sutherland of being all hat and no cattle. Whiskey in tow, the Canadian actor, singer and guitarist is touring with his country-rock band to support Reckless & Me, his latest album.
Sutherland’s first release, 2016’s Down in a Hole, features the old-school breakup number “Not Enough Whiskey.” With his baritone rasp, the 24 and Designated Survivor star keeps it real depressing: “Steady hands start to shake for the hurt you can’t take/’Cause it’s done, she is gone, long gone.” We get the picture.
Going back to the well
Sutherland comes by his C&W persona honestly, having been a rancher and lasso whiz. To match those down-home skills, he’s no whiskey snob. During an interview with Daily Beast at the Bourbon & Beyond festival in Louisville a couple of years ago, Sutherland revealed that his go-to dram is J&B blended Scotch. “It was the old well whiskey in the ’70s and ’80s and I just got used to it,” he told Noah Rothbaum, who asked if fellow band members ever gave him grief.
“No, because they always run out of their [liquor] and they’ve got to come to me because it’s my bus and I have a bigger stash,” replied Sutherland, also noting that he likes to toast the audience with a glass of whiskey. “They know not to talk shit about it.”
Old standards: 7 long-aged whiskies that won’t cost you (too) much
You don’t need to pay big bucks for a quality higher-aged whiskey. Just ask Uproxx’s Zach Johnston, who assembles a global selection of seven bottles fetching no more than $250* or so.
For $99, help yourself to some nine-year-old Belle Meade sherry-cask finished bourbon, from Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery in Nashville. “There’s a real sense of the vineyard on the nose followed by a velvet caramel leading towards that classic bourbon oaky vanilla,” Johnston says. The finish? “A mix of dried plums arrives alongside a spice matrix of cloves and allspice that’s tempered by a silky note of molasses sweetness.”
Pass the popcorn, please
It’ll set you back almost $205, but Crown Royal XR (as in extra rare) is worth the dough. As Johnston explains, the Canadian blend leads with rye spice—and includes one of the last batches from Montreal’s storied and now-shuttered LaSalle distillery.
“There’s a nice peppery edge with a balance from the barrel oak, vanilla and buttery caramel,” he writes. “Next, you get a sense of the cereal and grains with a warming edge that leads to a spicy finish with a nice dryness that settles well.”
We’d pony up $140 for a Lagavulin Distillers Edition, based on Johnston’s notes for the 2000 vintage. “This one starts off with mildly herbal notes next to buttered popcorn and caramel apples,” he says of the 12-year-old single malt Scotch blend, which enjoys a second maturation in Pedro Ximénez sherry casks.
“Then the peat smoke arrives and gives you a sense of smoked caramel kettle corn. Finally, the herbal notes come back with a slight bitterness that dries out the sip and all that peaty smoke fades away into a refreshingly tight dram.” Nick Offerman would approve.
*All dollar figures in USD
Singapore may not be the first place that pops to mind when you think whiskey, but the moneyed island city-state showcased in Crazy Rich Asians has no shortage of residents who can spend big on a dram. At Augustman, Lester Tan gives us the lowdown on The Whiskey Wander, a weekly tour of three well-stocked local bars.
You can thank the Academy
This three-hour jaunt, offered by Academy of Drinks, happens every Wednesday night and is limited to just 11 guests. It kicks off at 6:30—maybe not early enough for the average hard-working Singaporean to join the fun.
The Whiskey Wander features different bars each week, so you might find yourself at La Maison du Whisky, or perhaps the The Single Cask. It also includes appearances by master distillers and brand ambassadors, Tan explains. A recent edition guest-starred Christian Krogstad, founder of Portland’s Westward Whiskey.
Plus, there’s car service from joint to joint. Be sure to jump in: even if you’re cool with driving on the left side of the road, Singapore doesn’t look kindly on DUI.
Mash bill: The world’s 10 most expensive bourbons
What’s the most you can drop on a bottle of bourbon? At Wine-Searcher, Don Kavanagh reveals the 10 costliest offerings by average price.
The bourbon category offers great value, Kavanagh notes. Yes, the prices you’re about to see will probably make your eyes water, but the richest Scotch still costs 10 times more than the most extravagant bourbon. Also, though Buffalo Trace Distillery accounts for four of the five priciest bottles here, it’s less dominant than on other bourbon lists, Kavanagh adds.
Make ours a Double Eagle
No. 1 is Eagle Rare Double Eagle Very Rare Kentucky straight bourbon, with an average price of $20,440 as of July 11. The release of the 90-proof spirit was limited to 299 decanters, which light up when you open their silver box. Let’s hope so.
In second place: another Kentucky bourbon from Buffalo Trace, Old Rip Van Winkle 25-year-old. “Using wheat rather than rye in the mash bill, the Van Winkle range is highly sought-after and reassuringly expensive,” Kavanagh says. This bottle’s average price has climbed some $5,000 over the past year, to $20,160 on July 11.
Taking third is Buffalo Trace O.F.C. Bourbon, whose average price has veered the other way, from almost $17,000 last August to $10,735 as of July 11. We know a bargain when we see one.
Texas pride: New Austin whiskey line honors female bootleggers
Founder Mark SoRelle got the idea for Saint Liberty Whiskey after reading about female bootleggers who played a key role in the liquor biz during Prohibition, he tells Austin360’s Arianna Auber. Bertie’s Bear Gulch Straight Bourbon Whiskey is the first of six planned bottles honoring these pioneering women distillers. It’s named for Montana’s Bertie (Birdie) Brown—an African-American homesteader who, sadly, died in 1933 after her kitchen still exploded.
Something in the water
To make Bertie’s Bear Gulch, Saint Liberty proofs four-year-old bourbon from Bone Spirits near Austin at Montana’s Lolo Creek Distillery, finishing it with the same Rocky Mountains water that Brown would have used. According to SoRelle, you can taste the difference. “I took a proof sample from Bone for the first run in Montana,” he explains. “We tried both (versions) side by side, and the water from the Rockies just enhanced the product overall.” Well worth the trip.🥃