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 the 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