Because March is our 425 Luxury Living special, we had to ask: What are some of the most expensive, sought-after selections serious aficionados will be excited about? We talked with Chef John Howie and curator Tim Lodahl, the pairing behind the recently opened Whiskey by John Howie in Bellevue. (More on that here.)
Chef John Howie: “Well, there is always the Pappy Van Winkle offerings, but that is the easy way out. I love many of the Orphan Barrel options, my favorite is one of the earliest releases (Old Blowhard) a 25-year-old Bourbon with amazing complexity and flavor but still very smooth and rich.
There is a 10-year-old Lone Whisker which has a fun story about a trip through Kentucky and a stray dog, hence the lone whisker. Its older brother, 15-year-old The Dogfather, is also a very unique and interesting selection — very dark the bourbon really accentuates the barrel’s influence on the spirit.
Michter’s is one of my favorite distilleries and we have so many options, but one of the better and not too expensive versions is the Toasted Barrel Bourbon, they take their best-aged bourbon and then age it even longer in a lightly toasted American oak barrel. Aft er it has spent years in the charred American oak barrel, it mellows the bourbon and brings in some great sweet caramel and vanilla tones to the spirit. One last favorite is Willet, so many wonderful single barrels from Willet, but my favorite has to be the barrel that we picked in May of 2019 … we still have several cases left to share with our whiskey-loving guests.”
Tim Lodahl: “Four Roses Limited Edition Single Barrel 2014 is one of my favorites. It carries an ABV of 46.5 percent and comes non-chill-filtered. Deep aroma of dried dark fruit mingling with spice and cinnamon. Your palate bursts with caramel, vanilla, and some dark cherry. Overall, well balanced and a sweeter bourbon.
One of the bourbon unicorns AH Hirsch Reserve 16-year is the creation from Adolph Hirsch. He used 400-barrel batches and a mash bill of 75 percent corn, 13 percent rye, and 12 percent malted Barley. When the distillery became bankrupt the liquid sat for longer than anticipated. In 1989 Julian Van Winkle III helped bottle the brand. There were a few different releases; most were sent to Japan. Due the scarcity the price tag can be rather high. It’s an easy sipper that is rounded out with baking spices, caramel, orange zest, toffee, and dry oak.
Booker’s is my go-to. This bold complex offering never disappoints. It’s robust in flavor with a high proof attached.
Glenmorangie Pride 1981 is the creation of Dr. Bill Lumsden. He took 18-year Glenmorangie and continued the aging process in Sauternes barriques from the fabled vineyards of Chateau d’ Yquem. The result of his experiment led to only 1,000 bottles being produced. Macallan has been making Single Malt Whisky since 1824. It is the most recognizable single malt in the world.
The Macallan M Black explores its rich history of whisky making by using some sherry cask the previously held peated malt. The classic flavor components are present with an addition of light smoke.”