Starting / Expanding a Whiskey Collection Guide

Posted by Ilya Dorfman on

So you are keen on starting or expanding your whiskey collection. A worthy goal, but you need to define concrete steps that’ll help you reach it. Making a list of what you want your whiskey collection to look like at the end of the year and breaking it down into achievable tasks is a great way to set up your collection for success. And we’re here to help you.

Here's what you need to think about when obtaining bottles for your collection:

  1. You'd want to get bottles that will age well. If you are saving them for a specific occasion down the road (big purchase, family event, etc) you want your whiskey to taste great when you open the bottle after a number of years of it sitting in your cellar/bunker.
  2. You'd probably want bottles that will appreciate in value.
  3. Settle on your budget for the year. Then ask yourself how many bottles you'd like to get and how much are you willing to spend per bottle?

This also seems a good time to remind you about our concierge program, in case you are after a very specific bottle that can't be gotten elsewhere. Read more about this program.

Without further ado:

Bourbons

  • Elijah Craig Barrel Proof - collectible (as they change every year), and remarkable quality for the price. The only way to find the 12-year version of Elijah Craig these days. Safe bet, and a great (but high octane) bourbon
  • Elmer T Lee Bourbon - excellent, silky smooth, sweet sour mash. Delicious, and will keep going up in value over time. 
  • Booker's Small Batch Bourbon - Since releasing these as limited batches, the collectible aspect of Booker’s is now a thing. And you get a hearty, spicy, uncut barrel-proof product in the way the Beam family wants you to experience it.
    • Stagg Jr - a much more affordable (but way younger) version of Stagg. VERY high proof. Delicious, and will see the collectability of Elijah Craig barrel-proof.
    • BTAC William Larue Weller Bourbon - Barrel-proof and significantly older version of the beautiful wheated Weller mashbill. Same mash bill as Pappy, but distinctly different way to enjoy it. One of the top 3 bourbons to hit the market on a yearly basis. 
    • Old Rip Van Winkle 10 Year 107 Proof - Entry level Van Winkle bourbon, a wonderfully soft and flavorful representation of the Van Winkle’s famous wheated mashbill. Not quite "Pappy" per se (those start at 15 yo and older), but still a worthy investment. Will only go up in value.

    Scotch Single Malts

    • The GlenDronach 25 Year Old 1991 "Kingsman Edition" - Personally selected by director Matthew Vaughn to mark the release of Kingsman: The Golden Circle, this limited edition Speyside single malt from The GlenDronach Distillery was born in the same year as Kingsman agent, Gary "Eggsy" Unwin. Distilled in 1991 and matured in the finest sherry casks for more than 25 years, each one of the 2,000 bottles is hand-numbered and presented in a bespoke green display case and adorned by a gold metal Kingsman charm.

    Japanese Single Malts

    • Suntory Yamazaki 18 Year Old Single Malt Japanese Whisky - Distinguished by the sweetness of dried fruits and aromatic chocolate derived from sherry casks intermingled with a profoundly mature, complex flavor that comes from 18 years. Has already increased in price considerably and will only continue to do so.

    American Single Malts

    • Westland Distillery "Mistress Miasma" Limited Edition American Single Malt Whiskey - This release is composed entirely of Heavily Peated Distiller’s Malt from Bairds. The marrying of five new American oak casks with two ex-Bourbon casks resulted in the perfect balance of heavy smoke lifted by the right amount of sweetness. This special release is cask matured for 36-56 months and bottled at cask strength. There are a total of 1,500 bottles available.
    • Hillrock Estate Distillery Single Malt Whiskey - this release is a reflection of New York's rich history and its unique terroir. Hillrock Estate Single Malt Whiskey is one of the first single malt whiskeys produced in New York since Prohibition. It is made using barley that is grown exclusively on the rolling fields of the Hillrock Estate. Staff favorite and just an awesome dram.
    • Stranahan's Sherry Cask Single Malt Whiskey - The new Stranahan’s Sherry Cask starts as the flagship American single malt whiskey that’s aged for four years in new white American oak barrels after being distilled from 100% malted barley and Rocky Mountain water. From there it is then cask finished in Spanish Oloroso sherry barrels, sourced from the Andalusia region of southern Spain. These barrels are said to have been aging the wine for over 40 years, thus giving the whiskey an extra special flavor. Delicious.
    • Del Bac Distillers Cut Cask Strength Single Malt Whiskey - Distillers Cut is Hamilton Distillers' first permanent cask-strength American single malt release. Produced in batches, the ABV will be around 60% ABV. Availability is limited. Hamilton Distillers is a grain-to-bottle distillery located in Tuscon, Arizona.The Distiller’s Cut includes many of the notes common among single malt whiskeys, such as caramel and stone fruit, but we pick up additional flavors of sassafras and leather when we sip this stronger selection.

    American Whiskies

    High West A Midwinter Nights Dram Blend of Straight Rye Whiskey - one of the tastiest whiskeys you’ll ever drink. And it’s very limited yearly release makes it a sought-after treat.

    Virgil Kaine Electric Owl Bourbon Whiskey - this release represents a collaboration between two Charleston companies: Virgil Kaine Lowcountry Whiskey Company and Revelry Brewing Company. The idea to collaborate first came about when Virgil Kaine owners Ryan Meany and David Szlam wanted to find an alternative to sherry barrels, and also to source barrels from inside the United States. This limited release is 3,000 bottles.

    Irish Whiskeys

    Ransom Spirits The Emerald 1865 Straight American Whiskey - although American, it’s a wonderfully crafted whiskey in the Irish tradition with a 150 year old mashbill. A rare, interesting, and delicious gem.

    Redbreast 21 Years Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey - voted "Best Irish Whiskey Of the Year" as well as "2nd Finest Whiskey In the World" overall by Jim Murray's Whiskey Bible, this whiskey has superior quality for an excellent price and quickly becoming a rarity to the US market.

    Wildcards

    All 3 whiskeys below are unbelievable quality. All have exceptionally old rye mashbill with a ridiculously inexpensive price point. A great product to invest in because of the rye revolution that is afoot.

    Questions? Comment below - we'd love to hear from you!

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