From Collectible Casks

Brora 30-Year-Old Rare Edition

Although the Highland distillery along the Sutherland coast was mothballed in 1983, there are enough remaining casks of warehoused whiskies for Brora to release occasional limited bottlings. This is the latest, and the 2,598 bottles will probably not last long. With a more pronounced flavor than its golden color might suggest, it is a vatting of the distillery’s whiskies from American and European refill casks. It carries seaweed notes from the nearby ocean, along with a lychee-and-butterscotch gentleness in the finish. ($400)

Herradura Selección Suprema Tequila

When the Ritz-Carlton, Cancun opened their tequila bar some years ago, their tequilier held a glass of this just-introduced extra añejo aloft and proclaimed to an attentive group of customers, “This añejo tequila maintains its strength as you drink it. You can feel the taste of the roasted agave going down your throat.” Of course, everyone had to have a glass, and no one regretted it. Laden with thick, creamy, agave flavors, it is aged over four years and comes in an elegant case suitable for gift giving. ($350)

Léopold Gourmel Quintessence Cognac

With its amber-gold eaux-de-vie (none of which are less than 30 years old), this is a robust yet elegant Cognac, full of chocolate, sherry, and toast. Named in 1972 for the grand-father of one of the founders, Léopold Gourmel Quintessence is served in more Michelin-starred restaurants in France than in the United States, but it is worth the search. ($1,895)

BenRiach 40 Year Old Single Malt Whisky

The Speyside distillery’s name means “hill of the red deer.” Built in 1898, the distillery was closed just two years later and opened again in 1965. This bottling was taken from the few remaining barrels of the 1966 vintage. Of the 265 bottles produced, only 60 were shipped to the United States. Hand-bottled at 100 proof, this whisky is reminiscent of moss-covered river rocks and brims with smoky butter and dried fruit. ($1,895)

Don Julio Real Extra Añejo Tequila

This distillery was one of the first to recognize the importance of the extra añejo category. Real, their most recent expression, is a much fuller, more rounded aged tequila with the texture of a Cognac. With its decanter-shaped bottle in a revolving display case, this tequila is thick with green apple, cedar, oak, butter, and milk chocolate, with orange peel and a bit more cedar in the finish. ($350)

Glenfiddich “The Distillery Edition”

Formerly available only in duty-free shops (as Glenfiddich 15 Year Old Cask Strength), this 102-proof single malt has finally made it to American stores. Aged in a combination of American and European oak casks, including ones previously used for oloroso sherry, it is smooth and floral in spite of its high proof. Burnt orange, black olive, mandarin orange, and wheat toast intermingle in every sip. Non-chill-filtered, it will cloud when water or ice is added—which is recommended with a whisky of this alcoholic level. ($60)

More Spirits