Autumn has arrived. In what has certainly been a year full of ups and downs, spirits have remained remarkably good. New releases in the cognac, whisky, and tequila worlds have challenged perceptions, while rums, gins, and vodkas have continued to impress. Below, you’ll find our favorite spirits to enjoy this fall.
There are chest warming bourbons, Scotch legends, limited-edition vodkas bursting with color, and gins with rich aromas. Some of our best fall spirits are brand new releases, while others are staples at bars across the globe. The one thing they have in common is that they are certain to make settling into cooler weather a journey worth taking.
Spirited’s Fall Spirits Guide 2021:
Camus Ile de Re ($45)
In September, Camus revamped its Ile de Ré Fine Island Cognac to showcase its unique island origin. The expression is a rare example of a single-provenance Cognac with a distinctive aromatic profile which is indisputably linked to its island origin: smooth yet fresh and crisp, naturally iodine-rich, with typical marine notes.
Hennessy Master Blender’s Selection 4 ($100)
Crafted with eaux-de-vie at least five years old and taken in almost equal parts from Cognac’s four original regions (Grande Champagne, Petite Champagne, Borderies, Fins Bois), Master Blender’s Selection No 4 possesses a crisp, fresh flavor not often seen in Hennessy’s offerings–or in Cognac expressions in general.
Courvoisier VSOP ($45)
Courvoisier VSOP is a bar standard that has been at the forefront of the category for decades. Master blender Patrice Pinet calls it, “Very smooth with an excellent balance of oak and floral flavor that can be fully appreciated neat or mixed with ice and water, it’s also excellent with long drinks.”
X by Glenmorangie ($32)
Created in collaboration with leading bartenders across the world, X by Glenmorangie has been aged in ex-bourbon casks and finished in new char oak barrels. It is bottled at 40% ABV and is said to have a “sweeter, richer taste.” The LVMH-owned brand recommends consuming the expression in tall, simple serves, including mixed with tonic water or cola.
Royal Lochnagar 16 Years Old ($269)
Part of Diageo’s Legends Untold, the 2021 Special Releases Single Malt Scotch Whisky Collection from the spirits giants, this is a rare Highland expression of the Royal Lochnagar with a nimble springtime freshness. Bottled at 57.5% ABV, it is aged in American oak and European oak refill casks. The whisky will be released later this fall.
Mortlach 13 Years Old ($180)
A darkly robust and rich offering from the Speyside Dufftown distiller, Mortlach 13-Year-Old was aged in virgin and refill American oak casks. It is a meaty spirit with loads of weight and some well-balanced creamy cask character. The whisky will be released later this fall.
Glenrothes 18 Years Old ($198)
Bottled at 43% ABV, The Glenrothes 18 Year Old received 98 points from the 2020 Ultimate Spirits Challenge, was ranked #3 in the “Top 100 Spirits of 2020,” and won the “Chairman’s Trophy for Best Speyside Single Malt” of the year.
The Macallan Concept No 3 ($150)
The Macallan Concept No 3 is a collaboration with graphic designer David Carson and the latest release in The Macallan Concept Series. Carson worked with The Macallan Whisky Maker Polly Logan, who drew influence from David’s character and career when crafting Concept No 3, to create an unusually fresh whisky, with a distinctive warm, golden hue that pays tribute to the graphic designer’s years on the USA’s West Coast.
Speyburn 10 ($70)
Speyburn is one of the most versatile Scotch whiskies out there. It’s particularly good for a highball, which is an ideal drink for a crisp fall day. Feel free to mix the 10-Year-Old Scotch with club soda, ginger ale, or cream soda.
Four Roses Limited Edition Bourbon 2021 ($150)
Non-chill filtered and bottled at 114.2 proof, the Four Roses 2021 Limited Edition Small Batch features four different hand-selected batches aged 12 to 16 years. These batches represent four of the distillery’s 10 distinct bourbon recipes – a 16-year-old Bourbon from the OBSV recipe (13%), a 14-year-old OBSQ (6%), a 12-year-old OESK (23%), and a 16-year-old OESV (58%).
Cedar Ridge The Quintessential ($60)
Handcrafted from 100% pure malted barley, aged in American oak and uniquely cask finished, before being meticulously married and matured using techniques honed over ten generations, Cedar Ridge The Quintessential sets the American single malt standard with a taste that’s rich and complex.
Dano’s Dangerous Tequila Pineapple & Jalapeno ($39)
Made with fresh fruit and 100% Blue Agave Blanco tequila. Dano’s Dangerous Tequila Pineapple & Jalapeno is a smooth, easy-to-drink tequila perfect for those who are not ready to give up summer quite yet. It can be sipped or used in a cocktail.
Maestro Dobel Pavito ($60)
Maestro Dobel Pavito draws inspiration from centuries-old, ancestral Mexican agave techniques and traditions, which were used to create a liquid reserved for the most special occasions and celebrations. Featuring traditional, seasonal Mexican fruits and spices, Pavito also uses turkey breast to enhance and elevate the tequila. The result is a smooth, yet complex final product with layers of rich, savory notes.
Partida Roble Fino Anejo ($140)
Partida Roble Fino Añejo begins with Partida’s highly acclaimed Añejo which is aged for an extensive 18 months in ex-bourbon barrels. Featuring an outstanding gold color with a reddish shimmer, this intensely flavored tequila continues its finishing for an additional 5 months in ex-single malt, sherry seasoned casks. The tequila is bottled at 45% ABV, showcasing its expansive complexity and depth of flavor with sweet notes of dried fruits, toasted oak, chocolate and cooked agave.
Los Magos Sotol ($65)
Known as the hidden gem of the Chihuahuan desert, Sotol has been enjoyed for centuries and is the state spirit of Chihuahua, Durango. and Coahuila. However, it has never been truly and properly brought to the masses, until now. Los Magos Founders Eduardo Almanza and Juan Pablo Carvajal set out to disrupt the spirits industry with an experience that is good for the soul, land, and the community.
Barcelo Imperial ($27)
Arriving in a bright copper-amber color, Barcelo Imperial offers aromas of buttercream, dried cherries, intense vanilla, pineapple jam and caramelized walnuts followed smoothly by a dry fruity lush medium body, full of depth and balance. It ends on a note of carrot cake, kola nut, mocha and a strong toasted flavor that slowly fades.
Ron Abuelo Rum Tawny Port Wood Finish ($87)
The Ron Abuelo Rum Tawny Port Wood Finish joins the Sherry and Cognac Finish in the Abuelo XV Finish Collection. The rum is a blend comprised of rums averaging 14 years of maturation in American oak, which then spend an additional year in Tawny Port casks. The entrance is fruity with red berries, cherries, figs, dates, etc, but then at the end it’s super astringent. It’s dry. It’s cleaning your palate.
Ciroc Pomegranate ($30)
CÎROC Pomegranate is made with vodka distilled from fine French grapes and infused with pomegranate and other natural flavors. It features notes of juicy red berries with hints of strawberry, which meld with bursts of sweet and fruity pomegranate flavors, leading to a silky-smooth finish. As a finishing touch, the liquid is encased in a deep burgundy bottle resembling the jewel tones of the season with gold lettering.
Broken Shed Vodka ($32)
Based out in Wanaka, New Zealand, each bottle of Broken Shed Vodka is crafted through a blend of two distinct water sources from New Zealand and sustainable whey distillate. The resulting vodka is all natural with no added sugars, no additives and is both gluten and GMO-free. Since entering the U.S. market in June 2012, Broken Shed Vodka has won a legion of loyal fans, an impressive collection of awards, and recently launched a new campaign called ‘Vodka of Tomorrow’.
Tanqueray No. Ten ($49)
Introduced in 2000, Tanqueray No. Ten is named after the still of its origin, pot still number 10, which is quite endearingly nicknamed Tiny Ten. The small batch gin is crafted using whole fresh citrus fruits, such as oranges, limes and grapefruit, along with chamomile flowers and other traditional botanicals. Expect a burst of citrus with every sip. Quite notably, it is also the only gin to secure a spot in the San Francisco World Spirits Competition Hall of Fame. This iconic tipple makes a mean Martini.
Sipsmith Sipspresso Coffee Gin ($40)
Layering Pact’s Brazilian and Rwandan ground coffee with cinnamon and fresh vanilla on top of Sipsmith’s original London Dry Gin base creates a delightfully rich, warm and indulgent gin with a smooth and balanced finish. Sipsmith Sipspresso Coffee Gin offers velvety chocolate and coffee bean aromas at the fore followed by rich liquorice and star anise. The palate delivers aniseed, which blends into warming chai latte balanced with cacao nib and vanilla. The finish tastes of spiced iced coffee with liquorice and absinthe undercurrents.
Seventy One Gin ($200)
Made in Rotterdam, Seventy One Gin was created in collaboration with master distiller Steve Wilson, the former president of Diageo Reserve. Botanicals used in the expression include juniper, angelica, lemon, damask rose, grapefruit and cinchona, which are individually distilled using techniques such as cold infusion, slow infusion, vacuum and copper pot distillation.