Kara Newman

Spirits Editor

Reviews spirits.

Kara Newman is the Spirits Editor for Wine Enthusiast Magazine, and author of Cocktails for a Crowd (coming in Spring 2013) and Spice & Ice: 60 tongue-tingling cocktails, both from Chronicle Books. An active member of the New York cocktail and mixology scene, she loves dive bars and speakeasies alike.

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97
points

Wild Turkey Diamond Anniversary

  1. $125
Made from a blend of very rare 13- to 16-year-old whiskies, this bottling pays tribute to Master Distiller Jimmy Russell’s 60 years at the Wild Turkey Distillery. This light, silky Bourbon shows lots of vanilla-maple and brown sugar flavors accented by a hint of peach, and tapers off delicately, with clove, cinnamon, ginger and burnt orange peel notes on the finish.  — K.N.  (9/1/2014)
96
points

Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon Whiskey

  1. $55
Bold and well structured, this Bourbon features warming vanilla and caramel accented by orange peel, stone fruit and a dry baking-spice finish. Sip it with a chunk of ice, or mix up a round of juleps. The trademark round, faceted bottle with the horse-topped cork is perfect for Derby Day.  — K.N.  (9/1/2014)
96
points

Orphan Barrel Barterhouse

  1. $75
This is from a series of old and rare limited-edition whiskies released by Diageo from their Stitzel-Weller warehouses. It’s silky and surprisingly gentle for a 20-year-old whiskey, with notes of creamy caramel, brown sugar and touches of tropical fruit and allspice. It finishes remarkably long, with gentle vanilla sweetness.  — K.N.  (9/1/2014)
95
points

Booker’s Bourbon

  1. $50
This uncut, barrel-strength Bourbon is bold and flavorful. The caramel aroma is rich and luxe. On the palate, it’s quite tannic and drying, but the flavor shines through, showing toffee, caramel and dried cherry, with a spicy finish of clove, dried fig and date. The alcohol feels remarkably balanced despite the high proof. It needs no adornment: just add a chunk of…  — K.N.  (9/1/2014)
94
points

Evan Williams Single Barrel 2004 Edition

  • Best Buy
  1. $27
Number 19 in a series, this robust Bourbon offers big, butterscotch-like notes alongside touches of fresh apple, baking spice and a fiery cinnamon finish.  — K.N.  (9/1/2014)
94
points

Old Forester Birthday Bourbon 2013 Vintage

  • Online Exclusive
  1. $55
This limited-edition bottling is released once a year, on Sept. 2, the birthdate of Old Forester founder George Garvin Brown. This one, aged 12 years, was bottled in 2013. It’s bold, aromatic and sweet on the palate, with notes of toffee, oak and red fruit. It finishes long and spicy. Though it feels a bit hot, it settles down with a modest amount of water into a…  — K.N.  (9/1/2014)
93
points

Baker’s Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

  • Online Exclusive
  1. $41
Lean, dry and spicy, this seven-year-old small-batch Bourbon may be reminiscent of of rye whiskey. It has a mild maple scent and complex layers of vanilla, cigar wrapper, tea and orange peel, with a spicy finish. The alcohol feels moderate, even mellow, for over 100 proof.  — K.N.  (9/1/2014)
93
points

Old Forester 86 Proof

  • Best Buy
  1. $20
This tawny Bourbon has a rich, spiced scent reminiscent of fruitcake. On the palate, look for caramel studded with dried cherry, orange peel and clove, finishing quite dry. A great profile for classic cocktails, and not too precious to mix.  — K.N.  (9/1/2014)
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