I guess one way to imbue your whiskey with unicorn status is to literally put a unicorn on the top of it, as is the case with the Classic Collection bourbon bottling from the World Whiskey Society — a 2020 startup that sources whiskey from all over — and I mean all over, as you’ll soon see.
Today we look at two current WWS releases, only one of which has a unicorn stopper. (The other is a six-bullet revolver cylinder.) But we’ll get to all that. Meanwhile…
World Whiskey Society Classic Collection Bourbon Finished in Port Casks 10 Years Old – Distilled in Oklahoma(!) and bottled in Georgia, this is made from a mash of 51% corn, 46% wheat, and 4% barley. A nose of saddle leather and tobacco quickly step aside to make room for rather strong Port wine elements, including raisins and blackberries, and just a touch of mint. As it develops on the nose, the whiskey emerges as one of the most fruit-forward I’ve tried. Bright and effusive on the palate, it’s a surprisingly enchanting whiskey, aided by all that bold red fruit, backed up with gentle greenery, some barrel char, and another touch of mint. Emerging notes of thyme and some anise arrive with time in glass, giving the finish a surprisingly green quality, dusted with black pepper and spiced plum notes before a reprise of raisiny Port settles over the proceedings. The stopper is about as corny as they come, but what’s in the bottle has real merit. 102 proof. A- / $164
World Whiskey Society Doc Holliday Bourbon 6 Years Old – Single barrel cask strength bourbon distilled by MGP, bottled in Georgia. 75% corn, 21% rye, 4% barley. Nothing wildly out of expectations here aside from the over-the-top decanter; unlike the Classic Collection, this is a straightforward, middle-aged bourbon, fully leaning into the frontier. Ample barrel char melds with peanut shell notes and a note of peppered popcorn, slightly smoky caramel notes building with time in glass. The palate feels similar, though there’s ample fruit evident, giving the toastier notes a delightful note of cherry compote, moving from there toward notes of cola and brewed black tea. The finish feels a bit short considering the oversized proof — and the fact that six bullets are staring you in the face from the top of the bottle — but there’s enough pepper, smoldering oak, and lingering dark chocolate to merit repeated visits. 118 proof. Reviewed: Barrel #117. A- / $110