In my experience, most whiskey fans have a wish list of some sort, a list of the rare bottling they missed out on or the white whale they have searched high and low for. The list may be ever changing, but it's there. I'm no different so I thought, since I've tried everything else to track these down, I'd ask Santa.
I've tried to come up with a list that's not pure fantasy. Sure, I'd love to try the Mortlach 70 or the original Shackleton whisky they found buried in the ice in Antarctica, but that ain't gonna' happen. This is a list of things that, while off the market and hard to find, are somewhat realistic possibilities. In fact, I may be able to eventually wrangle all of them if I really put my mind to it. Some are rare exclusive bottlings, but others are just things I missed or came on the scene too late for. So, in alphabetical order, here they are (Santa, I hope you see this - I'm banking on the fact that the one North Pole hit I get for the blog is you and not one of those heavy drinking elves).
Alberta Premium (25 or 30): If I lived in Canada this would be easy enough, but I don't live there or go there and this stuff doesn't make it south of the border. Of all the Canadian whiskies we miss out on in the US, which includes most of the good stuff, this one is probably the gold standard, a 100% rye Canadian blend that gets consistently rave reviews.
Ardbeg Provenance: This 24 year old Ardbeg released in 1997 is one of the most legendary Ardbegs around. It is the single highest scoring whisky on the LA Whiskey Society website, and they've had several tastings of it, but I keep missing it.
Ardbegeddon: The first exclusive bottling by the PLOWED Society, the famed (or perhaps notorious) American malt tasting group, the Ardbegeddon was a 29 year old sherry aged Ardbeg bottled by Douglas Laing's Old Malt Cask series in 2002. Having been lucky enough to sample PLOWED's unbeliveably good Brorageddon, I can only imagine how great this is, but it may be the hardest one on the list to get. I don't even know if there are any bottles still in existence.
Bruichladdich Blacker Still: This is one I just missed out on. I had seen it on the shelf and passed it over due to its price at the time (two or three hundred if I remember correctly). Well, this sherry malt seems to be loved by everyone and may be Bruichladdich's most sought after recent bottling. By the time I caught on, it had tripled in price.
Eagle Rare 101: I've done pretty well in exploring the obscure corners of the world of American whiskey, which is why you don't see that many listed here, but I've never managed to find an Eagle Rare 101. Before the brand was purchased by Buffalo Trace and made into a lower proof, single barrel offering, it was a 101 proofer. Originally produced by Seagram's, it was subsequently made by Old Prentice and then by Buffalo Trace before they phased it out in favor of the newer bottling. I'd love to try any of the oldies.
Pennsylvania or Maryland Rye: I'm a big fan of rye, but I've never tried one of the old Mid-Atlantic ryes from all of those now closed distilleries. Pennsylvania and Maryland rye were distinct genres of whiskey that thrived in the pre-prohibition years but never fully recovered and eventually, petered out and sold their labels to Kentucky distilleries. Every now and then a bottle of Pennsylvania distilled Old Overholt or Rittenhouse does pop up in an auction, but Maryland ryes like Pikesville and Mount Vernon are harder to find. As a true fan of rye, I'd love to try these old whiskeys from the original rye whiskey heartland.
Van Blankel: A private bottling of Stitzel-Weller whiskey for one individual, a bourbon that's allegedly as subtle and nuanced as a Cognac, the best barrel ever produced by the Van Winkles...I've heard all of these said about the famous "Van Blankel" bottling of Van Winkle 12 year old Lot B, a single barrel bottled for Randy Blank, a regular on the StraightBourbon forum. Like the Ardbegeddon, this is a private bottling, so I don't hold out a lot of hope, but you never know. Hopefully, someone out there will spare me a taste.
Now mind you Santa, I'm not greedy. I understand it might be hard to get a whole bottle of these things. A small sample in my stocking would be plenty.
So, do you have a list?