A Specialty Liquor Buying Guide for 2021

Whether you’re just beginning your collection or adding to it, specialty liquor is the next step in making a collection even more enjoyable. Take a look at a specialty liquor buying guide for 2021 to gain some ideas of the latest must-haves. You’ll probably recognize a few classic names.

What Is a Specialty Liquor?

What makes a type of liquor a specialty drink? A specialty liquor can mean a few different things. They’re often hard to find because only a company only made a certain number of bottles. Sometimes, they can become rare simply because they’re so popular that they don’t stay in stock. A specialty liquor can also be a favorite spirit that’s a company makes in an inimitable fashion. Perhaps a drink contains the addition of fruits or spices and comes in a unique bottle. Many specialty liquors also release around the holidays or only for a certain period, making them difficult to find.

Choose a Variety

As you work on your liquor collection and enjoy the hunt, we recommend branching out with a variety of spirits. Maybe you’re a bourbon whiskey enthusiast and believe any other liquor is a waste of time. However, as you have guests over, they may feel otherwise. An excellent collection has a little bit of everything, including the basics. Let’s take a look at the standard must-haves and how you can enjoy them as specialty liquors.


No bar or liquor collection is complete without an excellent choice of whiskeys. You undoubtedly have your favorite whiskey, whether it’s scotch, bourbon, Irish, Tennessee, American, or Japanese. Now it’s time to search for something a bit special within this category. We have three suggestions.

The 150 Anniversary Edition of Jack Daniel’s

To celebrate the 150th anniversary of America’s most beloved whiskey, Jack Daniel’s brought us this specialty version of the classic in 2016, and it’s still sought after today. The company aged this whisky in charred oak barrels as always but placed it in what’s known as the “angel’s roost.” There, it aged at a warmer temperature and for a longer period, giving it more time to mingle with that beautiful, charred wood.

Van Winkle Special Reserve 12 Years

Any Pappy Van Winkle is rare and hard to find. After 12 years, it’s notable for its pleasant sweetness, and many connoisseurs enjoy it neat as an after-dinner drink. The price is steep, but the bottle lasts for years, as you’ll treasure it in small sips. The layered-in rich aromas and deep flavor are unforgettable as well.

Weller Full Proof Bourbon

William Weller is known for creating bourbon with wheat rather than rye. This special, full proof bourbon is balanced and robust with notes of vanilla and oak. Because it undergoes filtering using the non-chill method, true enthusiasts respect the extra effort Weller put into maintaining its oils and flavors, which traditional methods damage.


Vodka is not only for mixing. The right vodka is enjoyable on its own. Here are some you should have in your specialty collection:

CLIX Vodka

Master Distiller Harlen Davis Wheatley only made 2,000 bottles of this vodka, making it rare indeed. An excellent vodka is light on the tongue, and CLIX doesn’t disappoint in that aspect with its velvety feeling. Pepper, cinnamon, and vanilla meld on the palate when you taste this rare vodka. CLIX went through the distillation process 159 times, hence the Roman numeral name. So yes, it’s unique.

Grey Goose VX

Delicate and floral, this top-shelf Grey Goose gives off an elegant air. The aromas of fruit are incredible, and it has a low burn unique to vodka. We recommend that you enjoy this sophisticated vodka slightly chilled.


Cognac, which is a brandy, isn’t in everyone’s collection, but it should be. Cognac is a specialty because of the simple fact that many people have never learned to enjoy it. Well, that can change, and adding cognac to your specialty liquor collection will wow your guests and warm your tastebuds. Try these two specialty varieties:

Hennessy Paradis Imperial

Cognac connoisseurs recognize the name Hennessy, and true enthusiasts long for this rare and expensive bottle. Paradis Imperial undergoes aging for anywhere from 30 to 130 years. It’s one of the most complex cognacs out there, and it features aromas of flowers and orange blossom. At the same time, your palate enjoys delicate spices and smoked oak. Prepare for an evening with this cognac by lighting a fire and planning on hours of slow sips and pleasant conversation.


It’s hard to know where to begin with LOUIS XIII. The price tag will shock some. However, a collector won’t be surprised and will understand its worth. Each bottle (decanter) is a sight to behold and has a design reminiscent of the metal flasks found on the battlefield of Jarnac in the 16th century. Cellar masters have produced LOUIS XIII since 1874. It’s said to use up to 1,200 grapes to reach its divine taste. Every decanter is a culmination of the generations before it. It may seem too precious to open but indeed exists for the cognac lover’s pleasure.


As with vodka, too many collectors haven’t experienced an excellent tequila that needs no mixers to help it out. The right tequila is balanced and smooth, making it a fabulous before- or after-dinner drink. There are so many, but we’ll point out one extraordinary label for your specialty liquor collection:

Clase Azul Reposado

For those who make a purchase according to the package, this one is irresistible. Artisans in a small Mexican town called Santa Maria Canchesda handmake and hand-paint each unique bottle. They’re absolutely stunning. The tasting notes of wood, vanilla, and rich fruit meld with a smoothness that will leave you wondering if you’ve ever had real tequila before. Search for Clase Azul Gold and Clase Azul Mezcal Durango as well.

Drink What You Love

Our specialty liquor buying guide for 2021 contains liquors that experts produced before this year but continue to be collectible and rare, even today. In the end, we hope that as you enjoy collecting and trying new liquors, you will continue drinking what you love. Rare liquors are a unique treat to enjoy with friends as you discuss the mysterious layers of flavors and enjoy finer moments in life.

When seeking specialty liquors, you should contact VS Liquor or browse our online store for all your rare liquor needs. We’re passionate collectors as well, and we’re here to help as you search for the best.

A Specialty Liquor Buying Guide for 2021