The whisky world is seriously booming and those are exciting times for us drammers! Not a month passes without my mailbox being flooded by tons of press releases announcing more or less exciting news – I therefore read through all I’ve received so far in May and made a selection for you to highlight what really stood out and tweaked my interest !
Method & Madness unveils 2 new expressions
“Irish Distillers has added two new and experimental, limited edition Irish whiskeys to its METHOD AND MADNESS range; Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey Finished in Virgin Hungarian Oak and a 28-year-old Ruby Port Pipe Single Cask Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey. First launched in 2017, METHOD AND MADNESS aims to push the boundaries of Irish whiskey through innovative releases, harnessing the creativity and fresh thinking of the masters and apprentices in Midleton Distillery.
In a world first for Irish whiskey, METHOD AND MADNESS Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey Finished in Virgin Hungarian Oak has been finished in virgin oak felled in the Carpathian Mountain range in the North East of Hungary, where volcanic soils are best suited to the growing of Quercus Petraea. Harvested in winter and air-dried for two years at theKádár Kádár sawmills in Tokaj, the tight grain of this exceptional wood slowly imparts complex compounds and subtle flavours into the whiskey during the finishing process. The whiskey, a single pot still distillate, was first matured in a combination of first-fill and re-fill American oak barrels, before finishing in the virgin Hungarian oak for 11 months.
The second aged release in the METHOD AND MADNESS series is a 28 year old Ruby Port Pipe, which is a single pot still Irish whiskey matured initially for six years in American oak barrels, before being re-casked into a Ruby Port pipe for a further 22 years. The cask was carefully seasoned with a selection of wines to remove some of the heavy tannins and further seasoned with Ruby Port, infusing rich fruit flavours. The whiskey is alive with notes of ripe stone fruit on the nose and generous with vanilla and cinnamon on the palate, while the light pot still spices shine through on the long, satisfying finish.”
Gordon & Macphail introduces Discovery Range
“Family-run single malt whisky creators, Gordon & MacPhail, has announced the launch of ‘Discovery’, a new range that is part of the company’s commitment to strengthen and streamline the brand’s portfolio.
The range of carefully selected whiskies is grouped and colour-coded under three flavour profiles – ‘Smoky, ‘Sherry’ and ‘Bourbon’. Designed to help whisky drinkers to begin an exploratory journey through the Gordon & MacPhail portfolio, each bottle features a brief tasting note and either a vintage or age statement.
The first expressions to be released within the new ‘Discovery’ range comprise spirit originally from Balblair, Tormore, Miltonduff and Caol Ila distilleries, then matured in Gordon & MacPhail’s own hand-selected casks. Prices start from £49.95 UK (RSP) and vary in available markets around the world due to taxes and duties.
‘Discovery’ is the second range to launch as part of the updated portfolio, which offers consumers five distinct ranges. The new look ‘Connoisseurs Choice’ range was unveiled last month (April 2018). The additional ranges for ‘Distillery Labels’ and ‘Private Collection’ will be revealed to consumers in the summer and autumn respectively. The launch of the next ‘Generations’ release is yet to be revealed.”
BenRiach goes Triple Distilled
“Brown-Forman Global Travel Retail has announced the latest exclusive addition to its travel retail portfolio. BenRiach 10 year-old Triple Distilled Single Malt was launched at the recent Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival and will be available in duty free shops beginning this month. The new 10 year-old Triple Distilled Single Malt joins the classic and peated BenRiach Quarter Casks in the global travel retail range from BenRiach. The range embodies the unconventional Speyside style of BenRiach and its creative heritage of distilling malt whisky in a ‘troika’ of styles: unpeated, peated and triple distilled.
Eric Helms, vice president and director of marketing for Brown-Forman global travel retail, described the new BenRiach travel retail exclusive as a wonderful addition to the portfolio that reflects the BenRiach distillery’s adventuresome and progressive approach to making whisky.
“Although Scotch Whisky is traditionally distilled just twice, BenRiach have been experimenting with a third distillation since 1998 – an additional step that gives the spirit an even more fruity and zesty character. Building on the rich cask maturation profile of BenRiach expressions, this rare triple distilled whisky from Speyside was matured for ten years in first-fill American Bourbon barrels and first-fill Pedro Ximenez Sherry Casks. The bourbon barrels add perfectly balanced notes of vanilla and spice, while the Pedro Ximenez casks contribute to the complexity and richness of this smoothest of Single Malt whiskies,” Helms explained.
BenRiach Triple Distilled aged 10 years is bottled at 43%, of natural colour and will be available beginning this month in selected airports worldwide.”
Redbreast 32 Dream Cask
“Redbreast Dream Cask is a limited edition, 32 Year Old single pot still Irish whiskey – a single cask that was hand-selected last year by Master Blender, Billy Leighton, as his favourite Redbreast whiskey. The cask was chosen for having the perfect balance of pot still, Spanish oak and sherry flavours, which can usually only be achieved through blending – bringing to life Redbreast’s signature sherry style.
The whiskey was originally unveiled during a Facebook LIVE tasting to mark Redbreast’s World Whisky Day 2017 celebrations. Participants and viewers praised the quality and rarity of what is now the oldest Redbreast Irish whiskey ever to go on sale, with many requesting that the whiskey be made available to buy.” (it’s now sold out!)
Jameson 18 Cask Strength
“Jameson Irish whiskey, which is produced by Irish Distillers in Midleton Distillery, has today announced the launch of Jameson Bow Street 18 Years Cask Strength; the first cask strength Jameson to be available globally, which finishes its maturation in Dublin’s only live Maturation House in the Jameson Distillery Bow Street. A reinterpretation of the revered Jameson 18 Years, the new expression celebrates Jameson’s Dublin heritage by returning part of the production process to the brand’s original home in Smithfield for the first time since 1975.
Distilled and matured at the Midleton Distillery, Co. Cork, Jameson Bow Street 18 Years Cask Strength is the new head of the Jameson family. After spending 18 years in a collection of bourbon and sherry casks, the blend of pot still and grain Irish whiskeys has been married together and re-casked in first-fill ex-bourbon American oak barrels for a final six to 12 months in the Maturation House at the Jameson Distillery Bow Street.
Jameson 18 Years, presented at 40% ABV and first released 15 years ago, has become one of the world’s most respected and awarded Irish whiskeys and will remain in the Jameson family, maintaining a vital link to Jameson’s history and providing further choice to prestige whiskey enthusiasts.”
Eden Mill Hip Flask Series
“The Hip Flask series is a progressive and pioneering range of single cask expressions of Eden Mill single malt scotch whisky.
These whiskies are bottled in 20cl bottles to allow as many whisky drinkers as possible to have the chance to savour and enjoy them.
Our distillers believe they show the creative potential of working with different mashbills, processes and maturation techniques as well as different wood types. They fully demonstrate what authentic small batch distilling can add to the ultimate craft spirits category, single malt whisky.
Each of these special bottlings come from what we call a ‘honey cask’ which is one that our distilling team believe represents an outstanding example of its type.
The different casks themselves will vary from Virgin American and French oak to ex-wine cask and ex-port casks and then of course ex-sherry casks of various styles and sizes.
The different mashbills include the use of chocolate malt, crystal malt, brown malt, peated malt and pale malt of various types.
This series will evolve over time and we really hope whisky drinkers will enjoy a great experimental journey with us exploring and sharing our passion together.”
WhistlePig Farmstock Rye
WhistlePig Rye Whiskey announces the release of FarmStock Rye Crop No. 002, the second blend of their limited edition annual FarmStock estate release that originally debuted in 2017. It is the latest of WhistlePig’s products showing farm-based innovation and the next step in achieving WhistlePig FarmStock’s 100% Triple Terroir™ vision – whiskey made from rye grown on their farm, proofed with water from their well, and aged in Vermont oak barrels made from wood harvested from their farm and the surrounding area.
Rye Crop 002 begins with WhistlePig’s two-year aged whiskey, made from rye grown on the farm. The whiskey is aged in Vermont oak barrels made from locally harvested trees that feature a truly unique char and toast designed by Master Distiller Dave Pickerell. The estate whiskey is then balanced with 6 and 10 year old Ryes from their special reserves to marry the wildness of youth with the richness of age. The final No. 002 blend increases FarmStock’s Triple Terroir expression by 12%, bringing it to 32% in total.
“With the original Rye Crop 001, our goal was simple: we wanted to bring you a whiskey that showcased the quality of our young distillate, while remaining balanced and finessed through the careful selection of casks in the blending process,” explains Pete Lynch, Chief Blender at WhistlePig. “Now with Crop 002, we took an even bigger approach, with the flavors from two year old WhistlePig front and center. The whiskey drinks like an old friend with an undeniable maturity.”
Promoting Inclusion and transparency in the North American whiskey category, the FarmStock Rye Crop 002 blend was crowdsourced from over 500 bartenders, influencers and consumers at blending events taking place at the WhistlePig farm and across the United States over the last 6 months.