Distiller’s Friday Roundup – August 9th, 2019By Mikael Mossberg
Prepare yourselves, the swarms of autumn whiskey releases are not too far away. New announcements are already starting to ramp up, starting with Whistlepig announcing Whistlepig Double Malt Rye 18 Year. In addition, Wild Turkey officially announced Wild Turkey Master’s Keep Cornerstone Rye, and Buffalo Trace honored Elmer T. Lee’s 100th birthday. Michter’s also has a new Sour Mash release, and Pernod Ricard just acquired another United States distillery. Finally, Scottish scientists invented an artificial whisky tongue to help detect counterfeit whiskies. Thanks, science!
University of Glasgow Scientists Develop Artificial Whisky Tongue To Detect Fakes
This week a team of scientists at the University of Glasgow published a white paper in the Royal Society of Chemistry. The subject? They created a tiny artificial whisky tasting “tongue” to help detect counterfeit whiskies. While this is far from the first artificial tasting device, this particular device is small, portable and cost-effective. Currently, the industry utilizes more cumbersome and expensive technologies such as liquid chromatography mass spectrometry to detect counterfeits.
The new tongue contains a microscopic device made up of two different metal “tastebuds” which can taste differences between whiskies with greater than 99% accuracy.
Dr. Alasdair Clark holds up enlarged version of the artificial whisky “tongue” components
The team of scientists tested the tongue on seven different whiskies and three control liquids. Glenfiddich 12 Year, Glenfiddich 15 Year Solera Reserve, Glenfiddich 18 Year, Glen Marnoch Sherry Cask, Glen Marnoch Bourbon Cask, Glen Marnoch Rum Cask and Laphroaig 10 Year were all tasted by the tongue.
“We have only tested it in-house, with our own scientists. But we are open to working with any company who would like to take this to the product development stage”, said Dr. Alasdair Clark, researcher and lead author on the paper.
Pernod Ricard acquires Firestone & Robertson Distilling Co.
This week drinks giant Pernod Ricard announced its acquisition of Fort Worth, Texas based Firestone & Robertson Distilling Co. Firestone & Robertson is known for its TX Blended Whiskey and TX Straight Bourbon Whiskey. The acquisition also includes Whiskey Ranch, the brand’s distillery just outside downtown Fort Worth which offers tastings of the TX whiskeys and tours.
Firestone & Robertson Distilling Co. / Photo Credit: Firestone & Robertson Distilling Co.
This news comes on the heels of other large acquisitions by Pernod Ricard including a majority stake in Rabbit Hole Distillery back in June and Smooth Ambler in 2017.
“This is an exciting day for all of us at Firestone & Robertson,” said Leonard Firestone and Troy Robertson, Firestone & Robertson Distilling Co. founders. “Building our company and producing award-winning whiskies has been a truly remarkable experience. We are so proud of our team, and grateful to the many people that supported our efforts over the years.”
The Official Debut of Wild Turkey Masters Keep Cornerstone Rye
While Distiller first shared the new of Wild Turkey Master’s Keep Cornerstone Rye back in May 2019, Wild Turkey has finally made an official announcement about the whiskey. This is the oldest rye whiskey that Wild Turkey has ever produced. Using the oldest #4 alligator char barrels the brand had, Master Distiller Eddie Russell hand picked barrels of rye aged between 9 and 11 years.
“Wild Turkey was one of the few legacy distilleries that remained loyal to crafting rye even as vodka and gin became the new, hot thing,” says Russell. “Cornerstone Rye celebrates our continued commitment to the grain.”
Only 16,000 bottles were produced of this 109 proof rye whiskey. It has a suggested price of $175 per 750ml bottle, though actual prices will undoubtedly come in far higher.
Michter’s Releases US*1 Toasted Barrel Sour Mash Whiskey
Though Michter’s does not disclose the mash bill of its standard Sour Mash Whiskey, it is the same as the one used to produce the new Michter’s US*1 Toasted Barrel Sour Mash Whiskey. This new whiskey does not have enough corn in the mash bill to be a bourbon, nor does it have enough rye to be a rye whiskey.
To create this whiskey, Michter’s starts with fully matured Michter’s US*1 Sour Mash Whiskey, then transfers it into toasted (not charred) barrels for additional aging.
“The toast profile used to finish our Toasted Barrel Sour Mash differs from both the toast profile used for our Toasted Bourbon and the toast profile used for our Toasted Barrel Strength Rye,” said Master of Maturation Andrea Wilson.
Michter’s US*1 Toasted Barrel Sour Mash Whiskey is bottled at 43% ABV and has a suggested price of $60 per 750ml bottle. Expect it to start hitting shelves in limited quantities in September 2019.
Buffalo Trace Unveils Elmer T. Lee 100 Year Tribute Single Barrel Bourbon
Buffalo Trace’s first Master Distiller Elmer T. Lee was born on August 5th, 1919 on a tobacco farm in Franklin County, Kentucky. Now, Buffalo Trace is releasing Elmer T. Lee 100 Year Tribute Single Barrel Bourbon to celebrate what would have been his 100th birthday. In 1949, Lee showed up to the George T. Stagg Distillery to interview with Distillery President Colonel Albert B. Blanton who originally declined to hire him. He soon started as a maintenance engineer, moved on to become Plant Engineer, then Plant Superintendent and finally Plant Manager and Master Distiller.
In 1984 Lee introduced the world to Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon, named after the former Distillery President who he’d interviewed with nearly 40 years before. It was the first single barrel bourbon ever introduced to the market. Lee was later honored with his own single barrel namesake bourbon with Elmer T. Lee Single Barrel Bourbon.
Elmer T. Lee 100 Year Tribute Single Barrel Bourbon is still a single barrel bourbon, and uses the same mash bill and age as the standard Elmer T. Lee Single Barrel Bourbon. The difference, however, is that this bourbon is bottled at 100 proof, rather than the standard 90 proof that Elmer T. Lee Single Barrel Bourbon uses.
Lee served as a radar bombardier on B-29 flights with the Air Force during WWII. After the war, Lee joined the Frankfort VFW Post 4075, where he remained a member until his death in 2013. Accordingly, proceeds from bottle sales will go to Frankfort VFW Post 4075.
Distribution will be extremely limited and is expected to begin in late August 2019. While the suggested price is $100, bottles will certainly go for quite a bit more.
Whistlepig Launches Whistlepig Double Malt Rye 18 Year
Whistlepig Double Malt Rye 18 Year gets its name after the two malted grains used to craft it: malted rye and malted barley. This rye whiskey is the oldest that Whistlepig has released to date. It has a mash bill of 79% rye, 15% malted rye and 6% malted barley.
The whiskey is hand bottled at 46% ABV in a glass decanter at Whistlepig’s barn in Vermont. Each glass bottle stopper is unique as they are pressed by hand on one of the last 19th century glass pressing machines in existence.
Whistlepig plans to release Whistlepig Double Malt Rye 18 Year in limited quantities every year. It has a suggested price of $399.99.
Are you hunting for Whistlepig Double Malt Rye 18 Year? Perhaps Wild Turkey Master’s Keep Cornerstone Rye?