Distiller’s Friday Roundup – January 31st, 2020

January 31, 2020

This week saw some news in the ongoing trade disputes between the United States and the European Union. Spirits trade organizations from Europe and the United States are now projecting massive damage to the health of the spirits industry due to the tariffs that both countries have imposed on spirits. Next, Wilderness Trail became the first distillery to graduate from the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour to the full Kentucky Bourbon Trail. Then, Irish Distillers unveiled the third whisky in the Dair Ghaelach line with Midleton Dair Ghaelach Knockrath Forest. Douglas Laing unveiled Big Peat 27 Year Black Edition, the third and final in the Vintage Series line. Finally, Flaviar has a new limited release to celebrate the new Guy Ritchie film and Jameson launched Jameson Cold Brew. Let’s take a deeper look.

US Tariffs Hurting Scotch Whisky Industry

The ongoing trade war between the European Union and the United States has been underway for several years now. Tariffs have been put in place against American whiskey by the EU, and on scotch and other European spirits by the United States. Now, the head of the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) is warning that if the trade war continues the damage to the Scotch whisky industry could be devastating.

“Exports each way are markedly down, and if these falls are maintained over the year around £100 million is likely to be lost in Scotch whisky exports,” said SWA Chief Executive Karen Betts. “Many smaller Scotch whisky companies are now asking themselves how they can continue exporting to the US, whether they can build up alternative markets, and if not how their businesses will cope.”

Both the SWA and DISCUS are calling on the United States and the European Union to return to zero-tariff trade on distilled spirits before further damage is done to the global spirits industry.

US Tariffs Severely Hurting Scotch Whisky Industry

Wilderness Trail Distillery Joins the Kentucky Bourbon Trail

This week the Kentucky Distillers’ Association announced the addition of a new distillery to the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. Wilderness Trail Distillery will become the 18th stop on the Trail. Wilderness Trail is one of the founding distillery destinations on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour, and is the first distillery to “graduate” to the full Kentucky Bourbon Trail.

“We excel in offering a unique experience and educational perspective of the bourbon-making process by focusing on the science in making bourbon while maintaining a traditional bourbon distillery process across our 163-acre campus in historic Danville, the birthplace of Kentucky,” said Shane Baker, co-owner and master distiller of Wilderness Trail.

Wilderness Trail Distillery Joins the Kentucky Bourbon TrailWilderness Trail Distillery Whiskey Lineup / Photo Credit: Wilderness Trail

Midleton Dair Ghaelach Knockrath Forest

This week Irish Distillers announced Midleton Dair Ghaelach Knockrath Forest, the third whiskey in the Dair Ghaelach range. Dair Ghaelach translates to “Irish oak” and every whiskey in the range is made using native Irish oak. For this release, the brand started with single pot still whiskeys ranging in age from 13 to 26 years. The whiskeys matured primarily in American oak ex-bourbon barrels.

Irish Distillers harvested Irish oak from the Knockrath Forest in County Wicklow, Ireland, then sent the wood to Spain where it was made into staves and air-dried for 15 months. These oak staves were used to make hogshead casks which were then toasted. The single pot still whiskey finished aging in these virgin Irish oak hogsheads for two years.

Midleton Dair Ghaelach Knockrath Forest is bottled at cask strength with the ABV ranging from 56.1% to 56.6% and has a suggested price of €310 (~$341 USD) per 700ml bottle. The whiskey is available as of January 2020 in Ireland, UK, France, US and China.

Douglas Laing Announces Big Peat 27 Year Black Edition

Big Peat 27 Year Black Edition is the third and final whisky in Big Peat’s Vintage Series, following Big Peat 26 Year Platinum Edition and Big Peat 25 Year The Gold Edition. This Scotch whisky is bottled at 48.3% ABV, is non-chill filtered and has no color added.

“In 2017 we selected a number of sister casks that were all destined to be bottled within Big Peat’s Vintage Trilogy,” said Cara Laing, Big Peat’s director of whisky. “Back then we set out to bring to life the journey of the spirit with each year that passed, and the experiment has been a fascinating one.”

Only 3,000 bottles of Big Peat 27 Year Black Edition are available globally at a suggested price of £195 (~$254 USD) per 700ml bottle.

Big Peat 27 Year Black EditionBig Peat 27 Year Black Edition With 25 and 26 Year / Photo Credit: Douglas Laing

Flaviar Releases Deer, Bear & Moose The Gentlemen

This week the spirits tasting club Flaviar announced the launch of Deer, Bear & Moose The Gentlemen, a 23-year-old Speyside Scotch whisky that celebrates The Gentlemen, a film by Guy Ritchie. The whisky was distilled in 1996 at Glentauchers Distillery and aged in ex-bourbon hogsheads before being finished in first-fill bourbon casks from Koval Distillery in Chicago.

The whisky is bottled at 47.2% ABV and carries a $220 price tag. Only 420 bottles are available to members of Flaviar.

Jameson Officially Announces Jameson Cold Brew Limited Edition

While news has been swirling online for a while about Jameson’s latest release, the brand officially announced the launch of Jameson Cold Brew this week. This is the first new release from the brand in two years and is a limited edition release that infuses Jameson whiskey with cold brew coffee flavor.

Made using Arabica beans from Brazil and Colombia, the blend contains 17mg of caffeine per 1.5 fluid oz pour. Each bottle is priced at $24.99 but notably it’s bottled at 30% ABV, 10% lower than standard Jameson.

Jameson Cold Brew

Jameson Cold Brew / Photo Credit: Jameson Irish Whiskey

Tidbits From Around The Spirits World

What else is going on in the spirits world this week? Let’s take a look.

Suntory acquires 10% stake in Edrington

What you should know: Japanese drinks group Suntory has acquired a 10% stake in Edrington, the owner of The Macallan and Highland Park. Suntory was already a shareholder in The Macallan and actually distributes several Edrington brands in markets like Canada, Germany and Japan.

The Rock reveals Teremana bottle

The news: Back in late 2019, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson announced the tequila company he was building with co-founders Dany Garcia, Jenna Fagnan and Ken Austin. The spirit, called Teremana Tequila, is produced by Siete Bucks Spirits. The brand will launch in Mexico, the US and Canada with a blanco and a reposado offering. This week, Johnson posted a photo of the bottle label for the first time.

Teremana Tequila BlancoTeremana Tequila Blanco Label / Photo Credit: Teremana Distillery

MGP Launches Single Barrel Programs For George Remus & Rossville Union

What you should know: MGP has announced a new limited-edition single barrel program for George Remus Bourbon and Rossville Union Rye. Both releases will only be available through select accounts. Both whiskeys will be available in two mash bills. The first George Remus Bourbon mash bill is 75% corn, 21% rye and 4% malted barley. The second is 60% corn, 36% rye and 4% malted barley. The first Rossville Union Rye mash bill is 51% rye and 49% malted barley. The second is 51% rye, 45% corn and 4% malted barley. Bottles of George Remus Bourbon have an SRP of $59.99 while those of Rossville Union Rye have an SRP of $49.99. Barrels are available for pre-order through March 18th, 2020 and will ship by September 2020.

Firestone & Robertson Founder’s Select TX Bourbon

A new limited release: Texas-based Firestone & Robertson Distilling Co. is releasing TX Bourbon Founder’s Select exclusively at Whiskey Ranch in Fort Worth, TX. The brand’s two founders each selected a barrel of TX Bourbon Single Barrel, and each barrel produced 230 bottles that are available for purchase.

On the hunt for one of the limited edition Big Peat 27 Year Black bottles?

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