Distiller’s Friday Roundup – July 5th, 2019By Mikael Mossberg
As if you needed a good reason to enjoy all of the amazing American liquor on offer, yesterday was the 4th of July. If you’re an American living in the States or abroad, we hope you enjoyed a spirited day with friends, food, and of course plenty of loud fireworks and music to bother all of your neighbors. This week saw several large releases including the Johnnie Walker Black Label Origin Series, Remus Volstead Reserve 14 Year Bottled in Bond Bourbon and Kilchoman’s 2019 Editions. In less-fun news, two warehouses at a Jim Beam facility in Kentucky caught fire, with one burning down entirely. It housed 45,000 barrels of bourbon, but luckily no injuries were reported.
Jim Beam Warehouses Catch Fire
Late on Tuesday evening two barrel warehouses at the Jim Beam facility in Versailles, KY caught on fire. Firefighter crews succeeded in extinguishing one of the warehouses, but as of 12pm on Wednesday, the other warehouse continued to burn. Reports from the scene suggest the fire may have been caused by a lightning strike.
Jim Beam Warehouses / Photo Credit: WLKY
The second warehouse contained roughly 45,000 barrels of bourbon from the Jim Beam mash bill. According to the brand the bourbon had only been aging for a very short time, so they do not expect the fire to impact the availability of Jim Beam. The brand operates 125 barrel warehouses in Kentucky which hold roughly 3.3 million barrels that cover the full Beam family of brands. While this may seem like a small amount lost, at roughly 220 bottles per barrel this equates to somewhere around 9.9 million bottles of bourbon.
Luckily no injuries have been reported. Sand is being brought in to help control runoff into Glenns Creek, which runs alongside the warehouses.
Johnnie Walker Black Label Origin Series Announced
This week, Johnnie Walker unveiled Black Label Origin Series. It’s a collection of four Scotch whiskies intended to celebrate the distinct flavor profiles of the regions of Scotland. Each of the four whiskies are 12 years old and made of only whiskies from the respective region each are named after.
The whiskies are available only in travel retail beginning in July of 2019, though it’s possible that they will see a larger global release down the line. The bottles are all 1 Liter, and carry suggested retail prices of $46 USD (~£35) each.
The Johnnie Walker Black Label Origin Series / Photo Credit: Johnnie Walker
Johnnie Walker Black Label Speyside Origin contains only single malts from Speyside in its blend. In this case, the featured distilleries are Cardhu and Glendullan. This blended malt is bottled at 42% ABV.
Johnnie Walker Black Label Highlands Origin uses single malt whiskies from the Highland region in its blend. The featured distilleries are Clynelish and Teaninich. It is bottled at 42% ABV.
Johnnie Walker Black Label Islay Origin only uses single malt whiskies from the Islay region. The featured distilleries are Caol Ila and Lagavulin. It is also bottled at 42% ABV.
Johnnie Walker Black Label Lowlands Origin is the only whisky in the Origin Series that is not a blended malt whisky. This blended whisky uses single malts and single grain whiskies exclusively from the Lowland region. The featured distilleries in this blended whisky are Glenkinchie and Cameronbridge. Like the other whiskies in the series, it is bottled at 42% ABV.
MGP Set To Release Brand’s First Bottled in Bond Bourbon
Whiskey connoisseurs are no-doubt familiar with Indiana’s Midwest Grain Products better known as MGP, and the multitude of spirits the powerhouse distills for other brands. Over the last few years, however, MGP has begun releasing whiskeys under its own brand. These include Metze’s Select Bourbon, Remus Repeal Reserve Series II, Rossville Union Master Crafted Straight Rye and Eight & Sand Blended Bourbon.
Now, MGP has plans to release its first ever bottled in bond product, Remus Volstead Reserve 14 Year Bottled in Bond Bourbon. Distilled in the fall of 2005, it matured for 14 years in MGP’s brick warehouses. The bourbon is named for the 100th anniversary of the Volstead Act, which was enacted in 1919 as a way to enforce the 18th Amendment, better understood as Prohibition. The namesake for the bourbon is George Remus, one of the most famous bootleggers from the Prohibition era.
Only 6,000 bottles of Remus Volstead Reserve 14 Year Bottled in Bond Bourbon will be made available for sale beginning November of 2019. This one time limited-edition release is priced at $200 per bottle, and will be available in 14 states including Arizona, Colorado, Illinois and Texas.
Kilchoman Announces 2019 Editions
This week Kilchoman announced the 2019 editions of Kilchoman Loch Gorm, Kilchoman ImPex Cask Evolution Single Cask 11 Year and Kilchoman STR Cask Matured. Each release celebrates a different aspect of the Kilchoman brand heritage.
Kilchoman 2019 Releases
Loch Gorm is the name of the Kilchoman series that features single malts that mature exclusively in ex-sherry butts. The 2019 edition is made from single malts distilled in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2011. That means that for the first time a Loch Gorm release will contain 12 and 13 year old casks. They all matured fully in ex-oloroso sherry butts. Only 15,000 bottles came from the 20 sherry butts used to create this release. It is bottled at 46% ABV and has a suggested price of $109.99.
The ImPex Cask Evolution series is a single cask series named after Kilchoman’s exclusive US importer, ImPex. This 11 year single cask single malt is exclusively available in the United States. It matured in a first fill ex-bourbon cask for over 11 years, and is the oldest Kilchoman exclusively available in the United States for general distribution. It is bottled at 56.4% ABV with a suggested price of $174.99.
Kilchoman STR Cask Matured is a single malt created by the late Dr. Jim Swan, often referred to as “The Single Malt Whisperer.” The name ‘STR’ refers to the formula of Shaving, Toasting and Re-charring the red wine hogsheads used to mature this single malt. 43 casks were filled in 2012. It is non-chill filtered and bottled at 50% ABV with a suggested price of $119.99.
Introducing Glenmorangie Grand Vintage 1991
Glenmorangie Grand Vintage 1991 marks the fourth release in Glenmorangie’s Bond House No. 1 Collection. The collection began with the 1990 vintage which came out back in 2016. Glenmorangie Grand Vintage 1991 is comprised of two separate lots of single malts aged in American oak. The first lot finished maturing in ex-Burgundy wine casks. The second finished maturing in ex-oloroso sherry casks. Some whisky which spent time in new toasted oak was also used. It is bottled at 43% ABV and has a suggested price of $750.
Glenmorangie’s Bond House No. 1 Series pays homage to the largest of Glenmorangie’s 19th century Bonded Warehouses. Warehouse No. 1 was used to house the casks of aging Glenmorangie spirit. In 1990 it was transformed into the current still house during an expansion.