Distiller’s Friday Roundup – June 4, 2021By Amanda Schuster
Greetings, spirits lovers and welcome to June! Things are heating up, and we’re not just talking about the weather.
There is a lot of big whiskey news this week! We are pleased to announce the latest innovation from Glenmorangie, X by Glenmorangie — a mixable, and affordable, expression of the popular single malt Scotch whisky. There’s also a new Russell’s Reserve 13 Year Bourbon, by which Master Distiller Eddie Russell celebrates a milestone and pays tribute to his dad Jimmy. Meanwhile, Old Forester Single Barrel Rye is now available, as well as the national rollout of WhistlePig Beyond Bonded Bourbon and Rye. And if you like games, land conservation and hunky actors, High West Prairie Dash is for you!
We kick things off with an historic announcement from Uncle Nearest Whiskey. Congratulations, Fawn Weaver and team! Read on for this, and the rest of the booze news.
Uncle Nearest Announces $50 Million Venture Fund To Invest In Minority-Founded And Owned Spirit Brands
Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey has announced the formation of the Uncle Nearest Venture Fund. The $50 million fund was created with the specific purpose to fast track minority-founded and owned spirit brands. According to the press release, the announcement is purposely timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the destruction of Black Wall Street.
“On June 1, 1921, an entire community of wealthy and successful African Americans was wiped out in a matter of hours,” said Founder and CEO Fawn Weaver. “We are talking about 35 square blocks known as Black Wall Street. As an African American, learning about that history broke my heart because we, as a people, were really onto something in Tulsa, Oklahoma. We were lifting one another up and creating wealth within our own community, and then showing others how to do it for themselves. We cannot go back and undo the past, but I do believe we have full power over our future, and that recreating a Black Wall Street of sorts within the spirits industry is a great place to start.”
First Two Companies Selected
The fund’s first two investments have already been chosen. Each company is to receive initial funding of $2 million, respectively. One is London-based Equiano, the world’s first Afro-Caribbean rum, founded by Ian Burrell and Aaisha Dadral. The other is Jack From Brooklyn, Inc., the maker of Sorel Liqueur.
Equiano is currently available in select markets with two expressions, an aged and light rum. Through the investment from the Uncle Nearest Venture Fund, Sorel Liqueur will return to market this summer as an exclusive offering via ReserveBar.com and its Spirited Change Initiative. The brand has already obtained national distribution through Republic National Distribution Company (RNDC), Breakthru Beverage Group, Empire Distributors and several other top distributors, and will be available in more than 40 states before the end of the year.
X by Glenmorangie
This new release from Glenmorangie is a stylish single malt that’s mixable! The brand consulted with top cocktail-focused bartenders to create the newest release. X by Glenmorangie is designed (and priced) specifically for cocktails.
Says the press release: “Inspired by the flavor possibilities by mixing whisky, Dr. Bill Lumsden, Director of Whisky Creation for Glenmorangie, set out to craft a sweeter style single malt that, unlike other whiskys [sic], lends itself to a series of refreshingly simple serves — each needing just 2 to 4 ingredients — perfect for enjoying on date night, at a BBQ or sipping on at karaoke.”
X by Glenmorangie is bottled at 40%, for a SRP of $33.99 as of June 2nd.
Russell’s Reserve 13-Year-Old Bourbon Showcases 40-Year Whiskey Veteran Eddie Russell’s Mastery of Bourbon Making
Wild Turkey Master Distiller Eddie Russell has introduced Russell’s Reserve 13 Year, a 114.8-proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon. The liquid is matured for at least 13 years, bottled at barrel proof and non-chill filtered.
“Crafting Russell’s Reserve 13 Year Old turned out to be one of my most rewarding experiences as a distiller,“ said Eddie Russell, who celebrates his 40th year of bourbon making at the Wild Turkey Distillery this year. “This release embodies our commitment to creating uniquely satisfying flavors, and, hands down, it’s one of our most rare bourbons.”
This whiskey is presented as a tribute to the distillery’s heritage and the legacy of Eddie’s father, Master Distiller Jimmy Russell.
It will be available in the United States at $69.99 SRP per bottle for a limited time only. For more information, please visit www.wildturkey.com.
WhistlePig Goes Beyond Bonded with 100.1% Farm-to-Bottle, Single Barrel Rye & Bourbon
We recently reported on the first barrel of WhistlePig’s FarmStock Beyond Bonded Rye, which was available exclusively by auction to raise funds for Farm Aid. Well, (surprise!) there is now a wide release of rye and also a bourbon version.
Both the rye and bourbon are harvested, distilled, aged and bottled at WhistlePig Farm and Distillery in Shoreham, Vermont. With this series, WhistlePig introduces single barrel variations of bottled-in-bond. In addition, they are bottled at 100.1 proof, just a hair beyond the bonded whiskey standard. With just 24 barrels of rye and 16 barrels of bourbon in the 2021 release, these whiskeys are considered to be among the most rare and collectible whiskies from WhistlePig Farm.
Beyond Bonded Rye is a straight rye made with 100% Remington rye harvested from the North Orwell 1 field of WhistlePig’s 500-acre Farm. Meanwhile, Beyond Bonded Bourbon is a straight bourbon made with a high rye mash bill of 51% Dent corn and 49% Remington and Rifle rye varietals harvested from North Orwell 1 and North Orwell 2 fields. Both whiskeys were distilled on WhistlePig’s original hybrid still, Mortimer, and proofed with water from WhistlePig’s Farm well. Furthermore, they both were aged for upwards of four years in Vermont Estate Oak barrels. Notably, the oldest barrel in the release was aged for four years, 8 months and 14 days.
Each Barrel is Unique
A note for collectors: the “farm-to-bottle journey” will be traceable via a unique QR code on the label. Each code reveals thirty unique facts about an individual whiskey. This includes details about growing conditions, duration of fermentation, barrel specs, bottling and more.
“Beyond Bonded has been our most ambitious experiment to date,” says WhistlePig Distiller Emily Harrison. “Whiskey making is a labor of love, with challenges at every step of the process. In Vermont, the short growing season and extreme temperatures make for much tougher farming than in the south. After harvest, Rye is a notoriously difficult grain to distill, but we’ve always believed that the benefits of its complexity are well worth the effort. FarmStock Beyond Bonded shows its incredible potential once again, in both Rye and Bourbon. Seeing it leave the Farm is a dream come true.”
Earlier this month, the initial barrel of Beyond Bonded FarmStock Rye, Barrel No. 0001 was auctioned off at Dana Mecum’s 34th Original Spring Classic in Indianapolis. The winning bid resulted in a total contribution of $100,100.00 to Farm Aid.
Beyond Bonded Rye and Bourbon will be available with an SRP of $99.99 per 750ml bottle. The next limited release of Beyond Bonded is expected in Spring 2022.
Old Forester Releases Rye Single Barrel Nationwide
Old Forester Distilling Co. has launched Old Forester Rye Single Barrel. This release marks the first innovation of the brand’s proprietary rye recipe since the original 100 proof bottling. The whiskey is unfiltered and barrel strength.
“The Old Forester Rye Single Barrel delivers on the same balanced and unique flavor profile of our 100 proof expression, only amplified and in unfiltered, raw form,” says Master Taster Jackie Zykan.
Availability begins as of June 1 at the retail shop at Old Forester Distilling Co. and nationwide for $79.99 in limited quantities.
Game of High West Prairie Dash Anyone?
June is Great Outdoors Month and High West Distillery has debuted a new limited-time, interactive mobile game called Prairie Dash. The game was designed in collaboration with long-time partner and non-profit organization, American Prairie.
While playing Prairie Dash, High West fans will have a chance to give back and help conserve the natural habitat of Montana’s Great Plains. Play will consist of a collection of quick-time challenges from the perspective of a pronghorn, North America’s fastest land animal. For every game played, High West will donate $1 to American Prairie, up to $50,000. One lucky player will even have the chance to win a trip to the distillery’s home, Park City, Utah.
“American Prairie is truly one of the most fantastic projects of our time, and it’s been an honor to work alongside their team to protect today’s Western habitats for future generations to come,” said Daniel Schear, general manager of High West. “We invite our community to join in on the movement, too, all while enjoying a little friendly competition and sipping on one of our favorites, American Prairie Bourbon.”
High West has also teamed up with actor and whiskey enthusiast Josh Holloway as a brand ambassador for the campaign. It turns out outdoor conservation (and whiskey!) are near and dear to his heart.
In addition to competing, High West supporters can also purchase the distillery’s American Prairie Bourbon on highwest.com or through Drizly. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the bottle’s namesake organization, American Prairie.
Check out the game here.
Josh Holloway plays High West Prairie Dash /Photo Credit: High West
Ready to grab a bottle of X by Glenmorangie?
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