Distiller’s Friday Roundup – March 19, 2021By Stephanie Moreno
Now that St. Patrick’s Day is over, spring is just around the corner. But even though warmer weather is on the horizon, that doesn’t mean new whiskeys aren’t hitting the market. Every season is the right season for whiskey! For those of you who are partial to bourbon, you should be happy to see the announcement of Blood Oath Pact 7. This blended straight bourbon series is always highly sought after, and if it’s half as good as last year’s version, we’re all in for a treat!
Of course, not everyone is a fan of bourbon (more for us!). Perhaps American single malt is your beverage of choice? In that case, you’ll be pleased to hear about Virginia Distillery Co.’s trio of Courage & Conviction whiskeys. For these releases, you have your choice of barrels — sherry, bourbon or cuvée wine.
But maybe you’re more into collecting rather than drinking your whiskeys. In that case, check out the upcoming rare releases from Westland Distillery. Spend some money on good whiskey while helping out restaurant and hospitality workers in crisis. It’s a win-win!
There are loads of other new spirits releases to tell you about this week so let’s just get on with it, shall we? Here’s Distiller’s Friday Roundup for March 19, 2021!
Blood Oath Pact 7 Announced
This week Lux Row Distillers announced the launch of Blood Oath Pact 7, a blended Kentucky straight bourbon crafted by Master Distiller John Rempe. Three different Kentucky straight bourbons were used in its creation: a 14-year-old high-rye bourbon, an 8-year-old high-rye bourbon, and an 8-year-old high-rye bourbon finished in Sauternes wine casks.
The first Blood Oath bottling was released in 2015 and each year a different version is released. According to the announcement, Rempe, “named the series Blood Oath, because he vows to be the only one who knows where these whiskeys have come from. He also promises to make the best bourbon for the bourbon connoisseur with each Pact.”
“Finishing in a Sauternes cask brings additional tasting notes and flavor to the bourbon,” said Rempe. “In the case of Pact 7, expect a nose of caramel, oak and spice with flavor notes of apricots, honey and peaches. The balance of sweetness and spice is what sets this bourbon apart.”
Only 51,000 bottles of Blood Oath Pact 7 were produced. Availability begins mid-April 2021 with an SRP of $99.99.
Bardstown Bourbon Company Debuts Distillery Collection
This week, Bardstown Bourbon Company (BBCo.) announced the launch of its Distillery Collection featuring single barrel releases offered exclusively at the distillery. The first release in the collection is a Kentucky straight bourbon which is finished for 44 months in a Napa Valley Phifer Pavitt cabernet sauvignon cask; that’s more than two times longer in these wine barrels than the first collaboration release with the winery.
“Innovation, collaboration and exclusivity come together in our Distillery Collection,” explained BBCo. Vice President of Hospitality and Product Development Dan Callaway. “From experimental finishes to unique single-barrels, these releases encapsulate our modern approach to whiskey-making and showcase that every time you visit, there’s something new to discover and take home after your Bardstown experience.”
The Distillery Collection releases will regularly change with expressions starting at $199.99 per bottle. Future releases will also include French oak, syrah and cognac single barrels.
As a companion to this collection, BBCo. is unveiling a fill-your-own-bottle tour experience. At the end of each tour, guests can fill their bottle of Distillery Collection straight from the barrel. For more information about the tour, visit the distillery’s website here.
Bardstown Bourbon Company single barrels /Photo Credit: BBCo.
Jack Daniel’s Announces Lexie Phillips as Assistant Distiller
This week Tennessee whiskey brand Jack Daniel’s announced the promotion of Lexie Phillips to assistant distiller. She is the first woman to hold such a role in the distillery’s history. According to the announcement, she will collaborate with Master Distiller Chris Fletcher and “support the overall quality and innovation of Jack Daniel’s from ‘grain to glass’ and serve as a brand ambassador.”
“I am honored to step into the role of Assistant Distiller and look forward to working alongside and learning from Chris and the best whiskey makers in the world,” said Phillips. “Making Tennessee whiskey has been my life’s passion, and I am grateful to be able to inspire a new generation of women to follow in my footsteps.”
Phillips had previously worked in Lynchburg in quality control and distillery operations with her most recent job title being distillery lead operator.
Lexie Phillips /Photo Credit: Jack Daniel’s
Virginia Distillery Company Releases Three Courage & Conviction Whiskeys
This week Virginia Distillery Co. announced the release of three new whiskeys in its Courage & Conviction series. These three casks — sherry, bourbon, and cuvée — are used in the distillery’s flagship Courage & Conviction American single malt whiskey. They are all distilled in Virginia using 100% malted barley and each aged for a minimum of three years. They’re bottled at 46% ABV without chill filtration. Notably, the first batch is dedicated to one of the distillery’s key mentors Nancy Fraley.
“These individual bottlings are a great way for us to highlight the casks that are foundational to the Courage & Conviction line,” said Virginia Distillery Company CEO Gareth H. Moore “One example is that we are one of only a handful of distilleries in the world to use these unique Cuvée casks, a profile developed by the late Dr. Jim Swan.”
The Sherry Cask release matured in three types of former sherry casks: fino, oloroso and Pedro Ximenez. The Bourbon Cask release matured in former Kentucky bourbon casks. Finally, the Cuvée Cask release matured in specialty European red wine STR casks — casks that have been shaved, toasted and recharred.
Availability began this week through the distillery’s website and in Virginia with a nationwide release expected in mid-April 2021. Each bottle has an SRP of $89.99.
Westland Distillery to Offer Ultra-Rare Whiskeys for April Fools’ Day Auction, Proceeds Benefit Big Table
This week Seattle’s Westland Distillery introduced The Inheritance, a collection of ultra-rare American single malt whiskeys. Each one of these bottles is a one-of-a-kind release, making them extremely collectible. With that in mind, the brand has decided to release these bottles via an auction on Thursday April 1st, 2021. The auction will be benefiting Big Table, a non-profit that cares for restaurant and hospitality workers in crisis.
The Inheritance should catch the attention of investors who enjoy buying whiskeys to collect rather than drink. “Each bottle comes in an impenetrable box, with a Certificate of Authenticity from the International Institute of Prestige & Distinction, and a Last Will and Testament so the whiskey can be formally added to the owner’s expanding estate,” according to the announcement.
“It breaks my heart to see rare whiskeys opened and enjoyed, thereby cratering its value,” says Westland’s Matt Hofmann. “For those searching to grow their wealth and stature, there is no better investment than whiskey. With prices being paid for whiskey at auction these days hitting record highs, we’d be fools not to get in on the game. We’re not fools. We’re tycoons. Why else would one want to be in the whiskey business?”
Please note that while the auction is scheduled for April Fools’ Day, the bottles and auction are a very real thing. For those interested in making a bid, please visit the auction website here.
Matt Hofmann and The Inheritance /Photo Credit: Westland
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Compass Box Introduces Menagerie
Menagerie is a limited-edition blended malt made by Compass Box Whiskymaker James Saxon. He uses single malts from four distilleries as well as the brand’s own Highland malt blend in its creation. Mortlach and Deanston make up the bulk of the blend. Glen Elgin and Laphroaig single malts were also used.
“Scotch whisky has a huge variety of flavor profiles — when whiskymaking, we pay attention to those parcels that deviate slightly from fruity, floral and spicy — ones that taste that little bit wilder than others,” says Saxon. “And it is these strange and beautiful creatures that we have brought together to create our Menagerie.”
Only 7,741 bottles are available globally with availability in the US beginning in April 2021. It has an SRP of $120. For further details regarding the exact percentage of the distillery’s contribution as well as detailed barrel information, you can visit the Compass Box website here.
Bladnoch Launches Bicentennial Release for US Market
This limited-edition bottling was released in honor of the distillery’s 200th anniversary in 2017. Distilled in 1988, the single malt matured in two oloroso sherry barrels. Then it was transferred into Moscatel wine casks to finish its maturation which for a total of 29 years.
The Bicentennial Release was packaged in 700ml sized bottles. As the US changed its laws regarding this bottle size, the distillery released 200 bottles for this market in mid-April 2021. It has an SRP of $7550.
Hennessy Releases Fourth Master Blender’s Selection
The fourth limited release in Hennessy’s Master Blender’s Selection series is the second from Master Blender Renaud Fillioux de Gironde. He’s said to have been inspired by winter in the great outdoors while creating this blend. The expression is made with eaux-de-vie distilled on a moderate level of lees. Additionally, it was aged for a minimum of five years in a combination of young and old French oak barrels.
“When creating this blend, I was inspired by the contrast of a ‘thermal shock,’” explains de Gironde. “Going from feeling one’s smallness in such a wide open space to being inside, passing from daylight to the darkness of night, from solitude of the forest, being completely exposed to the elements in nature, to an environment of complete comfort and cozy abandon surrounded by friends.”
Hennessy Master Blender’s Selection No. 4 is available nationwide with an SRP of $89.99.
TIDBITS FROM AROUND THE SPIRITS WORLD
Let’s take a quick look at what else is going on around the world this week…
Barrell Seagrass is a blend of rye whiskeys that are distilled in Canada and Kentucky and finished separately in three casks: Martinique rhum, Malmsey Madeira and apricot brandy. It is bottled at a cask strength of 118.4 proof and was released in March 2021. It has an SRP of $89.99.
Batch Proof highlights the brand’s proprietary batch process and is a bottling of the bourbon’s actual proof, straight from the barrel. It’s released annually with a different batch and proof (around 121-126). This fourth batch is bottled at 128.3 proof, — far from the 90.4 proof which is traditional for Woodford Reserve. This limited edition is available in select US and global markets as of March 2021. It has an SRP of $129.99.
This bottling is made like the brand’s flagship TX Straight Bourbon, but with the added requirements set out with the Bottled-in-Bond Act: the product of one distillation season, by one distiller, at one distillery; aged for at least four years; and bottled at 100 proof. These are single barrel releases so expect the flavor profiles to vary with each barrel. Released in March 2021, this marks the first bottled in bond Texas bourbon to be released. It is available at the distillery and select Texas retailers for $49.99.
CÎROC Summer Citrus is distilled from French grapes and infused with natural orange and citrus flavors. It is gluten-free and bottled at 35% ABV. Limited availability begins in March 2021 with an SRP of $33.99.
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