Distiller’s Friday Roundup – November 16th, 2018By Mikael Mossberg
This week brings news of some spectacularly rare spirits being auctioned in the fight against plastic pollution. In addition, Shakmat Armenian Brandy—from one of the co-founders of Reddit—and Cruzan Rum both announced support of charity causes. Ireland continues its breakneck speed of pumping out high quality whiskeys with Red Spot 15 Year Single Pot Still. Plus, Japanese rice whisky maker Fukano is back with four new expressions. It’s been a busy week!
Rare Whisky and Rum Auction To Fight Plastic Pollution In Oceans
Over fifteen different spirits brands have joined forces in a rare spirits auction to combat the increasing plastic pollution of the world’s oceans. The auction will take place online through Whisky.Auction from November 18th to 27th.
Some of the rare bottles up for auction
The bottles available for auction include:
– Karuizawa 50 Year Old, Bottle 1 of 2 (Donated By The Whisky Exchange)
– Port Ellen 38 Year Old, Bottle 1 Of 1 (Donated By Diageo)
– The Macallan 50 Year Old Millennium Decanter (Donated By Edrington)
– Ardbeg 37 Year Old, Bottle 1 Of 1 (Donated By LVMH)
– The Balvenie 1973 Vintage Cask, Bottle 1 Of 1 (Donated By William Grant & Sons)
– Glenfarclas 1967 42 Year Old, Bottle 1 Of 1 (Donated By Glenfarclas)
– Caroni Guyana 1994 Rum Magnum, Bottle 1 Of 3 (Donated By Velier)
– Foursquare 15 Year Old Rum, Bottle 1 Of 1 (Donated By Foursquare)
– Glen Scotia 1973, Bottle 1 Of 1 (Donated By Loch Lomond Distillers)
– Michter’s 22 Year Old, Bottle 1 Of 1 (Donated By Michter’s Distillery)
– Tamdhu 55 Year Old, Bottle 1 Of 1 (Donated By Iain Macleod Distillers)
“Every now and then an auction line-up comes along that has spirits collectors and connoisseurs on the edge of their seats with excitement,” says Isabel Graham-Yooll, auction director for Whisky.Auction. “This is one of those auctions. These bottles are not merely rare, some of them are entirely unique; they have never been seen before and may never be seen again.”
If you want to participate in the auction you can register your interest here. While these spirits are sure to go for unbelievably high prices, in this instance that’s actually a wonderful thing. Here’s to spectacular drams helping to combat ocean pollution.
Exciting New Bottles From The Emerald Isle
We’ve covered some of the exciting developments coming out of Ireland over the past few years, but the country is in the midst of its own distilling boom. New brands are emerging and existing brands are putting out award-winning and high quality products like never before. Check out these three whiskeys set to hit shelves in the coming months.
New Irish whiskeys
Red Spot 15 Year Single Pot Still is matured for at least 15 years in a combination of American oak ex-bourbon, ex-sherry butts, and ex-Marsala wine casks. It was originally produced by the Mitchell family, fine wine & spirits purveyors based in Dublin, who are still in business today. The family would mark the casks of whiskeys they aged in Dublin with a spot of colored paint.
Previously, Irish Distillers revived the Green Spot and Yellow Spot brands. This is the first time Red Spot is set to come back after discontinuation in the 1960s. It will start showing up on shelves in Ireland in November of 2018, followed by UK and US releases in January of 2019. Bottled at 46% ABV, it carries a suggested price of €115 (~$130).
In November of 2018 Knappogue Castle announced the Cask Finish Series. The Knappogue Castle Château Pichon Baron takes the brand’s 12 Year Bourbon Cask Matured single malt whiskey and further ages it in casks from the renowned Bordeaux winery Château Pichon Baron.
Only 1,020 bottles are set for production. It is expected to hit shelves in the United States in November 2018. It is bottled at 46% ABV with a suggested price of $80.
Egan’s Fortitude Single Malt Whiskey is a no age statement Irish single malt aged exclusively in ex-Pedro Ximénez casks. The release is meant as a tribute to brand co-founder Henry J. Egan who co-founded P.&H. Egan in Tullamore, Ireland in 1852 with Patrick Egan. It is bottled at 46% ABV with a suggested price of $50.
Fukano Introduces Four New Limited Edition Whiskies
Fukano, the Japanese rice whisky makers, have announced four limited-edition expressions. These releases celebrate the brand’s history of pushing the traditional boundaries of whisky. All are a combination of whiskies aged between 3 and 11 years.
Fukano limited edition whiskies
Vault Reserve 1: Supposedly a mildly sherry-influenced whisky, 5,443 bottles produced globally at 40.5% ABV.
Vault Reserve 2: 3,850 bottles produced globally at 40.4% ABV
6000: Bottle art created by LA-based artist WhiskyAnorach. 1,200 bottles produced globally.
Jikan: Bottle art celebrates the history of Hitoyoshi, Japan. 1,200 bottles produced globally.
Cruzan Hurricane Proof Created To Aid Hurricane Recovery
In the aftermath of Hurricanes Maria and Irma, the Island Spirit Fund was created to support short-and long-term disaster relief efforts in the U.S. Virgin Islands and across the United States. They help rebuild and reinvigorate communities impacted by storms of all kinds, and to-date they’ve raised nearly $1 million.
As a founding member, Cruzan rum has created Cruzan Hurricane Proof. It is bottled at 137 proof to match the 137 mph winds of the category 5 hurricane that swept through the brand’s home island of St. Croix last year. For every case sold, they will donate $1 to the Island Spirit Fund.
“We’ve named our newest expression as a nod to the resilience of our community in the wake of last year’s devastating storms. We look forward to continuing to support the Island Spirit Fund and the important work it makes possible into 2019 and beyond,” says Gary Nelthropp, Cruzan Rum’s Master Distiller.
It is now available nationwide with a suggested price of $19.99 per bottle.
Reddit Co-Founder Creates Shakmat Armenian Brandy
Shakmat Armenian Brandy is a collaboration between Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian and drinks subscription service Flaviar. Shakmat means “chess” in Armenian, and is meant to honor one of the country’s favorite pastimes. It is a blended 23-year-old XO brandy.
Shakmat uses indigenous Armenian grape varieties and is produced using a continuous column still. It is matured in casks made from the Caucasian oak. A portion of the proceeds from Shakmat will go to the Armenia Tree Project to aid in their reforestation work.
Only 2,400 bottles were created. It comes in at 40% ABV.