Distiller’s Friday Roundup – October 12th, 2018By Mikael Mossberg
This week brings some interesting news and some truly outrageous releases. Forty Creek flew fans from all over Canada to their distillery to help create its latest limited release, Forty Creek Unity. High West is finally distilling its own whiskey, and some of it will be in the new A Midwinter Night’s Dram Act 6. Midleton released the 35th edition of Midleton Very Rare, and Old Forester 1910 Old Fine Whisky became the final expression in Old Forester’s Whiskey Row Series. Teeling and Chivas are putting out incredibly old whiskeys, Smirnoff has some big news, and Diddy is at it again with a new CÎROC release. Ready? Let’s get into it.
Forty Creek Unity: Created With A Little Help From Their Friends
This whisky started as a blend of Canadian whiskies selected by Master Blender Bill Ashburn. The blend was then further aged with the addition of high mocha wood staves. Then, the whiskies were combined with a 10 year old corn whisky and a small amount of very rare Portuguese-style Starboard wine that had been aged for 15 years in previously used Forty Creek barrels.
Earlier this year, Forty Creek hosted a Facebook competition for whisky fans across Canada. It asked fans to share why Forty Creek was their “whisky of choice”. Five entrants from across the country were then chosen to fly to the brand’s Grimsby distillery in Ontario. They enjoyed a VIP tasting and worked with the Forty Creek staff to select the final blend.
Forty Creek Unity is bottled at 43% ABV, carries no age statement, and has a suggested retail price of $75.
High West A Midwinter Night’s Dram Act 6 Uses Actual High West Whiskey
High West has previously released five versions (“Acts”) of the yearly fall release, A Midwinter Night’s Dram. It is a blend of straight rye whiskeys which are finished in French oak and ex-port barrels. What makes this year’s release particularly interesting is that for the first time ever, the blend will include some rye whiskey that High West actually distills.
It is bottled at 49.3% ABV with a suggested retail price of $100. It’s a limited release, so it goes without saying that it will go for much more than that. Happy hunting!
Midleton Very Rare 2018: The 35th Edition
Back in 1984, Irish Distillers, makers of Midleton Whiskey, rolled out the very first version of Midleton Very Rare. Now, 35 years later, they’re still going strong with the Midleton Very Rare 2018. It is the result of a blend of hand-selected single pot still and single grain Irish whiskeys. Each cask matures in lightly-charred ex-bourbon American oak barrels for between 12 and 28 years.
Brian Nation, Master Distiller at Midleton Distillery, says, “It is a great honour to have my signature on the front of each bottle of Midleton Very Rare, and this acts as the ultimate guarantee of quality from the Midleton Distillery. We set aside very small amounts of particularly fine single pot still and single grain distillates each year so that the Midleton Very Rare legacy can continue.”
It is bottled at 40% ABV with a suggested retail price of €180 globally.
This week, Old Forester announced the fourth and final expression in the Whiskey Row Series: the double barreled Old Forester 1910 Old Fine Whisky. It is meant to represent a specific point in Old Forester’s 150 year history. Back in October of 1910, a fire forced the shut down of the bottling line, preventing a vat of mature whisky from being bottled. Without the ability to immediately bottle the whiskey, it was instead stored in new, charred oak containers until the bottling line could be brought back into operation. This ultimately became the first documented double-barreled whisky and became a completely new expression: Old Forester 1910 Old Fine Whisky.
This expression is meant to mimic the historic bottling. It undergoes a second barreling in a lightly toasted, heavily charred barrel. It is bottled at 93 proof and will start hitting shelves across the United States in October 2018 with a suggested retail price of $54.99.
Did You Miss It?
We get it, you’re busy. It’s easy to miss all of the exciting things going on in the spirits world. Luckily you have us to keep you up to speed. Here are just a few of the exciting things you may have missed lately:
Teeling Whiskey Releases a Rare 30-Year-Old Irish Single Malt
This is one of those bottles that hardcore Irish Whiskey fans can dream about, but will probably never find. Teeling Vintage Reserve 30 Year Single Malt is limited to just 500 bottles, and is amongst the oldest bottlings of Irish single malt released in recent years. It was distilled in 1989 and first matured in ex-bourbon casks for 25 years, then for an additional 5 years in ex-white Burgundy French oak casks.
Each of the 500 bottles is hand-bottled in decanter style bottles that come in wooden gift boxes along with a certificate of authenticity. It will become available initially in the Teeling Whiskey Distillery, Celtic Whiskey Shop and Dublin Airport in Ireland before a larger roll out including Benelux (ooo la la), France, Germany, Switzerland, Russia, Australia and select Asian markets in the coming months. It is bottled at 46% ABV with a suggested retail price of €1,500 per 700 ml bottle.
Chivas Regal Releases Four 50 Year Old Scotch Whiskies To Celebrate Manchester United
Back in 1968, Manchester United won the European Cup (now known as UEFA Champions League) in a stunning 4-1 victory over the Portuguese club, Benfica. Three of those four goals were scored in extra time, and the win made Manchester United the first English team to ever win the Cup. Now, 50 years later, Chivas Regal is “releasing” Chivas Regal The Icon 50th Anniversary to commemorate the win ahead of the club’s first European home game of the season. When I said that the brand is releasing this whisky, what I should have said is that they’re producing four bottles and only one will be available for purchase.
The first bottle will be gifted to a fan. If you’d like a shot at winning, keep an eye on Manchester United’s social media platforms for details. The second bottle will go on sale through the famous auction house, Sotheby’s. All proceeds will be donated to the Manchester United Foundation. The third bottle will be housed in the Manchester United Museum, and the final bottle will sit on display at Strathisla distillery, the home of Chivas in Speyside, Scotland.
Is this pretty ridiculous? Yes. Should I probably have skipped writing about it? Yes again. But hey, maybe one of you is a highly connected soccer-loving whisky collector who will try to buy this at auction, in which case, you’re welcome for the heads up.
Smirnoff Vodka Is Now Non-GMO
This week, Smirnoff Vodka announced that in addition to being gluten-free, the brand is now also using non-GMO corn to create Smirnoff No. 21. The bottle is also getting a makeover with an updated label, and the price is staying the same. The brand added Jenna Fischer to help announce the news alongside spokesman Ted Danson.
Diddy Introduces CÎROC Black Raspberry
In time for the holidays, Sean “Diddy” Combs and the makers of CÎROC Vodka are releasing a new limited-edition product: CÎROC Black Raspberry. The brand infuses black raspberry and other natural flavors with their grape-based vodka to create this 35% ABV flavored vodka.
“CÎROC always looks to be innovative. One of the strengths of our business is introducing new flavors. Welcoming Black Raspberry into our portfolio made sense, as its one if my favorite fruits. Packaged in a new, limited edition, sleek design, CÎROC Black Raspberry will be a drink everyone will want to enjoy and have on display in their bar this season,” says Sean “Diddy” Combs, Chairman of Combs Enterprises.
Black Raspberry is available now at an SRP of $39.
Whether you’re on the hunt for Old Forester 1910 Old Fine Whisky or Forty Creek Unity, I wish you well in your endeavors. If you’re trying to be the one person on earth to be able to buy the 50th Anniversary Chivas, well, you’re on your own there.