Distiller’s Friday Roundup – September 10, 2021By Amanda Schuster
Happy Friday, spirits fans! The week following a long weekend always seems longer somehow, but we made it!
Speaking of long, we have two major announcements about whiskies that have enjoyed quite a long nap through the ages: the first is The Glen Grant 60 Year Dennis Malcolm 60th Anniversary Edition, and the other is Yamazaki 55 Year.
Over in California, Germain-Robin has announced their oldest expression to date — Germain-Robin Single Barrel Pinot Noir Aged 19 Years.
Back to the whiskey world, Lux Row Distillers has partnered with Ducks Unlimited to unveil Daviess County Double Barrel Bourbon. In Columbus, Watershed Distillery is releasing Batch 002 of their Barrel Strength Bourbon Aged in Apple Brandy Casks.
By the way, that Remus Repeal Series V we announced back in July? It’s out now.
On the experiential side of the whisky world, Westward has announced the first-ever direct-to-consumer national whiskey club. Also, Westland has become the official whiskey of Climate Pledge Arena and the Seattle Kraken team. And Monkey Shoulder Scotch Whisky might send Joel McHale to liven up your next first date. What could possibly go wrong?
Instead of answering that, maybe let’s pull up a glass and get things started with The Glen Grant 60 Year.
The Glen Grant Announces the Release of The Dennis Malcolm 60th Anniversary Edition Aged 60 Years
The Glen Grant Distillery has announced a limited edition 60-year-old single malt Scotch whisky in celebration of the six-decade-long career of Dennis Malcolm — one of Scotland’s longest serving distillers. It is bottled from a single ex-oloroso sherry cask (#5040) that was filled on October 24th 1960, making it the oldest bottling in the brand’s 181-year history. Accordingly, there will be only 360 decanters of the liquid available worldwide.
As an extremely rare liquid, The Dennis Malcolm 60th Anniversary Edition, is a tribute to The Glen Grant’s long, rich history and the expertise of Dennis Malcolm, marking the sixth decade of his career as Master Distiller.
The numbered, hand-blown glass decanters, designed by Glencairn Studio, resemble the design of the distillery’s tall, slender pot stills. Additionally, each presentation case features the Master Distiller’s engraved signature and includes a Certificate of Authenticity, signed by Malcolm.
A Liquid Culmination Of The Glen Grant’s History
Fun fact: Malcolm was actually born at The Glen Grant distillery in 1946. He got his start at age 15 as apprentice cooper and later, as a manager supervised the growing company’s nine distilleries. In 2016, he was named as an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, and has also won numerous high profile whisky accolades over the years.
Reflecting on his diamond anniversary, Malcolm remarks, “It’s never been a job to me, it’s been a way of life. I don’t like my actual birthday—that makes me a year older. But I like my milestones with Glen Grant because it’s a year longer than I’m here. I can keep doing what I was destined to do.”
The Glen Grant 60 Year Dennis Malcolm 60th Anniversary Edition is bottled at 52.8% ABV and is non-chill-filtered. It’s priced at €25,000.00 and will be available in select retailers in global markets beginning in October, 2021.
The Dennis Malcolm 60th Anniversary Edition Aged 60 Years /Photo Credit: The Glen Grant Distillery
The House Of Suntory Introduces Yamazaki 55 Year
According to the press release, the global release of Yamazaki 55 Year is the House of Suntory’s way of “paying tribute to the passage of time and the legacy of the founding family of Japanese whisky.” The 55-year-old liquid was bottled in 2020, and is the House of Suntory’s oldest release in its history. Speaking of history, the whisky was barreled during the Japanese “Showa” era of the 1960s that represented a significant turning point for the House of Suntory.
As one can imagine, quantities are extremely limited. 100 bottles were initially released in Japan in 2020. Availability in select global markets including the US, the UK, Mainland China and Taiwan will begin later this month.
In addition, Beam Suntory will donate $5,000 USD for every bottle released in this year’s 100-bottle collection, totaling $500,000 USD, to The White Oak Initiative, a group committed to the long-term sustainability of America’s white oak forests.
Saving Time In A Bottle
Yamazaki 55 Year is a historic blend of single malts with two distinct components: One was distilled in 1960 under the supervision of Suntory’s founder Shinjiro Torii and then aged in Mizunara casks, another in 1964 under Suntory’s Second Master Blender Keizo Saji and then aged in White Oak casks. Suntory’s Fifth-Generation Chief Blender Shinji Fukuyo worked closely with Third-Generation Master Blender Shingo Torii in creating the final product.
“Throughout the process of blending Yamazaki 55, I used as inspiration the passage of time and ‘Wabi-sabi’—the Japanese belief that imperfections can help to ultimately contribute to perfection,” said Fukuyo. “While I often view other extra aged whiskies as art, I consider Yamazaki 55 to be more like a Buddhist statue: calm and mysterious, requiring time to truly enjoy the inner beauty.”
The packaging for Yamazaki 55 Year is fittingly stylish. It’s presented in a crystal bottle with “Yamazaki” engraved in calligraphy. Additionally, the bottle features real gold dust and lacquer on the age marking. Handmade Echizen washi paper and a Kyo-kumihimo plaited cord adorn the bottle top. Furthermore, each bottle comes in a box made from native Japanese Mizunara wood coated with Suruga lacquer.
Yamazaki 55 Year is bottled at 46% ABV and available in extremely limited quantities for a suggested price of $60,000.
Lux Row Distillers and Ducks Unlimited launch Daviess County Double Barrel Bourbon
Ducks Unlimited (DU) and Lux Row Distillers have announced the launch of Daviess County Double Barrel Bourbon. As an official licensed partner of DU, Lux Row Distillers created a new Daviess County Bourbon variant with its own flavor profile and DU-branded packaging.
Created by Lux Row Master Distiller and longtime DU member, John Rempe, the bourbon is finished in Missouri white oak barrels with toasted heads. The double barrel finish is a twist on what is otherwise a whiskey with a similar mash bill to the other Daviess County Bourbon variants, along with the same proof level (96 proof).
“The double-barrel finishing process that goes into Daviess County Double Barrel Bourbon is a perfect nod to our Ducks Unlimited partnership, and it brings a unique flavor profile to our latest Daviess County offering,” said Rempe.
Daviess County Double Barrel Bourbon is bottled at 96 proof. It’s available mid-September as a limited supply offering at an SRP of $49.99 per bottle. Also, DU members can sample and bid on this bourbon at a series of DU events to be announced later this year.
Germain-Robin Introduces Single Barrel Pinot Noir Brandy, Aged 19 Years
Germain-Robin’s Single Barrel Pinot Noir aged 19 years, is the brand’s first new single barrel brandy to be released since joining E. & J. Gallo spirits four years ago. It is made exclusively from pinot noir grapes grown in California’s Anderson Valley in coastal Mendocino County. The brandy is a nod to Germain-Robin’s history of being among the first to ever distill California pinot noir grapes for brandy making. Double-distilled in Pruhlo Charentais pot stills in 2001, it aged for 19 years in heirloom Limousin oak barrels.
“Hubert Germain-Robin and I shared a simple vision: to make the best brandy possible,” said Gallo’s Vice President of Distilling David Warter. “And I believe we’re delivering on that vision. The lot behind this release stood out among a multitude of barrels because of its true pinot noir characteristics of red fruit that can hold oak. We selected pinot noir to honor the path blazed by our visionary founders who revolutionized brandy making in the early 1980s when they were among the first to distill California pinot noir grapes.”
The Single Barrel Pinot Noir Brandy was released on September 8th exclusively at Gallo’s California Brandy House in Napa. It will be followed by a limited release to select markets. Gallo says this is the first single barrel release in a planned series from Germain-Robin. It is bottled at 41.4% ABV with an SRP of $250.
Watershed Distillery Releases Batch 002 of Barrel Strength Bourbon Finished in Apple Brandy Casks
Watershed Distillery just announced its most mature spirit to date — Watershed Barrel Strength Bourbon Batch 002. The super limited bourbon will be released on Saturday, September 18, at the distillery with limited allocation in Ohio retail agencies and select markets across the US to follow. This release follows Batch 001 in September 2020 for the distillery’s 10-year anniversary, which sold out in under three hours.
Batch 002 was made up of some of the last remaining barrels of Watershed Distillery’s original five grain mash bill of corn, wheat, rye, barley and spelt — an ancient grain grown primarily in Ohio. The copper pot-distilled bourbon was aged 4 years in virgin char #4 white oak barrels. Then it finished its maturation for 34 to 45 months in Watershed’s own Ohio apple brandy casks. It is bottled without chill filtration at 120.8 proof.
Watershed is releasing only 3,060 bottles to seven markets: Ohio, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, New York and Michigan. Its SRP is $89.99.
Columbus Whiskey Fans Get A Preview
To celebrate this release, Watershed Distillery will host a special preview dinner, “The Evolution of Character,” on Thursday, September 16. This event will feature a curated menu by Executive Chef Jack Moore. Also, attendees can learn about the journey of the bourbon from grain to glass. Moreover, all attendees can purchase up to two bottles of Batch 002 in advance of the public release.
For more info on the bourbon or the dinner, please visit the distillery’s website.
Westward Whiskey Introduces the First Ever Direct-To-Consumer National Whiskey Club
Launched in 2019 and previously available exclusively in the brand’s home state of Oregon, whiskey fans in nearly 30 states have the opportunity to join the Westward Whiskey Club for exclusive access to club-only whiskey releases, events, and a way to connect with other brand supporters on the platform.
There are two different member tiers: Explorer Club and Cask Club. Explorer Club members will receive one bottle of whiskey in Westward’s four yearly Club releases (approx. $90 quarterly). Meanwhile, Cask Club members get three bottles each quarter (approx. $270 quarterly). Significantly, shipping is available to nearly 30 states.
Membership Has Its Privileges
Miles Munroe, head distiller and blender of Westward said, “We were founded by a desire to elevate and craft new flavors in American whiskey, to create something that inherently spoke of a sense of place, and our Whiskey Club has been an incredible vehicle to continue to showcase this ethos. From partnering with local breweries, winemakers, chefs, and culinary personalities to sharing a special single barrel with those who will appreciate it most, Westward is constantly reimagining single malt.”
Other membership perks include The Westward Experience, a distillery tour and tasting offering an in-depth look into Westward’s production processes. Also, Westward Whiskey Club members are eligible to participate in exclusive custom mingle sessions hosted at the distillery, where they can even purchase a batch of their own whiskey blends, among other perks.
Since its launch in 2019, the Club has shared 11 innovative releases with its membership in Oregon. Fan favorite bottlings have included Westward American Single Malt Oregon Tempranillo Cask, Westward American Single Malt “Ken Forkish Sourdough” Whiskey (made with Northwest two-row malted barley and Forkish’s sourdough levain) and Westward American Two Malts Bridgeport Brewing Co.
More details on club membership can be found here.
Westward Whiskey Portfolio /Photo Credit: Westward Whiskey
Westland Distillery, Climate Pledge Arena & Seattle Kraken Announce Partnership
Hockey fans can now drink Seattle’s own single malt while cheering on their hometown team live in action! Westland Distillery has announced a new partnership with Climate Pledge Arena and the Seattle Kraken as the team and arena’s official local whiskey.
“This town is already hockey crazy, and we’re no exception here at Westland,” says Westland Co-Founder Matt Hofmann. “The Seattle Kraken, Climate Pledge Arena, and Oak View Group have assembled a remarkable group of people that are making all the right moves to set up the team and our city for success. We’re thrilled to be a part of the triumphs to come.”
Upon opening to the public in October, a Westland Whiskey Bar will be located in the Mt. Baker Club of Climate Pledge Arena, featuring Westland American Single Malt Whiskeys and cocktails. In addition, the partnership will feature experiences beyond the arena, and a limited annual Seattle Kraken bottling of Westland’s flagship single malt available at the distillery’s Tasting Room and local retailers. The first bottling is slated for a fall release, and will be available exclusively in Washington State.
“We recognized right away that Westland and the Kraken are both cut from the same cloth,” says Hofmann. “Both are forging new ground with an approach that celebrates the Pacific Northwest and the people that call it home. With the Westland Whiskey Bar, we’re very excited to be a part of the world’s first net Zero Carbon certified arena in the world. It’s something this city should be proud of and we’re happy that fans can celebrate all events bringing them to the arena with a whiskey made right here in Seattle.”
Westland Kraken Expression
Monkey Shoulder Scotch Whisky and Joel McHale Team Up To Crash Your Next First Date
“Cuffing season” (google it) is a month away, which means a lot of first dates. And it’s all about first impressions.
Monkey Shoulder is a Scotch whisky that prides itself on eschewing the stuffy stereotypes associated with the category. That’s why the brand teamed up with quirky actor and comedian Joel McHale for Stick it to Stuck Up first dates. According to the press release, the promotion intends to provide the opportunity for potential partners to drop pretenses, drink Scotch whisky … and have McHale himself drop in on their next first date night.
To get a preview of what McHale was up to in New York City check out this video.
First Date Monkey Business
“There’s nothing worse on a first date than someone trying too hard—thinking they’ll impress someone they met on a dating app by dragging them to a four-hour German opera,” said McHale.
“A first date should be about forging a real, honest connection—kind of like the connection I have with my new friends at Monkey Shoulder,” he continues. “They give me free whisky and in return, I give them pull quotes for press releases. But together, we also want to bring this idea of honesty and spontaneity to first dates. And I’m willing to lead by example—by inviting myself along on your next date night to make it as fun and unpredictable as possible. I have some ideas I’ve been told are ‘bold,’ ‘wild,’ and ‘potentially unlawful’. It’s gonna be great!”
For the chance to have McHale and Monkey Shoulder crash your first date via a home-cooked meal with a twist, head to monkeyshoulder.com/joelmchale and tell them about the most stuck up date you’ve ever been subjected to.
Those interested can follow the link here to the official contest rules.
Monkey Shoulder and Joel McHale Collaboration /Photo Credit: William Grant & Sons
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