Distiller’s Friday Roundup – September 14th, 2018By Mikael Mossberg
This week Wild Turkey celebrated a combined 101 years in the bourbon industry for father and son Jimmy and Eddie Russell. Whether or not you’re a fan of Wild Turkey, there is no denying the indelible mark that Jimmy has left on the bourbon industry in his 64 years in the business. Glenmorangie also announced the third edition of its Beyond the Cask series. This time, the brand is making surfboards out of its barrels. Also, some exciting new releases are hitting shelves in the coming weeks and an old favorite, GlenDronach 15 Year Old Revival, is finally coming back to shelves.
Jimmy & Eddie Russell Celebrate 101 Years In The Bourbon Industry
This past Monday, September 10th, 2018, father and son Wild Turkey Bourbon Master Distiller duo Jimmy and Eddie Russell celebrated a combined 101 years in the bourbon industry.
Jimmy Russell started working at Wild Turkey in 1954 sweeping floors. Now, 64 years later, his experience is completely unrivaled in the bourbon industry. Not only is he a Master Distiller himself, he’s also the father of Eddie Russell, the most recent Master Distiller at Wild Turkey.
Eddie and Jimmy Russell / Photo Credit: Wild Turkey
In the summer of 1981 Eddie joined the family business in what was intended to be a short summer gig before moving on. However, 37 years later, his own accomplishments speak for themselves. Son of Master Distiller Jimmy Russell, father of Wild Turkey National Ambassador Bruce Russell, and creator of Wild Turkey Longbranch, Master’s Keep Revival and Russell’s Reserve 2002, he has quite the pedigree.
Raise a glass, perhaps of some Wild Turkey 101?
Go Surfing With Glenmorangie
For the past two years Glenmorangie has partnered with companies as part of its Beyond the Cask series. Unlike many distilleries who use and re-use their casks multiple times, Glenmorangie only ever uses casks twice. In 2016 the Beyond the Cask series was created in order to partner with other companies that shared a respect for wood.
The first partnership was with British eyewear brand Finlay & Co. to create sunglasses made from barrels used to age Glenmorangie Original. Then in 2017, the brand partnered with Renovo Hardwood Bicycles to create a bicycle frame made entirely from ex-Glenmorangie barrels.
Grain Surfboards of Maine made with Glenmorangie barrel wood / Photo Credit: Glenmorangie
This year, Glenmorangie has turned to an entirely different sort of partner, Grain Surfboards of Maine, which will create surfboards made entirely from barrels that were used to age The Original.
The surfboards will become available online starting in September for a small fee of $5,500. No problem for me, I’ll just sell a kidney. And my car. That ought to cover it.
Westward Single Malt Whiskey Joins Diageo’s Distill Ventures
Back in 2013, Diageo formed Distill Ventures, the first spirits brand accelerator in the world. The goal was to invest in independent spirits brands and help them scale up quickly. This week it was announced that Oregon-based distiller Westward Single Malt Whiskey will join Distill Ventures.
Westward Founder Christian Krogstad got his start in the distilling field 15 years ago when he founded House Spirits Distillery. On a normal day they brew enough pale ale whiskey wash to fill five to six new barrels.
The investment from Distill Ventures will enable an expansion of capacity by nearly 40 percent. Distill Ventures will take a minority ownership stake in the company, and the founders and current investors of Westward will continue to run the business independently.
The Bowmore Vintner’s Trilogy Is Complete
In November of 2017, Bowmore released the first two whiskies in its Vintner’s Trilogy: the 18 Year Old Double Matured Manzanilla and 26 Year Old Wine Matured. On September 11th, 2018, the brand announced the third and final expression in the trilogy: Bowmore 27 Year Old Port Cask.
The whiskies in the Trilogy were matured in Bowmore’s No.1 Vaults, one of the world’s oldest Scotch maturation houses.
The Bowmore 27 Year Old Port Cask is double matured, first for 13 years in ex-bourbon barrels, then for 14 years in port pipes. It is non-chill filtered and bottled at cask strength (48.3% ABV) with a suggested retail price of $520. It becomes available in September 2018.
Introducing Plantation Xaymaca Special Dry
This week Alexandre Gabriel, proprietor of Maison Ferrand and Master Blender of Plantation Rum, announced Plantation Xaymaca Special Dry. This release revives the 19th century Jamaican style of 100% pot still rums. The name “Xaymaca” references the name given to the island by its first inhabitants, the Arawaks.
“With Xaymaca Special Dry, I wanted to dive into the iconic culture that is unique to Jamaican rum,” explains Alexandre Gabriel. “I wanted to work with these complex flavors of overripe exotic fruits with an almost ‘animal intensity.’ We can still find certain white rums with this famous ‘rum funk.’ I think, however, that this great terroir expresses itself perfectly in an aged rum. That is why we are launching Xaymaca Special Dry, which is attribute to this ancestral culture of rum.”
It is bottled at 43% ABV and has a suggested retail price of $24.99. It is available in the U.S. as of September 2018.
A. Smith Bowman Introduces Commemorative Whiskeys Honoring Late Master Distiller
Back in February of 2013, A. Smith Bowman Master Distiller, Truman Cox, collapsed suddenly at his home and was pronounced dead at the hospital. He was only 44. At the time it completely shocked his friends, family and coworkers. Five and a half years later, the brand plans to release two limited-edition whiskeys in his honor.
The “First Whiskey Barrel” is the very first barrel Truman distilled at A. Smith Bowman. He filled the barrel on Dec. 7, 2010 and is signed by Truman and former Master Distiller Joe Dangler, whom Truman studied under before taking over the Master Distiller role. It is bottled at 139.6 barrel proof.
Truman Cox Commemorative Series
“Emerson Cox Barrel” is named after Truman Cox’s daughter. It was transferred from Buffalo Trace Distillery to A. Smith Bowman on Nov. 14, 2012 in celebration of “Emmy’s” adoption and features a tracing of Emmy’s hand on the barrel head. It is bottled at 90 proof.
In accordance with the wishes of Truman’s family, all proceeds will be donated to Shriners Hospital for Children.
The whiskeys will only be available through an online lottery system. Entries begin on Sept. 14 and run through Sept. 21, 2018. On Sept. 21st at noon EST, entries will be drawn, and winners will be notified via email on the afternoon of Sept. 21st. Due to state law, bottles cannot be shipped and must be purchased at A. Smith Bowman Distillery in Fredericksburg. Any bottles not picked up by Oct. 8, 2018 will be put back into the lottery and new winners will be drawn. Suggested retail pricing for each expression is $99.99.
Limestone Branch Distillery Launches Yellowstone Limited Edition 2018
This week Limestone Branch Distillery of Lebanon, Kentucky announced its third and final barrel finishing experiment: Yellowstone Limited Edition 2018. It is made using hand-selected Kentucky Straight bourbons all ranging from four to 12 years old and finished in No. 3 char wine casks. It also includes Limestone Branch’s own distillate, made with the brand’s signature heirloom white corn.
“In 2016, we finished our Limited Edition bourbon in specially selected new wine barrels, which lent their special flavor to that year’s celebrated bourbon, but their journey had barely begun. Later that year, after the bourbon was dumped and bottled, the same 28 barrels were lightly charred and we filled them with our 2017 Limited Edition bourbon. This year, we took the very same barrels – now rich with complexity—and deeply charred them before filling them with our 2018 Limited Edition,” says Steve Beam, president and distiller of Limestone Branch Distillery.
About 12,000 bottles of Yellowstone Limited Edition 2018 are being produced this fall at Limestone Branch Distillery. It is bottled at 101 proof with a suggested retail price of $99.99 and is set to hit the market in October 2018.
GlenDronach 15 Year Old Revival Returns After Three Years Away
In the 1990s The GlenDronach introduced the first incarnation of its 15 year sherry cask matured whisky. Back then it was bottled at 40% ABV. In 2009 the brand ceased production of the original expression when it introduced The GlenDronach Revival Aged 15 Years at 46% ABV. Then, in 2015, the brand discontinued the whisky due to supply constraints brought on by too much demand.
Three long years later, The GlenDronach 15 Year Old Revival is back at 46% ABV. It is non chill filtered and does not have any added color. This batch was also blended by Master Blender Rachel Barrie who joined Brown-Forman in 2017. At first it will be available exclusively at The GlenDronach Distillery. It will arrive in the U.S. in mid-October 2018, with nationwide distribution with a suggested retail price of $89.99.