Distiller’s Friday Roundup – September 20th, 2019By Mikael Mossberg
This week brings word of some exciting new releases along with great news from the ongoing Diageo union strike fiasco. Hours before a strike was scheduled to begin at several Diageo facilities in Scotland, the brand offered new terms to union workers, avoiding a strike for now. In release news, The Buffalo Trace Antique Collection 2019 was officially announced. Also, The Macallan Edition No. 5 was released, and it has its very own version of purple to go along with it. Meanwhile, Michael Jordan and other NBA owners are launching their own tequila. And Patrón is debuting its oldest tequila to date. There’s so much more in this week’s Friday Roundup, so let’s jump into it.
Strike at Diageo Facilities Called Off After 11th Hour Offer To Workers
Two weeks ago, unions representing workers at Diageo facilities across Scotland voted to strike amidst an ongoing pay dispute. The strike, which was scheduled to begin on September 17th and run until September 27th, would have affected operations at Diageo’s Cameronbridge distillery as well as its bottling plant at Leven and Shieldhall.
Leven Bottling Facility
Hours before the strike was scheduled to begin, however, Diageo presented workers with a new offer, which has been recommended for acceptance by the unions. The two year deal offers a rise in pay as well as a timeline for negotiating a new collective agreement. The planned strikes are now on hold while union members vote on the latest offer from Diageo.
Buffalo Trace Antique Collection 2019 Announced
For many whiskey collectors, it’s not truly autumn until Buffalo Trace announces the annual Antique Collection whiskeys. These whiskeys represent some of the most sought after and hard to find bottles each year. Therefore, while the suggested price for these bottlings is $99 each, you will never find them for that little. The big headline from this year’s lineup is that George T. Stagg Bourbon is bottled at its lowest ABV ever at 58.45%. This is quite the drop from last year’s 62.45% ABV, and a huge departure from its highest ABV back in 2007 of 72.4%.
To learn more about these five limited-edition whiskeys, check out our post from the announcement earlier this week.
The Macallan Edition No. 5 Comes With A New Purple Color
For the past five years, The Macallan has released an annual “Edition” meant to celebrate a part of its “whisky making heritage”. Last year, with The Macallan Edition No. 4, the focus was on the brand’s commitment to wood management.
This year with The Macallan Edition No. 5, the brand is focusing on the 100% natural color of The Macallan whiskies. This no age statement single malt aged entirely in sherry-seasoned American oak barrels of various sizes. It is bottled at 48.% ABV and is available starting in September of 2019 with a suggested price of $120.
Furthermore, in conjunction with this release celebrating color, The Macallan partnered with The Pantone Color Institute to create The Macallan Edition Purple. Indeed, this shade of purple adorns the packaging and bottle label.
Kilchoman 100% Islay 9th Edition and 2010 Vintage Released
Kilchoman has just announced this year’s 100% Islay Edition. It is made from a vatting of 43 different barrels of single malt that matured in ex-bourbon barrels for 9 years. This yearly limited edition release uses barley harvested from Islay. However, the peat level is 20 ppm, which is a departure from the brand’s standard 50 ppm. Kilchoman 100% Islay 9th Edition is non-chill filtered and has no artificial color added. It is bottled at 50% ABV.
As for Kilchoman Vintage 2010, it’s a vatting of single malts from 42 ex-bourbon barrels and 3 oloroso sherry butts which were filled in 2010. The single malt matured for over 9 years. Notably, this marks the first non-single cask release for the brand bottled with an age statement. It is bottled without chill-filtration and with natural color at 48% ABV.
Both bottles have an SRP of $110 each. A limited number of bottles are available worldwide as of September 2019.
Patrón Announces Brand’s Oldest Tequila To Date
Patrón Extra Añejo 10 Años is a brand new limited edition tequila from Patrón, and is the brand’s oldest tequila released to date. It spent 10 years in American oak barrels as well as hybrid American and French Limousin barrels.
This tequila is made using 100% Blue Weber agave and is housed in a hand-blown glass bottle that is a replica of the first Patrón bottling. Patrón Extra Añejo 10 Años is a US exclusive and is available at select retailers across the country starting in September 2019. It is bottled at 40% ABV and has a suggested price of $349 per 750ml bottle.
Michael Jordan And Other NBA Team Owners Launch Tequila Brand
This week five NBA team owners announced a partnership behind a brand new tequila brand. Jeanie Buss of the LA Lakers, Wes Edens of the Milwaukee Bucks, Michael Jordan of the Charlotte Hornets, and Emilia Fazzalari and Wyc Grousbeck of the Boston Celtics are the partners behind the new Cincoro Tequila brand. The name comes from “cinco” meaning five and “oro” meaning gold in Spanish.
At launch, the brand is offering four expressions: Cincoro Blanco, Reposado, Añejo and Extra Añejo. These tequilas are all made from 100% Blue Weber agave from the Highlands and Lowlands of Jalisco. Each of the four tequilas is double distilled, and the Reposado, Añejo and Extra Añejo are all aged for a number of months in ex-American whiskey barrels. The reposado ages for 8-10 months, the añejo ages for 24-28 months, and finally the extra añejo ages for 40-44 months.
Cincoro’s Five Founding Partners / Photo Credit: Cincoro
Each of the tequilas is bottled at 40% ABV. The suggested price for the blanco is $70, the reposado is $90, the añejo is $130 and the extra añejo is $1,600. These tequilas are launching in twelve states to start including California, Wisconsin, Massachusetts and New York. Surprisingly North Carolina is not one of the initial markets.
Tequila El Mayor Launches Cristalino Tequila
For a long time the tequila spirit category only allowed for four different styles: blanco, reposado, añejo and extra añejo. However, back in 2018 the Tequila Regulatory Council permitted a brand new style to the category: cristalino. Cristalino is, in short, aged tequila that is then filtered through charcoal, stripping out the color as well as some other elements from barrel aging.
Several brands have introduced their own cristalino expressions, starting with Don Julio 70 back in 2011. Now, Tequila El Mayor has launched its own version with Tequila El Mayor Cristalino.
It is produced from 100% estate-grown Blue Weber agave harvested in the Lowlands of Jalisco. Rather than cooking the agaves in an oven, Tequila El Mayor uses an autoclave. They are then shredded with a mill instead of a tahona. The tequila is double distilled in copper-lined pot stills, then aged as if it were an añejo for at least 12 months in American oak barrels. Prior to bottling, the tequila is charcoal filtered, leaving the final product clear.
It is bottled at 40% ABV and has a suggested price of $39.99 per 750ml bottle. This is a permanent addition to the Tequila El Mayor lineup and is available across the United States as of September 2019.
Papa’s Pilar Rum Introduces New Limited Edition Marquesas Blend Rum
Papa’s Pilar is an American rum brand based in Key West, Florida. The name of the brand pays homage to author Ernest Hemingway, sometimes known as Papa, and his fishing boat The Pilar. Earlier this week, Papa’s Pilar announced a brand new limited edition rum to its lineup, called Papa’s Pilar Marquesas Blend Rum.
The rum was crafted by master blender Ron Call, who blended seven rums aged up to 24 years for this release. The rums used in the blend were sourced from across the Caribbean, United States and Central America. After the seven rums were blended together, they were placed into ex-bourbon barrels to further mature.
The name Marquesas refers to the Marquesas Keys, a group of islands west of Key West, FL where Hemingway was once stranded for several weeks after a fishing expedition. This rum is bottled at 44% ABV and is available starting in October 2019 for a suggested price of $46.99 per 750ml bottle.
Are you on the lookout for The Macallan Edition No. 5 or Michael Jordan’s new tequila?