Distiller’s Friday Roundup – September 7th, 2018By Mikael Mossberg
Hold on to your hats, it’s that time of year when news of new releases starts coming in fast and furious. As we head into fall, expect nothing but week after week of new product announcements from your favorite brands. This week some rock gods get into the game, Whistlepig celebrates one of its favorite pigs with a new the release of Whistlepig The Boss Hog V: The Spirit of Mauve, and we discuss the loads of new distilleries that are on the way.
Let’s get into the Friday Roundup for September 7th, 2018!
Metallica Is Making A Whiskey Too
These days it seems to be absolutely necessary for famous actors and musicians to launch their own spirits brands; George Clooney with Casamigos, Bob Dylan with Heaven’s Door, Ryan Reynolds with Aviation, Drake with Virginia Black, Matthew McConaughey with Longbranch Bourbon, David Beckham with Haig Club, Blake Shelton with Smithworks, Dan Aykroyd with Crystal Head Vodka, Ryan Seacrest with Casa Dragones, to name just a few. There are far more out there. Some of them are truly and legitimately good. Others are, well, not.
Metallica has decided to throw its hat into the ring with the newly announced Blackened American Whiskey. The band has tapped former Maker’s Mark Master Distiller Dave Pickerell to help them.
The whiskey is a blend of 46% rye, bourbon and other American whiskey, which is then aged in “black brandy barrels” that are exposed to “low hertz sound waves”. Basically they blast the barrels with Metallica music, supposedly to cause a deeper interaction with the wood.
Here’s to hoping that they’re just playing their cover of Whiskey In The Jar on repeat.
Bottled at 90 proof, Blackened American Whiskey is scheduled for release in September 2018 to coincide with Metallica’s North American tour.
Four Roses Turns 130 Year Old
It’s crazy to think that Four Roses was founded only 23 years after the end of the American Civil War. Now, 130 years later the brand has released scores of award-winning whiskeys prized by whiskey fans across the world. To mark the anniversary, the brand is releasing the Four Roses 130th Anniversary Limited Edition Small Batch Bourbon. The release will feature a blend of four bourbon recipes: A 10-year-old bourbon from the OBSV recipe, a 13-year-old OBSF, 14-year-old OESV and 16-year-old OESK.
“For this Limited Edition Small Batch, I wanted to create something very special to celebrate the 130th anniversary of our brand,” says Four Roses Master Distiller Brent Elliott. “From the beginning of the process, I focused on building around the unique fruit flavors in our F and V yeast strains, and these flavors shine through in the finished product.”
This whiskey is bottled at barrel strength, 108.3 proof. Approximately 13,140 hand-numbered bottles will be sold across the United States with a suggested retail price of $140.
Edrington Buys Minority Stake in Wyoming Whiskey
In a move announced yesterday, September 6th, 2018, Edrington Group has acquired a minority stake in Wyoming Whiskey. The brand will immediately join Edrington’s spirits portfolio alongside The Macallan, The Glenrothes, Highland Park, The Famous Grouse, Cutty Sark, and Brugal Rum.
Wyoming Whiskey will continue to be produced in their Kirby, WY distillery, but Edrington will take over all sales, marketing and distribution.
The Macallan & Wyoming Whiskey / Photo Credit: Wyoming Whiskey
Brad Mead, founder and president of Wyoming Whiskey, says, “I’ve long admired Edrington’s portfolio and its ethos of giving more. To see Wyoming Whiskey alongside The Macallan, Highland Park, and the entire line-up at Edrington Americas’ headquarters in New York is just fantastic, but I know we’ve earned it.”
Remus Bourbon Repeal Reserve Series II
MGP Ingredients, the folks behind basically all of your favorite sourced American whiskeys, are set to release Series II of their annual Remus Repeal Reserve in November of 2018. The release commemorates Prohibition Repeal Day, and will be a highly limited bottling. The bottle will hit shelves on November 13th, the birthday of famous bootlegger George Remus.
This release will showcase a combination of two mash bills from 2007 and 2008. It is comprised of 15%, 2007 Bourbon (21% Rye); 50%, 2008 Bourbon (21% Rye); 10%, 2007 Bourbon (36% Rye); and 25%, 2008 Bourbon (36% Rye).
“The launch of Remus Repeal Reserve Series I exceeded our expectations last December,” says Andrew Mansinne, Vice President of Brands, MGP Ingredients. “The development of a limited release that allows our distillery team to present an experimental, complex blend from the best of our bourbon barrels each year has been a rare opportunity. We’re continuing to push the limits with this year’s edition. Series II presents an even bolder high-rye profile but builds on our theme of weaving multiple bourbons into a beautifully smooth style for the ultimate in sipping pleasure.”
Whistlepig The Boss Hog V: The Spirit of Mauve
When Whistlepig feels that it can create something that tops anything the brand has previously produced, it releases a new version of The Boss Hog. The brand says that each edition must meet the five promises: single barrel, bottled at barrel proof, powerfully complex, distinctly unique from anything the brand has done before, and stupendous. This is the fifth whiskey in the series and is a 13-year-old Straight Rye Whiskey finished in Calvados casks. It is bottled at 58.4% ABV.
The Spirit of Mauve refers to one of the pigs that Whistlepig kept on the farm. Mauve the pig passed away this past Valentine’s Day, after having lost her lover, Mortimer, in 2014. She’s survived by their son, Mortimer Jr. The brand chose calvados casks to age the whiskey in because of Mauve’s love of apples.
“The Spirit of Mauve is my favorite Boss Hog release so far. It is full flavored yet subtle, with lots of warm spice and apple notes. It’s like drinking Grandma’s apple pie.” explains Dave Pickerell (yes the same one from earlier), Master Distiller at WhistlePig.
New Distilleries With More On The Way
It feels like every week there’s a new piece of news about another new distillery springing up somewhere around the world. This week we have news of not one new distillery, but three, with plans for another two soon to follow.
Slane Distillery Fills Its First Cask
First, the folks at Slane Distillery in Ireland filled their very first barrel at their newly opened distillery on the historic grounds of Slane Castle. The first cask contains new-make malt whiskey using barley harvested on the Slane Castle Estate filled into a sherry hogshead. Until now the Brown-Forman owned brand has released sourced whiskey under the Slane label.
Filling Their First Barrels / Photo Credit: Slane Distillery
Douglas Laing & Co Enters The Distilling Game
Next up, Douglas Laing & Co. announced plans to move into distilling by building a £10.7 million (US$14m) site in Glasgow. The new building will include a bottling complex, whisky laboratory, archive, visitor center, bar and bistro, and a new corporate head office for family-owned Douglas Laing & Co. The company has submitted a planning application for the project, which claims that a “skilled distiller” with more than 40 years of experience will be involved.
J. Rieger & Co Planning Large Expansion
Over in Kansas City, J. Rieger & Co. has announced plans for a massive expansion of its current distillery space. When the project is completed in spring of 2019 the brand will be able to quintuple its average daily production capacity and offer a brand new visitor experience.
Mockup Of Future J. Rieger Distillery / Photo Credit: J. Rieger Distillery
Jim Beam Plans To Expand. Or Do They?
In other news, Jim Beam Brands Company is “considering increasing its facility in Clermont by creating new distillation capacity and building new capabilities in the bourbon-making process.” The brand plans to continue to increase capacity over the next five years at its largest distillery in Boston. It intends to spend $63.1 million to increase capacity in both Boston and Kentucky.
Irish Distillers Exploring Possibility Of Building New Distillery
Lastly, reports out of Ireland suggest that Irish Distillers, producers of Jameson, Redbreast, Midleton, Powers, Green Spot and Yellow Spot, are looking to build a new distillery outside of their Midleton home. A spokesperson for the company said, “We are currently examining all options to increase our production capacity to meet projected demand and building a new distillery is one of them. These are exciting times for Irish whiskey and we are proud to be leading the way.”