New Booze News: Balblair, Johnnie Walker, The Macallan and More!By Stephanie Moreno
After the holidays, things slow down a bit in the spirits world regarding new releases. But we do have a few products worth mentioning. First we have two new vintage releases from Balblair, both finished in Spanish oak butts. Then we have a Johnnie Walker release to discuss, this one from their Blenders’ Batch series. Plus, The Macallan has released a limited edition gift box to celebrate the upcoming Chinese New Year. All this and more in the booze news for the week of January 15, 2018!
Balblair is known for releasing various vintage single malt whiskies rather than standard age statement bottlings. When they repeat a vintage, they notate the release as second release, third release and so on.
Their 2nd 2000 vintage release aged for 13 years in ex-bourbon barrels before spending its final five years in first-fill Spanish oak butts.
Their 3rd 1991 vintage aged for 24 years in American oak and also spent its final years in first-fill Spanish oak butts—this time for an additional three years.
Matt Jamieson, Balblair global brand manager said, “At Balblair, we only release our whisky when it’s ready and these new vintages are no exception. Both featuring a very different nose and palate, the 2000 and 1991 are exquisite drams which are sure to appeal to the most discerning of whisky drinkers.”
Both single malts launched this month globally. The former retails for a suggested price of £70 (~ $97) and the latter £125 (~ $175).
Balblair 2000 2nd Release & 1991 3rd Release / Photo Credit: Balblair
Released in January 2018, this is the seventh release and first travel retail exclusive for the Blenders’ Batch series. Crafted by twelve expert whisky makers, the blended Scotch was inspired by Johnnie Walker Black Label and comprised of whiskies from Blair Athol, Cardhu and Strathmill, among others. The whisky is aged for at least 12 years and finished in sherry casks.
Explaining the blend further, Aimée Gibson, Johnnie Walker Blender, says, “Taking inspiration from the element of sherry cask maturation in Johnnie Walker Black Label, I was intrigued by the rich and fruity element it brought to the blend. It inspired me to experiment with the sherry cask finish to awaken more of these fruity notes and to add a unique flavor dynamic. The outcome has been extraordinary; Johnnie Walker Blenders’ Batch Sherry Cask Finish is a sweet and rich whisky. It’s the perfect introduction for those who are new to Scotch whisky, but will also excite seasoned whisky lovers.”
Packaged in liter sized bottles, this blended whisky retails at a suggested price of $44.
Released in January 2018, this Sherry Cask Finish release is a no-age statement single malt. The Speyside whisky spends 6-7 years in former bourbon barrels before transferring to oloroso sherry casks. There it spends 9-12 months to finish its maturation.
“The Glen Moray Classic Sherry Cask Finish is an unusual malt that seamlessly marries the profound oloroso flavors of southern Spain with Glen Moray’s legendary Speyside smoothness,” said Glen Moray’s Master Distiller Graham Coull. “The unique maturing process allows the sweet American oak flavors to mix with the intense oloroso sherry flavors, producing a whisky that tastes of vanilla oak, dark chocolate and oriental spice, with a wonderful depth of character.”
Suggested retail price $29.99.
THE MACALLAN CHINESE NEW YEAR LIMITED EDITION GIFT BOX
Released in honor of the Chinese New Year, this gift set contains two bottles of Macallan Double Cask 12 Year. This single malt launched in Taiwan in the summer of 2016 before expanding to other international markets. It is made using both American and European sherry-seasoned oak casks, hence the name. After a 12 year maturation period, it is bottled at 43% ABV.
There are 2500 gift sets available in the US featuring The Year of the Dog, this year’s Chinese zodiac animal. Its suggested retail price is $130.