New Booze News: Smooth Ambler Big Level, Knob Creek Cask Strength Rye, Royal Salute and More!By Stephanie Moreno
This week’s new whiskey arrivals cover a wide range of styles and budgets. First, after almost ten years, Smooth Ambler Spirits is finally ready to release a 100% distilled in-house whiskey. Next, if you prefer your whiskeys at high strength, Knob Creek has a rye up your alley.
Meanwhile, San Francisco-based Hotaling & Co. has released an American whiskey made with both Kentucky and California whiskeys. In scotch news, Douglas Laing & Co. has a Speyside blended malt release, appropriate for this Year of the Dog.
Last, but not least, Royal Salute has created a special bottling to commemorate the upcoming royal wedding. A whisky fit for the royals, indeed. You’ll find all the details on these bottles in the booze news for the week of May 14, 2018!
Founded in 2009, Smooth Ambler originally released sourced whiskeys, followed by sourced whiskeys blended with the company’s own distillate. But Big Level marks the first whiskey Smooth Ambler has released that is distilled 100% in-house.
“Much of what we’ve done at Smooth Ambler has been leading up to this moment,” says Head Distiller and CEO John Little. “The release of Big Level signifies the beginning of our long-term ability to offer a third, important category of whiskeys to us: those which are 100% made here in West Virginia. We’re excited for this whiskey to complement the merchant bottled and married (merchant and homemade blended together) families already embraced by our business.”
This wheated bourbon release uses a mash bill of 71% corn, 21% wheat and 8% malted barley. It was produced using continuous column and pot distillation and aged for over five years in char #4 53-gallon new, American oak barrels. Bottled at 100 proof, it is non-chill-filtered. Available beginning June 2018.
Suggested retail price $55.
This is the third rye expression under the Knob Creek brand, following the Straight Rye release in 2012, and the Single Barrel Select release in early 2018. This bottling is aged for 9 years and was sourced from Warehouse A, the oldest standing warehouse at the distillery. Bottled at cask strength of 119.6 proof, it is unfiltered. Available beginning June 2018.
Suggested retail price $69.99.
Introduced by San Francisco based Hotaling & Co. (formerly Anchor Distilling Co.), J.H. Cutter is a resurrected brand from the mid-1800s. It is a blended American whisky (using the spirit’s spelling of the day). The blended whisky is as follows: 73% sourced bourbon from Kentucky Bourbon Distillers aged 4.5 years; 17% Old Potrero 18th Century Style Rye Whiskey aged a minimum of 3.25 years; and 10% Old Potrero Port Finish Rye Whiskey aged 4 years. It is bottled at 48% ABV.
“A.P. Hotaling was the original man of whiskey in the western United States, and with this release of J.H. Cutter, we seek to pay homage to his impact on San Francisco’s whiskey heritage, and celebrate a once great brand,” says Hotaling & Co.’s President & CEO Dennis Carr.
Suggested retail price $50.
This limited edition whisky was released in May 2018 and is one of several bottlings released by Douglas Laing & Co. to mark the 70th anniversary of the brand. Scallywag is named for the family’s Fox Terrier whose face appears on the packaging. This is a vatting of Speyside single malts aged entirely in ex-sherry casks. Aged 10 years, it is bottled un-chill-filtered and without added color.
“Some would say that Scallywag 10 Years Old is in fact aged 70 years, and if you count in canine years, that is indeed the case,” says Cara Laing, Director of Whisky and third generation in the family business. “It is 70 human years since my grandfather, Fred Douglas Laing, founded his eponymous company back in 1948, and as a man with a rather sweet tooth, we believe he’d be particularly proud of the vatting we have created, combining Speyside single malts matured in oloroso and Pedro Ximénez casks to bring those rich, dark fruity and indulgent notes to the fore.”
Suggested retail price £49.99/$67.
This rare bottling was created to commemorate the wedding of HRH Prince Harry to Ms. Meghan Markle. Created by master blender Sandy Hyslop, Royal Wedding marries some of the oldest and most rare casks in the brand’s portfolio, including 55, 36 and 33-year-old whiskies. The whiskies come from Longmore, Strathisla, Glen Keith and Strathclyde distilleries and were selected because they were entirely aged in 100% American oak, a homage to the bride’s American heritage.
The decanter, crafted by Dartington, is adorned with roses, thistles, barley, daffodils and California poppies, and is presented in an American oak box. Bottled at cask strength of 54.5%, there were 70 decanters created and each one is hand-engraved and numbered. The #1 bottle will go to Kensington Palace, the couple’s official residence.
Suggested retail price $10,000.