New Spirits Roundup – October 15, 2021By Amanda Schuster
Happy Friday, spirits fans! This week’s announcements offer comforting flavors for fall, while also getting us prepared for spooky season.
We start in Scotland, where Johnnie Walker has announced a new edition to its series featuring liquid from shuttered, or “ghost” distilleries (see what I did there?), Johnnie Walker Blue Label Ghost and Rare Pittyvaich.
And it’s Elijah Craig Old Fashioned Week! Drink Old Fashioneds for charity? We’re in!
All this and more is covered below below.
Johnnie Walker Announces Blue Label Ghost and Rare Pittyvaich
Johnnie Walker Blue Label Ghost and Rare Pittyvaich is the fourth in the brand’s limited-edition series. It contains liquid from rare casks from the Speyside “ghost” distillery of Pittyvaich, which closed its doors in 1993 after only 19 years.
The whisky was blended by Master Blender Jim Beveridge and his team of whisky makers using eight whiskies from the four corners of Scotland. These also include those from other shuttered distilleries — Port Dundas and Carsebridge. According to the press release, Beveridge has had his eye on these for some time.
He combined these whiskies with rare Scotch whiskies from other Speyside distilleries including Mannochmore, Auchroisk, Cragganmore and Strathmill, as well as the Highlands whisky of Royal Lochnagar. Consider that Johnnie Walker has access to over 10 million casks of maturing whiskies from more than 29 distilleries across Scotland. Apparently only 1 in 10,000 of these casks are chosen for Johnnie Walker Blue Label.
Johnnie Walker Blue Label Ghost and Rare Pittyvaich is bottled at 43.8% ABV. It’s packaged in individually numbered bottles, with a map of Scotland that displays each of the distilleries included in the whisky. The SRP is $349.99 and it’s available nationwide.
Introducing The Macallan Harmony Collection Rich Cacao
The Macallan has unveiled The Macallan Harmony Collection Rich Cacao. This is the first limited-edition whisky in a new series of single malts that showcases new whisky innovations in sustainable packaging made with repurposed natural materials.
To create the first edition, The Macallan Whisky Maker Polly Logan visited Girona, Spain, where she fully explored chocolate production. “As I immersed myself in this world, I uncovered a great synergy between the whisky-making process and that of chocolate. Both take time and exceptional attention to detail, with even the slightest changes to the process encouraging different aromas and flavors to emerge,” said Logan.
The whisky combines liquid from a combination of European and American oak casks to bring forth chocolate flavor profiles. It is presented in a fully recyclable and biodegradable box that is made with natural by-products in the chocolate-making process, such as discarded husks from cocoa pods.
The Macallan Harmony Collection Rich Cacao is bottled at 44% and will be available globally starting in October 2021 for an SRP of $160.
The Balvenie Releases Batch 8 of Its Tun 1509 Series
The Balvenie Single Malt Scotch Whisky has announced the US release of the eighth and final bottling in the Tun 1509 series: The Balvenie Tun 1509 Batch 8. The series features the distillery’s precious aged stocks, selected and blended by Malt Master David C. Stewart MBE. For Tun 1509 Batch 8 Stewart selected 18 of the finest and most rare casks and married them together in the Tun — a large oak vessel that rests in Warehouse 24. The final, non-chill-filtered whisky is left to marry for three months.
“The Tun 1509 series draws to its completion with Batch 8,” says David C. Stewart MBE. “This Batch is a remarkable marriage of casks which result in a deep and rich Balvenie.”
Each bottle of Tun 1509 Batch 8 comes with in-depth detail on the whisky. This includes a breakdown chart and visual representations of the flavor profile of each individual cask. It is bottled at 52.2% ABV and will be available in limited quantities in the U.S. beginning this month at an SRP of $410.
Redemption Whiskey Launches Limited Edition Cognac Cask Finish with Ferrand Cognac
Redemption Whiskey has released the latest addition to the brand’s Specialty Series, Redemption Cognac Cask Finish. For this limited-edition expression, Redemption collaborated with Ferrand Cognac to finish its High Rye Bourbon in cognac casks.
Redemption’s High Rye Bourbon (60% corn, 36% rye, 4% malted barley) is initially matured in new American white oak barrels. Then it’s transferred to cognac casks, some of which are more than 30 years old, for 12 months.
The limited edition Redemption Cognac Cask Finish is now available nationwide while supplies last for a SRP of $69.99.
Mount Gay Continues Its Master Blender Collection With Andean Oak Cask
Mount Gay Rum has announced the fourth expression in its Master Blender Collection: Andean Oak Cask. This collection was created in 2018 as a celebration of Mount Gay’s three centuries’ heritage and tradition in rum making. For the 2021 release, Master Blender Trudiann Branker looked at Andean Oak from the Colombian Andes. These oak casks are found to impart spicy and smoky notes. A single batch of rums were distilled twice in traditional copper pot still and aged for 14 years in ex-bourbon casks. Then the rum spent an additional 11 months in the Andean oak casks.
“I was inspired by the incredible feedback we had following my release of The Port Cask Expression and I wanted to push my boundaries further,” said Branker. “Using a totally new cask paired with a traditional pot still rum created something entirely new, bold and layered that I think rum enthusiasts around the world will thoroughly enjoy.”
Incidentally, the brand notes that this Andean Oak Cask is best enjoyed neat or with firm caved aged goat cheese. We’re in! The rum is bottled at 48% ABV and is non-chill-filtered. It will be limited to 1,026 bottles in the USA and available nationwide for an SRP of $195.
Elijah Craig Bourbon Second Annual Old Fashioned Week Starts Now!
Elijah Craig Bourbon’s second annual Old Fashioned Week is actually a ten-day celebration honoring the most classic of bourbon cocktails while raising money for charity. Proceeds go towards the Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation (RWCF), an organization dedicated to supporting the hospitality industry. The event takes place from October 15 to 24, 2021 in both in-person and digital formats. During this time, imbibers are invited to toast with their favorite Elijah Craig Old Fashioned variation while enjoying specialized programming surrounding the drink, the industry and the brand.
The event was first launched in 2020 as a hospitality industry relief effort, at the time also in partnership with RWCF, and ultimately raised $100,000. This year, with an industry that is still deeply in need of any support it can get, Elijah Craig pledges to donate up to an additional $100,000.
For further details including how to participate, participating venues and the recipe for a classic Elijah Craig Bourbon Old Fashioned, click here.
More New Releases
Let’s take a quick look to see what else what is hitting shelves this month.
Paul John Indian Single Malt Whisky has announced the release of Paul John Christmas Edition 2021. This peated malt is the fourth expression in the annual Christmas Editions series.
Like the brand’s other whiskies, this one is non-chill-filtered with no added colors or flavors. Furthermore, it’s made from six-row barley harvested from locations as vast as Rajasthan to the foothills of the Himalayas. It is distilled in specially-designed copper pot stills with longer necks. To create Paul John Christmas Edition 2021, the peated liquid is matured in ex-bourbon barrels and a mix of port and Madeira casks in coastal Goa. There, the tropical climate helps the whiskies mature faster with an angel’s share of eight percent.
It’s bottled at 92 proof and will be available in the US in mid-October 2021. It has a SRP of $84.99.
The Marfa Spirit Co. has announced the launch of its debut product, Chihuahuan Desert Sotol. The company was founded by entrepreneurs Josh Shepard, Seth Siegel-Gardner, and Morgan Weber, with the vision to celebrate the traditions of their hometown through their line of products, as well as those south of the border.
Chihuahuan Desert Sotol is a collaboration with Sotol Don Celso and Master Sotolero Jacobo Jacquez in Janos, Mexico. Sotol is distilled from a plant growing wild in both forest and desert climates throughout Mexico and Western United States. Furthermore, each plant takes 10-15 years to mature and yields only about as much as a single bottle’s worth. The product is distilled in Mexico and bottled in Marfa at the 1920s-era Godbold-Feed-Mill-turned-distillery. Chihuahuan Desert Sotol is bottled at 90 proof, with an SRP of $48-55 per 1L.
Penderyn Distillery has announced the release of Icons of Wales Rhiannon, the latest expression in its Icons of Wales series. The series features special bottlings that celebrate a person, milestone, or event from Welsh history.
Rhiannon is a vatting of oloroso sherry matured with Bordeaux Grand Cru matured single malt whiskies. It’s available in the US starting this month, with a one-time limited distribution of only 500 cases (3,000 bottles). It has an SRP of $95.
Fun fact: Rhiannon is named after a legendary enchantress and horse goddess from the ancient Welsh folk tales, The Mabinogi. These were written in the 11th century, and are some of the earliest writings found in Europe. And yes, this is the same Rhiannon of Fleetwood Mac fame. Apologies for the ensuing earworm.
St-Rémy French brandy says it’s “on a mission to recruit a new generation of brandy drinkers, to breathe life back into the brandy category, and inspire the 21st century cocktail connoisseur, both behind the bar and at home.” The brand intends to accomplish this with its latest expression, St-Rémy Signature, fixed to land in the United States.
The brandy’s first maturation occurs in new oak casks (Quercus Patrea) for a “youthful” flavor profile. The second maturation occurs in traditional casks (Quercus Robur) to build complexity. where the liquid becomes balanced and complex. It is intended for neat sipping as well as a base for modern and classic cocktails.
St-Rémy Signature is available in select US markets including Texas, Colorado and Michigan. Also, there are plans to roll out to Florida in early 2022, followed by additional markets. It is bottled at 40% ABV with an SRP of $29.99.
Ready to grab a bottle of Johnnie Walker Blue Label Ghost and Rare Pittyvaich?
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