Each week, we bring you the latest whisky news on WhiskyCast, but a lot can happen during the week. Now, you can keep up with whisky news as it happens here on WhiskyCast.com!
November 7, 2013 – There are no new leads in the murder of Bardstown police officer Jason Ellis, nearly 6 months after he was shot to death along Kentucky’s Bluegrass Parkway on May 25 as he was picking up fallen tree limbs. Rewards for information in the case have grown to more than $100,000, and fund-raising campaigns have taken place to help Ellis’s family.
Maker’s Mark has joined the cause with a special bottling to raise money for Supporting Heroes, an organization that helps the families of police officers and firefighters killed in the line of duty. The bottle features black wax with a blue ribbon, along with the Bardstown Police Department’s badge and Ellis’s badge number. 300 bottles were produced, and sold out immediately.
November 6, 2013 – Brown-Forman’s Collingwood distillery in Ontario set aside a batch of 100% Rye whisky 21 years ago, and that whisky has now been bottled as Collingwood Rye 21-Year-Old. The one-time release also received a period of finishing time in toasted Maple wood barrels before being bottled at 40% ABV.
The whisky will be available in limited quantities in 16 US states and Ontario, with a recommended retail price of $69.99 USD per bottle.
November 6, 2013 – The single malt collaboration between three-star Michelin chef Daniel Boulud and Whyte & Mackay’s master whisky blender Richard Paterson is now available at whisky specialty retailers. The Dalmore Selected by Daniel Boulud had previously only been available in Chef Boulud’s New York City restaurants, but 1,000 bottles have been made available for sale at a recommended retail price of $200 USD.
Paterson and Boulud worked together to select the casks for the unique expression, settling on whiskies matured in Moscatel, Madeira, and Port wine casks. The final blend was allowed to marry in ex-Sherry casks before bottling at 44% ABV. In a news release, Paterson described the collaboration as a learning experience.
“It’s very easy for anyone to simply put their name on a label, but Chef Boulud went above and beyond that, giving input that truly affected the outcome of this whisky. His selection of Muscatel, Madeira and Port wine casks, for example, was a combination of woods that I have never used before when creating whiskies for The Dalmore. This creation is something totally new and different in the Scotch whisky category, an assemblage based not on my own traditional experience, but rather on the well-seasoned palate and preferences of a fine chef.”
Chef Boulud launched the whisky earlier this year with a special menu at his New York restaurants pairing it with each dish, and is available by the glass at each of the six restaurants.
November 3, 2014 – Glenmorangie’s 2013 Private Edition release, Ealanta, has been selected as the “world’s best whisky” in Jim Murray’s 2014 edition of the Whisky Bible. Ealanta topped Murray’s ratings of 4,500 different whiskies around the world with a score of 97.5 points out of 100.
Translated from Gaelic as “skilled” and “ingenious”, Ealanta was matured for 19 years in Virgin Oak casks from the forests of Missouri. It was bottled at 46% ABV, and Murray described it as “borderline perfection” in his tasting notes. In a news release issued by Glenmorangie, whisky creator Dr. Bill Lumsden described the award as validation for the research his team has done into the effects of wood on whisky.
“This is a wonderful award for us and testament to the ongoing success of our Private Edition range. It’s no secret in our industry that it’s the ‘wood that makes the whisky’ and for many years my team and I have been carrying out detailed research in this area.”
Ealanta was released in limited amounts in early 2013, and may still be available through whisky specialist retailers. Mark Gillespie’s tasting notes for Ealanta are available here.
November 3, 2013 – The man shown in a surveillance camera video from a liquor store in Elizabethtown, Kentucky has come forward and met with investigators in the theft of $26,000 worth of Pappy Van Winkle whiskey. Chris Pickett and his lawyer told Franklin County sheriff’s deputies that he went into the store to ask about buying some Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon, not to sell it. Pickett was attending a wedding in South Carolina when investigators posted the video on YouTube, and arranged to meet with them when he returned to Kentucky last week.
Pickett is the principal at Bardstown High School, and while he described himself as a Bourbon collector, he told investigators he has never visited Buffalo Trace Distillery. His lawyer told the Lexington Herald-Leader that Pickett had been eating lunch at a restaurant across the street, and stopped in to see if the store had any Pappy available.
Approximately 65 cases (195 bottles) of Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve 20-year-old Bourbon and nine cases (27 bottles) of Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve 13-year-old Rye whiskey were stolen from a secured warehouse at Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort. The whiskey was being prepared for shipment when the theft was discovered, and Franklin County Sheriff Pat Melton is working on the premise that the theft occurred over a period of several weeks by someone with access to the warehouse. Melton has declined to comment on Pickett’s statement, and says there are no new leads in the case.
October 29, 2013 – The latest Experimental Collection release from Buffalo Trace compares a little-considered factor in the final taste of a whisky — the length of time barrel staves are allowed to dry before being made into a barrel.
15 years ago, Buffalo Trace commissioned two sets of barrels from Independent Stave Company. One set had the distillery’s standard specification of 6 months of seasoning, while the second set was allowed to dry for 13 months. Both sets of barrels were filled with the standard Buffalo Trace rye-based spirit and left to mature in the same warehouse. Regular sampling from both sets showed a striking difference in flavor, according to Master Distiller Harlen Wheatley. In a news release, he said the result for the standard barrels was a Bourbon with flavors of caramel, vanilla, and oak.
“We’ve found the six months allows our wood to season and bring enzymes to the surface that allow the wood to produce just the right amount of tannins and wood sugars during the charring process. This allows for the alcohol to extract those flavors efficiently while aging. In this experiment, we wanted to explore the changes as the stave drying time was increased from our ‘standard’ six month stave drying to 13 months of stave drying time. The differences were marked, with the longer stave drying time yielding a sweet, but robust flavor.”
Both sets of barrels have now been bottled as part of Buffalo Trace’s Experimental Collection series, with 375ml bottles of each to be available at whisky specialist retailers starting in November at a recommended retail price of $46.35 each.
Links: Buffalo Trace
October 28, 2013 – Douglas Laing & Co. has released the second new whisky brand since the Laing Brothers went their separate ways earlier this year. Fred Laing, his daughter Cara, and their team have created a sidekick for the company’s Big Peat blended malt — a Speyside blended malt known as Scallywag.
The whisky is blended exclusively from the company’s stocks of Speyside malt whiskies, including casks from Macallan, Glenrothes, and Mortlach. The name, and the Fox Terrier that adorns the label, have an even closer family tie. In a news release, Fred Laing cited his family’s tradition of having Fox Terriers around the house:
“From a chance sketch by a designer of our sweet, wee, rascal of a Fox Terrier, our Scallywag Malt Whisky was born! “Sweet” was the key which focused us on Speyside. Its cask selection is self-evidently heavy on the sherry background, balanced by first-fill bourbon casks – so the resulting ‘Vatted’ Malt comes with an excellent pedigree”.
Scallywag is bottled at 46% ABV, with no chill filtering, and will be available at whisky specialist retailers starting in November.
Links: Douglas Laing & Co.
October 26, 2013 – Kininvie was the “secret distillery” at the William Grant & Sons campus in Dufftown that is home to Glenfiddich and The Balvenie. It existed as a separate stillhouse near the Balvenie’s stillhouse, but shared mash tuns and washbacks with the Balvenie. The stills were also used to produce the Hazelwood-labeled single malts, most notably those honoring the late Janet Sheed Roberts, the last surviving granddaughter of William Grant.
The Kininvie stills ran only as needed to supply malt whisky for blending purposes, and there was officially never any intent to bottle Kininvie as a single malt — until now. This week, what is believed to be the first official bottling of Kininvie went on sale in Taiwan, with an estimated 7,000 bottles (375ml) of the 23-year-old whisky available at a recommended price of NTD$7,000 ($238 USD). Malt Maniac Ho-Cheng Yao reported the release on the Malt Maniacs & Friends Facebook page, along with his tasting notes:
“Brown color, the first impression is the nutty nose with slightly sulfury, obviously the sherry cask influence. The Honey and floral nose is still clear, plus lots spice and grassy nose. The back ground is malty sweet, it is especially clear when taste it, The palate is rounded and mild. Very and probably too easy to drink. Medium light body, yet lingering long. Sweet in palate makes you want to dilute some water, but it actually very drinkable if you taste straight. Very nice vatting and immediately reminds me Master Brian Kinsman’s style.”
In addition, samples of a cask-strength Kininvie were poured earlier this month at WhiskyFest New York during a master class with Brian Kinsman. The 23-year-old Kininvie available in Taiwan likely was distilled during the year Kininvie opened in 1990, and it’s not clear whether William Grant & Sons plans wider releases of Kininvie.
Links: William Grant & Sons
October 26, 2013 – The Macallan’s latest release in its Masters of Photography Series of limited-edition bottlings features legendary photographer Elliott Erwitt’s view of Scotland. Erwitt’s “Great Scottish Adventure” took him around Scotland to make photos of the people (and the dogs, his favorite subjects) that make Scotland unique. His travels included the Highlands and the Islands, along with Edinburgh and Glasgow.
Erwitt is the fourth photographer to be featured in the series, along with Rankin, Albert Watson, and Annie Leibovitz. The Macallan’s whisky maker, Bob Dalgarno, selected 58 single casks for this year’s release. Each cask was paired with one of Erwitt’s original prints, with 35 bottle and print combinations to be available for each cask. The Elliott Erwitt Edition includes a signed and numbered 11″ x 14″ print, along with a book featuring 158 of Erwitt’s images from his Scottish adventure. The book also contains a custom 375ml glass flask filled with the single cask whisky matched to the print. Only 35 sets of each print and whisky combination will be produced, for a total of 2,030 bottles worldwide.
In a news release, Erwitt compared the art of photography and the “decisive moment” to the art of making whisky:
“Photography is an art of observation – it’s about creating something extraordinary out of the ordinary. You choose a frame and then wait until the right time for something magical to come along and fill it. I realized while working on this project that this is exactly the way Bob, the Whisky Maker, works when creating The Macallan. He envisages how he wants a particular whisky to taste, selects the perfect cask to create it, and then he waits! Timing is everything,”
The recommended retail price for the Elliott Erwitt Series package is £1,500 ($2,425 USD).
Links: The Macallan
October 26, 2013 – The Teeling Whiskey Company has applied for planning permission to build a distillery and visitors center in the New Market Square neighborhood of southwest Dublin. The Fountain newswire reports brothers Jack and Stephen Teeling want to convert a warehouse into a distillery capable of producing up to 500,000 litres of spirit each year. The site would also include a visitors center, gift shop, and event space along with offices and laboratory space.
During a June interview on WhiskyCast, Jack Teeling said he hoped to bring his family’s distilling roots back to Dublin, where his ancestors opened a distillery on Marrowbone Lane in 1782. He founded the Teeling Whiskey Company shortly after leaving Cooley, which his family controlled from its founding in 1987 until selling the company to Beam at the end of 2011.
The distillery would be Dublin’s first working distillery since the closings of the Old Jameson Distillery on Bow Street and the Powers Distillery on Johns Lane in 1975 and 1976, when Irish Distillers consolidated most of its distilling at Midleton in County Cork. It is separate from the distillery project being coordinated by their father, John Teeling, to convert the former Great Northern Brewery in Dundalk into a whiskey distillery.
This story will be updated as more details are available.
Links: Teeling Whiskey Company