February 17, 2016 – While coming too late for Valentine’s Day gifting to the passionate whisky lover, there have been several new whiskies announced so far this week.
In addition to the travel retail release of the Bushmills Steamship Collection’s Sherry Cask Reserve, Irish Whiskey fans are likely to rejoice over the debut of the first-ever single cask bottling of Redbreast. The ex-Oloroso Sherry cask was filled on April 2, 1999 and matured for 16 years and 147 days before being bottled for sale exclusively through The Whisky Exchange. The cask was selected during a tasting at the former Whisky Exchange Vinopolis store with Master Blender Billy Leighton last March, and just 576 bottles will be available for a recommended retail price of £180 GBP ($258 USD). Irish Distillers has committed to releasing at least two new single pot still whiskies from Midleton Distillery each year, and this is the first of 2016. However, Irish Distillers spokesman Brendan Buckley told WhiskyCast in an email that this should not be seen as an indication that a single cask edition of Redbreast is in the works for wider release.
Meanwhile, GlenDronach’s latest batch of single cask releases includes one of the oldest whiskies in the distillery’s inventory, a 47-year-old Pedro Ximenez hogshead filled in 1968. The distillery’s Billy Walker noted in a news release that only a few casks from that year remain in the GlenDronach inventory. This cask was bottled at 45.9% ABV, and leads the distillery’s 13th batch of single cask bottlings. The group also includes casks from 1991, 1992, 1993, and 1994, with younger casks from 2002-2004. All nine will be available through whisky specialist retailers in the UK and select export markets.
Finally, an Cnoc has teamed up with noted Scottish fashion designer Patrick Grant to create the packaging for Knockdhu Distillery’s latest single malt, an Cnoc Blas. “Blas” is Scots Gaelic for “taste,” and the noted menswear designer spent more than a year researching the distillery and the surrounding area to create the unique print that appears on the whisky’s canister and label. The whisky inside is a cask-strength single malt matured in a combination of ex-Bourbon barrels and Spanish Oak ex-Sherry butts, and bottled at 54% ABV. It will be available in limited quantities through whisky specialist shops in the UK and Europe.