New Booze: Whiskies from Japan, Scotland, and America
August 25, 2015
Speyside Single Malt Launches Arranta Casks Exclusively for U.S. Market
Speyburn is announcing the launch of the newest addition to its range, Arranta Casks. The U.S. only limited release is unique for its exclusive use of first fill American Oak ex-bourbon casks and draws its color and flavor from the wood.
“Arranta” meaning ‘bold’, ‘daring’ and ‘intrepid’ in Scottish Gaelic, Arranta Casks embodies the spirit of the Speyburn distillery.
Speyburn Arranta Casks is bottled at 46% abv (92 proof) and will be available on August 15 as a limited release, exclusively in the U.S. at a suggested retail price of $40.
Hibiki Japanese Harmony
Hibiki Japanese Harmony is a blend of select whiskies from the House of Suntory Whisky. It is a blend of at least 10 malt and grain whiskies, aged in five different types of casks, from Suntory’s Yamazaki, Hakushu and Chita distilleries.
The Suntory Whisky blending team is led by third-generation Master Blender and grandson of the founder, Shingo Torii, and fourth Chief Blender Shinji Fukuyo.
Hibiki Japanese Harmony is the foundation of the Hibiki range, leveraging the same key malt and grain whiskies from the original Hibiki blend, Hibiki 17 Years and Hibiki 21 Years. American White Oak malt whiskies create a solid base. The Mizunara (Japanese oak) and sherry cask malt whiskies are the dressing. The smoky malt whiskies enact as subtle accents to create depth and further complexity. Grain whiskies from Suntory’s Chita distillery act as the “dashi,” or broth, to complete the personality of the malt whiskies and enhance their overall harmony.
43% ABV, SRP $64.99
Ragtime Rye from New York Distilling Company
New York Distilling Company announces its second rye whiskey, Ragtime Rye, a straight American rye whiskey. Following on the heels of Mister Katz’s Rock & Rye, Ragtime Rye is the next progression in a series of rye whiskeys from the Williamsburg, Brooklyn based distillery.
Exclusive use of full size barrels and aging that is a minimum of 3 years positions Ragtime Rye as a distinctive American whiskey in today’s craft distilling boom and culture. Distilled, bottled and aged at New York Distilling Company in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Ragtime Rye is an original recipe developed by Katz and will be available nationwide on September 1st, 2015.
Ragtime Rye is made from a mash bill of 72% rye, 16% corn and 12% malted barley with the primary grains, rye and corn, being derived from New York State. The rye, which is 100% non-GMO and primarily organic, is specifically grown for New York Distilling Company by Pedersen Family Farms in the Central Finger Lakes region of upstate New York.
The whiskey spends a minimum of three years in full size (53 gallon) American oak barrels with a #3 char. The subsequent mellowing that occurs over several seasonal cycles is the result of both varied and extreme temperatures, from the coldness of winter to the heat and humidity of summer.
Ragtime Rye is bottled at 90.4 proof. Ragtime Rye will be available beginning September 1, 2015. The suggested retail price is $44.
Wild Turkey Master’s Keep
Marking his first release since being appointed to Master Distiller in January 2015 alongside his father, Eddie Russell and his Wild Turkey family announce the release of Wild Turkey Master’s Keep.
The story of Master’s Keep begins in 1997. Wild Turkey had a surplus of Bourbon and no warehouse space left, so Eddie needed a place to store and age the extra barrels. A friend at another distillery offered his empty stone warehouses, but Eddie knew these would age the Bourbon differently than the wooden warehouses at Wild Turkey. He decided to take a chance and experiment a little, and so the barrels spent several years in stone warehouses before eventually coming back to Wild Turkey’s wooden ones.
When the barrels were dumped they were at a much lower proof than anticipated. Barreled at 107 proof, the whiskey was 89 proof when dumped and 86.8 proof (43.4% alc./vol.) when bottled – a result of the time these particular barrels spent aging in stone warehouses.
This latest limited-edition from the iconic Bourbon brand will be available nationally in small quantities starting in August 2015 for a suggested retail price of $150.
Rogue Chipotle Whiskey
Rogue Chipotle Whiskey begins at the Rogue farm in Independence, Oregon, where two acres of jalapeños grow close to the banks of the Willamette River. The jalapeños are allowed to ripen until they are bright red, the additional time ripening on the vine means more capsaicin in the pepper, which makes for a spicier pepper. Once harvested by hand, the jalapeños are driven 77 miles to the Rogue Brewery in Newport, Oregon, where they are dried and slowly smoked over cherry and alder woods. The smoky chipotles are then used by Brewmaster John Maier to brew the Rogue Chipotle Whiskey wash.
Once the brewing is complete, the chipotle wash is driven across the parking lot to the Rogue Distillery where more freshly smoked chipotles are added during the distillation process. After distillation, the Chipotle Whiskey is aged in Oregon Oak barrels along with one final addition of chipotles. Rogue Chipotle Whiskey uses chipotles three ways: brewed, distilled, and barrel-aged with Rogue Farms chipotle peppers for three times the flavor and spice.
Rogue Chipotle Whiskey will be available at Rogue meeting halls and select retailers throughout the United States. For more information, please visit rogue.com.
Morewood’s Usquebaugh from Tualatin Valley Distilling
Tualatin Valley Distilling announced the release of its brand new historic revival spirit, Morewood’s Usquebaugh. Retailing at $59.95, the recipe is a recreation of a pre-Victorian era usquebaugh, loaded with savory spices and botanicals, effectively a farmhouse spirit as it would have been presented in the early 1600’s. Other ingredients and spices come together to build a complex flavor profile, leveraging an equal balance between licorice-infused sweetness and warm but crisp, savory spice notes on the finish.
The original recipe is taken directly from Samuel Morewood’s own documentation published in 1838, but the process of distilling usquebaugh dates back to long before the common production in the late 16th and early 17th centuries.
Although O’Donnell says Morewood’s Usquebaugh is easily consumed as-is, he recommends abiding by Morewood’s advice of serving with the “finest lump sugar” available for a slightly sweeter approach to the drink. Additionally, O’Donnell recommends the spirit be consumed around 60-64 degrees Fahrenheit to maintain an authentic approach; though a few ice cubes can also help adjust the flavor for your own palate.
92.75 (46.375% alcohol by volume)
Metze’s Select Indiana straight bourbon whiskey
MGP’s Lawrenceburg, Ind., distillery has been producing whiskeys for nearly 170 years. MGP announces the introduction of Metze’s Select, a limited edition Indiana straight bourbon whiskey. Metze’s Select combines some of MGP’s favorite whiskeys to produce a bourbon featuring a Lawrenceburg-style high rye characteristic.
MGP’s Master Distiller Greg Metze has crafted only 6,000 hand-numbered bottles of this expression, which is the result of marrying three straight bourbon whiskeys. The brand consists of 38% 2006 bourbon (21% rye), 3% 2006 bourbon (36% rye), and 59% 2008 bourbon (21% rye), all made by MGP. Metze’s Select is bottled at 46.5% alcohol by volume and will be available in 750ml bottles at a suggested retail price of $74.99. It is expected to be available at retail beginning in September this year.
San Francisco’s Anchor Distilling Co. will handle the sales and marketing of Metze’s Select.
WhistlePig Old World Rye
WhistlePig announces a new permanent expression, the Old World. The Old World combines American rye with European Sauternes, Madeira and Port oak wine casks.
After studying the techniques of the Old World -- particularly Scotch whiskies -- Master Distiller Dave Pickerell and the WhistlePig team finished 12-year-old rye in premium European Sauternes, Madeira, and Port wine casks, releasing these single wine barrel finishes individually as the Old World Series in limited quantities this spring.
The series debuted with the Sauternes finish, making WhistlePig the first company to age American rye in casks from this highly rare, sweet white wine. The Madeira finish was inspired by America's first President, George Washington, who was a passionate drinker of Madeira wine and also a distiller of rye whiskey himself. The port finish combines the bold taste of rye with the sweetness of the Portuguese wine, perfectly combining the old world with the new world. WhistlePig then carefully married the three whiskeys into the Old World.
The Old World comes from a mash of 95% rye and 5% malted barley and has a suggested retail price of $117.99. Barrel-finished and bottled by hand at 86 proof on the WhistlePig Farm.
Pikesville Straight Rye Whiskey
Heaven Hill Brands announces the launch of a super-premium spirit, Pikesville Straight Rye Whiskey. At 6 years old and 110 proof, this new expression of Pikesville Rye is produced at Heaven Hill’s historic Bernheim Distillery in Louisville and aged in its premier rickhouses in Bardstown, Ky. With a suggested retail price of $49.99 for a 750ml bottle, it will roll out in New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles in Summer 2015, with allocated national distribution to follow in the Fall.
Distilled from at least 51 percent rye, with corn and malted barley as the “small” grains, Pikeville Rye has a pale copper color, reflecting its extra aging. This marks the first major new product launch since Denny Potter was named Heaven Hill Brand’s Co-Master Distiller. Potter selected each extra-aged barrel and determined the spirit’s ideal proof level.
With its Maryland roots dating back to 1895, Pikesville Rye returned after Prohibition, surviving ownership changes and the decline of the Maryland Rye whiskey industry. With Maryland production coming to a close in the 1980s, Pikesville Rye was kept alive by Heaven Hill Brands, which has produced the spirit in Kentucky ever since. It is a prominent brand in Maryland and is served throughout the Baltimore metropolitan area. The traditional 80-proof, 3-year-old Pikesville Rye will remain in production and will continue to be distributed in Maryland.
Changes to Nikka Whisky
Masataka Taketsuru founded Nikka Whisky Company in 1934; 81 years later his Japanese whiskies, produced at the Yoichi and Miyagikyo distilleries, are booming worldwide. And with that immense popularity comes the challenge of keeping up with demand. Today, Anchor Distilling Company, Nikka’s U.S. importer, announces changes to U.S. inventory, driven by Nikka’s conscientious efforts to maintain stocks and balance the needs of long maturation periods.
Japanese whisky enthusiasts will be able to readily find Nikka Coffey Grain (45% ABV, SRP $69.99), a grain whisky produced in an Aeneas Coffey column still at Miyagikyo distillery in Sendai, Japan, as well as a new non-age statement Taketsuru Pure Malt (43% ABV, SRP $69.99), produced from a blend of single malts created at the Yoichi distillery, located in Hokkaido, Japan, and at Miyagikyo. Nikka’s aged single malts – Yoichi 15 Year Old, Miyagikyo 12 Year Old, and Taketsuru 17 and 21 Year Olds – will continue to be available in the U.S. on a limited-allocation basis.
Hood River Distillers, Inc., the largest and oldest importer, distiller, producer and bottler of distilled spirits in the Northwest, announces today the expansion of its Pendleton Whisky portfolio with the introduction of Pendleton Midnight, a premium select 90 proof Canadian whisky.
Crafted with many of Pendleton Whisky’s tried and true ingredients, including glacier-fed spring water from Oregon’s Mt. Hood. Added complexity and fruit forward characteristics specific to Pendleton Midnight are achieved through aging a portion of the blend in American brandy barrels while notes of leather and warm spices provide a full-bodied flavor. The result is a 90 proof oak barrel-aged whisky.
Available in select markets beginning in September 2015, Pendleton Midnight will retail for approximately $34.99 (750 ml). For more information about the product and cocktail recipes, please visit PendletonWhisky.com
Jack Daniel’s Barrel Proof
The Jack Daniel Distillery announces the nationwide release of the brand’s first-ever barrel strength offering within the coveted Single Barrel Collection, Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Barrel Proof. The newest member of the Jack Daniel’s Family of Brands will hit shelves in August and will be available across the U.S.
Barrel Proof, ranging from 125 to 140 proof, is the Jack Daniel Distillery’s second offering in the Single Barrel Collection which includes Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Select. Select is a 94-proof single barrel Tennessee Whiskey with a robust, full-bodied flavor complemented by Jack Daniel’s smooth charcoal-mellowed character. Together, Select and Barrel Proof combine to create the world’s finest collection of single barrel Tennessee Whiskey. The collection uses Jack Daniel’s unique charcoal-mellowing process.
Barrel Proof is crafted using the same cave spring water from the Jack Daniel’s Hollow, proprietary yeast and charcoal-mellowing process that’s been used in the distillery’s nearly 150-year-old Tennessee Whiskey recipe. From there, the liquid enters a charred White American Oak barrel, forged within Jack Daniel’s very own cooperage and set to age in the upper regions of the barrelhouse. In this resting place, the whiskey is exposed to the extreme temperature variations that a Lynchburg, Tennessee season brings. The interaction of the whiskey, the wood and the environment creates nuances from barrel to barrel to bring out distinct flavor profiles that transcend the expected to become ‘Barrel Proof.’
Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Barrel Proof will be available nationwide beginning August 2015. The product will be priced approximately $65.00 per 750ml.
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