WOODFORD RESERVE PAYS HOMAGE TO PAST DISTILLERS WITH NEW WHITE CORN BOURBON

WRWoodford Reserve has announced the launch of a new white corn bourbon, inspired by the craftsmanship and vision of past distillers Oscar Pepper and James Crow and their original use of white corn in their whiskey production process from the late-1830s to the 1850s.

Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection 1838 Style White Corn Bourbon (45.2% ABV) uses the same barrels and yeast that are used to create their standard core expression, but uses white corn instead of the traditional yellow corn in its mash bill, along with rye and malt which help to create a sharper whiskey.

In the mid-1800s, Oscar Pepper and James Crow engaged in early distilling at the current site of the Woodford Reserve Distillery. Their key production methods have since been recognized by historians as advancing the modern bourbon industry and are celebrated through each Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection release.

The latest limited release was conceptualized and created by Woodford Reserve Master Distiller Chris Morris. Drawing from original production records, he was able to develop and bring to life a recipe Pepper and Crow might have used.

Commenting on the launch, Chris Morris, said: “This Master’s Collection release has, in a way, allowed us to go back in time and create a new bourbon by drawing upon materials from our distillery’s historic pas. Focusing on white corn and honouring the landmark work of Pepper and Crow, we worked to produce an expression that we hope they would approve of.”

He went on to say: “Year after year, our Master’s Collection is always a favourite of mine to produce, as I enjoy seeing how even the slightest of variations can yield a dramatically different whiskey. What’s truly exciting with 1838 Style White Corn is that by simply changing the corn used, we’ve created a spirit that is new for fans of Woodford Reserve yet still traditional and a perfect representation of our rich heritage.”

Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection 1838 Style White Corn Bourbon, will be available globally next month from specialist retailers for a RRP of $99.99

Irish Distillers announce launch of Bordeaux Wine Cask Finished Green Spot

Green Spot Château Léoville BartonIrish Distillers has today announced the launch of the first ever Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey to be finished in Bordeaux wine casks.

Green Spot Château Léoville Barton (46% ABV) is a new variant of the much renowned Irish whiskey, which can trace its roots back to Dublin-based wine merchants, Mitchell & Son, who matured, bottled and sold the original Green Spot under bond.

Set in the heart of the Saint Julien appellation in Bordeaux, Léoville Barton is a grand cru Château renowned for producing world class wine. Léoville Barton is overseen today by Anthony and Lilian Barton, direct descendants of Thomas Barton, a ‘Wine Geese’ winemaker who founded a wine merchant company in 1725, after migrating from his native Ireland.

This latest release was initially matured in a traditional mix of ex-Oloroso sherry, new Bourbon and ex-Bourbon barrels. The whiskeys were then transferred into ex-Bordeaux wine casks for between 12 and 24 months.

Commenting on the launch, Kevin O’Gorman, Master of Maturation at the Midleton Distillery, said: “With its fresh taste profile featuring notes of green apple, vanilla, toffee and liquorice, Green Spot has been a favourite among Irish whiskey lovers thanks to the Mitchell family since the 19th Century, so it is an honour to launch a further extension to our Spot family. Maturing Green Spot in the Château Léoville Barton wine casks provided a fascinating assortment of floral and wood characteristics on the nose and palate, which give way to a long, spicy finish reminiscent of the terroir in France and Ireland. I hope whiskey fans enjoy this latest addition to our growing Single Pot Still family and join us in toasting this new whiskey resulting from of our shared Irish heritage.”

Green Spot Château Léoville Barton will be available later this month from specialist retailers for a RRP of £42.00.

Midleton launches first ever virgin Irish oak finished whiskey

midleton-dair-ghaelach-thumb_5Pernod Ricard has announced the launch of Midleton Dair Ghaelach, its first ever Irish whiskey to be finished in virgin Irish Oak Hogsheads.

Midleton Dair Ghaelach (58.5% ABV) meaning ‘Irish oak’, is the result of a six-year exploration by the Midleton Masters into using native oak to mature Irish whiskey. Led by Master Blender, Billy Leighton, and Kevin O’Gorman, Master of Maturation.

The project had two prerequisites. The first was to ensure that all Irish oak was sourced exclusively from sustainable Irish Oak forests that could guarantee both a long-term supply and the re-generation of native wood, while the second was to explore what new taste profiles could be created from Irish oak maturation to craft a new and outstanding Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey.

In collaboration with professional Irish forestry consultants, O’Gorman and Leighton selected Grinsell’s Wood within the Ballaghtobin Estate, Co. Kilkenny, to provide the oak for the first in a series of virgin oak releases in the coming years. Each bottle can be traced back to one of ten 130-year-old Irish oak trees in Grinsell’s Wood, which were felled in April 2012.

To craft the oak into casks, fellow artisans at the Maderbar sawmills in Baralla, north-west Spain, used the quarter-sawing process to cut the trees into staves under the watchful eye of the Midleton Masters. The staves were then transferred to the Antonio Páez Lobato cooperage in Jerez, where after drying for fifteen month the staves were worked into 48 Irish Oak Hogshead casks and given a medium toast.

At Midleton, a selection of traditional Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey distillates, matured for between 15 and 22 years in ex-Bourbon casks, were married together before being filled into the Irish oak Hogsheads. Leighton and O’Gorman nosed and tasted the whiskey each month and after almost one year, judged it to be beautifully balanced with just the perfect contribution of Irish oak.

Analysis shows that the Irish oak contains higher levels of some lignin derivative compounds, such as vanillin and vanillic acid, and furfural, in comparison to American and Spanish oak. These compounds further enhance the whiskey with vanilla, caramel and chocolate flavours, which are detectable on the nose of Midleton Dair Ghaelach and perfectly balance the classically rich, spicy Single Pot Still taste profile.

Commenting on the new release, Midleton Distillery Master Blender, Billy Leighton, said: “The process of maturing in native oak has enabled us to showcase our Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey style in a new and innovative way; the casks impart much more generous toasted wood, vanilla and caramel flavours than what we expect from American bourbon and Spanish oak, which we hope whiskey lovers will appreciate and enjoy.”

This uniquely Irish expression is the latest addition to the Midleton Single Pot Still family of whiskies, satisfies the growing appetite among whiskey lovers for discovering new and innovative styles of Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey.

Midleton Dair Ghaelach, will be available through specialist retailers from April for a RRP of $250.

Glendalough- Double Barrel, Single Grain

glendaloughIrish craft distiller Glendalough has added a new whiskey to its range, the single grain Double Barrel.

The whiskey is distilled from a mash of malted barley and corn using Glendalough’s traditional Coffey still, then matured for three and a half years in first-fill ex-Bourbon barrels. The final step is an additional six months of maturation in Oloroso Sherry casks.

Double Barrel is bottled at 42% ABV, and will initially be available in Ireland for around €35 ($40 USD). It is believed to be the first whiskey release from Glendalough distilled at the Wicklow-area distillery, which has released 7 and 13-year-0ld Irish single malts sourced from other distilleries in addition to its own poitins and gins.

New Bourbons From Jim Beam & Diageo’s Orphan Barrel Project

JimBeamBonded_bs-200x300Jim Beam is returning to a place in Bourbon history with the release of Jim Beam Bonded, a 4-year-old Bourbon that takes some of its heritage from the US Government’s “Bottled in Bond Act of 1897.”

That law reserves the labeling of “Bottled in Bond” for whiskies at least four years old, bottled at 50% ABV (100 proof) and produced at a single distillery in a single distilling season. It’s not one of the more widely-known facts about American whiskeys, but distillers work with a two-season year: Spring season is January 31 through June 30, and Fall season runs from July 1 through December 31.

Jim Beam Bonded made its debut Monday night with a launch party at Bourbons Bistro in Louisville, Kentucky. It will be available at selected US retailers starting this month in 750ml and 1-liter sizes with a recommended retail price of $22.99 USD (750ml).

In addition, Beam is kicking off a special series of limited edition Booker’s Bourbon releases featuring labels inspired by the late Booker Noe. The year’s first batch of Booker’s has a label showing Noe sipping Bourbon in his famous rocking chair with his dog Dot at his feet. The scene is similar to Booker Noe’s memorial statue at the Jim Beam American Stillhouse in Clermont, Kentucky, and carries the name “Big Man, Small Batch.” Batch 2015-1 follows the Booker’s tradition of being uncut and unfiltered, and the 7-year-old batch is bottled at 64.35% ABV (128.7 proof).

ForgedOak_bs-200x300Meanwhile, Diageo is releasing Forged Oak, the fifth edition in its Orphan Barrel series of Bourbons.  As with the previous four editions, the 15-year-old Forged Oak was matured primarily in the warehouses at the Stitzel-Weller Distillery in Louisville, and was distilled at the nearby New Bernheim Distillery in 1997 and 1998 from a mashbill of 86% corn, 8% rye, and 6% malted barley.

Forged Oak will be a limited release, though there are plans to release future editions as more whiskey reaches maturation. It is being bottled at 45.25% ABV (90.5 proof), and will carry a recommended retail price of $65 (750ml bottle).