Friday, March 9, 2018

Inbox - The Week's Whisky News (March 9, 2018)

Welcome to Inbox.  For those new to WFE, Inbox is our weekly round up of whisky news and PR material that has found its way in to our email inbox. It was created as we cannot write full articles or do justice to every piece received. It features items from around the world of whisky and is published by us each Friday.

Within Inbox we aim to write a few lines detailing each press release/piece of news/PR event that we have received and provide links, where possible, for you to find out further information.  This is the news that has grabbed our attention this week.


The Islay distillery of Ardbeg has announced the details of this year's annual Ardbeg Committee release. Ardbeg Grooves is the latest experiment in the series from Dr. Bill Lumsden (the Director of Distilling, Whisky Creation & Whisky Stocks at Ardbeg) and is inspired by the distillery's community when it was a much smaller and local operation in the 1960s. The release is part of a wider 1960s themed promotion that will run throughout the year, including this year's Ardbeg Day on June 2, which is called 'Peat & Love'.

Ardbeg Grooves has seen a pocket of the whisky included be matured in re-toasted ex-red wine casks, which were heavily charred while still sticky with the residue of the wine. This created deep grooves in the wood and an intense flavour profile. Grooves is bottled at 51.6% ABV and will be on sale to Ardbeg Committee members only via from 9am on March 14. Each bottle will cost £89.

The innovative Speyside distillery of BenRiach have announced the second release of their Cask Strength expression. This year's whisky features triple cask maturation with ex-bourbon, ex-Oloroso sherry and virgin oak casks all being used. These were filled in 2006, 2007 and 2008 and hand selected by Rachel Barrie, the Master Blender at BenRiach. She then combined them to create the Cask Strength Batch 2, which is bottled at 60.6% ABV and is non chill-filtered and of natural colour. It will be available shortly via selected specialist retailers worldwide.

Jim Beam have announced the first bottling of their cult Booker's Bourbon for 2018, which is known as 'Kathleen's Batch'. This is named Kathleen DiBenedetto, a 26 year veteran at Beam who is currently Senior Director of On-Premise & Luxury Marketing but who started working alongside the legendary Booker Noe as Brand Manager of the Small Batch Bourbon Collection. Together they helped to develop and promote super-premium bourbons such as Baker's Bourbon, Basil Hayden's and Knob Creek.

Booker's Bourbon 2018-01 'Kathleen's Batch' uses casks selected by Fred Noe, Booker's son and the seventh generation and current Master Distiller at Jim Beam, along with the help of Kathleen. It is bottled at the natural cask strength of 127.4 Proof (63.7% ABV) and has been aged for six years, three months and 14 days. 'Kathleen's Batch' is available across the USA in selected retailers and will cost $74.99 per bottle.

"We are thrilled to honour Kathleen as someone who has poured her heart and soul into our brands for more than 25 years. She is probably too young to be called a pioneer, but that’s exactly what she was back in the ‘90s. Kathleen is like the daughter Dad never had."
Fred Noe.

Compass Box
The independent whisky blending company of Compass Box have announced the release of a limited edition of their highly regarded Hedonism expression, called The Muse. The new bottling was inspired by the discovery of a cask of old single grain whisky and this has been combined with other grain whiskies from four distilleries to create The Muse. There are just 3,060 bottles available and the whisky was blended by Jill Boyd, Compass Box's Whisky Maker. It was released on International Women's Day yesterday to celebrate the fact that more women now work at Compass Box than men.

The Muse is bottled at the natural cask strength of 53.3% ABV and is non chill-filtered and of natural colour. It will be available shortly from selected specialist retailers in selected world markets. Each bottle will cost £240 (£275 US).


The island distillery of Jura has revealed that it is evolving the core range of its single malts with The Signature Series. This will feature established bottlings alongside new products. The new range will see the new Journey expression as its entry point and followed by age statements at 10 and 12 years old. This will then be followed by the new small batch Seven Wood, before finishing with the 18 years old. The new range will be rolled out globally from April.

  • Journey is bottled at 40% ABV and will retail for £33 a bottle. It has been matured exclusively in American white oak ex-bourbon casks. 
  • The 10 years old is matured in American oak ex-bourbon casks before a finishing period in ex-Oloroso sherry casks. It is bottled at 40% ABV and will cost £38. 
  • The 12 years old is also 40% ABV and follows the same cask maturation pattern as the 10 years old. It will cost £45. 
  • The Seven Wood is a combination of seven French oak and American oak ex-bourbon barrels, and will be available in smaller amounts. It is bottled at 42% ABV and will retail for £59. 
  • The 18 years old has been matured in American white oak ex-bourbon casks before a finishing period in ex-red wine casks. It is bottled at 44% ABV and will retail for £75.
  • All are designed to showcase Jura's gentle smokiness alongside an inherent sweetness.
"This marks a hugely significant step for Jura. It tells you where we are now and how committed we are to Jura, the community and our whiskies for the long term. We can’t wait for people to try and it and see for themselves."
Graham Logan - Distillery Manager at Jura.

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