Friday, August 25, 2017

Inbox - The Week's Whisky News (August 25, 2017)

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 have announced the first permanent addition to its core single malt range for almost a decade. The An Oa expression joins the 10 years old, Corryvreckan and Uigaedail and is named after the Mull of Oa (pronounced ‘oh’), which is the southernmost point on the island of Islay. It is the brainchild of Dr. Bill Lumsden – the Director of Distilling, Whisky Creation & Whisky Stocks for Ardbeg.

The whisky is a combination of ex-bourbon barrels, ex-Pedro Ximenez sherry casks and some whisky matured in virgin oak. These have then been married in a large French oak vat that is housed in The Gathering Room, a new feature at the Ardbeg distillery. Ardbeg An Oa is bottled at 46.6% ABV and is non chill-filtered. It will be available through specialist whisky retailers and the Ardbeg website from early September. The recommended retail price is £49.

The east Highland distillery of Glendronach has released details of a special limited edition whisky – the Kingsman Edition 1991 Vintage. The new whisky is a collaboration between Rachel Barrie, the Whisky Maker at Glendronach, Marv Films and 20th Century Fox to mark the release of the movie Kingsman : The Golden Circle. Glendronach was selected by director Matthew Vaughn as it is his favourite single malt. The whisky is constructed of just four ex-sherry casks, all of which were filled in 1991 (this is the year of birth of the movie’s lead character, Gary ‘Eggsy’ Unwin).

The bottle is housed in a bespoke box, featuring a gold Kingsman metal charm, and each features the signatures of Rachel Barrie and Matthew Vaughn. All are individually numbered and there are just 2,000 bottles. The Glendronach Kingsman Edition 1991 Vintage is released at 48.2% ABV, is of natural colour and non chill-filtered. It will be available from early September in selected specialist whisky retailers in the UK and selected other world markets. The recommended retail price is £550 per bottle.

“It took over a quarter of a century for The GlenDronach Kingsman Edition to come of age, matured in sherry casks from birth. As we say at the distillery, ‘Cask is King’ and this is evident in the taste experience of The GlenDronach Kingsman Edition 1991 Vintage. We hope you agree, it is whisky fit for a Kingsman’.” 
Rachel Barrie.

Johnnie Walker
The biggest selling Scotch whisky brand of Johnnie Walker has announced the latest expressions to be released in to its experimental Blenders’ Batch series – the Wine Cask Blend, Espresso Roast and Rum Cask Finish. The latest round of releases have been created by Jim Beveridge, the Johnnie Walker Master Blender, along with his team of blenders. This includes Aimée Gibson, who worked exclusively on the Wine Cask Blend project, and all three new whiskies have been designed with bartenders and whisky enthusiasts in mind.

The Wine Cask Blend is mix of different single malts and single grains that have been matured in ex-red wine casks. It is being launched in the USA and selected other world markets in September and will be priced at $30 USD per bottle. The Espresso Roast is also a blend and has been created using pockets of malt whisky that have been made from roasted malt, which is more commonly used in making heavier styles of beer. The Rum Cask Finish has seen a traditional Johnnie Walker blend then transferred to ex-rum casks for a finishing period. Both will only be available through leading bars around the world from October.

“Our blenders are given free rein to take inspiration from anything and everything around them when making whisky: experiences they’ve had, personal passions, sounds, and flavours. Their passion drives them to challenge the whisky-making status quo.” 
Jim Beveridge.

Scotch Malt Whisky Society
The SMWS have continued the expansion of their product range with the announcement of their first ever blended malt, named Exotic Cargo. The new whisky has been created using whiskies all distilled on the same day in 2006 and all have been matured in ex-sherry casks. It has been bottled at 10 years of age and at a strength of 50% ABV. It is also non chill-filtered and of natural colour. There are 1,937 bottles available and each will cost £45. Exotic Cargo will be available initially to SMWS members in the EU and the UK from September 1, before being released to international markets including Australia, Canada and the USA.

“The Society has always had an unconventional streak and we are really breaking the mould of what can be done with a blended malt. We are sure they will be as eager as ever to get their hands and palates on what truly is a piece of exotic cargo.” 
Kai Ivalo - Spirits Director at the SMWS.