Tuesday 1 April 2014

This Week in Whisk(e)y #7

As you might know if you read this blog regularly, we get a fair few interesting press releases and news articles here at TimeforWhisky, and usually try to feature them with our own spin, experiences or comments. Sometimes though, they come thick and fast, and we just don't have time to do them all justice.

So we've decided to take a leaf out of some other excellent whisky blogs, and feature a "PR roundup" every now and then - basically a wrap-up of relevant press releases we've received in the previous week (or other interesting whisk(e)y news Steph & I think you might enjoy). So on with it then...

Sullivans Cove wins "world's best whisky" at the WWA 2014
I'm sure everyone has heard about this now, but Tasmania Distillery's Sullivans Cove French Oak recently won the "world's best single malt whisky" at the 2014 World Whisky Awards (it certainly seems the eBay community has, with Sullivans Cove French Oak bottles going for $400+ at the moment, even those not from the winning cask HH525).

While the winning whisky was from a single French Oak cask (HH525), which produced only 516 bottles, it seems the world has gone mad, snapping up any and all French Oak Sullivans Cove whiskies available.

Sullivans Cove isn't my personal favourite Tassie whisky (that would go to Overeem on the OB front, and Heartwood on the IB front), but it has to be said - this is a huge achievement, and one which has really put Aussie whiskies on the world map. Credit where credit's due too - Tasmania Distillery have put in a huge effort over many years to spread the word about their whisky (it's still the most commonly-sighted Aussie whisky in my International travels), so it's great to see their hard work pay off. Well done.

Ardbeg announces "Auriverdes" and Ardbeg Day 2014
Ah, Ardbeg Day. The reason whisky fans the world over look forward to 31st May each year with great anticipation. While full details haven't yet been released about the celebrations, LVMH owned Ardbeg have announced the theme (Soccer World Cup), and a few details about the bottling, namely:
  • Aged in casks with toasted lids
  • 49.9% ABV
  • Said to have "creamy vanilla sweetness" with a "dark mocha coffee side"
  • £79.99 (so likely similar pricing in Australia as last year - $160 or so, while it's available)
The name comes from the Golden (Auri) whisky and the Green (verde) bottle, which also ties in nicely with the Soccer theme, given this year's World Cup is set in Brazil.

We can't wait to see what Ardbeg have in store for us on the 31st, although I imagine there may be a few soccer balls (and a sea of Ardbeg) involved!

anCnoc releases the "Peaty Collection"
Staying on the peat train, the Highland distillery of Knockdu has just announced a the release of a trio of (pretty stunning looking) bottles as part of their new "Peaty Collection".

Project Manager Stephanie Bridge commented on the prospect of the anCnoc
Peaty Collection being a window to the world of smoky whisky for drinkers who previously chose to drink unpeated malts:

“Rutter and our other new Limited Edition peated single malts will form an exciting collection to sit alongside our  core anCnoc expressions, offering drinkers a new and perhaps a first experience of peated whisky. These malts have all the exceptional qualities of anCnoc but with a depth and smokiness that will be appealing both to peat aficionados and to drinkers of lighter malts with an interest in finding a peated malt whisky that they understand and enjoy. We’re on a mission to bring our very modern take on the world of peated whisky to our drinkers all over the world and to entice customers to experience this new side of anCnoc.”

Far from being peat monsters, the whiskies are peated to between 11-15ppm, and were described as follows by whisky writer Charles Maclean:

“The difference between these three malts is subtle, but apparent. Their overall flavour – i.e. aroma and taste –is nicely balanced,  fresh and breezy; their smokiness subtle and understated, while their cheerful simplicity makes them very ‘more-ish’ and easy to drink.”

Further information on the range can be found here. No word yet on Australian availability or pricing.

New World Whisky Distillery launches inaugural single cask releases
Back in December, I was lucky enough to tour the New World Whisky Distillery (purveyors of Starward Whisky) and especially lucky to taste a few single cask samples. At the time, there was only one Starward release (this one), however after no doubt realising they were onto a good thing, the distillery invited representatives from four Australian whisky establishments (Whisky+AlementOak BarrelBaranows Lounge and Nicks/Vintage Direct) to select a cask, to be bottled and sold only through those venues.

While those in Melbourne have been lucky to taste the whisky already, those of us in Sydney will have to wait a few more weeks. The bottlings (officially released on 7th May) will sell for $100 (RRP), a bargain for such a rare, cask-strength bottling, and will no doubt sell out quickly. 

Until next time...sláinte.

 - Martin.

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