Wednesday, 26 November 2014

This week in whisk(e)y #14

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 so (including other interesting whisk(e)y news Steph & I think you might enjoy). So on with it then...


Glengoyne's award winning year and Australian launch of 35 year old

Earlier this year we attended the fantastic launch of the Glengoyne 25yo, and now the distillery has taken it one step further with the release of the extremely limited 35 year old, now available in Australia.

Limited to 500 decanters (of which 6 will be available in Australia), the whisky comes in hand-blown and engraved decanter with a gold and crystal stopper, housed in a solid oak box with a red leather interior (much of which seems to be a pre-requisite for any 30+ year old whisky these days.) No doubt, it's a fantastic looking package.

Bottled at 46.8% ABV, the official tasting notes for the whisky are as follows:
NOSE: A rich full nose with fantastic depth. The classic Glengoyne apple character is at its heart, with complementary notes of papaya, mango and coconut giving a beautiful scent that can only come with decades in oak. Aged leather, Victoria sponge, dried citrus peel, honeycomb and saffron all add to the complexity of this incising nose. 
PALATE: A great oily texture that instantly coats the mouth with a burst of fruit. A whisky to hold on the palate for a long time as it keeps developing, with dried fruit, floral notes and gentle spice becoming almost creamy after time.
FINISH: The tropical fruit intensity returns and lingers at the back of the throat while the whisky becomes slowlydrier, with liquorice, brown sugar and dark chocolate beautifully balanced. A whisky not to be rushed!
Glengoyne 35 Year old is available from Dan Murphys for $5,000AUD.

Also on the topic of Glengoyne, the distillery has had a pretty fantastic 2014, capping off the year with two new awards at the Scottish Field Whisky Challenge:
"The family owned distillery has won more top awards this year than ever before with the latest, a double win at the Scottish Field Whisky Challenge, to add to the trophy cabinet. 
Glengoyne 25 Year Old was awarded the Top Distillery Bottling and a silver medal in the Over £80 category. 
The Scottish Field Whisky Challenge is now in its fourteenth year and is a key event in the Scotch whisky trade calendar. The winners are chosen through blind tasting by respected industry judges meaning the whisky is chosen solely on its own merit. 
Commenting on the awards, Neil Boyd, Commercial Director of Malts for Ian Macleod Distillers who own Glengoyne said: “2014 has truly been an award-winning year for us at Glengoyne and with another set of awards to add to our already record number for this year, this really is a fantastic accolade for us. We are looking forward to next year and the successes we hope it will bring.” 
Glengoyne is owned by one of Scotland’s leading, independent, family-owned distillers, Ian Macleod Distillers. Glengoyne is handcrafted from the finest sherry casks within Glengoyne’s traditional dunnage warehouses. Unlike most other single malt whiskies, Glengoyne dries its malted barley using only warm air resulting in a subtle yet complex malt where all the delicate flavours are freely expressed."


anCnoc launches 18 year old
We've featured anCnoc a few times on this blog, and this time around it's the 18 year old - a new addition to the core lineup.

anCnoc's Assistant Brand Manager Stephanie Bridge explains:
“2014 has been anCnoc’s most ambitious year to date. We unveiled our new Peaty Collection in April, two new expressions for Global Travel Retail and our hugely popular 2000 Vintage. We are confident that our new anCnoc 18 Year Old will be extremely popular amongst single malt aficionados with its unique taste profile and striking packaging.”
Per the press release:
"anCnoc 18 Year Old was matured in top quality hand-selected American oak ex-bourbon and European oak ex-sherry casks. The combination of the two types of wood gives this mature expression of anCnoc an outstanding depth, complexity and balance of flavour. It's a single malt for the most discerning drinker. The whisky is bottled at 46% ABV, non-chill filtered and presented at its natural colour. Initially 6,000 bottles will be available in key markets worldwide. The recommended retail price is £70." 
No word yet on AU or HK availability, but I wouldn't be surprised if we saw this released in Australia in 2015, based on previous anCnoc releases.


Old Dunbar distillery launches Kickstarter campaign
A few weeks ago we brought word of SIA Scotch's successful Kickstarter campaign (tasting notes due shortly), and now a Kentucky-based Bourbon distillery startup is hoping for similar success on Kickstarter, with the launch of Old Dunbar.

At the time of writing, the campaign has 23 days remaining and a way to go to reach its $100,000US target. There are a number of different rewards for backing (from as little as $10USD) though we note that many of them don't include a bottle of the whisky (a $250USD pledge does allow a "fill your own bottle" experience though, and several include distillery tours).

As with many new distilleries, the Kickstarter site mentions plans to produce gin and vodka, which makes a lot of sense to provide some cashflow as the whiskey matures.
"HENDERSON, KY USA – Jason Girard, the former executive chef at Buddy Guy’s Legends, is preparing to launch Old Dunbar Distillery in his grandmother’s birthplace of Henderson, Kentucky. Girard’s greatgrandfather, Colonel Felix E. Dunbar, lived his entire life in Henderson County. The Colonel was the county’s rural mail carrier (on horseback, wagon and eventually automobile) for more than 50 years and family legend has it that he delivered more than just the mail, during Prohibition... 
The startup distillery will launch a Kickstarter campaign on Tuesday, November 18 @ 7pm CST. The funds from the Kickstarter campaign will be used to purchase a handmade copper still and help pay for other costs (legal fees, licenses, etc.) involved in opening a craft distillery. The opening of Old Dunbar’s Downtown Henderson (distillery & tasting room) facility, is planned for September 2015. 
“We realize that it takes a long time to produce and age a true Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey,” Girard says. “We understand that the process is a labor of love. It takes several years of barrel aging to do it right. Our first priority is to make a memorable whiskey that is true to its heritage and worthy of the ‘top shelf.’”  
But it will take more than a family recipe and a few dollars to make Girard’s dream come true. “I want to create a legacy. Something my children, and their children, can participate in. A brand that will outlive me and a name, Old Dunbar, that will forever be synonymous with premium handcrafted Kentucky bourbon.” 
As an award winning chef, Girard understands the importance of using the best ingredients and plans to buy local, sustainably grown grain. And the chef-turned-distiller’spride in his Kentucky heritage is evident. 
“I used to visit Henderson, with my grandparents, as a child,” says Girard. “The family reunions, barbecues and burgoo (a community stew served at church picnics in western Kentucky) festivals are some of my favorite childhood memories. I love Henderson and I couldn’t imagine doing this anywhere else on earth. “The local economy has taken many hits, in recent years, while the craft spirits industry is booming. I believe that a destination distillery, in the heart of Downtown, could help get things turned back around.” 
Plans are in the works to purchase and renovate a 19th Century landmark, for the distillery and tasting room. Taking a page from the boutique Napa Valley wineries that Girard represented for several years, he’s also planning a second historic renovation that will house a Bed & Breakfast (for the brand’s loyal followers), along with the distiller’s residence, at the westernmost point on the famed Kentucky Bourbon Trail."
Note: As always, we can't and don't personally vouch for these projects, however this one seems to be run by a team with a lot of passion for Kentucky and Kentucky Bourbon, and we wish them the best of luck.


Suntory's recent award wins
It's been a big year for Suntory. After officially launching in Australia earlier this year, the distillery has gone on to win a host of awards, including being named the “Distiller of the Year” by the International Spirits Challenge (ISC) in July for the third year in a row and fourth time overall since 2010. Also presented in the ISC 2014 were nine gold awards for individual whiskies including Hibiki 21 Years Old, Hakushu Sherry Cask 2014 and Yamazaki 18 Years Old. We're also tipping them to be at the fore of what we predict will be a huge boom in Highball popularity in Australia this summer.

..and yes, there was that chap with long grey hair who said he liked the Yamazaki Single Malt Sherry Cask 2013 quite a lot, but as I've tried to point out previously on this site, I don't place a lot of importance or value on the opinion's of one single person. That's why, when it comes to awards in the whisk(e)y world (of which there are many), I prefer those which see spirits tasted by a panel of judges, blind.

Regardless, there's no doubt that Suntory's whisky portfolio is a fantastic one, and they produce some cracking whiskies that easily rival Scotland's best. Steph and I are visiting both Yamazaki and Hakushu for distillery tours in December, and can't wait.
"Commenting on the accolades, Yosuke Minato, GM of Trade Marketing & Corporate Planning at Suntory Australia, said: “Suntory Whisky is the most highly awarded house of Japanese whisky which is testament to the superb products produced by the Yamazaki and Hakushu distilleries. Suntory Whisky can be described as having a delicate and elegant flavour profile, and is synonymous with quality and sophistication. 
“Japanese whisky has also been very well-received in Australia and we’re experiencing significant ongoing demand from consumers looking for a refined, subtle yet complex whisky. Delicious when consumed neat or as a highball (with soda water), Suntory Whisky is also a fantastic accompaniment to food and pairs nicely with a broad range of cuisines in addition to Japanese,” added Yosuke."
The Suntory Whisky range currently available in Australian includes:
Yamazaki Distiller’s Reserve                       RRP AU$80
Yamazaki 12 year old                                  RRP AU$110
Hakushu Distiller’s Reserve                         RRP AU$80
Hakushu 12 year old                                    RRP AU$110
Hibiki 12 year old                                        RRP AU$110
Hibiki 17 year old                                        RRP AU$150

Our tasting notes and thoughts on these whiskies can be found here.

Until next time...

Cheers, 
- Martin.

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