Upstart farm distillery Kilchoman has added a new single malt to its permanent portfolio, next to one of my favorites, Machir Bay. Kilchoman specializes in pristine craft peated malt that is remarkable for being excellent at a young age – like 3 or 4 years young. Like Machir Bay, this is partially sherry-aged. In Sanaig’s case, it’s an extra 10 months of aging in oloroso sherry casks.
…both bourbons are made from a mashbill of 68% corn, 28% rye, and 4% malted barley (for enzymes). At more than twice the price of its NAS sibling, the 10-year is essentially the same juice, but aged for a full 10 years in charred white American oak barrels and bottled at a very slightly higher 91.2 proof (45.6% ABV).
The West Cork Distillery is a new (opened in 2003 as an experimental “pet project” and then expanded to its current location in 2013) and actually independent Irish distiller, unlike the previous poster-child for Irish (whiskey) independence, Cooley, which sold to Beam Suntory in 2011. Among other things, West Cork bottles this blend and a 10 year-old Irish Single Malt.
This NAS (no-age-statement) bottling combines Ardbeg from ex-bourbon casks with a “heart” of Ardbeg finished in “dark sherry” casks. No details on how they’re defining “dark sherry” (or “heart” for that matter), but the Internet has decided this means heavily-seasoned sherry casks. The result is bottled without chill-filtration at 46.5% ABV.
I tasted a sample of Verso rye whisky from the Kyrö Distillery Company in Finland that was collected from bottle in April of 2015. This is a 100% malted rye whisky aged for only four months in very small new American white oak casks and bottled at 46.5% ABV. The distillery, which makes several products all from rye grain, began distilling in 2014 in a refurbished cheese factory.
Superstition is Jura’s house malt but heavily peated (although the bottle says “lightly” peated, I would lump it in with fully peated malts like Laphroaig and Talisker) and aged in ex-bourbon casks. It’s quite reasonably priced, at $50 – $60, which is the new $40, didn’t you know?
The Wyoming Whiskey small batch wheated bourbon is distilled from a mashbill of corn, wheat, and barley and is aged in new charred white oak barrels for five years (or so – there’s no age statement on the bottle). Then it’s bottled at 44% ABV and retails for around $40. They source all of their grain from Wyoming farms growing Non-GMO corn, wheat, and barley.
The entry-level product from the upstart Canadian distillery, Forty Creek. As it’s positioned as a direct competitor to the entry-level Crown Royal, the flavor profile makes sense. It definitely tastes like a “higher end” Crown for not much more money. It’s also cheap enough to mix with. Forty Creek ages their copper pot-still components (rye, corn, and barley) in separate barrels and then carefully blends them together for the final product, an unusual approach.
The much more reasonably-priced 10 year bottling (also labelled “Jura Origin”) is aged exclusively in ex-bourbon casks and is not peated. As an entry-level, unpeated, and non-sherried malt, it showcases the “blank slate” that Jura’s house character is grown from. While there is a small amount of peat in the water used by Jura, I can’t discern it in the glass.
This weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the Whiskies of the World 2016 show in San Francisco on the beautiful Hornblower Yacht: The San Fransisco Belle. While it remained docked throughout the show, the motion of the waves definitely seemed to… uhh, intensify as the night’s tastings went on. Read some highlights from the show…