Jumping into January!
Not only have we entered a new month, but a new year! What better way to kick it off than with a whole new selection of whiskies? We’ve got classic Scotch, Kentucky bourbon and even some shiny new releases for you. Let’s get unboxing, shall we?!
The Cardrona Just Hatched
This is the first single malt from the New Zealand-based Cardrona Distillery, which was only built in 2015! It’s called (rather adorably) Just Hatched because it’s bottled at the minimum age for it to still be legally called a whisky, which is a youthful three years and a day. Its time was spent primarily in ex-bourbon barrels, though a small proportion of the whisky rested in ex-sherry butts, before it was bottled up at a generous cask strength of 64.4% ABV. Young whiskies often get overlooked, but this is sure to change any preconceptions you may have. The waxy, citrusy single malt is just the beginning from this new distillery, and it’s one way to get us excited about what the future holds!
Ledaig Sinclair Series – Rioja Cask Finish
Ledaig (pronounced “Led-chig”) is the name for the super-peated whisky that’s produced at Tobermory, which you’ll find on the Isle of Mull. The distillery itself was formerly known as Ledaig, so this is a little nod to its history. We’re lucky enough to have a sparkly new Ledaig release in this month’s box, which is the first whisky in the distillery’s new Sinclair Series! Named after Tobermory’s founder John Sinclair (who established it in 1798), the first release is a smoky single malt matured in ex-bourbon casks, and then moved to Spanish Rioja wine casks for an 18-month finish. This cask choice wasn’t random either, and has its roots in yet more history, as the distillery looked to Spain for its cask finish because over 400 years ago, a bounty of Spanish treasure was found off the coast of the Isle of Mull. I love it when everything comes together, particularly when it tastes as good as this smoky, peppery, berry-packed single malt!
Old Pulteney 12 Year Old
This fabulous bourbon-matured 12 Year Old from Old Pulteney is a sweet, coastal delight, though history wasn’t always working in favour of one of the most northerly distilleries on the Scottish mainland. Based in the fishing town of Wick, the distillery has an unlikely story considering its speciality. Its Highland home became a ‘dry’ town in 1920, meaning that the creation and consumption of alcohol was banned for the next 25 years! Many may have thought that was curtains for the distillery, but luckily it came through the other side because now we have delightfully well-balanced whiskies like this one to enjoy. The creamy vanilla and gentle spice from the cask are a dream alongside the more savoury, maritime nuances of the whisky itself.
New Riff Straight Bourbon
Over in Kentucky, New Riff burst onto the scene in 2014, and we’ve got its Straight Bourbon in our box! It’s produced from a trio of grains (non-GMO, no less), boasting a mash bill of 65% corn, 30% rye, and 5% malted barley. That’s a fairly generous helping of rye, so expect a good balance of spice and herbal notes among the buttery corn sweetness. Another thing that’s rather interesting about this bourbon is that it’s bottled-in-bond. This means it must be produced by a single distiller at a single distillery in one season, aged for a minimum of four years in a bonded warehouse, and bottled at 50% ABV. Oily orange citrus, rye bread and those hallmark buttery caramel flavours are all bundled into this one!
Drumshanbo Single Pot Still
Drumshanbo Single Pot Still comes to us from The Shed Distillery in Ireland, which not only produced fabulous spirits but holds the title of the first distillery in Connacht for over 100 years! There’s lots of Irish tradition held in this whiskey, not least because alongside malted and unmalted Irish barley, it’s also made with Irish Barra oats. Traditionally, oats were commonly used in Irish whiskey though seem to have become a much rarer sight. It’s pretty cool to see them make a comeback, and they also add a creamy dimension to the spirit. Both pot still whiskey (which uses both malted and unmalted barley, unlike single malts which only use the former) and triple distillation have strong historical Irish ties, too, so while this is a modern whiskey it’s not afraid to remember where it comes from! A combination of Kentucky bourbon and ex-Oloroso sherry casks kept this one safe during its maturation, you’ve got a balance of creaminess and spice from the grains alongside the same balance from the cask influence.
Stay tuned for more whisky fun this month!