Let's take a look at July's Pour & Sip box!
We’re more than half-way through the year, folks! But the passing of time means that we’ve got another stellar selection of whiskies for you to try, from Tennessee, Taiwan, and Scotland.
With a name that’s sure to catch your eye, Daddy Rack is a Tennessee whiskey founded by J. Arthur Rackham, and its moniker comes from a nickname that his eldest daughter Grace gave to him. Rackham was in the drinks industry for over 50 years before deciding to create his own delicious whiskey – if this is the result, we don’t know what took him so long! The whiskey itself is sourced from an undisclosed distillery in Tennessee, made up of a mash bill of 80% corn, 10% rye, and 10% malted barley, with all the corn sourced from local farmers within 50 miles of the distillery – Rackham then puts his blending skills to use to create Daddy Rack. Tennessee whiskey legally has to go through The Lincoln County Process, whereby the spirit is filtered through maple charcoal before it’s filled into lightly-charred American white oak barrels. But Daddy Rack goes one step further, maple charcoal-filtering the whiskey after it’s been in the cask, too, which is unusual. Expect oodles of salted toffee popcorn, caramelised nuts, and hints of spices in this rich whiskey!
This Taiwanese whisky is produced at the King Car Distillery, released for the Kavalan range! ‘Kavalan’ is the former name of what is now known as the Yi-Lan County, where the distillery is based, and its first expression was launched back in 2008. A combination of high humidity and scorching temperatures (the top floor of the maturation warehouse can soar to 45°C!) mean that while it’s ageing, the whisky battles with an angel’s share of up to 15% each year – for comparison, Scotland sees just 2%. Warmer temperatures increase the wood and spirit interaction, so all of Kavalan’s whisky is matured exclusively in American oak, which is gentler than its European counterpart. The Port Cask Finish release from its Concertmaster series is made with whiskies initially matured in American oak before being finished in a range of Ruby Port, Tawny Port, and vintage Port casks. It’s jammy fruit, dry spices, and wood influence galore here!
A limited-edition release, the Celebratory Blend from Johnnie Walker was created in 2020 in honour of the brand's 200th anniversary. It was inspired by John Walker & Sons’ Old Highland Whisky which was first sold back in the 1860s – not only was this the whisky that launched the brand to great heights, it was also the first expression to be housed in the hallmark square bottle with the label slanted at precisely 24°! Johnnie Walker master blender Jim Beveridge OBE delved into the archives for this one, as the blend features whiskies from distilleries that were in production at that time (though the exact blend in this release remains a mystery) – he even took a look through the stocktaking books from John Walker’s shop for flavour inspiration. It’s also bottled at 51% ABV as that was the strength that whiskies were sold at from the 1860s to 1890s. The aim was to create a flavour profile as close as possible to what you may have found in the old shop in the 1800s. With gentle baking spices, subtle smoke, and bold fruit, it’s like a little sip back in time!
Not only is Bowmore Islay’s oldest licensed distillery, but it’s also home to one of the world’s oldest Scotch maturation warehouses – the famed No. 1 Vaults, after which this bottling range is named! This is the second release in the Vault Edition series, appropriately titled Peat Smoke. As you may have guessed, it was made to showcase the distillery’s smoky character, though there’s also a delicious combination of sea salt and fruity sweetness bringing balance. The warehouse was established in 1779, and the Atlantic sea spray which washes against the sea-facing wall of the building helps add a savoury maritime complexity to the whisky slumbering inside. The result in this release from the distillery is wafts of classic Islay smokiness alongside red fruit, and a good helping of savoury coastal balance.
There are just three whisky distilleries in the small region of Campbeltown, and Glen Scotia is one of them! It’s not just based in the smallest whisky region, it’s also one of the smallest Scotch distilleries, with its coastal location adding a distinctive, enjoyable salinity to its whiskies. This 18 Year Old release spent its first 17 years in a combination of refill ex-bourbon casks and refill American oak hogsheads. Then, Glen Scotia malt master Iain McAlister vatted the two cask types together in first-fill Oloroso sherry casks for a 12-month finishing period. It’s not unusual for Campbeltown whiskies to showcase some smoke and funk, though you won’t find any of that here – it’s light and creamy, while retaining a rich oiliness and subtle coastal influence.
We can’t wait for you to try this month’s line-up! As always, let us know what you think – we love to talk whisky with you. On the blog this month, we’ll be taking a dive into the history of Johnnie Walker, and giving you a masterclass on different oak types. Oh, and as always, we have a chat with a distillery in store, but you’ll have to wait and see who that’s with…