In his final whisky industry news round-up of 2023, Simon Wittenberg takes a look at some of the latest releases and launches from the world of whisky which have made the headlines.
Ardbeg The Rollercoaster
Ardbeg has unveiled a twin set of rare single malts that commemorate the Islay distillery’s turbulent past in the 1980s, hence the name. The Rollercoaster’s first whisky is from the very last cask from the remaining stock from 1981.
It is a lightly peated 42-year-old expression – a rare example of “Kildalton-style” Ardbeg. It has been aged in bourbon barrels before being transferred into a single Oloroso sherry cask to deliver a hint of spice.
The Rollercoaster’s second whisky marks Ardbeg’s revival in 1989 and is one of the final casks remaining from that year. Distilled a few days after production resumed, this 33-year-old was laid down in bourbon casks before being transferred into a single-refill bourbon cask to enhance its peaty nature.
Ardbeg then, of course, closed down again in 1991 before being resurrected a year later.
Only 143 sets are available through the Moët Hennessy Private Client Channel, with the price available on application.
For more information, visit www.ardbeg.com.
Benromach Double Matured Bordeaux Wine Cask Finish
Benromach Distillery in Speyside has added an expression to its Contrasts line-up – a 12-year-old double matured limited release named Benromach Double Matured Bordeaux Wine Cask Finish.
This spirit has been laid down in first-fill bourbon barrels, followed by Bordeaux red wine casks for five years, to create a creative twist on the signature Benromach style.
Whisky connoisseurs are treated to subtle honey and floral notes, with zesty tangerine, dark forest fruits and toasted oak flavours on the palate. A medium-bodied finish is complemented by Benromach’s signature soft peat smoke.
Coming with an ABV of 46%, Benromach Double Matured Bordeaux Wine Cask Finish is available for purchase via Independent Whisky Specialists at a recommended retail price of £59.99.
For further details, visit www.benromach.com.
Buffalo Trace Distillery Eagle Rare 25
The Buffalo Trace Distillery from Kentucky in the USA has unveiled the Eagle Rare 25 expression, an ultra-aged bourbon and the oldest expression released from the Eagle Rare portfolio.
It’s also the first to originate from Warehouse P, one of Buffalo Trace Distillery’s two experimental warehouses, constructed to test if it was possible to favourably extend both the ageing and maturation processes typical for American whiskey and bourbon.
Eagle Rare 25 boasts notes of intense cherry, oak, dark chocolate, and an icing drizzle beginning on the nose. The palate is a balance of vanilla, dark fruit, and butterscotch, followed by an extremely long finish with lingering notes of baking spice and black pepper.
Eagle Rare 25 was bottled upon reaching its silver anniversary in the barrel, symbolised by the custom sterling silver wing hand-hammered to encase each hand-blown crystal decanter perfectly.
Approximately 200 750ml bottles of Eagle Rare 25 have been released at a suggested retail price of $10,000 (around £8,000) per bottle.
For more information, please visit www.buffalotracedistillery.com.
Linn House Opens Its Doors
Sitting on the banks of River Isla in Scotland’s Speyside, Linn House, an indulgent whisky retreat, has opened its doors to the public for the first time. The spectacular Victorian estate is owned by Chivas Brothers – a portfolio which features the likes of The Glenlivet and Royal Salute.
The 12-bedroom property, which has origins dating back to the 1870s, boasts rustic-chic interiors and luxurious amenities, and the dedicated team at Linn House will work closely with guests to design a tailor-made itinerary for the ideal rural escape in the Scottish countryside.
Linn House features a carefully curated whisky library with an outstanding selection from renowned Chivas Brothers-owned brands, such as Aberlour and Scapa. Guests can discover these iconic whiskies through expertly guided tastings, learning about their rich heritage and sampling limited-release editions up to 30 years old.
This one-of-a-kind tasting experience is complemented by a culinary journey prepared by Linn House’s resident chef, who uses fresh, locally sourced produce to create elegant seasonal dishes. Feasts include traditional Scottish dinners where the haggis is addressed, served in the oak-panelled mahogany dining room, and followed by a nightcap by the firepit under the starry Speyside sky.
For more information and bookings, visit www.chivasbrothers.com.
Talisker Glacial Edge 45-Year-Old
Talisker has unveiled its Glacial Edge 45-year-old ultra-rare whisky, which costs £4,500 per bottle. This expression (49.8% ABV) has matured across four decades, before being finished in ice-fractured oak, a first for the distillery.
Twelve heavily charred American oak casks were taken to Canada’s ice fields, before a cooper removed the ends of the casks to be exposed to sub-zero temperatures and Arctic winds for a period of 96 hours. This caused the wood to fracture, which thereby increased the service area of the wood that was able to interact with the whisky during the finishing process in Scotland.
The result is an expression that features a light, peppery nose and hints of dried fruits and creamy vanilla. The taste starts toffee-sweet, then becomes salty before a very long finish.
For more information, visit www.justerinis.com.
Turntable Collaboration Drop 01 With Starward
Turntable, the small-batch whisky blender from Glasgow in Scotland, has formed a one-of-a-kind partnership with the Australian distillery Starward, working jointly on the release of a new limited edition blend.
It is the first of a new collaborative series, and Drop 01 unites the northern and southern hemispheres. Only 3,300 bottles will be made available worldwide, priced at £85 each, and will feature a unique label where the UV ink glows in the dark.
For more information, visit www.turntablespirits.com.
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