Category Archives: New Releases

Ardbeg Dark Cove

Ardbeg Dark Cove Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky
46.5% ABV
$109.99
Website
Ardbeg Dark Cove General Release Bottle Image
What the Distillery Says:
THE UNTAMED SPIRIT OF ISLAY
If you stand on the rocky headland behind Ardbeg Distillery today, it’s hard to believe this idyllic spot has a turbulent and murky past. For Ardbeg was once a notorious hideout for smugglers, who plied their trade within its hidden caves and secret beaches. Dark tales abound of ill-gotten gains, daring deeds and narrow escapes from the island’s excise men, until finally a raid was made, the dens destroyed and the gang scattered. Shortly afterwards, John McDougall founded Ardbeg Distillery on the site of their nefarious operations. From that dark past came the greatest legend of all…
THE DARKEST ARDBEG EVER
Inspired by our dark past, Ardbeg Dark Cove is a clandestine meeting of whisky matured in ex-Bourbon casks and a heart matured in dark sherry casks. So, take this year’s Limited Edition and hide it well. For it is Ardbeg’s darkest spirit ever.

TASTING NOTES:
COLOR: The darkest Ardbeg ever.
NOSE: At first meaty, earthy and spicy. Bold notes of dark chocolate emerge against orange, rich treacle toffee, coffee and oak. Wafts of a distant, smoky bonfire in the background, along with a mysterious floral note, like flowering blackcurrant bushes. And lashings of linseed oil.
TASTE: The mouthfeel is almost tart, or zesty lime. Raisins, dates,ginger and pepper spice surge forward, then retreat. Waves of smouldering charcoal, wood polish and huge, tarry creosote notes follow. Finally, a more savory note escapes; cured smoked ham and squid ink noodles.
FINISH: Long, spicy and rich with lingering notes of toffee, coffee and tar.

What Richard Says:
Nose: The nose is full on smoky Ardbeg. If there is sherry in there I surely can’t find it. Spicy, herbaceous, and campfire smoky. Give the whisky a good bit of time to sit and open up and it gets a little jammy sweet.
Palate: A rich raisin and toffee sweetness jump out front. Smoked bacon wrapped dates with freshly grated ginger comes to mind. More please!!!
Finish: The finish is long, peppery, and sooty.
Comments: So…when I read about this year’s committee bottling I was less than pleased. The recent scotch intersections of peat and sherry I’ve found to be very wanting. Ardbog I thought was medicinal and meh. Dark Origins is to this day the only thing I’ve ever had from one of my favorite distilleries that I didn’t like and it was basically Highland Park 12 with “twice the sherry”. In the same vein the Glasgow Blend is the only disappointment I’ve had from Compass Box. I’m not saying these whiskies weren’t well crafted because by all means they were. It’s just that bastard child of sherry and peat tends to make me cringe…until now. With this release Ardbeg has somehow isolated a great smoky nose and finish with a rich pruned fruit sherry taste and married then without disturbing the other. The palate doesn’t scream Ardbeg. It’s a delicious example of well sherried single malt that is sitting like a cherished pearl in the middle of a smoky Ardbeg storm. Color me very impressed.
Rating: Must Try

We would like to thank LVMH and The Baddish Group for sending over a sample for review.

New Releases – March thru May 2012

It seems like this move to Columbia is taking up a lot more of my time than I thought it would. I’m so far behind on Whisk(e)y Apostle content that it’s kind of sad. Well, I’m three months delinquent on new release updates so this will be covering everything I’ve heard about in March, April, and May.

Angel’s Envy Cask Strength
Timeframe: Q4 2012
ABV: 122% to 123%
Price: TBD
This new release from Louisville Distilling will be finished in port pipes just like regular Angel’s Envy but it will be finished for a good bit longer. Typically Angel’s Envy is 3 to 6 months of finishing but the Cask Strength will be soaking up that port goodness for around 22 months. It will be 6 to 8 years old after finishing.

Black Ridge Small Batch
Timeframe: TBD
ABV: 45%
Price: TBD
No details on this one. It was found to be a pending Buffalo Trace release from the COLA online database.

Dalmore Castle Leod
Timeframe: Now
ABV: 46%
Price: $135
This limited edition bottling celebrates the ancient and historic seat of Clan Mackenzie and is the second in a series crafted by Master Distiller Richard Paterson in homage to Clan Mackenzie. The Vintage 1995 expression was matured initially in American white oak and Spanish sherry wood, before being transferred for a final 18 months to barriques from a 1st cru classe Bordeaux chateau.

E.H. Taylor Barrel Proof
Timeframe: June
ABV: 67.25%
Price: $69.99
This barrel proof, uncut, unfiltered rye recipe bourbon was aged for seven years on the sixth floor of Buffalo Trace’s Warehouse C, built by Colonel Taylor in 1881. This release is fourth in the line of E. H. Taylor, Jr. collection of whiskeys.

Elijah Craig 12 Year Old Cask Strength
Timeframe: Now
ABV: 66%
Price: $75
This will be a distillery only bottling.

Elijah Craig 20 Year Old Single Barrel
Timeframe: Late May/Early June
ABV: 45%
Price: $130
This release will be replacing the standard 18 Year Old for a limited time. Apparently Heaven Hill has just too darn much 20 year old bourbon. More likely they had a good portion of the existing 18 that was actually close to 20 years old and they decided they could make a lot more money if they showed the real age on the bottle. Trolling the COLA online database also uncovered labels for 21, 22, and 23 year old one off bottlings that may be in the pipeline.

Glenmorangie Artein
Timeframe: Now
ABV: 46%
Price: $75
This is the newest in the series of Private Editions from Glenmorangie. This one is finished in Sassicaia wine barrels.

High West Campfire
Timeframe: TBD
ABV: TBD
Price: TBD
This is the new release from Dave Perkins at High West mixing bourbon, rye, and single malt scotch!

Jeffers Creek Bourbon
Timeframe: TBD
ABV: 40%
Price:TBD
6 year old release coming out from Buffalo Trace. This one also came out of the COLA online database.

Johnnie Walker Gold Reserve and Platinum
Timeframe: Summer 2012
ABV: TBD
Two in. Two out. Diageo is pulling Green label and Gold label and replacing them with these two priced around the same.

Jura 1976
Timeframe: TBD
ABV: 46%
Price: TBD
New release coming stateside but light on the details.

Mitcher’s 20 Year Old Single Barrel Bourbon
Timeframe: TBD
ABV: 55.4%
Price: TBD
Another COLA find.

Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel
Timeframe: TBD
ABV: 55%
Price: TBD
No official word. This is another product of COLA trolling.

Southern Comfort Bold Black Cherry
Timeframe: June 2012
ABV: 35%
Price: $16.99
The name kind of says it all. SoCo keeps expanding their stable of flavors to compete in the Red Stag environment.

Two Stars Bourbon
Timeframe: TBD
ABV: 45%
Price: TBD
Another pending Buffalo Trace release. This one is coming out under the Clear Springs Distilling Co. label which is a label that they use for wholesale releases like Costco, etc.

Wild Turkey 81 Rye
Timeframe: Now
ABV: 40.5%
Price: $20
Wild Turkey rolled this out earlier this year. It’s in the same vein as the previous 81 bourbon.

That sums it up. As always, if I missed anything please let me know. I’ll also try to get caught up with all the stuff I want to share the whiskey apostles out there.

Drink wisely my friends,

Richard

New U.S. Releases – February 2012

Did you hear that? That was the sound of a pin dropping. That’s how quiet it was for new releases in February. We did hear about a couple but they barely sneaked under the wire before month end.

Old Bushmills Honey
Timeframe – TBD
ABV – TBD
Price – TBD
This is a new Bushmills based honey liqueur designed exclusively for the U.S. market. I first heard rumblings from Chuck Cowdery over on Straightbourbon and additional details are scarce at the moment.

Temperance Trader Bourbon
Timeframe – March 2012
ABV – 43%
Price – $29.95
This release is another high rye bourbon sourced and bottled by a craft distiller. Bull Run Distilling Company out of Portland, Oregon is the aforementioned distiller bottling this one. Initial distribution is only Oregon, Illinois, and Tennessee at the moment.

And that’s all folks! Maybe March will hold more whiskey goodness for us.

Drink wisely my friends,

Richard

New U.S. Releases – January 2012

January is usually a pretty light month for the new release rumor mill. In both 2010 and 2011 we only had two whiskeys on our list. 2012 looks to break that trend. How about 11 new whiskeys coming our way? Check out our list below and see if something here might help you start off your year right.

Aberlour 12 Year NCF
Timeframe: TBD 2012
ABV: 48%
Price: TBD
Ah, Aberlour my secret little sherry aged dram. Aberlour has been gaining steam lately. They relaunched with new packaging, reintroduced an 18 Year Old, and now they have a new version on their 12 Year Old in the pipeline. This version will be bottled at 48% ABV instead of the current 40% and will be non-chill filtered.

Breakout Premium Rye
Timeframe: Now
ABV: 43%
Price: $35
This is a new 8 Year Old rye coming to market from the Tennessee Distilling Company (ironically from Pewaukee, WI). No word on the sourcing of this new rye but it’s already been seen in California and Michigan.

E.H. Taylor Jr Warehouse C Tornado Surviving Bourbon
Timeframe: Early 2012
ABV: 50%
Price: $70
According to Buffalo Trace (and Glenfiddich) if a storm tears up your warehouse then you need to release a special whiskey to celebrate. I don’t personally think you ever really need a reason so they can use whatever they want. This particular reason is 93 barrels of bourbon that survived the April 2, 2006 tornado strike on Warehouse C built by Colonel Edmund Haynes Taylor, Jr in 1881.

Evan Williams Cinnamon Reserve
Timeframe: February 2012
ABV: 70% ABV
Price: $14.99
So apparently this flavored whiskey thing is taking off. While I’m not a huge fan of the category personally I think it’s good to see more whiskey products on the shelves crowding out all that damn vodka. We recently told you about new Red Stag extensions and now Heaven Hill is adding to their Evan Williams Reserve stable with a cinnamon version. This new release will keep their current Cherry and Honey versions company.

Evan Williams Single Barrel 2002 Vintage
Timeframe: Now
ABV: 43%
Price: $25
The roll out of the annual Evan Williams seems to be getting quieter every year. Heaven Hill didn’t even send out a press release this year. They just quietly started rolling out 2002 vintage to replace the 2001 vintage at the beginning of the year.

Glenfiddich Cask of Dreams
Timeframe: February 2012
ABV: 48.8%
Price: $99
Directly from Glenfiddich:
“Cask of Dreams is the celebrated culmination of Glenfiddich’s 2011 Cask of Dreams campaign, a national tour designed to inspire people nationwide to pursue their pioneering passions and dreams and to help bring them to life. Glenfiddich Ambassadors Heather Greene, Freddy May, and Mitch Bechard traveled the country, rolling casks through the streets and landmarks of major cities and encouraged whisky lovers to write their dreams and aspirations on then. The resulting casks were signed by thousands of Americans before their fond farewell to Dufftown to help create Cask of Dreams.

Cask of Dreams is a special marriage of Glenfiddich whiskies taken from a hand-picked selection of American oak casks holding matured whiskies of a variety of ages, with the youngest at 14 Years Old. This whisky was then decanted into the 11 inscribed casks and left to finish in the virgin American oak to bring an intense and powerful vanilla sweetness.”

Glenmorangie Artein
Timeframe: Early 2012
ABV: 46%
Price: TBD
This new 15 year old offering from Glenmorangie is the latest of Dr. Bill Lumsden’s ‘Private Edition’ offerings of finished boutique drams. This release saw time in Italian “Super Tuscan” red wine casks.

Jailers Tennessee Whiskey
Timeframe: Now
ABV: TBD
Price: $23
This is another one from the Tennessee Distilling Company. I have no additional information at this point.

Monkey Shoulder
Timeframe: TBD 2012
ABV: 40%
Price: $30
Monkey Shoulder isn’t new. It’s been around for quite awhile just not here. It’s a blended malt from William Grant and Sons. It’s a blend of three Speyside single malts. While not named, I’m assuming it’s the three that WG&S owns: Glenfiddich, Balvenie, and Kinivie. I’ve never had the pleasure of trying it but I’ve heard very good things. I’m glad to see it finally coming to the U.S.

SinFire Cinnamon Whisky
Timeframe: February 2012
ABV: 40%
Price: $16.99
Cinnamon is a big hit this month. Hood River Distillers is bringing out a cinnamon flavored Canadian whisky. It’s billed as a “unique, sweet yet sizzling experience.”

Woodford Reserve Double Oaked
Timeframe: March 2012
ABV: 45.2%
Price: $50
This new offering is the first permanent line extension from Woodford in its 15 year history. Double Oaked, as you might imagine, spends time in two separate barrels. The first is the standard new charred oak barrel. The second is a deeply toasted barrel with a light charring. The new version is supposed to have additional soft, sweet oak character. Brown Forman was kind enough to send me a sample. As soon as I finally kick this damn sinus infection it will be the first one I’ll try.

That’s all we heard about this month. If we missed anything please let us know. Oh, if you’re looking for that Redbreast Cask Strength 12 Year Old it should start showing up on retailer shelves any day now. 😉

Drink wisely my friends,

Richard

A little something for our UK readers

I know I’ve been out of the loop recently, but I have two announcements that should intrigue our readers in the UK.

JW STEAKHOUSE LAUNCHES ITS OWN JACK DANIEL’S SINGLE BARREL

JW Steakhouse is delighted to announce the launch of its very own Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel – a truly unique-tasting whiskey exclusively available to guests of the restaurant. Following months going through the bespoke process, JW Steakhouse’s Single Barrel will arrive from the Jack Daniel Distillery in Lynchberg, Tennessee and be available to buy in the restaurant in spring 2012.

Only one in a hundred barrels is selected by Jack Daniel’s Master Taster to carry the Single Barrel label, and JW Steakhouse feels privileged to have acquired one of these and be able to offer a whiskey that is uniquely available to its guests and one that can not be experienced anywhere else in the world. A Single Barrel whiskey is distinctive due to its rich and intense flavours owing to the advantaged position it holds at the upper reaches of the barrelhouses.

In October 2011, a tasting session took place in the restaurant with Grosvenor House’s General Manager Stuart Bowery, Restaurant Manager Raoul de Souza, Beverage Manager Pierce du Plessis and the rest of the F&B team, with samples selected by the Master Taster.  This ensured the team chose a whiskey that best fits the JW Steakhouse guests’ taste preferences. Batch 1007 was selected as the first ‘JW Steakhouse single barrel’. It was agreed that the initial nose, which highlighted the toasted oak nature of the barrel would appeal to a traditional Jack Daniel’s drinker, whilst the hints of liquorice, smoke and toffee would remind them of the luxurious nature of the whiskey. The palate highlighted the complexity of Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel with wonderful flavours of maple and vanilla coupled with a punchy spiciness that one would usually associate with a rye whiskey, and a long finish that is more akin with the finest single malt Scotch whiskies. As Stuart Bowery comments “all in all a truly remarkable whiskey and perfect for JW Steakhouse”.

The empty barrel will be proudly displayed at the bar having been sanded, varnished and engraved with the JW Steakhouse logo. Having been fledged a member of the Jack Daniel family, a plaque bearing the restaurant’s name will also be displayed on the distillery wall.

Since opening in May 2010, JW Steakhouse at Grosvenor House, A JW Marriott Hotel in Mayfair has firmly established itself as a leading American steakhouse in London and this is the latest way in which the restaurant continues to offer its guests unique and enjoyable tasting experiences whilst heralding its trans-Atlantic heritage. In addition to this new exclusive Jack Daniel Single Barrel, The Bourbon Bar at JW Steakhouse also has an extensive array of other single barrels and small batch bourbons, offered in innovative tasting flights, to complement the restaurant’s menu.

Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel will be available from March.  It will be priced at £10.00 per 50ml measure and £130.00 per bottle. For reservations telephone 020 7399 8460 or visit www.jwsteakhouse.co.uk

BURNS NIGHT IN KNIGHTSBRIDGE AT THE RIB ROOM

“But we hae meat, and we can eat, Sae let the Lord be thankit” – Robert Burns, The Selkirk Grace
This January, The Rib Room Bar & Restaurant at Jumeirah Carlton Tower is opening the doors to patriotic Scots and sympathetic Sassenachs in celebration of the birth of Burns, with a five course tasting menu from the four corners of Caledonia.

From 20-25 January, for £50 per person, diners can enjoy an array of classic seasonal Scottish dishes given a modern twist by head chef Ian Rudge.

Straight from Scotland’s bonnie banks and braes, a starter salad of Crowdie cheese, pickled vegetables, beetroot, roasted walnuts and croutons is closely followed by the fish course and an innovative twist on a classic; a delicate dish of pan-fried scallops with a Cullen skink and cauliflower purée. Followed with magnificently prepared loin of Highland venison with haggis and chestnut casserole, parsnip and apple. Providing a taste of Scotland’s sweet tooth an array of desserts include cranachan, chocolate and Drambuie mousse and Dundee cake soufflé. A must try are mini Tunnocks-inspired petit fours to accompany your coffee.

For a full-blooded Burns experience, guests can hire The Buccleuch private dining room for £100 per person and enjoy all the trappings of tradition. As well as the five course menu, diners will receive a bottle of Glenmorangie Astar Single Malt to share and an additional middlecourse of haggis, neeps and tatties welcomed by a piper before your own personal poet reciting Burns’ most famous Ode, celebrating the “Great Chieftan o’ the Puddin-race!”

Discerning drinkers can also join the celebrations with a specially created heather infused gin cocktail, aptly named Slàinte (Gaelic for cheers!) or The Rib Room Bar’s signature, ‘Flaming Bobby Burns’, a ‘blazer cocktail’ featuring a beguiling blend of Glenmorangie Astar Single Malt Whisky, aged sweet Antica Formula Vermouth and Benedictine poured alight from one glass to the next in a thrilling serve at the bar.

The Rib Room Bar & Restaurant has reopened following an extensive refurbishment by Martin Brudnizki. The legendary Knightsbridge institution has been reinvented for the 21st century, offering guests a stylish place to dine with the world-renowned Jumeirah standard of service.

So if you are stuck south of the border on the 25th January, The Rib Room Bar & Restaurant is sure to be the bonniest Burns Night in London.

The Rib Room Burns Supper Menu
20th-25th January 2012
£50 per person
Including a Slàinte cocktail on arrival
Salad of Crowdie cheese, pickled vegetables, beetroot, roasted walnuts and croutons
* * *
Pan fried scallop, Cullen Skink and cauliflower puree
* * *
Loin of Highland venison, haggis and chestnut casserole, parsnip and apple.
* * *
A tasting of Scotland, Cranachan, chocolate and Drambuie mousse, Dundee cake soufflé
* * *
Coffee & mini Tunnocks