A very busy week with new whisky releases. A brand new Ardbeg, 3 new and peated AnCnocs, J&B Urban honey drink and more
Ardbeg releases the ‘Auriverdes’ limited edition
Ardbeg – four-time winner of the World’s Best Scotch Whisky award – will launch its latest Limited Edition, Auriverdes, on Ardbeg Day; the distillery’s annual global celebration of all things Ardbeg. The 2014 Limited Edition, to be released on the 31st May, has been matured in American oak casks with specially toasted cask lids which were tailor-made for this whisky.
The toasting technique has given the whisky a distinctive flavour profile with the lids producing a mocha coffee flavour at one end, flowing into creamy vanilla at the other – truly a dram of two halves!
The name of Ardbeg Auriverdes derives from the colour of the golden whisky (auri) in Ardbeg’s iconic green bottle (verde). Auriverdes is also the nickname of the national football team of Brazil, hosts of this summer’s World Cup, and inspiration behind Ardbeg’s Peat Football tournament which will be happening all around the world on Ardbeg Day, culminating in the Ardbeg Swamp Football World Cup on June 28th and 29th in Argyll, Scotland.
Ardbeg Auriverdes follows the highly-acclaimed Limited Edition Galileo, which scooped the title of ‘World’s Best Single Malt’ at the World Whisky Awards 2013. The 2014 Limited Edition Ardbeg is bottled at 49.9% ABV and will be available from www.ardbeg.com
Dr Bill Lumsden, Director of Distillation and Whisky Creation, explains: “When creating Auriverdes I had a distinct flavour profile in mind that I wanted to achieve, so I specifically created the heart of the recipe to bring that to life. It is an expression of Ardbeg which has exceeded all my expectations – it has the trademark Ardbeg undertones with a distinct new taste experience. Ardbeg Auriverdes has an explosive mouth feel which gives way to complex flavours of coffee grounds, liquorice, maple smoked ham, malty/biscuit notes, white pepper and a good sweet/salty balance.”
The release celebrates the Islay Festival (the Feis Ile) – of which Ardbeg Day marks the culmination – running from 23rd to 31st May 2014. For those whisky enthusiasts unable to make the journey to Islay, local Ardbeg Day events and membership of the Committee provides a means to celebrate Auriverdes in their own country. The Ardbeg Committee currently has 100,000 members: www.ardbeg.com
anCnoc sheds light on its Peaty side
At a launch event in Glasgow on Wednesday the 26th of March anCnoc Highland
Single Malt Scotch Whisky unveiled exciting and unexpected additions to its awardwinning
range. Peated whiskies from Knockdhu Distillery, named Rutter, Flaughter
and Tushkar; were presented to the media, whisky experts and members of the
wider anCnoc community. The release of the Peaty Collection marks the beginning
of a new chapter in the history of the Distillery and is set to delight whisky
enthusiasts around the world with a heavier, darker side of the iconic Highland
While in the early days of Knockdhu’s operation peat was embraced as fuel used
for firing stills and drying malted barley, technological advancements changed the
way whisky was made in the village of Knock and allowed more gentle, unpeated
character of the spirit to be developed over decades. But since early 21st century
peated malt has been used at Knockdhu once again, this time for a few months of
the year only, to produce whisky which pays homage to anCnoc’s heritage and
sheds light on the darker side of one of Scotland’s most flavoursome distillates.
Excellent maturation performance, high flavour concentration and a rare propensity
to retain a lot of the distillery style while delivering an uncompromising peaty
dimension has led the company to the decision to release this unusual guise of
anCnoc as the Peaty Collection.
The whisky is presented in green glass to emphasise its distinctly different
character and the three expressions unveiled at the Glasgow launch are named
after traditional peat-cutting tools. Uniquely, these three exciting releases, as well
as any future additions to the Collection, carry a phenol content statement
expressed in parts per million phenols (ppm) allowing the drinkers to make
informed decisions and choose the level of smokiness most suited to their palate.
anCnoc Rutter, peated to 11 ppm phenol and matured in American oak
hogsheads, is the lightest and freshest of the three releases with notes of delicate
spices, juicy pineapples, peardrops and a gentle whiff of vanilla delivering anCnoc’s
trademark character under a veil or warming smoke.
anCnoc Flaughter features 14.8 ppm phenol and matured in a selection of
American oak casks. A richer, more dominant peat character leads the flavour
profile with notes of creamy vanilla, sticky toffee and green apple freshness
anCnoc Tushkar is the most peaty of the three with a phenol content of 15 ppm.
Matured in 1st refill American ex-bourbon barrels it offers a great balance between
intense smokiness and the rich and rewarding influence of very active oak. Spicy
vanilla heart is wrapped in overtones of orange peel, apples and cut flowers.
anCnoc Tushkar is available exclusively in Sweden.
All anCnoc Peaty Collection expressions are bottled at 46% ABV, non chill-filtered
and presented at their natural colour. The RRP for Rutter and Flaughter is £52 in
the UK and the Tushkar will retail for 449SEK in Sweden.
Diageo Launches a new spirit drink : based on J&B scotch – J&B Urban Honey
Diageo announced today that it is to launch J&B URBAN HONEY, a new Spirit Drink based on J&B Scotch Whisky, which has been designed to open up the category to a new generation of men and women.
J&B URBAN HONEY is a 35% ABV Spirit Drink made from J&B Scotch Whisky infused with honey and is a characterful drink that creates a balanced and smooth liquid. The taste has been created to be distinctively fresh when consumed neat, on the rocks or mixed in a cocktail.
J&B URBAN HONEY is clearly labelled as a Spirit Drink on its front label, while also differentiated from the parent brand with the use of a honeycomb pattern, a city skyline illustration and a prominent ‘bee’ illustration, ensuring compliance with Scotch Whisky Association guidelines.
Since its creation, J&B Scotch Whisky has been a bold and innovative brand with a witty, playful edge. As Dougal McGeorge – Global J&B Brand Director – explains this has been fundamental to the development of the new Spirit Drink: “Creation of J&B URBAN HONEY is true to the urban roots of the J&B brand and its reputation for re-invention in the whisky category. The rapid growth of flavoured Spirit Drinks made J&B a natural choice for us as we looked to drive innovation.”
J&B URBAN HONEY will be launched in Spain starting in April 2014.
BARRY CROCKETT JOINS THE WHISKY MAGAZINE HALL OF FAME
Barry Crockett, former Master Distiller at the Midleton Distillery, has become the 17th inductee into the coveted Whisky Magazine Hall of Fame.
Awarded by ex-editor of Whisky Magazine, Rob Allanson, at the publication’s annual awards ceremony in London, Crockett was recognised for his contribution to the growth of the Irish Whiskey category during his 47 year career with Irish Distillers.
Allanson commended Crockett for “redefining Irish whiskey by combining technology, innovation, and craftsmanship with a deep sense of history” and overseeing operations at Midleton during “some of the most eventful times in Irish whiskey’s history”.
Crockett’s award was supported by other key wins for Irish Distillers at the Icons of Whisky Rest of World* competition, including ‘Whisky Distiller of the Year’ for the third year running and ‘Whisky Visitor Attraction of the Year’ for the Old Jameson Distillery in Dublin. Final tasting results for the World Whiskies Awards were also revealed, with Redbreast 15 Year Old scooping ‘World’s Best Irish Pot Still’.
Irish Distillers’ success last week follows a ground-breaking medal win at New York’s Ultimate Spirits Challenge earlier this month, with Redbreast 21 Year Old awarded the Chairman’s Trophy in the Irish Pot Still Whiskey category. With a perfect 100 score, Redbreast 21 Year Old became the first Irish whiskey to ever achieve this feat and is the only spirit from any category to do so this year – it also marks the fifth consecutive year that a Redbreast expression has received the top Irish Pot Still Whiskey score.
Crockett, who was also recognised for his Outstanding Achievement at the International Spirits Challenge last year, said: “I am deeply honoured to join the list of whiskey greats in the Whisky Magazine Hall of Fame. The success of Irish whiskey around the world in recent years has given me a great deal of pleasure and I am particularly proud to have been able to contribute to its development. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at the Midleton distillery and I would like to thank, once again, everyone at Irish Distillers who has supported me over the last 47 years.”