Once again, there’s plenty of whisk(e)y news for barrelheads this week. WhistlePig is pushing their oldest whiskey to date. Constellation sent Heaven Hill a position whisky brand and several minor-league in exchange for cash. And, in Kentucky, Elmore T. Lee is receiving a liquid tribute.
WhistlePig Double Malt
Whiskey nerds’ darling WhistlePig has new expression. Aged 18 years, their premium Double Malt is being marketed as the oldest spirit in their range. Yet, the formula is remarkably consistent with the distillery’s greater ethos (and the legacy of Dave Pickerell.)
The Double Malt’s mash bill is comprised of 79% rye, 15% malted rye, and 6% malted barley. The malted rye is used to naturally initiate fermentation, a throwback to historic methods.
According to the distiller, “These grains form a harmony that spans the flavor spectrum, at once soft and floral, rich and savory, and full of spice.”
The 46% ABV Double Malt touts a hefty $399.99 MSRP. But, of course, you get a really nice bottle. Breaking from the rest of the range, this variety comes in a collectible decanter. The glass stopper is custom made (using vintage machinery) by AO Glass in Burlington, Vermont.
Heaven Hill Takes Black Velvet Off Constellation’s Hands
Beer, Spirits, & Wine powerhouse Constellation Brands is firmly ensconced as the industry’s wheeler-dealer at this point. So, it’s no surprise when the constantly shifting corporation sells or buys a new asset. This week, they put Black Velvet Canadian Whisky on the block and Heaven Hill bit.
The deal, reportedly valued at $266 million will send an Albert, Canada distiller and the Black Velvet line to to Heaven Hill. In addition, the Kentucky based distiller will also pick up some smaller labels such as MacNaughton, McMasters, Golden Wedding, and OFC. Constellation will receive cash in exchange.
“We are relentlessly focused on the consumer and building a portfolio of brands consumers love today, while pushing beyond to meet their evolving needs well into the future,” said Constellation Brands President and CEO Bill Newlands in a statement. “This decision aligns with our consumer-led premiumisation strategy to deliver accelerated growth and shareholder value as we continue to focus our wine and spirits portfolio on higher-end, fast-growing brands.”
Constellation’s many business over the past two years are hard to keep up with. (But, there’s lots of marijuana involved.) NP’s previous article has a solid rundown.
Elmer T. Lee 100 Year Tribute Single Barrel
Elmer T. Lee was a legendary Master Distiller. From 1949 until 1985 (and later in an emeritus capacity), Lee worked at the George T Stagg (later called Buffalo Trace Distillery) and helped shape the industry. He even created the first commercially available single barrel bourbon, Blanton’s. So, it’s only fitting that Buffalo Trace is offering a special release to celebrate what would have been Lee’s 100th birthday.
Appropriately, the Elmer T. Lee 100 Year Tribute Single Barrel features the same age statement and mash bill as regulation Elmer T Lee, but the juice is bottled at 100 proof.
“The bourbon has the classic taste that Elmer would have loved, with a nose of maple syrup up front, a taste of creamy vanilla with berries, and a long finish of coffee, toasted oak, and vanilla,” declare the press materials.
The bottles have an MSRP of $100. Proceeds will be donated to Frankfort [Kentucky] VFW Post 4075. During World War II, Lee served as a radar bombardier in the Pacific Theater, a particularly dangerous assignment.
“After a century has passed since he was born, we want to honor Elmer and share our admiration with his family and others, while also giving back to Elmer’s local VFW,” said Kris Comstock, senior marketing director in a statement. “We were lucky to have Elmer with us for 93 years. As he grew older he continued to visit the Distillery weekly. The wisdom, expertise and friendship he shared during his weekly visits will never be forgotten. We think of him often and cherish the time he spent with us.”