GSN Review: Virginia Distillery Co. Chardonnay Cask Finished Virginia-Highland Whisky

Just in time for warmer weather, American Single Malt whisky distillery Virginia Distillery Company recently released batch #3 of its Chardonnay Cask Finished Virginia-Highland Whisky. Earlier batches produced limited cases, some going out of stock shortly after release.

This time, the bottle kicks off the distillery’s rolling release schedule of its Virginia-Highland Whisky series. The new approach will allow consumers to purchase offerings from the line more regularly throughout the year.

The Virginia-Highland Whisky series is made from 100% malted barley and marries American Single Malt whisky made on-site in Virginia with whisky from Scotland. It is then cask finished in barrels sourced from wineries, cideries and breweries across Virginia and beyond. Batch #3 of the Chardonnay Cask Finished Virginia-Highland Whisky spent an additional 8 to 10 months in Chardonnay casks.

“We’re excited to have these whiskies back in our regular rotation,” said Ian Thomas, Distillery Director at Virginia Distillery Company. “The offerings from our Virginia-Highland Whisky series are a great testament to our many partnerships across the state of Virginia – and the result is some pretty phenomenal whisky.”

This new batch release is part of the Virginia-Highland Whisky series, which includes the flagship offering, Port Cask Finished Virginia-Highland Whisky and a beer finished whisky, Brewers Batch Virginia-Highland Whisky.

Virginia Distillery Co. Chardonnay Cask Whiskey (92 proof)
Visual: Light gold.
Nose: Light honeyed sweetness with a goodly dose of oak. Engaging and well-rounded.
Taste: Initially, there is a lot of rich malt spirit, but after a few seconds, a subtle but present wine character comes into play and stay for the duration. In fact, as time goes on, the malt fades and the Chardonnay flavor takes center stage.
Finish: Medium long, with more of the sweetness and a warning grape character shining through.
Overall: One of the more subtle ex-wine cask whiskies that we’ve had the pleasure of tasting. The Virginia Distillery Co. is one to keep an eye on over the next few years.
GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: VA Distillery

GSN Review: Virginia Distillery Co. Malt Whiskies

The late Dr. George G. Moore had a great passion for single malt whisky and his adopted home in Virginia. A native Irishman, George came to the U.S. in the 1970’s to seek new opportunities. In 2011, after many years of building successful businesses in both the U.S. and Ireland, George finally had the chance to combine his two passions when he started Virginia Distillery Company. Today, George’s son, Gareth Moore, along with his wife, Maggie Moore, have taken the helm to continue building George’s dream amongst the Blue Ridge Mountains in beautiful Nelson County, Virginia.

Their current product, Virginia Highland Malt is brought over from Scotland. The whisky is then cask-finished in Virginia port-style wine barrels for an additional six to twelve months. As well, Virginia Highland will be releasing The Commonwealth Collection over the next year. This limited release collection features their Virginia Highland Malt Whisky aged in cider and wine barrels from our Virginia partners. The first in this series is the Cider Barrel Matured Virginia Highland Malt.

Virginia Distillery Company’s flagship Virginia Highland Malt Whisky won ‘Best American Single Malt Whisky’ at the World Whiskies Awards presented by Whisky Magazine where the American results were announced in New York on February 28, 2017.

“We’ve always said that our whisky doesn’t easily fall into the defined categories that exist throughout the spirits industry, which makes it even more of an honor to be recognized as having the Best American Single Malt Whisky for our Virginia Highland Malt,” said Virginia Distillery Company CEO Gareth Moore.

Port Finished Virginia Highland Malt (92 proof)
Visual: Pale copper-rose.
Nose: Soft heathery smoke overlaid with a sheen of rich port. Enticing, mouth-watering and solidly built.
Taste: Medium sweet with a lot of the port character leading the way.  A nice round almost creamy mouthfeel gives this whisky a dessert character. a pleasure to sip.
Finish: Medium long with plenty of lingering sweet fruity notes gently fading into slumber.
Overall: A beautiful port-forward whisky that will appeal to any lover of Highland scotches. Everything about this whisky succeeds. The kind of new world single malt that sets the standard for others to follow.
GSN Rating: A+

Cider Barrel Matured Virginia Highland Malt (92 proof)
Visual: Pale gold.
Nose: Some smokiness and a curious apple/oak marriage that reminds me of Armagnac. Very light and delicate overall.
Taste: Quite light and in the tradition of a Highland scotch with just a touch of sweet apple coming through at the tail end. This adds a dry and crisp edge to the affair which is quite appealing.  The cider really adds to the experience in a way I was not expecting.
Finish: Dry, crisp and with a long-lasting, yet feathery apple character.
Overall: A unique experiment that works.  I enjoyed the surprisingly apple character which waits until the last-minute to show up and then stays for the weekend.  An imaginative creation from the master blender.  (Note: The apple comes through more clearly when served at room temperature).
GSN Rating: A-

For more information go to: VA Distillery