Brown-Forman is best known for being the owner of Jack Daniel’s, that most iconic of American whiskeys. Yet at the recent Summit of the Americas duty-free trade show in Orlando, the Louisville-based company unveiled several new Scottish single malts from two of the distilleries it purchased back in 2016, BenRiach and The GlenDronach. Among this intriguing batch of new releases were two accessibly priced travel-retail exclusives: BenRiach Triple Distilled Aged Ten Years and The GlenDronach The Forgue 10 Years Old.
Triple-distilled Scottish whiskies are still a rarity so this new 10-years-old BenRiach offering is certainly worth seeking out. The smooth, fruity and floral BenRiach Triple Distilled Aged Ten Years has been matured in both first-fill American Bourbon barrels and first-fill Pedro Ximénez casks. The nose of this 43% ABV release offers up notes of fresh green apple, white grape and barley, while the palate delivers oak, pear, sweet spice and barley flavours. Expect to pay around $71 (£51.50) for a 70cl bottle when this new BenRiach bottling rolls out to major US airports before wider release later in the year.
The second travel exclusive hails from the still little-known Highland Distillery of GlenDronach, which is located in the East Highlands’ valley of the Forgue.
The picturesque distillery has a reputation for sherry wood maturation and this new expression follows in that tradition, having been matured for a minimum of 10 years in a mixture of Pedro Ximénez and Oloroso sherry casks. It’s the first travel exclusive to have been created by the distillery’s new master blender Rachel Barrie.
Copper-coloured, The GlenDronach Forgue Aged Ten Years offers orange, roasted chestnuts and cocoa on the nose; red berries, gentle smoke and barley on the palate, and orange and tobacco on the finish. Non-chill-filtered and naturally coloured, this richly sherried Highland whisky is bottled at 43% ABV and has a suggested retail price of around $77 (£56) for a one litre bottle.
As for American whiskeys, Brown-Forman launched the spicy Woodford Reserve Rye into the Americas duty-free market at the Orlando show. Apple, sweet spices, mint and tobacco are among the appealing flavours of this expression, which joins Woodford Reserve and Woodford Double Oaked in the Woodford duty-free range. Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Rye and the duty-free exclusive Jack Daniel’s Bottled in Bond, an eagerly awaited 100 Proof (50% ABV) iteration of Jack, were other new releases on show in Orlando.
While we’re covering the Americas, it’s worth noting that Diageo has opened a new spirits store at Dallas Fort Worth airport. It’s located in Terminal D of the Texan airport between Gates D22 and D23 and features a central sampling area, as well as interactive video screens and wall displays dedicated to different brands. The range on offer there includes the likes of Zacapa rum and Cîroc vodka, as well as a range of Diageo’s whiskies that covers a wide selection of Johnnie Walker blends, including an exclusive Johnnie Walker Black Label Keep Walking Dallas bottle. Diageo’s single-malts such as Talisker, the Singleton of Glendullan and The Singleton of Dufftown also get their own wall-bay as does the company’s Bulleit Bourbon and Crown Royal Canadian whisky. The new Diageo boutique is part of a new, much larger 19,000 square-foot TRG Duty Free store at Dallas Fort Worth, which is claimed to be the largest airport shop in the US. The store’s regular duty-free spirits offer includes the local TX Whiskey, an award-winning 41% ABV blended American whiskey produced by the Fort Worth-based Firestone & Robertson Distilling Co.
Cleverly featuring real cowboy boot leather in the bottle caps, I am sure TX Whiskey will quickly become a best-seller at the airport. By all accounts, the smooth whiskey inside the bottle with its tempting vanilla, coffee and banana flavours, is well worth trying too. Best Buy
Japanese Blended Whisky
The range of Japanese whiskies at European airport stores continues to grow in size and depth, I am pleased to say. For instance, this reasonably priced non-age statement blend from the Sasanokawa Shuzo distillery, which has been listed by Gebr. Heinemann at the retailer’s German, Danish, Austrian, Italian and Norwegian airport stores, would make a great gift for somebody wanting to try their first Japanese whisky.
The whisky’s name ‘Yamazakura’ comes from the Japanese words ‘Yama’, meaning ‘mountain’ and ‘Sakura’, which refers to cherry trees. Expect lots of dried fruit and wood on the nose; coconut and stone fruits on the palate and citrus, sweet spices and wood on the finish. Yamazakura Japanese Blended Whisky is priced at €55 (£49) for a 70cl bottle; see www.heinemann-shop.com for a full list of the airport stores stocking this new spicy, fresh, fruity whisky. RECOMMENDED
The Smugglers’ Series Vol. 2,
The High Seas
The first thing that strikes you about this whisky, which has just arrived (or should that be ‘washed up’) at Le Clos, the Dubai airport Terminal 3 fine spirits and wine retailer, is the packaging. The battered, sepia-toned bottle label looks like a prop from the classic Ealing Comedy film, Whisky Galore, while the beautifully detailed red gift box with its retro typefaces is a real work of art.
This Isle of Arran Distillery bottling pays tribute to the local smugglers who once outwitted the Excise men to sell black-market whisky. It’s bottled at a cask-strength of 55.4% ABV and was made from whiskies matured in ex-rum casks and first-fill ex-Bourbon barrels. Rich and fruity, this powerful whisky also has a strong smoky character too. A 70cl bottle is priced at AED945 (£186) at Le Clos’ stores.
Johnnie Walker Black Label Keep Walking Dallas bottles
Yamazakura Japanese Blended Whisky
Arran, The Smugglers' Series Vol. 2, The High Seas