REVIEW: VIRGINIA DISTILLERY CO. CHARDONNAY CASK FINISH
Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Nelson County, Virginia sits The Virginia Distillery Company a distillery cranking out nearly 8,000 casks of American Single Malt Whisky. I was first introduced to this mighty distillery via The Whisk(e)y Library DC , as they were kind enough to send me a sample of their Port Cask Finished whisky, which I instantly fell in love with. I've since been fortunate enough to try their Brewer's Batch, which is finished in casks that held local Three Notch'd Brewing's The Stage Wee Heavy Ale, as well as their Cider Cask Finish, which is finished in Potter's Cider casks. All are really stellar and unique, and would be highly recommendable. I even whipped up a delicious wintery cocktail with their Cider Cask, which I finished very quickly! All of these whiskies are under their Commonwealth Collection of cask finished Virginia-Highland whiskies!
VA Distillery uses barley that is both harvested and malted in the United States, and is then milled and stored on site using their Boby Mill, which is one of only a few here in the states. Their copper pot stills and spirit safe were both crafted in Scotland. As their American Single Malts continue to age, they have sourced whisky from Scotland to marry with their own whisky made on site, giving us Virginia-Highland Whisky!
CHARDONNAY CASK FINISHED VIRGINIA-HIGHLAND WHISKY
This particular bottle is from their second batch of Chardonnay Cask finished whisky, which was released in May of this year. The married whisky vacations in these casks for an average of 12 months and is then bottled at 46% ABV. The casks were sourced from Virginia wineries such as Paradise Springs Winery, Virginia Wineworks, Michael Shaps and Grace Estate Winery! When I first opened it the wine notes were very strong and it almost didn't even smell like whisky! Upon first sip, I got more of those Chardonnay notes, quite strongly. I stuck it back on the shelf and gave it a week to open up and kept revisiting it. After about 2 weeks it has bloomed into a really lovely, bright and zesty whisky!
NOSE: crisp, but very creamy, much like lemon curd. Its very bright and reminds me of summer afternoons where you can smell all of the wildflowers. It is what I would imagine drinking a zesty chardonnay in the secret garden would be like. Those wine notes are right there to greet you at the gate, but greet you warmly.
PALATE: creamy vanilla and citrus with small burst of baking spices like cinnamon. It has a slight grassy undertone that balances out the sweetness too. Now that it has been opened for a few weeks, those sharp Chardonnay notes really have mellowed out, giving the whisky a whisper of Chardonnay and it really is lovely.
FINSIH: super creamy! Almost the feeling of eating a bowl of ice cream type of creamy. Flavors stick to your tongue, and it has a pretty decent finish more so in the back of your throat.
OVERALL: Its a great whisky that breaks the chain of predictability! It definitely needs a little time to mellow out, so open it up and let it rest. You can taste the influence of the Chardonnay very much so at first, but after it mellows a bit, the flavors are more smooth and gel together quite nicely. I think it is a fun and bright whisky to try and perfect for hot summer nights. Plus, I love drinking this from a big ol' wine glass!
Available in: Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, Massachusetts, New York, Washington D.C. and Virginia!
I have to say that the crew over at VA Distillery are up to some fun, and inventive whiskies. Their Pork Cask is still hands down my favorite, and I'll have to review that later on as it is a rich and decadent drop. I have heard really fantastic things about their tours and the distillery visiting experience, with their staff being incredibly kind and top notch! So if you are ever out in Virginia, be sure to go see them! I'm looking forward to what is next for them, especially their own juice which has a wee bit more time to rest!
VIRGINIA DISTILLERY COMPANY
Lovingston, VA 22949
The Small Print:
Huge thanks to the very lovely Emma Stotz for sending me these whiskies and allowing me to review them honestly. All reviews, thoughts and photos are my own!