A Slew of Irish Whiskeys & More New Releases

It’s a big week for the Emerald Isle—or at least its distillers—as several new Irish whiskeys are making their stateside debut.

First up, Boann Distillery is adding a trio of cask-finished offerings to supplement its recently released Whistler Double Oaked blend. The Whistler Oloroso Cask-Finished ($35) is widely available, while Calvados Cask-Finished ($40) and Imperial Stout Cask-Finished ($40) are both more limited, with 3,000 bottles available.

Sliabh Liag Distillers is launching the Legendary Silkie with two blends, one lightly peated ($42) and the more heavily peated Dark Silkie ($44)—both using Irish peat, a first in the U.S. The whiskeys are available in several states, with expansion planned.

The first whiskeys made at Royal Oak Distillery have come of age and are being released as The Busker. The lineup includes single malt, single grain, and single pot still whiskeys (all $30), as well as a blend ($25) of all three. They are widely available.

Moving away from Ireland now—Old Dominick Distillery is adding two new offerings to its Huling Station line of sourced whiskeys: a straight wheat whiskey ($50) and a blend of wheat whiskey and high-rye bourbon ($50). Both are available in several states.

Muskegon, Michigan-based Wonderland Distilling Co. is launching a blend of straight whiskeys sourced from across the state and Indiana. The blend is priced at $44, and available in Michigan only.

Virginia Distillery Co. is releasing its fourth Charity Cask Virginia-Highland whiskey, this year finished in a cold-brew coffee barrel. Just 276 bottles are available at $68, for sale in Virginia only.

Finally, Wolves Whiskey is launching its third blend in collaboration with Wally’s Wine & Spirits. Wolves Wally’s Blend is priced at $160, with less than 900 bottles available, for sale online only.

Read on for full details.

The Whistler Oloroso Sherry Cask-Finished

The Whistler Oloroso Sherry Cask-Finished

Style: Blended whiskey
Origin: Ireland
Age: Not stated
Proof: 43% ABV
Price: $35
Release: August 2020
Availability: Widely available

Need to know:

Made by Boann Distillery, this whiskey uses The Whistler’s core blend of 35% malt and 65% grain whiskeys that are matured for 4 years in bourbon casks. The blend is then finished for at least 12 months in bodega oloroso sherry casks.

The Whistler Calvados Cask-Finished

The Whistler Calvados Cask-Finished

Style: Blended whiskey
Origin: Ireland
Age: Not stated
Proof: 43% ABV
Price: $40
Release: August 2020
Availability: 3,000 bottles in the U.S.

Need to know:

A collaboration with Château du Breuil, this whiskey started off as The Whistler’s core blend before being finished for at least 15 months in the calvados producer’s casks.

The Whistler Imperial Stout Cask-Finished

The Whistler Imperial Stout Cask-Finished

Style: Blended whiskey
Origin: Ireland
Age: Not stated
Proof: 43% ABV
Price: $40
Release: August 2020
Availability: 3,000 bottles in the U.S.

Need to know:

Boann Distillery worked with its sister company, Boyne Brewery, to create this whiskey. The distillery emptied some sherry casks that had previously been used to age The Whistler 7 year old Blue Note, sending them off to the brewery to be filled with its imperial stout for 6 months. After the beer was emptied, the casks returned to the distillery and were filled with a blend (comprising 50% wheat whiskey, 35% malt whiskey, and 15% grain whiskey) for a 6-month finishing period.

Whisky Advocate says:

The Whistler recently debuted in the U.S. with its core Double Oaked blend. These new finished offerings will allow curious drinkers to taste and compare the impact of different types of finishing cask on whiskey flavor. Sherry and even stout cask finishes are common, but calvados—an apple brandy made in France—is unusual. (Sagamore Spirit and WhistlePig have both done calvados finishes, but those are rye whiskeys.)

The Legendary Silkie Blended Irish Whiskey

The Legendary Silkie Blended Irish Whiskey

Style: Blended whiskey
Origin: Ireland
Age: Not stated
Proof: 46% ABV
Price: $42
Release: August 2020
Availability: AZ, CA, IL, IN, MN, NJ, NV, NY, TX, and WA, with expansion planned

Need to know:

Made for Sliabh Liag Distillers by Great Northern Distillery, this is a blend of malt and grain whiskeys, including a little peated malt whiskey. It’s bottled with no chill-filtration.

The Legendary Dark Silkie Blended Irish Whiskey

The Legendary Dark Silkie Blended Irish Whiskey

Style: Blended whiskey
Origin: Ireland
Age: Not stated
Proof: 46% ABV
Price: $44
Release: August 2020
Availability: AZ, CA, IL, IN, MN, NJ, NV, NY, TX, and WA, with expansion planned

Need to know:

This blend of malt and grain whiskeys is more heavily peated than its sibling, including some triple-distilled malt whiskey peated to 55 ppm (22 ppm after distillation) with Irish peat. It’s bottled with no chill-filtration.

Whisky Advocate says:

Peated whisky is common in Scotland but a rarity in Ireland, although both countries historically used peat as a fuel source. The most widely available peated Irish whiskey, Connemara, actually uses peated malt from Scotland.

The Silkie and Dark Silkie are the first Irish whiskeys made with Irish peat available in the U.S.—but they won’t be the last. Parent company Sliabh Liag (“sleeve league”) Distillers has just opened a distillery in Carrick, Co. Donegal making whiskey with Irish peated malt, and there are plans for an even bigger facility under construction in Ardara.

The whiskey’s name comes from Irish legend; silkies were mythical seals that could shed their skin and transform into beautiful women.

The Busker Triple Cask Triple Smooth Blended Whiskey

The Busker Triple Cask Triple Smooth Blended Whiskey

Style: Blended whiskey
Origin: Ireland
Age: Not stated
Proof: 40% ABV
Price: $25
Release: August 2020
Availability: Widely available

Need to know:

A blend of grain, malt, and single pot still whiskeys, all made at Royal Oak Distillery, this is matured in three cask types: bourbon, sherry, and marsala.

The Busker Single Grain

The Busker Single Grain

Style: Single grain
Origin: Ireland
Age: Not stated
Proof: 44.3% ABV
Price: $30
Release: August 2020
Availability: Widely available

Need to know:

Distilled from corn at Royal Oak, this single grain whiskey is matured in bourbon and Cantine Florio marsala casks.

The Busker Single Malt

The Busker Single Malt

Style: Single malt
Origin: Ireland
Age: Not stated
Proof: 44.3% ABV
Price: $30
Release: August 2020
Availability: Widely available

Need to know:

Triple-distilled at Royal Oak, this single malt matures in bourbon and sherry casks.

The Busker Single Pot Still

The Busker Single Pot Still

Style: Single pot still
Origin: Ireland
Age: Not stated
Proof: 44.3% ABV
Price: $30
Release: August 2020
Availability: Widely available

Need to know:

Made with malted and unmalted barley at Royal Oak, this triple-distilled whiskey is matured in bourbon and sherry casks.

Whisky Advocate says:

Royal Oak Distillery began making whiskey in June 2016, and these are the first mature bottlings to hit the market. At the time, Royal Oak was owned by Walsh Whiskey, in partnership with Italy-based Disaronno International; the two have since parted ways and Disaronno is the sole owner of the distillery and The Busker brand.

The Busker’s lineup encompasses the four distinct styles of Irish whiskey, and it’s exciting that all the liquid is made under one roof. Many new Irish whiskey distilleries are focused on one or two whiskey styles, usually single malt and single pot still, but Royal Oak also has a column still to make single grain and, thus, blends.

Huling Station Straight Wheat Whiskey

Huling Station Straight Wheat Whiskey

Style: Straight wheat whiskey
Origin: Indiana
Age: Not stated
Proof: 45% ABV
Price: $50
Release: August 2020
Availability: AR, GA, KY, IL, MO, MS, SC, TN, TX, and WI

Need to know:

Made at MGP for Old Dominick, a Memphis-based distillery, this whiskey’s mashbill is 83% wheat, 12% corn, and 5% malted barley.

Huling Station Blend of Straight Whiskeys

Huling Station Blend of Straight Whiskeys

Style: Blend of straight whiskeys
Origin: Indiana
Age: Not stated
Proof: 50% ABV
Price: $50
Release: August 2020
Availability: AR, GA, KY, IL, MO, MS, SC, TN, TX, and WI

Need to know:

In addition to the just-released wheat whiskey, Old Dominick has a high-rye bourbon, also distilled at MGP. This whiskey combines both the bourbon and wheat whiskey in equal proportions to create a unique blend.

Whisky Advocate says:

While blends of straight whiskey are increasingly common, the combination of bourbon and wheat whiskey isn’t often done; bourbon-rye blends, and especially blends of multiple straight bourbons, are more typical.

Both of these whiskeys are available in limited amounts, but Old Dominick plans to release them annually. The distillery makes its own bourbon, wheat whiskey, and Tennessee whiskey, which are currently aging.

Wonderland Distilling Blend of Straight Whiskeys (Batch No. 1)

Wonderland Distilling Blend of Straight Whiskeys (Batch No. 1)

Style: Blend of straight whiskeys
Origin: Multiple (MI and IN)
Age: Not stated
Proof: 42% ABV
Price: $44
Release: August 2020
Availability: For sale in MI only

Need to know:

This is a blend of three 100% single-grain mashbill whiskeys, all aged 2½ to 3 years: straight corn whiskey distilled in Indiana (40%), straight rye distilled in Michigan (20%), and straight wheat whiskey distilled in Michigan (40%).

Whisky Advocate says:

Located in Muskegon, Michigan, about 40 miles northwest of Grand Rapids, Wonderland Distilling began making its own whiskey early this year, and is currently building out its tasting room. This blend of straight whiskeys draws on Canadian tradition, with single-grain mashbills distilled and matured separately before blending.

Virginia Distillery Co. 2020 Charity Cask Virginia-Highland Whisky

Virginia Distillery Co. 2020 Charity Cask Virginia-Highland Whisky

Style: Blended whiskey
Origin: Scotland and Virginia
Age: Not stated
Proof: 46% ABV
Price: $68
Release: August 2020
Availability: 276 bottles; for sale in VA only

Need to know:

Made in collaboration with Snowing in Space Coffee, this is a blend of blended malt scotch with Virginia Distillery Co.’s own single malt whiskey with a cold-brew finish. Snowing in Space used one of the distillery’s whiskey casks to make a batch of cold brew; then Virginia Distillery took the cask back to finish its blend for 14 months.

Whisky Advocate says:

This is the fourth Charity Cask from Virginia Distillery Co., with this year’s sales benefiting the Nelson County Community Fund. The distillery will host a virtual tasting of this whiskey on Facebook Live on Wednesday, August 12. Even though Virginia Distillery Co. is currently closed to visitors, state residents can have the whiskey shipped directly to their homes.

Wolves Wally's Blend

Wolves Wally's Blend

Style: Blended whiskey
Origin: Indiana and California
Age: Not stated
Proof: 52% ABV
Price: $160
Release: August 2020
Availability: Less than 900 bottles; for sale online only

Need to know:

The latest release from Wolves, in collaboration with Wally’s Wine & Spirits, this is a blend of MGP-made rye with whiskeys distilled from beer at Charbay Distillery. The makeup includes:

  • 8 year old whiskey distilled from stout and aged in French oak
  • 5 year old whiskey distilled from pilsner and aged in new charred American oak
  • 9 year old single malt whiskey aged in used French oak
  • MGP rye whiskey selected for its spice

Whisky Advocate says:

Whiskey distilled from beer is uncommon enough; blending it with rye was a first when Wolves debuted in 2019. It works, though; Wolves First Run scored 90 points in the Buying Guide, with its follow up, Winter Run, scoring 89 points.

Wolves Wally’s Blend goes on sale on Aug. 13 to members of the brand’s allocation list.

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