Ardbeg 19 year old, Highland Park 26 year old, & More New Whisky

Two aged single malt scotches highlight this week’s roundup of new whiskies. Ardbeg is adding an age statement whisky to its core range for the first time in 20 years. Traigh Bhan 19 year old will be released annually as a small batch item for $300.

Highland Park has an even older single malt on the way, a one-time release in collaboration with Danish photographer Søren Solkær. Highland Park 26 year old will sell for $900, with 249 of 1,206 bottles coming to the U.S.

The Irishman is releasing a cask-strength blend of single pot still and single malt. The Irishman Vintage Cask will be priced at $140, with 186 bottles allocated to the U.S.

French whisky brand Alfred Giraud is hoping to be the next highly coveted luxury brand with two new blended malt releases. Heritage will cost $155 with roughly 900 bottles coming to the U.S., while Harmonie is even more rare, with 300 bottles of the $190 whisky making their way to the States.

Seattle’s 2bar Spirits has a barrel strength rye at 56% and $60 coming next month. Across the state, in Spokane, Dry Fly Distilling is releasing their Cask & Release Wheat whiskey in select markets for $50.

Meanwhile, in business news, French spirits conglomerate Pernod Ricard continues their whisky shopping spree. After acquiring Rabbit Hole and Firestone & Robertson earlier this summer, Pernod acquired Castle Brands this week, adding Jefferson’s BourbonKnappogue Castle Irish whiskey and The Arran single malt scotch (imported by Castle Brands) to their list of whiskies. Shanken News Daily has more details on the purchase, while we keep a running list of craft whiskey acquisitions.

Read on for full new release details.

Ardbeg Traigh Bhan

Style: Single malt
Origin: Scotland (Islay)
Age: 19 years old
Proof: 46.2% ABV
Price: $300
Release: September 2019
Availability: Limited

Need to know:

Ardbeg adds an aged whisky to their permanent line for the first time in 20 years with the release of Traigh Bhan, a whisky matured for 19 years in American oak and Oloroso sherry casks. Named after Islay’s Traigh Bhan, known as “The Singing Sands,” it will be released annually as a small batch product.

Whisky Advocate says:

In 2017, Ardbeg added an NAS whisky to its core line with An Oa. That release earned the No. 6 spot in our Top 20 list that year. Traigh Bhan is significantly older (and pricier) but joins the 10 year old as the only other age statement whisky in Ardbeg’s range.

Highland Park 26 year old

Style: Single malt
Origin: Scotland (Islands)
Age: 26 years old
Proof: 40.5% ABV
Price: $900
Release: August 2019
Availability: 1,206 bottles, including 249 for U.S.

Need to know:

Highland Park has teamed up with Danish photographer Søren Solkær to release this limited edition 26 year old whisky. Aged in a combination of sherry-seasoned American oak casks, first-fill Bourbon casks, and refill casks, this whisky is released with collectors in mind, just 249 bottles making their way to the U.S. Solkær has photographed musicians like U2 and The White Stripes, and this 26 year old whisky celebrates his 26 year career. It comes with an exclusive 160 page photography book of Solkær’s work packaged in a leather embossed box.

Whisky Advocate says:

Great whiskies, like photography, capture the essence of a time and place. And in recent years, brands like Macallan have partnered the two for added effect. While this 26 year old from Highland Park carries a high price tag, Part 6 in Macallan’s Masters of Photography series, released in 2017, was even higher, around $2,995. If you are looking for your own whisky and photography pairing, we recommended a few books around this time last year.

The Irishman Vintage Cask (2019 Edition)

Style: Blended
Origin: Ireland
Age: Not stated
Proof: 54% ABV
Price: $140
Release: August 2019
Availability: 2,346 bottles, with 186 allocated to the U.S.

Need to know:

This whiskey represents the annual cask-strength release from The Irishman, but under a different name. Produced by Walsh Whiskey in Carlow, Ireland, it’s a blend of single pot still and single malt spirits, matured in first-fill bourbon casks. It was bottled in July 2019 and comes packaged in a miniature wooden cask.

Whisky Advocate says:

This marks the 11th release of this whiskey since 2008, when it was the first triple-distilled cask-strength Irish whiskey released in more than half a century. The 2018 cask-strength edition earned 89 points. Established in 1999, Walsh Whiskey also produces Writers’ Tears.

Alfred Giraud Heritage

Style: Blended malt
Origin: France
Age: Not stated
Proof: 45.9% ABV
Price: $155
Release: August 2019
Availability: Around 900 bottles for the U.S.

Need to know:

A blend of three single malts made in France, this whisky was matured in “rare” cognac casks as well as a small amount of new French and American oak casks.

Alfred Giraud Harmonie

Style: Blended malt
Origin: France
Age: Not stated
Proof: 46.1% ABV
Price: $190
Release: August 2019
Availability: 300 bottles for the U.S.

Need to know:

Similar to its sibling above, Harmonie blends three French single malts that were matured in both rare cognac and new oak casks; but unlike Heritage, this whisky is peated.

Whisky Advocate says:

Whisky Advocate spoke to Alfred Giraud founder Philippe Giraud about his aim to create a luxury French whisky through such processes as the use of rare cognac casks. The company uses sourced whisky for these blends, drawing on the experience of longtime cognac cellar master Georges Clot, but it is also distilling its own spirit in the Cognac region.

2bar Spirits Barrel Strength Rye

Style: Rye
Origin: Seattle
Age: 3 years
Proof: 56% ABV
Price: $60
Release: September 2019
Availability: Around 420 bottles; distributed in 20 states including WA, TX, FL, IL, CA, NY, and PA

Need to know:

Made at Seattle-based 2bar Spirits from 60% rye, 25% corn, and 15% malt, this release is limited to just three barrels and follows several other 2bar small-batch bottlings, including a single barrel rye in 2018, a 3 year old corn whiskey, and an amaretto barrel-finished bourbon.

Whisky Advocate says:

Founded in 2010, 2bar Spirits also makes a straight bourbon, and is on track for its biggest production year—300 30-gallon barrels of bourbon and 80-proof moonshine, all made from locally sourced grains. It forms part of a buzzing local craft distilling scene fueled in recent years by an obsession with single malt, but also producing bourbon, rye, and other whiskeys.

Dry Fly Cask and Release Wheat

Style: Straight wheat
Origin: Washington
Age: Not stated, but at least 3 years old
Proof: 45% ABV
Price: $50
Release: August 2019
Availability: 450 bottles available in WA, OR, and RI

Need to know:

Dry Fly Distilling sent the 53-gallon charred new American oak barrels that were used to age their 3 year old 100% wheat whiskey over to Oregon-based Pelican Brewing to age their Captain of the Coast Wee Heavy Ale. The brewery then returned the barrels to Dry Fly, which put its wheat whiskey back into them for an additional eight months, resulting in this release.

Whisky Advocate says:

This is first release of Dry Fly’s Cask & Release Series—a nod to the “catch and release” principle anglers use to conserve native fish species—in which the distillery is collaborating with regional breweries on a series of whiskeys. Launched in 2007, Dry Fly also makes cask-strength and port-finished wheat whiskeys, straight triticale whiskey, straight bourbon, and an Irish-style whiskey, all from locally sourced grains, as well as gin and wheat vodka, and a 10 year old whiskey coming soon.

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