Tuesday, November 24, 2020

second sip & :: virginia distillery courage & conviction whisky ::

2 oz Scotch (Virginia Distillery Co. Courage & Conviction Whisky)
1/2 oz Sweet Vermouth (Cocchi)
1/2 oz Cockburn Tawny Port (Sandeman)
1/4 oz Fernet Branca
2 dash Bittermens Mole Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe.
I was recently sent to review a bottle of Courage & Conviction, the new release from Virginia Distillery Co. I became familiar with the brand when I worked their booth at a Taste of Boston event in late 2017, and I was gifted a bottle of their Port Cask-Finished Virginia-Highland Whiskey (Batch 5) as a thank you present from their ambassador. While the port-finished whisky I received was a combination of Scotch single malt blended with their own single malt that they make in Lovingston, Virginia, the Courage & Conviction is a single malt of their own distillate and not a blend with imported ones. The blending was probably crucial back in 2017 for the distillery only started distilling in 2015, so their stock was only a little over two years old at most at that point. This new release was inspired by the guiding principles of their founder, Dr. George G. Moore, to "have the courage of your convictions," and the batch was dedicated to Dr. Jim Swan who consulted with the distillery and guided them with their distillation and cask maturation strategies before passing away in 2017. Here, Courage & Conviction is a Virginia single malt whisky aged in used Bourbon, sherry, and cuvee casks.
Virginia Distillery Co. Port Cask-Finished Virginia-Highland Whisky (Batch 5, 2017)
Nose: A dry peat without much smoke, cherry, chocolate, and toasted wood.
Taste: Plum, hint medicinal, caramel, chocolate.
Finish: Cherry, chocolate, cinnamon.

Virginia Distillery Co. Courage & Conviction (Batch: Dr. Jim Swan, 2020)
Nose: Apricot, nutty, toasty, freshly shaved oak.
Taste: Orange, nectarine, cedar.
Finish: Chocolate, medicinal, red fruit.

Overall, the Courage & Conviction was a much more refined spirit than the one that they produced three years prior. It came across as softer and more finished of a spirit showing that the distillery is indeed heading in the correct path as their own products are maturing on site.
For a drink to mix this whisky, I selected from my notes a recipe on the Bittermens website. A few years ago, Avery and Janet Glasser challenged Brian Miller at Death & Co. to make a Scotch, Fernet, and bitters cocktail, and the Second Sip was what he came up with. The combination reminded me of a Chancellor with the whisky, port, and vermouth elements, but here, there was the addition of Fernet Branca to made for a bit more aggressive of a tipple (which I also attempted to do in the Preceptor using other amari). In the glass, the Second Sip donated a grape, malt, and menthol aroma. Next, grape and caramel swirled on the sip, and the swallow showcased whisky, dried fruit, and briny flavors with a menthol finish.

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