William Grant unveiled not one but two new Kininvie whiskies yesterday.
Let’s start with the big one – the Kininvie Special Release #1 dubbed 'The First Drops', a 25yo whisky made from the first drops produced at the distillery in 1990.
The whisky is single (bourbon) barrel, cask strength and non-chill filtered, and with just three casks having been hand-selected by malt master Brian Kinsman for the release (one barrel each for the UK, Europe and Taiwan), there will only be 550 bottles available in the UK.
It’s a light yet expressive, mouthcoating dram that marries sweet orange peel and blossom with honeysuckle and plenty of spice – think dried chilli flakes, cloves and wood shavings, with a whisper of a menthol lift towards the end.
‘It’s not every day that you can say “this is the first production from a distillery”,’ enthused Kevin Abrook, global whisky specialist for innovation at William Grant.
23yo — the last batch
Secondly, the third batch of the Kininvie 23yo is set to hit these shores. And it will be the final limited-release 23yo batch released before the 23yo is made a permanent fixture in the Kininvie portfolio.
Made from casks that were laid to rest in 1991 (Batch No. 2’s liquid came from 1990 casks), with 80% of the liquid coming from bourbon casks and the rest from sherry butts, this release is fresher and lighter than Batch No. 2, which had more sweet butterscotch character.
It’s light, fresh and grassy, with more lemon peel, sea grass and vanilla, before a touch of parma ham comes through on the finish.
When speaking about the fact that Kininvie is happy to release the 23yo as its key expression, flying in the face of recent whisky trends where distilleries are pulling their age statements and placing more focus on NAS, Abrook said: ‘We have the luxury of waiting for the liquid to be right, and we like to do things a bit differently. We’re not against NAS at all, we just have our feet in both camps. Kininvie’s floral style shows itself well at that age. In the future we’ll be open to lower ages and NAS, once we’ve made a name for the distillery. We’re just opening the door ever so slightly.’
New blends on the go
William Grant & Sons also recently unveiled a blended whisky brand called House of Hazelwood at the TFWA World Exhibition & Conference in Cannes. The three age-statement whiskies (18yo, 21yo and 25yo) are currently available in travel retail, but Abrook revealed that they would enjoy a wider UK release next year. Watch this space…
Kininvie Special Release #1, 61.4% abv, £400/35cl; Kininvie 23yo Batch No. 3, 42.6% abv, £120/35cl
William Grant & Sons, 01256 748100