Alcohol trends of 2016 were the theme of the annual Distilled Spirits Council Holiday Event. Everything from Jägermeister and Serpent’s Bite, to Laphroaig and Macallan, showcased fresh flavors and styles for the new year.
Here are a few trends I noticed during my attendance on Tuesday:
Blending Whisky Equals Business
Or, I should say, blending whiskey is increasingly seen as a smart way to manage stock while also getting product onto shelves.
The recent whisky boom has distillery’s struggling to meet demand. In response, companies have released specialty blends. These can include any number of differently aged juices — eliminating the need to wait until resting whiskies have hit age-statement years — while also providing new, premium product.
For instance, the Macallan Rare Cask. This $300 bottle is a blend from the top 1% of Macallan stock, hand-selected for quality, all from first-fill sherry casks.
“A lot of whiskies are trying to figure out how best to make use of their aging stocks in a time of unprecedented popularity for whisky,” explained Craig Bridger, The Macallan National Brand Ambassador.
Tasting wise, the Macallan Rare Cask was like other “top %” products. The whisky was a richer, more elegant version of its standard self, with a notably long finish.
At the same table was Highland Park Dark Origins, another new and creative non-age statement. It is made using double the first-fill sherry casks, and at a higher ABV, than the Highland Park 12 Year Old. It’s an enjoyably powerful blend.