Trio of well-known Scotch distillers join forces to help create new George Washington whisky.
It sounds like just the sort of thing to get the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) lawyers firing up their laptops and composing a series of increasingly threatening ‘cease and desist’ missives.
An American whisky, produced in Virginia, but claiming to be a ‘Scottish-style’ single malt? Ok, the barley was malted in Scotland and the casks were re-coopered on Speyside, but half of it was only distilled once, for heaven’s sake.
As it happens, the SWA isn’t merely sanguine about the creation of the two bottlings made at the George Washington distillery in Mount Vernon – it’s directly complicit in it.
Joining forces with American spirits industry body DISCUS, the SWA flew three Scotch luminaries – Glenmorangie’s Bill Lumsden, Cardhu’s Andy Cant and Laphroaig’s John Campbell – over to help Mount Vernon’s Dave Pickerell to create the ground-breaking spirit.
No mod cons, though. The team had to use 18th century techniques at the restored plant. ‘We didn’t measure anything – it was all just done by taste,’ Campbell told Washington’s WTOP website. ‘And, eventually, I think we came to the conclusion that what we were making wasn’t half bad.’
Transatlantic tipple: Scottish malted barley was used to make the whiskies
The venture, set to benefit charities and educational ventures, is a nod to the influence of Scot James Anderson, an experienced whisky-maker who in 1797 persuaded a reluctant Washington to build a distillery at Mount Vernon as a sideline to his milling operation.
Two years later, the plant was churning out 11,000 gallons of whiskey, was the biggest in the young nation – and even the family physician was being paid in liquid form. Livestock, including Washington’s prize hogs, were fattened on the left-over cooked mash.
The ‘new’ George Washington whisky, however, bears little resemblance to the liquid the Founding Father would have known and tasted – Washington’s recipe was 60% rye, 35% corn and 5% malted barley.
Then again, it was also shipped in cask without having to undergo the inconvenient and time-consuming process of maturation, while the SWA-approved 2015 spirit was at least aged for over three years.
After all, you have to draw the line somewhere…
- Bruichladdich expands transparency move
- Scotch whisky distilleries to open in 2017
- Scotch whisky at the movies
- New whisky tasting notes: Batch 77
- Donald Trump 26yo GlenDronach to auction
- The Collectors: Luc Timmermans, Glenfarclas
- New whisky tasting notes: Batch 78
- Dalmore 50 Year Old to cost £50,000
- Why is Scotch whisky bottled at 40% abv?
- Dave Broom’s 2017 whisky resolutions
Latest news 16 December 2016
First expression in new Bond House No 1 collection marks challenging barley harvest.
Interviews 04 February 2016
Glenmorangie’s restless experimenter on innovation, LVMH and creating a new whisky in 24 hours.
Latest news 08 March 2016
New bottling aims to celebrate distillery’s two centuries of whisky-making knowledge and tradition.
Latest news 05 August 2016
The search is on to find the most creative, humorous and honest views about the whisky brand.