Scotland may have incredible views and some beautiful distilleries, but it would be hard to beat the exquisite Blue Ridge Mountain home of Virginia Distillery Company.
This is an astounding place to situate a distillery and Virginia Distillery Company makes some pretty fine whisky to match.
The distillery was originally started by Dr. George G. Moore who wanted to create some of the finest Whisky America has ever seen.
You can note that Virginia Distillery Company chooses to spell Whisky without an E, going against the grain of the majority of American drams.
This could be a reference to the quality of their produce, as the company seeks to emulate the great distillers of Scotland.
This could also be why they’ve called their most recent release Virginia Highland Malt, as a recall of the rolling hills of Scotland. Not that these hills even begin to challenge the glorious Blue Ridge home of the Virginia Distillery Company.
The company is dedicated to creating the finest American Malt. They hand distil everything from 100% malted barley and pour expertise and time into their product.
Their dedication to quality and traditions extends to their use of copper stills and even sourcing their barley directly from Scotland.
They are also working on a Single Malt that will be aged in ex-Bourbon barrels like many Scotches.
The main difference in maturation process is the climate. As many Whisky enthusiasts will know, atmosphere has a profound effect on Whisky maturation and how long this process takes.
The weather in Virginia is hot in the summer and cold in the winter, giving a varied environment in which to age the product.
Virginia Highland Malt Whisky
Whilst we wait in eager anticipation for their Single Malt to be released, we have the chance to try the Highland Malt. This is an inspired malt that is full of quality and deep, rich tastes.
It has already won the incredible accolade of a gold medal in the Fifty Best American Whiskies of 206, a testament to high standards of craftsmanship and dedication to flavour from the Virginia Distillery Company.
The nose opens with a mouthful of sweetness and fruit. It is very well balanced, with each flavour acting independently and yet melding together perfectly.
There are dried raisins and dates to give depth and sophistication to the flavour. This is complemented by a wonderfully thick and smooth sweetness.
Toffee and caramel come through and coat the dried fruit, bringing the flavours together in a rich medley.
On the palate these flavours burst forward, wrapping the taste buds in full flavour. They are joined by a spicy white pepper flavour and gentle wisps of smoke.
These are smoothed out by thick honey and dark chocolate that give a wonderful mouth feel.
There is also a slightly bittersweet flavour given by raspberries that is joined by a dull oaty flavour that allows the sweetness to blossom and grow.
This makes for a great balanced dram that gives every flavour the chance to be realised and appreciated.
The finish rounds off well. It lingers just long enough to be admired and is full of peppery spice and delicate fruity sweetness. There is a note of caramel that softly makes its way into the very final moments the dram and finishes it off wonderfully.