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Issue 118 - Diageo, Micro-distilled

Whisky Magazine Issue 118
March 2014


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Diageo, Micro-distilled

Dave is a freelance writer and contributor to Whisky Magazine

During an investors conference held last November, Larry Schwartz, President of Diageo North America, announced to the world the multinational's ambitions for becoming ‘the number one craft distiller in America.'

Citing Buffalo Trace's Pappy van Winkle as perfect inspiration for its Orphan Whisky Distilling Company, the vehicle for the ongoing release of a series of old and rare American whiskeys, he gave as the reason for the move into craft as being rhetorically self-evident: “Why? Because we have the whiskeys.” Schwartz also let it be known that while he agreed that Crown Royal forms an overtly significant chunk of its North American whiskey portfolio, Diageo are ‘very fortunate' in that ‘a lot of people don't know it's a Canadian whiskey.' In fact, most Texans ‘think it's a Bourbon.'

We will connect all the Diageo dots in a while. For now, the facts: Orphan Whisky is based in Tullahoma, Tennessee. The whiskeys planned for release will be bottled at nearby George Dickel. The first two were ‘discovered' in warehouses in the currently mothballed Stitzel-Weller Distillery. They are the 20 Years Old and 26 Years Old Kentucky Bourbons Barterhouse (45.1%) and Old Blowhard (45%), both due for US-only release on 14th March. A 19 Years Old nominally named Rhetoric (45.35%) will follow. All three have a mashbill of 86 per cent, six per cent rye and eight per cent malted barley. Initially coy as to the source, Diageo has since confirmed that Old Blowhard was distill...

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