Last year, we reviewed Virginia Distillery Co.’s first release of Brewers Batch, a limited edition release that showcases finishing casks sourced from local breweries. That inaugural batch featured a cask from Virginia’s Three Notch’d Brewing that had been used to finish a scotch ale, and while enjoyable, I felt like there was almost too much harmony between the whisky and the beer barrel to the point where I didn’t detect much flavor or nuance from the finishing. For the latest release, Virginia Distillery Co. partnered with Washington D.C.’s Three Stars Brewing who used the whisky barrels to age their Born Sinner strong ale. How did that beer influence the whisky in Batch 2? Let’s see!
The nose on this whisky initially shows a lot of traditional character from Virginia Distillery Co.’s blend of sourced Scottish single malt and house-distilled whisky. It’s light, honeyed, and grassy with a hint of citrus and coconut. Those aromas give way quickly to a formidable chocolate biscuit note that evolves as the whisky opens up with bigger mocha and vanilla notes that eventually turn to hot fudge sundae, heavy on the chocolate sauce. The palate is light, like the previous batch, but there’s more body here than the first release with some almost chewy caramel and baking chocolate notes, as well as a little lemon peel and saltwater taffy. There’s plenty of chocolate, but it doesn’t dominate the palate nearly as much as the aroma owing to a nice balance of malty and brighter citrus notes. The medium-length finish shows just a dusting of cocoa powder and peach candies. This second attempt at Brewer’s Batch seems truer to the original intent of the project with far more unique beer influence evident in the final product. A nice improvement, in my humble opinion.
92 proof. Batch 2.
A- / $65 / vadistillery.com