Over the summer, Virginia Distillery Co. added three new offerings to their line of Courage & Conviction single malts, each drawn from stocks used in the core Courage & Conviction blend. If that wasn’t evidence enough that the distillery has really ramped up their single malt production, we now have the latest bottling: Courage & Conviction Cuvée Single Cask. It’s the first single cask, limited edition offering distilled and aged at Virginia Distillery Co., bottled at cask strength without chill filtration and drawn from a single Cuvée Cask. The Cuvée Cask, for those following along at home, is one of three component casks in the standard Courage & Conviction blend, and it’s shaping up to be a real fan favorite. What makes this one so special? It’s aged in a red wine cask that has been shaved, toasted, and re-charred, what’s known in the industry as “STR” (“Cuvée” is much sexier, so kudos to the Virginia Distillery Co. marketing folks). The standard Courage & Conviction Cuvée Cask was my favorite of the new trio. So, how does this cask strength version single cask compare?
After tasting a younger sample of cask strength Cuvée Cask back in 2019, I saw how it could really elevate the Courage & Conviction blend. The standard release was impressive, even at proof, but returning to cask strength, I’m reminded what an intense flavor bomb this is. The aroma is larger than the standard Cuvée Cask but still quite concentrated with big, bold fruit notes. Raspberry candies in powdered sugar, dark berry preserves, and cherry frosting are just a few of the confectionary aromas coming from my glass. It’s airy with a texture that alternates between pastry cream and spun sugar. That same concentration of fruit translates to the front palate with juicy, ripe strawberry and cranberry sauce notes. It borders on over-candied at the outset but quickly transitions to a more complex and balanced mix of sugary fruits and the underlying, honeyed malt, which, as with the standard offering, presents a distinct chocolaty note. At first, it’s all cocoa powder, but then creamier, dark chocolate envelops those red fruits until you’re left with a big box of fancy chocolate-covered strawberries. It’s a roller coaster ride of predominantly fruit-forward flavors, which might not appeal to the more traditional malt lover. I, for one, am really, really enjoying it.
119.4 proof. Reviewed: Cask No. 1253.