Review: Virginia Distillery Co. Courage & Conviction Single Casks: Bourbon, Sherry and Cuvee
With Courage & Conviction now well-established and reinforced by a line of cask-specific single malts derived from that flagship blend, the next frontier in the lineup for Virginia Distillery Co. is cask strength, single cask offerings. We got a taste of that last year with Cuvee Single Cask and, more recently, with an independently bottled offering from Single Cask Nation. Just recently, Bourbon Cask and Sherry Cask have gotten the single barrel treatment, as well. We received a trio of these single casks for review, including a new Cuvee offering. Thoughts follow.
Virginia Distillery Co. Courage & Conviction Bourbon Single Cask – Aged for a minimum of three years in ex-bourbon casks. The nose is bright and honeyed with notes of golden apple and crunchy pear. A bit of ethanol creeps in to quiet some of that fruit, but an undercurrent of fresh oak and vanilla shortbread keeps things on track. The palate is quite spicy with a generous, oily mouthfeel. A potent chili pepper heat carries across the sip, adding a toasted, almost caramelized, element to the sweet malts at its core. Notes of well-cooked granola, crispy apple pie, dark toffee, and torched lemon peel give way to a final flourish of peppery heat and fading, notes of vanilla bean and slightly bitter black tea. Water helps to tame some of the spicier elements. More interesting than the standard Bourbon Cask, to be sure, but that comes at the expense of some approachability. Reviewed: Cask No. 503. 117.6 proof. B+
Virginia Distillery Co. Courage & Conviction PX Sherry Single Cask – Aged for a minimum of three years in casks that formerly held Pedro Ximenez sherry (Oloroso and Fino Single Casks are reportedly forthcoming). The aroma is heavily sherried but without the jammy dark fruit element sometimes associated with this sherry style. In fact, I might suspect a drier style was used if I didn’t know better given how gentle and mild the sweetness is at first. As things open, however, the dark berry and fig notes grow a bit juicier, complemented by a lovely, dried orange peel note and a bit of marzipan. The palate shows more of a classic PX-aged profile with bolder, syrupy notes of raspberry and blackberry. A bit of dried stone fruit and orange zest arrive on the midpalate with a gentle, red pepper warmth that builds into a lingering finish of baking spice, honeyed malt, cinnamon candies, and dark cherry. Reviewed: Cask No. 1212. 118.8 proof. A-
Virginia Distillery Co. Courage & Conviction Cuvee Single Cask (2022) – Aged a minimum of three years in red wine casks that have been shaved, toasted, and re-charred. While still offering plenty of sugary berry notes, the aroma is not nearly as concentrated with dark fruit as the first single cask we sampled in 2021. As things open up, additional layers of vanilla custard and exotic wood arrive. The palate follows suit with a sweet mix of berry cobbler, caramelized sugar, and spice cabinet. The finish is warming with a touch of latent spice and fading notes of Christmas cake and black tea. Not quite as decadent as my first encounter, but with a richer texture on the palate and a bit more balance. Still my favorite of the bunch. Reviewed: Cask No. 1256. 118.4 proof. A
each $150 / vadistillery.com
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