According to the website, www.virginiablackwhiskey.com, Virginia Black American Whiskey is a collaboration between Brent Hocking, who created the Original Deleón Tequila, and Drake, the rap artist, song writer, film actor and international celebrity. There was a pre-launch recently at the Summerhill LCBO in Toronto. I did not attend but understand the whiskey was previewed there. It’s not yet on the shelves but you can pre-order it from the Vintages LCBO website, which I promptly did after tasting it. I’m not exactly sure when it will be available in Ontario but according to this story in Maxim two days ago, it is coming out on May 1 in some U.S. states. I’d think it will be here by summer.
A bottle is at the tasting bar at the Summerhill LCBO. You can buy a sample (cost: 50 cents). While it is small, I had two, the maximum allowed, certainly enough to scope the product.
Beer Et Seq has considerable experience with bourbon and other whiskeys. I visited Kentucky perhaps 20 times from 2001 until recently, and was active over that period in www.straightbourbon.com, and other consumer bourbon forums. I was named Bourbonian Of The Year by straightbourbon.com’s owner a few years ago. I have also read extensively in bourbon literature from the origins of bourbon until today.
I mention this, not to puff myself up, but simply to point out that I know what good American (and other) whiskey is. I’ve had them from a wide variety of sources, made over a long period including bourbons from old distilleries no longer operating. Until recently, due to the former bourbon glut, you could buy bourbons and other whiskey made decades ago but still being sold at retail in the U.S. I know the bourbon palate, what well-modulated and mingled bourbon is, and its contrary, when bourbon is too old or too young or has an errant taste of some kind.
And I say, Virginia Black American Whiskey is outstandingly good. At $39.95 a bottle (CAN), it will be worth every penny and then some.
The whiskey is, according to the website, a combination of bourbons aged two, three years, and four years. Normally, I feel I can taste whiskey which is very young. There is a characteristic note to it, hard to explain in words. Rubbery or soapy, say, get close. The Virginia Black has none of that taste. I would have thought it was 4-6 years old at least. The whiskeys in it obviously are selected and mingled very carefully. According to the Maxim story, the whiskey is actually not made in Virginia, the source is not stated, but I’d guess by the flavour it is Kentucky bourbon. The word Virginia was chosen for other associations – see the Maxim story again. The colour is not really black, it seemed a normal bourbon colour, I’d think black in the name pertains to the packaging and promotional material.
The word decadent in the labeling is well-chosen as the whiskey has a full, lush taste. It seemed almost like a combination of a very good bourbon and a rich, silky brandy or dark rum.
I’d think it will be very popular due both to Drake’s fame and the inherent quality.
Note re image: the image above was sourced from the website mentioned above for Virginia Black American Whiskey. Image is believed available for educational and historical purposes. All feedback welcomed.