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  • Bibliophiles and Bourbon Lovers? Treat Yo Shelves

    We're absolutely thrilled to be one of the fortunate few included in Ian Buxton's 2nd addition of his book 101 CRAFT AND WOLRD WHISKIES TO TRY BEFORE YOU DIE.
    We're sure you'll find countless other beauties within these pages, but we've posted Ian's kind words and review below. Enjoy!
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    By now you will have noticed there are no detailed tasting notes here and certainly no scores. As previously explained, that’s because you know what you like, can afford and already have it in your drinks cabinet much better than I do and, to the extent that I have philosophy, it’s that whisky is for everyone to explore and enjoy without my didactic pontifications (or, indeed, those of another ‘expert’). So, I was delighted to see this on the Reservoir Distillery’s website: “We believe in “creating your own tradition”, honoring age fact that everyone has a unique palate.” Amen! It’s almost as if they’d read this book.  

    So in that spirit I point you towards this single-minded Virginia distillery, established in 2008 by childhood friends Jay Carpenter and Dave Cutting. They only make single-grain whiskeys. The Bourbon Whiskey is 100 per cent corn, the Rye Whiskey is 100 per cent rye. And, as you’ve probably guessed by now, the Wheat Whiskey is 100 per cent wheat. 

    All of those grains come from within 50 miles of the distillery and they age in 13-gallon casks (US gallons that is, so just less than 11 imperial gallons) that they use only once and which have received a custom alligator char. That’s pretty much as deep as charring goes — Ardbeg did this in 2011 and, believe me, you don’t want to know what a bottle of that would cost today.  

    I also like the suggestion that you blend to your own taste: buy a bottle of each of their whiskeys and create your own personal blend. It’s not difficult and the worst that can happen is that you don’t like it. In which case, put in a drop more of your favorite and see what happens. Then splash out on your own cask (they’re available in a range of sizes) and try extra aging. Before you know it you’re your own Master Blender and you discover you have many new friends. You might even start a business.   

    They also employed a local mural artist to paint the front of their distillery, presenting a fresh and vibrant face to the world. Apart from being exceptionally cool struck me as an excellent metaphor for their entire weltanschauung. This reservoir is deep. 

     

     

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  • Yeaux Ho Ho! It's the Ho Ho Holidays!

    We're in the mood to raise some glasses!

    Black Friday is nearly here, and if you're one of the first 60 people to visit us in the tasting room on that day, we're offering our seasonal cocktail, the Yeaux Ho Ho on us.

    On Cyber Monday, be one of the first 60 people to come in and show us a receipt from your online shopping that day, and be rewarded with that same winning cup of cheer. 

    Yeaux Ho Ho!

    Whether you're in the mood to shop or not, come in for a visit. Our Thanksgiving week hours are: 

    Wednesday: 1 PM - 9 PM

    Thursday: CLOSED

    Friday: 11 AM - 9 PM

    Saturday: 1 PM - 9 PM

    Sunday: 1 PM - 5 PM

    We're looking forward to seeing you and toasting to the season!

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  • So Much to Celebrate! (and Toast with)

    It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

    To be a whiskey drinker, that is. This September we're celebrating Virginia Spirits Month, AND Bourbon Month!


    We're releasing 7--yes, SEVEN whiskies on September 1st.

    ~ Two new Grey Ghosts (distillery only!)
    ~ All three bottles from our Holland's Series 
    ~ Batch #3 from Maison de Cuivre 
    ~ Our Evil100 collaboration with Jens Pulver

    Be sure to scroll down for info on each release and Reservoir's Tasting Room hours!

    We searched the warehouse and came across a few honey barrels that emerged like rediscovered time capsules. We’re thrilled to release two very special Grey Ghost bottlings. (Available from distillery only for $124.99 each!)

    Our Wheated Bourbon Grey Ghost is a blended mashbill of 30% wheat and 70% bourbon, having aged nearly four and one half years in a five-gallon barrel. So not only is it a rare Grey Ghost, but a Bottled in Bond release as well.

    Nose: Light molasses, cornbread, crème brulee mix with butterscotch and southern pecans
    Body: Brightly citrusy with tangy orange rinds and pink peppercorns, chocolate and butterscotch mingle
    Finish: Warming hot cocoa and notes of black tea, with recurring scents of apricot
     
    Our second bottling is our Wheated Rye Grey Ghost—with a mashbill of 33% wheat and 67% rye, we blended each singular distillate into a five-gallon barrel and aged them together for three and one half years. This whiskey is as perfect a phantom find in the deep recesses of our warehouse as one could ever hope to stumble upon.

    Nose: Succulent prunes, dates, and raspberry jam with floral powdered sugar, malted syrup, and honey graham cracker scents
    Body: Rich sweet tea and heady pipe tobacco abounds, with honeyed rye bread, and golden graham cracker biscuits
    Finish: Tingling and long-lasting minty notes with lingering scents of rock candy, revealing headily spiced and mouth coating honey

    To further celebrate this unbelievable month, we're doing a rare releasing of all three of our most beloved Limited Time Offering bourbons—our Holland’s series. Available online and at the distillery for $124.99 each.



    With their familial mashbill of 15% wheat, 70% corn, and 15% rye, each Holland’s bourbon shows off their unforgettable and wholly unique finishing techniques.

    For more info, click on each bottling.

    Holland’s Ghost

    Holland’s Milkman

    Holland’s Blade Rummer

    As an extra bonus to bourbon lovers, we’re offering up our finally ready to release Maison de Cuivre—our 100% corn bourbon finished in Burgundy Grand Crew Meritage casks.

    And lastly, we can’t skip over our very special bottling of Evil100—a collaboration we did with American retired professional mixed martial artist, undefeated boxer and kickboxer, and the inaugural UFC Lightweight Champion, Jens Pulver. For Tasting Notes, click HERE.

    How about, to make this month even better, we throw in a one-day discount, September 19th, where at any of Virginia’s ABC stores, you can purchase our 375ml bourbon with a 20% discount?

    And finally, our tasting room is finally open!

    We’re so excited to welcome friends and fans back to our distillery. Hours will be:

    Wednesday to Saturday: 1:00PM - 9:00PM and Sunday 1:00PM - 5:00PM.

     

    We can’t wait to see you all back in person!
    Happy September everyone!

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  • Barreling Through the Speyside Bourbon Cooperage

    I never miss an opportunity to visit historical museums or villages set up to recreate bygone days. Seeing people dressed in antiquated clothing performing essential tasks with obsolete tools is not an experience I scoff at, rather I find I’m reflecting on the great advancements made over the short decades behind me.

    Last week, our team traveled southwest to Atkins, Virginia to visit the Speyside Bourbon Cooperage—one of Reservoir’s highly esteemed barrel makers. And it was here we all had the privilege to meet Josh Chandler, Speyside’s plant manager and tour guide extraordinaire. And it was also here that we were educated as to just how advanced the coopering industry has grown since the days when highly skilled craftsmen practiced the trade by hand.

    We here at Reservoir impress upon our customers the strength and influence of provenance, as all our ingredients—i.e., anything that influences our flavor—comes right from our little patch of earth. Virginia has a singular taste, and we capture every drop, scent, and organic compound that allows us to say our whiskeys’ flavors are “terroir-driven.”

    A significant part of that distinctively place-based flavor comes from the organic compounds deep within the wood of each barrel, as the staves that comprise a five, ten, or a 53-gallon barrel are rich with lignins, which break down into vanillin, eugenol, furfural, and lactones—all flavor molecules that give our spirits their spicy, fruity, nutty, and buttery profiles. And as the majority of trees Speyside Cooperage utilizes come from Virginia forestland, we grow increasingly enthusiastic to share what we now recognize as true Virginia bourbon flavor.

    We pride ourselves on highlighting Reservoir’s unique process of ‘grain to glass’ whiskey making, but we’d be remiss if we did not back farther up—a step or two behind where that timeline begins. I’ve written before about one of our stave mills—The Ramoneda Brothers in Culpeper, Virginia—and Speyside operates several of their own mills as well, but I’ve yet to take you on a tour of how our barrels are assembled. It’s an eye-opening peek into a marvelous carpentry journey you shouldn’t miss.

    Founded in Scotland in 1947, the Speyside cooperage has impressive lineage, coming from a long line of traditional and highly skilled barrel makers. Estimates of remaining coopers worldwide are around 1,500—2,000.

    And for as lovely the venerable and time-honored practice of coopering by hand is, where barrel makers apprenticed for approximately seven years before being capable of raising seven casks a day, Speyside has applied, in their words, “state of the art technology and modern manufacturing principles to the age-old craft of barrel making.”

    Here in Virginia, those new design principles allow them to utilize equipment safer for the environment and their employees, use less energy than older manufacturing processes would require, create less waste and pollutants, and build stronger, better barrels than ever before.

    Not only are the barrels they produce casks of the highest quality, but the company concentrates on their overall footprint left behind after manufacturing their product. Speyside has been recognized for their sustainable log buying practices, and every scrap of byproducts is either sold to other manufacturers or utilized inhouse via recycling techniques.

    So, we here at Reservoir feel fortunate not only to partner with a company whose gilt-edged product helps to make our whiskies shine with a depth and breadth of flavor we’re determined to offer our customers, but also because their level of standards resonate deeply with ours: Offer the world the best you have.

    And there you have it. Another glimpse into our process. I hope it will serve to educate, entertain, but more important, enrich your next sip of whiskey. Let’s all raise a glass to these men and women of great skill. Because they’re building better barrels, we’re bottling beautiful bourbons!

    ~ Shelley Sackier

    Director of Distillery Education

     

     

     

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  • Blow by Blow: Reservoir’s Collaboration with Jens Pulver – Evil100

    Currently, the world is inundated with celebrity endorsed bottles of beer, wine, and spirits. There is a deluge of the glamorous, the glorious, and occasionally the infamous all popping up with a jug of something that now alluringly sports their name. But how many of these notables skipped the beakers and went straight to the bottles?

    Reservoir loves doing collaborations, but occasionally we have an opportunity to do something extraordinary and incredibly fun. When we heard that someone we admired, was expressing admiration for something we created, we knew a few heads should meet to exchange a few compliments. But what we didn’t expect was the deep interest and curiosity that came from American retired professional mixed martial artist, undefeated boxer and kickboxer, and the inaugural UFC Lightweight Champion, Jens Pulver. 

    Jens is the type of guy who defines hungry. Whether in the ring, across the mat, or on the air, Jens’s successes seem to stem from the trifecta of observation, development, and execution. The remarkable thing that follows is a ripple effect of his genuine enthusiasm. If Jens likes what he’s doing, no doubt everyone around follows suit. He’s that infectious.  

    So, when Jens graced our distillery’s doorstep, it wasn’t to be greeted by a photographer who would snap a fancy photo to slap on a label and call it a day, rather he filled that day with watching, learning, and deciding—again, that trifecta in action.

    Jens first tasted our whiskey while streaming one of his play-by-play broadcasts of someone else’s fight, sharing his opinion on the techniques and skills of those who are hopeful to hear his thoughts on how they might improve. His manager, Brian Buttler, sat there with Jens, enjoying his hand-made smoked Old Fashioned, having used a whiskey Reservoir had made for him within our custom program.

    At some point, a glass swapped hands, a light bulb went off, and Jens made the decision that something else just might take the place of his traditional mason jar often filled with apple pie moonshine.

    We were thrilled to be a part of Jens’s next level of discovery. Of course, we’re chuffed to hear that people love our products, but there’s something extra special about a person deciding they like it so much they want to create a whiskey specific to them to share with all likeminded friends.

    After learning about our processes, Jens then spent time in the “lab.” Surrounded by pipettes, cylinders, beakers, and barrels, he then worked with our distillers to build a formula where eventually the spirit he created was as unique as the spirit he possesses.

    And now we’re here to introduce an incredibly special bottling that sprouted from those sessions. Imagine sweetened notes of barley and corn blending with Reservoir’s iconic wheat and rye. We’ve secured the best hand-picked Kentucky barrels to marry with our finest Virginia Reservoir casks—a formidable whiskey we call Evil100. With a nose of tropically scented bread and toasted caramel, rich butterscotch emerges with an ever so slightly spicy finish. Technically, this whiskey is a knockout combination and packs a powerful 100-proof punch.

    One last note: Our launch for Evil100 is June 1st (shipping or distillery pickup is June 1st), but we'll have 1000 Jens Pulver signed bottles online for pre-sale starting May 28th (outside of Virginia, click HERE). Get 'em while you can, as you never know when the "next round" will come about.

    A massive thanks to Jens and Brian. We’ve enjoyed ourselves immensely and now we’re totally hooked on a new whiskey that has knocked our socks off.

    Cheers,

    ~ Reservoir

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  • The World, Whiskey, & Winning

    As if World Whisky Day could not get any better, we here at Reservoir are celebrating by releasing one of our whiskies that literally just won a double gold medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

    Holland’s Blade Rummer is a creative, international collaboration between Reservoir Distillery and select Jamaican rum distilleries. Blade Rummer’s mash bill is still the same 70% corn, 15% wheat, and 15% rye as our Holland’s Ghost (having fully aged separately in our five-gallon casks for 2 ½ years before being blended). Once we’ve imported our rum barrel, we let our blended whiskey soak in that sugarcane sunshine for an additional two years to create a truly unique take on a Reservoir bourbon.

     

    If we needed any more “proof” that this whiskey is appealing to a universal palate, we’d say we received it when discovering that the only way to snag a double gold medal is when every judge on the 40-person panel simultaneously gives the whiskey a gold. Now that’s worth toasting.

    • Nose: Slightly minty and sweet like peppermint and burnt sugar. Warm cornbread.
    • Body: Sweet caramel/toffee with an herbal elixir feel
    • Finish: Rising warmth and sweetness turns to spicy cool wintergreen

    The fifth batch of our Limited Time Offering, Holland’s Blade Rummer, is ready to fill your glasses and rise to the sky in honor of celebrating World Whisky Day (May 15th) with friends across our planet.

    We definitely think this addition to our Holland’s limited time lineup is “jumping with the irie vibes!”

    Available at Reservoir Distillery and online (here) starting May 14th

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