News

  • Reservoir's Year in Review!

    Yes, many of us would like to see the back of 2020, but we here at Reservoir are determined to find a silver lining wherever we cast our view. Last year we set new goals and were challenged to light the fires of creativity in a whole new way. No doubt we also kept our calendars jam-packed with work we knew would churn out great whiskies.

    This week we invite you to take a peek at the past with us. A long look back over 2020 made us realize just how busy we’ve been, and just how excited we are with how much we’ve accomplished.

    We wanted to share those accomplishments with you—because whether you were there in person, virtually, or in spirit, we know you helped to make it happen.

    We’ve put together an infographic—a buffet of all the buzz from our last year.

    Scroll below for a tiny trip through time.

    We can’t wait to help fill your 2021 with another series of amazing snapshot moments.

    Hope to see you soon!

    ~The Reservoir Team

     

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  • Let's Make a Toast to our Nation's Native Spirit

    August has come to and end, and I’m guessing, like most of us here at Reservoir, you are filled to the brim with all things corn. From grilled cobs to stud-filled muffins, many of us are nearly walking human corn stalks.
    But … lest you forget—or did not get the memo—September is National Bourbon Heritage Month! And that means we have been searching for the best of the best to bring out of our warehouse to help celebrate America’s “Native Spirit.”
     
    And if you missed last week’s very small bottling release of our Wheated Rye Grey Ghost, wipe your tears and consider this a heads up, as on Wednesday, September 2nd, we’re releasing the 2nd small bottling in our Grey Ghost series. This guy is all corn.
    It is also Bottled in Bond.

    That means this whiskey was subjected to meticulous standards. It must have been made by one distiller at only one distillery and during one season, then bottled at 100 proof, and aged in a bonded warehouse for at least 4 years. It is an undeniable mark of provenance and provides the benchmarks for excellence.
    With a single grain mash bill, aged for 6 ½ long years in our level 4 alligator charred 25-gallon casks, our Grey Ghost Bottled in Bond bourbon has one perfect word to describe its flavor:

    Moreish.

    In truth, there are countless other descriptors we could attach as well, like unctuous, succulent, ambrosial, and heady.

    One word we definitely cannot ascribe to these bottles is everlasting. With only a few small barrels released, you’d best not tarry, as there are countless kernels of truth to the fact that this spirit is “a-maize-ing.” Don’t be the one saying “shucks,” as it will be gone in a flash.
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  • Reservoir's Bottled in Bond Wheat: History in the Making

    Last week we introduced you to our Grey Ghost Bottled in Bond Bourbon, and I gave you the bare basics on what qualifications a whiskey must possess to be labeled as “Bottled in Bond” according to the stiff guidelines within US legislation.
     
    Today, as we announce the release of our Grey Ghost Bottled in Bond Wheat on September 16th, it might be nice if I fleshed out the primer on the history of BIB spirits. Think of it like being schooled in the past, while sipping on it as well.
    Well over one hundred years ago, the Federal Government spotted a giant pothole in the area of Consumer Protectionism. Least worrisome, people were being swindled, most worrisome, folks were kicking the bucket.
    During these unregulated times, a battle arose between distillers who made legitimate whiskey and “non-distilling producers,” or rectifiers, who bought whiskey (or neutral grain spirit) and tinkered with it.
     
    The problem stemmed from the specific rectifiers who did not simply blend their purchased whiskies to create a unique flavor profile for their customers, but who tampered with the legitimacy of the spirit altogether.
    These rectifiers fluffed up their purchased spirits with products that at best could be deemed deceitful, but in many cases were poisonous. Ingredients such as artificial coloring and flavorings, prune juice, glycerin, gasoline, and formaldehyde were added to stretch the spirit out. As whiskey was sold in barrels, it was much easier to adulterate the contents than whiskey already bottled.
     
    Now as any great government would see as something of supreme importance, protecting its people was paramount.
     
    Enter the Bottled in Bond Act of 1897.
     
    These new strict guidelines created a secure mark of authenticity and provenance for the consumer where they now could enjoy the highest level of confidence with their newly purchased bottle of whiskey as it had passed the benchmarks that stated it was made by one distiller at only one distillery and during one season, then bottled at 100 proof (unadulterated with anything other than pure water for dilution), and aged in a bonded warehouse for at least 4 years.
     
    If a whiskey met these standards, the government adorned that bottle with a lovely green stamp of approval rather than the awful green stamp of a Mr. Yuck face.
    Reservoir’s Bottled in Bond Wheat has not only met those rigorous government requirements, but this spirit has surpassed our own meticulous and uncompromising levels of excellence. With a mash bill of 100% wheat, aged for nearly 5 1/2 years in our one-of-a-kind alligator char 10-gallon casks, this heavenly whiskey invites you to sample and savor a bit of the past. We may not be able to transport your whole body to a less turbulent time, but we can certainly make that magically happen to your taste buds.
     
    ~Shelley Sackier, Director of Distillery Education
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  • Our "Blink and it's Gone" Bourbon

    September’s National Bourbon Spirit month has been bountiful for Reservoir—in as far as we have found so much we want to share with our family and friends, our customers and clan.
     
    Thus far, we’ve churned out our Grey Ghost Wheated Rye (sold out), a Bottled in Bond Bourbon (8 left!), and a Bottled in Bond Wheat whiskey (only 32 more).
     
    This week we’ve put together a special little treat for bourbon month—and by little we mean so few bottles. The reason so few? We’re allowing ourselves a teeny bit of fun—and don’t we all just need a dose of that right now?
    We’ve hunted through the warehouse and found three perfect small barrels:
     
    · One 10-gallon wheat barrel nearly three years old
    · One 5-gallon corn barrel at 2 ½ years old
    · One 10-gallon rye barrel, also nearly three years old
     
    At 65% corn, 25% wheat, and 10% rye, we’ve swirled together a sumptuous blend—a luscious bourbon that is “Distillery Release Only.”
     
    This means, as we have less than 30 bottles for sale, that snagging one of these beauties will happen either at Reservoir’s distillery itself, or online through our Virginia-only bottle shop.
     
    The best part of this announcement? We’re putting it on sale! $39.99 for a 375ml bottle with just $5 shipping starting Wednesday, the 23rd.
     
    Yeah, Bourbon month has us totally jazzed, and we’re hoping you’ll have a chance to enjoy one of these exceptional whiskies on offer before they’re gone for good. With our three founding bottles (100% wheat, corn, and rye whiskies), our warehouse holds a playground of remarkable combinations.
     
    Come taste this one!
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  • "Hazard" a Guess at What's on Offer...

    Hazmat—short for hazardous material.
     
    This is a term we have heard with such great repetition in 2020, it no longer sends a shiver down most people’s spine.
     
    Typically, it refers to the kit one must wear when handling said hazardous matter—the gloves, rubber boots, overalls, respirator, and facial protection. Armor made to shield us from pernicious danger. It’s our modern-day chainmail, if you will.
     
    This week—to lift our spirits—we here at Reservoir suggest tossing this typically baneful word over to the side of the ledger that holds words and phrases inviting people to rub their hands together with glee, rather than hand sanitizer.
     
    On September 30th, we’re introducing one more beautiful whiskey from our Grey Ghost series. We’ve scoured the warehouse in search of old barrels with the highest proof spirit and have scored bigtime.
    If you’re new to the term “hazmat” in the whiskey world, here’s some key clarification.
     
    An American distillery of whiskey, by law, must fill their casks with new make spirit no higher than 125 proof. What happens after that, during the time of aging and maturation, is often dictated by warehouse conditions and Mother Nature’s fickle ways.
     
    The spirit may rise or lower in proof depending upon factors such as temperature and humidity.
     
    When the conditions in the warehouse allow water to evaporate at a higher rate than the alcohol within the cask, the proof of that spirit rises. And if it rises higher than 140 proof, it then falls under the term “hazmat,” coined by great whiskey geeks who discovered they could not bring their bottles onto an airplane.
     
    We understand the rush of excitement with locating such a bottle, and we understand the pure delight in making one too.
     
    Therefore, with so few bottles available, and no great desire for airplane travel currently, we’re encouraging you to pop on down to the distillery (no hazmat suit needed—just a mask), or let us ship you one of these beauties right to your front door (if you live in Virginia).
     
    This particular Hazmat has been bottled from 3 ½ year old Hunter & Scott 5-gallon barrels. With a mashbill of 75% corn, 20% wheat, and 5% rye, the nose lifts notes of sweet dough, vanilla and cinnamon into the air, the body is coating and warm, syrupy with cotton candy, and the finish brings with it a blushing maple syrup and molasses rush of heat.
     
    At 141.5 proof, our Grey Ghost Hazmat bottle will transform your idea of words that can be thrilling and chilling at the same time.
     
    Join us in raising a glass to combat the shiver of autumn with the heat of our Hazmat.
     
    Cheers!
     
    ~Shelley Sackier: Director of Distillery Education
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  • Belly up to the Bar - Part 4: The Finishing Touch

    If you had to decide on anything you’d want to come to an end, one might volunteer such things like world hunger, or strip searches at the airport, possibly even the life of anyone who writes another vampire book.

    Certainly, one thing no one looks forward to seeing is the bottom of an empty whiskey glass.
     
    Thankfully, this is not what is meant when referring to the word finish in the world of nosing and tasting. The “finish” alludes to those flavors and aromas that still linger after the alcohol has been swallowed. Personally, I think the whiskey’s job isn’t over until it’s established a small furnace in your stomach—a potbellied stove for some.
     
    But as you note, or even record your observations on the different whiskies you try, you’ll find some finishes stick around longer than others. A little bit like the bloom of youth on Dick Clark.
     
    Terms to express a whiskey’s finish are oftentimes paired with language that describes its texture—words like long, dry, chewy, clean, fresh or lingering, but you can come up with your own text—declarations that are meaningful to you.
    I’d hope you’d stay away from language like yuck, horrid and awful. In these cases, switch your glass or change your whiskey.
     
    There’s also the hope that the whiskey in your glass will be one of those that reveal new flavors before its initial flavor profile times out. It’s like having a second blossoming of aromas and flavors that linger on your tongue, but also change as the environment in your mouth alters.
     
    This experience is brought to you by your olfactory epithelium—a postage stamp-sized patch of tissue at the back of your nose and tongue that recognizes millions (yes, millions) of aromas noticeable to the human nose and helps enhance your flavor observations as well.
     
    If given a few extra seconds of serious consideration, there’s a very good chance its efforts to augment your enjoyment will push you to leave money to it in your will as an act of appreciation.
     
    Like many distilleries around the world, we here at Reservoir feel our whiskies offer you three distinct experiences to observe the aroma and flavor analysis of our spirits: the nose, the palate, and the finish—each worth savoring. So our advice to you is to stretch out that sip. We know how hard it is to keep from reaching for that Glencairn glass and the next nip, but we promise, it’s worth the wait.
     
    Now that you’ve had an opportunity to learn the gratifying lessons of nosing and tasting, you can walk your guests and friends through the fun, coming off as the erudite individual we all know you are (if for no other reason than the fact that you drink Reservoir whiskey).
     
    Keeping a notebook with the observations you collect not only helps you become a more learned and discerning connoisseur of this beautiful spirit, but will also allow you to help others decide what they’d like to drink when on the town in your company or in your home (and hopefully invited).
     
    People often have no idea what flavors they’d like and will shy away from making a costly mistake or taking a chance on something they’d find off-putting. You can come to their aid by describing some of the drams you’ve already tried, putting your companions at ease, and in your debt.
     
    So to recap these last four lessons that fall under our Reservoir’s Quartern on Whiskey Tasting 101:
     
    - Blow your nose, clean your glass, pour your dram, and note the color, viscosity, and clarity. (Part 1)
     
    - Swirl, or not. Dab a drop on the back of your hand. Sniff both hand and glass. Identify. (Part 2)
     
    - Note the strength. Add H2O (or not). Take a sip. Breathe. Try not to choke. (Part 3)
     
    - Classify the finish. Select a notebook. Decorate with stickers. Consider yourself profoundly cultured. (Part 4)
     
    School is out.
     
    You may leave your teacher assessments on my desk, but remember I know your handwriting.
     
    Now go forth and multiply … your experiences with whiskey more confidently.
     
    ~Shelley Sackier—Director of Distillery Education
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