• Bottle it up!

    There is nothing more satisfying than a rollicking good debate, in my opinion. Preferably fact based, and on a topic I’m hungering to know more about.
    And since we are up to our earballs in “debate land” territory, and our country seems more divisive than ever, I figure we should take advantage of the heightened state of information gathering our brains are working to maintain and toss yet another subject of controversy at it.

    Whiskey closures.

    Recently, we’ve had a couple of questions from Facebook and Instagram on the subject, and you might be surprised to discover that the “best sealing practices” debate is more complex than one would think.
    It’s true, this may not be an issue keeping many of you up at night, but it’s a genuine concern within the wine and spirits industry.
    The choices used most widely now are:
    1. Natural cork
    2. Synthetic cork
    3. Screw caps
    Ultimately, the right “fit” comes down to science, cost, sustainability, and sensibility.
    We know that both industries must consider OTRs—oxygen transmission rates.
    For cellar-worthy wines, the slow interaction with air is beneficial, so using natural cork, which can allow volatile gasses to pass through the plant-based material, will help with the desirable aging process. Wines meant to be enjoyed young, fresh, and immediately are often capped with a screw top closure, as it’s a secure sealant and is less expensive than cork.
    Whiskey, on the other hand, has a different outlook.
    Barrels are for maturation, bottles are for preservation.
    Choosing natural cork to seal a bottle of whiskey has both benefits and risks.
    1. Cork is expensive—if chosen, it may add a few precious pennies to the overall cost.
    2. There exists a firm debate over whether the cork bark harvesting industry is as carefully regulated as it once was. We add to this list the effects of climate change, making quality a growing concern.
    3. TCA—2,4,6-Trichloroanisole—is a chemical compound found in contaminated wood products responsible for “cork taint” in wines and spirits. If discovered to have infected the product, it creates a musty, wet cardboard type of aroma and flavor.
    4. Natural cork, when used for high-proof spirits, can disintegrate, crumble, and lose its sealing power.
    5. Natural cork is recyclable.
    6. Natural cork is visually appealing and contributes an authentic historical feel to the bottle which can enhance the perceived quality of the wine or whiskey.
    The decision to use synthetic cork has pros and cons as well.
    1. It’s said to provide a tighter seal, thereby ensuring less evaporation and less chemical interaction with any volatile gasses permeating through the closure.
    2. Synthetic cork—although not typically biodegradable—may be recycled if they are manufactured from plant-based materials (but even many of the plastic-based corks are recycled into shoes, bags, and flooring.)
    3. They do not break, disintegrate, mold, or crumble.
    4. Studies are ongoing as to whether polyethylene—the plastic-based cork—can deliver off notes to wine or spirits, although the companies that manufacture these corks state there is no data to show this as true.
    5. They may create the perception of “lower-quality” product because they do not fit the marketed mindset of tradition and historical worth.
    6. Synthetic cork is less expensive.
    And lastly, screw caps.
    Growing in popularity, they share many of the same clear benefits as synthetic cork but suffer from a larger carbon footprint than their counterparts, despite the rosy glow of their aluminum recyclability.
    There are copious examples of highly respected whiskies that use screw caps (Nikka, Suntory, Old Weller Antique, and Old Granddad), those that use synthetic (Defiant, Joseph Magnus, Baker’s Single Barrel, and Reservoir!), and plenty that stick with natural cork (a great number of single malt Scotch whiskies—Glenfiddich, Glenmorangie, and Laphroaig).
    Our goal here at Reservoir is to provide you with an unparalleled experience from grain to glass, product to packaging. Our choice to use synthetic cork has been one carefully reviewed for 11 years running.
    But despite our best efforts, once you bring our spirits home, storage is something worth a moment of thought. We offer you a few sage tips to keep your whiskies in their best condition:
    - Store your bottles upright—especially if they have natural cork as their enclosure.
    - Keep your spirits out of direct sunlight, and preferably in a dark, cool area.
    - Once there is more space than spirit in the bottle, consider transferring the whiskey to a smaller glass bottle, or fill the original bottle with marbles, or utilize preserving sprays. We suggest having a few friends over and finishing those last lovely drops.
    So, there we have it, ladies and gents. I hope I’ve been able to highlight many of the myriad elements we take into consideration when making the choice on this consequential decision.
    It may not be as monumental as the outcomes on healthcare, but we take great pains to create a whiskey we think you’re going to love and one that’s going to last.
    You can even call your high-quality whiskey needs medicinal.
    We promise not to argue on that one.
    ~Shelley Sackier—Director of Distillery Education
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  • Reservoir's Year in Review

    As with any business, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the importance of forward focusing. We set new goals, light the fires of creativity, and generally keep our calendars jam-packed with work we know will churn out great whiskies and activities that will excite our patrons.
    But we paused this week to glance behind us. A long look back over 2019 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 you were there for much of it and helped to make it happen.
    We’ve put together an infographic—a buffet of all the buzz from our last year working to bring you exceptional products and memorable experiences.
    Scroll below for a tiny trip through time.
    We can’t wait to help fill your 2020 with another series of amazing snapshot moments.
    Hope to see you soon!
    ~The Reservoir Team
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  • Infectious Optimism

    No doubt, the ground beneath all our feet is shifting—and this time not because we’ve had one or two sips too many.
    The impact of the current pandemonium is unsettling, uncomfortable, and unwelcome, and yet … seemingly unavoidable.
    The team here at Reservoir has had countless impromptu brainstorming sessions where we’ve found ourselves asking the same questions you and your work and home families have been mulling over:
    How can we protect ourselves?
    How can we help our neighbors?
    Should we start Game of Thrones from the beginning once more?
    The answer to the first one is a no-brainer in that our team must be responsible and self-regulate.
    Some of us work on the production room floor and are surrounded by nothing other than the alembic—copper pots and stills that trickle out our nectar.
    Some of us work in the warehouse with simply countless casks for company.
    Some are nose-deep in spreadsheets—the paying of bills, the ordering of materials, the modeling of the future.
    And some work as the conduits—not to transmit maladies, but rather to keep us all connected: the outreach, the education, the engagement.
    Thus far, we are full steam ahead in all areas, and we count ourselves lucky to be so. If things should change, we’ll let you know.
    The answer to the second question is equally as important, as we are part of a community, a symbiotic relationship that is of paramount importance and resolutely worth protecting.
    As the scaffolding of our previous life is alarmingly dismantled, we’re all searching for that which remains tethered. We crave what is familiar, what is dependable, and what is trustworthy.
    Staples are key—we’ve discovered that by now. But however you define the essentials—milk, eggs, bourbon—it may vary from household to household. And running out of that which provides us either the day’s necessity of calories, or the night’s indulgence of a calming dram is something we’d all like to scratch off our list of worries.
    Currently, like your grocery stores, your ABC stores are still operating. And Reservoir is still open for bottle sales as well. We may not sell toilet paper, but we equate ourselves with just as much comfort as your Charmin.
    Obviously, we’re all searching for ways to stave off infection, and if our elixir of life can in any way eradicate the life of this virus, then, by all means, we’ll use it.
    And lastly, that whole Game of Thrones thing? Let’s just say there are probably an incalculable number of things you can do to take a break from the news:
    - Pull some weeds—it’s meditative
    - Watch all those Ken Burns documentaries you’ve been putting off—armchair education and travel
    - Play a family board game of LIFE—and talk about life.
    And toast to it—with whatever you have—every precious, sometimes taken-for-granted drop of life.
    Stay well, be focused, problem solve.
    We’ll get through this together.
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  • A Gold and Silver Lining

    I think it’s safe to say that we’re in a state of flux.
    Change has touched all of us—its long fingertips stretching across the globe and unsettling our well-worn and comforting routines.
    We all have stories—or will have stories—and it’s of paramount importance we share them.
    Our stories bind us together. The chapters in the Book of Life.
    We wanted to share a page of Reservoir’s story and give you a quick “back of the jacket flap” peek into what’s unfolding here at the distillery.
    Yes, our team is still making whiskey—a reliable, dependable comfort we’re determined to provide. But we’re making more than that.
    We’re brewing up disinfectants— hand sanitizer for all locals, for businesses, for industry.
    We’re handing out soap from neighboring hotels—a partnership that has proved touching and surprising.
    We’re raising money for the Holli Fund—an organization that supports individuals in the Richmond-area food service industry who are going through this wretched economic crisis.
    And we’re dishing up a steady stream of fortifying words, encouraging our neighbors to work together, help one another, and offer what they can.
    So perhaps Fate glanced over her shoulder at just the right time and caught a glimpse of what we’ve been doing. Maybe the universe decided a boost to our “spirits” would keep us on track.
    Receiving the notice that our whiskies were awarded seven medals in the San Francisco World Spirits Competition could not have come at a better time.
    Our ryes received two gold medals.
    Our bourbons won three silver.
    Holland’s Milkman snagged a silver too.
    And our wheat now sports a bronze.
    The judges state that not only are these medals a testament to our hard work, but that they are universally recognized indicators of exceptional quality and craftsmanship.
    We think it shows that we care.
    We care about our craft, our customers, and our community.
    We hope, in some measurable way, we are making more than whiskey. We hope we are making a difference.
    ~ Your Reservoir family
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  • A Blessing from Old Blighty

    If we can all agree on one thing, it’s that we usually can’t agree on much of anything.
    But, as we at Reservoir are always up for a challenge, we urge you to cross the threshold into our flourishing neighborhood and not find something wholly agreeable to your palate.
    Scott’s Addition—a district of Richmond, Virginia—is our local patch of earth, and one that, when we aren’t in the midst of a pandemic, pulses with vitality and showcases an ever-expanding collection of breweries, distilleries, cideries, meaderies, and eateries.
    Yes, Reservoir Distillery was fortuitous to be one of the founding fathers of this little borough, having put down our tap root in 2008, but word got out about the potential for this fixer-upper industrial zone and slowly but surely, the air was filled with the sound of entrepreneurs hammering away as they put up their shingles.
    Over the years, we’ve been honored to have been featured in several amazing publications including, most recently, Ferment Magazine, the UK’s biggest selling beer publication.
    Richard Croasdale, award-winning feature writer and editor of Ferment, traveled across the pond to eat and drink his way through several of Scott’s Addition’s current establishments—The Veil Brewery, Blue Bee Cidery, and Ardent Craft Ales to name a few. And after meeting with Jay Carpenter and Dave Cuttino, Reservoir’s owners, they may have made putting pen to paper a touch tricky after a “dealer’s choice” tasting menu.
    Clearly, Mr. Croasdale has recovered, and I think you will agree after reading his feature article, that Scott’s Addition is a place full of kindred spirits (or beers, or ciders, or vitals!). We are so happy he stopped in for a visit and can’t wait to see the fine establishments of Scott’s Addition bustling again. Hope to see you soon!
    ~Cheers from your Reservoir Family
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  • The Milkman Returns!

    All of us here at Reservoir have certain whiskies that we claim we’d rush to grab if the distillery were on fire and we could snag only one bottle. Between the lot of us, I think it’s fair to say there’d be a solid sampling of everything we make, so at least history would not be lost nor forgotten.
    Funny enough, one thing we haven’t been able to put out of our minds for months is the memory of what Holland’s Milkman tasted like, as it was a whiskey we made and then sold in record time.

    So, when it was proclaimed that our second batch was finally ready for bottling and release, countless hands thrust their Glencairn glasses into the air toward the bottle over a chorus of, “GIMME!”
    It’s really that good.
    Holland’s Milkman was the second in line of a series that included Holland’s Ghost—a request to recreate an old 1960’s dusty to satiate the palate of the owner of Virginia’s largest whiskey bar, and Holland’s Bladerummer—where we finished our blend in a rum barrel for an extra 12 months.
    But the Milkman has its own story.
    With a silky-smooth blend of 15% Wheat, 70% Corn, and 15% Rye, we aged this whiskey for 2 years in quarter casks and then finished it off with a final 12-month nap in a 53-gallon Ardent Milk Stout Barrel.
    Milk stouts are dark, thick ales with low carbonation. They have notes of sweetened coffee, espresso, and chocolates. When first mass produced in England in the early 1900s, they were marketed as a healthy tonic for invalids and nursing mothers.
    Now we certainly wouldn’t go so far as to claim this whiskey will cure all that ails you, or that any infant should cut their teeth with a wee nip in their milk, but no doubt, this whiskey has put a glint in our eye and returned a skip to our step.
    Breathe in a whiff of dry chai spices, honey, and cedar. Relish the taste of clove, sweet tea, and luscious dark chocolate. And finish that sip with a lingering spicy heat that slides home the flavors of cinnamon and cocoa.
    To purchase this once a year treat, come visit the distillery for a curbside purchase. Or secure yours online by clicking right here.
    Come try Holland's Milkman while it lasts, as it is gone in a flash!
    Here’s to your health. May it be long lasting.
    ~Your Reservoir Family
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