As many of you will know, the famed US government shut down has been temporarily been put on hold, federal workers are re-filling their posts and the cogs in the giant US government wheel, start to turn once more….. well for three weeks to be precise.
This shut down unfortunately made for big delays in Irish whiskey…
One of the agencies who had shuttered its doors during this no pay period was the TTB, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. If you are unfamiliar with this institution, they are the agency that reviews and approved alcohol beverage labels for use in the US market. Before any brand of Irish whiskey can enter the US, they must have their label examined and passed by this organisation. Failure to pass this examination means that your product will not be permitted to enter the country at all.
Due to the government shut down, this agency had ceased the review process for new labels, leading to over massive delays and backlogs of labels waiting to be approved. The current numbers suggest that once the government is back in full swing labels will take approximately 35 days to be reviewed. Unfortunately, this means that not all delayed labels will be seen to in this three week government shut down suspension, although there will be a large trench that will get their approval.
The TTB have been back to work since Monday the 28th of January, and it has taken four days before we have had the first Irish label approved and boy was it worth the wait! Of all of the labels that could have been approved first, we were gifted with the fantastic news that Glendalough will be continuing its super premium range with a phenomenal entry into the Irish oak category!
Glendalough 25 is clearly ear marked for the super premium segment. This single malt whiskey spent its formative years in ex-bourbon and ex-oloroso sherry barrels before finally spending its last few months in virgin Irish oak barrels, which were made from trees felled in ‘Jack’s Wood’ in the Wicklow mountains. The label suggests that they are following the Irish Distillers habit of numbering their trees from which the barrels came from, suggesting the creation of a ‘single tree’ variation to the line. Will we see more 25 year old whiskeys aged in other Irish oak trees? Time will tell.
The 25 will be showcased in the new ‘Connoisseur’s collection’ which appears to be Glendalough’s new range of super premium whiskeys, which will showcase the depth of the Glendalough whiskey portfolio with a host of exotic cask finishes.
This new 25 year old single malt will be joining its Connoisseur’s collection compatriot, the 17 year old Mizunara cask, which appeared on the TTB last month!
Glendalough are now just the second, modern day, company to finish their whiskeys in Irish oak, or as others might be more familiar with the Irish phrase “Dair Ghaeleach”.
The TTB clearly were saving a great whiskey to be the first out of the blocks when the government shut down ended and we are grateful for their patience. I have no doubt this is going to be a very interesting whiskey.
If the rest of the Connoisseur’s Collection lives up to the quality of its first two releases, this collection is not something to be missed! Keep the eyes peeled, big things are coming this way!