Virginia Distillery Company is taking time-tried traditions of single malt whisky production and blazing the trail for American single malt. With an uncompromising attitude towards quality, they give rise to whisky that’s theirs and theirs alone. Born with ambitions and defined by distinctions, it reflects the spirit of Dr. George G. Moore, the visionary behind Virginia Distillery Company.
They first powered up their copper pot stills in November 2015, and in a couple of years, when the whisky tells them “I’m ready,” their Virginia Single Malt will be in a league of its own. Until then, they have an outstanding Scotland-distilled product on hand – their Virginia Highland Malt – which is finished in Virginia port-style barrels to give it a deep ruby hue, a rich, chocolaty finish, and a loving nod to Virginia. “At Virginia Distillery Company, we are taking the best of old world techniques and applying them here in the new world. Our malted barley and copper pot stills produce a traditional distillate, but the unique climate of the Blue Ridge Mountains makes VDC’s products a truly American product,” explains Gareth Moore, VDC CEO and son of Dr. Moore.
The production facility and Visitors Center serve as a destination for tourists and locals alike. Set in the beautiful backdrop of Nelson County just 30 minutes outside of Charlottesville, guests can enjoy their whisky while relaxing in the welcoming atmosphere of the Visitors Center. The Visitors Center features an indoor soapstone bar, wrap around porch, and a stone outdoor patio. Virginia Distillery Company’s menu features an array of seasonal cocktails, crafted by their in-house mixologist with Virginia’s harvest seasons in mind. Of course, their whisky is always offered neat as well.
The most recent and exciting installment for guests is the one-of-a-kind Virginia Whisky Experience tours, where visitors have the opportunity to learn, see, smell and taste the art of whisky making. Led by one of their well-trained tour guides, the hour-long experience starts in their unique whisky museum which includes three video features and historical distilling references and equipment. Next, guests are led next door to the distillery, where they see how Virginia Single Malt is produced, complete with a whiff of their new make right off the still. Finally, the tour ends in their dunnage-style cask house, where attendees finish with a nosing and tasting of Virginia Highland Malt before heading up to enjoy the craft specialty cocktails.
Virginia Distillery Company’s VA Highland Malt Whisky Tasting Notes: On the nose, it’s bright with notes of cinnamon, honeysuckle, raisins and a hint of toffee. On the palate, it has a rich mouthfeel opening with layers of acacia honey, prunes, dark chocolate and biscuits with raspberry jam. The finish is graceful with wisps of smoke, cloves and white pepper.
South of Manhattan is Virginia Distillery Company’s take on a classic Manhattan by swapping sweet vermouth with Virginia sparkling cider, and blending it with their flagship Virginia Highland Malt Whisky. This combination gives the cocktail a special twist that is uniquely Virginian.
4 oz. Virginia Sparkling Cider
1/2 oz. Luxardo cherry juice
2 dashes cardamom bitters
2 ounces Virginia Highland Malt Whisky
Luxardo cherry, for garnish
In a shaker, mix together cider, cherry juice and bitters. Add two ice cubes and the Virginia Highland Malt Whisky. Stir and strain into a coupe glass. Rub the rim of the coupe glass with the orange peel and then garnish with the Luxardo cherry and the orange peel.
Virginia Julep is crafted with fresh spearmint and Virginia Distillery Company’s port wine barrel-finished Virginia Highland Malt Whisky, and captures the essence of a classic Southern mint julep, but with a twist of lime to make this cocktail a summertime refresher with true style.
1 ½ oz. Virginia Highland Malt Whisky
4-5 ice cubes (or ¾ julep glass of crushed ice)
1 ½ oz. mint simple syrup (see recipe)
1 ½ oz. seltzer water
1 tsp. lime juice
Add ingredients to glass and stir. Garnish with a mint leaf, and it’s off to the races.
For mint simple syrup: Combine 2 cups water, 2 cups sugar and ½ cup spearmint leaves in saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and cool before straining out mint leaves.