The contrarian in me truly wanted to hate this whisky. The label pronounces “handcrafted for the American Connoisseur”. This ruffled me a bit, because secretly I hope to a bit more than what a bunch of scotsmen define as the average American whisky drinker, who I picture more as an overpaid trust fund New York mid 30s man growing slightly pudgy around the middle and mansplaining to me how excellent Macallan is between boorish anecdotes of his fraternity days. He’s got a nice suit though.
The only reason I ordered it was because the whisky saloon was featuring it as a whisky of the week, slashing its price to only $13/full pour (rather than its typical $21). I’m really glad I did. A small dram or the arbelour abundanah 64 had proceeded it (deplorable and nowhere as good as its older brother the 62) and the Westland Peat Week (excellent). This was my favorite of the three.
Eades is a label under the Virginia Distillery Company (VDC), named after the Eades Hollow in Nelson County, VA. The first three releases (Islay, Speyside, and Highland) were double malts finished in different wine barriques and achieved a mild cult following after being discontinued. The scotch double malts were made as a holdover before the distillery completed making and ageing their own Virginia single malts. As a result, they were dubbed the “Eades Anticipation”, with the hope that the final Virginia single malts would then be called Eades Whiskey. For these Eades scotch releases, they hired Jim McEwan (former master distiller at Bruichladdich) to oversee the project.
After two releases of the Eades (which are now extremely difficult to procure), VDC switched over to producing their own spirits in 2012 (the first edition was released in 2008 and the second in 2010). I have not tried VDC’s Virginia single malt yet but after trying the Eades scotch, I am now immensely interested.
- Score - 7.5/107.5/10
Nose. Strongly port and sherry. Dark alcoholic raisins. Lacquer.
Palate. Black cherries. Dark chocolate. Orange and cocoa. Creamy in the mouth. Strawberry wine plums figs saffron Strawberry Brandy.
Finish: Coffee aftertaste. Lingering cocoa powder and it’s lovely. Not hot and very balanced
Summary: 8/10. Very impressed. Did not expect to love this as much as we did.
Bought for: $13/full pour as a special promotion at Elixir. Now difficult (maybe near impossible) to procure as a bottle, unfortunately.
Quick overview of our scoring system. Note that we try to give a “5” for an average whisky, which is lower than standard whisky scoring guides (typically around 80).
- “Double Malt”: Ben Nevis 85%, Clynelish 15%
- Finished in port wine casks and matured in American bourbon casks
- ABV: 46%
About Eades and VDC:
- Jim McEwan (former master distiller at Bruichladdich) was tasked with selecting the wine casks for the Eades series
- VDC’s current master distiller is Ian Thomas (trained as a microbiologist)
- In June 2019, the Scotch Whisky Association filed a lawsuit against VDC for branding their whisky as “Virginia-Highland Whisky” (personally I think it’s a bit frivolous…)
- VDC won “Best American Single Malt Whisky” at the World Whiskies Awards in 2017