When I first got into the fabulous world of whisky an initial observation I made was that the bulk of the focus seemed to be firmly on Scottish single malts and blends…...and why not? Over many decades the scottish whisky industry has grown and expanded and as a result has gained quite a grip on whisky sales, the world over. Some would even say that it is most definitely in the middle of a golden era. However as with any interest, that any person has in any topic, we naturally begin to look further afield to seek out exciting new experiences and the world of whisky is not devoid of providing such experiences.
This is exactly what has been achieved by Dominic Roskrow as he has spent the last eight years visiting world distilleries from outside traditional areas, gaining knowledge and making contacts with distillery owners from countries as far flung as New Zealand and Sweden.
As the whisky drinking public are now pushing the boundaries and seeking those new whisky tasting experiences Dom has decided to work with his contacts to take world whisky to it's next stage and hopefully create a new, ambitious, category of whisky entitled 'New World Whisky.'
Throughout his career he has written about whisky for a wide range of titles including national newspapers, international magazines and British drinks titles including Harpers, Drinks International, Publican at Morning Advertiser and The Spirits Business.
He has further expanded his repertoire by also writing six books on whisky including The World's Best Whiskies, 1001 Whiskies to Try Before You Die and The Whisky Opus, which in 2013 was shortlisted in the Fortnum and Mason Food and Drink Awards.
Without doubt there would be no better qualified person to seek out these new experiences for us to enjoy.
In talking about his new "Discovery Road" range Dominic explains: "There are only two ways you can make whisky, you can try and do it like Scotland does, and you will almost certainly fail. Or you can dare to be different, make a whisky which reflects your heritage and culture, and adopt local customs, grains and production methods to produce a whisky that is unique."
"That's how I see the best New World whisky - it is in a different category to Scotch or bourbon and comparing it to those categories is as relevant as comparing Aussie Rules footie to Soccer or American Football. It's not better, not worse, just different."
Dominic continues by saying that the whole point of these whiskies is to offer something new. "For many drinkers in their 20s whisky is unappealing, but whiskies from India, Australia, Texas or Taiwan have the potential to break the mould by being different and creating their own framework. Many of these whiskies are fruity and very good for cocktails. Many of them can thrive outside the traditional whisky drinking environment. The target should be vodka, tequila and gin drinkers in their 20s and 30s, not existing Scotch drinkers."
The new range was released in December 2013 with the initial offerings being an English single malt - "Four Lions", a Dutch single malt - "Courage" and a Dutch rye whisky - "Smile".
Each whisky will be bottled at 46% ABV, will be limited to under 300 bottles (there are just 215 bottles of the English malt) and will be packaged in a stylish premium bottle. The bottles can be seen below and are shown in order of "Four Lions", "Courage" and "Smile".
There also was an extremely limited edition release of the "Four Lions" which was bottled at 58% ABV.
The whole range is available online and can be found at Master of Malt by clicking right here - http://www.masterofmalt.com/distilleries/discovery-road/
Dominic has been very kind in providing me with samples of the new releases and over the next week or so I shall be bringing you all a closer look at each release along with my own tasting notes and opinions.
Well I shall leave you all now as I have, yet again, managed to write this at an incredibly late hour and am off to rest before shouting at the TV tomorrow as Ireland take on England in the Six Nations. I'm sure it'll be a belter of a game and also have utter confidence that Ireland shall prevail….well I hope they do.
Until next time though,
NB Many thanks to Dominic and Sally Roskrow for the majority of information and attached pictures. Other information obtained from http://worldwhisky.co.uk