This latest release from the Virginia Distillery Company sounds like it’s part of a long-running film franchise, but the better comparison may be that of a coming attraction. Prelude: Courage & Conviction, is a limited release single malt whisky that debuted in select markets in October 2019 ahead of the wider release for Courage & Conviction in Spring 2020.
The whisky was laid down by VDC in 2015. In the time since, the distillery made a name for itself by releasing its Virginia-Highland Whisky series, which blended VDC’s malted whisky with sourced single malt from Scotland. As a 100% malted barley whisky distilled at VDC, Prelude: Courage & Conviction fulfills the distiller’s mission to create an American single malt whisky, a category that at this time has no legal recognition in the United States, but may soon earn one thanks to the American Single Malt Whisky Commission (of which VDC is a member).
After distillation, the liquid was aged for a minimum of three years in sherry, cuvée, and bourbon casks. It pours a light gold in the glass, and has a rich nose featuring notes of toffee, fudge, vanilla, sea salt, and sherry.
Prelude: Courage & Conviction is round and creamy on the palate, and remarkably soft for its 46% ABV. Its initial notes are of toffee and vanilla fudge, cut by a bit of green apple. It darkens at the center, with fruit leather, raisins, and prunes. More sherry notes kick in for its drier and more tannic back-end, where barrel notes emerge alongside a growing salinity that cuts the initial creaminess of the mouthfeel. A gentle but sharp, tongue-coating layer of spice comes out for the finish, as the texture moves from lush and creamy to crisp and chalky.
At once salty and fudgy, creamy and dry, the whisky provides a diverse range of flavors and textures, all of which make a distinct impression without dominating the experience. It may also prove unlike any American whiskey or single malt whisky that you’ve ever had.
That’s because it’s an American single malt whisky—whatever that may mean. Hopefully, we’ll have something on the books from the TTB soon. In the meantime, look out for a bottle of Prelude: Courage & Conviction to get a head start.
— 46% ABV