Whiskey-maker Virgil Kaine recently announced it was releasing a limited-edition straight bourbon whiskey with a smoked vanilla taste.
Virgil’s Kaine’s new whiskey, crafted in South Carolina by a chef, is their eighth expression, a 5-year-old bourbon whiskey finished in vanilla-smoked toasted barrels.
A statement from Virgil Kaine explained that they sourced barrels from Gainesville Cooperage, another Low Country artisan business.
The new whiskey is named Eighth Notch, after the final notch in the throttle of a diesel train. The distiller notes that Eighth Notch uses toasted barrels smoked with vanilla beans to enhance the natural sweetness found in oak.
And the inspiration for Eighth Notch came from the kitchen of the experienced chef behind the brand.
“The idea came to me years ago when we were looking at ways to create unique twists on barrel-aged cocktails,” said David Szlam, Virgil Kaine’s founder. “After several experiments, we eventually relied on a technique used long ago in our kitchen day. Utilizing discarded vanilla beans, we were able to dry used vanilla pods and process them in a way that would allow us to smoke and infuse its essence into our ingredients.”
Szlam explained that Eighth Notch isn’t a typical smoky whiskey like a Scotch, and it’s not a vanilla-flavored bourbon.
“It’s a complex bourbon highlighted by the toasted barrel to impart the known caramel notes and a few more vanilla notes than classically derived solely from the wood,” he said.
The barrels are toasted to a medium/heavy char, which provides a layer of smoothness in the barrel-strengthened bourbon. The toasted barrels are filled with vanilla smoke and then sealed to capture the smoky flavor.
The 5-year bourbon is then transferred from its original barrel to a new toasted barrel, with the remaining space filled again with vanilla smoke and then set to age for two months. The new whiskey joins a portfolio of interesting and infused bourbons and ryes.
For more information on the whiskey or to find a bottle, check out www.virgilkaine.com.