Review: Courage & Conviction Showcases the Best of American Single Malts

A new double-cask whisky from Virginia Distillery Co. hits all the right notes

October 2, 2023 12:03 pm
Courage and Conviction Double Cask Reserve
Courage and Conviction Double Cask Reserve
Virginia Distillery Co.

What we’re drinking: Courage & Conviction Double Cask Reserve

Where it’s from: Virginia Distillery Company, located by the Blue Ridge mountains in Virginia. It’s the largest independently-owned American Single Malt distillery in the U.S.

Why we’re drinking this: Over the past few years we’ve become big fans of Virginia Distillery Co., which is hailed as the most-awarded American Single Malt whisky brand (their latest win: Whisky of the Year and Distiller of the Year categories at the 2023 London Spirits Competition).  

We’re also suckers for “double cask” anything if done properly. Here, the distillery’s American single malt was individually aged for a minimum of five years in first-fill bourbon casks and in shaved, toasted and re-charred (STR) European red wine cuvée casks before being vatted together. 

As well, we’re getting really, really close to the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) approving an official spirits designation for American Single Malt, an exciting new domestic drinks category that could offer more diversity and flavor for whiskey fans.

It’s Time to Embrace American Single Malt, the Spirits World’s Newest Category
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“Bourbon and rye have to be aged in new charred oak barrels,” Amanda Beckwith, VDC’s Lead Blender, told us earlier this year during a distillery visit. “But we have the freedom to be creative.” This is why VDC, whose flagship products go under the moniker Courage & Conviction, utilizes ex-bourbon, European red wine and an array of ex-Sherry barrels (Fino, Oloroso and Pedro Ximenez) for maturation.

The new bottling emphasizes two of those barrel types, aged separately, before bringing them together. Let’s see how this marriage works.

Courage and Conviction Double Cask Reserve packaging
The packaging for the new Courage & Conviction Double Cask Reserve
Virginia Distillery Co.

How it tastes: Double Cask Reserve features no additives, is non-chill filtered and comes at 48% ABV. The mashbill is 100% malted barley, sourced in North America. It’s distilled in copper pot stills crafted in Scotland and the water is sourced locally.

As you’d expect, the married whisky from the ex-wine and ex-bourbon casks work quite well together. Here, you’ll find notes of tart cherry and ginger up front, with wonderfully lingering hints of butterscotch candy, citrus, milk chocolate and a gentle oak spice on the finish.

Fun fact: Want to learn more about American Single Malt whisky in general? VDC actually offers an online educational course on the burgeoning spirits category.

Where to buy: You can order a bottle ($90) here.


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