“Have the courage of your convictions.” That was a frequent saying of Virginia Distillery Co.’s founder, George G. Moore, and even though he did not live to see his flagship single malt come of age, the maxim is emblazoned in his memory on every bottle of Courage & Conviction American Single Malt. It has taken no small amount of each to get where Virginia Distillery Co. is today.
Along the way, they had a little help from some of the industry’s leading whisky experts, Nancy Fraley and the late Dr. Jim Swan among them. It was Dr. Swan who helped to formulate the blend for Courage & Conviction, selecting a mix of three different cask types: ex-bourbon, ex-sherry (oloroso, Pedro Ximenz, and fino), and cuvée wine casks, all aged at least four years before blending and bottling. While that may seem young for a single malt, Virginia’s humid and intensely variable climate accelerates maturation (and also evaporation), so much so that Courage & Conviction drinks like a much older whisky.
In fact, upon first nosing Courage & Conviction, there’s the same elegance and depth found in significantly older single malts from Scotland and elsewhere. It’s bright with notes of raw honey, golden raisin, dried pineapple, and a little overripe banana. There’s also a rich malt quality laced throughout, less cereal-forward and more bakery case, evoking oatmeal cookies and almond-filled granola. The palate is wonderfully rich with vanilla fudge, crème brûlée, and chocolate-covered malt balls, complimented by subtler notes of dark berry compote, ginger snaps, and candied lemon peel. The malt and the sweeter elements find perfect harmony into a generous, silky finish that lingers with notes of toasted sugar and warm banana bread. George would certainly have been proud.
Alcohol %: 46
Producer: Virginia Distillery Co., web page: