Gonzalez Byass unveils 'new whisky category'

02 July, 2014

Gonzalez Byass, the major sherry producer, has unveiled a new whisky which, it claims, is a first and could represent the beginning of a new spirits category.

Nomad is distilled and initially blended and aged in Scotland but is then transported to Gonzalez Byass's cellars in Jerez, Spain for finishing in Pedro Ximenez barrels.

GB's international spirits manager, Peter Allison said Nomad represents a new spirits category, 'Outland whisky' which, if successful, could lead to further expressions such as Japanese whisky aged in Kentucky or Irish whiskey aged in Scotland.

This launch, held in Taiwan's capital Taipei, comes ahead of the launch of Grey Goose vodka blended with cognac by Bacardi (see Drinks International, July issue), a further blurring of traditional categories.

Nomad is expected to retail for 30, £25 (70cl) and US$38 (75cl) - the same price as Johnnie Walker Black Label, Chivas Regal and Dewar's 12 Year Old.

The Nomad blend has been made by Whyte & Mackay's master blender, Richard Paterson in Scotland. Paterson told journalists and specialist whisky writers from around the world at the launch in one of the world's largest whisky markets, the Nomad blend comprises 25 single malt whiskies blended with three grain whiskies.They range from a minimum of five years old up to eight/nine years old. The spirit is then aged in 500-600 litre Oloroso casks in Scotland vfor approximately a year.

The whisky is then shipped to the Gonzalez Byass sherry bodega in Jerez, where Antonio Flores, GB's master blender, puts the whisky at 65-67% alcohol in sherry casks that have contained 30-year-old Noe Pedro Ximinez sherry. It is then aged for a minimum of 12 months.

Asked why they chose a final strength of 41.3%, Paterson told DI they experimented with various strengths, the norm being 40% and 43%, but decided on 41.3% as that best carried the raisiny, marzipan flavours and best allowed the whisky to be drunk neat.

Paterson stressed that Nomad had not been a "quick process". It had taken five years to come up with Nomad. They experimented with Fino and Oloroso casks as well. Allison said that any further expressions could take "10 to 15 years". He agreed a lot depended on the success of Nomad.

Asked whether they had chosen PX casks because they impart sweetness and will appeal to Asian palates and markets, GB vice chairman, Pedro Rebuelta Gonzalez- fifth generation family member- said that was not a key factor in chosing the blend. He said both Flores and Paterson had decided that PX casks delivered the best results.

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