Virginia Distillery Co. introduced their flagship single malt, Courage & Conviction, in the spring of 2020, and they’ve wasted no time in adding to the portfolio with not one but three new whiskies in the Courage and Conviction line: Bourbon Cask, Sherry Cask, and Cuvée Cask. All three releases are drawn from stocks used in the core Courage & Conviction blend, offering fans the chance to taste the different elements of that single malt. Like the flagship, each single malt is aged at least three years at the distillery’s warehouses in Lovingston, Virginia. All three releases have been dedicated to industry consultant and master blender Nancy Fraley, a friend and mentor to the distillery’s founders. We were impressed with the initial Courage and Conviction releases. Read on to see how the individual component whiskies stand on their own.
Courage & Conviction Bourbon Cask – Aged in ex-bourbon casks from Kentucky. The nose is quite far removed from the flagship Courage & Conviction blend, showing how influential the other casks are in that regard. It’s soft with airy notes of cooked grain, vanilla bean, and butterscotch pudding. The palate is light and creamy with big, sweet notes of marshmallow fluff and vanilla icing accented with a bit of lemon zest. The sweetness fades somewhat on the finish, replaced with drier, oak-driven notes and some buttery caramel. 92 proof. B+ / $85
Courage & Conviction Sherry Cask – Aged in a mix of Fino, Oloroso, and Pedro Ximénez casks. On the nose, juicy notes of plum and stewed figs dominate with subtler aromas of slivered almonds and cherry cordial. The nose on the flagship has far more in common with this one. On the palate, an initial dark berry sweetness quickly gives way to less syrupy dried fruits with a concentrated, at times almost tart, sweetness. Notes of raisin and dried apricot, dusted with various baking spices, linger into a warming finish. 92 proof. A- / $85
Courage & Conviction Cuvée Cask – Aged in shaved, re-toasted, and re-charred red wine casks (known as “STR”). The nose is perhaps not as dynamic as the Sherry Cask, but it’s concentrated with ripe raspberry and blackberry folded into sweet pastry cream. There’s a subtle cocoa powder note, as well, that comes across, at times, like a light roast coffee. The palate is the most flavorful of the trio with bright, juicy red fruits, brûléed sugar, cinnamon stick, and a touch of earthy black tea. It’s all rather decadent with a generous finish of berry compote and baking spice. 92 proof. A / $85