Virginia Black American Whiskey was established in 2016 by Brent Hocking (who founded DeLeón Tequila) and Drake (American rapper and songwriter). Virginia Black is a collection of Bourbon Whiskey offered in two, three, and four years old, and focuses on high-rye content.
Virginia Black whiskey is sold in Canada, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Australia, and seven other countries, primarily in Africa.
Virginia Black made headlines when it was debuted at the Liquor Control Board of Ontario, where it sold 1 779 bottles on the day it was released. Within the first year of production, Virginia Black sold over 30 000 cases of its whiskey.
A Brief History of Virginia Black
Virginia Black, a collaboration between Brent Hocking and Drake, has won many awards since its inception. It was listed in the Top 100 Spirits by the Wine Enthusiast, as well as having been awarded 91 points by the same institution in 2017. In 2016, Virginia Black was listed among the Top 5 Spirits by Wally’s Wine and Spirits.
Brent Hocking, an ex-mortgage loan merchant, stumbled upon alcohol production when he was 27 years old. He founded DeLeón Tequila in 2009, which he went on to sell in 2013 to Diageo and Diddy. From there he went on to establish Virginia Black whiskey.
Drake is an award-winning songwriter, rapper, and actor. He got involved with Virginia Black whiskey by buying an equity stake in the company. Hocking presented the idea of Virginia Black in 2014, after meeting the rapper in 2011 and bonding over alcohol, music, and basketball.
The whiskey is sold in a gold-capped bottle and is described by Forbes as something that looks to belong more on your grandmother’s dresser than in a bar. Virginia Black focuses on distributing whiskey aged two, three, and four years old.
The earliest reference to whiskey distilling dates back to 1690 in Scotland by the first legal distillery in the country, Ferintosh Distillery. Since then, whiskey distilling has developed in terms of production and technique, making whiskey one of the go-to drink options across the globe.
Different whiskeys are produced using a range of grains including barley, rye, wheat, and corn. It is typically aged in wooden casks, and interestingly, these casks are usually old sherry casks, made from charred white oak.
Whiskey is produced using a still made of copper, which removes sulfur-based compounds. These compounds are removed as they can make the beverage unpleasant to drink. Stills are used to heat the liquid and then collect the purified alcohol.
The ‘age’ of the whiskey is the time between distillation and bottling. The casks that the whiskey is aged in have often held other forms of spirits such as rum or sherry. This is done to add particular flavors to the end result.
Virginia Black whiskey is said to contain flavors of toasted marshmallow, green apple slices, and hot cinnamon. The finish contains flavors of black pepper and sweet cinnamon notes. Virginia Black is 80 proof and is colored a golden brown.
Prices, Variations, and Sizes of Virginia Black Whiskey
Virginia Black American Whiskey
- 80 Proof
Virginia Black Whiskey can be bought aged two, three, and four years. The age of the whiskey does not necessarily make it taste much better; however slight improvement of the flavor can occur over time. The whiskey is mellowed to 80 proof to ‘showcase the true essence of bourbon’.
At this moment in time, Virginia Black can only be bought in 750ml bottles. The bottle design has been worked on extensively to set the mood that the whiskey is intended to be drunk in and is described as a must-have for a collector’s shelf.
Virginia Black is not the most expensive whiskey on the market, nor is it the cheapest. This whiskey is ranked at being just above the average price of whiskey at $42 per bottle, after-tax.
3 Alternatives to Virginia Black Whiskey
There are many different alternatives to Virginia Black whiskey, with a range of prices.
Backbone Bourbon is a high-proof whiskey company that was established in 2014. The company boasts of bold flavors which are means to stand out among competitors. T
he company is established in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, and has recently expanded its sales to more states across the US.
Backbone’s “The Forge” is a blended bourbon, with more than 51% of it being Straight Bourbon. Most of this whiskey is produced using an old barrel of Straight Bourbon between five and seven years old.
These bottles are sold at $90 each and are bottled at high proof. It is made with a blend of straight rye and bourbon.
Barton 1792 Distillery offers whiskey in many proofs including 80, 86, 90, and 100. Their most common offering is the Very Old Barton line, which has notes of caramel, vanilla, and baking spices (ginger, clove, and cinnamon).
A bottle of the Very Old Barton whiskey cells for $13, with a 90-proof blend, is aged between four and six years.
Jack Daniel’s is most likely the most popular brand of whiskey, name-wise. This whiskey is the same color as molasses and is made of 80% corn, 12% malted barley, and 8% rye.
This company was established in 1886, in Tennessee. This whiskey is bottled at 80 proof, and a bottle of Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 can be bought in 750ml at $25.
How To Drink Virginia Black Whiskey
The versatility of Virginia Black whiskey makes it an excellent base for various cocktails.
The spirit was expertly crafted for the world’s more lavish cocktails. It is a whiskey, though, so you can also sip it neat or over ice.
Although a wide range of cocktails and mixers pair well with the light flavors of whiskey, it’s sometimes best to keep it straightforward with this one.
Here are some of the best cocktails to make using Virginia Black whiskey
Black Cherry Old Fashioned
Among the most popular and oldest cocktails globally is the old-fashioned. The ingredients for this traditional cocktail are bourbon, sugar, and bitters, along with a twist of citrus rind.
This rendition of the classic Old Fashioned is intense, somber, and delectably spiced. A hand-carved ice rock is used as the vessel for the mixture of Virginia Black Bourbon, Bitters, and black cherry syrup. A Luxardo Cherry is used as the garnish.
To make this cocktail, simply:
- In a rocks glass, slip 15 to 20 drops of bitters.
- Pour 1/2 ounce of black cherry syrup into the glass using a small jigger.
- Pour 1 1/2 ounces of Virginia Black bourbon into the glass
- Place a rock of ice in the glass.
- Add a Luxardo cherry on a toothpick as a garnish after stirring with a spoon.
- Place an orange peel over the cocktail.
This cocktail is a variation of the conventional simple syrup whiskey lemonade that uses honey instead of sugar. Add your selection of herbs to create a cool summer cocktail with a hint of sweetness.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 1/2 cup raw honey
- 1/2 cup water
- 1-2 stems of your favorite herb
- 1/4 cup lemonade
- 1 shot of Virginia Black
- 1/4 cup soda
- Lemon slices to garnish
To make this cocktail follow these instructions:
- Boil water and honey in a small pan for 15 minutes on low heat with a stalk of fresh herbs.
- Allow it to cool down.
- Add Virginia Black whiskey and ice to a small glass.
- Add soda and 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of the simple honey syrup to your preferred taste.
- Serve with the garnish of lemon and your selected herb.
Frequently Asked Questions about Virginia Black and Whiskey
What kind of whiskey is Virginia Black?
Virginia Black is an American bourbon whiskey. It is a bourbon whiskey as it meets the legal definition to use this title, although it is not produced in Bourbon County in Kentucky.
What is an American Whiskey?
American whiskey is a classification by the Beverage Testing Institute for whiskies bottled in the United States that do not align with the characteristics of other categories.
Why is whiskey stored in wooden barrels?
Whiskey straight off the still doesn’t have the look, taste, or smell of bottled whiskey. It is clear in color, smells and tastes like a combination of grain, and cardboard, and has a somewhat bland fruit smell.
The taste of whiskey as well as the color comes from the barrel itself. Distillers claim that almost 70% of the flavor of whiskey comes from the maturation of the liquid in charred barrels.
Coopers ‘toast the barrel’ which changes certain elements within the wood (such as lignin) into other elements (like vanillin) which can add flavors to the whiskey (such as vanilla tones, in this case).
Who owns Virginia Black Whiskey?
Virginia Black Bourbon Whiskey began manufacturing in 2016 and is a collaboration between Drake and Brent Hocking. Drake is a household name for many and is best known for his talents as a singer, rapper, and actor. Hockinson, on the other hand, is the founder of DeLeón Tequila.
Where is Virginia Black Whiskey made?
Virginia Black is distilled as well as bottled in Lawrenceburg, IN. The spirit is accessible in all 50 states of America and is quickly taking over the whiskey industry. Although it isn’t offered at every liquor store, it’s almost undoubtedly available for purchase somewhere nearby.
How to Buy Virginia Black Whiskey?
Virginia Black American Whiskey is easily accessible all over the United States. While it might not be in every liquor store, you’ll easily be able to access the spirit through online websites. Generally, you can pick up a 759ml bottle for no less than $42, while a 375ml bottle goes for $27.
Interesting Facts and Myths about Whiskey
The oldest whiskey in the world is over 150 years old.
The 400ml bottle of Glenavon Special Liqueur Whiskey is rumored to have been bottled sometime between 1851 and 1858. This bottle holds the Guinness World Record for World’s Oldest Whiskey and was auctioned off in London at over $18 000.
The most expensive whiskey in the world was auctioned for over $482 000.
This Lalique decanter of Macallan ‘M’ whiskey contains six liters of whiskey which was decanted from Spanish oak sherry casks between 1940 and 1990.
There is a myth that anything labeled ‘single’ is better than anything ‘blended’.
Blending means someone is combining whiskey from several barrels into one blend. The term ‘blended’ has a negative connotation with the idea that a blended whiskey is somehow worse than a single malt whiskey, as it is ‘impure’. However, some single malts are actually a blend of multiple barrels within a distillery.
The color of the whiskey does not indicate its age.
The color is likely to indicate the type of wood in the barrels that the whiskey has been aged. Whiskey has to be aged in oak for it to be called whiskey, but the origin of the oak varies and can have a large effect on the color of the end result.
The spelling of ‘whiskey’ and ‘whisky’ differ depending on the country in which the beverage is produced.
‘Whiskey’ is the spelling used for grain spirits distilled and produced in Ireland and in the United States. ‘Whisky’ is used for Scottish, Japanese, and Canadian grain spirits.