Roe & Co rolls out whiskey with alligator char finish

Diageo-owned Roe & Co has debuted a 13-year-old single grain Irish whiskey finished in alligator char new oak barrels.

The new release is the third addition to the producer's Cask Strength Series, which was developed to showcase the different parts that make up a blended Irish whiskey. The series kicked off in 2019 with the launch of a cask strength whiskey finished in Bourbon barrels, which was followed by a single malt matured in Port casks in 2020. To bring out the flavours of the grain whiskey, the producer chose to finish its Cask Strength 2021 Edition in new oak barrels that were alligator charred, a method of intensely heat-treating casks so that the wood resembles alligator skin. This heavy char results in aromas of smoky vanilla pods, wood spice and toffee, notes of Jamaican gingerbread and panna cotta on the palate, and a finish of white pepper. “When developing Cask Strength 2021, we wanted to shine a light on the true DNA of the original Roe & Co 106 blend with the single grain component, allowing us to explore the tasting notes associated with our current inventory," said George Harper, master blender for Roe & Co. "Different malts and grains all bring their own unique flavour characteristics, as such each have their own positives and make up important building blocks to a blend. The carefully selected single grain casks we use are picked for their exceptional flavour and style. With this release we want to highlight and showcase the grain and the backbone in our 106 blend.” Bottled at a natural cask strength of 58.6% ABV, the whiskey is recommended on its own or served in a Bobby Burns cocktail. “What makes Cask Strength so interesting is the raw DNA of the whiskey," added Lora Hemy, head distiller for the brand. "When you taste this blend, it is as if you’re sampling it straight from the cask, undiluted, so you can add as much or as little water of your own to find your flavour preference and taste. With the 2021 Cask Strength Edition, we’ve chosen to finish this Irish grain in a particularly interesting and unique cask. The grain is well matured and [has] been specifically chosen to finish in these casks to heighten and develop the flavours that already exist in grain whiskey. We’re excited to be releasing this latest innovation, on the lead up to the festive season.” Roe & Co Cask Strength 2021 Edition is priced at €74 (US$86.20) per 700ml bottle. Earlier this month, the whiskey took home a Gold medal in our DB & SB Autumn Blind Tasting. In August, Roe & Co unveiled a whiskey finished in Japanese sugi wood.