Glendalough-Poitín-365x320Every drinker certainly knows about Irish whiskey, but very few are aware of Ireland’s oldest spirit.  Known as Poitín (pot-cheen) it dates back to the late 6th century.  It was the emerald isle’s national spirits until it was outlawed in 1661 by Charles II.  In fact it wasn’t until 1997 that it was legalized.

The Glendalough distillery was founded by a quintet of Irish lads to reintroduce this almost forgotten spirit to the world.

Premium Poitin (80 proof)
Visual: Clear.
Nose: Deeply malty with a crisp and peppery high note.
Taste: Slightly sweet with a funky bitter edge.  Think of a vodka that’s been distilled just a few times.  Viscous mouthfeel has an enveloping character.
Finish: As it fades, delicate notes of fresh pear appear.
Overall: Rough in an appealing way, this shares much of the style of american “white dog”.
GSN Rating: B

Sherry Cask Finish Poitin (80 proof)
Visual: Golden yellow.
Nose: Sweet malt tempered by a vivacious sherry overcoat.  Quite enticing.
Taste: Delicate and elegant notes of sherry perfectly balanced with a heftier malt base.
Finish: More pepper and ginger spice develop as it fades.  A fair amount of tannins on the back of the palate leave a warming baking spice heat.
Overall: Quite unique and unusual.  The sherry works beautifully here.
GSN Rating: A-

Mountain Strength Poitin (120 proof)
Visual: Clear.
Nose: Intensely fresh and bracing nose.  Loads of pepper spice and just the slightest note of wintergreen.
Taste: A lot of heat (no surprise there), but controlled by a powerhouse of well distilled malt flavor.  Almost chewy and in the mould of sourdough bread.  Very approachable and to the point.
Finish: Quite long with a goodly dose of heat retention and sprightly peppercorn.
Overall: Probably the closest you would come to the original style of Poitin made in the hills of Ireland circa 750 A.D.  If you want to shake off a winter chill, an ounce of this will do you fine.
GSN Rating: A-

For more information go to: Glendalough Distillery

indexCasamigos Tequila has extended its ultra-premium lineup with a new Añejo entry. The small-batch expression is made with 100% Blue Weber agave, which is roasted for 72 hours and then slow fermented for an additional 80 hours. Available in 1-liter, 750-ml., 375-ml. and 50-ml. formats, Casamigos Añejo is priced at $54.99 a 750-ml. and joins the brand’s existing Blanco ($45.99) and Reposado ($49.99) offerings. Casamigos, launched by actor George Clooney and entrepreneurs Rande Gerber and Mike Meldman in 2013, is handled in the U.S. by Sidney Frank Importing Co. and distributed nationwide.

indexLa Martiniquaise’s Label 5 blended Scotch brand has released Label 5 Gold Heritage, a new super-premium extension. Gold Heritage features a blend of hand-selected whiskies from different casks, aged for a variety of years. The new expression, which is priced at $40 a 750-ml., will initially launch in the U.S., China and Australia, with worldwide availability to follow. Gold Heritage joins Classic Black, Extra Premium 12-year-old, Extra Rare 18-year-old and Reserve No. 55 in Label 5’s Scotch portfolio.

All information couresty of Shanken News Daily

MW-CQ699_facund_20140814164006_MGThe Bacardi company has been crafting fine rums since 1862 when it was founded by Don Facundo Bacardi Massó.  It is his given name that is used in tribute to this latest collection of rare limited release sipping rums.  There are four expressions available, two of which were sent to the GSN offices for review.

Neo is a blend of rums aged between one to eight years and then filtered to remove all traces of coloration.  Eximo is interesting in that is was blended from unaged and young aged rums, and then aged again for ten years.

NEO (80 proof)
Visual: Clear.
Nose: Tropical notes with a heady dose of fresh lime, spun sugar candy, marshmallow, and even a hint of black licorice.
Taste: Viscous mouthfeel with a depth unlike any rum I’ve come across.  This tastes like it’s been distilled only twice, leaving a lot of the character of the cane molasses intact.  Sweet, but also tempered with a slightly grassy and bitter edge.  The lime nose that I detected comes through here in the flavor towards the end, making the whole effect quite refreshing and yet rich.
Finish: Medium long with a slight warming ginger root tang on the back of the palate.
Overall: An amazing rum that is well worth adding to your collection.  I hesitate to recommend this in a highball, but it will shine in a Daiquiri.  But, to truly appreciate, you should just sip neat at room temperature.
GSN Rating: A

Eximo (80 proof)
Visual: Copper.
Nose: Raspberry, blackberry, baking spice, and vanilla.
Taste: Immediate berry fruit flavor that leads into cinnamon, then caramel corn, and finishing with a touch of toasted vanilla bean.  Very interesting.  Very, very easy to drink and lovely in a rum old-fashioned, or just straight with a large single cube of ice.
Finish: It goes on for a good long while with a lot more of the wood and spice character coming through.  A perfect rum for the transition between summer and autumn.
Overall: Another truly fine rum that stands on its own without any need to mix it.  One taste, and you’ll be hooked.  Best get a bottle ASAP.
GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: Facundo Rum

indexBeam Suntory’s Bowmore single malt Scotch has launched Bowmore Small Batch, a new core offering. Matured in both first- and second-fill Bourbon casks, Bowmore Small Batch offers what the company calls an “accessible embodiment” of the brand’s Islay taste profile, featuring notes of peat smoke, salt, citrus and vanilla. The new addition is currently available nationwide, priced at $39.99 a 750-ml. Bowmore Small Batch joins the Bowmore 12-year-old, 15-year-old, 18-year-old, 25-year-old and Legend labels in the brand’s core lineup.

indexWilliam Grant & Sons USA is unveiling a new limited edition of the Lillet aperitif brand this month, Jean de Lillet 2010. The reserve edition is made from 2010 Sauternes wine blended with Lillet’s house-made citrus liqueur. Best served chilled as an aperitif or in cocktails, Jean de Lillet 2010 will be available at select retailers nationwide at $40 a bottle.

indexDiageo has unveiled a new limited edition luxury variant under its Johnnie Walker Scotch whisky brand, John Walker & Sons Private Collection 2014. A blend of 29 casks selected by Johnnie Walker master blender Jim Beveridge, Private Collection 2014 is a 46.8% abv whisky packaged in individually numbered decanters retailing at $850 each. 8,888 bottles of the limited-edition offering are being released.

indexWilliam Grant & Sons is releasing three upscale additions to its Balvenie single malt Scotch whisky brand this month: Tun 1509, Single Barrel Traditional Oak Aged 25 Years, and The Balvenie Fifty Cask 4567. Tun 1509 was created from 42 casks selected by Balvenie malt master David Stewart. The resulting blend was bottled at a natural strength of 47.1% abv and is priced at $350. Single Barrel Traditional Oak Aged 25 Years is a limited edtion of 300 hand-numbered bottles, each of which is 47.8% abv and retails at $599. The Balvenie Fifty Cask 4567, meanwhile, is a Sherry oak-aged expression presented in handblown glass, with only 131 bottles produced and 15 headed to the U.S. Cask 4567 carries an abv of 45.4% and a retail price of $38,000.

indexPernod Ricard’s Chivas Brothers has extended its Chivas Regal blended Scotch brand with a new super-premium offshoot. Rolling out this month, Chivas Regal Extra marks the brand’s first global release since the debut of Chivas 25-year-old in 2007. The 40%-abv addition, which is made with a blend of select whiskies and matured in Oloroso Sherry casks. Chivas Regal Extra is the fifth entry in Chivas Regal’s core portfolio, positioned between Chivas 12 and Chivas 18.

indexSan Francisco-based Anchor Distilling Co. is launching Berry Bros. & Rudd’s Blue Hangar 10th Limited Release blended malt whisky exclusively in the U.S. this month. At just 4,398 bottles, Blue Hangar 10th Limited Release is made with whiskies from a variety of distilleries, including Bunnahabhain 1987, Bunna Moine 2007, Mortlach 1997, Bunnahabhain 1988, Westport 1996 and a 2007 blended malt comprised of Bunnahabhain, Glenallachie, Glenfarclas, Glengoyne and Tamdhu. The 45.6%-abv entry, which is priced at $99.99 a bottle, marks the second Blue Hangar edition launched in the the U.S.

indexThe Teeling Whiskey Co. has extended its range of non-age statement Irish whiskies with a new single malt offering. Teeling Single Malt is made with aged malt whiskey matured for up to 23 years in Sherry, Port, Madeira, white Burgundy and Cabernet Sauvignon casks. The 46%-abv entry marks the third release in Teeling’s lineup, joining its Small Batch and Single Grain labels.

indexNew York City-based vermouth producer Rhys & Rylee has launched a new reserve offering under its core Atsby New York Vermouth lineup. A limited edition, Atsby New York’s 2-Year Aged Reserve Armadillo Cake Vermouth is priced at $45 a 500-ml. bottle and marks the third expression within the Atsby New York portfolio, joining the existing Amberthorn and Armadillo Cake labels.

indexNew Jersey-based marketer Riondo USA has forayed into the spirits category via a new partnership with Dirty Tequila. Created by restaurant and bar owner George Duerr, Dirty Tequila is a blue agave Silver Tequila, infused with cinnamon, pineapple and additional flavors and sweeteners, including agave nectar. The entry is packaged in a 750-ml. beer-style bottle and priced at under $23. Currently available across New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, California, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado and Oklahoma, Dirty Tequila is set to enter 20 new markets next year.

indexTexas-based JEM Beverage Co. has added a trio of new craft spirits to its portfolio. Priced between $18.99-$22.99 a bottle, JEM’s Brazos Gin is a 40%-abv entry made with nine botanicals, including juniper, coriander, rosemary and cardamom, among others. Concurrently, JEM has expanded its Red River whiskey lineup with the launch of Red River Single Barrel ($39.99), a new super-premium label, and Red River Texas Bourbon Cream Liqueur ($29.99), a limited edition seasonal infused with pecan and vanilla flavors. JEM Beverage’s portfolio—which also includes the Southern Son vodka, Western Son vodka, South House moonshine and Stingray spiced rum brands—is currently available across Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee, Arkansas, Nevada and Massachusetts.

All information courtesy of Shanken News Daily

liqueurs2There are more liqueurs out there than you may realize.  A few of them are crucial for classic cocktails (triple sec), many are liquid desserts (Irish creams), and a few are totally unique (coca leaf liqueur).  What exactly is a liqueur, you ask?  Basically take a distilled spirit, add some sugar, and voila.  But that’s only part of the picture.  Often, liqueurs are flavored with fruit, citrus rind, berries, herbs, spices, and particularly in the case of Chartreuse the liqueur takes on the color of the ingredients.

Here are some of the many liqueurs that GSN has reviewed over the past several years.  Everything from ancho chili liqueur to bacon liqueur.  As an added bonus, I’ve included a video by the inestimable Robert “DrinkBoy” Hess which will show you how you can use as many liqueurs as possible in a single classic cocktail .

1921 Tequila Cream Liqueur

300 Joules Cream Liqueurs

Agwa Coca Herbal Liqueur

Ancho Reyes Chili Liqueur

Bärenjäger Honey & Bourbon

Barrow’s Intense Ginger Liqueur

Berentzen Liqueurs

Berentzen Bushel & Barrel

The Bitter Truth Liqueurs

The Bitter Truth Pimento Dram

Bols Foam

Caffe Borghetti

Charbay Nostalgie Black Walnut Liqueur


Cointreau Noir

Crave Liqueurs

Crave Chocolate Truffle Liqueur

Domaine de Canton

Galliano L’Autentico

Galliano Ristretto

Godiva Dark Chocolate Liqueur

Heering Coffee Liqueur

Hiram Walker Caramel Apple Liqueur

Hiram Walker Triple Sec

House Spirits Coffee Liqueur

Jaan Liqueur

Kahlua Coffee Cream

The King’s Ginger

Kringle Cream

Licor 43

Love Potion #9

Lovoka Caramel Liqueur

Mama Walker’s Liqueurs

Mandarine Napoleon

Mandarine XO Grande Reserve

Marie Brizard Chocolat Royal

Mariposa Agave Nectar Liqueur

Original Canton Delicate Ginger Liqueur

Patron XO Cafe Dark

Pierre Ferrand Ancienne Methode Dry Curaçao

Punzoné Lemoncino

Pür Likör Liqueurs


Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur

Sorel Hibiscus Liqueur

St. Elizabeth’s Allspice Liqueur


image002Milagro continues their line of ultra-premium tequilas with a second iteration of UNICO.  This is a silver tequila blended with barrel aged reserves, creating a flavor profile that has joven, reposado and anejo characteristics.  By using a special process, Milagro removes all of the color from the blend, thus leaving it crystal clear.  GSN reviewed the first edition here back in 2012.  Read on to see how the latest 2014 version compares.

UNICO, Second Edition (80 proof)
Visual: Clear.
Nose: Floral, sweet agave, high spice notes with a darker and ruminating oak coloration.
Taste: Quite sweet and rich with a lot of vanilla.  I’m reminded of agave sweetened whipped cream.  Very smooth and easy to drink.
Finish: The sweetness fades fairly quickly, leaving some spice notes and a dry mouthfeel.
Overall: A dessert-like tequila which is unusual in that it has both the freshness of a young tequila and the depth of more intriguing aged spirits.
GSN Rating: B+

For more information go to: Milagro

indexCanadian Club has released an all-rye grain whisky called Canadian Club Chairman’s Select 100% Rye, according to Whisky Advocate. The whisky is aged for seven years at Alberta Distillers, Beam Suntory’s western Canada distillery at Calgary, and then shipped to Walkerville, Ontario, for bottling at 40% abv. The product is priced about $1.50 higher than Canadian Club Premium at retail. Just 70,000 cases will be made available annually, and only in Canada—which may lead to some cross-border shopping.

Slide13Spirits marketer and distributor Taliera Inc. has launched the super-premium Sugar Skull rum range in the U.S. Made with sugar cane molasses sourced from throughout the Caribbean and South America, Sugar Skull is produced by Caribbean partner distilleries before being brought to the U.S. for filtering, blending and natural flavoring. The brand makes its debut with five entries, including Sugar Skull Tribal Original, Mystic Vanilla, Native Coconut, Madagascar Wild Berry and Hellfire Cinnamon labels. The line-up is priced at around $27.99 a 750-ml.

indexBeam Suntory is introducing a new expression of its Auchentoshan single malt Scotch whisky to the U.S. market ahead of the fall and holiday seasons as a permanent addition to the core Auchentoshan portfolio. Matured exclusively in first fill ex-Bourbon casks, Auchentoshan American Oak features flavors of vanilla, caramelized sugars, coconut and oak spices, the company says. The 40%-abv entry retails for about $39.99 a 750-ml. bottle and is meant to serve as a gateway Scotch whisky for Bourbon drinkers.

indexDiageo’s Baileys liqueur has extended its lineup with the launch of Baileys Chocolate Cherry Irish Cream. Featuring a blend of chocolate and cherry flavors, the female-focused entry is targeted primarily toward the shot occasion. Baileys Chocolate Cherry is currently available nationwide, priced at around $21 a 750-ml.

indexCIL U.S. Wines & Spirits has been named the U.S. importer of Glencadam single malt Scotch whisky. Distilled in the county of Angus in the Highlands region of Scotland, Glencadam’s offerings include 10-year-old ($55), 15-year-old ($85) and 21-year-old ($199) Scotches, all of which are non-chill-filtered and 46% abv. In October, CIL will introduce Glencadam to Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri, California, Nevada, New Jersey, Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Massachusetts. New York, Texas and Georgia are slated to come online next year.

indexAveníu Brands is launching Zodiac premium craft potato vodka to the Texas market this month through Glazer’s, with expansion to additional states planned for early next year. The Rigby, Idaho-distilled vodka (40% abv) can be found in retail locations throughout Austin, Dallas and Houston and will soon be joined by the brand’s Black Cherry offering.

indexBowling Green, Kentucky-based Western Spirits Beverage Company has added to its Bird Dog brand of whiskies with a new Peppermint Moonshine. Infused with peppermint flavors, the 80-proof Peppermint Moonshine ($19.99 a 750 ml.) is available in 750-ml., 375-ml. and 50-ml. formats. The Bird Dog line also includes Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey and Blackberry, Peach, Maple and Hot Cinnamon flavored whiskies, offered in 1.75-liter, 750-ml., 375-ml., 200-ml., 100-ml. and 50-ml. bottles.

indexBrown-Forman portfoliomates Woodford Reserve Bourbon and Sonoma-Cutrer wine have partnered to release a new limited edition whiskey blend. Rolling out into select U.S. markets this month, the Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection Sonoma-Cutrer Pinot Noir Finish was created by finishing a batch of original Woodford Reserve whiskey in a used Pinot Noir barrel from Sonoma-Cutrer. As a result, the entry is not officially categorized as a Bourbon, which, according to industry standards, must be aged in new, charred oak barrels. Priced at $99.99, the Sonoma-Cutrer Pinot Noir Finish whiskey marks the latest expression in Woodford Reserve’s experimental Master’s Collection, following previous releases such as Double Malt Selection and Four Wood Selection.

indexBrown-Forman has unveiled the latest addition to Tequila Herradura’s small-batch limited edition series—Coleccion de la Casa, Reserva 2014 Scotch Cask Finish Reposado. The third offering in the collection was created by master distiller Maria Teresa Lara through a double maturation process and rested in American oak and single malt Scotch casks. The end result is a Tequila with taste of vanilla, butter, honey, caramel and soft spices, according to the company. The Scotch Cask Finish Reposado will be available nationwide beginning this month at a suggested retail price of $89.99.

indexGarrison Brothers Distillery has partnered with Republic National Distributing Co. to bring its flagship Texas Straight Bourbon whiskey into the Kentucky market. Previously available only across Texas, Colorado and New York, Garrison Brothers’ Texas Straight Bourbon will make its Kentucky debut with a limited allocation (1,200 bottles) of the label’s fall 2013 and spring 2014 vintages, available both on- and off-premise. The whiskey’s fall 2014 vintage is slated to follow later this year. Garrison Brothers’ Texas Straight Bourbon whiskey retails at between $85-$95 a bottle.

indexBoston-based Bully Boy Distillers is launching a bottled rum punch called the Hub Punch, an homage to an original recipe dating back to the late 1800s in Boston. To create Hub Punch, Bully Boy steeps its own Boston Rum with orange and lemon peel and raspberry, and then infuses the liquid with botanicals and herbs. It’s bottled at 35% abv and is best served on the rocks, neat or mixed with soda water, ginger ale or lemonade. The suggested retail price is $29 a 750-ml. and the release date isOctober 22. Bully Boy will be made in limited-run batches on the company’s 750-gallon copper pot still, with distribution limited to Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

All information courtesy of Shanken News Daily

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