Diageo has partnered with Brooks Brothers on a joint holiday initiative featuring Johnnie Walker. The partnership includes release of a limited edition Brooks Brothers 1818 Johnnie Walker Blue Label bottle that retails at $249 and celebrates the year of Brooks Brothers’ founding. 1,818 individually numbered bottles were made. Other offerings include a silk Brooks Brothers limited edition tie featuring Johnnie Walker’s Striding Man ($75) and, for $10,000, the Johnnie Walker Brooks Brothers Experience, the centerpiece of which is an at-home Scotch tasting led by a Johnnie Walker Master of Whisky.
All information courtesy of Shanken News Daily
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Cointreau has become the ubiquitous triple sec for use in cocktails. And for good reason. You can read my thoughts about it here. The brand has now branched out into the curacao category with Cointreau Noir.
So, what’s the difference between a triple sec and a curacao? Basically (although some may argue this point) curacao has a brandy base and triple sec has a neutral grain spirit base. The differences are noticeable, but the important thing is to use a high quality version in your cocktails.
Cointreau Noir (80 proof)
Visual: Bright copper.
Nose: Orange oil essence with an undercurrent of rich cognac.
Taste: A burst of warm orange, but much drier and less sweet than Cointreau. Slightly dry and dark with a viscous mouth feel.
Finish: The cognac element seems to overtake the orange after half a minute and subdues the sweetness. It has an almost barrel-aged effect on the liqueur.
Overall: Perfect on its own, but also great in cocktails that call for Triple Sec or Curacao. It makes for an overall lighter mouthfeel than regular Cointreau.
GSN Rating: A-
For more information go to: Cointreau
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The town of Tullamore in Ireland has a long and interesting history of firsts. The original distillery (no longer extant) was built in 1829. Daniel E. Williams (the D.E.W. in the name) who became general manager in the 1880′s brought electricity, telephones and motor cars to the town. In a very real sense, he brought the town into the modern era through whiskey.
The other notable event which took place in Tullamore was the world’s first major aviation disaster. On May 10, 1785, a hot air balloon crashed in the town and the resulting explosion caused well over 100 homes to burn down. And yet, this tragedy drew the community together, and like the phoenix, they rose and rebuilt the town again. To this day, they hold a yearly Phoenix Festival, and their coat of arms depicts a phoenix rising from ashes.
So, to commemorate these two key events, Tullamore DEW has debuted a limited edition high-proof whiskey. A triple distilled blend of grain, malt and pot still whiskies, it is aged in old oloroso sherry casks and bottled at 55% ABV.
Tullamore D.E.W. Phoenix (110 proof)
Visual: Sunny gold.
Nose: Lots of woody top notes, layered with vanilla essence.
Taste: Smooth and almost chocolatey with a creamy mouthfeel. Lots going on here, due to the higher proof. Adding a splash of branch water brings out more caramel and vanilla with a dry, bittersweet edge.
Finish: Remarkable and long-lasting. There is a richness and body here, which few Irish whiskies have attained.
Overall: A lovely whiskey which should be in every enthusiasts bar. I hope that they decided to produce it on a regular basis.
GSN Rating: A
For more information go to: Tullamore D.E.W.
Posted in Spirits & Liqueurs | Tagged Irish whiskey, Phoenix, tullamore, Tullamore D.E.W. | Leave a Comment »
It’s fairly unusual that a vodka distillery uses more than one type of fermentable starch. So, I was quite intrigued to try a line of three different vodkas made by Chopin. Chopin originally made only a potato version, but have added wheat and rye to their portfolio. All three are completely different in flavor and character, which pretty much ends any ill-informed argument that all vodkas are alike.
Chopin is made in the town of Krzesk in the Podlasie region of Poland. They use locally grown products in their vodka, which is distilled four times and then blended with local artesian well water. Who is pictured on the bottle? None other than the inestimable Frederic Chopin. You can learn more about his life here.
Chopin Rye (80 proof)
Nose: Fresh, bright, crisp with slightly spicy notes.
Taste: Clean with a lot of spice. A lot of high notes with intense body.
Finish: Medium long with a slightly tannic quality.
Overall: A strong well-done rye vodka.
GSN Rating: B+
Chopin Wheat (80 proof)
Nose: A dark and creamy roundness with hints of vanilla bean.
Taste: Mild, smooth and with a full creamy mouth-feel.
Finish: Medium long with a lovely creaminess.
Overall: Really nice and quite elegant.
GSN Rating: A
Chopin Potato (80 proof)
Nose: Mild and even-tempered with a slightly sweet midrange of scent.
Taste: Smooth and creamy with a full mouth feel and an organic flavor.
Finish: Medium with a somewhat chalky aftertaste.
Overall: Fairly mellow and rich. Almost chewy.
GSN Rating: B+
For more information go to: Chopin Vodka
Posted in Spirits & Liqueurs | Tagged chopin, frederic chopin, potato, rye, vodka, wheat | Leave a Comment »
Edrington Group’s Cutty Sark brand is planning to release Cutty Sark Tam o’Shanter, a new, limited edition Scotch whisky. Made from a blend of 25-year-old stocks, the luxury offering is packaged in an oak gift box, alongside a book of illustrations by the Scottish painter Alexander Goudie. Just 5,000 bottles of Tam o’Shanter are being produced, priced at around $300 a bottle.
Campari America’s Wild Turkey is re-releasing its Wild Turkey 101 Rye expression in key U.S. markets following a one-year absence. The 101-proof offering will be available in 1-liter bottles across 21 markets, in the on-premise only. Although availability of 101 Rye will remain limited, Campari’s Wild Turkey 81 Rye ($22.99 a 750-ml.)—which is made with four- to five-year-old rye whiskey—will continue to be available nationwide.
Beam Inc. has linked up with Cinnabon to create a new Cinnamon roll-flavored Pinnacle vodka. The new product will hit select markets on December 1, with a nationwide rollout slated for January 1. The launch will be backed by a sampling tour targeting brunch and happy hour soirees. Pinnacle Cinnabon is 70-proof and will retail at $12.99 a 750-ml.
Suntory Ltd. has launched a new artisanal vodka brand, Ao, in the United States. The 40%-abv offering, made with Japanese rice, is produced via a proprietary pot still method at a small distillery in Osumi, Kyushu. Currently available exclusively in the New York metro market—where it’s imported by by Suntory USA and distributed by Southern Wine & Spirits—Ao is priced at $50 a 750-ml.
All information courtesy of Shanken News Daily
Posted in News | Tagged Ao vodka, Cutty Sark Tam o’Shanter, Pinnacle Cinnabon, Wild Turkey 101 Rye | Leave a Comment »
Plantation continues to set the bar quite high for affordable and well made rums. I’ve previously reviewed much of the Plantation portfolio here.
Their latest entry is a double-aged dark spirit, blending rums from Trinidad and Tobago. To create the effect, the rum is aged in charred American oak barrels. Then select 3-5 year old barrels are married to an 8-year-old rum. This blend is then aged yet again for a year to a year and a half in ex-Cognac oak barrels. This technique obviously works quite well for Plantation, as they use it in many of their signature styles.
Plantation Original Dark Rum (80 proof) $17.99 750ml
Visual: Medium gold.
Nose: Rich, molasses sweetness with a smokey high note. Fragrance of caramel, vanilla and aged wood.
Taste: Exceptionally smooth with more top notes than are usual in a dark rum. Sweet caramel and burnt sugar with milk cream. The wood aging works well to offset the sweetness by lending a bitter edge.
Finish: Fairly long with a hearty molasses touch.
Overall: This rum is great in a Dark & Stormy, Mai Tai or rum based punch. A lot of depth and character lifts this well above other similarly priced rums.
GSN Rating: B+
For more information go to: Plantation Rum
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Auchentoshan® Lowland Single Malt Scotch Whisky REVEALS WINNERS OF AUCHENTOSHAN SWITCH, A Trans-Continental Bartender Swap
Winners are MICHAEL WEBSTER from BAR ISABEL in TORONTO and AIDAN BOWIE from THE BLYSTHSWOOD SQUARE HOTEL in GLASGOW
Glasgow, Scotland (November 19, 2013) – Auchentoshan® Three Wood Single Malt Scotch Whisky is happy to announce the winners of the 2nd Auchentoshan Switch global bartender competition that literally has the winners ‘switching’ continents for two weeks to work in acclaimed bars in New York City and London. The Auchentoshan Switch North American winner is Michael Webster from Bar Isabel in Toronto, Canada and the European winner is Aidan Bowie from The Blysthswood Square Hotel in Glasgow, Scotland. The winners will be ‘switching’ continents sometime in early 2014, with Canadian Webster working at the acclaimed NightJar Bar in London and Glaswegian Bowie heading to the prestigious Dead Rabbit Grocery & Grog in New York City.
The Auchentoshan Switch was open to all bartenders in the US, Canada, UK, Germany and Sweden in 2013. Regional heats took place in each of these countries this past summer to determine the group of semi-finalists (12 from each continent) to compete in the Finals. The Auchentoshan Switch Finals were held in London on Oct 1 and in New York City on Oct 27.
The North American final was held at the Dead Rabbit in New York City, where bartenders had to demonstrate their skill and creativity in front of judges and guests in three knockout rounds. In the final round, Michael Webster was pitted against the Dead Rabbit’s own Pam Wiznitzer for the win:
- Round 1/Creativity and Presentation – 12 finalists present their Three Wood drink from the heats
- Round 2/Your Spin – Six finalists create a spin on a Classic Three Wood cocktail chosen at random
- Round 3/Working Under Pressure – TWO FINALISTS create a drink from a basic pantry of ingredients plus all three ingredients from a ‘mystery bag’
“I was honored to be here to compete with these people,” said Michael Webster after his win. “Everyone was super-pro, totally dialed in. I am stoked to go to NightJar, it’s an incredible dream come true and I’m really excited. I want to send my respects to everyone involved in creating this competition.”
Says Auchentoshan Brand Manager Jennifer Meenan, “The bartender talent on both sides of the pond was incredible and made the competition so intense! We congratulate Michael and Aidan on their win and wish them the best of luck in the actual switch. The creative and delicious cocktails proved to us that Auchentoshan Three Wood is truly a darling of the cocktail community. The Auchentoshan Switch is a unique bartender competition that allows the winners to learn about cocktail culture in other parts of the world and they can share their own tricks of the trade with the host bar.”
Michael Webster’s winning cocktail: The Mixed Bag
1.5 oz Auchentoshan Three Wood
.5 oz French Muscatel
.25 oz. Amer Picon
1 heaping barspoon apricot preserve
1 egg white
7 drops Burlesque Bitters
3 drops Orinoco Bitters
Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass
Judges for the North American Final were:
- Iain McCallum – Master of Malts at Morrison Bowmore Distillers Ltd
- Charles Joly – Head Bartender at the Aviary, Chicago and 2011 winner of The Auchentoshan Switch
- Allan Katz – Owner of the New York Distilling co. and Master Mixologist for Southern Wine and Spirits
- Sean Muldoon – Owner of The Dead Rabbit, where the European winner will be based
- Jack McGarry – Bar Manager/Owner, The Dead Rabbit
Judges for the European Final were:
- Rachel Barrie – Auchentoshan Master Blender
- Edmund Weil – Co-owner, Nightjar
- Ryan Chetiyawardana (AKA Mr Lyan) – Cocktail genius
For more information about Auchentoshan Switch, please go to www.auchentoshanswitch.com
Posted in Contests, News | Tagged Aidan Bowie, Auchentoshan Switch, Bar Isabel, Blysthswood Square Hotel, Dead Rabbit, Michael Webster, NightJar Bar | Leave a Comment »