GSN Review: Woodford Reserve Baccarat Edition

Woodford Reserve recently announced the Woodford Reserve Baccarat Edition. The exclusive whiskey is Woodford Reserve Bourbon that has been aged an additional three years in XO cognac casks from France.  It is then bottled in a handmade crystal decanter that took five days to create in Baccarat, France. Baccarat, celebrating more than 250 years, was founded in 1764 by King Louis XV. Woodford Reserve is located in Versailles, Kentucky, and named after the French city where generations of royalty lived and ruled.

The spectacular bottle design is meant to evoke the iconic Woodford Reserve bottle silhouette and is engraved in gold with Woodford Reserve’s and Baccarat’s iconic logos. It is presented in a signature Baccarat red box and includes a crystal stopper adorned with Woodford Reserve’s initials.

“Baccarat is honored to be the partner of Woodford Reserve for this important premiere in the world of American whiskey,” Baccarat Global CEO, Daniela Riccardi. “We are proud of the work done together and of a beautiful decanter that our artisans crafted inspired by the excellence and savoir-faire that both our Maisons cherish.”

Baccarat Edition is available in extremely limited quantities and can be purchased via Reserve Bar and at select retailers nationwide. A limited number of bottles are also available at the Woodford Reserve Distillery.

Woodford Reserve Baccarat Edition (90.4 proof)
Appearance: Gold.
Aroma: Lovely fulsome cognac nose with a lot of fruit, caramel and wood.
Taste: Tight, intense, cognac forward flavor profile which overlays a well aged bourbon baseline. Elegant fruity and pleasant.
Finish: Medium-long. An almost wine-like finish.
Overall: Very tasty and well done. This is a new animal which I would love to see more widely available in years to come.
GSN Rating: A+

For more information go to: Woodford Reserve

GSN Review: The Balvenie TUN 1509, Batch 7

Released annually, each bottling in The Balvenie Tun 1509 series features whiskies that comprise different casks married together in the distillery’s Tun 1509, housed in Warehouse 24, for several months. The Balvenie Tun 1509, Batch 7 comprises whisky matured in Sherry hogsheads, ex-Bourbon American oak barrels and Double Wood refill Sherry butts, which has undergone a three-month marrying period in Tun 1509.

The Balvenie’s malt master, David Stewart, said: “The Tun 1509 series has been hugely popular with whisky enthusiasts over the years and I’m in no doubt that this expression will receive a similar response. Batch 7 showcases this remarkable liquid resulting in a deep and rich Balvenie.”

Every bottle of Tun 1509 Batch 7 comes with a breakdown chart showing in-depth details about the whisky, with visual representations of the flavour profile of each cask involved in its creation.

The Balvenie TUN 1509, Batch 7 (104.8 proof)
Appearance: Light yellow-gold.
Aroma: Honey, sponge candy, orange spicecake, slight smoke and medium cask char.
Taste: Rich, winning dessert-sweet flavors meld into a delicious whole. After a minute some cocoa notes come into play, as well as some gingerbread and spirit infused icing.
Finish: Quite long, with a gentle and slow fade.
Overall: Heaven in a glass. Honestly, this is just about the best Speyside single malt Scotch that we have ever had the pleasure of tasting. It hits all the right notes and the effect is akin to listening to a choir.
GSN Rating: A+++

For more information go to: The Balvenie

GSN Review: Parker’s Heritage Collection 14th Edition – 10 Year Old Heavy Char

Heaven Hill Distillery recently announced the 2020 limited edition release of Parker’s Heritage Collection 10 Year Old Heavy Char Bourbon. Parker’s Heritage Collection is a hallmark lineup of Heaven Hill Distillery’s exploration in premium innovation. The 14th edition continues the interaction of barrel char across varying mashbills, this time with Heaven Hill’s traditional Bourbon mashbill of 78% corn, 12% malted barley and 10% rye. Aged in heavy char (Level 5) barrels, as opposed to the customary Level 3 for Heaven Hill, the resulting flavors carry intensified notes of the traditional Bourbon. Consisting of 102 barrels aged on the sixth floor of rickhouse Y for 10 years, the heavy char brings forth a caramel and maple sweetness, as well as slight smokiness developed after 40 Kentucky seasons in the barrel.

The second heavy char edition of the series advances the study of how a more intense char allows the liquid to penetrate deeper into each barrel stave and the effects on the resulting flavor. Bottled at 120 proof (60% abv) and non-chill filtered to preserve all the flavor compounds, this Bourbon showcases the broad range of Heaven Hill Distillery’s 1.8 million barrels of aging inventory.

The late Heaven Hill Master Distiller Parker Beam, for whom the acclaimed series is named, was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (also called ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease) in 2010. The past seven editions from 2013-2019, have raised more than one million dollars toward ALS research and patient care through contributions made by Heaven Hill for each bottle purchased. With the 2020 Heavy Char Bourbon edition, Heaven Hill will again contribute a portion of the proceeds from each bottle sold to the ALS Association.

“It is an honor to continue Parker’s interest in innovation through this series and showcase the variety of Heaven Hill Distillery’s portfolio. It is in tribute to Parker and his legacy that we continue to support ALS research and patient care with this series.” said Susan Wahl, Vice Present, American Whiskies at Heaven Hill

Parker’s Heritage Collection 14th Edition (120 proof)
Appearance: Medium copper.
Aroma: Toasted wood notes lead things off to a good start. A bright, sugar maple note creates an autumnal and breakfast-like nose.
Taste: Subdued heat gives way to a candy-like, corn forward sweetness. The wood char in this instance adds a depth of body and a light touch of creosote.
Finish: Long, with a maple butter on toast character.
Overall: This is a perfect whiskey to pair with BBQ or Thai food. A lot of body, plenty of flavor and a soft spice character to cut through the intensity of the comestibles. Of course, you’re welcome to sip it on a rock or wit a splash of branch water as well.
GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: Heaven Hill Distillery

GSN Review: FEW Immortal Rye Whiskey

Evanston, IL distiller FEW Spirits recently announced the release of FEW Immortal Rye, cask-strength FEW Straight Rye Whiskey proofed to bottling strength with cold-extracted “8 Immortals” tea from Denver-based tea purveyor, The Tea Spot. Immortal Rye is thought to be the first product to apply this proofing technique using tea. An initial 6,000 750ml bottles of FEW Immortal Rye will be made available nationwide. Each bottle features dragon label art inspired by priceless artwork showcased at the 1893 World’s Fair, which was held just a short journey down the Lake Michigan waterfront from where FEW Spirits headquarters stands today.

“One of the real joys of this job is the freedom to wonder, ‘what if?’ and then having the creative team in place to try to search for an answer,” says Paul Hletko FEW Spirits Founder and Distiller. He further notes, “Just as we’ve done with previous innovation favorites like FEW Cold Cut Bourbon, FEW Immortal Rye is an example of taking the space to think about things that have never been done before, whittling that list down to the ones that are actually worth trying, and then creating something that people will not only want to try, but add to their regular drinking rotation.” 

FEW Immortal Rye contains only the highly-awarded FEW Straight Rye Whiskey and 8 Immortals tea; no sugar or additional additives are added. The tea is a hand-harvested Dancong oolong produced in small batches by an award-winning, family-run operation which specializes in making high-end Dancong oolongs. These teas are unique to the mountainous and humid southeastern corner of Guangdong Province, China. Grown at an altitude of 2000 feet, 8 Immortals has its own unique tea cultivar. After harvesting the leaves, it goes through a carefully monitored process of sun drying and repeated oxidizing, rolling and fluffing. This meticulous crafting yields a tea of abundant natural fragrance which can fill a room. It has complex floral and sweet woody notes, smooth mouthfeel, and a persistent, enchanting aftertaste.

Maria Uspenski, Founder and CEO of The Tea Spot, says, “As a long-time tea industry professional and enthusiast of craft spirits, I’m thrilled how FEW Immortal Rye combines the best of both worlds. The honeysuckle aroma of our award-winning 8 Immortals Dancong oolong melds with the malty vanilla notes of the rye whiskey base, while the woody earthy character of this unique tea lingers and resonates long past your first sip, in the best of ways. We’re thrilled to be part of this collaboration with FEW Spirits and think that beverage nerds from both camps will appreciate the synergy in this whiskey made with this legendary oolong.”

Note: The 8 Immortals are a group of xian (translated in English to ‘immortals”) in Chinese mythology, most of which are said to have been born in the Tang or Shang Dynasty. They are said to live on a group of five islands in the Bohai Sea, which includes Mount Penglai. These historical figures represent the Taoist interest in achieving immortality. The Immortals are associated with health and prosperity, so their images are often seen at special occasions like weddings and birthdays. 

FEW Immortal Rye Whiskey (93 proof)
Appearance: Dark reddish-brown.
Aroma: Nice, heady aroma of tea intertwined with spicy rye. The nose seems quite balanced between the two.
Taste: Upon entry, the tea is more forward, but this quickly shifts to a powerful rye presence, percolating with pops of peppery heat. The tea opens up the whiskey in a novel way, with the two flavors working in tandem to create an entirely new flavor combination.
Finish: Medium-long, with the oolong still making its mark on the overall flavor.
Overall: In some ways, this is like a cocktail. If you add some simple syrup, you’re good to go. We really enjoy this and would love to see more tea/spirit products come to market.
GSN Rating: A+

For more information go to: FEW Spirits

GSN Spirited News: October 20th 2020 Edition

Newport, Oregon-based Rogue Ales & Spirits is launching an addition to its line of canned cocktails. Rogue Ginger Lemon Whiskey Mule is the first in the series to use whiskey as its base spirit, joining three vodka-based offerings and a Gin Fizz. It’s at 7.5% abv and contains a blend of Rogue Spirits whiskey aged between 4 and 6 years along with ginger, lemon, simple syrup, and sparkling water. It is available nationwide now, retailing in 4-packs of 12-ounce cans.

Cincoro Tequila, the brand founded by Michael Jordan and other NBA owners, has released a limited number of 1.75-liter bottles of its Añejo Tequila. Each bottle is individually numbered and will be available for purchase on Cincoro’s website. Interested consumers can register now for a chance to buy. The 1.75-liter bottles will be available in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Washington, D.C., Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Nashville, Dallas, and Houston.

Palm Bay International is launching Drumshanbo Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey. Retailing at $65 a 750-ml., the newcomer is triple-distilled from a blend of malted Irish barley, unmalted Irish barley and Irish barra oats. It was aged five years in first use ex-Kentucky Bourbon and ex-Oloroso Sherry casks and was bottled at 43% abv. Rolling out nationwide, it joins Drumshanbo Gunpowder Gin in the Drumshanbo range.

Herradura Tequila, part of the Brown-Forman portfolio, is introducing a new permanent extension to its range. Herradura Legend is an Añejo Tequila matured for 14 months in heavily charred, new American White Oak barrels. Herradura makes its own barrels and deeply grooves them to expose the Tequila to more layers of toasted oak. Legend will initially be available in select markets, including New York, New Jersey, Colorado, Oregon, California, Texas, Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina retailing at $125.

Boston, Massachusetts-based Latitude Beverage has added a new Bourbon to its Wheel Horse Whiskey brand, following the launch of Wheel Horse rye earlier this year. The 50.5% abv whiskey is aged between two and four years from a mash of 70% corn, 21% rye, and 9% malted barley. The whiskey was distilled at the Owensboro Distilling Company in Kentucky and is now available in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Tennessee for around $28 a 750-ml.

Bacardi is debuting three new offerings from its Exceptional Cask series of single malt Scotch whiskies: Aberfeldy 18 Years Old ($120, 43% abv), Aberfeldy 20 Years Old ($200, 43% abv), and Craigellachie 24 Years Old ($300, 52.2% abv), all of which are rolling out this month. Each expression in the Exceptional Cask series is hand-selected by malt master Stephanie Macleod.

Sweet Amber Distilling Co. has announced a new cask strength program for the Blackened American whiskey line. The whiskey, called Batch 106, is a blend of Bourbon and rye that’s bottled at 55.35% abv. According to the company, the whiskies in the blend are an average of eight years old. Like the wider Blackened release, Batch 106 is finished by playing music through the spirit, in this case Metallica’s S&M2 collaboration with the San Francisco Symphony. Blackened Batch 106 is available for around $55 in Kroger Supermarkets in Kentucky and in Tampa, Florida at Luekens Wine & Spirits.

Constellation Brands has extended Svedka with a new range of canned Vodka Soda cocktailsThe new offerings, made with real fruit juice and natural flavors, are at 8% abv and come in Strawberry Lemonade, Black Cherry Lime, and Mango Pineapple flavors. They’re rolling out now, retailing at $13 a 4-pack of 12-ounce cans, and $3 an individual can.

Beam Suntory has launched Suntory World Whisky Ao, its first global blend of whiskies, to 16 travel retail markets. The 43% abv blend is assembled from Beam Suntory’s Scottish, Canadian, American, and Japanese distillers by fifth generation Suntory chief blender, Shinji Fukuyo. This marks the first international launch for Ao, which was previously released in April 2019 as an exclusive for the Japanese market. Suntory World Whisky Ao retails for around $71 a bottle.

Lucas Bols USA has launched a new, non-alcoholic version of its Damrak gin, called Damrak Virgin 0.0. The spirit alternative is made with citrus peels, lavender, and coriander seeds, among other botanicals, and aims to mimic the flavor of Bols’ alcoholic Damrak gin. It’s now available nationwide in retail channels as well as online via the brand’s website and Amazon.

Frankfort, Kentucky’s Pinhook has announced its 2020 Vertical series whiskies. The new releases are Bourbon War 5 Year, bottled at 52% abv, and Tiz Rye Time 4 Year, bottled at 48.5%. Both whiskies are sourced from MGP. Pinhook will release new editions each year until the Vertical series gets to 12-year-old whiskies. The whiskies retail for $50 and $45, respectively, and are now available in 25 states and through Breeze, the company’s text message-based e-commerce channel that allows fans to text a photo or description of one of Pinhook’s whiskies to a personal shopper who then sources the spirit.

Louisville, Kentucky’s Barrell Craft Spirits has introduced a new addition to its BCS (Barrel Craft Spirits) line, a 15-year-old Bourbon. The whiskey is blended from straight Bourbons distilled in Kentucky, Indiana, and Tennessee, and bottled at 52.45% abv. Barrel’s BCS Bourbon is rolling out now in limited quantities—only 12,000 bottles will be released—and will retail for around $250 in select stores across the company’s 45-market distribution footprint. In addition to this new release, the BCS line also includes another whiskey and a rum.

Compass Box has announced the Peat Monster Arcana, the latest whisky celebrating the company’s 20th anniversary. The 46% abv whisky is made from a base of cask strength Peat Monster that aged for an additional two years before blending with malt whiskies from the Talisker, Miltonduff, and Ardbeg distilleries. The Peat Monster Arcana is rolling out this month in limited quantities across the U.S.; only 3,900 bottles will be available for a suggested price of $95 a 750-ml. This is the third celebratory whisky the company has released for its 20th anniversary, following Hedonism Felicitas and Rogues’ Banquet.

Elenita, a new brand of sparkling mezcal cocktails, is debuting across California. The 5% abv range includes Cucumber Lime Basil and Pineapple Jalapeno offerings and retails at $36 an eight-pack of 12-ounce cans on the company’s website. In addition to online, Elenita is available at select Total Wine and BevMo outlets among other on- and off-premise locations. The brand’s mezcal base is made from 100%-Espadin agave and distilled in Oaxaca.

Brooklyn, New York-based Widow Jane has announced the next batch of Decadence, the company’s maple syrup cask-finished whiskey. The 45.5% abv Bourbon starts as Widow Jane’s standard 10-year-old whiskey before finishing in casks used to age Crown Maple Syrup. This iteration of Decadence is rolling out now in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, South Carolina, and Texas, and will retail for around $80. Each batch of Widow Jane’ Decadence comes in at around 3,300 bottles of whiskey.

Courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Alert: October 20th – World Calvados Day

Avallen Calvados has partnered with UK-based Difford’s Guide and premium drinks distributor Mangrove UK to launch World Calvados Day. Taking place on Tuesday 20 October, the inaugural celebration of the French apple brandy will see the UK trade celebrate with special offers and specially created cocktails being served in bars around this date.

Registered as an AOC (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée) in 1942, calvados is one of three world-renowed French brandies alongside cognac and armagnac. It must be produced using a choice of 300 apple varieties exclusively grown in the biodiverse orchards of Normandy. The apples are naturally fermented to make cider, then distilled and aged for a legal minimum of two years in French oak.

Avallen Calvados founders Stephanie Jordan and Tim Etherington-Judge entered the world of calvados in 2019 determined to revitalise the category. Since launching, their ‘planet-positive’ caldavos has been recognised with numerous accolades. They have also made it their mission to help bee populations, donating to the Bumble Bee Conservation Trust with each bottle sold and planting wildflowers.

Stephanie said: “Calvados is an important historical category and one which is gaining renewed interest, so it’s right it should have its own day. And what better time of year to celebrate French apple brandy than the busy harvest time, when the process of making delicious calvados kicks off with thanks to the bees for pollinating all the lovely blossoms in spring.

“Made using apples (and a few pears), water and time, this spirit celebrates biodiversity, regenerative agriculture and tastes amazing which is why at Avallen we want to champion the category and put care at the core of what we do.”

Simon Difford said: “One of the key base spirits, calvados appears in hundreds of cocktail recipes but until Avallen has not had a brand that champions its mixability. Indeed, most consumers would be hard-prressed to name a brand of calvados or a calvados cocktail. Hence, we’re delighted to be working with Stephanie and Tim to promote delicious calvados cocktails.”

Avallen is distributed in the UK by Mangrove UK. The company’s managing director, Nick Gillet, added: “It’s been impressive to see the determination with which the team at Avallen has worked to promote this category, which was previously looking a bit tired and jaded. They have sparked new interest in calvados and are leading the way in our industry in adopting and championing sustainable practices.”

20 October 2020 – Bethany Whymark

GSN Alert: October 21st – National Mezcal Day

Whether it be a connoisseur taking gentle sips or a tailgater doing shot after shot, most everyone is familiar with tequila. But some might not be as familiar with mezcal. While tequila is only made from the blue agave plant, mezcal is made from more than 30 varieties of agave. While tequila is distilled in copper pots, mezcal is distilled in clay pots after being cooked in a pit lined with lava rocks, wood and charcoal. Tequila often gives off a sweet taste, while mezcal offers a more smoky, savory flavor. Thirsty yet? In honor of mezcal, celebrate the spirit on National Mezcal Day on Oct. 21.


GSN Review: Medalla Light

Medalla Light has made its mark on the beer industry with rapid growth into the U.S. and success in the Northeastern corner of the states as well as in its first, Florida, the Sunshine State. The iconic beer completes a major milestone with its wide expansion into six new territories, including New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland and Washington D.C. in just a two-month period. The release of Puerto Rico’s top selling beer in Massachusetts solidifies Medalla Light as a competitive player in the brewing industry.

“We are thrilled to team up with Cervecera de Puerto Rico,” said Anthony Frasco, General Manager and VP at Quality Beverage in Chicopee. “When you have a brand that ignites the consumer, and can bring nostalgic memories, having consumers feel like they were back on a tropical island like Puerto Rico the way Medalla Light does, you know it’ll only be a matter of time before they become a national player in the industry.”

Cervecera’s portfolio includes Magna Premium Lager, Silver Key Light Beer, Del Oeste Artisan Beers and Malta India, a popular non-alcoholic malt-based soft drink in the Caribbean.

GSN’s Thoughts: This is a great beer for hot and humid weather. Very light in body, character and flavor, you can easily call this a session beer. GSN compared Medalla to other light beers from the US and Europe, and found that it held up well. Brewed in the lager style, this is a great entry level beer for the beginner, but also a classic way to celebrate Puerto Rican culture and pair with a platter of mofongo, empanadillas, pastelles or pollo guisado. GSN Rating: B

For more information go to: Medalla Light

GSN Alert: October 19th – International Gin & Tonic Day

b42086b2206396354f7173a543355bc0“85% of all known worlds in the Galaxy, be they primitive or highly advanced, have invented a drink called jynnan tonnyx, or gee-N’N-T’N-ix, or jinond-o-nicks, or any one of a thousand or more variations on the same phonetic theme. The drinks themselves are not the same, and vary between the Sivolvian “chinanto/mnigs” which is ordinary water served at slightly above room temperature, and the Gagrakackan “tzjin-anthony-ks” which kills cows at a hundred paces; and in fact the one common factor between all of them, beyond the fact that the names sound the same, is that they were all invented and named before the worlds concerned made contact with any other worlds.” – Douglas Adams

Be that as it may, we here on planet Earth will be celebrating International Gin & Tonic Day this weekend.  Cheers!

Gin and Tonic
2 oz. London dry gin
Tonic water (from a fresh bottle)
1-2 ample wedges of lime
Plenty of cold ice cubes
Highball glass

1) Chill the glass. You may want to fill it with ice, then empty it and refill, as some bartenders do with a martini glass.
2) Fill the glass with whole ice cubes. If you wish, take a wedge of lime and moisten the rim the glass with it.
3) Pour the gin over the ice, which should be cold enough that it crackles when the liquor hits it.
4) Fill glass almost to the top with tonic.
5) Squeeze one wedge of lime into the glass. Drop the squeezed lime into the drink as a garnish if you like; it’s not necessary, but can add a bit of extra flavor. (If you do, notes Dale DeGroff, make sure the peel has been washed.) Serve.

GSN Review: Hard Truth White Oak Reserve Rum

Founded in 2015, Hard Truth Distilling Co. has grown from a small operation in the upper rooms of a pizza restaurant to an 18,000-square foot state-of-the-art distillery featuring Vendome Copper & Brass Works equipment. The distillery produces and releases a variety of spirits, including Hard Truth Cinnamon Vodka, Hard Truth Toasted Coconut Rum, and Hard Truth Gin. Now Indiana’s largest distillery tourist destination, Hard Truth sits on the 325-acre wooded campus of Hard Truth Hills in Brown County, an artists’ colony and travel spot known for its natural beauty.

In late 2020, they are slated to release the first of three whiskies, Hard Truth Indiana Straight Rye Whiskey. Hard Truth Straight Bourbon Whiskey and Hard Truth Straight Wheated Bourbon Whiskey will follow over the coming years.

They were kind enough to send GSN a bottle of their White Oak Reserve Rum after reading my review of their Toasted Coconut Rum Cream.

Hard Truth White Oak Reserve Rum (83 proof)
Appearance: Medium gold.
Aroma: Some hogo funk, heady oak and sweet molasses.
Taste: Sweet, with a vanilla forward profile. The barrel aging keeps things on the drier and crisper side. A medium mouthfeel.
Finish: Medium long with a rock candy finish.
Overall: An excellent rum for mixing in cocktails, tiki drinks or punches. There’s enough character that it won’t be easily overwhelmed by syrups or citrus.
GSN Rating: B+

For more information go to: Hard Truth Distilling

GSN Review: Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch C920

Each batch of Elijah Craig Barrel Proof is an uncut Small Batch of 12-year-old Bourbon bottled straight from the barrel. The variance in proof from batch to batch presents a unique opportunity to explore the impact of the angel’s share and the resulting proof in a small batch of barrels.

The first letter of the batch number indicates which of that year’s releases the bottle was a part of, starting with “A,” while the second digit is a number that determines the month of the year the bottle was released. The third and fourth digits indicate the year. This latest expression is the third release this year, bottled in September of 2020.

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch C920 (132.8 proof)
Appearance: Golden brown.
Aroma: Sweet maple, chocolate covered cherries,  almond nougat, and a light touch of cask char.
Taste: Of course this is intense, until watered down a touch. Doing so, reveals a dark, dessert-like character of fruit preserves served on brown bread. Some spice and definitely oak-forward, this is a chewy and reflective whiskey.
Finish: Long, slow and sweet.
Overall: We love these seasonal releases from Elijah Craig. It really makes for an interesting tasting when you can compare different releases next to one another. This one is perfect for the upcoming winter season.
GSN Rating: A-

For more information go to: Elijah Craig

GSN Review: Larceny Barrel Proof Batch C920

Each winter, spring and autumn a limited edition bottling of Larceny Barrel Proof Bourbon is released. The latest batch of C920 is the third and final release of the year. The mashbill consists of 68% corn, 20% wheat, and 12% malted barley. After aging for six to eight years, the spirit is non-chill filtered, and a bottled at barrel proof.

Larceny Barrel Proof Batch C920 (122.4 proof)
Appearance: Dark orange.
Aroma: Fall-like scents of candy corn, caramels, vanilla taffy, and cinnamon bread.
Taste: Sweet, nutty and with a touch of candied citrus. Despite the intensity, this is quite sugary.
Finish: Long and with a candy-like finish.
Overall: Sweeter than I expected, but this makes it perfect for cocktails like an Old-Fashioned or a Manhattan.
GSN Rating: A-

For more information go to: Heaven Hill Distillery

GSN Review: Laws Whiskey House Whiskies

Established in 2011, Laws Whiskey House is a grain-to-bottle whiskey distillery founded on the principle that the soul of its whiskey is composed of the people who grow it, the people who make it, and the people who drink it. Using the traditional method of open-air, on grain fermentation, Laws’ whiskeys feature high altitude grown heirloom and heritage American grains and mountain spring water while aging in 53-gallon charred American oak barrels. 

The full range of expressions includes: 

  • Four Grain Straight Bourbon (95 proof): After two Colorado family farms grow Law’s heirloom varietals of wheat, barley and rye, the labor-intensive cooking technique brings each grain’s individual character to life, while open-air sour mash adds complexity. Aged a minimum of three years in 53-gallon charred oak barrels, influenced by the high-altitude climate. GSN’s Thoughts: The higher proof brings out a lot of high end flavors of the grain bill. Wood aging brings a pointed edginess to the affair. A very well crafted bourbon that hearkens back to an older style of whiksey. GSN Rating: A-
  • San Luis Valley Straight Rye (95 proof): The first Bonded Rye whiskey to come from Colorado. 8,000 feet above sea level, in Colorado’s San Luis Valley, the Cody family has been cultivating this low yield, semi-wild rye grain since the 1930s. GSN’s Thoughts: Lovely spicy flavors meld with the warm cask notes. We particularly enjoy the bright pop of the rye which has a rich and chewy character. For a straight rye, this is an excellent example of how to do it right. GSN Rating: A+
  • Centennial Straight Wheat Whiskey (95 proof): Crafted with pre-industrial Centennial wheat, the heirloom spring varietal is grown for Laws in the San Luis Valley. GSN’s Thoughts: Light, elegant and more wood forward than we expected. The soft flavors of the wheat are more subdued, giving this whiskey a more tannic quality. It’s a one-note whiskey that while in itself is fine, begs for a bit more diversity of flavor. GSN Rating: B+
  • Henry Road Straight Malt Whiskey (95 proof): The barley in Henry Road was literally kept from extinction. Where commercial farmers found it too low yield, Wayne Cody found its unstripped flavor too glorious to let go. Today, his sons, in a field alongside Henry Road, continue to grow, as well as malt, this barley for Laws. They run it through on-grain sour mash and age it for at least three years in charred, 53-gallon new American white oak barrels. GSN’s Thoughts: A really interesting character that we’ve never encountered before. Alomst like oatmeal. Smooth, breakfast-like flavors with a subtle punch of oak, meld into a malt whiskey that begs for use in cocktails. Great flavor, great aging and great character. Highly recommended! GSN Rating: A++

For more information go to: Laws Whiskey House

GSN Alert: October 16th – National Liqueur Day

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