GSN Review: Wolves Lot One Blended Single Malt

Wolves, the luxury whiskey brand founded by James Bond (Undefeated) and Jon Buscemi (Buscemi, Greats, Truff, Oliver Peoples), announces that its first-ever American Single Malt whiskeys, “Lot One” under the brand’s Malted Barley Series banner, will drop Thursday, April 6.
The definition of American Single Malt whiskey has long been a moving target. In 2022, however, the Tax & Trade Bureau (TTB) proposed new parameters which would require, in part, that to be classified as American Single Malt a spirit must be “distilled from 100% malted barley entirely at one U.S. distillery.”
Wolves acquired a very limited supply of single malt and malted barley whiskeys that were put down in 8 to 12 barrel lots starting in 2011. 13th generation Master Distiller Marko Karakasevic distilled each lot over a 10 day period in a small alembic pot still imported from Cognac, France in 1983. While far less efficient than a column still, the slow, antique pot still yields whiskey with more body, flavor, and viscosity. During distillation, Karakasevic slept in four hour shifts so that he alone could make each cut, selecting ‘the heart of hearts’ for double distillation.
Lot One was distilled in 2015. Eleven of the twelve barrels were blended together by Wolves and bottled at 110-proof (55% ABV). The 12th barrel (barrel #574) was selected as a single barrel release, and bottled at 125-proof (62.5% ABV). The heavy toast cask with Hungarian heads imparted a dark amber color.
Each bottle in the Wolves Malted Barley Series will be hand-numbered and wrapped by hand in a laser-cut, embossed, sheepskin label printed with UV light, and laid flush on heavy, French-cut glass. All 228 bottles of Wolves’ Lot One single-barrel expression ($350) will be offered privately to certain members on its Allocation List.
The 375 6-packs of the Lot One blended single malt expression (MSRP $289) will be made available through select retailers, as well as through pre-sale to the Wolves Allocation List beginning March 30. Visit to register.  Not available in all 50 states.
GSN’s Remarks: Rich, deep, malty nose with a bright cracking woody perfume. On the palate, first impressions are of aged apples, oak fence, forest floor and venerable grain barn. A sip takes the imbiber into a peaceful and rustic country setting. As the flavor progresses, warm notes of baking spices come out, with soft toffee, cinnamon bun, toasted pecan and chicory. A smooth, even mouthfeel leads to a medium-long finish. The ending notes are dry and slightly spiced. GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: Wolves Whiskey


GSN Alert: New Spirits Releases 3.24.23

Astral Tequila is made with 100% blue Weber agave which, after cooking, are crushed with a traditional stone tahona. Additionally, the agave fibers called the “bagasso” are added to the fermentation process to enhance the flavor. The añejo bottling is aged for 12 months in single-use American oak bourbon barrels. Availability begins in select US markets including CA, FL, TX, IL, NY, SC, MI, OH, and VA beginning April 1, 2023. (SRP $34.99)

Astral Tequila is made with 100% blue Weber agave which, after cooking, are crushed with a traditional stone tahona. Additionally, the agave fibers called the “bagasso” are added to the fermentation process to enhance the flavor. The reposado bottling is aged for five months in single-use American oak bourbon barrels. Availability begins in select US markets including CA, FL, TX, IL, NY, SC, MI, OH, and VA beginning April 1, 2023. (SRP $27.99)

This 21 year-old Glen Grant was married by Master Distiller Dennis Malcolm OBE in small batches. The hand-selected barrels were matured in Warehouse No. 4, the oldest dunnage warehouse at the distillery and include oloroso sherry butts, hogsheads, and ex-bourbon barrels. It’s bottled at 46% ABV without chill-filtration. Available beginning in March 2023 in key global markets including the US, the UK, and Asia, this is the oldest expression in the brand’s permanent collection. (SRP $360)

This Ultraviolet Edition from Brazil’s McQueen and the Violet Fog is not only violet in color, but is flavored with red berries & hibiscus. It is made with the brand’s flagship gin as its base which is made from 21 botanicals from all over the world including rose petal, coriander, rosemary, lemongrass, pomelo, and jasmine flower. The violet color is obtained from a blend of natural juices and carmine. Available beginning March 2023. (SRP $34.99)

Port Charlotte Islay Barley 2014 is Bruichladdich’s heavily-peated single malt (40ppm) which is made exclusively with malted barley grown and harvested on Islay. The 2014 vintage used barley which was grown on 8 farms within 15 miles of the distillery. Aged for a minimum of 7 years, maturation was done primarily in first-fill bourbon barrels (84%) with second-fill virgin oak and second-fill Bordeaux wine casks splitting the difference. It’s bottled at 50% ABV without chill-filtration. Launched in early 2023, the US will get its allotment in March 2023. (SRP $84.99)

Secretariat Reserve is a limited edition bottling from Virginia’s farm-to-glass distillery Ragged Branch. Secretariat, a thoroughbred from Virginia, was the 1973 Triple Crown winner with record times that are still unbroken 50 years later. Made from a mash bill of corn, rye, and malted barley, the bourbon is aged over 5 years and is also bottled-in-bond. Launching on April 22, 2023 in Virginia and at the distillery, the bourbon will also have a limited release to follow in several mid-Atlantic markets. (SRP $99.99)

Released by independent bottler Douglas Laing & Co., Rock Island is a Scottish blended malt featuring single malts from the Isles of Orkney, Arran, Jura & Islay. All the single malt whiskies were aged for a minimum of 14 years, predominately in sherry casks. Bottled at 46.8% ABV without chill-filtration or added coloring, this limited edition release is available as of March 2023 in Europe, Americas, and Asia Pacific markets. (SRP £65.00)

Best known for its hard seltzer portfolio, White Claw has released a vodka. Made from 100% American grain it’s distilled in column stills with copper plates. Then it’s filtered through activated carbon from charred coconut shells in a process they are calling “triple wave filtration” — a filtration process which the brand claims uses pressure equivalent to three 30-foot waves. It’s available beginning March 2023 in 1L, 750ml, and 50ml sized bottles (SRP ranges from $18.99 for 750ml)

This is the first lot release for Wolves Whiskey’s Malted Barley Series. Each lot was distilled by Master Distiller Marko Karakasevic who used a small alembic pot still from Cognac to distill, but each lot will vary with regards to the barley type, the barley source, the yeast, and the maltings with some peated and others not. Lot One was distilled in 2015 using two-row pale malt barley and California ale yeast. It is not peated. Eleven barrels were blended for Lot One and the barrels were all made from American oak from a Napa Valley Cooperage. However, the toast & char levels vary from a light toast to char 3 and the barrel heads alternated between Hungarian oak and American oak. Bottled at 110 proof, Lot One is available at select retailers beginning April 6, 2023 with pre-sales beginning March 30, 2023 on the Wolves’ website. (SRP $289)

Information courtesy of

GSN Learning: How To Enjoy Scotch Whiskey

Are you ready to expand your palate and learn how to enjoy Scotch whiskey? Whether you’re a novice or an experienced drinker, it is a unique experience with a rich history on your tongue. From the smoky scents of the Highlands to the peaty notes of Islay malts, there are hundreds of variations to explore. Let us go through some tips on how to enjoy Scotch whiskey in the best ways possible!

6 Ways to Enjoy Scotch Whiskey

Scotch whiskey is a unique experience, made from malted barley, yeast and water. It is then aged in oak barrels for at least three years before it can be called Scotch. The best Scotch whisky brands are a mix of science and art, with flavor profiles that are distinctive and complex.

Here are some tips to help you explore this exquisite spirit:

Start with a Smoky Scotch

If you’re just starting out, it is best to begin your journey with a smoky Scotch. These whiskies come from places like the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, where peat has been used for centuries to roast barley during distillation. Scotch whiskies with smoky notes will have a distinctive flavour and aroma, giving you an introduction to the complex world of Scotch whiskey.

Pair Your Scotch with Food

Like wine, pairing your Scotch with food can enhance its flavours. Seafood, such as oysters and salmon, are both excellent companions for smoky varieties. Rich dishes like steak, lamb, and venison are also great matches for peaty whiskies. You can even pair Scotch whiskey with desserts like caramel and chocolate to bring out the sweetness in both.

Try Different Casks and Bottles

Scotch whisky is aged in different types of oak barrels, which imparts its own unique flavours into the spirit. From ex-Bourbon casks to sherry butts, each type has its own set of characteristics and notes. Experimenting with different cask types and bottling strengths can help you find your favourite Scotch whisky.

Sip Slowly and Neat

Although it’s perfectly acceptable (and often encouraged) to have your Scotch whisky on the rocks or with a splash of water, it’s best to start by sipping it neat. This will allow you to taste the spirit’s full flavour and character without any dilution or additional notes. Take your time and savour every sip!

Visit Distilleries

Visiting Scotland is a great way to learn more about Scotch whisky. There are many world-renowned distilleries, such as The Macallan, that offer tours and tasting experiences for curious visitors. You’ll be able to learn about the unique production process and sample some of their best whiskies at the same time. It’s an unforgettable experience!

Join a Tasting Club

If you’re looking to deepen your appreciation of Scotch whisky, joining a tasting club is an excellent way to do just that. You’ll be able to try different whiskies from around the world and learn about their unique production method and flavour profiles. It can be an incredible learning experience for any whisky enthusiast.

What Are the Different Ways of Preparing Scotch Whiskey?

Scotch whiskey can be enjoyed in many ways. It can be sipped neat, over ice, or with a splash of water to bring out its full flavour and aroma. You can also enjoy it with mixers such as soda water or ginger ale. Cocktails like the Rob Roy and the Rusty Nail are popular Scotch-based drinks, and whisky can also be used in cooking to add unique flavour profiles to dishes. There are endless possibilities for how you can enjoy Scotch whiskey!

No matter your personal preference, the best way to truly enjoy Scotch whiskey is to explore different varieties and find what works for you. With patience and an open mind, you can find a whisky that suits your unique tastes. Don’t be afraid to experiment and create your own unique whisky experience!

What Makes Scotch Whisky Unique?

Scotch whisky has a unique flavour and aroma that makes it special. It is distilled in Scotland, which has its own set of laws and regulations on the production process. Scotch whisky must be aged for at least three years in oak barrels, which adds to its distinctive flavour profile. The use of peat in some varieties also adds a smoky note that is often associated with Scotch whisky. All of these elements combine to create a unique and complex spirit that can be enjoyed neat or as part of a cocktail.

Bottom Line

The world of Scotch whisky is rich and varied, and exploring it can be an incredibly rewarding experience. With its history, terroir, and unique flavour profile, Scotch whisky is a truly unique spirit that can be enjoyed in many ways. Whether you’re a novice or an experienced connoisseur, there’s plenty to discover about this beloved spirit!

GSN Review: Cenote Ahumado Tequila

Cenote Tequila recently released Cenote Ahumado Tequila, an small-batch tequila that revives historic methods used by original tequileros of roasting agave pinas over a woodfire. The resulting Ahumado 100% Blue Weber Agave reposado combines the best tequila traditions with a mezcal-inspired roasting process that presents a unique smokey flavor profile.

This one-of-a-kind 100% blue weber agave spirit is roasted under the supervision of Eleana Nunez, Board Director for Mujeres del Mezcal y Maguey de Mexico. “With blueprints from ancient mezcal pit ovens, we leveraged insight from generational mezcal producers to recreate this very special Cenote Ahumado pit oven. Once it was built, I continued to collaborate during the cooking and production process to bring you this unique variety,” says Nunez.

Cenote Ahumado is rested in oak barrels for more than 2 months. The black bottle design visually emphasizes the smoke-forward agave flavor inside the bottle. Atop the bottle is pina, an homage to the heart of the agave plant, complete with a copper clasp.

Master Distiller Arturo Fuentes, the godfather of tequila, and Master Blender Alejandro Garcia Páez created the taste profile. “We are inspired by tradition and the master tequileros who paved the way. We wanted to present an offering that brings the best of both worlds, highlighting tequila and mezcal traditions and showcasing the best of Mexico creating an innovative, smoky reposed Tequila,” says Garcia.

Cenote Tequila Ahumado is available nationwide via select retailers at $75.99 for 750ml.

GSN’s Remarks: Light agave nose punctuated with a faint smokey haze. Very smooth with an almost creamy entry, vanilla being the dominant note. Altogether, it is reminiscent of a tequila cream liqueur, minus the actual cream. Quite interesting, very tasty and easily approachable. The body is round and warming, and the finish is quite long with some caramel notes at the end. We really enjoyed this, even though it was not what we were expecting. This makes for an excellent sipper, as well as a terrific base for creative tequila based libations. Also of note is the bottle design, which is one of the most unique and attractive pieces we’ve seen. GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: Tequila Cenote

#CenoteAhumado #CenoteTequila

GSN Review: Gracias a Dios Espadin Mezcal

Gracias a Dios translates to Thank God, a phrase that owners Pablo Lopez, Enrique Jimenez, Xaime Niembro, and Oscar Hernandez heard throughout their childhood. A deep commitment to family values and Mexican culture underlines their approach to producing handmade, ultra-premium quality mezcal and agave gin. Gracias a Dios values its people and the environment. Approximately 60% of the water used for production is collected from rain, accumulating to 180,000 liters per year. Moreover, they take pride in working with locals for fair wages. They provide all employees with the 25% above the standard daily salary in Matalán, insurance, hot water and dorms for their workers.

In 2008, Gracias a Dios started as a speakeasy mezcal bar in Querétaro, México. The bar sold mezcal produced by different Maestros Mezcaleros from various Oaxaca state regions. After two years of traveling Oaxaca, owners Pablo López, Enrique Jiménez and Xaime Niembro met Oscar Hernández in Matalán and were blown away by his mezcal. He joined the team in 2010 and their first planting of agave was in 2011, followed by production in 2013. Today, the brand produces a wide variety of agave-based products, including traditional, wild agave limited editions, flavored and special editions. This collection is all handmade by Oscar Hernandez (4th generation) and his nephew Milo Jimenez (5th generation).

GSN’s Remarks: Deep agave nose with a smoke tinged penumbra. Quite fruity on the entry with a naturally sweet flavor accented by an earthy smokiness. A round and balanced mouthfeel with plenty of bright high notes cutting through the darker tonalities. Long finish, with woodfire lingering on the palate. A flavorful and authentic mezcal that is one of the better expressions we’ve tasted. GSN Rating: A+

For more information go to: Agave Gin Gad


GSN Alert: New Spirits Releases 3.17.23

Cedar Ridge Barrel Proof Straight Bourbon is a NAS, 116 proof bourbon with a mashbill of 74% corn, 14% rye and 12% malted barley. It is aged in char #3 barrels in non-climate controlled rickhouses and is non-chill filtered.

Glenfiddich Grand Yozakura 29 Year is a limited release from The Glenfiddich. It matured in American and European Oak casks for 29 years and is finished for six months in Awamori rice spirit casks from the island of Okinawa in Japan. ‘Yozakura’ means night cherry flower in Japanese.

Green River Wheated Bourbon is a Kentucky straight bourbon from Green River Distilling Co., part of Bardstown Bourbon Company. The mashbill is comprised of 70% Kentucky-grown corn, 21% wheat, and 9% barley. This whiskey is in 25 markets across the United States as of March 2023.

Green Spot Quails’ Gate is the third release in the brand’s ‘Wine Geese’ series, in which it creates single pot still whiskeys finished in wine casks. The series utilizes wine casks from Irish winemakers who left Ireland and built wineries around the world. This NAS whiskey spent 16 months in pinot noir casks from Quails’ Gate winery in British Columbia, Canada.

Jack Daniel’s 10 Year (Batch 2) is a 97 proof (48.5% ABV) Tennessee Whiskey that will be available in 700ml bottles in March of 2023. It is part of the annual Aged Series release that celebrates Jack Daniel’s heritage.

Jack Daniel’s 12 Year (Batch 1) is a 107 proof (53.5% ABV) Tennessee Whiskey that will be available in 700ml bottles in March of 2023. It is part of the annual Aged Series release that celebrates Jack Daniel’s heritage.

Puncher’s Chance The Undisputed Single Barrel Bourbon comes from Eugene, Oregon’s Wolf Spirit Distillery. This single barrel Kentucky Straight bourbon is a bottling of five to six year old whiskey with a mashbill of 75% corn, 13% rye and 12% barley. It is bottled at 108 proof.

Rebel 100 Straight Rye is a 50% ABV straight rye whiskey with a mashbill of 51% rye, 45% corn and 4% malted barley. It is available across the United States as of March 2023 with a suggested retail price of $19.99 per 750ml bottle.

Waterford Cuvée Argot is a permanent addition to the Waterford range of whiskeys. This Irish single malt whiskey features Irish peat, and matured in a mixture of 37% first-fill US Oak, 19% Virgin US Oak, 19% French Oak and 23% Vin Doux Naturel casks. It is available worldwide as of March 2023.

Information courtesy of

GSN Alert: Dublin’ Up Cocktail Challenge

To get into the spirit, Roe & Co – an Irish Whiskey rooted in collaboration – is encouraging cocktail enthusiasts across the country to come together to re-invent the ultimate whiskey cocktail. 

The winning duo will win a $10,000 travel voucher to put towards a trip to Dublin and an immersive cocktail session at the brand’s Dublin-based distillery, where their recipe may be featured as Roe & Co’s signature cocktail during St. Patrick’s Day 2024!

Starting March 13, adults 25+* will have the opportunity to submit their cocktails by posting a photo or video on Instagram with #DublinUpCocktailContest and tagging @RoeAndCoWhiskey, ending at 11:59:59 pm ET on May 1, 2023. The lucky winning duo will be named after World Whisky Day (May 20, 2023), and their cocktail featured by the brand during St. Patrick’s Day 2024 celebrations.


GSN Review: Kingsbarns Lowland Single Malt Whiskies

Founded in 2014 by the Scottish Wemyss Family, who have a longstanding passion for malt whisky dating back to the turn of the 19th century, Kingsbarns Distillery announces their newest Core Collection releases, “Doocot”, and “Balcomie”. The new flagship expression Doocot, is an ex-Bourbon and Shaved, Toasted and Recharred barriques matured expression, while Balcomie is an ex-Oloroso cask matured expression. 

The Scots word for dovecot, the name, Doocot, pays tribute to one of the most striking architectural features at the Kingsbarns Distillery. Pronounced ‘doo-ket’, a doocot was a traditional free-standing nesting shelter for doves, which are reflected and embossed on the glass bottle. Distilled from barley sourced less than six miles from the Kingsbarns Distillery, the flagship single malt has enjoyed a longer maturation in a carefully selected combination of casks: 90% ex-Bourbon and 10% STR (shaved, toasted and re-charred) ex-Portuguese red wine casks. Full of sweet, fruity character, the whisky is light, intensely fruity, floral, and complemented by a rich color.

Distilled from Fife-grown barley, Kingsbarns Balcomie is a fruity, light, and balanced whisky bottled from 100% ex-Oloroso sherry casks. The liquid has been matured in American oak casks previously used for maturing Oloroso in the unique solera system. These casks were specifically chosen for their gentle oak flavors and rich sweetness to complement the fruity character of the spirit. Sweetly complex and elegant, Balcomie is rich with baking spices, dried fruit, and tropical character.

Kingsbarns Doocot & Balcomie will be available at select retailers nationwide, at an SRP of $59.99 for each 750ml at 46% ABV.

The Kingsbarns team aims to make the distillery as green as possible with sustainability efforts at the forefront of production. Wastewater goes through reed beds and is returned clean into the local burn; local farmers use waste as fertilizer, and spent grain is used as cattle feed on neighboring farms.

Kingsbarns Doocot – GSN’s Remarks: Welcoming nose of malt and light vine fruit. Sweet entry on the palate with a rich malt character that within a few seconds transforms into a berry jam character. Fruity, well balanced and warming, this whiskey is quite remarkable. The body is medium-light, but with such a rich texture that it seems heavier. The finish is long and leads out with a raspberry patina. GSN Rating: A++

Kingsbarns Balcomie – GSN’s Remarks: Sherry aroma on the nose, along with a butter cake-like aroma. Quite a sweet entry, with chewy dessert flavors of pie crust, pound cake, buttered whole wheat toast, and sweet roll. The body is medium-heavy and round. A long finish ends the adventure on a touch of oak. A great after dinner whisky to pair with a creme brulee or fruit pie. GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: Kingsbarns Distillery


GSN Review: Hendrick’s Flora Adora Gin

Flora Adora, is Hendrick’s Gin’s newest limited release from Master Distiller Ms. Lesley Gracie’s Cabinet of Curiosities. Inspired by garden florals that entice pollinators, Created at the Hendrick’s Gin Palace on the Ayrshire coast of Southwest Scotland, Flora Adora was inspired by the endless fascination Ms. Gracie has for butterflies, bees and other nectar loving pollinators at play in her garden.

“I find it truly relaxing to watch the butterflies and bees busy at work in the garden,” said Ms. Gracie. “It’s fascinating to me how they seem to settle on some plants more than others. Certain flowers are more enticing to the pollinators, and it is these blooms that I’ve carefully selected to create a botanical blend for Hendrick’s Flora Adora.”

“When we first opened the Hendrick’s Gin Palace, I scattered wildflower seeds on the ground that come to life at different times of the year, and my hope is that Flora Adora will transport gin lovers to this lush garden where they too can experience all the pleasures of our garden,” added Ms. Gracie.

Hendrick’s releases only one limited-edition treasure from its Cabinet of Curiosities at a time, so seize the enchanting nature of the garden while you can. Residing in a familiarly-shaped Hendrick’s bottle with an eye-catching carnation pink label, Flora Adora is bottled at 43.4% ABV with a $39.99 SRP.

GSN’s Remarks: A curious nose with the juniper figuring prominently, but overlaid with a perfume of dried herbs and flowers. A somewhat peppery scent, but vaguely reminiscent of stepping into a floral shop. On the palate, the juniper is subtle, with surprising orange citrus notes leading into the herbal portfolio. Lightly sweet, with a definite flower petal sensibility. The effect is not overpowering, but rather the additional botanicals add an elegance not often found in gins. The finish is long with the flowery flavors staying close. A terrific new spirit that’s ideal for creative craft cocktails. GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: Hendricks Gin

#FloraAdora #Hendrick’s

GSN Review: Benriach The Sixteen Scotch Whiskey

Speyside Scotch whisky distillery Benriach announces the rearrival of The Sixteen to its portfolio, reintroducing the ‘missing piece’ to its flavor-forward line-up of Single Malt Scotch whiskies. Benriach The Sixteen was initially retired from the portfolio in 2016, and the iconic expression now returns with a reformulated recipe. The expression bridges the gap between the 12 and 21-year-old malts in the core lineup. To craft Benriach The Sixteen, Benriach spirit is three cask matured for at least 16 years in bourbon barrels, sherry and virgin oak casks. 

“The return of Benriach The Sixteen is a very special moment for the distillery as it is one of our most treasured expressions,” said Rachel Barrie, Master Blender for Benriach. “Our signature Speyside style blossoms at 10 years old, finding depth and richer layers of orchard fruit character as it turns 16. Our core flavor components of fruit, malt, and oak become more concentrated, enriched with age at 16 years old, bringing layers of stone fruit, smooth creamy malt, wild honey, and nutty oak spice.”

Benriach The Sixteen is bottled at 43% ABV and is available for an SRP of $115.

GSN’s Remarks: Bright and cheerful sherry/malt nose with a hint of smoke and saline. The entry is lovely with the sherry notes carrying the spirit into a higher dimension. Virgin oak tones this down somewhat with a dry, tannic element, but this really only comes through at the finish. At the mid-tasting there are notes of honey butter, roasted pecan and sweet rolls. A quite delicate and yet self assured whisky that has plenty of personality. GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: Benriach Distillery

#Benriach #BenriachTheSixteen

GSN Alert: New Spirits Releases 3.10.23

This Bushmills 25 Year is a permanent addition to the brand’s portfolio. The single malt is triple-distilled and initially matured in ex-bourbon and ex-sherry butts for almost six years. Then the single malt is finished in first-fill ruby port pipes made from European oak for 21 years. It’s bottled without chill-filtration at 46% ABV. Availability begins in the US in March 2023 with a worldwide launch to follow later in the year. (SRP $900)

This Bushmills 30 Year is a permanent addition to the brand’s portfolio and is the oldest release in its core range to date. The single malt is triple-distilled and initially matured in ex-bourbon and ex-sherry butts for 14 years. Then the single malt is finished in PX sherry casks for 16 years. It’s bottled without chill-filtration at 46% ABV. Availability begins in the US in March 2023 with a worldwide launch to follow later in the year. (SRP $2,200)

This bottling celebrates the 20th anniversary of the first iteration of The Peat Monster, a collaboration between NYC’s Park Avenue Liquors and Compass Box. This anniversary release highlights American coopers by finishing about half of the whisky for 3-4 months in specialty American white oak barrels (toasted and light #2 char) made by Independent Stave Company. Also, the barrels had been shipped to Scotland and filled with grain spirit for a year. The blended malt whiskies are as follows: “Williamson Islay Malt” aged in refill American oak hogsheads (35%); malt whisky from Caol Ila aged in refill American oak hogsheads (34.2%), American oak bourbon barrels (17.9%), and refill puncheons (11.8%); and Compass Box’s Highland Malt Blend aged in French oak barrels w/heavy toast (1.1%). Only 9,126 bottles worldwide, it’s bottled at cask strength of 56.7% ABV. Availability begins March 2023. (SRP $125)

VIDA Puebla is a new addition to the Del Maguey portfolio. While the classic VIDA bottling is made in San Luis del Rio, Oaxaca, this mezcal is made at a new palenque located in Axocopan, Puebla. VIDA Puebla was made in collaboration with co-founder Steve Olson who wanted to bring to market a sustainably produced, easy drinking mezcal with a competitive price point. The mezcal is bottled at 80 proof and is available in select US markets including CA, FL, IL, NY, OH, & TX beginning March 2023. A nationwide release is expected to begin July 2023. (SRP $37.99)

The Kraken has added a gold spiced Caribbean rum to its portfolio with this bottling. It’s bottled at 70 proof and is packaged in a variety of sizes including 750ml, L, and 1.75L, all with the brand’s sea monster on the label. Available beginning March 2023. (SRP $21.99 for 750ml)

This limited edition bottling is a spin off of its Pineapple Stiggins’ Fancy Rum which is a pineapple-flavored dark rum. This expression gets its smoky profile from the finishing casks from Teeling Distillery. Specifically, they use Teeling Blackpitts whiskey casks — a peated Irish single malt — to finish aging the rum. While this had previously been available in other markets, it is launching in the US beginning March 2023 at select retailers. (SRP $34.99)

The Red Silkie was the first release for the brand’s Cask Collection and it was first released in 2020. This second edition returned to shelves in 2023 with a limited run of 5,300 bottles. Like the first release, the brand begins with their flagship Legendary Silkie Irish Whiskey (a blend of double and triple distilled single malts and single grain whiskeys). One parcel of whiskey is aged in Rioja red wine casks and another in Ribera del Duero red wine casks for six months. Then the whiskeys are dumped from those barrels and married for a time before bottling. Bottled at 46% ABV, it’s available beginning March 2023. (SRP $54.99)

This is the second annual Diamond Peak release, a limited edition bottling featuring a creative cask. Here, Stranahan’s begins with its 100% malted barley Colorado single malt whiskey that’s been aged from 5-8 years (the barrels used were virgin American oak with a #3 char). Then the whiskey is finished for an additional two years in barrels which previously held Jose Cuervo’s Reserva de la Familia Extra Añejo Tequila. Availability begins March 2023 online, at the distillery, and select Colorado retailers with a wider nationwide release to follow. (SRP $79.99-84.99)

Scholar’s Craft Coffee Cask is a 100% malted barley American single malt whisky which initially aged in ex-bourbon barrels. It is then finished in barrels which formerly contained ethically-sourced small batch coffee. All proceeds from this bottling will go towards the Angela H. Moore – Women in Distilling Scholarship. This scholarship offers $100,000 of aid for female students at Appalachian State University who enter the field of distillation & whisky production. Available nationwide via ReserveBar beginning March 2023. (SRP $59.99)

Information courtesy of

GSN Review: Cierto Tequila

Handcrafted by widely respected Master Distillers Enrique Fonseca and Sergio Mendoza (fourth and fifth generation agaveros), Cierto Tequila, a luxury portfolio of tequilas, begins its U.S. rollout this month. “Cierto” is Spanish for “True” – the perfect word to describe this elegant tequila completely free of additives or impurities and housed in a gemstone-inspired bottle designed to showcase the natural colors of the tequila within.

Cierto starts with fully mature, estate-grown agave from the Jalisco Highlands, selected and harvested by hand. The agave is then hand-cut, cooked slowly, and distilled in alembic copper pot stills and Coffey column stills at the La Tequileña distillery in the town of Tequila.

Cierto’s aged tequilas mature primarily in French Limousin oak casks which previously contained wines and spirits, including cognac and Armagnac. Each expression is blended with aged tequilas from the Fonseca family’s private library, containing some of the oldest and rarest tequilas in existence. After blending and tasting hundreds of options from the Fonsecas’ vast library of aged tequilas, the Cierto team crafted eight unique expressions, which they shared with family and friends while conducting extensive consumer research.

Cierto Tequila is launching first with its Private Collection, four distinct agave expressions embodying the complexity of the Highlands’ terroir:

  • Cierto Tequila Private Collection Blanco: Rested before bottling, it is best enjoyed on the rocks or in a Margarita, with an SRP of $89 / 750ml.
  • Cierto Tequila Private Collection Reposado: Aged primarily in French Limousin oak, it is best enjoyed on the rocks or in an elevated Paloma, with an SRP of $119 / 750ml.
  • Cierto Tequila Private Collection Añejo: Aged primarily in French Limousin oak, this unique marriage of rare añejo tequilas is best served neat or on the rocks, with an SRP of $169 / 750ml.
  • Cierto Tequila Private Collection Extra Añejo: Aged primarily in French Limousin oak, it is best served neat or on the rocks with an SRP of $279 / 750ml.

Initially launching in California, Florida, Texas, New York, Illinois, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, and Delaware, Cierto will expand nationally throughout 2023. 

Note: GSN received samples of the blanco and the reposado for review.

Cierto Tequila Private Collection Blanco – GSN’s Remarks: Fresh agave nose with a hint of smoke, mint, young leather and marshmallow. The flavor entry is superb, with a round, creamy and lightly peppered character. Notes of green pepper, saline, wood tannins and a hint of eucalyptus percolate over the tongue. A very long finish leaving a yearning for another expressive sip or two. Really a stunner of a young tequila. GSN Rating: A+

Cierto Tequila Private Collection Reposado – GSN’s Remarks: A spicier and darker coloured nose, with some caramel intertwining with the agave. Another round, but slightly less creamy entry with oaken characteristics lending sweet caramel, brown butter, pecan and spicecake to the flavor presentation. There is also a soft spiciness that is somewhat reminiscent of cinnamon red hots. The finish is long with a dry and tannic ending. A contemplative and introspective reposado. GSN Rating: A-

For more information go to: Cierto


GSN Review: Roe & Co Irish Whiskey

Roe & Co is a new, contemporary blend of Irish whiskey named after celebrated whiskey-maker George Roe. The Roe family began distilling whiskey in the 1700s, but it was George Roe in the mid-1800s who expanded the family business into the largest distillery of its time in Ireland. His distillery on Thomas Street, a neighbor to the well-known Guinness brewery, houses the largest smock windmill in Europe, known today as St. Patrick’s Tower which remains a historic landmark.

Diageo Master Blender Caroline Martin partnered with a team of five hand-picked Irish bartenders who trialed more than 100 prototype blends before they created this expression of Irish whiskey. Roe & Co Irish Whiskey was made by bartenders for bartenders. The completed Roe & Co liquid consists of more than 100 blended malt and grain whiskeys, aged in bourbon casks. Roe & Co is non-chill filtered and bottled at 45 percent ABV.

GSN’s Remarks: Heady nose of caramel and vanilla leading the parade. Light entry that quickly transforms into a sweet and lightly oaked flavor bomb. A somewhat chewy mouthfeel, with warm, round, near creamy notes on the palate. Interestingly, there is a modicum of peppery spice here, which lingers long on the tongue. This may be due to the slightly higher ABV. Overall, a perfect palette for creative cocktails, or enjoying over a few rocks to share some Irish craic at your next gathering. GSN Rating: A-

For more information go to: Roe and Co Whiskey


Roe & Co Irish Coffee:


1.5 oz Roe & Co
2 tsp light brown sugar
1 cup hot or cold brewed coffee
Whipped cream


HOT: Add Hot coffee and sugar, stir and mix well. Once combined, add the Roe & Co Irish Whiskey. Top with Whipped Cream.

COLD: Mix sugar and cold brew coffee well. Stir in Roe & Co. Irish Whiskey and pour over ice filled Irish coffee mug. Top with Whipped Cream.

GSN Review: Powers Irish Rye Whiskey

Irish Distillers recently announced the launch of the world’s first 100% Irish rye whiskey, from its Powers brand just in time for St. Patrick’s Day. Powers Irish Rye (43.2% ABV) has been produced using 100% Irish rye and matured in a combination of American virgin oak, first fill and refill casks.

The result of trials at the Midleton Distillery in Cork, Ireland, Powers Irish Rye is said to be grounded in the heritage of the whiskey brand, as Carol Quinn, Archivist at Irish Distillers, uncovered. Old mash bills and recipes reveal that Powers experimented with rye over their history, while as the scientific knowledge of distilling expanded throughout the 19th century, they continually strove to innovate with new techniques and processes.

Due to rye farming having all but disappeared in Ireland, Powers commissioned the planting of rye crops exclusively for this latest release. With a commitment to sustainable farming, the Cooney Furlong Farm in Co. Wexford supply 100% of the rye used in Powers Irish Rye. Located just a short distance from Edermine House, the ancestral home of the Powers family.

Commenting on the launch, Eric Ryan, Powers Distiller, said: “We attribute the success of this whiskey firstly to the extended team at Midleton Distillery, yet also to the generations of Powers distillers who considered rye grain to be a unique component of their craft. From our commitment to farming a difficult crop, to reduced brewhouse throughput, to longer fermentation times, and considering the exceptional cask profile; if it was only about efficiency, we would never have used rye!”

GSN’s Remarks: Nice lively rye aroma in the glass. Dark oak and young tobacco are also present on the nose. Light body, with a somewhat fruity entry. The rye spice is initially mellow, but picks up speed over as the tasting opens up. A fine, woody flavor, which is dry, but not overly tannic. The impression is reminiscent of roasted, lightly spiced tree nuts. The finish is medium-long with a slight mintiness at the tail end, with the lasting impression being of an easy going, friendly spirit ideal for mixing in cocktails. A welcome addition to the Powers portfolio. GSN Rating: A-

For more information go to: Powers Whiskey