GSN: Backbar Review Oct. 8-12, 2012

Constellation Brands’ Black Velvet Canadian whisky brand is entering the flavored whisk(e)y arena with a new variant—Toasted Caramel. The 70-proof extension is available now nationwide for a suggested retail price of $12.49 a 750-ml. The brand’s lineup previously included Black Velvet Original and Black Velvet Reserve 8-year-old. The flavored whiskey category is among the fastest-growing areas of the U.S. spirits market, up 114.5% in case volume in Nielsen channels in the 52-week period ending September 15, 2012, lead by entries like Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey, Beam’s Red Stag, Wild Turkey American Honey and Evan Williams’ flavored reserves, among others.

Pernod Ricard has unveiled Absolut Tune, a blend of Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand’s Marlborough region and Absolut vodka. It will be priced at $31.99 a 750-ml. and will initially roll out in New York, New Jersey, California, Florida, Las Vegas, Chicago and Boston this fall. The 14%-abv offering, which is packaged in a black and gold Champagne-style bottle, also features an outer sleeve that mimics a zipper when torn off. The launch is supported by collaborations with fashion designer Charlotte Ronson and singer-songwriter and DJ Solange Knowles, who will host launch events in New York and Miami and are also featured in a digital web series.

Beam Inc. has introduced a new line of premium chocolate liqueurs under its DeKuyper brand. Launching nationwide this month, the John DeKuyper & Sons (JDK & Sons)Absolut Tunes range features three expressions—Chocolate Cherry, Chocolate Mint and Chocolate Chili—intended to be served on ice or in cocktails. Each is packaged in a white 750-ml. bottle, priced at $17.99 (15% abv). JDK & Sons Crave Chocolate Liqueurs join DeKuyper’s existing portfolio of close to 60 different flavors of cordials, liqueurs, crèmes, brandies and schnapps.

Whyte & Mackay has released the Constellation Collection—a line of 21 single malt Scotches produced at its distillery between 1964 and 1992—in the U.S. market. The collection, which in its entirety will be sold for $250,000, was unveiled at a Spec’s outlet in Houston, Texas earlier this week.



360 Vodka has launched a new flavor extension to its line—Buttered Popcorn. Released to coincide with October’s National Popcorn Poppin’ Month, 360 Buttered Popcorn is available now across the U.S. for $15.99 a 750-ml. Made by the Earth Friendly Distilling Co. in Weston, Missouri, the 360 Vodka line features Original as well as a range of flavors that includes Glazed Donut, Cola, Double Chocolate, Georgia Peach and Madagascar Vanilla, among others.



Washington state’s Dry Fly Distilling has detailed several new releases slated to ship November 15. They include a Triticale whiskey (a rye-wheat hybrid), a Cask Strength wheat whiskey, a Port Finish wheat whiskey, a 101-proof version of the distillery’s Washington Bourbon and a Barrel Reserve gin. The new entries will ship in six-packs of 375-ml. bottles, with each bottle selling for between $24.95-$34.95 at retail. Dry Fly co-founder Kent Fleischmann says the next batch of these specialty items is expected to be ready by April 1, 2013.

Diageo is extending its George Dickel Tennessee whisky with a new rye variant. Shipping nationwide the end of November, George Dickel Rye will sell for $24.99 a 750-ml. The newcomer is a straight rye whisky matured in new charred oak barrels for at least five years. It’s 90-proof and consists of a mash bill of 95% rye and 5% malted barley. George Dickel Rye joins George Dickel No. 8, No. 12 and Barrel Select in the brand’s lineup. Rye whisky, boosted by its frequent use in classic cocktails, has been rising at above 20% annually in the U.S. market.

All information courtesy of Shanken News Daily

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