GSN Review: Ogden’s Own Underground Herbal Spirit

From the late 1800’s to the mid 1900’s setting foot off of the train in Ogden, Utah was often a life changing experience for a transcontinental rail traveler. The train station sat as the root of the infamous Two-bit Street.

“Any man’s desire fulfilled for two bits.” Two-bit/25th Street was a hedonist’s paradise. With no trouble from the law, a man could gamble, drink bootleg liquor, spend time with an unfamiliar lady, smoke opium, or befall a worse fate. Two-bit’s dens of iniquity were all connected in their basements by a network of tunnels. It is rumored that there were miles of them. One can only imagine what activities went on underground.

Touted as “Little Chicago” for years, even Al Capone commented that Ogden was too wild for his tastes. It is from this history that Ogden’s Own Distillery has bottled a spirit with the diversity and uniqueness of Two-bit Street’s past.

Technically a liqueur, Underground is different than most others on the market. A liqueur is defined as having 2.5% added sugar by weight. Yet most liqueurs exceed 20% sugar by weight. Underground uses about half the raw sugar that other brands use. The difference is immediately noticeable as the lower amount of sugar creates a less-viscous, less-syrupy shot. Instead, with Underground, you taste a blend of 33 herbs and spices including cassia, angostura, anise, cardemom, gentian, yarrow, wormwood, mate, guarana, ginseng, molasses, orange oil, lemon oil, spearmint, pure cane sugar, agave and plum.

Ogden’s Own Underground Herbal Spirit (80 proof)
Visual: Dark brown.
Nose: Herbal, with an almost root beer sensibility. There’s a lot going on here, but no one scent stands out.
Taste: An excellent balance between the herbal and the sweet. If you enjoy Ricola lozenges, this is your liqueur. The flavor tantalizes the tongue and has a soothing quality that begs for a second shot.
Finish: Long and delicious.
Overall: One of the better digestifs that we’ve come across. This could be addicting. Grab a bottle and see for yourself.
GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: Ogden’s Own

GSN Review: Porter’s Huckleberry Liqueur

Porter Rockwell was a notorious character in the early history of the The Church of Latter-day Saints and the settlement of Utah. As a bodyguard for Joseph Smith and Brigham Young as well as being deputy marshal of Salt Lake City, Rockwell was known for heavy-handed enforcement and the killing of many men. Rockwell, along with his fellow early settlers, was also known to drink the area’s Valley Tan Whiskey.

In 1851, along with his brother Merritt, Rockwell laid claim to land in Utah’s “Famous Fruit Way” near Brigham City, Utah adjacent to what is now known as Porter Spring. Today, the Fruit Way is not-so-slowly disappearing to development.

“While they never made improvements to the land, we’d like to think that the fruits from that land would have blended nicely with that whiskey Rockwell was known to drink,” managing partner Steve Conlin explains regarding the product’s development.

Porter’s Huckleberry combines Canadian whiskey, huckleberry, cinnamon and vanilla.

Porter’s Huckleberry Liqueur (66.6 proof)
Visual: Light peach-tan.
Nose: High notes of berry with a touch of cinnamon overlaying a whisper thin oaken whiskey base.
Taste: Quite fruity and sweet. Dark berry flavor hits immediately, while the heat from the cinnamon comes out a short while later. The whiskey really is the blank canvas on which everything lies.
Finish: Slightly bitter, but a lingering berry chewing gum-like flavor wins out. At the very tail end, there is a finish reminiscent of a candy apple.
Overall: I had hoped that the whiskey would be more supportive here, but overall the flavors are natural and appealing.
GSN Rating: B

For more information go to: Ogden’s Own

GSN Spirited News: February 18th 2020 Edition

Zeke Bronfman and Nate Medow are partnering to launch Xed, a new canned sparkling cocktail brand. Pronounced “Crossed,” the new entry is brewed from cane sugar and comes in four 5.7% abv expressions: Vodka Soda, Gin + Tonic, Moscow Mule, and Mojito, all of which contain 1 gram of sugar, 2 grams of carbohydrates, and 120 calories a 12-ounce can. Xed is initially planning to launch in New Jersey in April in 6-packs of cans, with expansion to New York to follow. Bronfman and Medow are classmates at Williams College. Bronfman is the grandson of the late Edgar Bronfman, Sr., who for decades led drinks giant The Seagram Company Ltd.

Seattle, Washington-based Westland Distillery has unveiled Coldfoot, a new limited-edition whiskey launching in conjunction with outdoor outfitter C.C. Filson’s line of clothes and gear of the same name. The 50% abv single malt whiskey is bottled without an age statement, but the company says it “traces major components of Westland’s five-year-old stock” and that peated and Sherry cask-matured whiskies are included. Westland’s Coldfoot will be available in extremely limited quantities—978 bottles—at a suggested price of $100 a 750-ml. Westland is part of the Rémy Cointreau portfolio.

Ardbeg, part of the Moët Hennessy portfolio, is launching Ardbeg Blaaack to commemorate the 20th anniversary of its Ardbeg Committee. The Islay-based whisky maker twenty years ago formed the committee to safeguard the legacy of the brand; it now boasts more than 100,000 members worldwide who are consulted on new bottlings and expressions. Named in reference to the sheep that the distillery takes its name from, Blaaack is a limited-edition release aged in Pinot Noir casks sourced from New Zealand and bottled at 46% abv. It retails at $140 a 750-ml.

Courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Brews News: February 18th 2020 Edition

Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Founders Brewing Co. has released Unraveled IPA, a juicy India Pale Ale that’s the latest addition to the Founders year-round lineup. The 6.6% abv beer was initially introduced as Mucho Lupu in Founders’ taprooms, and is made with hops and Lupulin powder as well as wheat and oats. The brew is now available in the company’s Grand Rapids taproom and will launch in Detroit next week. Unraveled IPA will be available nationwide in 6-packs of 12-ounce cans and on draft beginning mid-February. Last August, Spain’s Mahou-San Miguel purchased a controlling stake in Founders Brewing Co.

England’s Dunkertons Organic Cider has partnered with Winesellers Ltd. to bring cans of the cidery’s ‘Craft’ cider to the U.S. The 5% abv cider is certified organic and will be available in 4-packs of 330-ml. cans for a suggested retail price of $15. In addition to the newly canned ‘Craft’ offering, Winesellers will bring bottles of Black Fox Cider ($8), Dry Cider ($8), Breakwells Seedling Organic Cider ($9), and Organic Perry ($9) to the U.S. This year, the Herefordshire-based cidery is celebrating 40 years of production.

Courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN What’s Brewing: Schlafly Northeast IPA

Schlafly Beer, the original, independent craft brewery in St. Louis, recently released Northeast IPA (8%), a beer that is double dry-hopped and unfiltered. Northeast India Pale Ale is part of Schlafly’s new limited release line which includes a mixed-format of 12-ounce cans and bottles with seasonal favorites such as Pumpkin Ale. Formally in 16-ounce cans, Northeast IPA is now available in 6-packs of 12-ounce cans across Schlafly’s distribution.

“With a formula that has been perfected over the last few years, Schlafly’s Northeast IPA has an over the top fruity profile,” says Founding Brewer Stephen Hale. “With its high ABV and light body, this juicy beer is a great seasonal addition to the wide range of IPAs that Schlafly offers.”

“Schlafly’s Northeast IPA is a great introduction to hop-forward beers for non-hop-heads,” Hale explains. Featuring Amarillo, Mosaic, Citra, Chinook and Cascade hops, this is an extra-hazy beer with a golden hue and full, smooth body. Northeast IPA uses a revolutionary method to coax flavor from its hops utilizing both a kettle boil for subtle bitterness and then double dry-hopping to create a brilliant heady beer.

Schlafly Northeast IPA: A nice smooth creamy head with distinct notes of pineapple and pine-like aromas. The flavor is more subtle than most high ABV IPA’s, giving it the illusion of an almost session style brew. To be honest this is like a multi-hopped cream ale. Really tasty and you could easily down a few of these before you know what hit you. Moving to a 12oz can makes a lot of sense for the company and for the consumer as well. This beer tastes beer right out of the fridge, so a smaller pour means it has less time to warm up. GSN Rating: A-

For more information go to: Schlafly

GSN Review: Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch A120

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 first release bottled in January of 2020.

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch A120 (136.6 proof)
Visual: Dark amber.
Nose: Sweet brown sugar, medium oak char and roasted nuts with some slight tinges of orange peel and tobacco.
Taste: Lots of oak and some baking spice. There is a lot of intense heat and compactness to the whiskey that really begs for a goodly splash of water. Things brings more of a smooth sweetness to the affair and the tannic qualities are more supportive.
Finish: Lasting impressions of oak cask and perhaps even bittersweet cacao. A peppery fadeout.
Overall: As with all Elijah Craig barrel proof expressions, this one is another winner. If anything, this one has more of the barrel in it than the 2019 releases.
GSN Rating: A-

For more information go to: Elijah Craig

GSN Alert: National Drink Wine Day – February 18th

National Drink Wine Day was started to celebrate and spread the love of wine.  Loved and consumed by millions, friends and families across the county honor this sacred liquid every year on February 18.  Friendships, great times and reduced risk of heart disease are all great reasons to drink wine.  Spread the gift and experience of National Drink Wine Day by joining their Facebook fan page or follow them on Twitter.

For more information go to: National Drink Wine Day