GSN Review: Uncle Nearest Uncut/Unfiltered Straight Rye Whiskey

Fawn Weaver, CEO and Founder, Nearest Green Distillery released the following statement on Sept. 22nd:

“As we announced in February of this year, our award-winning line of whiskeys, with nearly 550 awards since our inception in 2017, is growing. Today, we continue celebrating the legacy of Nearest Green, the Godfather of Tennessee Whiskey, with the newest addition to our Master Blend Edition Portfolio: Uncle Nearest Uncut/Unfiltered Straight Rye Whiskey, our first Rye expression. As with our inaugural Master Blend Edition, this Uncut/Unfiltered Straight Rye Whiskey represents the favorite barrels of Victoria Eady Butler, our Master Blender, fifth generation Nearest Green descendant and four-time Master Blender of the Year recipient.

Born in the North – in Canada according to the exact American specifications required to be a Straight Rye Whiskey — and raised in New York for a minimum of four years before moving down to Tennessee, this Rye is crafted and blended by Victoria. As she puts it, “My great-great-grandfather was known for his whiskey filtration method. But this 100% rye is so spectacular, we dared not cut or filter it.” The result is a classic rye spice and character, paired with the incredible Uncle Nearest smoothness that has made our whiskey the Most Awarded of 2019, 2020, 2021 (and soon to be 2022).

We are proud to bring Uncle Nearest Uncut/Unfiltered Straight Rye Whiskey to our fans who will be in for a treat when they experience what critics have already been falling in love over. Just last week, it was announced that our Uncut/Unfiltered Straight Rye whiskey has already received its first Gold medal and received the highest honor at one of the most prestigious spirits competitions in the world (we’re currently under embargo, ergo, the lack of name).

Uncle Nearest Uncut/Unfiltered Straight Rye Whiskey launched on September 17th, as a Nearest Green Distillery exclusive, to rave reviews from our visitors. For those unable to make it to Shelbyville, there will be more Rye to come from Uncle Nearest in the coming months, including Straight Rye and Single Barrel Rye.”

GSN’s Remarks: The nose is full of warm and evocative spice. Powerful rye notes hit immediately, with a bright and lively entry. The overall flavor sits right in the middle of the palate, with flavors evocative of a sunny afternoon in a country barn. Grains, corn, rye, wood, and caramel, toffee and tobacco. The finish is long with some soft sweet lingering touches whispering farewell. A superb addition to the Uncle Nearest portfolio and a testament to the skills of Victoria Eady Butler. Our rye spirit of the month! GSN Rating: A+

For more information go to: Uncle Nearest

#UncleNearest

GSN Review: Honkaku Koji Spirits

Honkaku Spirits is devoted to bringing artisanal Japanese spirits to American customers with a particular focus on koji-based spirits including Honkaku (meaning authentic) Shochu, Ryukyu Awamori from Okinawa, and koji whiskey, an as-yet undefined but widely enjoyed category of whiskey. Working exclusively with family-run suppliers, Honkaku Spirits endeavors to introduce the finest traditional spirits Japan has to offer.

Yokka Koji 4-Day Koji Awamori (Chuko Distillery, Tomigusuku, Okinawa Prefecture) is a distinctly complex awamori made by one of the most creative distilleries in Okinawa Prefecture. Rather than the customary two-day koji propagation process, Chuko Distillery doubles the duration of this essential step, creating layers of flavor and aroma as a result. After a 22-day, all-rice koji fermentation, single pot distillation, and six months of tank aging, Yokka Koji is bottled at 43% ABV and exudes a luscious aroma profile. GSN’s Remarks: Remarkably delicate for the proof. Light in flavor, with a sweetish edge. However, as the flavor journey moves forward, there is a slight smokiness and salinity on the tongue. Then, a warming, with soft spice way back on the palate at the finish. Very elegant and exceptionally crafted. GSN Rating: A+

Jikuya Black Sweet potato shochu (Jikuya Distillery, Satsuma-cho, Kagoshima Prefecture) This sweet potato shochu is made from Kagoshima-harvested ingredients and begins its life fermenting in decades-old clay pots buried up to their shoulders in the distillery floor. Kogane Sengan sweet potatoes are added to the secondary fermentation, imparting distinct earthy and vegetal notes. After a single pass through a pot still, the spirit is rested for one and a half years in unglazed clay pots, which adds minerality and complexity. GSN’s Remarks: We definitely pick up on the minerality at the outset. Almost like an earthy vodka, but for the inherent sweetness and smokiness from the sweet potato. At only 25% ABV, this is a easy to drink spirit perfect for pairing with pork chops, tempura or even pizza. GSN Rating: B+

Jikuya White Sweet potato shochu (Jikuya Distillery, Satsuma-cho, Kagoshima Prefecture) This sweet potato shochu is made from Kagoshima-harvested ingredients and begins its life fermenting in decades-old clay pots buried up to their shoulders in the distillery floor. Anno imo sweet potatoes are added to the secondary fermentation, imparting equal parts sweet and spicy notes. After a single pass through a pot still, the spirit is rested for at least three years in unglazed clay pots, which adds to the drink’s depth of flavor. GSN’s Remarks: Quite different from the Jikuya Black, with a slight medicinal flavor, but also an unusual grape brandy character upon entry. Light in body, but rich with flavor, we prefer this one on it’s own, ideally as an aperitif. GSN Rating: A-

For more information go to: Honkaku Spirits

#HonkakuSpirits

GSN Review: Citadelle Gin Juniper Décadence

In 1996, Master Blender Alexandre Gabriel unveiled Citadelle Gin, the first handcrafted French gin. Since then, Gabriel has launched experimental and category-breaking gins like wood-aged Citadelle Réserve, fruit-infused Citadelle Jardin d’été, and exclusive limited editions. 

This year, to mark the occasion of Citadelle’s 25th anniversary, Alexandre and his team have built a new gin distillery in Cognac. With this state-of-the-art creative “tool,” Alexandre says his imagination is free to create even more avant-garde limited editions and launched a highly innovative limited edition: Citadelle Gin Juniper Décadence.

Juniper Décadence pays tribute to its terroir and to the juniper tree so dear to the brand; a large portion of the juniper berries used in its composition were grown in Cognac, a short distance from the distillery. Juniper Décadence is also an ode to the art of ageing. This time, his gin is aged in small juniper barrels.

Since the juniper is a modestly sized tree, its wood is not suitable for making long, curved staves, as it is too hard to bend. So special small casks were built with straight sides. These unique barrels have been toasted to accentuate the vegetal, minty and slightly smoky aspect of juniper wood. Maturation in these barrels enhances Citadelle’s original recipe, with its progressive infusion of 19 botanicals, and heightens its notes of sweet orange peel, which meld wonderfully with juniper’s vegetal and smoky aroma.

GSN’s Remarks: Bright juniper nose. Fresh, near creamy mouthfeel with vanilla and lemon top notes. The piney juniper flavor comes through at the midpoint with a hearty and welcoming greeting on the palate. Going deeper, there is a fresh cut wood essence that reminds us of the winter holidays. A medium long finish, ending on a slightly sweet tone. Overall, a welcome addition to the Citadelle portfolio. A lovely gin for a Martini to showcase the inherent flavors. GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: Citadelle Gin

#CitadelleGinJuniperDécadence

GSN Review: BACARDÍ Reserva Ocho Rye Cask Finish

BACARDÍ rum recently launched BACARDÍ Reserva Ocho Rye Cask Finish – the second installment in the BACARDÍ limited-edition cask finish series.  The new aged rum offering rolled out nationwide in late August as part of the brand’s five-year collection – after last year’s inaugural and sell-out release of BACARDÍ Reserva Ocho Sherry Cask Finish. An exclusive Cask Finish Series variant will debut every August through 2025, each year featuring a unique flavor profile from its intricate barrel aging and finishing processes.

To complement the brand’s flagship Premium rum, BACARDÍ Reserva Ocho, this year’s variation is aged in American oak barrels for eight to 12 years and finished in rye casks during the final two months. Each limited-edition bottle of BACARDÍ Reserva Ocho Rye Cask Finish features a unique marque number and the year of production, as well as a higher proof of 90, or 45% ABV, which differs from the base spirit at 80 proof.

As a family-owned brand, BACARDÍ has been creating premium rums for centuries in collaboration with its deeply knowledgeable Maestros de Ron (Master Blenders). At the helm is Maestro de Ron, Astrophel “Troy” Arquiza, who assumed the prestigious role as global master blender in November 2021 following a more than two-decade tenure honing his craft as a rum blender with family-owned Bacardi. In keeping with the brand’s commitment to heritage and innovation, Arquiza chose BACARDÍ Reserva Ocho as the base in the Reserva Cask Finish series to exemplify its roots as the original premium rum, dating back to the Bacardi family private reserve in 1862.

GSN’s Remarks: A spicy rum, but not a spiced rum. Intriguing. The effect of the rye casks add a vibrant tastiness to the affair. Notes of rye, caramel, toasted vanilla, young tobacco, and baking spice permeate throughout. There is a medium heavy body here which makes it great for the base of a tiki cocktail or dark rum based libation. The finish is fairly long, leaving a tingling memory on the palate. A gem of a rum that we would glady buy year round. GSN Rating: A-

For more information go to: Drink Bacardi

#BACARDÍReservaOchoRyeCaskFinish

GSN Review: Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch C922

Batch C922 is the last release for Heaven Hill’s 2022 Elijah Craig Barrel Proof program. “C” denotes the third batch in an annual A, B, C schedule. The “9” is the release month of September, while 22 represents 2022. ECBP C922 is a staggering 124.8 proof. As with all of the releases in this series, C922 is non-chill-filtered and uncut, bottled directly from the barrel to the bottle. 

GSN’s Remarks: Cinnamon nose, with the usual oaky caramel and vanilla with a hint of tobacco leaf. On the palate, more spice comes through along with praline and plenty of wood. The finish is long with the highlights mentioned delicately trailing off. Overall, this is a solid winner. GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: Elijah Craig

#ElijahCraigBarrelProof #BatchC922

GSN Review: Faraday West Indies Rum

Faraday West Indies Rum recently announced its launch in select markets including New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio and Kentucky. Faraday, which celebrates the diversity of the Caribbean, is also available for purchase online at https://faradayrum.com/buy-online.

Faraday West Indies Rum is named for the cable ship Faraday, which laid the first transatlantic telegraph cables between Europe, the United States, and the West Indies, ushering in a new era of global communications. The warm water routes of the Faraday are reflected in the rum blend: three small-batch rums from artisanal distilleries in Caribbean nations which bring their own distinctive style and tasting notes, with no added sugars, colors, or flavors:

  • A 5-year-aged mellow pot and column-stilled rum from the Barbados family-owned Foursquare Rum Distillery business that dates back to 1926
  • A 5-year-aged smooth column-stilled ron from Alcoholes Finos Dominicanos, an environmentally friendly, self-sufficient operation in Dominican Republic that uses locally sourced sugarcane 
  • A fresh, earthy column-stilled rhum agricole from Distillerie La Favorte in Martinique, made with an efficient steam-powered engine installed in 1906

Faraday’s founder, Owen Hyland, lives in the coastal town of Rye Beach, New Hampshire, where the Faraday began its journey, and the spirit is a tribute to the legendary ship and its crew. 

“Our promise is that this is a unique rum like none you have tasted,” says Hyland. “It’s authentic, made by artisans who have been at it for a long time, and brought to you by someone who has a true appreciation and passion for the product.”  

GSN’s Remarks: Lovely toffee and caramel notes at the get go, with a semi-dry cocoa penumbra. The initial sweetness lightens up quickly and passes into an earthy, wood driven territory. The pot still rum gives a lot of flavor, the column still adds smoothness and the agricole gifts terroir. Light in body, yet full of flavor, this is an excellent rum for enjoying straight, on the rocks, as a mixer or as the base in a cocktail. Very nice indeed. GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: Faraday Rum

#FaradayWestIndiesRum #FaradayRum

GSN Review: Barrell Vantage

Barrell Craft Spirits (BCS) introduces Barrell Vantage, a blend of straight bourbons finished in three distinct expressions of virgin oak: Mizunara, French and toasted American oak casks. As the newest release in the BCS portfolio, this expression emphasizes wood characteristics and flavor contributions in the blend.

Each component whiskey in Barrell Vantage is finished separately, then combined according to a blending process fueled in equal parts by a scientific approach, experience, creativity, and experimentation. 

Through past introductions including Armida, Dovetail, and Seagrass, the BCS team has many years of experience with three-part barrel finishing. With Barrell Vantage, the team applied those same techniques to the oak itself, using different char levels, toast levels, and oak origins to create a multidimensional blend.

Barrell Vantage was distilled in Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee, and then blended and bottled in Kentucky at cask strength, 114.44 proof (57.22% ABV). 

GSN’s Remarks: Barrell releases just keep getting more interesting. With this latest expression, they’ve hit all the marks of a truly great whiskey. Distillate, choice of oak, char, length of aging, and bottling at proof. The flavor is expressive, rich and chewy, with a lot of sweet backbone. The mouthfeel is warm, slightly heavy and hits every corner of the palate. The finish is exquisite, leaving you begging for “just one more sip”. A real winner and it should be on the shortlist for American Blended Bourbon of the year. GSN Rating: A++

For more information go to: Barrell Bourbon

#Barrell #BarrellVantage

GSN Review: Breckenridge Mile High Bourbon Blends

Breckenridge Distillery, the ‘World’s Highest Distillery’ and the official Bourbon of football franchise, the Denver Broncos, recently announced two new limited-edition Mile High Bourbon Blends, the second commemorative Broncos Bourbon Blends of the series collaboration. 

To make the Mile High Blends, Broncos Alumni, Jake Plummer, and Breckenridge, Head Distiller, Hans Stafsholt (Blue), faced off with Broncos ‘Ring of Famer’, Karl Mecklenburg and Breckenridge Distillery, Founder, Bryan Nolt (Orange), to see who can blend the better bourbon. Encased in a commemorative orange or blue bottle, these limited edition bourbon blends pay homage to the Broncos Mile High Era and include the team’s classic 1962 logo on their label. 

“Last year we released our first collaboration with the Denver Broncos and the Broncos Bourbon blends, they were not only a hit with our Colorado fans, but the whiskey industry as a whole,” says Nolt. “We’re so excited to continue our partnership with the Broncos and bring Broncos and whiskey fans across the country our latest release of the Mile High Blends to enjoy this season.”

Mile High Blend Blue – GSN’s Remarks: Very well distilled and aged. A dry, and semi-woody tone greets that palate with a somewhat sweet apple cider note. Some spice in the cinnamon realm, but overall, this is pretty mellow stuff with a round mouthfeel. Our current favorite bourbon of the week. GSN Rating: A

Mile High Blend Orange – GSN’s Remarks: A slightly hotter bourbon with more spice. Lively and pricky with some tangyness. The body is a bit thinner, but the flavor is wider than the Blue. The finish is quite long with more of that cinnamon-like flavor. GSN Rating: B+

The winner: Mile High Blend Blue

For more information go to: Breckenridge Distillery

#BreckenridgeDistillery #MileHighBourbon

GSN Alert: Casa Convite Bartender Residency Deadline is Sept 12th!

Casa Convite, Oaxaca’s most popular local brand of Mezcal, is launching a bartender exchange program designed to bring American bartenders to Oaxaca to live, work, and learn how to make Mezcal. 

You will get the opportunity to live and work from Casa Convite in downtown Oaxaca as part of their immersive Bartender Residency. In exchange for room, board, and a once-in-a-lifetime experience to make Mezcal, you will be asked to work short shifts at Convite’s bar and teach one master class for Oaxacan bartenders. This experience is like no other in the industry!

Day 1: Travel into Oaxaca and Meet the Team

Day 2: Visit the Market, Try Oaxacan Food, and Guest Bartending Shift (7-11 pm)

Day 3: Visit the Palenque, Make Mezcal and Dinner at a Local Favorite

Day 4: Museo Gran Cochinilla Tour, Master Class Session, Mezcal Master Class with Jorge Vera with Special Tasting and One More Guest Bartending Shift

Day 5: Monte Albán Tour, Sporting Event

Day 6: Tour Agave Fields, Make Mezcal with the Experts

Day 7: Travel Home

Complete this form to apply!

GSN Review: 66° Beverage Co. Dealcoholized CBD Wine

Health Advance Inc. is spearheading the production of CBD-infused, dealcoholized wines by 66° Beverage Company. The 66° Beverage Company has found a way to fuse cannabis and wine in a compact, palatable and alcohol-free state that isn’t milky. The CBD-infused wine beverages contain 25mg of broad spectrum Cannabidiol (CBD), formulated to take effect within 10 to 20 minutes of consumption. 

Each 66° Beverage comes from the non-GMO grapes from California and include dealcoholized red wine, white wine and rosé, each with its own unique flavor profile. Twenty-one states have already permitted the use of cannabis and cannabis-based productsfor adult consumption.

The 66° Beverage Company is helmed by father-and-son duo David and Michael Katz who have over 40 years of experience in the field of food and beverage manufacturing and are both avid wine connoisseurs. 

GSN’s Remarks: Each of the cans have a sweet, fruity character. These are more akin to the style of wine you would find in a box than a $15+ bottle. But, then again, these wines are more about the relaxing, non-alcoholic buzz. N/A wines have been around for a long time, but this the first we’ve been aware of infusing them with CBD. 25mg is a decent amount for one can. The chill is mellow and relaxing, but certainly not trippy. You can easily enjoy the effects for a few hours without worrying about how you’ll feel the next day. GSN Rating: B

For more information go to: 66 Bevs 

#66°BeverageCo #DealcoholizedCBDWine

GSN Review: Loki Delta-8 Seltzer

LOKI is the world’s first Enhanced Seltzer. Made with the cannabinoid extract Delta-8, LOKI offers a different alternative to alcohol that delivers a unique and vibrant sensation, with no hangover. With five main active ingredients, one serving of LOKI contains only five calories, zero sugars, and zero carbs. LOKI comes in two flavors: Black (blackberry lemon) and White (lavender peach).

As knowledge, research, and complexity around the marijuana industry evolves, new discoveries about the active ingredients and their unique characteristics are constantly being discovered. LOKI uses Delta-8-THC, which is one of the lesser-known natural elements of the cannabis plant. It differs from its more commonly known relative Delta-9-THC by a slight variation in molecular structure. Delta-8 offers consumers a far lower psychotropic potency, while still giving them the ability to immerse in prolonged and enjoyable moments. No hangover, no paranoia, no lack of clarity.

Delta-8 is federally legal as it is below the 0.3% THC threshold, but given the presence of any THC, the brand reminds consumers that they may not pass a drug test after consuming LOKI.

Note: GSN was sent samples of White LOKI for review.

GSN’s Remarks: A light and summery flavor profile with no sweetness, as it should be. The high is definitely milder than one from Delta-9-THC, which makes this perfect for a relaxing afternoon. There are 20mg of Delta-8, so you may want to start out by drinking just a few ounces and wait for 15-20 minutes to see how you feel. Dosing can be a little tricky. We would definitely suggest having no more than one can every 2-3 hours. All in all, a tasty beverage even if it didn’t have any psychoactive effects. GSN Rating: A-

For more information go to: Sip Loki 

#siploki

GSN Review: Four Roses’ 2022 Limited Edition Small Batch Bourbon

Four Roses Distillery, the award-winning Kentucky
distillery, announces it will launch its 2022 Limited Edition Small Batch on September 17. The release will be the 15th in its series of limited-quantity special bottlings. Non-chill filtered and bottled at 109 proof, the 2022 Limited Edition Small Batch features four different hand-selected recipes aged 14 to 20 years. These recipes represent four of the distillery’s 10 distinct Bourbon recipes – a 14 year-old Bourbon from the OESF recipe, a 14 year-old OESV, a 15 year-old OESK, and a 20 year-old OBSV.

“From the beginning of crafting this year’s limited edition small batch Bourbon, two particular batches
stood out to me as potential candidates to go into the blend – a 14-year-old recipe batch that is remarkably smooth and rich on the palate, and a 20-year-old recipe batch that exhibits the best fruit barrel and spice qualities of extra aged Bourbon,” said Brent Elliott, Four Roses Master Distiller. “The test blends revolved around those two batches until we landed on a liquid with a perfect balance that is unique, layered, mellow and elegant.”

Four Roses will distribute approximately 14,100, 750ml hand-numbered bottles of the 2022 Limited
Edition Small Batch Bourbon to be sold in the United States with a suggested retail price of $179.99.

GSN’s Remarks: Sweet on the nose, with berry fruits taking the lead, followed by more traditional caramel and vanilla bean. The initial tasting is quite spicy, with a heat reminscent of freshly minced ginger, or a really vibrant rye. The flavor palette is quite dessert-like with a plethora of baked good characteristics. Very smooth and creamy mouthfeel with a mellow roundness that you often only find in 18+ year old expressions. This is a solid Four roses release that would appeal to just about any bourbon aficionado, but for the hefty price tag. This is a must have for the bourbon collector, but perhaps an impulse buy for those who are hoping for the next Pappy to “cellar” for investment. GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: Four Roses Bourbon

#fourrosesbourbon

GSN Review: The Irishman Single Malt

This fall, The Irishman, produced by Walsh Whiskey and imported by Hotaling & Co., is launching a new bottle design and extensive rebranding across the entire range in the U.S., created by HERE design agency in London. This investment by Walsh Whiskey includes a range of marketing initiatives. The rebrand will support the whiskey brand’s target of doubling sales across its 50+ markets within five years.

The most striking change in The Irishman rebrand is the introduction of a bespoke, tall, tapered bottle with the addition of a cork seal. A significant feature of the bottle is a series of embossed phrases around the lower part of the bottle that capture the essence of The Irishman’s focus and purpose, which is ‘to pursue a lifelong journey in search of the perfect dram, while respecting past traditions with ambition for future possibilities.’

Additional rebranding highlights include:

  • Founder’s Reserve expression renamed The Harvest
  • Caribbean Rum Cask Finish added to core expressions in their portfolio
  • A new brand icon which features a capital letter ‘I’ (for Irishman) inside two-tone staves of a barrel, signifies The Irishman’s journey to learn from the past while creating the future
  • A new color palette of cream, green, grey, blue, and burgundy applied to the labels of the six core expressions of The Irishman range

Other unique and notable features of the new labels are the addition of braille for the visually impaired and nutritional information on e-labels positioned on the back of the bottle and online. The braille highlighting The Irishman’s brand name, is also a personal tribute by Bernard Walsh to the memory of his own grandfather, Jack Walsh, whose loss of vision made a lasting impression on his grandson.

GSN’s Remarks: A solid Irish with malty sweetness, supported by the secondary sherry cask finishing. Medium light in body, the overall effect is of a friendly and somewhat breakfast-like whiskey. Notes of oven baked pancake studded with almond slices and drizzled with a touch of honey greet the palate, yet are balanced by a slight tannic and oaky tempering. The finish is medium-long with some baked apple and dark cherry at the end. A great whiskey that definitely deserves a wider audience. GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: Walsh Whiskey

#walshwhiskey #theirishman

GSN Review: Larceny Barrel Proof Batch C922

Heaven Hill Distillery recently unveiled the third and final 2022 release in their cask-strength, wheated bourbon Larceny Barrel Proof series. Larceny Barrel Proof C922 is bottled at 126.6 proof, the highest-ABV release of the 2022 Larceny Barrel Proof releases.

Each release in this annual series is aged between six and eight years and bottled straight from the barrel. The proof and flavors vary by release, but the mash bill remains consistent: 68% corn, 20% wheat and 12% malted barley.

The “C” in the name represents the third in a three-part A, B, C release series. The “9” stands for the month released, September, and the “22” end represents the year.

GSN’s Remarks: Sweet and nutty right out the gate with a nose like you’ve just walked into a candied nut shoppe. Flavors of praline, cinnamon toast and pleasant woodiness are wrapped in a high proof expression that begs for some water to put out the fire. The finish is fairly long with a dry and crisp ending. No big surprises here, but with such a high ABV, you’d do well to temper this down to truly enjoy it. GSN Rating: A-

For more information go to: Larceny Bourbon

#larcenybourbon