GSN Review: Champagne Telmont Reserve Brut

Founded in 1912, the Telmont Champagne House is located in Damery, near Épernay, France. Created in the wake of the champagne riots by Henri Lhôpital, a brave local winegrower, the House remains familial and visionary: Bertrand Lhôpital, Cellar Master and Head of Viticulture of the Telmont House, today represents the fourth generation. Commitment to the respect of its terroir has led the House to embrace a highly demanding environmental approach. In 2017, it earned its first AB Certification (organic agriculture) for part of its vineyard, proving once more the House’s vow to preserving the environment. The Rémy Cointreau group identified with the values of the House and purchased a majority share in October 2020.

GSN’s Remarks: Loads of bubbles with a straw-like color in the glass. The nose has a buttery, yeast laden, tree fruit, and marzipan quality. Nothing too complex, but lightly sweet, with some savory notes. Finishes with a medium long fade. A really nice and affordable Champagne. Cheers! GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: Champagne Telmont

#ChampagneTelmont

GSN Review: Waterford Hearth Micro Cuvée Irish Whisky

Inspired by Bordeaux’s greatest chateaux, Waterford Distillery has applied the same methodology to create the ultimate in whisky flavor complexity, a genuine innovation for the spirits industry, called The Cuvée. 25 totally unique Waterford Single Farm Origin Whiskies, drawn from distinct terroirs of Southern Ireland, have been married together to create the ultimate layered, profound and compelling tasting experience.

Each Single Farm Origin – an individual Waterford Single Malt Whisky in its own right – is made exclusively from Irish-grown barley, harvested, malted and distilled separately for complete flavor integrity. While the distillery has revelled in such individuality, it is only when there is a fusion of individual terroirs that Waterford Whisky can fulfil its ambitions to create the ultimate single malt whisky. To create The Cuvée, Head Distiller Ned Gahan layered together 25 individually distilled Single Farm Origins, drawn from a combination of premium American and French oak barrels.

“Coming from a wine background I have always been intrigued by how the very greatest Bordeaux wines were made,” says Founder and CEO Mark Reynier. “Rather than generically bundling up their grapes into a single wine they went to the effort of making several individual wines instead, each one expressing a terroir-derived personality of its own. Only after months of maturation are these component wines assembled – each bringing its own flavour character – to make a single profound wine of greater complexity, the Grand Vin. Why not with whisky? This is the vision seven years in the making, the essence of the Waterford project. Here the whole is even more than simply the sum of its parts: the result is our vision of how to create the most complex and profound single malt possible.”

The Cuvée is a culmination of Waterford’s Single Farm Origin Whiskies, each one defined by its own Irish-grown barley, each one distinctly different – all of them Waterford single malts. Waterford Whisky takes flavor so seriously that it starts not just with selecting the right grain, but by prioritizing where that grain was grown and harvested in Ireland. Waterford uses only barley; which has been shown by scientists to contain nearly 100 major flavor compounds. Waterford partners with dozens of farmers to grow the barley for its whiskies. Each farm’s harvest is carefully monitored in the field and at the distillery, where it’s malted, mashed, fermented, distilled, and matured as a single product—no mingling with another farm’s harvest. Every stage of the process is optimized to bring out the natural characteristics of the grain. The distinct flavors in the new-make spirit, before it’s aged into whisky, show remarkable differences from farm to farm. 

Hearth was blended by Head Distiller Ned using whiskies from their coastal warehouse at Ballygarran.

GSN’s Remarks: A rich and malty entry that expresses sweetness and roundness on the palate. Warming, slightly spicy and exquisitely flavorful, this is an Irish whisky that captures a playful aspect of the emerald isle. Wood, grain, water and time all play a part in this expression. As the falvor journey goes forward, different notes come to light. A bit of baking spice, softly tannic oak, chewy barley, baked pear, apple tart, blackberry and even cream. This is a great spirit to pair with a rich dessert or a creamy forward cheese. We continue to be impressed with the Waterford releases. The capture the independent spirit of Ireland. GSN Rating: A+

For more information go to: Waterford Whisky

#waterfordwhisky

GSN Review: Maverick Spirits Agave Blanco

Samuel Maverick Agave Blanco is a Texas take on tequila. Distilled using a hybrid still (pot and column) and bottled in-house at Maverick Spirits Distillery in San Antonio, Texas, Agave Blanco is produced in the Lone Star State rather than in Mexico.

“Tequila, by law, has to be distilled in Mexico, and until recently, very few distilleries were making agave spirits in the United States as there was no category in the Federal regulations,” said Maverick Spirits Head Distiller, Kevin Graham. “Our founder, Dr. Kenneth Maverick, closely followed the early Federal discussions to determine an American style of Agave spirits. With our proximity to Mexico and history here in San Antonio, it made a lot of sense to us to produce Agave spirits. When the regulations were approved by the TTB (Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau) for an Agave Spirit category, we were ready with a pre-designed label and recipe for distilling. In fact, we were the first distillery approved for producing Agave Spirits in the United States.”

Maverick Spirits’ Agave Blanco is distilled from 100% Blue Agave nectar and is now available for purchase online and can be shipped to people in 41 states around the country.”

GSN’s Remarks: If you love tequila, you will love this American iteration of an agave spirit. For many, a blanco tequila is their first foray into the category. Maverick’s version is virtually interchangable, with more character than you will usually find in a major brand’s expression. There is a light smokiness on the palate which adds a slight drying and semi-woody quality on top of the fruit forward character. Overall, this is fresh, smooth, and has a depth of body from the minerality of the water used to bring it down to proof. We like this one a lot, and look forward to trying their Reposado and Anejo releases when they eventually come to town. GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: Maverick Whiskey

#MaverickSpirits #AgaveBlanco

Tales of the Cocktail Foundation announces Top 10 Nominees for the 2022 Spirited Awards

Tales of the Cocktail Foundation (TOTCF) is honored to announce the Top 10 Nominees for the 16th annual Spirited Awards®, as the foundation continues to recognize the depth of talent across our global spirits community. Since its founding in 2007, the Spirited Awards® have become one of the industry’s most sought-after awards, recognizing beverage professionals, products, and establishments across every facet of the spirits and cocktail community on a global scale. In partnership with Forbes, the Spirited Awards® official media partner, TOTCF will honor recipients during the Tales of the Cocktail® (TOTC) conference, which is returning for an in-person celebration in New Orleans from July 25-29, 2022.

The award categories spotlight a range of talent from bartenders, journalists, and brand ambassadors, to brands and media, to ensure each aspect of the industry is well represented and recognized for its contributions. 

“It’s been a challenging couple of years for bars and restaurants, but these nominees are a reflection of the strong spirit of our industry in spite of challenges – bold new openings, bars and bartenders who continue to strive for excellence, and a whole lot of hard-working staff who deserve amazing recognition and our support,” said Jacob Briars, Spirited Awards International Chair. “As our world opens up again, these nominees should be at the top of your list when deciding where to go next and what to drink there.”

In that spirit, the Foundation is proud to announce the Top 10 Nominees, broken into U.S., International, Media & Writing, and Global categories.

2022 Spirited Awards® Top 10 Nominees (in alphabetical order):

INTERNATIONAL CATEGORIES

International Bartender of the Year presented by Patrón

  • Moe Aljaff — Two Schmucks, Barcelona, Spain
  • Lorenzo Antinori — ARGO / Four Seasons Hotel & Resorts, Hong Kong, China
  • Giorgio Bargiani — The Connaught Bar, London, UK
  • Kate Boushel — Atwater Cocktail Club / Milky Way Cocktail Bar, Montréal, Québec, Canada
  • James Grant — Little HK, Edmonton, Canada
  • Keith Motsi — Charles H. Seoul at the Four Seasons Hotel, Seoul, South Korea
  • Rémy Savage — 🔶🟥🔵 A Bar with Shapes for a Name, London, UK
  • Daniel Schofield — SCHOFIELD’S BAR, Manchester, UK
  • Ezra Star — Mostly Harmless, Hong Kong, China
  • Luke Whearty — BYRDI, Melbourne, Australia
  • Matt Whiley — RE, Sydney, Australia

Best International Bar Mentor presented by Lyre’s Non-Alcoholic

  • Monica Berg
  • Arijit Bose
  • Simone Caporale
  • Renato “Tato” Giovannoni
  • Tim Etherington Judge
  • Trevor Kallies
  • Dre Masso
  • Lauren Mote
  • Danil Nevsky
  • Agostino Perrone
  • Christina Veira
  • Camille Vidal

*Includes 12 nominees due to a tie

Best International Brand Ambassador presented by Lyre’s Non-Alcoholic

  • Jenna Ba — Diageo
  • Claudia Cabrera — Fratelli Branca
  • Irene Díaz — Ron Diplomático
  • Martin Hudák — Mr Black Spirits
  • Daniyel Jones — House of Angostura
  • Ally Martin — Hendrick’s Gin
  • Dave Mitton — Lot No. 40 / J.P. Wiser’s 
  • Ricardo Nava — Bacardí Latin America
  • Tim Phillips-Johansson — Johnnie Walker
  • Nicola Riske — The Macallan

Best International Bar Team presented by House of Angostura

  • ALQUÍMICO — Cartagena, Colombia
  • Atwater Cocktail Club — Montréal, Québec, Canada
  • Jigger & Pony at the Amara Hotel — Singapore
  • La Factoría — San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • MAYBE SAMMY — Sydney, Australia
  • Salmon Guru — Madrid, Spain
  • Tayēr + Elementary — London, UK
  • The Clumsies — Athens, Greece
  • Tres Monos — Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • Two Schmucks — Barcelona, Spain

Best International Cocktail Bar presented by Tequila Fortaleza

  • ALQUIMICO — Cartagena, Colombia
  • Atwater Cocktail Club — Montréal, Québec, Canada
  • Cause Effect Cocktail Kitchen & Cape Brandy Bar — Cape Town, South Africa
  • COA — Hong Kong, China
  • Florería Atlántico — Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • MAYBE SAMMY — Sydney, Australia
  • Paradiso — Barcelona, Spain
  • Salmon Guru — Madrid, Spain
  • Satan’s Whiskers — London, UK
  • Tayēr + Elementary — London, UK
  • Three Sheets — London, UK
  • Two Schmucks — Barcelona, Spain

*Includes 12 nominees due to a tie

Best International Hotel Bar presented by Perrier

  • Bar Trigona at the Four Seasons Hotel — Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  • Botanist at the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel — Vancouver, BC, Canada
  • Bulgari Bar at The Bvlgari Resort — Dubai, UAE
  • Charles H. Seoul at the Four Seasons Hotel — Seoul, South Korea
  • Fifty Mils at the Four Seasons Hotel — Mexico City, Mexico
  • Jigger & Pony at the Amara Hotel — Singapore
  • Lyaness at Sea Containers London — London, UK
  • MO BAR at the Mandarin Oriental — Singapore
  • Origin Bar at The Shangri-La Hotel — Singapore
  • The American Bar at The Stafford London — London, UK
  • The Donovan Bar at the Brown’s Hotel — London, UK

*Includes 11 nominees due to a tie

Best International Restaurant Bar presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation

  • Bar Kismet — Halifax, NS, Canada
  • Caffe Fernet — Singapore
  • Danico — Paris, France
  • Le Mary Celeste — Paris, France
  • Locale Firenze — Florence, Italy
  • LPM Restaurant & Bar — Dubai, UAE
  • Pujol — Mexico City, Mexico
  • Sexy Fish — London, UK
  • The Continental Deli — Newtown, Australia
  • Tjoget — Stockholm, Sweden
  • Zuma Dubai — Dubai, UAE

*Includes 11 nominees due to a tie

Best New International Cocktail Bar presented by Stranger & Sons

  • 🔶🟥🔵 A Bar with Shapes for a Name — London, UK
  • Amaro Bar — London, UK
  • ARGO — Hong Kong, China
  • Dead End Paradise — Beirut, Lebanon
  • DEAN & NANCY — Sydney, Australia
  • RE — Sydney, Australia
  • Schofield’s Bar — Manchester, UK
  • Side Hustle at the NoMad — London, UK
  • SIPS — Barcelona, Spain
  • Wax On — Berlin, Germany

U.S. CATEGORIES

U.S. Bartender of the Year presented by Del Maguey

  • Josh Davis — 16th Street Bar, Chicago, IL
  • Chris Elford — Trade Winds Tavern, Navy Strength, Rob Roy, Here Today Brewing, Seattle, WA
  • Chris Hannah — Jewel of the South, New Orleans, LA
  • Caer Maiko Ferguson — DrinkWell, Austin, TX
  • Chris McMillian — Revel Bar & Cafe, New Orleans, LA
  • Shauna O’Neil — Sweet Liberty, Miami, FL
  • Kapri Robinson — Allegory, Washington, DC
  • Christian Suzuki-Orellana — Wildhawk, San Francisco, CA
  • Masahiro “Masa” Urushido — Katana Kitten, New York, NY
  • Christine Wiseman — BarLab Hospitality Group, Miami, FL

Best U.S. Bar Mentor presented by BarSmarts

  • Colin Asare-Appiah
  • Julio Cabrera
  • Kevin Diedrich
  • Meaghan Dorman
  • Alba Huerta
  • Alex Jump
  • Sean Kenyon
  • ms franky marshall
  • Nectaly Mendoza
  • Jeffrey Morgenthaler

Best U.S. Brand Ambassador presented by Libbey Glass

  • Kiowa Bryan — Spiribam
  • Chris Cabrera — Bacardí USA
  • Tad Carducci — Gruppo Montenegro
  • Cameron George — Ardbeg
  • Vance Henderson — Hendrick’s Gin
  • Lynn House — Heaven Hill
  • Jenna Murray — The Glenlivet
  • Natasha Sofia Velez — Davos Brands
  • Ryan Wainwright — Bombay Sapphire
  • Daniel Warrilow — Campari America

Best U.S. Bar Team presented by William Grant & Sons

  • Attaboy — New York, NY
  • Cleaver – Butchered Meats, Seafood & Classic Cocktails — Las Vegas, NV
  • Half Step — Austin, TX
  • Jaguar Sun — Miami, FL
  • Jewel of the South — New Orleans, LA
  • Katana Kitten — New York, NY
  • The Long Island Bar — Brooklyn, NY
  • The Roosevelt Room — Austin, TX
  • The Snug — Sacramento, CA
  • Thunderbolt — Los Angeles, CA

Best U.S. Cocktail Bar presented by Absolut Vodka

  • Bar Goto — New York, NY
  • Beachbum Berry’s Latitude 29 — New Orleans, LA
  • Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour — Phoenix, AZ
  • DrinkWell — Austin, TX
  • Julep — Houston, TX
  • Katana Kitten — New York, NY
  • Occidental — Denver, CO
  • Pearl Diver — Nashville, TN
  • The Roosevelt Room — Austin, TX
  • Thunderbolt — Los Angeles, CA

Best U.S. Hotel Bar presented by Grey Goose

  • Bar Marilou at Maison de la Luz — New Orleans, LA
  • Champagne Bar at The Surf Club Miami — Miami, FL
  • Dear Irving on Hudson at the Aliz Hotel — New York, NY
  • Hey Love at The Jupiter — Portland, OR
  • King Cole Bar at The St. Regis New York — New York, NY
  • Libertine Social at the Mandalay Bay — Las Vegas, NV
  • Little Rituals at the Residence Inn/Courtyard by Marriott — Phoenix, AZ
  • Midnight Rambler at the Joule — Dallas, TX
  • Mountaineering Club at the Graduate Seattle Hotel — Seattle, WA
  • Silver Lyan at the Riggs Washington DC — Washington, DC

Best U.S. Restaurant Bar presented by Maison Ferrand

  • Café La Trova — Miami, FL
  • Cleaver – Butchered Meats, Seafood & Classic Cocktails — Las Vegas, NV
  • Crown Shy — New York, NY
  • Gramercy Tavern — New York, NY
  • Jewel of the South — New Orleans, LA
  • Kimball House — Decatur, GA
  • Kumiko — Chicago, IL
  • L’Oursin — Seattle, WA
  • Republique — Los Angeles, CA
  • Spoon and Stable — Minneapolis, MN

Best New U.S. Cocktail Bar presented by Aviation Gin

  • Double Chicken Please — New York, NY
  • Happy Accidents — Albuquerque, NM
  • Kona’s Street Market — San Francisco, CA
  • Law Bird — Columbus, OH
  • Overstory — New York, NY
  • Palmetto — Oakland, CA
  • Temple Bar — New York, NY
  • Tiki Tatsu-Ya — Austin, TX
  • Trade Winds Tavern — Seattle, WA
  • Yacht Club — Denver, CO

WRITING & MEDIA CATEGORIES

Best Cocktail & Spirits Publication presented by Diageo Bar Academy

  • CLASS magazine
  • Difford’s Guide
  • Discard the Zine
  • DRiNK Magazine Asia
  • Drinks International
  • Liquor.com
  • The Cocktail Lovers magazine
  • The Spirits Business
  • VinePair
  • Whisky Magazine

Best Broadcast, Podcast, or Online Video Series presented by Diageo Bar Academy

  • A Life In Whisky: The Dennis Malcolm Story (A documentary by Whisky Magazine)
  • Behind the Bar with Cara Devine
  • El Club de los Cantineros (Documentary)
  • Freepour™
  • Happy Hour History
  • “Hospitality Forward” Podcast by Hanna Lee Communications
  • Radio Imbibe
  • Shōshin Art Club 
  • The Cocktail Lovers Podcast
  • The Speakeasy Podcast

Best Cocktail & Spirits Writing presented by Diageo Bar Academy

  • “Get Real: The bar world looks beyond feel-good measures on sustainability and climate change” by Max Falkowitz, for Imbibe Magazine
  • “Getting high from a new supply: a revolutionary flavour extraction method for cocktails is being pioneered in South Africa” by Leah van Deventer, for TheWorlds50Best.com
  • “Has the Coronavirus Pandemic Destroyed American Bar Culture?” by Jeffrey Morgenthaler, for Daily Beast
  • “Making it Through: How a Bar’s Regulars Helped During a Pandemic,” by Rebecca Cate as told to Paul Clarke, Imbibe
  • “Marc Farrell Wants to Change the Way You Think About Rum” by Yolanda Evans, for Food & Wine
  • “Meet the Eco-Packaging Innovations Transforming the Drinks Industry” by Betsy Andrews, for SevenFifty Daily
  • “Mexican Terroir” by Liza Weisstuch, for Whisky Magazine
  • “The Greatest Drinking Contest in History” by David Wondrich, for Daily Beast
  • “The Hard Reset – Creating a New Hospitality Culture” by Anna Sebastian, for CLASS
  • “Turns Out Rye Whiskey Isn’t an American Creation After All” by Lew Bryson, for Daily Beast

Best New Cocktail or Bartending Book presented by Lyre’s Non-Alcoholic

  • Claridge’s The Cocktail Book by Denis Broci and Nathan McCarley-O’Neill
  • COCKTAIL DIVE BAR: Real Drinks, Fake History, and Questionable Advice from New Orleans’s Twelve Mile Limit by T. Cole Newton 
  • Death & Co: Welcome Home by Alex Day, Nick Fauchald, and David Kaplan
  • Difford’s Guide to Cocktails Sixteenth Edition by Simon Difford
  • Mezcal and Tequila Cocktails by Robert Simonson
  • The Cocktail Seminars by Brian D. Hoefling
  • The Japanese Art of the Cocktail by Masahiro Urushido and Michael Anstendig
  • The Way of the Cocktail: Japanese Traditions, Techniques, and Recipes by Julia Momosé with Emma Janzen
  • Tokyo Cocktails by Nicholas Coldicott
  • Zero Proof: 90 Non-Alcoholic Recipes for Mindful Drinking by Elva Ramirez

Best New Book on Drinks Culture, History, or Spirits presented by Diageo Bar Academy

  • A Good Drink: In Pursuit of Sustainable Spirits by Shanna Farrell
  • Bourbon: The Story of Kentucky Whiskey by Clay Risen
  • Drunk: How We Sipped, Danced, and Stumbled Our Way to Civilization by Edward Slingerland
  • Girly Drinks: A World History of Women and Alcohol by Mallory O’Meara
  • L’Ora dell’Americano by Mauro Mahjoub & Lucio Tucci
  • Something & Tonic by Nick Kokonas
  • The Big Book of Amaro by Matteo Zed
  • The New Kindred Spirits by F. Paul Pacult
  • The Oxford Companion to Spirits and Cocktails edited by David Wondrich with Noah Rothbaum
  • The Spirit of Rye by Carlo DeVito

GLOBAL CATEGORIES

Best New Spirit or Cocktail Ingredient presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation

  • Abasolo Ancestral Corn Whisky
  • ANGOSTURA® cocoa bitters
  • Citadelle Gin Jardin d’été
  • Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal Vida de Muertos
  • Equiano Light Rum
  • Fever-Tree Sparkling Lime & Yuzu 
  • Fever-Tree Sparkling Pink Grapefruit 
  • Hendrick’s Lunar Gin
  • Lyre’s Non-Alcoholic – Italian Orange 
  • Nixta Licor de Elote
  • Lost Irish
  • Ojo de Tigre Mezcal Artesanal
  • SAVOIA Americano

*Includes 13 nominees due to a tie

World’s Best Cocktail Menu presented by Diageo Bar Academy

  • ALQUÍMICO — Cartagena de Indias, Colombia
  • Dante NYC — New York, NY
  • Himkok — Oslo, Norway
  • Little Red Door — Paris, France
  • Lyaness at Sea Containers London — London, UK
  • Mace Bar — New York, NY
  • Paradiso — Barcelona, Spain
  • Scarfes Bar at the Rosewood London — London, UK
  • Swift Soho — London, UK
  • Tayēr + Elementary — London, UK

World’s Best Spirits Selection presented by Beam Suntory

  • ATLA — New York, NY
  • Brandy Library — New York, NY
  • In-Situ Mezcaleria — Oaxaca City, Mexico
  • Jack Rose Dining Saloon — Washington, DC
  • Origin Bar at The Shangri-La Hotel — Singapore
  • Rumba — Seattle, WA
  • Sexy Fish — London, UK
  • Swift Soho — London, UK
  • The Bamboo Room at Three Dots and a Dash — Chicago, IL
  • The Doctor’s Office — Seattle, WA

GSN Review: JETWAY Wine Seltzers

At 100 calories per 8.4 fl. oz. can, JETWAY wine seltzers are 5 percent alcohol by volume. No sugar added, gluten free and vegan friendly, the drinks are presented in cans with artwork that evokes the golden age of travel.

Investors in JETWAY include Joaquin Phoenix, Rooney Mara, and Robert Schwartzman, and the cans will first be available in stores and restaurants in the Southern California counties of Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego.

The first two offerings — a Sauvignon Blanc and a Rosé of Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, are sourced from the McNary Vineyard, which overlooks the Columbia River in Washington state. Both are blended with ingredients including elderflower, yerba mate, Fijian ginger and yuzu – all of which were chosen by founder Albert Hammond Jr. as inspired from his travels and childhood. Hammond Jr. is a member of the rock band The Strokes.

Hammond Jr. tapped Ben Parsons as JETWAY’s Chief Operating Officer. A renowned winemaker and brand builder, Parsons pioneered the canned wine category. Throughout his 20-year career, he has worked to dispel elitism and mysticism in the world of wine while bringing a quality, disruptive product to the masses.

GSN’s Remarks: The Sauvignon release has a slightly citrus entry, and a very dry mouthfeel. Not sweet in the least, this is a surprisingly contemplative sparkling wine. The yuzu and elderflower add most of the flavor which overshadows the wine base, but this is actually a welcome surprise. If the ginger has any bearing on the affair, it is only towards the very end of the experience where a minute heat comes into play. The Rosé leans more toward a true wine, but the peach is blended so well into the expression that they vie equally for dominance. More summery and more relaxed, we think the Rosé is a perfect evening after dinner beverage, while the Sauvignon lends itself to a picnic lunch or Sunday brunch. GSN Ratings: Sauvignon B, Rosé B+

For more information go to: Drink Jetway

#jetway

GSN Review: Glendalough 7-Year-Old Single Malt Mizunara Finish

Glendalough is the first Irish whiskey brand to use Mizunara wood, bringing Irish single malt and Japanese oak together to create a wonderfully different whiskey. The trunks of these uniquely beautiful trees are prone to growing twisted, and they must grow to be twice the age of most oak trees before they can be felled. It then takes three years to dry, and even then, is notoriously difficult to cooper due to its porousness. However, therein lies its saving grace: whiskey can seep deeper into the wood, resulting in an alluring, exotic flavor. The Glendalough 7-Year-Old Single Malt Mizunara Finish presents at 46% ABV and is available in limited quantities nationwide.

GSN’s Remarks: Upon our first sip, we immediately thought of cocoa and milk chocolate. This characteristic remains throughout the journey, while the malt itself acts as a canvas upon which the Mizunara paints a delicate and evocative picture. This is one of the most unique Irish whiskies we’ve ever enjoyed, and of the several Glendalough releases, our favorite. If you are able to find a few bottles, snap them up immediately. They may never come this way again. GSN Rating: A+

For more information go to: Glendalough Distillery

#Glendalough #mizunara

GSN Review: Larceny Barrel Proof Batch No. B522

The second release in the 2022 Larceny Barrel Proof program is Batch No. B522. The “B” is the second in a three-part A, B, C release series. The “5” represents the month it was released, May. The “22” at the end stands for the year of release. Every expression in this annual series is aged six to eight years, bottled straight from the barrel. This is Heaven Hill’s wheated mash bill recipe of 68% corn, 20% wheat and 12% malted barley. Larceny Barrel Proof B522 is bottled at 123.8 proof.

GSN’s Remarks: As with each of the barrel proof releases, the variations are slight, but noticable. With this one there is a definite leaning toward maple syrup and nut breads. Of the two releases so far this year, we like this one best. It has a roundness, lovely body and a subtly rumbling heat that wakes up the tastebuds. Another excellent release fromt he folks at Larceny. GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: Heaven Hill Distillery

#LarcenyBarrelProof

GSN Review: The Read House’s 150th Anniversary J.W. Kelly Limited Edition Double Oaked Straight Bourbon Whiskey

J.W. Kelly & Co. and The Read House collaborated this year to celebrate the hotel’s 150th anniversary with the release of a Limited-Edition Single Barrel Double Oaked Straight Bourbon Whiskey. The Cask Strength Whiskey is 114.8 proof and was hand-selected in February at J.W. Kelly’s Rickhouse in Chattanooga. This is not the first partnership for the two companies, J.W. Kelly & Co. and The Read House began working together in 1890, when J.W. Kelly purchased and operated The Read House’s bar and billiards room, and two years later, leased the hotel’s Cigar Stand.

Originally opened on January 1, 1872, The Read House celebrates being the longest continuously operating hotel in the Southeast in 2022. “The J.W. Kelly Distillery was once located across the street from The Read House, so it is fitting that we commemorate our 150th anniversary with a limited-edition single barrel whiskey pick. We look forward to sipping this delicious whiskey with our guests, residents and whiskey fans,” says Jim Bambrey, General Manager of The Read House.

The Read House’s 150th Anniversary J.W. Kelly Limited Edition Double Oaked Straight Bourbon Whiskey is a single barrel select pick from barrels that are five to eight years old, then transferred into a new American oak barrel and aged for another 8 to 12 months. Each bottle number of this single barrel is hand-written on the label. The Read House will also feature the whiskey for guests to enjoy at the hotel’s restaurant, Bridgeman’s Chophouse and at their Bar & Billiards Room. To celebrate the occasion, The Read House has created the One Fifty Cocktail featuring their J.W. Kelly Single Barrel Bourbon, Orange Curacao, Campari, Fresh Lemon Juice and Absinthe Bitters.

The Read House has established itself as the premier historic hotel in downtown Chattanooga and has hosted prominent individuals including Oprah Winfrey, Winston Churchill, Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Ronald Reagan, and Al Capone. The Read House unveiled a $28 million renovation in October 2018, featuring 1920s-inspired design and decor coupled with an experience of grandeur and opulence from the era. Unique experiences such as guests greeted by bellmen in top hats and servers in flapper attire, were intentionally incorporated as the hotel collaborated with historians and architects to recreate a modern version of the property’s 1926 stateliness. 

About J.W. Kelly & Co.

J.W. Kelly’s signature batch distillation process stands the test of time. After his long journey from Ireland in 1863, Kelly created the best American whiskey of his era in 1866 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Kelly’s use of old-world pot distillation and custom mixture of corn, malted rye, and barley helped create the brand’s unique blend of five, six and eight-year-old barrels. Today, J.W. Kelly’s whiskeys are distilled in 3,000-gallon pot stills to enrich the characteristics of his whiskey. The company’s portfolio includes Old Milford Straight Bourbon Whiskey, Old Milford Double Oaked Single Barrel Select, Melrose Rye finished in Amarone Italian wine casks, and Golden Age Straight Rye Whiskey. Visit www.jwkelly.com for more information. 

About The Read House

Originally built in 1872 and renovated in 2018, The Read House is a premier historic hotel located in downtown Chattanooga, Tennessee. Operated by Avocet Hospitality, the 241-room hotel is the longest continuously operating hotel in the Southeast, celebrating its 150th Anniversary in 2022. The 1920s-inspired gem features Jazz-era interiors with modern tastes and offers accommodation options of a tower room, manor room or penthouse. Dashing event and meeting spaces, plus upscale dining destinations, provide an elevated guest experience. The Read House is recognized by the National Register of Historic Places and has received accolades from Condé Nast Traveler, USA Today, TripAdvisor and ConventionSouth, among others. The hotel has been featured in Forbes and Garden & Gun. To learn more about the hotel, visit www.thereadhousehotel.com.

GSN’s Remarks: A rock solid bourbon with an approachable level of char and heat. The entry actually seems light, but full of flavor. The barrels have melded and mellowed the expected heat of a high proof bourbon, and turned it into a fine sipper. Lots of warming spice, but a good range of mellow caramel and a note of French Toast. A slightly sweet presentation makes this a perfect whiskey for cocktails like a Mint Julep, Old Fashoned or a variety of sours. A special relase that will not disappoint. GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: J. W. Kelly

#the readhousehotel #jwkelly

GSN Review: Minke Irish Gin

Inspired by the Minke whales of the Atlantic Ocean, Minke Irish Gin is made using various botanicals that grow wild along the shoreline adjacent to Clonakilty Distillery, Ireland’s maritime distillery that has been operated by the Scully family for nine consecutive generations. When in season, members of Clonakilty Distillery climb the cliffs along their shoreline to sustainably harvest the gin’s signature botanical ingredient, Rock Samphire, by hand. For centuries, Rock Samphire has been recognized as a premium garnish and is frequently used at the very best Michelin-starred restaurants in Europe, as it is not grown in the United States. Clonakilty Distillery is the first company to ever legally import a product containing rock samphire to the US (taking over a year to get approved by the FDA!). 

Minke Irish Gin’s base spirit is whey alcohol produced from cow’s milk directly from the distillery’s family farm and local farmers. Bottled at 43.2% ABV, Minke Gin includes ingredients such as juniper, lavender, lemon, lime, sea salt, aniseed, cardamom, orange, grapefruit and red peppercorn.

GSN’s Remarks: A soft mouthfeel with a citrus greeting on the entry. As it develops, there are some high notes of juniper and spice. The florality comes in at the tail end, with the lavendar adding a cooling effect. Overall, this is a friendly and mild gin that is perfect for a G&T or a tropical forward cocktail. GSN Rating: A-

For more information go to: Clonakilty Distillery

#MinkeIrishGin

GSN Review: Bluestone Manor Bourbon

Dorinda Medley, founder of Bluestone Manor Bourbon, named her spirit after her iconic Massachusetts home, Bluestone Manor. Rich with history and vibrant with life, Bluestone Manor was a speakeasy, where patrons would share a glass of Bourbon and dream of happier times.
“Bluestone Manor was built in 1902 during the colorful Gilded Age. From the intricate dark wood details, vibrant walls, and thoughtful floor plan, Bluestone Manor feels spacious yet cozy, and reminiscent of days gone bye. It was once a speakeasy and I imagine long nights filled with laughter, glamour and secrets,” explains Medley. “Bluestone Manor is a special place I call home. I wanted to bring this feeling to life in a Bourbon. Anyone can enjoy a glass of my bourbon and find themselves being transported to the Manor.”
Bluestone Manor Bourbon has a mash bill of corn, winter wheat and malted barley. After being aged for a minimum of five years, their blender hand selected each barrel, creating a unique blend. The Mash Bill is 70% Corn, 25% Wheat, and 5% Malted Barley. The spirit is aged a minimum of 5 years in Independent Stave Co. Cooper’s Select, 53 Gallon Oak Barrels.

GSN’s Remarks: This is our favorite bourbon of the month. Very drinkable, with warming notes of wood, toffee, caramel, light baking spice and a gentle, yet fulsome body. We especially appreciate the influence that the whaet has on the expression, adding roundness and light sweetness. We recommend this one for pleasant sipping, or anything from a Mint Julep to a Boulevardier. GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: Bluestone Manor Bourbon

#bluestonemanorbourbon

GSN Review: Latin Secco & Spice Gin

Premium spirit Latin Gin recently announced its U.S. launch, debuting, initially, in Florida. Latin Gin offers four expressions: Latin Spice, Latin Lover, Latin Secco and Latin Beach. Each is inspired by elements of the Latin lifestyle. Latin Gin is also available in Spain and the islands of Ibiza, Majorca and Menorca and for shipping to select U.S. cities through online ordering.

Created by Co-Founder Ivania Sher who grew up in El Salvador amongst a family of international diplomats; she witnessed her parents entertain guests from around the world with beautiful, inventive cocktails. With this catalyst, she decided to create a premium gin from a female and worldly perspective.

Distilled in the foothills of the Italian Alps, Latin Gin is produced by a family-owned business that has been spirit-making for over a century. The gin encompasses the dynamism of Latin culture and incorporates thoughtfully sourced ingredients and flavors. Each of its four expressions conveys a love story, taking consumers on a journey of passion, romance, tradition and joy.

Latin Gin is housed in an iconic glass bottle. The sculptural design in red, pink, dark and light blue hues, is crafted from extra fine flint glass–the most premium in the world–and invokes the opulence of the Art Deco era.

Latin Spice Premium Gin has warm Calabrian chili pepper notes that linger on the palate. It is inspired by the passion and the spark of a newly formed romance. Latin Spice is a great choice for classic, balanced cocktails such as the Last Word, Alexander, and Hanky Panky. GSN’s Remarks: Don’t hesitate to try this gin. The heat is quite mild and warming, rather than scorching. The juniper is most present here, and everything has a slightly fruity, yet dry character. We like this one a lot. Well blended and unusual. GSN Rating: A

Latin Secco Premium Gin is an interpretation of the spirit’s classic tones. Infused with authentic Italian juniper and blended with the water of Mont Blanc, it is inspired by the tradition of Latin culture. Latin Secco is perfect for traditional gin combinations, such as a Vesper Martini, a Sherry Martini or a Negroni. GSN’s Remarks: Very much in the vein of a London Dry, this is a juniper forward gin with a light touch of citrus. The botanicals play a distant role, but add some body behind the scenes. Elegant, fresh and perfect for just about any gin based cocktail. GSN Rating: A-

For more information go to: Latin Gin

#latingin

GSN Review: The Vice Los Carneros “The Rams” Cabernet Sauvignon

“Los Carneros (Spanish for The Rams) was the first established Sub-Appellation of Napa Valley in 1981. Los Carneros is mostly known for its Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines. Batch #52 reflects the potential of Los Carneros Cabernet Sauvignon, the underdog of Napa Valley to achieve a breakthrough in a region where Cabernet reigns King” -Malek Amrani

This 2019 release is 100% Unfiltered and Un-fined Cabernet Sauvignon, aged 22 months in 2 New Medium Toast Oak barrels (1 French & 1 American). It features sustainably grown fruit with minimal winemaking intervention and is a limited edition release with only 600 bottles crafted.

GSN’s Remarks: Released earlier this year to mark the Los Angeles Rams Super Bowl appearance, this limited edition wine is a perfect tie-in to the Rams victory. Los Carneros means the ram in Spanish. Produced in an area of the Napa Valley that has a cooler and less sun driven vinticulture, this Cabernet excels in both flavor and expression. An unfiltered wine, there are a plethora of berries and cherries tempered with dry tannins. A fruit forward wine, we enjoyed this with red meats, charcuterie and strong cheeses. If you are so inclined, this would be a great bottle to cellar if you have the patience. GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: The Vice

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GSN Review: Yebiga Rakija Serbian Plum Brandy 

If you haven’t heard of rakija before – it’s reminiscent of how mezcal was an obscure spirit in the US and then took off in bars across the country within a short time. Rakija is a spirit that is generally unknown in the US, yet popular in the Balkans. It may just be the next big thing because it’s so unique, as well as delicious and true to its roots & tradition, made from hyper-local ingredients from its native country of Serbia.

Yebiga partnered with acclaimed mixologist Naren Young to curate signature cocktails that feature Yebiga’s two rakijas – PRVA and BELA. Download Naren Young’s Cocktails here. While Yebiga is traditionally served neat, the brand is on a mission to help the US consumer understand the spirit and discover how special it really is. These signature Yebiga cocktails feature the rakija beautifully, showcasing what the product is all about and how it can be approachably mixed by any at-home imbiber. Not only that, but Rakija does have a different taste profile than many spirits out there, and mixing it in cocktails adds a unique signature to any drink.

Note: GSN was sent a bottle of BELA for review.

GSN’s Remarks: A true fruit brandy in that there is nothing but the distilled expression in the bottle. The plum flavor carries through with a light stonefruit sweetness. Slightly musky, somewhat dark and with a semi-creamy mouthfeel, this is a spirit begging to be utilized in a cocktail. Although, we did enjoy it neat as an after dinner aperitif. Well crafted, smooth and full of terroir, we recommend adding Yebiga to your back bar. GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: Yebiga

#yebiga #rakija

GSN Review: Drake’s Organic Spirits & Spiked Ice

Drake’s is the only spirit brand to hold certifications from five of most recognized authorities, being USDA Organic, Non-GMO Project Verified, OU Kosher, vegan per Vegan.org, and gluten-free per Gluten-Free Organization. Drake’s products include Vodka, Rum, Spiced Rum, SpikedIce™ Pops, and a RTD cocktail line: BOXTAILS™. As Drake’s catchphrase says, “Better for you, better for the planet.”

The Vodka, Rum, Spiced Rum are 100% plant-based (e.g., clarified using coconut fibers rather than carbon which often contains bone char) and distilled from organic non-GMO cane sugar. Cane, vs. grain, has a negative carbon footprint vs. a very high carbon footprint. They also use no herbicides and pesticides.

Drake’s Organic SpikedIce Pops Variety Pack comes in three flavors – Mango Vodka Punch, Black Cherry Limeade, and Watermelon-Tini and are made with Drake’s all-organic vodka and white rum. The handheld ice pops feature 12% ABV and only 100 calories each.

Using USDA Organic fruit juice and Drake’s spirits, Drake’s Organic Boxtails are THE ONLY organic boxed cocktails on the market. The collapsible bladder inside the box keeps the Boxtails fresh and shelf-stable for up to 2 years, and the box is made of recycled cardboard. The boxes are 100% compostable, while the inner bladder and spigot are fully recyclable. They come in a variety of flavors including Minted Mojito, Watermelon-Tini, Blackcherry Limeade, Perfect Margarita, and Mango Punch.

Note: We were not sent the Boxtails for review.

  • The vodka is simply what it needs to be. It has an interesting flavor profile, with more vanilla than expected. But there is also a minerality and terroir that adds more character. GSN Rating: B
  • The white rum has a somewhat grassy profile, with again more body and apparent minerality. We especially like this one for Daiquiris. GSN Rating: B+
  • The spiced rum is our favorite, with a nice blend of woodiness, warm vanilla, cinnamon and a touch of nutmeg. Drier than many spiced rums, this works in its favor when used in tiki drinks, cutting through the juice and adding balance. Try it in a Painkiller or a Pina Colada. GSN Rating: A-
  • The Spiked Ice pops are boozier than any others on the market, making them the equivalent of 2/3 of a glass of wine. The flavors are heavily fruity, but refreshing, especially on a hot summer day. What’s nice is that you can throw the whole box in the freezer and it only takes up as much room as two ice cube trays. Plus, they’re safer to have around the pool or patio, as there’s no possible breakage. GSN Rating: B

For more information go to: Drake’s Organic

#drakesorganic #spikedice #boxtails