Archive for the ‘Spirits & Liqueurs’ Category

JWray-Key-Visual-2-PackCampari America has rebranded its Appleton Special Jamaica and Appleton White rums, relaunching them under the group’s J. Wray Jamaica Rums brand as J. Wray Jamaica Rum Gold and Silver, respectively. While both 40%-abv rums will retain their original recipes and pricing ($17 a 750-ml.), Gold and Silver have been repackaged, with the new iterations currently rolling out across select U.S. markets

fourpillars-raredry-gin580-580x696Australian craft gin brand Four Pillars has launched in the U.S., making its debut in New York and California. Four Pillars’ flagship entries—including Rare Dry (41.8% abv) and Navy Strength (58.8% abv) gins—are currently available in limited quantities on- and off-premise in both markets, retailing at $38-$48 a 750-ml. Established in 2013 in the Yarra Valley, Four Pillars specializes in handcrafted gins made with botanicals indigenous to Australia, including Lemon Myrtle and Tasmanian Pepperberry leaf, among others. The brand is imported in the U.S. by The Craft Spirits Cooperative.

Hennessy-Scott-Campbell-special-editionHennessy is introducing the newest edition in its VS artist bottle series, featuring a partnership with Brooklyn tattoo artist Scott Campbell. The release is the sixth in the ongoing limited series between the brand and international artists such as Ryan McGinness, Shepard Fairey, Os Gemêos, Futura and KAWS. The Campbell-designed graphic label features a silver and black motif with imagery like a pair of wings and Hennessy VS’s three stars. The latest Hennessy VS artist bottle retails at $35 a 750-ml., with a limited number of deluxe sets in commemorative wooden boxes retailing at $150.

pussers-british-navy-rum-black-label-gunpowder-proof-1116222-s168Shaw-Ross International is debuting Pusser’s Gunpowder Proof, an aged overproof rum. The 54.5%-abv expression is rolling out July 31 in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Texas and California, as well as mid-Atlantic and Northeast markets, with others to follow. Pusser’s Gunpowder Proof, a blend of rums from Guyana and Trinidad, is said to be the last rum issued by Britain’s Royal Navy to its enlistees in 1970. The new entry will retail at $33-$35 a bottle.

thunderstruck-tequila-brandpicLos Angeles-based Worldwide Beverage Imports has partnered with rock band AC/DC to launch the new Thunderstruck Tequila brand. Made with 100% Blue Weber agave, Thunderstruck includes Silver ($30), Reposado ($35) and Añejo ($40) Tequilas and will be available beginning this month in Las Vegas through Good Spirits Distributing, New Mexico through Southwest Wine and Spirits, and Minnesota, South Dakota and North Dakota through Southern Glazer’s. More key markets are expected to come online in the coming months.

Untitled-e1468522234148A. Hardy USA is launching single malt Scotch brand Inchmurrin in the U.S. Produced by Loch Lomond Distilleries, Inchmurrin will debut with its “Island Collection” of whiskies, comprised of Inchmurrin 12-year-old ($85), 18-year-old ($160) and Madeira Wood Finish ($95). The 46%-abv trio is currently rolling out nationwide. In addition to Inchmurrin, A. Hardy handles Loch Lomond Distilleries’ namesake Scotch brand, as well as its Littlemill, Glen Scotia and High Commissioner labels.

westland-garryana-e1468521218811Westland Distillery, marketed by Anchor Distilling, has unveiled the inaugural whiskey in its new limited-edition Native Oak Series. Rolling out nationwide this month, Westland’s Garryana American single malt whiskey is matured in Quercus garryana wood, a rare species of white oak found in the Pacific Northwest. The 56.2%-abv entry is limited to 2,500 bottles, retailing at $125 each. Westland, which specializes in American single malts, expects to release more whiskies to its Native Oak series next year.

IMG_5532_largeDeutsch Family Wine & Spirits is set to roll out a trio of new barrel-proof whiskies under its Redemption brand. Redemption’s new limited Aged Barrel Proof Collection includes an eight-year-old Straight Rye Whiskey at 122.2 proof, a nine-year-old High Rye Bourbon at 109.2 proof, and a nine-year-old Bourbon at 110.6 proof. All three Indiana-distilled whiskies will hit top U.S. markets, retailing at $100 a bottle.

All information courtesy of Shanken News Daily

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blackberry-native-yeastWalland, Tennessee-based Blackberry Farm Brewery has introduced a new Native Yeast series with two inaugural offerings, Blackberry Rye and Tennessee Cream Ale. Blackberry Rye is a 6.3% abv beer brewed with heritage barley and rye malts. It undergoes a secondary fermentation with blackberries followed by additional aging in Tennessee whiskey barrels. Tennessee Cream Ale is also 6.3% abv and is brewed with flaked corn and heirloom grits. Both new brews are fermented with a wild strain of native yeast harvested from honeysuckle blossoms found on Blackberry Farm’s 9,200 acre estate.

9ef226fb577f44334370b618bbdef1c3_largePortland, Maine’s Peak Organic Brewing Company is releasing two new versions of its flagship Peak IPA: Evergreen IPA and Crush IPA. Evergreen IPA is blended with organic juniper berries and organic spruce, while Crush IPA features added organic blood orange peel. Evergreen and Crush (both 7.1% abv) are available in limited quantities on draft and in mixed six-packs that feature both IPA varieties.


big-storm-hurricane-season-series1Clearwater, Florida-based Big Storm Brewing Company is launching a Belgian-style Hurricane Series. The new beers mirror the Atlantic hurricane season, with each offering increasing in abv as the season progresses. The brews include Belgian Single Category 1 (6% abv), Belgian Dubbel Category 2 (6.6% abv), Belgian Tripel Category 3 (9.2% abv) and Belgian Quadrupel Category 4 (10.6% abv). Category 5, a Belgian Quintupel, will be released later this summer. Big Storm’s portfolio also includes Arcus IPA, Wavemaker Amber Ale and Helicity Pilsner, among others.

12930952_1569753189983756_625608082_nBloomington, Illinois-based Destihl Brewery has launched its Synchopathic dry-hopped sour ale in cans. Originally released under the brewer’s Wild Sour Series as a draft-only entry, Synchopathic will now be available in four-packs of 12-ounce cans. The Wild Sour Series—which also includes the Here Gose Nothin’, Counter ClockWeisse, Flanders Red and Lynnbrook Raspberry Sour Ale.

All information courtesy of Shanken News Daily

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2016-06-07-15-16-sacredbond_fill_80Heaven Hill Brands recently introduced Christian Brothers Sacred Bond Brandy, the first grape bottled-in-bond Brandy. Aged in Heaven Hill white oak Bourbon barrels, the California Brandy is small batch distilled in copper pot stills.

At four years old and 100 proof, Sacred Bond was the highest scoring American Brandy at F. Paul Pacult’s 2016 Ultimate Spirits Challenge as a Chairman’s Trophy winner in the Brandy category, earning a 93 score and the “Great Value” accolade. The Brandy was also awarded a gold medal by the 2016 World Spirits Competition.

The bottle label pictures the original monastery in California where Cellar Master Brother Timothy carefully crafted the first Christian Brothers Brandy. In 1882, the Brothers planted their first vineyards, making altar wine for sacramental use. The Brothers expanded production as word spread of the wine’s excellent quality, eventually selling table wine to profit the Order’s schools.

“As is tradition, Heaven Hill is keeping this storied brand alive by introducing an expression that honors the original sacred bond once formed by the Christian Brothers with the California soil,” said Brand Manager MaryCrae Guild.

Christian Brothers Sacred Bond Brandy (100 proof)
Visual: Darkening copper.
Nose: Rich, evocative grape-based brandy.  More than a hint of ex-bourbon barrel stave char adds an extra depth of character.
Taste: Intensely lush and full of character that seems much older than its four years of aging.  The higher proof brings out a great deal of the terroir of the grape as well.
Finish: Medium long with a caramel candy like sweetness that slowly fades and disappears much like an ice wine.
Overall: A terrific American brandy and one that rivals many French versions.  Considering the bargain price ($25.99), you might do well to enliven your next Sidecar instead of reaching for that XO bottle.  But, make no mistake, this is a killer sipping brandy as well.
GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: Christian Brothers Brandy

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Handcrafted in small batches, Tanqueray No. Ten is the first gin distilled using fresh citrus fruits and botanicals, which give it a unique taste. The exact proportions used are a closely guarded secret; only four people in the world know the Tanqueray recipes, which are kept under three locks in a black ledger known as ‘The Bible’.

Tanqueray No. TEN has won numerous awards since its launch in 2000. In 2003 it had unprecedented wins as ‘Best White Spirit’ three times in a row at the San Francisco World Spirits competition leading to the creation of ‘Hall of Fame’, the only gin to receive this accolade.

Tanqueray No. Ten (94.6 proof)
Visual: Clear.
Nose: Transparent, ethereal and delicately mouth-watering. It’s as if the essences of each botanical have been lightly sprayed onto the base spirit.
Taste: Lovely blend of citrus and juniper carefully balanced with more subtle additions to the profile.  One of the few gins that can be enjoyed warm, right out of the bottle.  Summer in a glass.
Finish: Sweet, with hints of lemongrass and fresh spruce.
Overall: One of the world’s greatest gins, hands down.  Bring a case or two if you find yourself stranded on a desert island.  Seriously, this is THE gin.
GSN Rating: A++

For more information go to: Tanqueray


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543fdafc2adfa_-_tnc-boodles-ginBoodles was named after Boodle’s gentlemen’s club in St. James’s, London, founded in 1762 and originally run by Edward Boodle. It was reputed to be the favorite gin of the club’s most famous member, Winston Churchill, though the same has been claimed for Plymouth Gin.  But, old Winnie was a notorious boozehound and probably took whatever he could get his hands on during the war years.

Boodles was created in 1845, becoming one of the gins to shape the flavor of the modern London Dry style of gin. It was originally produced by Cock Russell & Company, and was first bottled in the United States by Seagram’s. It is produced at the Greenall’s Distillery in Warrington, England, in a Carter-Head still.

Boodles contains a blend of nine botanicals: juniper, coriander seed, angelica root, angelica seed, cassia bark, caraway seed, nutmeg, rosemary and sage. It is the only London Dry gin to contain nutmeg, rosemary and sage and no citrus ingredients.

Boodles British Gin (90.4 proof)
Visual: Clear.
Nose: Sprightly juniper-forward with a hint of spanked mint and fresh ground black pepper.  Crisp.
Taste: Instantly noticable lack of citrus, instead replaced with a savory edge that is soft and warming.  The whole expression is of soft roundness and mellow comfort.
Finish: Fairly long with the rosemary and sage leaving a curious gamey flavor.
Overall: In spite of its obvious differences to a traditional citrus inclusive London Dry, this works very well in every gin based cocktail that calls for the juniper to act in the leading role.  In drinks such as the Negroni, the more herbal direction works well with sweet vermouth.
GSN Rating: B+

For more information go to: Boodles Gin

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Fogo de Chão is a fine dining, full-service Brazilian steakhouse or churrascaria. The name Fogo de Chao means “fire of ground” and summarizes the traditional gaucho method of roasting meats over an open fire. The company was founded by two sets of brothers, the Cosers and Ongarattos in the countryside of Rio Grande do Sul in 1979. The first United States location opened in Dallas, Texas in 1997. Fogo de Chão currently operates 31 locations in the United States of America, 10 locations in Brazil and 1 in Mexico.

It’s only fitting that a Brazilian steakhouse has its own brand of cachaca. Produced by Cachacaria Weber Haus, in the city of Ivoti, State of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, Weber Haus’ Fogo de Chao Silver Cachaca is aged for eight months in stainless steel drums, while the Gold Cachaca is aged 1 year in North American oak and 1 year in native Cabriúva wood.

Fogo de Chao Silver (80 proof)
Visual: Clear.
Nose: Immediately recognizable as cachaca, the nose is a rich bouquet of fresh pressed sugarcane.  Highly floral with hints of grape must and peppermint.
Taste: Light, easy-going and smooth.  There is a clean freshness and attention to quality that brings this cachaca to a higher level than many mass-produced versions which usually have an industrial harshness to them.
Finish: Medium long with a few notes of grass and a slight smokiness.
Overall: Very nice and eminently mixable.  There is enough body that this will easily hold up in an iced Caipirinha cocktail.
GSN Rating: B+

Fogo de Chao Gold (80 proof)
Visual: Citrine.
Nose: Deeper and more lush than the Silver, this has an extra dimension of dark pine forest and sandalwood.
Taste: Amazingly smooth and layered in much the same way that filo dough makes a more interesting gastronomical experience.  Everything is compressed and tight within the flavor range of this cachaca, but it makes for a more pointed style.  I’m reminded of milk caramel and cream based sweets.
Finish: Medium long with a lingering caramel note.
Overall: An excellent sipping cachaca that would be a great pairing for an after dinner dessert.
GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: Fogo de Chao

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nhb-spirits-transIn early 2002, New Holland Brewing co-founder, Brett VanderKamp visited the Caribbean with the intention of enjoying sun, sand and waves. Instead, a lifelong obsession with fine craft spirits was born, having discovered world-class rum on a surfing trip to Puerto Rico. He returned to Holland, MI with a mission; to create spirits that reflect an artful way of life and to share them with the world.

Knickerbocker Gin is a spirit twice distilled and infused with flavors from more than a dozen herbs and spices. Generous amounts of juniper-berries contribute a bright citrus and evergreen body, before a clean, dry finish.

Knickerbocker Barrel Gin, conditioned in spent New Holland Artisan Spirits barrels, has toasty notes from the spirit-soaked wood which accentuate the juniper character and provide a deep and smooth contrast to the lively aromatics.

Blue Haven Gin showcases the local agriculture of Michigan, featuring blueberries from between The Havens on the west coast, the blueberry capital of the United States. Juniper and citrus-forward gin is steeped with blueberries, adding delicate berry notes, and a slight, nuanced sweetness.

knickerbocker-logoNew Holland Knickerbocker Gin (85 proof)
Visual: Perfectly clear.
Nose: Highly spiced with lemon citrus and juniper blend.  mouth-watering and luscious.
Taste: Dry, yet sweet with a lot of lemon notes.  Almost a lemon vodka with an echo of juniper.
Finish: Lingering essence of dry lemonade and vodka.  Pleasant, but less herbal than most gins.
Overall: Quite mixable, and in the mould of new world artisanal gins.
GSN Rating: B+

Barrel_Gin_750mllabelKnickerbocker Barrel Gin (80 proof)
Visual: Mild gold.
Nose: Dusky orange/juniper blend. Refreshing.
Taste: There’s a lot of orange peel and an antique, turn of the century flavor to this gin.  The juniper pops through now and again, but the citrus dominates.  The barrel aging mellows the high notes out and creates a smooth character.
Finish: Medium-long with pleasant citrus tones acting as a palate cleanser.
Overall: Not what I expected, but another excellent product from New Holland.  They are definitely one of the better distillers in the north mid-west.
GSN Rating: B+

caf449552ab48aa392cdb33881a69d77Blue Haven (80 proof)
Visual: Clear (surprisingly!)
Nose: Yes, it smells like blueberries.
Taste: Elegant, fruity, well-balanced, Victorian.  Simply put, outstanding.  One of the best gins I’ve ever had and that’s saying a lot.  This took creativity, ingenuity and a dash of insanity to craft.
Finish: Medium long with a goodly dose of the blueberry fruitiness still making itself known.
Overall: A gin that stands well above many New World, 21st century gins.  This is excellent on its own, or used in a Dry Martini (make sure to add a lemon twist for the full effect).  Kudos to New Holland for a new favorite on the GSN backbar!
GSN Rating: A+

For more information go to: New Holland Brew

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