GSN Spirited News: March 2nd 2021 Edition

Grey Goose has unveiled Essences, a new range of vodkas infused with real fruit and cold-distilled botanicals. The lineup will initially include Strawberry & Lemongrass, White Peach & Rosemary, and Watermelon & Basil expressions. The new range is at 30% abv and has no gluten, artificial ingredients, sugar or carbs. It’s aimed at the fast-growing at-home cocktail segment. Grey Goose Essences are rolling out nationwide, retailing at $30 a 750-ml.

Louisville, Kentucky-based Michter’s will release another edition of its Barrel Strength Rye in March, the first barrel proof rye released since April 2019. The 2021 release comes in at an average abv of 55.15% and will retail at around $100 a 750-ml. This limited release will sit alongside Michter’s core US*1 portfolio and the company’s higher-end age-stated releases, all of which are currently allocated to help manage supply.

Crested Butte, Colorado-based Montanya Distillers has partnered with Louisiana-based Three Roll Estate to help meet rising demand. Under the partnership, Montanya will bottle a 50/50 blend of the Three Roll rum with Montanya Oro and Platino for a short period of time until Montanya replenishes its inventory after its distillery expansion. To introduce Colorado whiskey finishing notes, the blends will first age in Laws Whiskey House barrels. The new blends and bottles should start to hit stores in March.

Fort Collins, Colorado’s Old Elk has launched its first limited release of 2021: Sour Mash Reserve. The whiskey is distilled from a mash of 51% corn, 34% malted barley, and 15% rye and was distilled in New York. The first batch consists of 5,040 bottles that will be distributed in select markets by Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits. It will retail for a suggested price of $90 a 750-ml.

Welsh whisky maker Penderyn Distillery has announced two new single cask whiskies exclusive to the U.S. market, set to hit shelves on March 1, just in time for St. David’s Day, the national day of Wales. First up is Penderyn 15 Year Old Bourbon Matured Single Cask, a 59% abv whisky that matured in an ex-Buffalo Trace barrels. A very limited supply will be available for around $170 a 750-ml. The other new whisky is Penderyn 13 Year Old Rich Oak Single Cask, a 58.1% abv whisky matured in Buffalo Trace barrels before finishing in a European oak cask that was shaved, toasted, and re-charred. This whisky will retail for $150 and is also rolling out in very limited amounts. The whiskies are available in select states across the U.S.

Bumbu Rum Company is introducing Bumbu Créme, a new line extension joining its existing Bumbu Original and Bumbu XO expressions. Retailing at $35 a 750-ml., Bumbu Créme is a 15% abv blend of rum, spices, and real dairy cream and is recommended to be served chilled straight, on the rocks, or in cocktails.

Barrell Craft Spirits has launched Batch 028, the company’s latest Bourbon whiskey. The new release is a blend of 10- and 11-year-old whiskies distilled and matured in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Indiana before blending and bottling at cask strength by Barrell. Batch 028 comes in at 54.43% abv and will retail for a suggested price of $90 a 750-ml. Barrell’s whiskies are currently available in 46 states across the U.S.

Mezcal El Silencio is entering the Tequila category with the introduction of a Cristalino expression called Dahlia. Retailing at $40, Dahlia is a 100%-blue agave Reposado Tequila, which is filtered through activated charcoal. Constellation acquired a minority interest in El Silencio for an undisclosed sum in 2019. The brand is known for its core Ensamble and Espadin mezcals.

Courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Review: Larceny Barrel Proof Bourbon Batch A121 & Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch A121

Each winter, spring and autumn, a limited edition bottling of Larceny Barrel Proof Bourbon & Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Bourbon is released. The latest batch of Larceny Barrel Proof A121 has a mash bill of 68% corn, 20% wheat, and 12% malted barley. After aging between six to eight years, the bourbon is non-chill filtered and bottled at barrel proof.

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof A121’s mash bill is 78 percent corn, 12 percent barley and 10 percent rye, and aged for a fairly long twelve years.

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 this year, bottled in January of 2021.

Larceny Barrel Proof A121 (114.8 proof) – The nose presents stone fruit essences, wildflowers along with maple cream and baking spice. The initial tasting reveals a sweet and toffee-like entry followed by more of that maple and cinnamon toast. At the finish, all winds down with some baked apple and nutmeg.

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof A121 (123.6 proof) – Greeted with a breakfast cereal nose, tinged with some orange marmalade. The flavor is excellent with a slight sweet and sour quality balanced by a slight bitter cocoa patina. Very round and even mouthfeel and balance of flavors. Things come to a close with a nutty pecan-like, sweet roll finish.

GSN’s Remarks: GSN has been impressed with all of the seasonal Heaven Hill releases over the past several years, and it appears that they’ve achieved a new benchmark in bourbons with these latest two releases. Especially when considering the price point of these limited editions, you can’t go wrong. They are everything a bourbon should hope to be, and more, as you can water it to the proof you enjoy. We’ve found that adding a few rocks to a small glass works very well. If the A121 bottlings are any indication, the B121 & C121 releases will be powerhouses. GSN Rating: A+

For more information go to: Heaven Hill

GSN Brews News: February 23rd 2021 Edition

Mark Anthony Brands’ Mike’s Hard has announced a new lemonade-flavored seltzer, entering the growing subcategory within the wider world of hard seltzers. The 5% abv RTD is launching in four flavors—lemon, strawberry, mango, and pineapple—available together in a variety 12-pack of 12-ounce cans. Mike’s Hard Lemonade Seltzer is now available across the U.S. 

Memphis, Tennessee-based Wiseacre Brewing is launching a new year-round brew, Bow Echo Hazy IPA. Bow Echo joins Ananda India Pale Ale, Gotta Get Up to Get Down Coffee Milk Stout, and Tiny Bomb Pilsner in the core range. With a new 40,000 square foot brewery in downtown Memphis, Wiseacre has annual capacity of 100,000 barrels.

Colorado-based Breckenridge Brewery, part of the Anheuser-Busch portfolio, is launching a new hard seltzer label called Good Company. The brand’s 15-can variety packs include three cans each of Good Company’s Apple and Pear, Black Cherry, Peach, Mountain Berry, and Honeydew flavors. Rolling out across Colorado, each can of Good Company seltzer contains zero sugar, is at 5% abv and has two grams of carbs and 100 calories.

Courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Spirited News: February 23rd 2021 Edition

Diageo has launched a new, lower-calorie brand extension for Baileys Irish Cream. The release, Baileys Deliciously Light, comes in at 16.1% abv and has 40% fewer calories and 40% less sugar than the original Baileys. To kick off the launch, Diageo has partnered with Cocktail Courier, a home mixology-focused e-commerce platform, to create four cocktail kits showing off the new liqueur. Baileys Deliciously Light is now available nationwide for around $25 a 750-ml.

Chopin Vodka is partnering with fashion designer Vera Wang on a limited edition release. The vodka collaboration is called Vera Wang x Chopin and was distilled using a special variety of young potato that Wang personally selected, which is grown near Chopin’s distillery in Krzesk, Poland. Wang was also involved in designing the bottle, which maintains Chopin’s standard shape but features a matte black and white color scheme and a poem on the back written by Wang. The new edition will have select availability throughout the U.S., retailing at $100 a 750-ml.

Agave spirits brand Puntagave is introducing a new line of Tequila-based hard seltzers, including Grapefruit Peach, Meyer Lemon Ginger, and Blood Orange flavors. Made in Mexico, the range is at 5% abv and retails at $14 a 4-pack of cans. Concurrently, Puntagave is debuting an Artisanal Double Barrel Tequila retailing at $90. Artisanal Double Barrel is aged in used American oak for one year, then split between new American oak and new French oak for further maturation.

Edrington’s the Macallan has announced a new series of ultra-limited whiskies, celebrating British artist Peter Blake. The rarest whiskies, called Anecdotes of Ages, were all distilled in 1967 and are packaged in 13 handblown bottles with collages created by Blake. One bottle will be auctioned by Sotheby’s to support the Guggenheim museum’s diversity and inclusion initiatives. The distiller will also release 322 bottles of the same 1967 vintage whisky—called Anecdotes of Ages: Down to Work edition—that will be available globally for around $83,000. The collaboration also resulted in An Estate, A Community, and A Distillery, a more widely available (yet still limited) whisky that will retail for around $1,200.

MGP Ingredients has announced plans to roll out Green Hat gin throughout its distribution network over the next few months. Green Hat, created by Washington, D.C.’s New Columbia Distillers, was acquired by MGP in March 2020 and is the first commercially available gin from the Indiana-based contract distilling giant. The company will make four varieties—Green Hat’s original gin, a navy strength variant, Citrus Floral gin, and Summer Cup Cordial—available across the U.S. with suggested retail prices of $30 for the original and two flavored releases, and $33 for the navy strength release.

Saison Rum is introducing a new Sherry Cask expression, imported by the Craft Spirits Cooperative. Retailing at $45 a 750-ml., the new entry is a blend of 60% Trinidad and 40% Barbados rums, aged for five years in ex-Bourbon barrels. It is then transferred to ex-Cognac casks for a year before a final three-month finishing period in Pedro Ximenez barrels. Saison Sherry Cask (42% abv) is handled directly by Craft Spirits Cooperative in California and by Vintus NY in New York.

Tia Maria, part of the Disaronno International portfolio, has unveiled a new ready-to-drink cocktail, the Iced Coffee Frappé. The 4% abv offering is available nationwide in 200-ml. 4-packs retailing at $10, with single 200-ml. cans positioned at $2.30. Meanwhile, the core Tia Maria coffee liqueur ($28 a 750-ml.) has received a new bottle design that emphasizes its cold brew method and ingredients of 100% Arabica coffee beans and Madagascar vanilla.

Courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Review: Copalli Rum

Brand co-founders Anya Fernald and Todd Robinson developed Copalli Rum, an organic single estate rum made in the heart of the Southern Belize jungle, in late 2018. Copalli is made from just three ingredients including heirloom sugar cane, yeast, and filtered rainforest canopy water sourced from the distillery’s farm.

“Copalli is an incredibly unique spirit,” says Copal Tree Distillery co-founder Anya Fernald. She adds, “It’s a 100% authentic rum with all aspects of the product hand-crafted and grown in the most ecological way possible.”

The distillery is zero-impact and powered by sustainable, regenerative biomass and the process supports full-circle conversion of waste from production into agricultural inputs. The sugarcane used to produce the rum is grown on Copal Tree Farms, so all levels of products can be overseen from start to finish. Rainwater is used to proof the rum down to drinking strength.

The founders have spearheaded the philanthropic support of the local community in Southern Belize for over 20 years, through a legacy of rainforest preservation, marine conservation, and support of local education. Copal Tree Distillery supports the local community as the largest employer in Southern Belize, providing over 100 jobs to local residents in a clean and safe working environment. Additionally, the group provides education grants for local girls and boys to continue their education into high school.

White Rum (84 Proof/42% ABV) A double distillation of fresh sugarcane juice–crushed within two hours of being cut–the white rum is made with a blend of pot and column distillation with a long resting of the finished product on stainless steel. GSN Remarks: Opens with a fresh and funky agricole nose. The entry is quite dry and has a soft smokiness. Body is heavier than expected with a round and silky mouthfeel. After half a minute, some of the sweeter notes peek out with a slight fruity/nutty character. Quite interesting a flavorful. GSN Rating: A

Barrel Rested Rum (88 Proof/44% ABV) The Barrel Rested Rum is made using double distillation of sugarcane juice, use of exclusively full-bodied copper pot still distillation with French technique. It is aged in American Oak bourbon barrels. GSN Remarks: Most of the cane nose is overshadowed by a heavy dose of oak cask. The entry is almost akin to a young whiskey. But, shortly, the rum character makes itself known, albeit in a subtle fashion. The overall effect is of a very dry, barrel forward spirit. If you’re looking for an aged rum to use in tiki-styled drinks, this is a good one to go for as it has similar characteristics to some of the overproof rums in a less fiery presentation. GSN Rating: A-

For more information go to: Copalli Rum

GSN Review: Black Velvet Apple

Black Velvet Whisky recently launched Black Velvet Apple. Apple joins Black Velvet Toasted Caramel to further expand the current flavor offerings in the franchise.

“Black Velvet Apple is an approachable flavor that marries the quality of Black Velvet Whisky with the hottest flavor in brown spirits today for an extraordinary taste,” said Hannah Venhoff, Group Product Director, Heaven Hill Brands. “With renewed attention and investment in Black Velvet, we are invigorating the brand with thoughtful innovation that honors the Black Velvet legacy and brings new consumers to this iconic brand.”

Heaven Hill Brands acquired the Black Velvet Distilling Company in November 2019, quickly moving forward on infrastructure developments to build upon the success and experience of the Black Velvet team in Lethbridge, Canada.

GSN’s Remarks: If you like apple, and you like whiskey, you will love Black Velvet Apple. This is like a boozy candy apple, or boozy apple candy, take your pick. We really have been enjoying this at the GSN offices at the end of the day. It’s really in the vein of an RTD cocktail. Pour it over ice, or do a shot followed by a pint of Imperial Stout or a strong porter. This is a real winner in the ever expanding Black Velvet flavored whiskey portfolio. GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: Heaven Hill

GSN Review: PaQui Silvera Tequila

A top finding in PaQuí’s consumer research uncovered that while a lot of people love the idea of Tequila, they don’t actually love the actual liquid. So founder John Chappell found a master distiller in Jalisco, Mexico – the highly respected Gilberto Jasso — who knew a different way to make Tequila.

“I created PaQuí because I felt there had to be a better tasting Tequila – one that fully expresses the beautiful aromas and flavors of the blue agave fruit, without the harsh bite that is so common in Tequila,” said PaQuí founder John Chappell. “I wanted to create a Tequila that is a pure pleasure to sip and enjoy in cocktails.”

The word PaQuí means “to be happy” in the Aztec language, and the branding and liquid inside the bottle bring that emotion to life. The bottle design was inspired by an Aztec pyramid and the dancing Mexican warrior on the label in his headdress – but no weapon – inspires fun.

PaQuí Tequila stands out from other luxury Tequilas thanks to three key differentiators in the production process:

  • Only agave piñas that reach exactly 26 brix ripeness (sugar level) make the cut. These agave plants take seven or more years to mature; most mass production Tequilas are made with younger, less-ripe agave (as young as four years).
  • Fresh wine yeast – not airborne yeast – is used in the fermentation process, for control and consistency over the finished product. PaQuí also uses stainless steel fermentation tanks and pot stills to avoid “off” flavors.
  • A selective distillation process goes further than most major brands by separating the “heart” of the distillate to remove impurities that are harsh, bitter substances, allowing the pleasant aromas, fruit, minerals and soft texture to fully emerge.

PaQuí Silvera is unaged, PaQuí Reposado is aged for four months in ex-whisky barrels of American oak, and PaQuí Añejo is aged for 14 months in ex-whisky American oak barrels. Unlike its competitors, there is a great deal of restraint used in the oak aging, retaining the sweet agave fruit of the Silvera.

GSN’s Remarks: Fresh agave nose with a hint of oak. A wisp of smoke on the entry, with a burst of concentrated agave flavor. There is a lot of character to this spirit. Slightly sweet, but also dry; mildly spicy, but also vegetal. The flavor goes on for quite awhile, ending with a minimally tannic and bitter note. You’d swear that this had been aged in oak for at least a few months. This makes for a perfect sipper, but also a rare young tequila that will add a depth of flavor to your cocktails. One note of warning. The cap on the bottle has a sharp metal rim and is also somewhat difficult to remove. Take care when opening the bottle to avoid cutting your hand.
GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: PaQui Tequila

GSN Review: Castle & Key Restoration Rye 2020 Batch #1

Castle & Key Distillery recently announced the launch of its Restoration Rye, the first whiskey from the Castle & Key team since its founding in 2014. The release pays tribute to the restoration of the historic property, which was once the iconic Old Taylor Distillery, originally built over a century ago. Alongside the Restoration Rye, Castle & Key will also release Roots of Ruin Gin and Sacred Spring Vodka, all of which will appear in newly designed bottles.

Restoration Rye, a name that speaks to the restoration of property, was released in two batches. Castle & Key’s strategy focuses on creating spirits with consistency of high quality, rather than consistency of flavor.  No whiskey release from Castle & Key will ever taste exactly the same.

The 2020 Restoration Rye release features two batches, both with unique flavor profiles. Batch #1 is created from a blend of 60 barrels, and Batch #2 is comprised of 57 barrels. During the blending process, barrels are grouped into pods with specific sensory profiles. Those pods are then blended together to achieve the unique, high quality flavor profiles.

GSN’s Thoughts: At 103 proof, there is plenty of flavor and body here. A softer and somehow root-like character mingles throughout the tasting, along with the typical rye spice. It’s the unusual root beer/sarsaparilla edge that keeps surprising. This is a slightly sweet, but very evocative rye whiskey, that begs for contemplation. We keep going back to this one, curious and intrigued. Well worth the experience. GSN Rating: A-

For more information go to: Castle and Key

GSN Spirited News: February 16th 2021 Edition

Deep Eddy vodka has extended with a new Lime flavor. Retailing at $20 a 750-ml., the new entry is debuting nationwide next month, backed by trade and consumer media, social media, out-of-home displays, and retail point-of-sale support. In addition to Deep Eddy Lime, Deep Eddy Vodka’s portfolio includes Original Vodka, Orange, Peach, Lemon, Ruby Red, Cranberry, and Sweet Tea. 

Glass Revolution Imports has announced the U.S. launch for Bimber English Single Malt Whisky, set to debut in March. The importer will bring three single cask releases from Bimber’s Country Collection to select markets across the U.S. for a suggested price of $160 a bottle. The three whiskies all matured in different casks—ex-Bourbon, new American oak, and ex-Sherry—and are bottled at cask strengths of 59.1% abv, 58.6% abv, and 58.9% abv, respectively.

Courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Brews News: February 16th 2021 Edition

Boonville, California-based Anderson Valley Brewing Co. has re-released its Summer Solstice ale. Clocking in at 5% abv, the seasonal brew is available on draft and in 6-packs of 12-ounce cans at retailers nationwide. Anderson Valley also offers Boont Amber ale and Blood Orange gose, among other beers.

DuClaw Brewing Co. in Baltimore has debuted Carob-Mel Sutra. A twist on a Belgian-style brew, the new beer has notes of carob powder, caramel, chocolate, and dark roast coffee. The 10% abv Carob-Mel Sutra is available across 19 states and Washington, D.C. in 6-packs of 12-ounce cans.

U.K.-based Big Drop Brewing is launching its non-alcoholic beers in the U.S. The company has partnered with Chicago’s Great Central Brewing Co. to debut its Pine Trail Pale, Galactic Extra Dark, and Paradiso IPA offerings in Illinois, western Michigan, and the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. Six-packs of 12-ounce cans retail at $12. Each of Big Drop’s beers clock in at 0.5% abv or less.

Pennsylvania craft brewer Troegs has added a new brew to its year-round portfolio. Grand Cacao Chocolate Stout is a 6.5% abv beer made with chocolate malt, caramel malt, and roasted barley, then cold-steeped on Peruvian cacao nibs and natural vanilla with a splash of milk sugar. It’s rolling out now in 12-ounce bottles and ½ and 1/6 kegs across Troegs’ footprint, joining Perpetual IPA, Troegenator, Sunshine Pilsner, Haze Charmer, and DreamWeaver Wheat in the year-round lineup.

Arizona-based Four Peaks Brewing is introducing Rosé Our Way, a new beer brewed to mimic the flavors and appearance of rosé wine. It’s made with Mosaic, Hallertau Blanc, and Southern Passion hops, and cranberry juice, which adds tartness and color. Rosé Our Way (6.7% abv) is available now in bottled 6-packs throughout Arizona as well as in select parts of California, Nevada, and New Mexico. A spring seasonal, it’ll be available until early summer.

Courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Review: Dhōs Gin Free Elixir

The adventure began over 25 years ago on the Ransom organic farm and distillery in Sheridan, Oregon where they pioneered the American craft spirits movement. Their motto is hands on production with ‘low tech’ – no robots or computers. The creation of Dhōs stemmed from a conversation at the distillery when someone asked ‘what if they could provide the craft cocktail experience, yet without any of the alcohol, giving people the freedom to drink on their own terms?’ With that, they tasted through the ‘virtual brands’ currently on the market and quickly realized that a grounding in actual craft spirits would be invaluable in creating a true quality craft spirit experience, without the alcohol.

Dhōs Gin Free has all the flavors of the classic spirit—juniper, natural botanicals, citrus, and spices; and is sugar free with zero calories

GSN’s Thoughts: The nose is grassy and herbal with a slight piney, rosemary-ish perfume. The initial taste has some juniper, which is quickly followed by a cooling mint, then followed by some gingery heat. None of these are overwhelming or overly pronounced, but they make for an interesting flavor journey. As things settle down after a minute, I’m reminded of an unsweetened herbal lozenge or black tea. Mixed with tonic water, these flavors still come through quite clearly, and the blend makes for an enjoyable non-alcoholic cocktail. But, Dhōs Gin Free will also work well with lemonade or even club soda with a lime twist. We like it. GSN Rating: A-

For more information go to: Dhos Spirits

GSN Review: Remy Martin VSOP Cognac

This month, Rémy Martin announced a limited-edition VSOP bottle inspired by the iconic design first commercialized in the 80’s and 90’s. The refreshed design with gold detailing pays tribute to the musical excellence of mixtape culture.

The limited-edition packaging pays homage to the legendary sounds that stemmed from two influential decades in music.  Throughout music history, the figurative beat of a city, neighborhood, or territory, have helped curate the unique sounds that come from that ground. The heart and soul of local communities created cultural movements that paved the way for future artists to innovate, while paying homage to their roots and the musical styles that came before them.

“The Rémy Martin VSOP bottle has been an icon in music culture for generations, and we are thrilled to debut this refreshed limited-edition design,” said Tina Reejsinghani, Vice President at Rémy Martin Americas. “Musical artists of the past have shaped and inspired the sounds we hear in music today and that same timeless excellence is reflected in what we have celebrated with our Cognacs throughout our own history.”

Most recently, the House launched “Ground’s Melody,” a two-part content series which revealed the figurative and literal parallels between music and Rémy Martin Cognac, both entities rooted in cultures of excellence. Last summer, Rémy Martin announced the first-ever “House Beats Challenge,” led by globally recognized music producers, where fans had the chance to submit a beat using sounds from their home for a chance to win a VIP event to foster mentorship. Additionally, the Rémy Producers series honored the exploration of new sounds from local level artists and created a platform for music producers. This program provided these emerging artists with mentorship from industry leaders, including Grammy-award winning talent.

GSN’s Thoughts: Rémy Martin is a classic, and with good reason. The flavors are excellent and smooth, with a character that makes it great for sipping as well as mixing. This limited edition bottling and box are fun and make the point that music and adult beverages have gone hand-in-hand forever. About the only way they could have improved this limited edition was to include an actual mixtape in the box to listen to while partying. But, all that aside, the Cognac itself is top shelf. GSN Rating: A-

For more information go to: Rémy Martin

GSN Review: Alfred Giraud French Malt Whiskies

With almost one hundred years of experience crafting some of the world’s most coveted cognacs, The GIRAUD family draws on its mastery of blending to establish a new tradition of French malt whisky. After working nine years at a renowned Scotch whisky producer, fifth generation Philippe Giraud and family began a new chapter in 2012: French whisky.

Family owned and operated, they use their expertise in blending and aging, and connections to exceptional casks and ingredients in France. In addition to creating their own grain to glass malts, the Giraud’s source fine single malts from all over France, seeking out flavors that complement their French aging and blending process. Layering multiple French malts is the backbone of their signature taste.

Their limited-production whiskies are dependent on the availability of exceptional casks. HERITAGE 45.9% ABV (annual release of 23 casks) and HARMONIE 46.1% ABV (annual release of only 7 casks) are blends of three French malt distillates matured in three types of casks: predominantly those used to age extra old cognacs, as well as new French Limousin and American oak casks. The blends are then matured exclusively in extra-old cognac casks until the flavor is perfectly balanced – HERITAGE soft and elegant, HARMONIE silky and slightly peated.

GSN’s Thoughts: HERITAGE is a soft, but deeply rich whiskey with a heavy malt character. An almost bread-like character comes through with a bakery warm flavor. Dry, self assured and tending toward a woodiness, it has a somewhat peppery finish. The HARMONIE has a slight peated nose with another mellow entry rich with malt. This one is even smoother and buttery in mouthfeel. The flavors are rich, but also subtle with a slight Armagnac character of spiced apples. The peat on the palate is even more reticent than its perfume.

The HARMONIE has a slight edge over the HERITAGE, but overall, these are both excellent whiskies that shine and are stellar examples of the craft. If you are a whisky lover, do yourself a favor and purchase a bottle of each. Giraud are producing some of the best whiskies on the planet. GSN Rating: A++

For more information go to: Alfred Giraud Whisky


GSN Review: Ferrand S.D.A. Cognac

While not a new addition to the portfolio, Ferrand Cognac S.D.A. has has recently undergone an ABV change as well as a packaging update. Selection des Anges (SDA) honors the unique character of the Angels’ Share and, thanks to its extended ageing, offers a concentrated brandy with delicate flavors.

Ferrand Cognac S.D.A. is a 1er Cru de Cognac, Grande Champagne with an ABV of 41.8% using 100% Ugni Blanc grapes. It is double distilled in open flame 25hL copper pot stills and aged in 25% new Oak casks during the first years and then 75% is aged in Cognac barrels.

GSN’s Thoughts: An immediate rich, dark fruit nose of stewed prune and black cherry. The flavor is an interesting intertwining of high and low notes. The high notes have a fine, bright quality that allows the oak to shine; whereas the low notes are more spirit driven and studded with notes of berry, apple, pear and baking spice. The finish is medium-long and has an even fade. Ferrand always crafts an exceptional product, and this one is no exception. A perfect after dinner cognac to sip and savor.
GSN Rating: A+

For more information go to: Maison Ferrand