GSN Review: Tanteo Navidad

Tanteo Tequila, the only distillery owned by its cooperative of agave farmers, recently announced the launch of a new limited-edition, seasonal expression, Tanteo Navidad. The brand’s first-ever aged offering, Navidad is an ultra-premium Añejo tequila rested for 18 months in American oak barrels, then hand-infused with pequin chilis, nutmeg, clove, cinnamon, ginger and cocoa beans. 10% of all profits from the sale of Tanteo Navidad go towards Un Salto Con Destino, a charity providing essential medical services to underprivileged members of Tanteo’s Mexican community.

Tanteo has been committed to community revitalization since their inception. Prior to the Tanteo Tequila distillery’s arrival, Juanacatlán had fallen on difficult times, with residents often having to travel long distances to find work and support their families. Tanteo Tequila’s presence has not only made employment increasingly available and accessible, it has also enabled many women to join the workforce, many for the first time in their lives. Roughly 80% of the Tanteo Tequila distillery’s workers are female, with a particular emphasis on hiring single mothers and widows.

Tanteo uses estate grown Blue Weber Agave raised in the soils and subtropical climate of Jalisco’s Cienega region, located in the southeast of the Tequila Lowlands and west of the Tequila Highlands. Unlike other spirits that simply add flavor, each Tanteo Tequila is made by infusing fresh ingredients by hand, whether local peppers for their Jalapeno, Chipotle and Habanero tequilas, or pequin chilis and cocoa with seasonal spices for Navidad.

“We’re so proud to release Tanteo Navidad this holiday season, especially after so many people weren’t able to fully celebrate with friends and family last year. Navidad is the perfect spirit to share with company — it makes a great eggnog with lots of flavor and just a hint of spice,” says Master Blender and CEO, Neil Grosscup.

Tanteo Navidad is available exclusively on their website. It can be enjoyed neat or in a variety of cocktails including these recipes.

GSN’s Remarks: A remarkable specialty tequila. The nose holds a friendly chili character, letting you know that this will be a palate warmer. At first taste, the Scoville heat of pequins (30,000 to 60,000 Units) seems as if it will overwhelm the overall character of the tequila, but it is held in check. Many of the other spices play minor walk on roles, but the chocolate does support the lower end of the flavor spectrum. We agree that Tanteo Navidad is best enjoyed in a cocktail, and it does work exceptionally well in a homemade egg nog or coquito. Try it as well in a hot buttered tequila. GSN Rating: A-

For more information go to: Tanteo Tequila



GSN Review: Partida Elegante & Partida Roble Fino Anjeo

Partida Tequila Elegante, an extra añejo tequila aged more than 36 months in American oak, debuted at the Aspen Food and Wine Classic’s ‘Ultimate Agave: Mexico’s Ultra Premium Tequilas’ seminar led by Steven Olson, one of America’s leading spirits experts. “As a passionate tequila consumer, I must say that ‘elegant’ is not a word that I would normally use to describe the category, but the Partida Elegante absolutely merits the description.”, shared Olson.

In addition to the exceptional tequila in the bottle, the packaging (a hallmark of J. Gary Shansby, chairman and CEO of Partida Tequila) for the Elegante is refined and distinctive. The Partida Elegante comes in an individual gift box with numbering on each bottle. The gift box includes a crystal top for the Elegante bottle, which can serve as a decanter once the tequila is finished. Each Elegante bottle has a Mexican sterling silver Partida Tequila Spirit Bird on a black leather strap tied around the neck. The Spirit Bird necklace itself makes a unique and beautiful gift.

GSN’s Remarks: The nose is absolutely smashing, with a fruity, bright and clean scent. Upon entry, the flavor is soft, somewhat oak forward and dry. This opens up into a slightly spicy, round and tempered agave character. The fruit and oak intertwine to perfection, each one sharing the spotlight. There is a slight minty edge on the finish, leaving things crisp, and refreshing. Definitely a fine sipper for very special occasions, this expression is the pinnacle of the Partida line. GSN Rating: A++

Tequila Partida also recently launched Partida Roble Fino, a luxury line of sipping tequilas. Roble Fino, which translates to “Fine Oak”, is a limited release of only 7,200 bottles which are available in select markets across the US. Partida Roble Fino tequilas combine Partida’s award-winning tequila with Edrington’s (owners of Single Malt Scotches The Macallan, Highland Park and The Glenrothes) best in cask management. Roble Fino includes a Reposado, Añejo and the world’s first-ever whisky sherry oak finished Reposado Cristalino.

When Partida’s Maestro Tequilero, José Valdez, visited Scotland for the first time in 2018, he immediately felt the connection to the homeland of the world’s finest single malts. “After my visit to Scotland, I wanted to explore how I can combine these four corners of the world: the volcanic red soil from Mexico, bourbon barrels from the US and Scotland’s single malt barrels finished in Oloroso casks from Jerez de la Frontera,” says Maestro Tequilero José Valdez. “Balancing the journey from Mexico to Scotland and Spain required a great amount of taste testing and in the end, we’ve created an incredible agave-forward spirit, double aged in American oak and Spanish white oak. It’s truly the single malt of tequila and unlike any you’ve ever tasted before.” 

Note: GSN was sent a bottle of the Roble Fino Añejo Sherry Oak Finish for review.

GSN’s Remarks: Tequila and sherry go hand in hand. With the fruitiness inherent in each, they meld into something that often can be greater than either alone. In this case, it is a resounding success. Sherry on the nose with a more subtle agave coloration, makes for a bright and cheery beginning. The taste also carries the sherry forward, but not so much as to overwhelm the tequila spirit. There is a warm nuttiness that blends with the oak and makes for a flavorful baked good character. The finish is quite long with the agave winning out at the end. GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: Partida Tequila


GSN Review: GlenDronach Whisky

Nestled in the valley of Forgue, deep in the East Highland hills, is The GlenDronach, one of the oldest licensed distilleries in Scotland. The GlenDronach is a true Highland style: perfect for slow aging in Spanish sherry oak. At The GlenDronach Distillery, they have continued the tradition of its founder James Allardice since 1826, by aging their Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky in Spanish Pedro Ximénez and Oloroso sherry casks from Andalucía, Spain. Its warehouses have been guarded for nearly 200 years by a parliament of rooks who love The GlenDronach so much they try to nest in its warehouses. The distillery folk believe as long as the rooks remain at the distillery, it will be good for the whisky.

The GlenDronach 12 Year Old – Quite fruity on the nose with a caramel apple signature. The palate is sweet with still more apple character. The finish has an autumnal quality of raisins and a wood. GSN Rating: A-

The GlenDronach 15 Year Old – This carries on with the fruitiness, with an apple cake nose. Notes of preserved fruits add a touch of festivity. The flavor is amazingly rich and thick with dried fruit, but also adds some cocoa and cinnamon stick as high notes. The finish has a fruit cake-like fade out. GSN Rating: A

The GlenDronach 18 Year Old – Here, we are getting into heavy sherry territory on the nose, but tinged with a fine edge of aged rum as well. This is almost tropical in character. More of the fruitcake and cocoa are apparent here, with that curious rum character coming out to play. Rich and fulsome, with interesting high notes of berry preserves at the very end. If you like your whisky sweet, this is a masterpiece. GSN Rating: A+

The GlenDronach 21 Year Old – Very complex with a somewhat musty sherry nose. Darker notes of coffee bean and walnut bitters add to the intrigue. The flavor has the expected sweetness, but this is remarkably tempered by the amount of wood that has been infused over two decades. Over the finish, notes of dark cherry, pecan and bitter chocolate bring the journey to a close. GSN Rating: A

The GlenDronach Port Wood – Here again, the fruit forward nose is apparent with dried fig, date, raisin and current. The overall taste is of berries, chocolate, and plenty of oak. A delicate balance between these two elements passes back and forth. A dry and slightly creosote character brings things to a fine finish. GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: GlenDronach Distillery


GSN Spirited News: November 30th 2021 Edition

Boca Raton, Florida-based tonic and bitters maker Dugan & Dame are releasing chocolate bitters for the holiday season. The limited edition bottles are made in partnership with Dewar’s 15 Year Old Blended Scotch and the chocolate was supplied by Delray Beach, Florida-based 5150 Chocolate, which sourced and roasted Ghanese cocoa for the product. Dugan & Dame’s Cocoa D’amour Chocolate Bitters are available now from its website for $16 a 100-ml. bottle. Dugan & Dame was founded by husband and wife team Vaughan and Angela Dugan.

Tel Aviv, Israel’s M&H Distillery has announced the U.S. launch of Apex Dead Sea, the eighth release from the single malt producer. The 56.2% abv whisky is blended from 20 casks—ex-Bourbon, red wine, and STR (shaved, toasted, recharred) barrels—all matured on the roof of a hotel over 1,000 feet below sea level in the Dead Sea region. The first batch of Apex Dead Sea is limited to 4,892 bottles available in select countries including France, the U.K., the United States, the Netherlands, Taiwan, and Germany.

Utah-based High West is launching new entry High Country Single Malt nationwide early next month. Retailing at $80 a 750-ml., the newcomer is at 44% abv and is the first of the brand’s High Country bottlings to be finished in part in Oloroso sherry barrels, with no peated malt in the blend. Made from 100% High West distillate in Utah’s Wasatch Mountains, the whiskey is unfiltered and distilled on the grain.

Código 1530 has partnered with Playboy on a new special edition Tequila, Rare Hare Double Barrel Añejo. Aged in French oak Napa Valley Cabernet wine barrels and finished in Spanish Sherry-Fino casks, the new entry comes in a wooden presentation box and retails at $899 a bottle, with 1,530 individually numbered bottles rolling out. Rare Hare is available on the websites of both Código 1530 and Playboy, as well as in select retail outlets.

Information courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Review: Baker’s Exclusive Selection

Baker’s Bourbon recently introduced Baker’s Exclusive Selection, a limited time offering of extra aged single barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey collected from some of Baker Beam’s favorite warehouses on the James B. Beam Distilling Co.’s campus in Clermont, KY. Aged for 11 years and 8 months, the extra time in the barrel along with the changing seasons allows for even more distinct notes and layers of flavor to emerge from each individual barrel of Baker’s Exclusive Selection.

Baker’s Bourbon was created in 1992 by Sixth Generation Beam Master Distiller Booker Noe as part of the original Small Batch Bourbon Collection. Baker’s Bourbon is named after Baker Beam – grand-nephew of Jim Beam and a tenured distiller who worked at the Jim Beam Distillery for 38 years. Baker’s Bourbon began a new era as an exclusively single barrel bourbon in 2019, becoming as uniquely positioned among the James B. Beam Distilling Co. portfolio as its namesake Baker Beam is in the Beam family.

GSN’s Remarks: A wonderful holiday-like nose of fresh baked desserts. Caramel, vanilla, cocoa, nuts, cinnamon, are but a few of the lovely scents on the nose. The overall flavor character follows suit, with more caramel, cocoa, roasted nut and cinnamon toast. The finish is long with a fine fadeout of those selfsame spices. A perfect release for the season. GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: Baker’s Bourbon


GSN Spirited News: November 23rd 2021 Edition

Glenmorangie, part of the Moet Hennessy portfolio, is launching A Tale of Winter, a new innovation from the single malt Scotch whisky brand. Finished in Marsala wine casks from Sicily, the 13-year-old single malt retails at $100 and is bottled at 46% abv. 

Cognac Frapin is introducing two new offerings in the U.S., a VSOP and VIP XO. Frapin’s VSOP is made of 100% Grande Champagne Cognac, aged in limousin oak, and retails at $70 a 750-ml. The VIP XO expression, higher up the ladder, is a blend enhanced with very old Cognacs from the family cellars and retails at $250.

The Singleton is releasing a new 39-year-old single malt Scotch whisky from The Singleton of Glen Ord Distillery. Aged in a blend of casks including Port, red wine, Pedro Ximénez and Oloroso sherries, and then finished in French Bordeaux casks, the new luxury malt was bottled at 46.2% abv and retails at $2,680 a bottle, of which 1,695 are being released globally. The Singleton 39-Year-Old follows on from The Singleton 38-Year-Old within the Diageo brand’s Epicurean Odyssey Series.

Italy’s Villa Massa has launched Vermouth Giardino. The new label is debuting with two options, Vermouth Giardino Mediterranean Dry by Villa Massa and Vermouth di Torino Rosso Traditionale by Villa Massa. The former is a contemporary-style dry vermouth made with Sorrento lemon peels, at 18% abv and retailing for $25 a 750-ml. The latter is a Torino-style sweet vermouth, at 16% and the same price point. They are available now in the U.S. The vermouths join Villa Massa Limoncello and Amaretto in the brand’s lineup.

Alameda, California-based St. George Spirits is releasing its annual single malt. A yearly tradition since 2000, St. George Single Malt Whiskey, Lot 21 is blended from 26 barrels of single malt that St. George has distilled over the years, selected by head distiller and blender Dave Smith. With a 100% barley mashbill, the liquid spans batches aged 4.5 to 10 years across Kentucky Bourbon barrels, Tennessee whiskey barrels, apple brandy casks, and California Sauternes-style casks. It’s at 43% abv. The distillery produced 700 cases, with a 750-ml. bottle priced at $100 and available at fine spirits retailers nationally.

Bob Dylan’s Heaven’s Door whiskey brand has partnered with MGM Resorts International on a new exclusive bottling, 777 Blend. The new entry consists of three 7-year-old straight whiskeys: Heaven’s Door’s previously unreleased wheated Bourbon; a low rye Bourbon; and a straight rye whiskey. The 46.8% proof offering is now available at MGM Resorts’ Las Vegas properties including Bellagio, ARIA, MGM Grand, Park MGM, Mandalay Bay and The Mirage, as well as MGM National Harbor in Maryland.

Jefferson’s Bourbon, part of the Pernod Ricard portfolio, has debuted Ocean Voyage 24, the latest offering in its Ocean: Aged At Sea series. For this release, Jefferson’s whiskey traveled by boat through ports in the Caribbean and Central America, resulting in barrel exposure to high heat and tropical humidity. Retailing at $80 a 750-ml., Jefferson’s Ocean Voyage 24 is now available nationwide. Pernod Ricard acquired Jefferson’s along with the rest of Castle Brands for $223 million in 2019.

Conecuh Brands is introducing four new expressions under its Clyde May’s Whiskey label. They include: Clyde May’s Single Barrel Straight Bourbon 5-Year-Old (102 proof, $50); Special Reserve Straight Bourbon 6-Year-Old (110 proof, $60); 13 Year Cask Strength Alabama Style Whiskey (120 proof, $140); and Kentucky Straight Bourbon 15-Year-Old (112 proof, $200). 

Ireland’s Waterford Whisky, founded by industry veteran Mark Reynier, is rolling out a new bottling called Luna, made from biodynamically grown Irish barley. Luna is the latest whisky in Waterford’s Arcadian Series, which showcases rare barleys and forgotten ways of farming. Retailing at $125 a 750-ml., Luna is matured in a combination of 35% first-fill U.S. oak; 17% virgin U.S. oak; 26% premium French oak; and 22% Vin Doux Naturel oak. At 50% abv, it’s debuting in the U.S. in a supply of approximately 21,000 bottles (1,750 cases).

Calirosa Tequila, produced in Jalisco, Mexico, is launching a limited-edition Extra Añejo expression in the U.S. The newcomer is made with 100% blue agave and aged three years in California red wine barrels. Joining Calirosa’s existing lineup of Rosa Blanco and Añejo, Extra Añejo is at 40% abv and is priced at $200 a 750-ml. It’s available to pre-order now on ReserveBar. Calirosa is backed by Maroon 5 singer Adam Levine and his wife, model Behati Prinsloo.

Denver-based Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey has launched the second edition of Mountain Angel, the distillery’s 10-year-old, limited edition single malt whiskey. Batch 2 is bottled at 47.3% abv and matured entirely in new charred American oak casks. The whiskey carries a suggested retail price of $130 and is available in very limited quantities (roughly 600 bottles for this release) at Stranahan’s distillery and in select retail locations. It joins the company’s original expression and sits alongside other limited releases like Snowflake.

The Whistler Irish Whiskey has announced the annual release of its Imperial Stout Cask and Calvados Cask whiskies. This year’s version of The Whistler’s Imperial Stout Cask Finish—dubbed Batch 002—was made in collaboration with O’Hara’s Brewery in Bagenalstown, Ireland. It’s a blend of 50% wheat whiskey, 35% malt whiskey, and 15% grain, aged six months in casks from O’Hara’s that originally housed sherry, and bottled at 43% abv. Calvados Cask Finish is a continued collaboration with Chateau du Breuil composed of 35% malt whiskey and 65% grain whiskey, aged 15 months in the Chateau’s Calvados casks and also bottled at 43%. Only 3,000 bottles from Batch 002 will be available in the U.S. for a suggested $40.

American Liquor Co. Vodka has expanded distribution into Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa, on the heels of its successful initial launch in Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin. American Liquor Co. Vodka is a four-crop blend made from locally-grown Midwest winter wheat, light rye, Rio Grande potato, and white corn, and was co-founded and blended by master blender Chris Montana, who is also the owner of microdistillery Du Nord Social Spirits in Minneapolis. The brand retails at $24 a 750-ml.

Texas-based Marfa Spirit Co. has launched its inaugural product, Chihuahuan Desert Sotol. Led by entrepreneurs Josh Shepard, Seth Siegel-Gardner, and Morgan Weber in partnership with master sotolero Jacobo Jacquez, who is based in Janos, Mexico, the company aims to bring awareness to sotol with its debut product, which is distilled in Mexico and then processed and bottled in Marfa. Chihuahuan Desert Sotol (45% abv) is now available across Texas, retailing at $49 a 1-liter bottle.

Diageo has announced Johnnie Walker Masters of Flavour, a new ultra-limited release celebrating the vast stores of rare whisky available to master blender Jim Beveridge. The whiskies in the blend are all at least 48 years old and come from ghost distilleries like Glyn Albyn, Port Dundas, Brora, and Glenury Royal, as well as Cameronbridge, Blair Athol and Dalwhinnie. The release, one of Beveridge’s last before retiring at the end of the year, is bottled at 41.8% abv, and is limited to 288 bottles, priced at £20,000 (roughly $27,000).

Georgetown, Kentucky’s Blue Run Spirits has announced three holiday releases. First up is Blue Run’s Holiday Rye, available both as an individual bottle and as a gift set. The whiskey is a 53% abv special bottling of the company’s recently released Golden Rye, bottled at a higher proof (up from 47.5% abv) and retailing for $140 across Blue Run’s distribution footprint. Additionally, Blue Run will release a gift set version, with two tumblers from Aged & Ore, through online service Seelbach for $230. Finally, on December 1, Blue Run will kick off 12 Days of Single Barrel High Rye Bourbon, a series which will see bottlings from different barrels released each day. These will be available through Blue Run’s website and will retail for $140.

Casa Lumbre has launched Lost Irish, a new, internationally-minded Irish whiskey, that’s rolling out now in New York, Illinois, Texas, and California. The 40% abv whiskey is a blend of grain, malt, and pot still whiskies partially matured in six different cask types from around the world: South African brandy, Japanese Mizunara oak, European Sherry casks, Bourbon casks, North American rum casks, Australian Tawny Port casks, and South American rum casks. 

Information courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Review: Cocalero Clásico Resident Evil Infinite Darkness

Cocalero Clásico, the premium South American-inspired botanical spirit, announces the release of a limited edition bottling in collaboration with RESIDENT EVIL: Infinite Darkness, the popular Netflix anime series. The series takes place in the universe based on the popular Resident Evil game franchise and was created by Capcom with TMS Entertainment handling the production. The collector’s edition bottle is limited to just 1,000 cases and will be sold exclusively online.

Cocalero is a family of premium botanical spirits inspired by the flavors and culture of South America. Since its launch in 2013, Cocalero Clásico has grown to become one of the hottest spirit brands in Asia.

The first Resident Evil game was released in 1996 giving rise to the entirely new gaming genre of “survival horror.” The series has spawned over 140 different titles on consoles, phone apps, and more to become one of Capcom’s most popular brands. With a huge fanbase around the world, more than 100 million total copies from the game series have shipped worldwide.

“How better to salute two such iconic brands than coming together to create the ultimate collectors’ item?” remarked John Ralph, CEO of Intrepid Spirits and Cocalero founder. “Plus, the November release date is perfect timing for those about to shop for gifts this season; we are anticipating a huge holiday demand for this limited edition Cocalero bottling.”

The release celebrates RESIDENT EVIL: Infinite Darkness, a Netflix special series made to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Resident Evil which first released in 1996.

Cocalero Clásico (58 proof)
Visual: Emerald.
Nose: Lightly bitter and herbal. There is a hint of sweet grass and vanilla.
Taste: Initially quite sweet and in the liqueur category, after a half a minute that fades and a gentle herbal blend comes into play. Nothing aggressive or overwhelming, but rather a mild numbing quality coupled with a tinge of fruitiness.
Finish: Long and pleasant with no medicinal aftertaste.
Overall: I was expecting a more intense herbal quality, but this has a subtle flavor and easily imbibed.
GSN Rating: B

For more information go to: Shop Cocalero



GSN Review: Compass Box No Name, No. 3 Whiskey

Compass Box Whisky punched up the peat in its latest release of its limited edition Scotch whisky: No Name, No. 3 (48.9% ABV). This final creation in the No Name series brings a new smoky experience to the trio with just 10,794 bottles available worldwide.

“No Name was not intended to become a series, but we have thoroughly enjoyed showcasing different heavily-peated malt whiskies within a consistent recipe structure,” says John Glaser, Compass Box founder and whisky maker. “The interplay of smokiness between all three blends is completely different, showing that peat is far from one-dimensional. No Name, No. 3 showcases a rich intensity that makes it vibrant and expansive, with a wild yet graceful peatiness. No Name, No. 3 completes a compelling trilogy, and we are excited for fans of this style to try it.”

A big-boned and peaty whisky, No Name, No. 3 is based around malt whisky from the Laphroaig Distillery, aged in re-charred hogsheads. Compellingly waxy, fruity and sooty malt whisky from the Bowmore Distillery supports this. Fruity and silky unpeated malts, and a little of the Compass Box Highland Malt Blend, complete the composition. James Saxon, lead whisky maker for No Name, No. 3, recommends enjoying it neat alongside a full bodied blue cheese.

The label, designed by Stranger and Stranger, lends itself to the season with bold and contrasting colors reflective of the dramatic array of flavors within the whisky, making it an artful addition to any home bar this holiday season.

GSN’s Remarks: A remarkable blend of smoke and fruit. Both are in equal abundance, with a salty, creosote coloration entwined with notes of pineapple, poached pears, and baked apple. We’re reminded of a smoked ham dinner in some ways. We agree that this whisky pairs well with a Stilton or Roquefort cheese. Try it with fresh shucked oysters as well, but if you’re not into seafood, you can’t go wrong with a dark chocolate. The body is somewhat light and elegant, while the finish has an even, smokey fade. This is a cleverly blended spirit, and makes for a fine finish to the trilogy of releases. GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: Compass Box Whisky


GSN Review: Paul John Christmas Edition 2021 Indian Single Malt Whisky

Paul John Indian Single Malt Whisky, produced at John Distilleries in Goa, India, recently introduced Paul John Christmas Edition 2021. The fourth in the annual series of holiday releases, this festive peated malt is now available in the United States.

Non-chill filtered and with no added colors or flavors, Paul John Single Malts are created from six-row barley harvested from across Rajasthan to the foothills of the Himalayas and distilled in specially-designed copper pot stills with longer necks that result in fruitier spirits. To create Paul John Christmas Edition 2021, the liquid is matured in ex-bourbon barrels and a mélange of port and madeira casks in coastal Goa, where the tropical climate helps the whiskies mature faster with an angel’s share of eight percent.

Paul John Christmas Edition 2021 joins the Great Indian Single Malt portfolio alongside core and additional limited-edition expressions including Nirvana, Brilliance, Edited, Bold, Classic Select Cask, Peated Select Cask, Pedro Ximénez (PX) Select Cask, Oloroso Select Cask and The Zodiac Series.

This exotic, multi-faceted expression features a nose of caramel, orange marmalade, a touch of coconut and sweet berries with a contrast of dry raisins. The palate is rich and creamy, with butterscotch and spice balanced perfectly on light peat and barley. The finish of alluring spice, smoke and flavorful cocoa is long and satisfying, beautifully capturing the essence of the holiday season.

GSN’s Remarks: Very much in line with a holiday dessert table. Notes of fruitcake, spiced oranges, brandied raisins, caramel and spice cake all play a role in this melange of flavors. Some slight smokiness keeps things in line with whisky, but overall this is a fruity and light spirit. The body is near creamy and the finish is long, soft and ends with some high spice notes. Overall, you can’t go wring with this lovely limited edition. GSN Rating: A+

For more information go to: Paul John Whisky


GSN Review: Rhum Barbancourt Estate Reserve 15 Year Old Rum

In 1862, Dupré Barbancourt, a native of the Charente region in France, put the finishing touches to a recipe for rum using a double distillation method usually reserved for cognacs. Barbancourt left no heir and when he died the company passed to his wife Nathalie Gardère who managed it with the help of her nephew, Paul Gardère. When she died, Paul then directed the company’s destiny until 1946. At this time Rhum Barbancourt’s distillery was still located on le Chemin des Dalles in Port au Prince and only produced a limited quantity of rum. The older aged rums being exclusively reserved for family and friends. The company is now overseen by Delphine Natalie Gardère, the fifth generation of the family and the second woman to head the company that has grown to become Haiti’s leading brand of rum. La Société du Rhum Barbancourt’s now sells its products in 20 countries and employs 250 people. Its wide reaching activities are responsible for the livelihood of 20,000 people. 

Rhum Barbancourt 15-year-old Estate Reserve is a 86 proof Rhum Agricole distilled from pure sugar cane juice. Aged 15 years, in Limousin oak then ex-Bourbon oak, the rum comes in a gift box featuring Haitian art. 

GSN’s Remarks: A remarkably dry entry with a slight bourbon patina, followed by mild cane sweetness. There is a lot of mid-range here, with vegetal and spice notes filling the space encompassed by oak. A fulsome rum that is great on its own, but also makes for a killer rum cocktail. A fine spirit that deserves a place on your back bar. GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: Crillon Importers Ltd


GSN Spirited News: November 16th 2021 Edition

Beam Suntory has launched a new collection, the Mundial Limited Edition Series, as part of the El Tesoro collection of Tequilas. The first release in the series is an Añejo expression finished in Laphroaig barrels. The single barrel Tequila is bottled at 40% abv and matured for 13 months in total—nine months in ex-Bourbon barrels and four in Laphroaig casks—and will retail for around $125 a 750-ml. El Tesoro Mundial Collection: The Laphroaig Edition is rolling out now in select markets across the U.S.

Mezcal Amarás has launched the Logia Collection, comprising three new limited-release expressions in the U.S. First up is Logia Cenizo, a 43% abv mezcal made from 14-year-old agave durangensis plants that will retail for $85 a 750-ml. The second release is Logia Sierra Negra, a mezcal made from 12-year-old agave americana plants. Sierra Negra, also bottled at 43% abv, is made with pink peppercorn and chili peppers mixed in with the volcanic rock and oak used to cook the agave. It carries a suggested price of $125. The final release—Logia Tobalá—is made from 12-year-old agave potatorum plants and will retail for $150. Like the other mezcals, Logia Tobalá is bottled at 43% abv.

Louisville, Kentucky’s Buzzard’s Roost Whiskey has debuted its first Bourbon. The company’s namesake Bourbon is a blend of two 4-year-old high-rye whiskies sourced from Indiana and bottled at 57.2% abv, barrel strength. Buzzard’s Roost Bourbon carries a suggested price of $85 a 750-ml. In addition to launching a new whiskey, the company has announced a new home at Bardstown Bourbon Company. Going forward, the company’s whiskies, which are chosen and rebarreled by Buzzard’s Roost, will be aged and bottled at Bardstown Bourbon Company.

A new organic Tequila brand, Hermosa, is debuting across 10 states. Hermosa includes Silver ($45), Reposado ($53), and Añejo ($60) expressions, with the Reposado and Añejo spending eight and 18 months in American oak barrels, respectively. It’s made at family-owned Tequilas Las Americas NOM 1480, a third-generation distillery and agave grower based in Amatitán, Jalisco. Founder Will Elger said the inspiration for the brand came from an old bottle of homemade Tequila given to his father, who was a local hotel manager. The name “Hermosa” was written on the label of that bottle from 1939.

Teeling Irish whiskey has announced a 30-year-old single malt, the latest in the brand’s series of extra-aged whiskies. The 46% abv whiskey was distilled in 1991 and first matured in ex-Bourbon barrels before spending nine years in Sauternes casks before bottling. The release is limited to 4,000 bottles and will be available at the Teeling Distillery in Dublin this month and the U.S. in January 2022 for a suggested price of $2,200 a 750-ml.

Mezcal brand Vamonos Riendo has entered California and Illinois, partnering with RNDC for the former and Southern Glazer’s for the latter. The new partnership will see the super-premium priced mezcal sold in chains like Total Wine and Binny’s, plus independent stores in California and Chicagoland. Vamonos Riendo is an ensemble mezcal triple distilled from Tobala and Espadin agaves (with fruit added for the final distillation) and bottled at 42% abv. It’s available for a suggested price of $60 a 750-ml.

Savage & Cooke, the Mare Island, California distillery from Dave Phinney, has launched its winter seasonal whiskey: Bad Sweater. The whiskey is a blend of four-year-old Bourbon with cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, cacao nibs, and vanilla bean, and bottled at 40% abv. This year’s edition, the third, features a sweater draped around the bottle’s shoulders. It’s available through December for $38 a 750-ml.

Information courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Brews News: November 16th 2021 Edition

WeSake, a new canned sake, has launched in the U.S. The Junmai Gingo sake comes in at 13% abv and is made from only rice, water, yeast, and koji. The brand is taking aim at new sake drinkers, as well as those looking for portable alternatives to beer and canned RTDs and wines. WeSake, created by Pablo Rivera, formerly of AB InBev’s ZX Ventures, is now available in New York, California, Connecticut, and Georgia, in 4-packs of 200-ml. cans for a suggested price of $19. Additionally, WeSake is available through the brand’s website.

Waitsfield, Vermont-based Lawson’s Finest Liquids is releasing its Triple Sunshine IPA beyond its taproom for the first time. Triple Sunshine is part of Lawson’s Sunshine series, which includes Sip of Sunshine, Double Sunshine, and Little Sip in addition, with Triple Sunshine the strongest at 10.5% abv and showing a fruity profile featuring pineapple, grapefruit, and lychee. Its expanded availability to nine states including Massachusetts, New York, and Pennsylvania, among others, is part of the brewery’s specialty limited release schedule it launched this spring that previously raised the profile of its Scrag Mountain Pils, Hopcelot IPA, and Kiwi, which featured New Zealand-grown hops; Triple Sunshine will be the final release in the series this year.

Information courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Alert: November 18th – International Poitín Day

International Poitín Day occurs every year on November 18th to celebrate the resurgence of Ireland’s most notorious spirit, Irish poitín. Poitín is Ireland’s original spirit—in fact it is thought to be the oldest potable spirit in the world—dating back to the 6th century when records show it was distilled by monks on the island. Long before Irish whiskey came into existence, poitín was being made in nearly every town and village across the country until 1661 when the British Crown outlawed poitín in an effort to control, and therefore tax, all distilled alcohol production in Ireland. For 300 years, fervent drinkers continued to produce their own poitíns, keeping them under the counter and out of sight. Though a beloved part of Irish culture, it wasn’t until 1997 that the Irish government re-legalized the production and sale of poitín.
International Poitín Day is now in its sixth year, celebrating the history, the tradition and the resurrection of the formerly illicit spirit. In the past ten years, poitín has been experiencing a renaissance, with several premium producers making their own unique recipe.

GSN Review: Darnley’s London Dry Gin

Named after the moment Lord Darnley fell in love with Mary Queen of Scots at the Wemyss Castle where it’s distilled, Darnley’s Gin brings the Wemyss Family history to life in a new way. The Darnley’s story is rooted in Fife, Scotland where the Wemyss family have lived and worked for generations, and it’s here the Darnley’s journey begins.

Using elderflower sourced from the distillery’s local grounds, Darnley’s is a  gin that delivers an expression of Eastern Scotland’s unique coastal terroir. Combined with other ingredients like juniper, orris root, citrus, coriander and grains of paradise, the result is spirit created from sustainably sourced, traceable botanicals and Scottish water. Darnley’s grows all the botanicals they can in their Gin Cottage gardens. What they can’t grow, they forage with the help of local experts, and what they can’t grow or forage, they source sustainably from trusted farmers.

 GSN’s Remarks: This is an interesting spirit, with both the floral loveliness of an elderflower liqueur, and the sprightliness of a juniper forward gin. It strikes a fine balance between the two, with a soft and fruity entry that fades into a crisp finish. A very friendly and welcoming gin, we enjoy the round mouthfeel and easy going attitude. A perfect gin for just about any cocktail, this also is one of the few that we truly have enjoyed neat. Kudos to the blender and master distiller for this true Scottish gem. Elderflower rocks! GSN Rating: A+

For more information go to: Darnleys Gin