GSN Review: Stolen X Rock & Rye

Stolen Spirits, known for creating the world’s first smoked rum and award-winning 11 year-old single-grain whiskey, recently announced the launch of Stolen X, the newest member of the Stolen family of craft spirits.

Based on a pre-prohibition spirit known as “Rock & Rye”, Stolen X is made with straight American rye whiskey, blended with organic raw honey and real orange peel. The aged rye whiskey and all-natural ingredients create a smooth and perfectly balanced flavor profile similar to that of an Old fashioned. At 80 proof, the whiskey stands out with subtle notes of honey and citrus that bring a smooth finish. Stolen X is perfect as a shot or can be enjoyed over ice.

“Humans have been drinking horrible shots since the discovery of fermentation,” said Marc Bushala, CEO of Spirits Investment Partnership. “There has not been much evolution from the swill that we hoisted in college to what people are shooting today. I don’t really recall why we did shots of a certain herbaceous concoction that looks and tastes like shoe polish, but I remember that we drank a lot of it. The main difference with the popular shot brands today is the use of artificial flavors and sweeteners to make bad booze more palatable – we think that people will love great rye whiskey blended with all natural ingredients that actually tastes good.”

Stolen X Rock & Rye (80 proof)
Visual: Medium-light gold.
Nose: Instant rye spice quickly followed by orange peel and a more subtle honey scent. This smells like a warm summer’s eve in a glass.
Taste: I like the balance of orange to rye here. It isn’t so much sweet as it adds a bitter tinge to the flavor, almost in the way that a true bitters might. Just the right amount of sweetness as well from the honey, which only adds to the allure of the rye.
Finish: Long with a flavor similar to what you might find after imbibing a well crafted Old Fashioned.
Overall: Despite being 40% ABV, this goes down smooth right out of the bottle. It tastes great at room temperature, and even better served with a large cube of ice in a rocks glass. A cocktail on its own.
GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: This Is Stolen

GSN Review: Belvedere Vodka Janelle Monáe Edition

Belvedere Vodka is excited to debut its limited-edition bottle with GRAMMY-nominated musician, actor, and activist Janelle Monáe, available in-store globally beginning June 2019.

The metallic collage design, with an aesthetic aimed to peel back layers and reveal the beauty within, illustrates the multifaceted character of both Monáe and Belvedere. The final punctuation is the phrase “Beautiful Future,” a nod to Monáe and Belvedere’s shared vison of a future where natural character, integrity, diversity and self-expression are celebrated.

The narrative for “A Beautiful Future” builds on the program which kicked off last year when Belvedere and Monae hosted a brunch for Monae’s grassroots movement, Fem the Future, a movement dedicated to advancing awareness and opportunities for women and those who identify as women through music, arts, mentorship and education. Following, a social media campaign asked consumers to define what “A Beautiful Future” looks like to them. Responses included optimistic messages of diversity, self-expression, inclusion and empowerment.

Belvedere, which translates to “a place from which one sees beauty,” was created by a collective of determined and optimistic individuals at the fall of the communist era in Poland. Meanwhile, Monáe, whose own artistic journey reflects a similar determination, leads the multi-faceted collective of artists at Wondaland, which features a breadth of voices, styles, and figures coming together to revolutionize the future of music, arts and culture.

“When I sat down with the Belvedere team, it was incredible to realize that they shared my passions of philanthropy, community and the desire to uplift others and my vision for a Beautiful Future, which is one in which women feel empowered and are given equal opportunity,” said Janelle Monáe. “I’m thrilled to be partnering with the brand on championing positivity and charting a path for a Beautiful Future.”

Belvedere Vodka (80 proof)
Visual: Clear.
Nose: Nice crisp scent with a touch of vanilla bean. Rainwater, slate and a slight spice note.
Taste: Very smooth and clean with a round softness. As a few seconds go by, more of the flavor comes through with soft vanilla and a mild finish.
Finish: Medium long. You are left with a hint of sweetness.
Overall: You can’t much better than this beautifully distilled rye vodka. Really a great spirit.
GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: Belvedere Vodka

GSN Review: Volcan de mi Tierra Tequila

Volcan De Mi Terra, which takes its name from the pre-historic volcano that shaped the landscape from which tequila region’s expansive agave fields now grow, is a celebration of provenance and legacy. The hand-crafted spirit pays homage to Jalisco’s unique terroir by blending 100% blue agave from the low- and high-lands – an industry first. Volcan’s distillery sits at the base of the volcano and is home to a distinctive distilling process that combines history and tradition.

“A tremendous amount of time and support was spent developing both expressions. We experimented with yeast variations, agave selection and multiple cask maturations before settling on the final blends. We look forward to much more room for growth in this explosive and exciting category.” said Volcan di mi Tierra’s President and CEO, Trent Fraser.

Volcan De Mi Tierra Blanco delivers a flavor spectrum from the lowlands agave, blended with notes of the highlands. Volcan De Mi Tierra Cristalino is an anejo, aged for many months with different cask finishes, finally the color is extracted, leaving it clear.

Blanco (80 proof)
Visual: Clear.
Nose: A light blanco, it has a muted hint of the smell of the ocean.
Taste: Slight sweetness, warm but not burning to the palette.  Very mild.
Finish: Warm, mild flavor.
Overall: If you are looking for a straight forward and mild blanco you will not be disappointed, but those new to tequila may find the mildness not an ideal starting point.
GSN Rating: B

Anejo Cristalino (80 proof)
Visual: A faint copper/amber tone in the bottle, but completely clear in the glass (as intended).
Nose: Mild anejo scent.
Taste: While visually it looks like a blanco, it unquestionably tastes of anejo sans the vanilla undertones you often find in an aged tequila.
Finish: A warmth that quickly subsides, with a simple clean finish.
Overall: Those looking to try their first anejo might start here as the Cristalino gives a mild introduction without the heavy anejo flavor that first timers may find off putting.  It also makes for an interesting conversation piece as it is a completely clear anejo. Tequila fans will find it surprising.
GSN Rating: B+

For more information go to: Volcan

Review by Travis Owens for Good Spirits News

GSN Alert: June 10th – World Gin Day

world-gin-day-20141-lst136433In honor of World Gin Day, here is a list of the gins that Good Spirits News has reviewed over the years.  Hopefully you will pick up a bottle and make yourself a favorite gin cocktail.



GSN Review: Bowmore 12-Year-Old Single Malt Whisky

Founded in 1779, Bowmore is the oldest licensed distillery on Islay, one of the Scottish isles which make up the region known as the ‘Islands’ in the lexicon of Whisky. Islay malts are famous for their characteristic smokiness and Bowmore is no exception; the malt is smoked in a peat-fired kiln, using skills handed down from generation to generation.

Bowmore adheres to traditional production methods which helps to shape the character of its single malts. Today, it prides itself as one of the rare distilleries which still produces its own floor malted barley, hand-turned by a traditional wooden malt shovel and hand drawn machinery. Water for the whiskies is drawn from the Laggan River, with its peaty overtones, the same Islay peat that fires the malt-drying kiln.

Bowmore Distillery’s proximity to the sea is also vital in determining the final character of its spirit. The Bowmore No. 1 Vaults, one of the world’s oldest Scotch maturation warehouses, is where some of the whiskies spend their long lives resting quietly in the cool, dark, damp cellars below sea level, oblivious to the waves thrashing the vault’s sea-facing wall. They mature in oak casks, previously used for bourbon and sherry. It is this combination of peat, barley, sea breeze, water, wood, people and tradition that together create the warm and smoky character of Bowmore Single Malt Scotch Whiskies.

Bowmore 12-Year-Old Single Malt Whisky (80 proof)
Visual: Gold.
Nose: Medium dose of peat smoke, and a soft, malty canvas.
Taste: Easy going and smooth, with none of the aggressiveness you might expect from an Islay scotch. Really well balanced between the classic trifecta of smoke-malt-barrel.
Finish: Medium-long with very little smoke.
Overall: You can almost imagine the cellar in Scotland as you sip this. It’s quite evocative and makes for a pleasant foray into the world of Scottish whiskies.
GSN Rating: B+

For more information go to: Bowmore

GSN Review: Jack Daniels No. 27 Gold Whiskey

After its initial launch as a travel retail exclusive item and select markets in Asia, Jack Daniel’s recently introduced Jack Daniel’s No. 27 Gold Tennessee Whiskey to the United States.

Representative of the skill and craftsmanship of the Jack Daniel Distillery, the process first begins with maturation in new charred American white oak barrels. Once these barrels are determined to be fully matured, they are removed from the barrelhouse and the whiskey is placed into maple wood barrels. The final step is a second charcoal mellowing before being bottled.

“Jack Daniel’s No. 27 Gold pays homage to our distillery’s golden rule of, ‘Every day we make it, we’ll make it the best we can,” said Jack Daniel’s Master Distiller Jeff Arnett. “The natural amber hue, along with a scent of toasted oak and honey, offer an intricate texture and taste, making this whiskey a very distinct and luxury product.”

Jack Daniels No. 27 Gold (80 proof)
Visual: No surprise, it’s gold.
Nose: Heady oak nose with a rich corn base. A softer, more subtle nose of sweet maple floats above the initial nosing, adding a harvest-like sensibility.
Taste: Exceptionally smooth and easy-going. There’s a sheerness to this whiskey that gives it a finer and ethereal taste.
Finish: Medium-long, with a lot of the overt sweetness from the mash and the cask staying on.
Overall: We’ve tried this straight and with a rock. This loses quite a bit of character when watered down, so either be very careful or just sip it neat. A very fine whiskey which is several steps above their flagship bottle.
GSN Rating: A-

For more information go to: Jack Daniels

GSN Review: Pierre Ferrand Reserve Double Cask Cognac

Pierre Ferrand Reserve Double Cask Cognac is the first Pierre Ferrand Cognac aged in two different casks: first in traditional French oak Cognac casks, and then in casks that once held Banyuls, a fortified wine produced and aged in the south of France.

Reserve Double Cask replaced the Reserve and is now a permanent addition to the Pierre Ferrand portfolio, which already features the 1840 Original Formula and the Collection Privée Vintages Cognacs.

Pierre Ferrand Reserve Double Cask (84.6 proof)
Visual: Amber.
Nose: A lot of high notes laden with a heady patina of wine. Fresh, bright and immediately engaging.
Taste: Pleasantly sweet with a fairly forward oak flavor. After a few seconds, a more floral aspect comes into play, leading into a warm and traditional cognac flavor.
Finish: Long, with the Banyuls wine creating a semi-dessert character.
Overall: Quite interesting. There is a definite flowery taste which is unusual. a definite sipping cognac.
GSN Rating: A-

For more information go to: Maison Ferrand