GSN Review: Parker’s Heritage Heavy Char Rye Whiskey

The 13th edition in the Parker’s Heritage Collection will launch in September throughout the US, with a portion of the proceeds from each bottle sold donated to the ALS Association. Parker’s Heritage Collection was created in memory of late Heaven Hill master distiller Parker Beam, who was diagnosed with ALS in 2010. The past six whiskeys in the series have raised more than US$1 million for ALS research.

Susan Wahl, group product director at Heaven Hill Distillery, said: “Parker was involved in the development of this bottling over eight years ago and will continue to leave his mark on many future bottlings. It is in tribute to Parker and his legacy that we continue to support ALS research and patient care with this series.”

Bottled at 52.5% abv, the whiskey has been aged in level five charred barrels for eight years and for a further nine months on the seventh floor of Rickhouse Y.

Heaven Hill normally matures its whiskey in level three charred barrels. Level five charred barrels differ in that they are charred for 50 seconds longer than level three.

Parker’s Heritage Heavy Char Rye Whiskey (105 proof)
Visual: Medium copper.
Nose: Exactly what you’re expecting. A spicy, char driven nose with a rye forward braggadocio. Very inviting.
Taste: The extra char adds a dusky smokiness to the already sharp rye flavor bomb. Everything is wrapped up in a compact package that becomes even more apparent when a decent splash of water tones it down to a more manageable proof. Hearty rye and a chewy cask blend together to make for a powerhouse of a whiskey.
Finish: Longer than many rye whiskies, with a woody dryness that leaves you thirsty for more.
Overall: One of the best ryes on the market. Well worth seeking out even at $150 a bottle. Reserve a bottle or two now before they sell out.
GSN Rating: A+

For more information go to: Heaven Hill Distillery

GSN Review: Jameson Caskmates IPA Edition

Nearly two years after Dave Quinn, Head of Whiskey Science at Jameson, and Shane Long, head brewer at a local Irish brewery, created the idea and taste behind Jameson Caskmates, the brand expanded its Caskmates offering with a new and distinct expression featuring notes of citrus and hops from whiskey aged in IPA beer barrels.

Jameson Caskmates IPA Edition is created using the same process established with Jameson Caskmates Stout Edition, the original whiskey and beer collaboration. Starting with barrels from the Midleton distillery, the local Irish brewery receives the propriety oak whiskey barrels to be filled with their local craft IPA. Once the IPA has imparted its crisp citrus notes, the barrels are sent back to Jameson to be reused to finish Jameson Original, creating Jameson Caskmates IPA Edition.

Jameson Caskmates IPA Edition (80 proof)
Visual: Medium gold.
Nose: Tangy with high notes of hops embracing the soft malt. Somewhat herbal.
Taste: The IPA barrel aging enlivens the whiskey with a slightly bitter and grassy edge. There is no mistaking that this is a Jameson spirit however. The familiar malt and caramel come through loud and clear.
Finish: Long and with both the IPA and the whiskey flavors running neck and neck until the finish line.
Overall: This is a slow sipper that would wasted as a shot. I prefer to drink it on a single large rock which brings out the hops character even more.
GSN Rating: A-

For more information go to: Jameson Whiskey

GSN Review: Uncle Nearest 1884 Premium Small Batch Whiskey

Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey, the whiskey from Tennessee and the first spirit brand in history to commemorate an African-American, is excited to announce the launch of Uncle Nearest 1884 Premium Small Batch Whiskey. The brand revived the little-known story of Nathan “Nearest” Green, the first known African-American master distiller, back in 2017. A 7-year-old minimum whiskey, Uncle Nearest 1884 commemorates the final year Nearest is believed to have put his own whiskey into barrels before retiring from distilling. 1884 is bottled at 93-proof, another nod to Nearest, as it is believed his whiskey was bottled at or near that proof.

The release honors Nearest’s memory through his family’s personal involvement in the blending process, with each batch curated by a different descendant of the legendary master distiller and the back label of each bottle signed by the descendant who created that batch. The first bottles are curated by Victoria Eady-Butler, great-great-granddaughter of Nearest, shareholder of Uncle Nearest and its Director of Administration.

“If my great-great-grandfather were alive today, I know how proud he would be to see us keeping his legacy alive through the continued growth of this brand,” said Victoria Eady-Butler. “We never could have imagined where Uncle Nearest would be two years later, with people around the world knowing the name Nearest Green. I speak for our entire family when I say we’re thrilled to be a part of his legacy.”

The first batch of Uncle Nearest 1884 debuted exclusively on July 19, 2019 at Tales of the Cocktail, the world’s premier cocktail festival, in New Orleans, Louisiana. The release date marked the two-year anniversary since the launch of the Uncle Nearest brand and the release of its first expression, Uncle Nearest 1856.

Uncle Nearest 1884 Premium Small Batch Whiskey (93 proof)
Visual: Gold.
Nose: Nice oak nose with a bright and cheery scent. Young leather, medium spice and wood stave,
Taste: Well rounded and light with a smooth entry and a mild burn. Cherry, black pepper, and a hint of butterscotch make up the triumvirate of flavor.
Finish: Long with a mellow and slightly fruity close.
Overall: A very pleasant whiskey that will appeal to beginners and experts alike.
GSN Rating: A-

For more information go to: Uncle Nearest

GSN Original Cocktail: Ciderpress Punch

Photo by Courtney Rae Kasper

Now that autumn is just around the corner, time to start thinking about fall cocktails. We’d like to share an original cocktail with you to kick things off right.  Enjoy some spiced apple cider punch!

Ciderpress Punch
4 1/2 cups fresh apple cider
6oz Cointreau
4 bags organic earl grey tea
750ml Captain Morgan spiced rum
Garnish: orange wheels
Optional garnish for punch cup: orange twist with a clove in the end

Directions: Heat cider in pan to boiling, take off heat and add teabags for four minutes.  Remove teabags, then add liqueur and rum and stir.  Add orange wheels, and then either reheat or chill and serve cold.

Cocktail created by Blair Frodelius

GSN Review: Black Button American Dry Gin

Black Button recently introduced Head Distiller, Jeff Fairbrother’s first official release, an American Dry Gin. Fairbrother’s addition of cubeb berries (Java pepper) and Chamomile give a unique twist to Black Button’s expanding gin portfolio.

Fairbrother is a Warden Nominated Rectifier of The Gin Guild as of 2017, and only the 4th American to be installed as such. The Gin Guild is an international non-profit founded by the British Worshipful Company of Distillers.

But that’s not all. Black Button is donating monies raised by the sale of this gin to Mended Little Hearts of Greater Rochester, a charity near and dear to the Black Button family. This organization helps patients and families of children with congenital heart disease. Yet another way that Black Button gives back to and supports their local community.

Black Button American Dry Gin (84 proof)
Visual: Clear.
Nose: Spicy juniper nose with a rich tapestry of botanicals. Quite bright with a lot of high notes.
Taste: Peppery with a medium juniper presentation. The second wave brings in a nice blend of citrus. Lastly, the chamomile adds a soft and floral edge that ties everything together.
Finish: Long, with a peppery heat on the very back of the palate.
Overall: A really tasty gin that is just begging for summer cocktails. There is a liveliness that transcends the typical type of dry gins from London. A winner.
GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: Black Button Distilling

GSN Review: Gray Whale Gin

While on a camping trip in Big Sur, California, Gray Whale founders Marsh and Jan Mokhtari looked across the turquoise ocean to admire the beauty of the California coast and spotted a gray whale and its calf on their northern migration. In that very moment, the idea for Gray Whale Gin was born.

The gray whales’ migration path from Baja California to Mendocino on their way to the Arctic inspires the flavors in every bottle. Gray Whale Gin is distilled with botanicals foraged along the California-coast portion of the whales’ 12,000-mile journey. Included are: Juniper (Big Sur), kombu (Mendocino coast), almonds (Capay Valley), limes (Baja California), fir tree (Sonoma), and mint (Santa Cruz).

Each bottle of Gray Whale Gin is seven-times distilled in Sonoma, California. Made from a gluten-free corn base, fresh fir needles and hand-zested citrus are placed into a vapor-extraction bag and tied inside the copper-pot-still helmet, hovering above the spirit. As the alcohol vapors rise up to the extraction basket, they delicately heat the citrus and fir, releasing those notes into the pot still. These rich flavors continue across the line arm to cool and condense. Gray Whale Gin rests for 48 hours before it is bottled and sealed with a 100% biodegradable cork.

Every bottle of Gray Whale Gin supports Oceana, the largest organization in the world solely devoted to marine conservation. Oceana’s vision is to make the oceans as rich, healthy and abundant as they once were, creating the ideal environment for marine life, like the California gray whale. Additionally, as a 1% for the Planet member, Gray Whale pledges to contribute at least 1% of annual sales to environmental causes.

Gray Whale Gin (86 proof)
Visual: Clear.
Nose: A clean nose of pine followed by some citrus. Further nosings reveal the kombu (a type of kelp) which gives the spirit a briny saline scent. Quite interesting.
Taste: The kombu comes through at first giving an umami-like character. The fir/pine aspect plays a more subtle role, and the citrus even less so. It really does have an oceanic character.
Finish: Medium long with a dry finish.
Overall: An unusual gin that succeeds. This goes especially well with sushi, sashimi as well as pork and red cabbage.
GSN Rating: B+

For more information go to: Gray Whale Gin

GSN Review: PAU Maui Vodka

Distilled from the universal symbol of hospitality, the pineapple, PAU Maui Vodka is handcrafted from locally sourced ingredients in the heart of the pineapple region of Upcountry Maui using unique glass stills, Hawaiian spring water, and world-famous Maui Gold Pineapple.

PAU Maui Vodka is a true farm-to-bottle spirit crafted at the Hali’imaile Distilling Company distillery nestled alongside the pineapple fields it sources from. Local Maui ingredients and Hawaiian spring water are distilled through a glass still.

PAU Maui Vodka is joining a growing global coalition of organizations and businesses that are working toward a plastic-free planet. Plastic is a synthetic material the earth cannot digest and its toxins are overwhelming humans, animals, oceans, and habitats. Small steps like avoiding all one-use plastics and switching to compostable or reusable straws are just some of the ways PAU Maui Vodka is making an impact.

As well, PAU Maui Vodka annually sponsors a variety of events such as surfing competitions and offshore sailing races, supporting athletes who share our affinity for the ocean and experience first-hand the pollution that endangers it.

Pau Vodka (80 proof)
Visual: Clear.
Nose: Crisp, clean nose with a slight fruity edge.
Taste: Creamy, vanilla-like flavor with just a touch of pineapple. A very fresh tasting vodka.
Finish: Medium long with some vanilla lingering.
Overall: A unique and very well done spirit. It is everything it is supposed to be regardless of the unusual source. PAU ranks in the top 50 vodkas worldwide.
GSN Rating: A+

For more information go to: Pau Maui