GSN Backbar Review: November 3-7, 2014

indexThis month, Brown-Forman will debut a new “Whiskey Row” series from Old Forester with an inaugural release called 1870 Original Batch, according to the Courier-Journal. The series, which commemorates Old Forester’s history on Louisville’s Main Street Whiskey Row district, will include four expressions of whiskey that are based on actual products and oral history. 1870 Original Batch, which will be available in select markets at $44.99 a 750-ml., celebrates the year Old Forester became the first batched Bourbon. Bourbons from barrels in three different warehouses were blended for a 90-proof product meant to reflect inconsistencies in the original’s formulation. The series, which will eventually be produced at Old Forester’s planned Whiskey Row distillery, will feature three more expressions based on whiskies produced through 1923, when the brand left Whiskey Row. Currently, 1870 Original Batch is produced at Brown-Forman’s Shively facility.

indexPark City, Utah-based High West Distillery has reintroduced one of its limited edition whiskies for the winter season. First launched earlier this year on Valentine’s Day, A Midwinter Night’s Dram is a limited release version of High West’s Rendezvous Rye, finished for several months in both Port and French oak barrels. The 98.6-proof expression—which features notes of vanilla, caramel, cinnamon and dried fruit—is now available at select retail outlets, priced at $79.99 a bottle. High West Distillery’s portfolio has a current U.S. footprint of 40 states.

imagesWaconia, Minnesota micro-distillery J. Carver Distilling has sent its first shipment of craft gin and vodka to Minneapolis-St. Paul liquor stores, the local CBS affiliate reports. Last spring, owner Bill Miller purchased a 17,000-square-foot former Pontiac dealership and has turned it into a distillery able to produce 600 cases a month. The company focuses on craft recipes made from locally sourced ingredients, such as wheat grown 20 miles away from Waconia. Miller says he plans to open a tasting room within the next year and will look into making different whiskey and barrel-aged products. J. Carver Premium Gin and Vodka retail at about $20-$24 a bottle.

indexNovato, California’s Square One Organic Spirits is launching new citrus-based vodka Square One Bergamot to select markets ahead of a national rollout next February. Grown predominantly in southern Italy and along the Mediterranean Sea, the bergamot is a sour orange with a peel that is floral and tangy, the company says. The unfiltered vodka is created by layering the citrus with essential oils of pressed mandarin, navel and tangerine oranges and the essences of ginger, coriander and juniper botanicals. Square One Bergamot is currently available in California, Illinois and Missouri at $35 a 750-ml. bottle and $4.99 a 50-ml. bottle.

indexVermont-based craft whiskey distiller WhistlePig has debuted The Boss Hog: Spirit of Mortimer, a new limited edition expression. Created to honor the memory of WhistlePig’s deceased mascot, a pig named Mortimer, The Boss Hog: Spirit of Mortimer is a 100% rye whiskey aged for nearly 14 years and bottled at full barrel strength. The 117- to 124-proof entry is currently available nationwide, priced at $189 a 750-ml. The Boss Hog: Spirit of Mortimer follows last year’s launch of WhistlePig’s original The Boss Hog label, a 100% rye whiskey aged 12.5 years.

indexStoli USA’s Stolichnaya has released the third and final entry in its ultra-premium Elit Pristine Water Series vodka collection. Available this month, Elit Pristine Water Series: Andean edition is crafted with natural spring water sourced from the Andes Mountains, as well as distilled spirit made with grain harvested from SPI Group’s Tambov, Russia-based farm. The limited edition, 40%-abv expression, which is packaged in a Glencairn Crystal bottle, retails for around €3,000 ($3,729). The Andean edition joins the Elit Pristine Water Series’ previous Himalaya and New Zealand editions, launched in 2011 and 2013, respectively.

Adco-master675William Grant & Sons, is hearkening back to the earliest days of the category, launching a “replica” of the first single malt marketed by its Glenfiddich distillery. To create the 1963 replica whisky, Glenfiddich malt master Brian Kinsman pulled from various casks to match the archived liquid and ledger notes from the original. The finished product is 80 proof, with packaging styled to echo its ancestor, and retails at a suggested $100 a bottle. The limited edition is now hitting the U.S. market on allocation with a supply of 2,000 cases. The launch is being indexbacked by print and digital executions—including full-page spreads in major newspapers—recreated from the original whisky’s advertising materials.

Diageo has officially unveiled a new flavored extension to its Crown Royal Canadian whisky brand, Regal Apple. The new offering is a blend of Crown Royal whiskies infused with natural apple flavors from Regal Gala apples and retails at $24.99 a 750-ml. Regal Apple joins 2012 entry Maple Finished in the Crown Royal flavor portfolio.

All information courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Backbar Review: Feb. 17-21, 2014

indexPernod Ricard USA is targeting the Lone Star State with a specially-themed, limited-edition Absolut expression. Absolut Texas, inspired by the flavors of Southwestern cuisine, is said to have notes of fresh cucumber and a spicy character that plays well with a variety of cocktail ingredients such as cranberry, cilantro and grapefruit soda. Retailing at $19.99 a bottle, Absolut Texas’s package was designed by San Antonio-based artist Cruz Ortiz. The bottle design features a stylized Texas landscape and cowboy boot, as well as Cruz’s modern take on the Texas Star. Absolut Texas marks the eighth flavor in the brand’s limited edition local series, following Absolut variants devoted to New Orleans, Los Angeles, Boston, Brooklyn, San Francisco, Miami and Chicago.

imagesNew Jersey-based Winebow has added Tullibardine single malt Scotch whisky to its U.S. import portfolio. Produced by an independent distillery in the Scottish Highlands, the core Tullibardine range includes the Tullibardine Sovereign ($48), Tullibardine 225 Sauternes Finish ($65), Tullibardine 228 Burgundy Finish ($65), Tullibardine 500 Sherry Finish ($65), Tullibardine 20 Year Old ($200) and Tullibardine 25 Year Old ($300) entries.


indexA. Hardy USA has introduced a new high-end Caribbean rum, Vizcaya. Created in the Dominican Republic from pressed sugar cane and aged in oak barrels, Vizcaya offers three varieties of its rum—VXOP Cask 21, Cask 12 and Cristal. Vizcaya VXOP Cask 21 is distilled from 100% pure sugar cane juice ($39.99), Vizcaya Cask 12 is a premium dark rum ($21.99) and Vizcaya Cristal is a white sipping rum ($21.99). All are 40% abv. and currently in select U.S. states.

indexPark City, Utah-based High West Distillery & Saloon has released A Midwinter Night’s Dram, a new limited edition whiskey. Made using High West’s Rendezvous rye whiskey, A Midwinter Night’s Dram is finished for several months in Port and French oak barrels, resulting in dried fruit and spice notes. The 98.6-proof offering is currently available at the High West Saloon and General Store, and is set to roll out at retail this coming October, priced at around $79.99 a bottle.


indexChicago-based Halsted Vodka is launching statewide in Illinois through a deal with Stoller Wholesale Wine & Spirits, Inc. A micro-distilled vodka produced in small glass stills, Halsted originally debuted in Chicago in October 2012. The agreement with Stoller will allow it to drive deeper distribution in the metro area while also expanding into other Illinois markets. Halsted focuses its brandbuilding efforts on the LGBT community—it’s currently present in more than 60 LGBT-friendly venues around Chicago—and donates 15% of the value created by the brand (equity as well as profits) to support LGBT community building and human rights.

indexProximo Spirits’ super-premium Three Olives vodka has introduced a new coconut water-flavored offering name-checking Elvis Presley and his famous love affair with Hawaii. The English import’s Elvis Presley Coconut Water Flavored Vodka will roll out nationwide beginning in March in various sizes, with its 750-ml. priced at $21. The 30%-abv offering joins Three Olives’ 22 flavor extensions including Chocolate, Grape and Root Beer—all quadruple distilled from English Winter Wheat.


indexLucas Bols USA has extended its lineup with a new elderflower liqueur. Previously available in Europe, Bols Elderflower is now rolling out both on- and off-premise across the U.S., retailing at $17.99 a 750-ml. The 15%-abv entry is targeted primarily toward the cocktail occasion. Bols Elderflower joins Lucas Bols USA’s existing range of around 35 flavored liqueurs.


indexBeam Inc. is celebrating Booker’s Bourbon’s 25th anniversary with the launch of a new limited edition offering, Booker’s Batch 2014-1. Aged nine to 11 years and bottled at its natural proof (ranging from 121 to 130 proof), the special edition retails at $99.99 a 750-ml. bottle and is presented in a commemorative wooden case.

All information courtesy of Shanken News Daily