Cazadores, part of the Bacardi portfolio, is rolling out a new line of Tequila-based canned cocktails. Initially including Margarita, Spicy Margarita, and Paloma offerings, the range is made with Cazadores Blanco Tequila, with each 12-ounce can at 5.9% abv. Cazadores’ new cocktails are debuting nationwide next month, retailing at $15 a 4-pack
Warren, Vermont’s Mad River Distillers has teamed up with Napa, California’s Silver Oak Cellars on a new barrel finished rye whiskey. The 48% abv whiskey is distilled from 100% chocolate rye and following its initial maturation undergoes a second aging period in toasted oak barrels previously used to mature Silver Oak Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon. Only five barrels of the Cabernet-finished rye were produced. The bottling is available at Post Road Liquors in Wayland, Massachusetts and Upper Falls Beverage in Needham, Massachusetts. In addition, the rye will be available from the distillery at its Burlington and Waitsfield, Vermont-based tasting rooms.
Backbone Bourbon Company has added two new whiskies to its portfolio. The first, Backbone Uncut Decade Down, is a new 10th anniversary edition of the company’s barrel strength whisky that comes in at roughly 57% abv (depending on the batch). The company is also launching a 15-year-old extension of its Old Bones Bourbon. The new Old Bones release is five years older than the original and was distilled in Frankfort, Kentucky before bottling at 54% abv. The new Old Bones is available now in limited quantities (214 6-packs), retailing at $130. Roughly 250 cases of Backbone Uncut Decade Down will be available in the company’s 20-state distribution footprint beginning in December.
Ardbeg single malt Scotch is extending its core range at the high end with a 25-year-old expression. Bottled at 46% abv, the newcomer is presented in a gun metal bottle encased in an intricate metal cage. It will roll out globally in January, retailing at $850 a bottle.
North Carolina’s Durham Distillery is launching Conniption Barrel Aged Gin No. 1, the first in a series of annual releases. The new offering is inspired by the botanical blend in Durham Distillery’s Conniption Navy Strength gin, complemented by 10 months spent aging in Bourbon barrels sourced from High West Distillery. (High West owner Constellation Brands has a minority stake in Durham.) Conniption Barrel Aged Gin No. 1 is currently available exclusively in North Carolina but will roll out nationally on February 1.
Jose Cuervo is extending its high-end Reserva de la Familia range with Platino and Reposado offerings. Made at the La Rojena distillery, Platino ($65) is making its return to the U.S. market after a period of absence, while the Reposado ($85)—aged in heavily toasted American oak as well as lightly toasted American and French oak—is entirely new. The new entries join the existing Extra Anejo ($189) in the Reserva de la Familia portfolio, which is celebrating its 25th year on the market.
Bacardi is bringing back its ready-to-drink Coquito, which proved popular last holiday season. Retailing at $20 a 750-ml., the limited edition offering combines Bacardi Superior white rum with toasted spices, coconut cream, vanilla, and cinnamon, and is bottled at 13% abv. It’s rolling out to 44 states—marking an expansion of more than 30 states compared with last year’s launch.
Tequila Ocho is releasing three new Anejo expressions under its Barrel Select series. Barrel Select Tropical is a 45.8% abv Tequila aged in rum casks from Fiji, Trinidad, and Panama. Barrel Select Continental is aged in Cognac casks and was bottled at 43.1% abv, while Barrel Select Transatlantic was aged in both Cognac casks and rum casks from Fiji and Panama. All three were made in collaboration with Maison Ferrand master blender Alexandre Gabriel and retail at $90 a 750-ml.
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Bacardi-owned Angel’s Envy has announced the 2020 iteration of its Cask Strength Kentucky Straight Bourbon whiskey finished in Port barrels. This year’s whiskey comes in at 60.2% abv and will launch—for the first time—in select retailers in all 50 states on November 1. As always, this is a limited release and only 17,400 bottles will be available, for a suggested price of $200 a 750-ml.
Moët Hennessy is extending its Volcán de mi Tierra Tequila brand with a Reposado expression. The 100%-blue agave Tequila is rested for 135 days in new casks made of American and European oak. The newcomer is rolling out in select states, retailing at $55 a 750-ml. A collaboration between Moët Hennessy and the Gallardo family, Volcán de mi Tierra’s other offerings include Blanco and Cristalino Tequilas.
Heaven’s Door Spirits, the partnership between Bob Dylan and Spirits Investment Partners, is launching Bootleg Series Vol. II, a new luxury Bourbon expression. A cask strength 15-year-old Straight Bourbon finished in 30-year-old Jamaican pot still rum casks and bottled at 104.6 proof, Bootleg Series Vol. II comes in a handmade ceramic bottle featuring Bob Dylan’s painting, Sunset, Monument Valley, and is housed in an ornate leather journal that is individually numbered. It’s rolling out in an edition of 3,000 bottles, selling at $500 apiece.
Lawrenceburg, Kentucky’s Wild Turkey Distillery, part of the Campari portfolio, has launched Russell’s Reserve 2003, its newest limited edition vintage release. The 44.75% abv whiskey matured for 16 years and is the last Wild Turkey juice barreled at 107 proof (today the company’s whiskies enter the barrel at 115 proof). Only 3,600 bottles of Russell’s Reserve 2003 will be available across the U.S. for a suggested price of $250 a 750-ml. The whiskey joins Russell’s Reserve 10-year-old Bourbon, 6-year-old rye, and their respective single barrel variants in the brand portfolio.
Chopin Imports is bringing Ron Carúpano rum to the U.S. Beginning this month, the Venezuelan brand is introducing its Ron Añejo portfolio and its Prestige Collection, including expressions from Ron Carúpano 6 to Ron Carúpano X.O., and Ron Carúpano Legendario, which range in price from $20 a 750-ml. to $500. RNDC and other distributors will make the brand available in 12 states including California, Florida, and Colorado.
Quintessential Brands is launching a selection of whiskies from the Dublin Liberties Distillery in the U.S. The Liberties Irish Whiskey range focuses on single malts and unique cask finishes. The U.S. selection is composed of one blend and three single malts. The blend is called Oak Devil, aged five years in oak casks and retailing for approximately $45 a 750-ml. The single malt range includes Copper Alley 10-year old ($60), Murder Lane 13-year-old ($90), and Keeper’s Coin 16-year-old ($160). The whiskies are debuting at select retailers in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Colorado, Washington, Michigan, and Minnesota.
Saint Michaels, Maryland’s Gray Wolf has introduced an eponymous rye whiskey. The 46.5% abv whiskey is distilled from a mash of 60% rye and 40% malted barley and aged in a solera system that uses three cask types. The whiskey starts off in charred new American oak before progressing to Port barrels and American white oak. The first batch of Gray Wolf rye will be available at the distillery and farmers’ markets throughout the state. Home delivery begins on November 2.
Tequila Partida is launching an Añejo Cristalino as the latest addition to its lineup. The expression is distilled from Blue Weber agave that’s cooked 24 hours, then aged a minimum of 18 months in American white oak medium toast ex-Bourbon barrels before being filtered through activated carbon. The filtration removes most of the liquid’s color but leaves aromas and flavor intact; the liquid is then diluted with demineralized volcanic spring water to bring it to 40% abv. Añejo Cristalino launches nationwide in November, retailing for $60 a 750-ml.
Maison Ferrand has announced Ferrand Cognac Légendaire, a new luxury-priced annual release containing some of the oldest Cognacs in the house’s library. The spirit draws from reserves up to 100 years old, and the final blend is finished in a zebra barrel—a barrel with the staves gradually replaced as the Cognac matures, imparting new tannins without overwhelming the spirit in the barrel, according to the company. Beginning this month, Ferrand Cognac Légendaire will be available in extremely limited quantities—only 500 bottles will be released each year—for around $2,800 a 750-ml.
Brooklyn-based Widow Jane Distillery is launching You’ll Never Walk Alone, a 10-year-old Bourbon aimed at raising funds for the USBG National Charity Foundation and CORE: Children of Restaurant Employees. Widow Jane will donate 100% of the proceeds from sales of You’ll Never Walk Alone to Covid-19 relief and guarantees a minimum donation of $50,000. A total of 550 cases of the 100-proof Bourbon are rolling out across California, Washington D.C., Florida, Illinois, New York, and Texas.
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Newport, Oregon-based Rogue Ales & Spirits is launching an addition to its line of canned cocktails. Rogue Ginger Lemon Whiskey Mule is the first in the series to use whiskey as its base spirit, joining three vodka-based offerings and a Gin Fizz. It’s at 7.5% abv and contains a blend of Rogue Spirits whiskey aged between 4 and 6 years along with ginger, lemon, simple syrup, and sparkling water. It is available nationwide now, retailing in 4-packs of 12-ounce cans.
Cincoro Tequila, the brand founded by Michael Jordan and other NBA owners, has released a limited number of 1.75-liter bottles of its Añejo Tequila. Each bottle is individually numbered and will be available for purchase on Cincoro’s website. Interested consumers can register now for a chance to buy. The 1.75-liter bottles will be available in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Washington, D.C., Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Nashville, Dallas, and Houston.
Palm Bay International is launching Drumshanbo Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey. Retailing at $65 a 750-ml., the newcomer is triple-distilled from a blend of malted Irish barley, unmalted Irish barley and Irish barra oats. It was aged five years in first use ex-Kentucky Bourbon and ex-Oloroso Sherry casks and was bottled at 43% abv. Rolling out nationwide, it joins Drumshanbo Gunpowder Gin in the Drumshanbo range.
Herradura Tequila, part of the Brown-Forman portfolio, is introducing a new permanent extension to its range. Herradura Legend is an Añejo Tequila matured for 14 months in heavily charred, new American White Oak barrels. Herradura makes its own barrels and deeply grooves them to expose the Tequila to more layers of toasted oak. Legend will initially be available in select markets, including New York, New Jersey, Colorado, Oregon, California, Texas, Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina retailing at $125.
Boston, Massachusetts-based Latitude Beverage has added a new Bourbon to its Wheel Horse Whiskey brand, following the launch of Wheel Horse rye earlier this year. The 50.5% abv whiskey is aged between two and four years from a mash of 70% corn, 21% rye, and 9% malted barley. The whiskey was distilled at the Owensboro Distilling Company in Kentucky and is now available in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Tennessee for around $28 a 750-ml.
Bacardi is debuting three new offerings from its Exceptional Cask series of single malt Scotch whiskies: Aberfeldy 18 Years Old ($120, 43% abv), Aberfeldy 20 Years Old ($200, 43% abv), and Craigellachie 24 Years Old ($300, 52.2% abv), all of which are rolling out this month. Each expression in the Exceptional Cask series is hand-selected by malt master Stephanie Macleod.
Sweet Amber Distilling Co. has announced a new cask strength program for the Blackened American whiskey line. The whiskey, called Batch 106, is a blend of Bourbon and rye that’s bottled at 55.35% abv. According to the company, the whiskies in the blend are an average of eight years old. Like the wider Blackened release, Batch 106 is finished by playing music through the spirit, in this case Metallica’s S&M2 collaboration with the San Francisco Symphony. Blackened Batch 106 is available for around $55 in Kroger Supermarkets in Kentucky and in Tampa, Florida at Luekens Wine & Spirits.
Constellation Brands has extended Svedka with a new range of canned Vodka Soda cocktails. The new offerings, made with real fruit juice and natural flavors, are at 8% abv and come in Strawberry Lemonade, Black Cherry Lime, and Mango Pineapple flavors. They’re rolling out now, retailing at $13 a 4-pack of 12-ounce cans, and $3 an individual can.
Beam Suntory has launched Suntory World Whisky Ao, its first global blend of whiskies, to 16 travel retail markets. The 43% abv blend is assembled from Beam Suntory’s Scottish, Canadian, American, and Japanese distillers by fifth generation Suntory chief blender, Shinji Fukuyo. This marks the first international launch for Ao, which was previously released in April 2019 as an exclusive for the Japanese market. Suntory World Whisky Ao retails for around $71 a bottle.
Lucas Bols USA has launched a new, non-alcoholic version of its Damrak gin, called Damrak Virgin 0.0. The spirit alternative is made with citrus peels, lavender, and coriander seeds, among other botanicals, and aims to mimic the flavor of Bols’ alcoholic Damrak gin. It’s now available nationwide in retail channels as well as online via the brand’s website and Amazon.
Frankfort, Kentucky’s Pinhook has announced its 2020 Vertical series whiskies. The new releases are Bourbon War 5 Year, bottled at 52% abv, and Tiz Rye Time 4 Year, bottled at 48.5%. Both whiskies are sourced from MGP. Pinhook will release new editions each year until the Vertical series gets to 12-year-old whiskies. The whiskies retail for $50 and $45, respectively, and are now available in 25 states and through Breeze, the company’s text message-based e-commerce channel that allows fans to text a photo or description of one of Pinhook’s whiskies to a personal shopper who then sources the spirit.
Louisville, Kentucky’s Barrell Craft Spirits has introduced a new addition to its BCS (Barrel Craft Spirits) line, a 15-year-old Bourbon. The whiskey is blended from straight Bourbons distilled in Kentucky, Indiana, and Tennessee, and bottled at 52.45% abv. Barrel’s BCS Bourbon is rolling out now in limited quantities—only 12,000 bottles will be released—and will retail for around $250 in select stores across the company’s 45-market distribution footprint. In addition to this new release, the BCS line also includes another whiskey and a rum.
Compass Box has announced the Peat Monster Arcana, the latest whisky celebrating the company’s 20th anniversary. The 46% abv whisky is made from a base of cask strength Peat Monster that aged for an additional two years before blending with malt whiskies from the Talisker, Miltonduff, and Ardbeg distilleries. The Peat Monster Arcana is rolling out this month in limited quantities across the U.S.; only 3,900 bottles will be available for a suggested price of $95 a 750-ml. This is the third celebratory whisky the company has released for its 20th anniversary, following Hedonism Felicitas and Rogues’ Banquet.
Elenita, a new brand of sparkling mezcal cocktails, is debuting across California. The 5% abv range includes Cucumber Lime Basil and Pineapple Jalapeno offerings and retails at $36 an eight-pack of 12-ounce cans on the company’s website. In addition to online, Elenita is available at select Total Wine and BevMo outlets among other on- and off-premise locations. The brand’s mezcal base is made from 100%-Espadin agave and distilled in Oaxaca.
Brooklyn, New York-based Widow Jane has announced the next batch of Decadence, the company’s maple syrup cask-finished whiskey. The 45.5% abv Bourbon starts as Widow Jane’s standard 10-year-old whiskey before finishing in casks used to age Crown Maple Syrup. This iteration of Decadence is rolling out now in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, South Carolina, and Texas, and will retail for around $80. Each batch of Widow Jane’ Decadence comes in at around 3,300 bottles of whiskey.
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In Scotch, Moët Hennessy USA’s Ardbeg single malt brand has unveiled Ardbeg 5-Year-Old Wee Beastie ($44), a new permanent edition to the Ardbeg core range. A 47.5% abv expression matured in Bourbon and Oloroso Sherry casks, Ardbeg Wee Beastie rolls out in April and will be widely available. It’s the fifth permanent edition in the Ardbeg range and the first since Ardbeg An Oa was released in 2017. The other permanent labels in the Ardbeg portfolio are 10-year-old, Uigeadail, and Corryvreckan.
Among blended Scotches, earlier this month Bacardi began a widespread rollout of Dewar’s Ilegal Smooth, a new release finished in mezcal barrels. The 8-year-old whisky ($22 a 750-ml.) is a 40% abv blend of up to 40 malt and grain whiskies finished in ex-Ilegal mezcal barrels. Dewar’s Ilegal Smooth follows last year’s launch of Dewar’s Caribbean Smooth, a rum barrel-finished expression, and it’s available nationwide.
Also in blended Scotch, earlier this month Diageo released Jane Walker by Johnnie Walker, a new limited-edition blended malt. The 41.9% abv whisky ($38 a 750-ml.) was created by master blender Emma Walker and is a blend of single malts, all at least 10 years old. It follows a limited-time release of Jane Walker in 2018. The new Jane Walker by Johnnie Walker is distributed nationwide.
Among American whiskies, Diageo has also debuted Bulleit Blenders’ Select No. 001, a limited-edition label. The 50%-abv Bourbon ($50 a 750-ml.) was made by Bulleit blender Eboni Major and is the first in a series of special releases that will celebrate Bulleit’s whiskey makers. Bulleit Blenders’ Select No. 001 is also available across the U.S. market.
Beam Suntory, meanwhile, has revamped its Old Overholt Straight rye whiskey brand. The reimagined Old Overholt ($18 a 750-ml.) is at 43% abv, up from the previous 40% abv, and the label features a “grumpier” rendering of brand founder Abe Overholt, as the company described it. Old Overholt also will now be bottled without chill filtration, bringing the brand more in line with its pre-Prohibition roots. Later this year, Beam Suntory also will launch a 57% abv, 4-year-old bottling of Old Overholt and a 46.3% abv, 11-year-old release. All the Old Overholt labels will be available nationwide. Beam Suntory has also unveiled its first 2020 batch of Booker’s. Called Granny’s Batch, it’s aged just over 6 years and retail-priced at $90. Like all Booker’s releases, Granny’s Batch is a limited edition.
Elsewhere in the American whiskey space, Lux Row Distillers, part of the Luxco portfolio, is launching Daviess County Bourbon, a new release that revives a heritage label and pays tribute to Bourbon history. The initial lineup for Daviess County includes three whiskies, all at 48% abv: Straight Bourbon ($40); a Bourbon finished in Cabernet Sauvignon barrels ($45); and one finished in French oak casks ($45). All three whiskies are made with wheated and rye-heavy mash bills and are available nationwide. Lux Row also announced the latest release of its Blood Oath series, Blood Oath Pact No. 6 ($100), a limited edition with just 51,000 bottles (4,250 cases) available in the U.S. market.
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Louisville, Kentucky’s Barrell Craft Spirits has launched two new whiskies, the latest in its numbered series of luxury-priced cask-strength blends. First up is Barrell Bourbon Batch 023, a 53.89% abv blend of 10-, 12-, and 15-year old straight Bourbon sourced from Tennessee, Kentucky, and Indiana. Barrell has also announced Rye Batch 003, a 58.35% abv blend of ryes from Indiana, Poland, Tennessee, and Canada. Both whiskies will be available in limited quantities across the company’s 43-state distribution footprint for around $90 a 750-ml.
El Mayor Tequila, part of the Luxco portfolio, is launching a new look including an updated logo and packaging. The new bottle features an embossed agave leaf design around the neck as well as written embossing at the base and is stopped with real cork. The new logo features the brand’s name in readable cursive script. The revamped look will apply to all El Mayor expressions, including Blanco, Reposado, Añejo, and Extra Añejo, and will be available nationally this summer.
Woodford Reserve has released a commemorative 2020 Kentucky Derby bottle as part of its role as presenting sponsor of the event. The special packaging features art by Richard Sullivan, a local artist and former player for the Atlanta Braves. The watercolor label illustration depicts horses racing toward the finish line of Churchill Downs. At 45.2% abv, 1-liter bottles of the Derby edition are now retailing for $50 across the U.S. and on e-commerce site Reserve Bar.
Looking to capitalize on the lower-alcohol spirits trend, Constellation Brands is extending Svedka with a new line called Pure Infusions. Bottled at 30% abv and retailing at $15 a 750-ml. and $16 a 1-liter, Svedka Pure Infusions are launching in three flavors: Strawberry Guava, Ginger Lime, and Dragonfruit Melon.
Bacardi has launched Dewar’s Ilegal Smooth, a new blended Scotch whisky finished in mezcal barrels. The 8-year-old whisky is blended from up to 40 malt and grain whiskies before finishing for an undisclosed amount of time in ex-Ilegal mezcal barrels before bottling at 40% abv. This new whisky follows last year’s Dewar’s Caribbean Smooth, a rum barrel finished expression.
Palm Bay International has added mezcal label Gracias a Dios to its import portfolio. Made by 4th-generation mezcalero Oscar Hernandez and his nephew, Milo Jimenez, Gracias a Dios includes six different mezcal expressions—Espadín Blanco ($40 a 750-ml.), Espadín Reposado ($50), Tobalá ($86), Tepextate ($86), Cuishe ($86), and Pechuga ($106)—as well as an agave gin ($53) that’s infused with 32 botanicals, representing the 32 states of the Mexican Republic.
Bacardi-owned Cazadores has added an Añejo Cristalino to its lineup. The new entry ages for over two years in small oak barrels and is then filtered through activated charcoal and stripped of its coloring while maintaining its oak-aged profile. Retailing at $40 a 750-ml., Cazadores Añejo Cristalino is rolling out to select retailers nationally.
Johnnie Walker has launched Master’s Ruby Reserve, a new limited edition offering dedicated to master blender Jim Beveridge’s 40-year career. The ultra-luxury bottling includes whiskies from the “ghost” distilleries of Cambus, Carsebridge, Pittyvaich, and Port Ellen, which are balanced with aged expressions from Talisker, Royal Lochnagar, Glendullan, and Cragganmore. All of the whiskies included are at least 40 years old. Packaged in a golden-red Baccarat crystal decanter, Johnnie Walker Master’s Ruby Reserve is bottled at 43% abv, retails at £15,000 ($19,700), and is limited to 398 bottles globally.
Beam Suntory has announced a revamp for Old Overholt Straight Rye Whiskey. The new Old Overholt ($18 a 750-ml.) will come in at 43% abv, an increase from the previous from 40% abv, and the new label will feature a “grumpier” rendering of brand founder Abe Overholt. In addition, Old Overholt will now be bottled with non-chill filtering, a move that brings the brand more in line with its pre-Prohibition history. Later this year, the company plans to launch a high proof (57% abv) 4-year-old bottling and a 46.3% abv 11-year-old bottling. Old Overholt Bottled-in-Bond will remain on the market unchanged.
Redbreast Irish whiskey, part of the Pernod Ricard portfolio, is adding a 27-year-old expression to its permanent range. Redbreast 27-year-old joins 12-, 15-, 21-year-old, and Lustau offerings in the existing lineup. It’s a cask-strength whiskey bottled at 54.6% abv after aging in Bourbon, Sherry, and Port casks. Retailing at $500 a 750-ml., Redbreast 27-year-old is launching in 23 U.S. markets.
Disaronno is introducing a new Velvet offshoot in the U.S. market. Billed as a gluten-free cream liqueur having notes of apricot with touches of almond and vanilla, Disaronno Velvet is at 17% abv and is rolling out nationally at $30 a 750-ml.
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Last autumn I had the opportunity to review the two youngest of the rums in the Facundo portfolio, NEO and Eximo. I recently received a bottle of the third rum, Exquisito for review. Exquisito is a blend of 7, 9 and 23-year-old rums finished in ex-Sherry barrels for four weeks. The bottle is a beautiful expression of the art deco era in Cuba.
Facundo Exquisito (80 proof)
Visual: Light golden brown.
Nose: Seductive, with a hefty dose of dark vanilla infused molasses. A lot of mellow wood and light spice play well together.
Taste: Almost meaty, reminding me of country baked poultry. A lot of caramelization with a thick, viscous mouthfeel. This is a rum that demands contemplation and introspection. It’s almost as if there are several layers that unfold with repeating intensity.
Finish: Medium long with a pleasant toffee-like afterglow.
Overall: A truly special rum that unfortunately will be calling to you more often than you can afford. Killer.
GSN Rating: A+
For more information go to: Facundo Rum
The Bacardi company has been crafting fine rums since 1862 when it was founded by Don Facundo Bacardi Massó. It is his given name that is used in tribute to this latest collection of rare limited release sipping rums. There are four expressions available, two of which were sent to the GSN offices for review at this time.
Neo is a blend of rums aged between one to eight years and then filtered to remove all traces of coloration. Eximo is interesting in that is was blended from unaged and young aged rums, and then aged again for ten years.
NEO (80 proof)
Nose: Tropical notes with a heady dose of fresh lime, spun sugar candy, marshmallow, and even a hint of black licorice.
Taste: Viscous mouthfeel with a depth unlike any rum I’ve come across. This tastes like it’s been distilled only twice, leaving a lot of the character of the cane molasses intact. Sweet, but also tempered with a slightly grassy and bitter edge. The lime nose that I detected comes through here in the flavor towards the end, making the whole effect quite refreshing and yet rich.
Finish: Medium long with a slight warming ginger root tang on the back of the palate.
Overall: An amazing rum that is well worth adding to your collection. I hesitate to recommend this in a highball, but it will shine in a Daiquiri. But, to truly appreciate, you should just sip neat at room temperature.
GSN Rating: A
Eximo (80 proof)
Nose: Raspberry, blackberry, baking spice, and vanilla.
Taste: Immediate berry fruit flavor that leads into cinnamon, then caramel corn, and finishing with a touch of toasted vanilla bean. Very interesting. Very, very easy to drink and lovely in a rum old-fashioned, or just straight with a large single cube of ice.
Finish: It goes on for a good long while with a lot more of the wood and spice character coming through. A perfect rum for the transition between summer and autumn.
Overall: Another truly fine rum that stands on its own without any need to mix it. One taste, and you’ll be hooked. Best get a bottle ASAP.
GSN Rating: A
For more information go to: Facundo Rum
Edrington Americas, known for its Scotch whisky portfolio, has entered the vodka segment with the launch of Snow Leopard, a super-premium brand. Made and bottled in Poland, Snow Leopard is produced from spelt grain and distilled six times. Retailing at $34.99 a 750-ml. bottle, it’s currently available in top markets including New York, Miami, Dallas, San Francisco, Chicago, Seattle, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. Edrington acquired Snow Leopard in late 2012 and, in addition to the U.S., the brand is present in London and pockets of Europe. Its profits support efforts to save the endangered snow leopard in Mongolia and Tibet.
Bacardi is launching its super-premium Facundo Rum Collection into the California market. The lineup, which currently features four limited edition aged sipping rums, will be available at select on- and off-premise accounts throughout Los Angeles and San Francisco this fall. The move marks the collection’s first market expansion, following its November 2013 debut in New York and Miami. Ranging in price from $45-$250, Bacardi’s Facundo Rum Collection includes Neo, a blended white rum aged for up to eight years; Eximo, a blended rum aged for more than 10 years; Exquisito, which is made with 7- to 23-year-old rums and finished in Sherry casks; and Paraiso, which is aged for up to 23 years and finished in Cognac casks.
Beam Suntory’s Jim Beam Bourbon has added three new labels to its upscale Signature Craft range. Rolling out nationwide, Jim Beam Signature Craft Quarter Cask marks the collection’s third expression, as well as its second limited-edition offering. Quarter Cask, which is priced at $39.99 a 750-ml., is aged for a minimum of five years and finished with a variety of quarter cask Bourbons, then aged for at least another four years in smaller barrels. Concurrently, Jim Beam has launched its Signature Craft Harvest Bourbon Collection, a new series featuring six Bourbons made with different grains. Jim Beam has debuted Harvest Bourbon’s first two entries—Signature Craft Soft Red Wheat Bourbon and Signature Craft Brown Rice Bourbon, both of which retail for $49.99—with the series’ additional four expressions set to rollout throughout 2015.
San Francisco’s Anchor Distilling has released Anchor Old Tom Gin, its third small-batch gin entry. Made with juniper berries, star anise, licorice root and stevia, the new 45%-abv offering is bottled unfiltered, and billed as a sweeter style than a London dry gin. Anchor Old Tom Gin, which is priced at $29.95 a 750-ml., joins Junipero gin, a London dry gin, and Genevieve, a Genever-style gin, in Anchor Distilling’s existing portfolio. Additionally, Anchor Distilling handles Berry Bros. & Rudd’s No. 3 London dry gin in the U.S.
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The Macallan single malt Scotch has released the latest entry in its limited Masters of Photography series, the Elliott Erwitt Edition. A collection of 35 unique single-cask whiskies, each paired with a different 11”x14” print signed by photographer Elliott Erwitt, the new expression is packaged in a 375-ml. glass flask hidden inside a photo-archival book. Worldwide, 2,030 Elliott Erwitt Edition packs will be released, with 320 of the packs allocated for the U.S. market. Launching globally this month, The Masters of Photography: Elliott Erwitt Edition is priced at $1,500. The Erwitt entry follows The Macallan’s previous Masters of Photography collaborations with Annie Leibovitz, Albert Watson and Rankin.
Gig Harbor, Washington-based Heritage Distilling is introducing a new offering, Elk Rider Blended Whiskey, in honor of its first anniversary. To be formally unveiled November 2, the new blended whiskey, made from local Northwest Washington ingredients, joins Elk Rider Vodka and Gin in the brand line. In addition to the Elk Rider range, Heritage also produces Commander’s Rye Whiskey, HDC Vodka, HDC Char Barrel Finished Vodka, HDC Soft Gin, Fall Classic Apple Cider Flavored Whiskey. The company’s brands are distributed in Washington and Oregon.
The New Hampshire Liquor Commission (NHLC) is launching the first-ever barrel of Aberfeldy single cask Scotch available in the U.S. this fall. Currently available for pre-order through November 1, the 1997 Aberfeldy Single Cask entry is currently priced at $229.99 and includes a personalized engraved medallion with purchase. After November 1, remaining inventory will be offered at select New Hampshire Liquor & Wine Outlet stores for $249.99. Only 600 bottles of the limited edition, 16-year-old offering will be offered.
Beefeater Burrough’s Reserve is now rolling out in the U.S. market. The limited edition new product features gin made using the original Beefeater recipe and then finished in rare oak barrels selected by master distiller Desmond Payne. Burrough’s Reserve ($70 a 750-ml.) is produced in very small batches, and each bottle displays its batch and bottle number on the label.
South Africa’s Amarula liqueur has unveiled a new extension, Amarula Gold, a non-cream product that will be launched in key global markets early next year. Like Amarula Cream, Gold is also made from marula fruit that is fermented into a marula wine and then double-distilled and aged in oak for 24 months.
Seattle’s Westland Distillery has released the first bottling of its American Single Malt Whiskey. Westland’s American Single Malt, priced at $60 a 750-ml., is made from five different malted barleys and matured in heavily charred new American oak casks. The whiskey will be the flagship of Westland’s line. At its 13,000 square foot facility, the group is currently producing approximately 100 full-size casks a month. The American Single Malt is available now at retail and on-premise in Washington state, with more markets to follow.
Bacardi has unveiled The Facundo Rum Collection, a new range of limited-edition, aged sipping rums. The collection, which is a tribute to Bacardi founder Don Facundo Bacardi Massó, will feature four handcrafted, luxury entries intended to appeal to Scotch and Cognac connoisseurs. Rolling out this month, the four rums will initially be available only in New York and Miami, limited to just 12,000 cases for their debut year. The first tier in the Facundo Collection is Neo ($45), a blended white rum made with liquid aged for up to 8 years, which is then carbon-filtered to remove color. Next in the range is Eximo ($60), which is blended prior to being aged for more than 10 years, and then Exquisito ($90), which is made with 7- to 23-year-old rums and finished in Sherry casks. The collection’s most upscale offering is Paraiso ($250), which is matured for up to 23 years and finished in Cognac casks. Each of the variants is intended to be consumed neat or on the rocks with the exception of Neo, which is also suggested to be consumed in cocktails.
The Teeling Whiskey Co. has introduced a namesake single grain Irish whiskey. Teeling Single Grain is a 46% abv product fully matured in Californian Cabernet Sauvignon wine barrels. Single grain Irish whiskey bottlings are very rare because the grain whiskey is generally blended with heavier styles to produce most of the category’s leading brands. Teeling Whiskey Co. was founded by Jack Teeling in 2012, soon after his father, John, sold Cooley Distillery to Beam Inc (Jack had been Cooley’s sales and marketing director). The company is currently planning to build its own production facility in Dublin, which would be the city’s first new whiskey distillery in more than a century.
Massachusetts-based Heavenly Spirits is reintroducing France’s Armorik Breton single malt whisky to the U.S. The 46%-abv whisky’s Classic expression ($49 a 750-ml.) is made from 100% French malted barley, aged almost 7 years in refilled American Bourbon casks, and finished in Oloroso Sherry casks for three months. Armorik’s Double Maturation variant ($55) is aged 5 years in French oak from the Armorik forest and at least two years in Oloroso Sherry Casks. Concurrently, Heavenly Spirits has added Jules Theuriet Creme de Framboise to its range. The 18%-abv. raspberry liqueur comes in 750-ml. and 375-ml. sizes.
Washington, D.C.-based New Columbia Distillers is releasing a limited-edition seasonal gin, Ginavit. Ginavit was created by adding several traditional Scandinavian aquavit botanicals to New Columbia’s Green Hat Gin. The blend was then rested in apple brandy barrels for three months. Retailing at $40, Ginavit will hit D.C. Retailers and restaurants in limited quantities beginning next week.
All information courtesy of Shanken News Daily
Bacardi Oakheart (70 proof) – The spiced rum market is heating up with several new contenders entering the ring these days. The latest comes from venerable Puerto Rican rum producer Bacardi, who are about to celebrate 150 years of distilling in 2012. Oakheart is aged in charred American white oak barrels with the addition of maple, cinnamon, nutmeg, honey and vanilla spices. It’s a lighter style rum that will undoubtedly go over well with the 20-something crowd.
The color is golden orange with a super vanilla forward nose. Scent has additional elements of cinnamon, orange sugar, and hot cross buns. Initial taste is very sweet and liqueur like, almost like liquid creme brulee. Other interesting notes include dark cherry, mild yellow curry powder, toasted coconut, carmelized butter, and french toast.
The finish is slightly bitter, with the wood notes coming out towards the end. Overall, it has less body than the other spiced rums currently on the market, and seems designed specifically as a mixer; but will add some sweet and spice notes to a tropical drink calling for amber rum. GSN Rating: B
More information about Bacardi Oakheart can be found at: http://www.bacardi.com/