GSN: Backbar Review – September 16-20, 2013

indexConstellation’s Black Velvet Canadian whisky is launching a new flavor extension, Cinnamon Rush, into national distribution beginning this month. Available in 1-liter, 750-ml. and 50-ml. sizes, Cinnamon Rush is 70%-abv and retails at $12.49 a 750-ml. Constellation says Cinnamon Rush is geared toward the shot occasion—where it will take on Sazerac’s Fireball, Hood River’s SinFire and Brown-Forman’s Early Times Fire Eater, among other cinnamon-flavored brands—as well as cocktails. Cinnamon Rush is joined in the Black Velvet flavor stable by Toasted Caramel, which debuted a year ago.

indexAnchor Distilling is adding four additional Nikka Japanese whisky expressions to its U.S. import lineup. Starting this month, Anchor will add Nikka’s Coffey Grain ($69.99), Miyagikyo Single Malt 12-year-old ($119.99), Taketsuru Pure Malt 17-year-old ($149.99) and Taketsuru Pure Malt 21-year-old ($179.99) to its stable. The four expressions join the brand’s Taketsuru Pure Malt 12-year-old ($69.99) and Yoichi Single Malt 15-year-old labels ($129.99), which joined the Anchor portfolio in November 2012 and quickly sold out following their U.S. launch.

indexKey West, Florida, once a haven for rum smugglers during the Prohibition era, is set to get its first legal distillery with the debut of Chef Distilled, a new craft spirits company. The brainchild of chef and professional kiteboarder Paul Menta, Chef Distilled is located in a 2,500-square-foot former Coca-Cola bottling plant and plans to begin operations early next month. Menta says initial production will be around eight to 10 110-bottle batches a week. Chef Distilled’s first offering will be a white rum called Legal Rum (around $22), which will initially be available in the South Florida market, handled by Opici Family Distributing. Menta hopes to start shipping to retail by November.  Offshoots currently being considered include vanilla crème brûlée and Spanish lime infusions, and Menta is also planning on launching a “raw” rum bottled straight from the still, as well as a barrel-aged offering.

Woodford-Reserve-2013-Masters-Collection-217x300Brown-Forman’s Woodford Reserve Bourbon brand is releasing a pair of limited edition malt whiskies as part of its Master’s Collection series this November. Known as The Double Malt Selections, the pair—said to be the first fully matured whiskies crafted from malt in Kentucky since Prohibition—include a Straight Malt whiskey matured in new barrels and a Classic Malt whiskey aged in used barrels, offering consumers the opportunity to compare the two aging methods. The individually numbered whiskies are both bottled at 90.4-proof, priced at $99.99 a 750-ml., and will be released in major U.S. metro markets and select international locations.

All information courtesy of Shanken News Daily.

GSN: Backbar Review Oct. 8-12, 2012

Constellation Brands’ Black Velvet Canadian whisky brand is entering the flavored whisk(e)y arena with a new variant—Toasted Caramel. The 70-proof extension is available now nationwide for a suggested retail price of $12.49 a 750-ml. The brand’s lineup previously included Black Velvet Original and Black Velvet Reserve 8-year-old. The flavored whiskey category is among the fastest-growing areas of the U.S. spirits market, up 114.5% in case volume in Nielsen channels in the 52-week period ending September 15, 2012, lead by entries like Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey, Beam’s Red Stag, Wild Turkey American Honey and Evan Williams’ flavored reserves, among others.

Pernod Ricard has unveiled Absolut Tune, a blend of Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand’s Marlborough region and Absolut vodka. It will be priced at $31.99 a 750-ml. and will initially roll out in New York, New Jersey, California, Florida, Las Vegas, Chicago and Boston this fall. The 14%-abv offering, which is packaged in a black and gold Champagne-style bottle, also features an outer sleeve that mimics a zipper when torn off. The launch is supported by collaborations with fashion designer Charlotte Ronson and singer-songwriter and DJ Solange Knowles, who will host launch events in New York and Miami and are also featured in a digital web series.

Beam Inc. has introduced a new line of premium chocolate liqueurs under its DeKuyper brand. Launching nationwide this month, the John DeKuyper & Sons (JDK & Sons)Absolut Tunes range features three expressions—Chocolate Cherry, Chocolate Mint and Chocolate Chili—intended to be served on ice or in cocktails. Each is packaged in a white 750-ml. bottle, priced at $17.99 (15% abv). JDK & Sons Crave Chocolate Liqueurs join DeKuyper’s existing portfolio of close to 60 different flavors of cordials, liqueurs, crèmes, brandies and schnapps.

Whyte & Mackay has released the Constellation Collection—a line of 21 single malt Scotches produced at its distillery between 1964 and 1992—in the U.S. market. The collection, which in its entirety will be sold for $250,000, was unveiled at a Spec’s outlet in Houston, Texas earlier this week.



360 Vodka has launched a new flavor extension to its line—Buttered Popcorn. Released to coincide with October’s National Popcorn Poppin’ Month, 360 Buttered Popcorn is available now across the U.S. for $15.99 a 750-ml. Made by the Earth Friendly Distilling Co. in Weston, Missouri, the 360 Vodka line features Original as well as a range of flavors that includes Glazed Donut, Cola, Double Chocolate, Georgia Peach and Madagascar Vanilla, among others.



Washington state’s Dry Fly Distilling has detailed several new releases slated to ship November 15. They include a Triticale whiskey (a rye-wheat hybrid), a Cask Strength wheat whiskey, a Port Finish wheat whiskey, a 101-proof version of the distillery’s Washington Bourbon and a Barrel Reserve gin. The new entries will ship in six-packs of 375-ml. bottles, with each bottle selling for between $24.95-$34.95 at retail. Dry Fly co-founder Kent Fleischmann says the next batch of these specialty items is expected to be ready by April 1, 2013.

Diageo is extending its George Dickel Tennessee whisky with a new rye variant. Shipping nationwide the end of November, George Dickel Rye will sell for $24.99 a 750-ml. The newcomer is a straight rye whisky matured in new charred oak barrels for at least five years. It’s 90-proof and consists of a mash bill of 95% rye and 5% malted barley. George Dickel Rye joins George Dickel No. 8, No. 12 and Barrel Select in the brand’s lineup. Rye whisky, boosted by its frequent use in classic cocktails, has been rising at above 20% annually in the U.S. market.

All information courtesy of Shanken News Daily