Rebel Yell: Rebel Yell’s Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey was purportedly patented in 1936, soon after the Prohibition ended. Light-bodied, it offers some of the same creme brulee taste that Bookers Bourbon had, but much softer. The flavor washes over your tongue slowly as you sip.
GSN Backbar Review: February 9-13, 2015
E&J Gallo is launching a new liqueur, Viniq, into national distribution. A blend of premium vodka, Moscato and natural fruit flavor, Viniq was initially tested in seven markets beginning in May 2014 and enjoyed notable success in the nightlife sector in Los Angeles and Atlanta. Targeted at Millennial consumers, the 40-proof liqueur “shimmers” when shaken for an eye-catching effect, Gallo says. Now available nationally, Viniq retails at around $20 a 750-ml. bottle.
In an unusual twist, Chicago-based CH Distillery has introduced a spirit distilled from beer. The company borrowed several barrels of the neighboring Ale Syndicate’s du Sable Hoppy Saison, de-gassed the liquid and then distilled it twice before resting it in small rum barrels for five months. The resulting product is called Spirit of du Sable (40% ABV), priced at $11 a 2-ounce pour at CH’s own cocktail bar or $14 paired side-by-side with a 12-ounce pour of the original beer. Bottles in a 375-ml. size are available at retail in Illinois, priced at $30. Meanwhile, Chicago-based Mercenary Brewing and Distillery, is set to introduce a gin employing the same hops as its pale ale, as well as a whiskey made from stout. Distribution initially will be limited to northern Illinois.
Diageo is launching its second annual collector’s edition of Johnnie Walker Scotch whisky in celebration of the Lunar New Year. Johnnie Walker Blue Label Year of the Ram ($258 a 750-ml.) is now in limited release at retailers across the country. The styling of the new edition nods at traditional Chinese ceramic artistry: when four bottles with their signature Johnnie Walker labels are placed side by side, a single image unfolds, evoking a Chinese scroll painting. The bottle’s artwork illustrates three rams standing in distinguished positions, a traditional reference to the Book of Changes signifying a New Year of great fortune, according to the company.
Park City, Utah-based High West Distillery has relaunched Bourye, a Bourbon and rye whiskey hybrid offering. A blend of nine-year-old straight Bourbon and 10- and 16-year-old straight rye whiskies, the returning offering is positioned as a sipping whiskey, intended to be consumed neat or with water. Bourye is currently available across High West’s 42-state footprint, priced at $80 a bottle, and joins the distiller’s existing range of craft whiskies and vodkas.
Beam Suntory has introduced Skinnygirl Spicy Lime Margarita. Targeting the spicy-sweet flavor profile that’s growing in popularity, Skinnygirl Spicy Lime Margarita is 10% abv and retails at $12.99 a 750-ml., with a 1.75-liter positioned at $20 to follow next month.
Diageo’s Captain Morgan rum is expanding with three new flavors, including Captain Morgan Pineapple Rum, Coconut Rum and Grapefruit Rum. The trio will be available nationwide, priced at $15.99 a 750-ml., and, according to Diageo, are targeted primarily toward the summer cocktail occasion.
Moët Hennessy’s Belvedere vodka has augmented its flavored lineup with the launch of Belvedere Wild Berry. Launching nationwide this April, the summer-inspired expression is made with a natural blend of Polish strawberries and American blueberries and includes no added sugar, the company says. Wild Berry ($34.99 a 750-ml.) marks Belvedere’s sixth flavored entry, joining the brand’s existing Citrus, Pink Grapefruit, Mango Passion, Lemon Tea and Bloody Mary offshoots.
Booker’s Bourbon, part of Beam Suntory’s small-batch whiskey stable, has released the first in a series of limited edition Bourbons celebrating founding distiller Booker Noe. The series’ first offering, called Batch 2015-1 or “Big Man, Small Batch,” is a 128.7 proof Bourbon aged seven years and two and a half months. Hand-selected by Fred Noe, Booker’s son and seventh-generation master distiller, Big Man, Small Batch ($54.99) will be followed by more commemorative limited release Booker’s offerings throughout the year.
Pernod Ricard is launching its high-end Yellow Spot Irish whiskey in the U.S. market, beginning this month. A 12-year-old single pot still whiskey, Yellow Spot was previously available exclusively in select European countries. Made with a mash of malted and unmalted barley and triple distilled in traditional copper pot stills, the whiskey is matured in a combination of American Bourbon, Spanish Sherry and Spanish Malaga casks. It will retail for about $100 a 750-ml. bottle in the U.S. market.
All information courtesy of Shanken News Daily
GSN Review: Booker’s Bourbon
Along with the Jim Beam family, Booker Noe II is responsible for bringing some of the world’s greatest Bourbons to light. Booker served as master distiller for over four decades at the Beam Distillery in Kentucky. Many may not know that Booker was the great-great-great grandson of the founder Jacob Beam. Over the years he began to bottle some special Bourbons for his friends and family. It was uncut, non-chill filtered, aged six-eight years in the center of the aging racks. In 1992, he debuted it to the general public, and it has since taken its place amongst the countries best spirits. Booker’s Bourbon continues the traditions and memory of this great man.
Booker’s Bourbon (121-127 proof)
Visual: Medium dark brown.
Nose: Light, yet hinting at some depth and heat. The distillate remains in the forefront, with the typical vanilla and caramel elements reaming in the background.
Taste: Elegant and quite refined. Surprisingly understated, yet very much a cask strength bourbon in terms of flavor profile. This speaks well of the master distillers ability to know when a cask is ready for bottling.
Finish: The heat is in the back of the throat with all of the pleasantries delivered up front. Quite a pleasure and a superb sipping whiskey.
Overall: Again, despite the high-proof, this is eminently mixable and absolutely a winner as a slow sipper. If I didn’t know better, I’d say that this was aged at least 12 years, instead of 7.5.
GSN Rating: A-
For more information go to: SmallBatch.com
GSN: Backbar Review – September 30-October 4, 2013
Pernod Ricard’s Irish Distillers has extended its Redbreast Irish whiskey brand with a new 21-Year-Old extension. Rolling out this month, Redbreast 21-Year-Old is made from a malted and unmalted barley mash, triple distilled in copper pot stills and then matured in a combination of American Bourbon barrels and Spanish Oloroso Sherry casks. The new entry is currently available across the U.S.—as well as in the U.K., France, Ireland and Germany—priced at $180 a bottle. Redbreast 21-Year-Old marks the ninth single pot still Irish whiskey in the Irish Distillers stable, as well as the brand’s oldest offering to date, joining Redbreast’s existing 12-Year-Old, 12-Year-Old Cask Strength and 15-Year-Old variants.
Sidney Frank Importing Co. is aiming to reinvigorate its Jägermeister liqueur brand with the launch of its first U.S. extension, seasonal offering Jägermeister Spice. The limited edition expression hits national distribution today, priced at $22.99 a 750-ml. Jägermeister Spice (25% abv) uses the same 56 different herbs, blooms, roots and fruits as Jägermeister Original, but highlights the vanilla and cinnamon spices to give it a warmer taste profile.
Campari America’s Cabo Wabo Tequila brand has expanded its range with Cabo Diablo, a new coffee liqueur. Featuring a color-changing label, the 35%-abv offering is made with a blend of Cabo Wabo Blanco Tequila and Arabica coffee liqueur. Cabo Diablo will be available this fall across New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Wisconsin, priced at $22.99 a 750-ml. The coffee liqueur joins Blanco, Reposado, Añejo and Uno entries in Cabo Wabo’s 100%-agave portfolio.
Pernod Ricard is extending its Paddy Irish whiskey brand with two flavors, a honey offering to be known as Bee Sting, and spiced apple-flavored Devil’s Apple. Paddy’s new flavors are launching in the U.S. this month, backed by a millennial-targeted marketing campaign titled “Sleep when you’re 30.”
San Francisco-based Anchor Distilling has released Berry Bros. & Rudd’s Blue Hanger blended malt whiskey in the U.S. for the first time. Now in its seventh limited release, Blue Hanger’s current edition is comprised of one hogshead of Bruichladdich 1992, one butt of Bunnahabhain 1990, four hogsheads of Miltonduff 1997 and two hogsheads of Bunnahabhain Moine (peated) 2006. Blue Hanger 7th Limited Release will be offered exclusively in the U.S., with a total of 3,088 bottles available, priced at $99.99 each.
Former Sidney Frank Importing executives Rick and Sarah Zeiler have launched a new shot brand, Coldcock American Herbal Whiskey. A Bourbon infused with herbs including green tea, hibiscus, eucalyptus, cinnamon and ginger, Coldcock is 70-proof and retails at $19.99 a 750-ml. Already present in California, Georgia and Indiana, the new brand is launching in New York, South Carolina, Tennessee and Nebraska today, and will soon hit New Jersey, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, Illinois and Texas.
Beam Inc. is extending the John DeKuyper & Sons Crave chocolate liqueurs range with the launch of Crave Chocolate Truffle. The new flavor is available nationwide with a suggested retail price of $17.99 a 750-ml. bottle. Chocolate Truffle (15% abv) joins Chocolate Mint, Chocolate Cherry and Chocolate Chili in the Crave range of flavors.
Pewaukee, Wisconsin-based Midwest Custom Bottling, bottler of RumChata, is launching Holly Nog—a new spiked eggnog—in the U.S. this holiday season. Made with wine and Wisconsin dairy cream, Holly Nog (owned by Midwest Custom Bottling, while RumChata is owned by Agave Loco) will be available at both liquor stores and wine-only stores, as well as in the dairy aisle of grocery stores. The 14%-abv entry comes in 750-ml. bottles, priced at $9.99 each.
Jack Daniel’s is introducing a limited edition Master Distiller #1 bottle, honoring founder Jasper Newton “Jack” Daniel, nationwide this fall. The 750-ml. bottles, which were previously only available in Tennessee and duty free shops, are currently hitting shelves at retail locations across the U.S. ($24.99). Master Distiller #1 is the first in a new series recognizing the seven men who have held the master distiller post since the Jack Daniel Distillery began producing nearly 150 years ago. In addition to Jack Daniel, the list of master distillers includes Jess Motlow, Lem Tolley, Jess Gamble, Frank Bobo, Jimmy Bedford and Jeff Arnett (currently in the position).
Serge Imports’ Exclusiv has debuted a new brandy-flavored vodka, XO Napoleon. The new expression will be priced at $10 a 750-ml. and will initially launch in New Jersey, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee. Exclusiv XO Napoleon (35% abv) uses 5- to 18-year-old brandies for flavoring and achieves the brandy coloring through the traditional French method of including caramelized sugar. XO Napoleon marks the brand’s tenth offering.
Diageo is debuting a new single malt Scotch offering, Talisker Storm, in the U.S. market. Launching nationwide this month, the non-age-stated whisky is matured in oak for a minimum of three years and retails at $66 a 750-ml. Part of Diageo’s Classic Malts collection, Talisker is the only distillery on Scotland’s Isle of Skye.
Beam Inc. is set to roll out a new batch of Booker’s Bourbon handpicked by whiskey experts in the coming days. Booker’s Bourbon Batch No. 2013-6 will hit shelves nationwide in early October, priced at $49.99 a 750-ml. The new offering is 126.5-proof and has been aged for seven years. Beam Master Distiller Fred Noe honored his father’s tasting tradition of sharing bottles with friends by hosting his own Booker’s Bourbon Roundtable, which consisted of a select group of whiskey advocates, writers and experts.
Beam Inc. has launched Ice Surge—a new liqueur brand—in select U.S. markets. Targeted toward the shot occasion, the 70-proof range includes Tropical Freeze (pineapple and mango) and Frozen Berry (raspberry, blackberry and açai) variants, both of which are said to combine fruit flavors with a unique cooling sensation. Priced at $16.99 a 750-ml., Ice Surge will initially be available across 20 markets.
Pernod Ricard’s Seagram’s gin has added Red Berry Twisted, a gin infused with raspberry and strawberry flavors and aimed at the at-home cocktail occasion.
All information courtesy of Shanken News Daily