GSN Spirited News: May the 4th Be With You Edition

San Diego, California-based Cutwater Spirits, part of the Anheuser-Busch portfolio, is launching Cutwater Mezcal, its first foray into the mezcal category. The new entry is distilled from 100% Cenizo Agave. To ensure long-term sustainability of the agave supply, Cutwater will plant five baby agave plants for each plant harvested and is establishing an on-premise nursery to cultivate agave plants from seed. The first bottling of Cutwater Mezcal, released earlier this month, is a limited run available at select retailers. It’s at 45% abv and retails for $50 a 750-ml.

French import Citadelle Gin is introducing Jardin d’Été as a permanent addition to the portfolio. The new expression, whose name translates as Summer Garden, is made with the same 19 botanicals used in Citadelle’s flagship gin plus melon flesh, whole lemon, yuzu zest, and orange peel. The additions were inspired by a garden cultivated by Debbie Gabriel, wife of Citadelle founder Alexandre Gabriel, at Château de Bonbonnet, Citadelle’s base in southwest France. It is available now in the U.S., bottled at 41.5% abv and priced at $25 a 750-ml. Citadelle Gin is part of Maison Ferrand, which also produces Cognac Ferrand and Plantation Rum.

PaQui Tequila founder John Chappell has launched a new mezcal artesanal called Lejana y Sola. Made in Lachilà, Oaxaca from Espadin agave and wild Cuishe agave, Lejana y Sola retails at $60 a 750-ml. and is distributed in the New York, Florida, and California markets, with online availability reaching 40 states. The brand name translates to “Afar and Alone” and was inspired by the famous Federico Garcia Lorca poem, “Il Cancion del Jinete,” or “The Horseman’s Song.”

Prestige Beverage Group has introduced two new single malt Scotch whisky expressions from Tullibardine to the U.S. Tullibardine Artisan is a non-age-statement malt matured in ex-Bourbon barrels and bottled at 40%. It will retail for around $30 a 750-ml. The second new release is Tullibardine 12-year-old, a 40% abv whisky matured in first-fill Bourbon barrels, retailing for $45. Both whiskies will be available in 20 states across the U.S.

High West is introducing a limited edition of its Rendezvous Rye, featuring artwork from American artist Ed Mell, who’s renowned for his Western landscapes. This limited edition kicks off High West’s transition of the distillery’s flagship whiskey to a seasonal release. This first seasonal edition retails at $70 a 750-ml. and will be available nationwide by the end of May.

Courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Backbar Review: Jan. 20-24, 2014

indexProximo Spirits has introduced a new whiskey brand—Tincup American Whiskey—into select U.S. markets. Created in partnership with Stranahan’s Colorado whiskey founder Jess Graber, Tincup is made with a corn, rye and malt blend and aged in American white oak barrels. The 84-proof entry will initially be available in Colorado, Arizona, California, Illinois, New York, Texas and Washington, priced at $27.99 a 750-ml. The rollout will be supported by a multi-city tour, featuring interactive tastings led by Graber.

indexCognac Ferrand has unveiled new packaging for its Citadelle Gin brand that will hit the U.S. market early this year. Citadelle’s new blue fluted bottle is inspired by vintage blue siphon seltzer bottles and features copper accents that refer to the small Charentais copper pot stills used to distill the gin, the same stills used in making the company’s Pierre Ferrand Cognac. At 44% abv, Citadelle Gin’s suggested retail price is $24.99 a 750-ml. bottle ($31.99 a liter)

indexCampari America is returning to the Irish whiskey segment, launching a new entry under its existing Irish Mist liqueur brand. Rolling out in March, Irish Mist whiskey will initially be available in Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, California, Illinois, Michigan and Ohio, priced at around $28.99 a 750-ml. The new offering is a triple-distilled blend of four-year-old whiskies that have been aged in American oak casks.

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imagesA. Hardy USA has partnered with Indiana’s Pay Dirt Brands to launch Michael Godard vodka and gin in the U.S. market. Produced in Holland, the brand is named for modern artist and philanthropist Michael Godard, and features Godard’s original artwork on the labels. Michael Godard gin ($35.99 a 750-ml.) is a small-batch offering made with Dutch wheat, juniper, vanilla beans and citrus, while sister brand Michael Godard vodka ($31.99 a 750-ml.) is also made with Dutch wheat and distilled five times. Both entries are available nationwide

imagesMassachusetts-based M.S. Walker has unveiled Kennedy Irish, a new Irish whiskey brand featuring several flavor infusions. The range, which is produced in West Cork, Ireland, features Original, Limed, Honeyed, Spiced and Chillied entries, all of which are priced at $22 a 750-ml. Concurrently, the company has also extended its Screech rum brand ($18.99) with new Screech Honey ($19.99) and Screech Spiced ($19.99) flavored offshoots. Screech Honey is made with oak-aged Jamaican rum, while Screech Spiced is imported from Guyana and made with a blend of 4- to 8-year-old Demerara rum and spices. In addition to the new entries, M.S. Walker has also updated the label design across the full Screech lineup, intended to emphasize the brand’s nautical heritage.

indexAustin, Texas’ Deep Eddy Vodka has added a new cranberry flavor to its lineup, which will hit shelves in select markets in February 2014. Deep Eddy Cran is made with cranberries harvested from New England cranberry farms and pure cane sugar and will be available in 50-ml., 750-ml., 1-liter and 1.75-liter bottles. Deep Eddy Cran joins Ruby Red (Grapefruit) and Sweet Tea in the product line, as well as the core unflavored vodka. The newcomer will initially be available in 13 states and Washington D.C., with more markets to be added throughout the year.

imagesSidney Frank Importing Co. has partnered with Montreal’s Spirits by Maison des Futailles L.P. to become the exclusive U.S. importer of whisky and maple syrup blend Sortilège. A blend of all-natural maple syrup and Canadian rye whisky aged in white oak barrels for a minimum of three years, the liqueur is 60-proof. As the brand’s exclusive U.S. importer and distributor, Sidney Frank is currently rolling out Sortilège nationwide, at a retail price of $19.99 a 375-ml.

indexThe GlenDronach Distillery has launched two new single malt Scotch expressions—The GlenDronach 15-year-old Tawny Port Wood Finish, and The GlenDronach Cask Strength Batch 2—both of which will be available in the U.S. through Anchor Distilling Company. Known for its sherried single malts, GlenDronach experimented with different types of wood for maturation to find how it would influence the whisky. The 15-year Tawny Port Wood Finish is matured in European oak and finished in Tawny Port barrels. It is 46% abv with a suggested retail price of $79.99. The Cask Strength Batch 2 is 50-60% abv, $149.99 a bottle, and has been matured in a combination of Pedro Ximenez and Oloroso Sherry casks.

indexDiageo is extending its Smirnoff Sorbet Light vodka range with a new flavor, Pineapple Coconut. The new entry, retailing at $15.99 a 750-ml. bottle, has 78 calories per 1.5-ounce serving, in line with the rest of the brand. The Smirnoff Sorbet Light line, which debuted last March, also includes Raspberry Pomegranate, Lemon and Mango Passion Fruit flavors.

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indexMongolian vodka brand Soyombo is making its first expansion outside its home country including a debut in five U.S. markets. The 40%-abv vodka is launching in California, New Hampshire, New Jersey, upstate New York and Ohio—in addition to Canada, the U.K., Russia, Korea, Macao and travel retail—at a suggested retail price of $29.99 a 750-ml.

All information courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Review: Citadelle Gin

4571Despite Citadelle being a relatively new gin on the market (and an award-winning one at that) the recipe itself goes back to the 1700’s.  Comprising 19 different botanicals steeped in a thrice distilled wheat spirit (whereupon they are distilled for a fourth and final time), Citadelle is crafted in Dunkirk, France (where my grandfather fought during WWII).  The list of ingredients reads like a world tour of spices with everything from Chinese licorice to West African grains of paradise.

Citadelle Gin (88 proof)
Visual: Clear.
Nose: Juniper, slightly flowery whiffs, with high citrus notes.
Taste: Bright, peppery, crisp, with a lot of minerality.
Finish: Fresh, clean and quite dry.
Overall: Very well done and a style of gin that incorporates a lot of herb, citrus and spice into a cohesive whole.  Great in a traditional Martini.
GSN Rating: A-

For more information go to: Citadelle