GSN Spirited News: March 31st 2020 Edition

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.

Courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Spirited News: March 10th 2020 Edition

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.

Courtesy of Shanken News Daily