GSN Spirited News: March 30th 2021 Edition

Kentucky’s Bardstown Bourbon Co. has announced its second collaboration with California wine brand The Prisoner, set to hit shelves on April 1. The whiskey—the latest in Bardstown’s Collaboration Series—is a 10-year-old Tennessee bourbon, bottled at 50%, and finished for 18 months in barrels used to mature The Prisoner’s flagship red blend. Bardstown Bourbon Company & The Prisoner Wine Company Collaboration will retail for around $124 a 750-ml. and will be available in limited quantities in Bardstown’s distribution footprint.

Luxury Tequila player Clase Azul is introducing a new offering, Mezcal Guerrero, nationwide on April 1. The newcomer is made from 100% Agave Papalote, also known as Agave Cupreata, which is specific to Mexico’s Guerrero region and can take up to 15 years to mature. Recommended to be sipped neat, Clase Azul’s Mezcal Guerrero is packaged in a tall green decanter stylized with a number of elements evocative of Guerrero culture. The 42% abv mezcal will retail at $249 a 750-ml.

Highland Park, part of the Edrington portfolio, has unveiled a new ultra-luxury single malt. The new Highland Park 50-year-old was selected from nine refill casks originally laid down in 1968, married together in 2008, then re-racked into a handful of first-fill Sherry seasoned oak casks. Then, after a further 12 years of maturation, one of these limited casks was selected and married with a small quantity of the whisky from the last 50-year-old released by the Orkney-based distillery. Bottled at 43.8% abv and retailing at $30,000 a bottle, Highland Park 50-year-old is an extremely limited release of 274 bottles each signed by master whisky maker Gordon Motion.

Oakland, California’s Absinthia Bottled Spirits has launched Absinthia Verte, the brand’s second release following Absinthia Blanche. The absinthe is made from California grapes and distilled with wormwood, star anise, fennel seed, and coriander seed, plus Roman wormwood, anise hyssop, and lemon balm to give the Verte its green color. The spirit is bottled at 55% abv and retails for $45 a 375-ml. Absinthia Verte (and its sibling, Blanche) are available on the brand’s website and in key markets across the U.S.

Sombra mezcal, part of the Davos Brands portfolio recently acquired by Diageo, is launching Reposé, billed as a first-of-its-kind reposado made with Sombra’s Espadin mezcal, aged in Bordeaux wine barrels. Sourced from Château Léoville Poyferré, a second growth wine estate in Saint-Julien, the barrels are filled with Sombra’s Espadin mezcal and aged for up to six months. Château Léoville Poyferré is owned by the family of Davos founder Guillaume Cuvelier. Sombra Reposé is launching nationally, retailing at $50 a bottle.

Beam Suntory has released the first bottling of Booker’s Bourbon for 2021: Donohoe’s Batch. This iteration of the barrel-proof Bourbon is bottled after 6 years and comes in at 63.65% abv. Donohoe’s Batch is named for Mike Donohoe, a friend of Booker Noe and longtime top executive at Jim Beam. Booker’s Bourbon Donohoe’s Batch is now available in limited quantities across the U.S. for a suggested price of $90 a 750-ml.

Dallas, Texas-based Oak & Eden has re-released Bourbon & Brew, the company’s popular collaboration with West Oak Coffee. The 45% abv Bourbon is finished in bottle with a 5-inch piece of French oak that is soaked in West Oak cold brew coffee sourced from Colombia. Bourbon & Brew is now available on Oak & Eden’s website for $60 a 750-ml. and in retailers in most of the company’s 22-state distribution footprint.

Pernod Ricard has announced new watermelon flavors for both Absolut vodka and Malibu rum. Absolut Watermelon comes in at 38% abv and will be available nationwide beginning on April 12. Malibu Watermelon is now available across the U.S. and comes at 21% abv; 750-ml. bottles retail for around $20 and 1.75-liter bottles go for a suggested price of $26.

Louisville, Kentucky’s Barrell Craft Spirits has launched a new brand, Stellum, with a pair of barrel strength whiskies. Initially, the brand is hitting shelves with a Bourbon and a rye; each is a blend of straight whiskies sourced from Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Stellum Bourbon comes in at 57.49% abv and the brand’s rye is at 58.12% abv. Both retail for a suggested price of $55 a 750-ml. and are available in select locations across 45 states. In addition to Stellum’s blended releases, the company will also offer single barrel bottlings under the brand name.

Bozal mezcal, part of the 3 Badge Beverage portfolio, is introducing Guías de Calabaza, a vegetarian Sacrificio-style mezcal from Río de Ejutla in Oaxaca. A single maguey expression made from 100% Agave Angustifolia (Espadín), Bozal Guías de Calabaza retails at $99 and carries an abv of 47%. Sacrificio mezcals are made in small batches for personal consumption as well as for fiestas with locals and neighbors. Their distillation often involves meat proteins like pork, chicken, or lamb. 3 Badge says Guías de Calabaza follows traditional sacrificio methods while eschewing the protein addition.

Courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Spirited News: February 23rd 2021 Edition

Diageo has launched a new, lower-calorie brand extension for Baileys Irish Cream. The release, Baileys Deliciously Light, comes in at 16.1% abv and has 40% fewer calories and 40% less sugar than the original Baileys. To kick off the launch, Diageo has partnered with Cocktail Courier, a home mixology-focused e-commerce platform, to create four cocktail kits showing off the new liqueur. Baileys Deliciously Light is now available nationwide for around $25 a 750-ml.

Chopin Vodka is partnering with fashion designer Vera Wang on a limited edition release. The vodka collaboration is called Vera Wang x Chopin and was distilled using a special variety of young potato that Wang personally selected, which is grown near Chopin’s distillery in Krzesk, Poland. Wang was also involved in designing the bottle, which maintains Chopin’s standard shape but features a matte black and white color scheme and a poem on the back written by Wang. The new edition will have select availability throughout the U.S., retailing at $100 a 750-ml.

Agave spirits brand Puntagave is introducing a new line of Tequila-based hard seltzers, including Grapefruit Peach, Meyer Lemon Ginger, and Blood Orange flavors. Made in Mexico, the range is at 5% abv and retails at $14 a 4-pack of cans. Concurrently, Puntagave is debuting an Artisanal Double Barrel Tequila retailing at $90. Artisanal Double Barrel is aged in used American oak for one year, then split between new American oak and new French oak for further maturation.

Edrington’s the Macallan has announced a new series of ultra-limited whiskies, celebrating British artist Peter Blake. The rarest whiskies, called Anecdotes of Ages, were all distilled in 1967 and are packaged in 13 handblown bottles with collages created by Blake. One bottle will be auctioned by Sotheby’s to support the Guggenheim museum’s diversity and inclusion initiatives. The distiller will also release 322 bottles of the same 1967 vintage whisky—called Anecdotes of Ages: Down to Work edition—that will be available globally for around $83,000. The collaboration also resulted in An Estate, A Community, and A Distillery, a more widely available (yet still limited) whisky that will retail for around $1,200.

MGP Ingredients has announced plans to roll out Green Hat gin throughout its distribution network over the next few months. Green Hat, created by Washington, D.C.’s New Columbia Distillers, was acquired by MGP in March 2020 and is the first commercially available gin from the Indiana-based contract distilling giant. The company will make four varieties—Green Hat’s original gin, a navy strength variant, Citrus Floral gin, and Summer Cup Cordial—available across the U.S. with suggested retail prices of $30 for the original and two flavored releases, and $33 for the navy strength release.

Saison Rum is introducing a new Sherry Cask expression, imported by the Craft Spirits Cooperative. Retailing at $45 a 750-ml., the new entry is a blend of 60% Trinidad and 40% Barbados rums, aged for five years in ex-Bourbon barrels. It is then transferred to ex-Cognac casks for a year before a final three-month finishing period in Pedro Ximenez barrels. Saison Sherry Cask (42% abv) is handled directly by Craft Spirits Cooperative in California and by Vintus NY in New York.

Tia Maria, part of the Disaronno International portfolio, has unveiled a new ready-to-drink cocktail, the Iced Coffee Frappé. The 4% abv offering is available nationwide in 200-ml. 4-packs retailing at $10, with single 200-ml. cans positioned at $2.30. Meanwhile, the core Tia Maria coffee liqueur ($28 a 750-ml.) has received a new bottle design that emphasizes its cold brew method and ingredients of 100% Arabica coffee beans and Madagascar vanilla.

Courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Spirited News: October 27th 2020 Edition

Palm Bay International and Buffalo, New York-based Tommyrotter Distillery have collaborated on Tommyrotter Napa Valley Heritance Cask Straight Bourbon Whiskey, a 95-proof, four-grain Bourbon consisting of corn, wheat, rye, and malted barley, finished in Cabernet Sauvignon casks from Napa Valley for three months. A permanent addition to the Tommyrotter range, Napa Valley Heritance Cask is launching across New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania, retailing at $50 a 750-ml.

San Francisco-based Hotaling & Co. is introducing Hine Antique XO 100th Anniversary 1920-2020 Cognac. A rare cuvée blended with a 100-year-old eau-de-vie from vintage 1920—with the balance of the blend featuring Grande Champagne Cognacs aged a minimum of 20 years—the luxury offering is limited to 270 hand-numbered decanters in the U.S., priced at $300 apiece. Made by cellar master Eric Forget, it commemorates the first blend of Hine Antique XO in 1920 by Georges Hine.

Gonzalez Byass is launching Fundador Light in the U.S. Debuting in California, Florida, Illinois, Nevada, Washington, New York, and Oregon, the 28% abv brandy-based spirit retails at $14 a 750-ml. and is intended to appeal to “current Fundador consumers and a new generation looking for a lighter option to traditional Spanish Brandies,” according to Nicolas Bertino, CEO and country manager of Gonzalez Byass USA.

Manassas, Virginia’s KO Distilling has announced Bottled-in-Bond Distiller’s Reserve Straight Bourbon whiskey. The 50% abv spirit is distilled from a mash of 70% corn, 20% wheat, and 10% malted barley, all sourced from Virginia. The new whiskey is KO’s first bonded release and joins the company’s portfolio alongside Battle Standard 142 gin and the Bare Knuckle whiskey line, which includes unaged, rye, wheat, and Bourbon whiskies. KO Distilling’s new bottled-in-bond whiskey will be available in November in Virginia, Washington, D.C., and Maryland for around $70.

Diageo has announced the latest release in the Singleton line of single malt Scotch whiskies. The new release was distilled at Glen Ord and matured for 38 years in a combination of ex-Bourbon, ex-Sherry, and new American oak casks before bottling at 49.6% abv. This limited release was drawn from eight casks and is rolling out now around the world for a suggested retail price of roughly $2,760 (£2,100.) 

Former Four Roses master distiller Jim Rutledge has partnered with Blue Run Spirits to introduce Blue Run 13-year-old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. Retailing at $170 a 750-ml., the newcomer is at 113 proof and is rolling out to the Kentucky (RNDC) and Georgia (Savannah Distributing) markets this month in an edition of 2,600 bottles. Rutledge will have more whiskies coming under the Blue Run banner, a new company formed by former Nike and Facebook veterans, among others.

Edrington has unveiled the latest expression in The Macallan Fine & Rare Collection—a vintage Scotch distilled in 1993. The new whisky matured for 27 years in Sherry-seasoned American oak and is bottled at 50.2% abv. Only 256 bottles are available worldwide, retailing at a suggested price of $18,000 a 750-ml. The Fine & Rare Collection now includes 57 vintages from 1926 to 1993.

Diageo has expanded Smirnoff Spicy Tamarind into 15 new markets across the U.S. The 35% abv vodka is sweet and spicy, according to the company, and initially found popularity in Mexico before expanding into the U.S. It retails for around $13 a 750-ml. and will be a permanent addition in Texas, California, Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, and New Mexico; and a limited release in Arkansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas, New Jersey, Massachusetts, North and South Dakota, Louisiana, Maryland, Wisconsin, Vermont, Georgia, and Nevada.

Chicago-based cocktail mixers company Zing Zang has unveiled a range of spirits-based RTD cocktails across 20 U.S. states, with further distribution to follow. Including Bloody Mary, Margarita, and Bourbon Whiskey Sour expressions, the Zing Zang RTDs are at 9% abv and retail at $13 a 4-pack of 12-ounce slim cans.

Woody Creek Distillers of Basalt, Colorado is launching a Limited Edition Wheated Bourbon. The new label has a mashbill of 70% Colorado corn, 15% Colorado barley, and 15% Colorado wheat aged 6 years in 100% American oak barrels. The Limited Edition Wheated Bourbon will be available in Colorado and a few other select markets for the holiday season, retailing at $60 a 750-ml. Woody Creek’s spirits portfolio includes a Potato Vodka, Roaring Fork Gin, Colorado Bourbon, and Colorado 100% Straight Rye.

Niche Imports, part of Marussia Beverages, is now the importer for Finnish vodka Koskenkorva. The 40% abv spirit is distilled from barley in its namesake village in Western Finland. The Koskenkorva distillery is run 100% on bioenergy, primarily provided by barley husks. Koskenkorva vodka will be available across the U.S. and will retail between $20 and $23, depending on the market.

Courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Spirited News: October 13th 2020 Edition

Lansdale, Pennsylvania-based Boardroom Spirits is introducing a new Vanilla vodka ($27 a 750-ml.), along with two vodka-based ready-to-drink bottled cocktails, the Blueberry Blush and the Spiced Vanilla Peartini (both $38 a 750-ml.). The Vanilla vodka is made with Madagascar Bourbon vanilla beans and bottled at 32% abv, while the cocktails are at 21% abv. In addition to both bottled and canned cocktails, Boardroom’s range includes gin, Bourbon, rum, vodka, liqueurs, and flavored spirits.

William Grant & Sons has announced the latest release in the Balvenie Tun 1509 series, Batch 7. The 52.4% abv whisky is assembled from 21 casks—10 refill Sherry butts, 4 refill barrels, and 7 Sherry hogsheads—that were blended and left to marry for three months before bottling. Balvenie Tun 1509 Batch 7 is now rolling out across the U.S. for around $410 a 750-ml.

Brooklyn-based Kings County Distillery is launching a 7-Year Single Barrel BourbonDistilled in July 2013 and bottled at 107 proof, this barrel was reduced by a 34% angel’s share and was matured in the “greenhouse-like upstairs aging room” in the company’s Brooklyn Navy Yard distillery. This release will be sold only at the distillery, but future offerings from Kings County’s Single Barrel series will be distributed to key accounts in New York and beyond.

Rumson, New Jersey-based Penelope Bourbon has launched Rosé Cask Finish, a new limited edition. The 47% abv whiskey is blended from three different mashbills using four grains before finishing in barrels previously used to mature French rosé made from Grenache grapes. Penelope Rosé Cask Finish joins a Straight Bourbon whiskey and a barrel proof offering in the brand’s portfolio. Penelope sources its whiskies from Lawrenceburg, Indiana’s MGP Ingredients. Only 2,400 bottles of the new whiskey will be released and it will retail for around $65 a 750-ml.

Diageo is launching a new line of limited whiskies from its Tullahoma, Tennessee-based Cascade Hollow Distilling Co. Cascade Moon Edition No. 1 is an 11-year-old whisky at 42% abv, which is being promoted via the tagline “Mellow as Moonlight.” It’s rolling out in Tennessee, California, and Texas, retailing at $90. Cascade Hollow general manager and distiller Nicole Austin blended the whisky to feature similar tasting notes to those found in a gose-style beer. A second release from the Cascade Moon series will follow later this fall.

Louisville, Kentucky-based Barrell Craft Spirits has introduced Barrell Armida, a blend of three straight Bourbon whiskies finished separately in Pear Brandy, Jamaican Rum, and Sicilian Amaro casks. Armida was bottled at 56.06% abv and is available at select retailers within the brand’s current 45 U.S. markets and online via the BCS website. A limited run of 3,700 750-ml. bottles is rolling out, retailing at $90. An independent blender and bottler of aged, cask-strength sourced whiskey and rum, Barrell Craft was founded by former marketing and tech entrepreneur Joe Beatrice in in 2013.

Portland, Oregon’s Freeland Spirits has introduced a new canned French 75 cocktail. The 15.5% abv cocktail is made with Freeland gin, lemon juice, and Inox Unoaked Chardonnay from Chehalem Winery. The combination is carbonated and packaged in 8.4-ounce cans. Four-packs are now available at Freeland’s tasting room and in retailers in Oregon, Washington, California, Florida, Illinois, and New York for around $17. Freeland’s French 75 joins American gin, Bourbon, Genever-inspired spirit Geneva, and a canned Gin and Tonic in the distillery’s portfolio.

Chopin Imports has launched a selection of spirits from Ireland’s Hinch Distillery in the U.S. For the initial rollout, Chopin has released Hinch Small Batch whiskey (matured in Bourbon casks and retailing for $30), Hinch 5 Year Old Double Wood (ex-Bourbon and new American oak, $40), Hinch 10 Year Old Sherry Cask ($55), and Ninth Wave gin ($30.) These spirits are now available in 11 states with national distribution (and an expanded lineup including Single Malt and Pot Still whiskies) to follow in February 2021.

Nashville, Tennessee’s Brown Water Spirits has launched O.H. Ingram River Aged Straight whiskeyThe 46% abv whiskey matured in a floating rickhouse in the Mississippi River in Ballard County, Kentucky. This is the first release from Brown Water Spirits, and the company says the next offering in its River Aged series, a straight rye, will follow in November. O.H. Ingram River Aged Straight whiskey is now available in Tennessee with expansion into other markets coming as more of the whiskey becomes available.

Luxury Tequila brand PaQui has debuted across six U.S. states, including New York, California, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and Tennessee. The new brand includes 100%-blue agave Silvera ($50 a 750-ml.), Reposado ($60), and Añejo ($70) expressions and is made by master Tequilero Gilberto Jasso in Jalisco, Mexico. PaQui means “to be happy” in the Aztec language, and its bottle design is inspired by an Aztec pyramid. Founder John Chappell is a veteran of Banfi, Boston Beer, and Labatt USA.

Edrington’s The Glenrothes has announced its oldest whisky so far, a 50-year-old single malt distilled in November 1968. The whisky matured in ex-Bourbon and ex-Sherry casks before bottling at 48% abv. Each bottle is sold in a lacquered black case and the whisky comes in a numbered crystal decanter. Only 50 bottles will be available globally, retailing at $35,000. Buyers will be invited to the Glenrothes estate (typically closed to the public) and enrolled in a 50-member club with the other buyers, offering the chance to purchase exclusive malts in the future.

Courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Spirited News: September 29th 2020 Edition

Moët Hennessy USA is set to launch A Tale of Cake, the newest limited release from single malt Scotch brand Glenmorangie, in October. The 46% abv whisky was finished in Tokaji casks. A Tale of Cake’s launch will be accompanied by a promotional campaign involving cocktails and cake recipes by Jeremy Le Blanche and Dominique Ansel, respectively, to go with the new whisky and with Glenmorangie’s core releases. The whisky will retail for around $99 a 750-ml.

Brown-Forman has announced a new three-batch Bourbon release to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Old Forester. The three whiskies will each be at cask strength and bottled in amber-colored glass reminiscent of hand-blown bottles used in the 19th century. Batch 1 is bottled at 62.8% abv and is made from 46 barrels; Batch 2 is made from 48 barrels and bottled at 63.2% abv; and Batch 3 is assembled from 53 barrels and is at 63.4% abv. Old Forester 150th Anniversary Bourbon is bottled unfiltered—only barrel char sediment has been removed—and will be available in limited quantities across the U.S. for around $150 a 750-ml.

Goslings Rum is offering a new limited release called Papa Seal Single Barrel Bermuda Rum. It was blended from a range of pot- and column-distilled rums that run between 10 and 21 years aged in white oak barrels and aged another two years in Bermuda, ultimately bottled at 41.5% abv. Only 1,500 bottles of Papa Seal 2020 will be available nationwide, each hand-labeled with its barrel number, bottle number, and bottling date. Beginning next month it will be available at select retailers in 16 states as well as online, retailing for $199 a 750-ml.

Edrington has announced the sixth and final release in the Macallan Edition Series. The Macallan Edition No. 6 is a 48.6% abv whisky made from liquid matured in both European and American Sherry-seasoned oak casks. Tying in with the launch, the Macallan has started a partnership with the Atlantic Salmon Trust to support efforts to protect at-risk fish, including in the Macallan’s own section of the river Spey. The Macallan Edition No. 6 is rolling out globally this month and will retail for around $150 in the U.S. Last year, the Macallan was at 268,000 cases in the U.S., according to Impact Databank.

Heaven Hill Brands has released a packaging refresh for parts of the Evan Williams family of whiskies. Evan Williams Black’s new label sports a richer gold color and a black and gold capsule with Evan Williams’s signature. The bottled-in-bond release features a green and white label that more prominently shows the higher proof and the standards of bonded whiskey; the capsule shows the tax strip designating the whiskey as bonded. Evan Williams’ flavored releases will now feature a centered label and the new bottle shape.

Minnesota-based Prestige Beverage has added Davidoff Cognac to its import portfolio for the U.S. The company is now rolling out Davidoff’s V.S. ($35), V.S.O.P. ($50), and X.O. ($150) releases—all bottled at 40% abv—in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, North and South Carolina, North and South Dakota, Nevada, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Texas, and Wisconsin.

William Grant & Sons has relaunched Milagro Select Barrel Reserve, the brand’s luxury-priced tier. The full line—Blanco ($40), Reposado ($45), and Añejo ($55)—is returning to market in new bottles inspired by Mexican architectural works and featuring an engraved agave plant and colors specific to each release.

Proximo Spirits has made former special edition Kraken Black Roast Coffee rum a permanent addition to the line. The 33.3% abv rum is made from macerating the brand’s Trinidadian spiced rum with coffee beans to create a richly spiced and sweet spirit, according to the company. Kraken Black Roast Coffee rum is now available across the U.S.

Sombra mezcal, part of the Davos Brands portfolio, has unveiled a new bottle design. The new packaging, which rolls out this fall, takes its inspiration from the vaso veladora, glass cups traditionally used to contain prayer candles that are common in Oaxacan churches. The updated design also includes a refreshed logo, copper lettering, and a reduced glass weight to be more eco-friendly. Sombra, which translates to “shadow,” is at 90 proof and retails at $35 a 750-ml.

Clase Azul Tequila has announced the launch of the 2020 edition of its Día de Muertos Tequila, set to hit shelves on October 1. The 40% abv spirit is made from a blend of Clase Azul’s Plata, 8-month-old reposado, and 5-year-old Ultra—aged in ex-Sherry casks—Tequilas. The 2020 Día de Muertos Tequila is a limited release and only 2,000 bottles will be available globally, retailing for around $400 a 750-ml.

The Dalmore has launched the latest release in its Principal Collection, a 12-year-old single malt finished in Sherry casks. The 43% abv whisky is initially aged for 10 years in American oak barrels previously used to mature Bourbon before finishing for up to three years in casks that held Pedro Ximenez and Oloroso sherry. The Dalmore 12-year-old Sherry Cask Select single malt is now available in the U.K. and major Asian markets with a U.S. launch to follow in 2021.

Plantation rum has extended its portfolio with two new Fijian rums. Plantation Isle of Fiji is a permanent addition to the range. Distilled in pot and column stills at Rum Co. of Fiji, and then double-aged in Fiji and France, it’s at 40% abv and retails at $25 a 750-ml. Plantation Fiji Vintage 2005 is the first offering in Plantation’s new Birds of Paradise vintage collection. It was first distilled in triple column stills and aged for 14 years in Bourbon casks in the mild climate of the Fiji Islands, then spent an additional year in Ferrand French Oak barrels in the House’s cellars in Cognac. The limited edition is at 50.2% abv and retails at $80.

Chicago-based House of Somrus is adding to its range with a new Coffee Cream liqueur. The line extension is made with coffee and chicory, together with real dairy cream from Wisconsin and quintuple-distilled Caribbean rum. Retailing at $25 a 750-ml., it carries an abv of 13.5% and is rolling out across 21 states.

Courtesy of Shanken News Daily