GSN Spirited News: September 15th 2020 Edition

Evanston, Illinois-based Few Spirits has launched Immortal rye, a new whiskey proofed down to bottling strength with tea. The 46.5% abv whiskey is made by blending cask strength Few rye with 8 Immortals tea from Denver’s the Tea Spot. The whiskey does not contain added sugar or other additives. The whiskey’s label art showcases a dragon print that was shown at the 1893 World’s Fair. The initial release is limited—only 6,000 bottles—and is rolling out now across the U.S. for around $45 a 750-ml.

Japanese whisky maker Nikka is releasing a pair of new whiskies finished in apple brandy barrels in an homage to the company’s origins producing apple juice and other apple products before launching the first Nikka whisky in 1940. The first release is Yoichi Single Malt Whisky Finished in Apple Brandy Barrels, produced at Nikka’s founding distillery on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido. The second is Miyagikyo Single Malt Whisky Finished in Apple Brandy Barrels, produced in Sendai, Japan. Both are at 40% abv and retail for $250 a 750-ml. Imported by San Francisco-based Hotaling & Co., they will be distributed in California, New York, Texas, Illinois, Massachusetts, Florida, Colorado, Washington, and Tennessee.

Benriach single malt Scotch whisky, part of the Brown-Forman portfolio, has revamped its core lineup and unveiled two new expressions. The newcomers include Smoky Ten and Smoky Twelve whiskies, retailing at $60 and $65 a 750-ml., respectively. Those offerings join the Original Ten ($54) and Original Twelve ($60) in the range, which has been repackaged and will be hitting the market in its new incarnation next month. Benriach will follow with Twenty-One, Twenty-Five, and Thirty-Year-Old single malts in the U.S. next year.

Heaven Hill has announced the 2020 iteration of Parker’s Heritage. This year’s whiskey is a 10-year-old Bourbon matured in heavily charred barrels. The spirit was distilled from a mash of 72% corn, 12% malted barley, and 10% rye, and aged in level 5 char barrels, as opposed to Heaven Hill’s typical level 3 char barrels. The whiskey is bottled at 60% abv and is rolling out now in limited quantities across the U.S. for around $120 a 750-ml. A portion of the proceeds from each bottle goes to fund research and patient care for those diagnosed with ALS.

Tequila Partida has debuted Roble Fino, a line of luxury sipping Tequilas. The new range includes a Reposado ($100 a 750-ml.), aged for a minimum of 6 months in ex-Bourbon barrels and then aged for two more months in ex-single malt, Sherry-seasoned casks; a Reposado Cristalino ($115), finished in ex-single malt, Sherry-seasoned casks; and an Añejo ($125), aged for 18 months in ex-Bourbon barrels, then finished for five more months in ex-single malt, Sherry-seasoned casks. All three Tequilas are now rolling out in New York, California, Florida, Illinois, and Texas, with additional markets to follow.

Beam Suntory has launched this year’s version of Basil Hayden’s 10-Year-Old Bourbon. The 40% abv whiskey is made from the company’s high-rye mashbill. It serves as the higher-end limited release for the brand and sits alongside the flagship Basil Hayden’s Bourbon, Basil Hayden’s Dark Rye, and other limited releases like 10-year-old rye, and Caribbean Reserve Rye. Basil Hayden’s 10-year-old is now available across the U.S. for around $70 a 750-ml.

Diageo has released Captain Morgan Sliced Apple, the latest flavored offshoot for the spiced rum brand. The 35% abv rum is made from the original spiced rum with added ginger and apple flavoring. Captain Morgan Sliced Apple is now available across the U.S. for around $16 a 750-ml.

San Francisco, California-based Gold Bar Spirits Co. has launched Rickhouse Cask Strength Straight BourbonThe whiskey is distilled from a mash of 80% corn and 20% rye and is bottled at 51.5% abv. With this new release, Gold Bar continues its partnership with the San Francisco 49ers, with Rickhouse named the official whiskey of the team’s Faithful to the Bay campaign. Rickhouse is now available in major retailers across the U.S. and on the company’s website for around $35 a 750-ml.

Minnetonka, Minnesota’s Dashfire has announced a new line of hard coffees, set to launch throughout the state at the end of the month. The 14% abv RTDs will come in three flavors—Rum Café Mocha, Rum Golden Latte, and Bourbon Cold Brew—and all will be available in individual 200-ml. cans. Southern Glazer’s will distribute Dashfire’s hard coffees in Minnesota and the company is planning for a wider release through Vision Wine & Spirits in the future.

Moët Hennessy-owned Belvedere has long looked to differentiate itself by bringing the concept of terroir to the vodka category. Now the brand is introducing its new Heritage 176 expression and a “Made With Nature” platform, highlighting its Polish origins and craftsmanship. Heritage 176 is rolling out across 20 U.S. markets, retailing at $35 a 750-ml. The new offering nods to the 19th century practice of malting rye by kiln-heating—which Belvedere says unlocks distinctive flavors in the resulting liquid—with its distillers applying fire to malt the rye before distillation. It’s intended to be served over ice with a lemon twist.

William Grant & SonsHudson Whiskey has rebranded with more mature offerings and a new, more accessible price point. The distillery’s Baby Bourbon is now Bright Lights, Big Bourbon, a 46% abv whiskey retailing at $40 a 750-ml. Manhattan Rye has relaunched as Do the Rye Thing, also bottled at 46% abv and retailing for $40. The company’s Maple Cask Rye, a whiskey finished in maple syrup barrels, has rebranded as Short Stack and will retail at around $55. The company also has launched Back Room Deal, a new rye whiskey finished in barrels used to age peated Scotch, which will retail at around $55 a 750-ml.

Courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Review: The Flaming Lips Brainville Rye Whiskey

img_7175FEW Spirits recently announced a truly unique collaboration with legendary Grammy-winning band The Flaming Lips: Brainville Rye Whiskey. The whiskey is made from a combination of rye, corn and malted barley grown within 150 miles of the FEW distillery, and aged in new, charred American oak barrels custom-made in Minnesota. Like FEW’s award-winning regular rye whiskey, the mash is fermented using a French wine yeast.

Brainville Rye features an appropriately psychedelic LIPS-ian label designed by Justin Helton of Status Serigraph, a Knoxville, Tenn.-based studio. Helton has designed materials for some of today’s biggest musical acts, festivals and entertainment brands. Working with bands like Phish, The Avett Brothers, My Morning Jacket, Ween, The Black Keys; breweries including Sierra Nevada Brewing Company and Great Raft Brewing; and festivals like Bonnaroo, Forecastle, Austin City Limits and Outside Lands, he’s created an array of designs for the music industry. The whiskey will be available as a limited edition of only 5,000. 

“Whiskey… it’s such a volatile drink. Upon pouring a drink It’s like accepting that you may become a werewolf … And really… Who doesn’t want to become a werewolf ???  says Flaming Lips lead singer, Wayne Coyne, in typical cryptic fashion.

The Flaming Lips Brainville Rye Whiskey (80 proof)
Visual: Royal gold.
Nose: Cinnamon, peppered toffee, gingerbread, maple cream, dark rye bread dough.
Taste: Very smooth with a laid back spice entry.  After a few seconds some elements of spearmint and rye toast wake up the palate.  What strikes me is the subtle port wine undercarriage which entwines its way throughout the journey.  Quite unusual and unlike any rye I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing.
Finish: Medium long with notes of loaf sugar, hard caramel, maple sugar, and a light rye toast sprinkled with fine cinnamon sugar dust.
Overall: A very easy to drink and unusual rye.  This works well and makes for a refined and subtle rye whiskey that sadly will be never seen again after the limited edition sells out.
GSN Rating: A-

For more information go to: Few Spirits

GSN Review: FEW Spirits

If yofewu look closely at the FEW logo, you’ll notice that each letter is separated by a period.  There’s a reason for this.  The company is named after Frances Elizabeth Willard who lived in the distilleries’ hometown of Evanston, Illinois.  If you’re thinking that she was a women distiller, you’d be completely mistaken.  In fact, she was the head of the WCTU, or Women’s Christian Temperance Union.  This organization was one of the leading groups that eventually lead to the 18th amendment to the US constitution, i.e. – prohibition.  Today, a local elementary school is named after Ms. Willard, but according to the distillery’s founder Paul Hletko, he chose the name FEW because they focus on just a handful of spirits.

That may be so, but as you can see below, they have a healthy range of whiskies and gins available along with a grappa  and a white dog which we were not sent samples for review.

Here are a few of our thoughts on each product:

Quick Takeways

  • Few American Gin (80 proof) –Lively nose with lemon citrus and juniper.  The flavor is sweet with a touch of vanilla and stronger elements of lemon and juniper.  GSN Rating: B+
  • Few Barrel-Aged Gin (116.6 proof) – Spicy nose with candied citrus and deep juniper.  A lot of spice on the palate with ginger, clove, herbs and a subversive  vine berry essence.  Think holiday baking spices and jam.  GSN Rating: A
  • Few Standard Issue Gin (114 proof) – Intense juniper, clove, cinnamon, and star anise on the nose.  A thicker mouthfeel with sweet orange and salad herbs.  Quite peppery and will stand up to anything you throw at it. GSN Rating: B+
  • Few Bourbon Whiskey (93 proof) – Scents of heady vanilla, caramel cream and a hint of clove.  Flavors of toffee candy bar balanced with Indian cooking spices.  Surprisingly, quite like a rye whiskey. GSN Rating: B+
  • Few Rye Whiskey (93 proof) – Orchard fruits baked with cinnamon come out of the gate on the nose.  Summer tree fruit and a hint of sugared orange rind round out the palate.  The fruitiest rye I’ve ever had. GSN Rating: B
  • Few Single Malt Whiskey (93 proof) – The olfactory map is all over the place with creamy dessert characters, Honeycrisp apple, exotic baking spices and a chocolate brownie richness.  That’s just the nose!  The taste opens up into a plethora of spices, cocoa bean, and milk caramel.  GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: FEW Spirits

GSN Backbar Review: Mar. 31- April 4, 2014

index Pernod Ricard-owned Absolut vodka is introducing a new vodka series in partnership with local     entrepreneurs around the globe. The Our/Vodka initiative, which began last year in Berlin, will now spread to 11 cities across the U.S., Europe and Australia. In each city, Absolut has linked with local partners to open micro-distilleries that will produce vodka with a focus on local ingredients, although each will have the same recipe and be packaged in a small bottle with a crown cap. Absolut’s partners will have responsibility for running the individual businesses and marketing the new offerings. An Our/Vodka distillery in Detroit is set to open in June, with projects in Seattle (opening in September), New York (November), Amsterdam, Los Angeles and London to follow later in the year. Our/Austin, Our/Miami, Our/Nashville, Our/New Orleans and Our/Melbourne vodkas are scheduled to begin production in 2015.

indexBuffalo Trace Distillery has launched a limited release single barrel Bourbon in honor of the distillery’s early master distiller. Elmer T. Lee Single Barrel Bourbon will be available in limited quantities for suggest retail price of $34.99. Elmer T. Lee, who passed away last year at the age of 93, worked at the distillery from 1949 to 1985 and is credited with creating the world’s first single barrel Bourbon in 1984, according to the company. The 46.5%-abv Bourbon will hit retail shelves in April.

imagesFour craft distilleries from the Midwest have collaborated on a limited release offering, Four Kings Bourbon Whiskey, to be sold exclusively at Binny’s Beverage Depot’s 30 stores across Illinois. Corsair Distillery in Nashville, Tennessee; Few Spirits in Evanston, Illinois; Journeyman Distilling in Three Oaks, Michigan and Mississippi River Distilling Company in Le Claire, Iowa each contributed 30 gallons of whiskey from their own distilleries for the project. About 600 bottles will be produced and will debut at the Whiskey Week Chicago 2014 event April 20-26. The whiskey is comprised of four grains from the distilleries’ different mash bills: corn, wheat, rye and barley. Plans are in the works for another blend in time for Whiskey Week 2015.

DryFly-Logo-BlackWashington state craft distiller Dry Fly is prepping the launch of a new five-year-old Irish-style whiskey under the O’Danaher brand. That limited-release offering will retail at around $65 a 750-ml. Dry Fly’s line also includes a vodka, gin, Washington wheat whiskey, Washington Bourbon and Triticale whiskey.

All information courtesy of Shanken News Daily.