GSN Backbar Review: November 3-7, 2014

indexThis month, Brown-Forman will debut a new “Whiskey Row” series from Old Forester with an inaugural release called 1870 Original Batch, according to the Courier-Journal. The series, which commemorates Old Forester’s history on Louisville’s Main Street Whiskey Row district, will include four expressions of whiskey that are based on actual products and oral history. 1870 Original Batch, which will be available in select markets at $44.99 a 750-ml., celebrates the year Old Forester became the first batched Bourbon. Bourbons from barrels in three different warehouses were blended for a 90-proof product meant to reflect inconsistencies in the original’s formulation. The series, which will eventually be produced at Old Forester’s planned Whiskey Row distillery, will feature three more expressions based on whiskies produced through 1923, when the brand left Whiskey Row. Currently, 1870 Original Batch is produced at Brown-Forman’s Shively facility.

indexPark City, Utah-based High West Distillery has reintroduced one of its limited edition whiskies for the winter season. First launched earlier this year on Valentine’s Day, A Midwinter Night’s Dram is a limited release version of High West’s Rendezvous Rye, finished for several months in both Port and French oak barrels. The 98.6-proof expression—which features notes of vanilla, caramel, cinnamon and dried fruit—is now available at select retail outlets, priced at $79.99 a bottle. High West Distillery’s portfolio has a current U.S. footprint of 40 states.

imagesWaconia, Minnesota micro-distillery J. Carver Distilling has sent its first shipment of craft gin and vodka to Minneapolis-St. Paul liquor stores, the local CBS affiliate reports. Last spring, owner Bill Miller purchased a 17,000-square-foot former Pontiac dealership and has turned it into a distillery able to produce 600 cases a month. The company focuses on craft recipes made from locally sourced ingredients, such as wheat grown 20 miles away from Waconia. Miller says he plans to open a tasting room within the next year and will look into making different whiskey and barrel-aged products. J. Carver Premium Gin and Vodka retail at about $20-$24 a bottle.

indexNovato, California’s Square One Organic Spirits is launching new citrus-based vodka Square One Bergamot to select markets ahead of a national rollout next February. Grown predominantly in southern Italy and along the Mediterranean Sea, the bergamot is a sour orange with a peel that is floral and tangy, the company says. The unfiltered vodka is created by layering the citrus with essential oils of pressed mandarin, navel and tangerine oranges and the essences of ginger, coriander and juniper botanicals. Square One Bergamot is currently available in California, Illinois and Missouri at $35 a 750-ml. bottle and $4.99 a 50-ml. bottle.

indexVermont-based craft whiskey distiller WhistlePig has debuted The Boss Hog: Spirit of Mortimer, a new limited edition expression. Created to honor the memory of WhistlePig’s deceased mascot, a pig named Mortimer, The Boss Hog: Spirit of Mortimer is a 100% rye whiskey aged for nearly 14 years and bottled at full barrel strength. The 117- to 124-proof entry is currently available nationwide, priced at $189 a 750-ml. The Boss Hog: Spirit of Mortimer follows last year’s launch of WhistlePig’s original The Boss Hog label, a 100% rye whiskey aged 12.5 years.

indexStoli USA’s Stolichnaya has released the third and final entry in its ultra-premium Elit Pristine Water Series vodka collection. Available this month, Elit Pristine Water Series: Andean edition is crafted with natural spring water sourced from the Andes Mountains, as well as distilled spirit made with grain harvested from SPI Group’s Tambov, Russia-based farm. The limited edition, 40%-abv expression, which is packaged in a Glencairn Crystal bottle, retails for around €3,000 ($3,729). The Andean edition joins the Elit Pristine Water Series’ previous Himalaya and New Zealand editions, launched in 2011 and 2013, respectively.

Adco-master675William Grant & Sons, is hearkening back to the earliest days of the category, launching a “replica” of the first single malt marketed by its Glenfiddich distillery. To create the 1963 replica whisky, Glenfiddich malt master Brian Kinsman pulled from various casks to match the archived liquid and ledger notes from the original. The finished product is 80 proof, with packaging styled to echo its ancestor, and retails at a suggested $100 a bottle. The limited edition is now hitting the U.S. market on allocation with a supply of 2,000 cases. The launch is being indexbacked by print and digital executions—including full-page spreads in major newspapers—recreated from the original whisky’s advertising materials.

Diageo has officially unveiled a new flavored extension to its Crown Royal Canadian whisky brand, Regal Apple. The new offering is a blend of Crown Royal whiskies infused with natural apple flavors from Regal Gala apples and retails at $24.99 a 750-ml. Regal Apple joins 2012 entry Maple Finished in the Crown Royal flavor portfolio.

All information courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN: Backbar Review – September 9-13, 2013

indexBeam Inc.’s Cruzan rum has officially unveiled a trio of blended aged rums under its new super-premium Distiller’s Collection range. Rolling out this month, the lineup includes Cruzan’s new Estate Diamond Dark and Estate Diamond Light rums (each priced at $19.99 a 750-ml.), both of which are aged between five and 12 years. The range also includes returning expression Cruzan Single Barrel ($29.99), which is made from a blend of vintage rums aged up to 12 years and bottled one cask at a time. The trio, which are all intended to be consumed neat, on the rocks or in cocktails, marks Cruzan’s latest effort to move upmarket, following the brand’s debut of premium rum horchata entry Velvet Cinn ($20) this summer.

indexWilliam Grant & Sons is commemorating the 125th anniversary of its Glenfiddich single malt Scotch brand with a new Anniversary Vintage expression. A 25-year-old whisky aged in European oak Sherry casks, Glenfiddich Anniversary Vintage is characterized by notes of toasted almond, cinnamon, vanilla, ground coffee and sherbet, among others. Just 286 bottles of the limited edition, 55.2%-abv entry will be available globally, priced at a minimum of £699 ($1,100) a bottle. Glenfiddich Anniversary Vintage marks the brand’s latest entry in its Rare Collection series.

indexPolish potato vodka brand Spud Vodka has added Spud Sweet Potato Pumpkin Spice to its flavor portfolio. Featuring sweet potato, vanilla and clove notes, the new, gluten-free expression is priced at around $22.99 a 750-ml. Sweet Potato Pumpkin joins the existing Spud lineup, which includes the brand’s core unflavored option, as well as its Red Hot Chili Pepper, Ginger Lemongrass and Heirloom Tomato offerings.

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indexBuffalo Trace Distillery will release its 2013 Antique Collection in the coming weeks. It will feature five limited release whiskies of varying age statements, recipes and proofs, priced at $70 each. This year’s collection includes Eagle Rare 17 Year Old, distilled in 1993 and aged for 19 years; George T. Stagg, an uncut, unfiltered 128.2-proof Bourbon distilled in 1997; Sazerac Rye 18 Year Old; Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye, an uncut and unfiltered straight rye whiskey; and William Larue Weller, the collection’s uncut, unfiltered, wheated Bourbon, distilled in 2001 and released at 136.2 proof. Buffalo Trace has been offering its Antique Collection annually for over a decade.

indexInternational Beverage’s Old Pulteney single malt Scotch has unveiled a new limited edition offering, Navigator, dedicated to the sailing community and the brand’s heritage as a “Maritime Malt” whose distillery is located adjacent the North Sea. Navigator ($49.99), which is available in select markets, features special packaging with an illustration of a compass and Old Pulteney’s traditional herring drifter. The official Scotch brand of U.S. Sailing, the core Old Pulteney line includes a 12-Year-Old, 17-Year-Old and 21-Year-Old.

indexPernod Ricard-owned Kahlúa liqueur has launched its newest seasonal, Pumpkin Spice. Priced at $16.99 a 750-ml. bottle, the extension will be available from September through December 31. It features a blend of autumnal spices and pumpkin with 100% Arabica coffee and sugarcane rum. Pumpkin Spice joins returning flavor Peppermint Mocha in the Kahlúa’s lineup of seasonally available liqueurs, as well as the core coffee-infused liqueur, Cinnamon Spice, French Vanilla, Mocha, Hazelnut, Especial and Midnight expressions, which are available year-round.

All information courtesy of Shanken News Daily.

GSN: Backbar Review – June 3-7, 2013

imagesPernod Ricard’s Chivas Brothers unit has introduced The Diamond Tribute—a new, permanent addition to its ultra-premium Royal Salute Scotch whisky brand. Rolling out globally in July, The Diamond Tribute will be sold in Travel Retail at around $270. The Diamond Tribute is a blend of rare whiskies from Strathisla in the Highlands among other distilleries. Its release is timed to mark the 60th anniversary of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.

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imagesWilliam Grant & Sons’ Glenfiddich single malt Scotch is introducing the 2013 edition of its Cask of Dreams series of whiskies this month. Cask of Dreams 2013 contains a selection of Glenfiddich whiskies aged in American oak barrels, with the youngest among them being 14 years old. Following selection, the whiskies were decanted into virgin American oak barrels to impart “an intense and powerful vanilla sweetness.” Glenfiddich Cask of Dreams 2013, of which only 6,650 bottles have been made available to the U.S., retails at $99 a bottle.

imagesAncram, New York-based Hillrock Estate Distillery is launching two new products this month—Hillrock Estate Distillery Single Malt Whiskey and George Washington’s Rye Whiskey. Hillrock’s new single malt is 48.2%-abv and retails at $125 a 750-ml. bottle. Made from organic barley grown on the estate, the new whiskey is an unpeated malt (Hillrock says peated whiskies may follow in the future). George Washington’s Rye is a pot-distilled rye produced at Hillrock under Washington’s original recipe by Mount Vernon master distiller Dave Pickerell. An unaged rye, the new offering is 43%-abv and retails at $70 a 375-ml.

imagesThis month, Russian Standard USA is launching Green Mark and Zubrowka in the U.S. market. Zubrowka is actually transitioning from Remy Cointreau USA to the Russian Standard portfolio, while Green Mark is making its full-fledged debut. Green Mark will retail at $12.99 a 750-ml in the U.S., competing in the mid-premium segment, which saw overall growth of more than 12% in 2012. Zubrowka, marketed as ZU in the United States, will compete in the premium flavored vodka segment, retailing at $24.99 a 750-ml. While ZU will have strong off-premise distribution, it also plans a major effort in the mixology community, where it already has a following.

BROWN-FORMAN MIST FLAVORSBrown-Forman’s Canadian Mist blended Canadian whisky brand is officially launching its new Mist Flavors range in the U.S. Rolling out this month, the Mist Flavors lineup includes Peach Mist, Cinnamon Mist and Maple Mist expressions.  Each 70-proof entry is made with a blend of Canadian Mist’s core offering and a proprietary flavored liqueur. Initially available in 14 select markets, the trio will be offered in 50-ml. and 750-ml. formats, priced at around $9.99 a 750-ml.

imagesInternational Beverage’s AnCnoc single malt Scotch brand has unveiled the latest entry in its limited edition Peter Arkle series, “Bricks.” Inspired by the brick walls of AnCnoc’s Knockdhu Distillery, Bricks is characterized by honey and lemon flavors, as well as notes of citrus, sherry and dark chocolate. The new offering will launch at specialty retail outlets starting next month. Just 1,000 cases will be available globally. Bricks marks the third expression in the Arkle range, which features labels illustrated by artist Peter Arkle.

All information courtesy of Shanken News Daily