GSN Backbar Review: Jan. 27-31, 2014

imagesBilled as the first gluten-free and sugar-free spirit in the U.S. market, Devotion Vodka is expanding to 49 states this year, its owner, Devotion Spirits Inc. of Red Bank, N.J., announced. The vodka, made 100% from corn and available in six flavors, recently won approval from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau to use the “Gluten-Free” and “No Added Sugar” designations on its label.

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indexPernod Ricard is extending its Malibu rum brand with another product designed for cross-category appeal, Malibu Rum Sparkler. Hitting national distribution now, Malibu Rum Sparkler is a combination of Malibu rum and coconut water which is infused with bubbles and bottled under cork. The new entry comes in coconut and peach flavors, both 11% abv, and is priced at $16.99 a 750-ml.

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indexNext month, St. Maarten’s Old Man Guavaberry rums and liqueur will return to the U.S. after leaving the market nearly five years ago. Dangerous Import Group has partnered with Opici Family Distributing for the rollout, which will begin in February to New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, Maryland and Washington D.C., followed by Louisiana, Mississippi and Illinois, with plans to distribute nationwide within 18 months. The Guavaberry Liqueur and Guavaberry 5 Year Rum will retail at $25, while the 8 Year Rum is at $30.

indexSt. Paul, Minnesota-based Crosby Lake Spirits is extending its Kinky Blue liqueur brand into nationwide distribution. Kinky Blue, a mix of super-premium vodka with tropical and wild berry flavors, initially launched into select markets last June. The 17%-abv brand retails at $19.99 a 750-ml., in line with the flagship Kinky Liqueur, a blend of vodka with mango, blood orange and passion fruit flavors that debuted in 2011.

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indexBrooklyn-based craft distiller Greenhook Ginsmiths is planning to add a 19th century-style Old Tom gin to its portfolio this fall. Rolling out in September, Greenhook Ginsmiths’ Old Tom gin is made with a pot-distilled corn base, which is then sweetened, aged in Bourbon barrels for one year and finished in Oloroso Sherry casks. The 100.3-proof entry is targeted toward wintertime and cocktail occasions, and will be priced at around $38-$39 a 750-ml.

imagesHennessy’s 2014 innovations will include a fourth iteration of the brand’s Limited Edition VS bottle—which has previously featured artwork from contemporary artists such as Kaws, Futura and Os Gemeos, and typically retails for around $30-$32 a 750-ml.—as well as a new entry in its Privilege Limited Edition VSOP series ($50-$60 a 750-ml.) with a redesigned carafe. At the luxury end, Hennessy will also launch its Edition Particuliere label (around $27,000 a bottle) in the U.S. this year. Made with a blend of eaux-de-vie from the year 1900, Edition Particuliere will be limited to just 25 bottles globally.

indexAnchor Distilling is launching BarSol Perfecto Amor—a traditional blend of fortified grape juice from Peru—in the U.S. market. Produced by the Ica Valley’s Bodega San Isidro, the 17%-abv aperitif is made with Quebranta, Italia and Torontel varietals, each of which are juiced separately and fortified with pisco before being blended and bottled. BarSol Perfecto Amor will be available nationwide, priced at $18.99 a 750-ml.

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indexSt. Augustine Distillery has partnered with Charmer Sunbelt’s Premier Beverage to distribute and market its craft spirits portfolio across its home state of Florida. Starting this spring, Premier Beverage will begin handling St. Augustine’s super-premium range of artisanal vodka, gin, Bourbon and rum entries both on- and off-premise, with statewide availability slated for early summer. The small-batch lineup, which is made with locally-sourced ingredients, is priced between $25 and $30, with the exception of St. Augustine Bourbon, which will be priced between $45-$50 when it’s released in 3-to-4 years.

All information courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN: Backbar Review – August 5-9, 2013

indexRémy Martin’s ultra-luxury Louis XIII Rare Cask 42.6 Cognac is making its U.S. debut this month at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills. Sourced from one unique barrel selected from among hundreds of century-old tierçons, the 42.6%-abv Cognac is packaged in individually numbered Baccarat black crystal decanters, of which 738 were made. Louis XIII Rare Cask is selling at the Four Seasons’ Window Lounge in different pours starting at $1,000 for a half-ounce. Full bottles of the luxury offering will retail at $22,000 apiece. Other U.S. venues slated to soon begin selling Rare Cask 42.6 include Ago in Los Angeles, the New York Palace, Café Nuovo in Providence, the St. Regis Atlanta, Bern’s Steakhouse in Tampa and Villa Azur in Miami.

indexHennessy Cognac is bringing its super-premium Paradis Imperial marque stateside. The expression is available across the U.S. market for $2,700 a bottle. Paradis Imperial is a blend of eaux-de-vie singled out after fermentation, ranging from 30 to 130 years old, and matured in old casks. After fermentation, only one of 1,000 eaux-de-vie of a given vintage becomes part of the Paradis Imperial blend. The ultra-luxury offering is packaged in a glass decanter—designed by award-winning French Baccarat designer Stéphanie Balini—that features the iconic Hennessy shape and a crystal cabochon on top of an 18-carat gold and silver collar. Each bottle is individually numbered and comes in a luxury gift box.

indexFour Roses Distillery has unveiled its 2013 Limited Edition Small Batch Bourbon. A barrel-strength whiskey, the new offering will be released in September, priced at $85-$90 a bottle. Four Roses Master Distiller Jim Rutledge picked whiskies from three of Four Roses’ 10 Bourbon recipes to create the barrel-strength Bourbon—including 18-year-old selections of Four Roses’ recipe coded OBSV, a 13-year-old OBSK and a 13-year-old OESK. About 8,000 bottles of the uncut, non-chill-filtered expression will roll out in retail stores. Last year’s Four Roses 2012 Limited Edition Small Batch Bourbon was named American Whiskey of the Year by Whisky Advocate.

indexNew York-based Spirits of Bhutan is bringing K5, billed as the first-ever whisky from Bhutan, to the U.S. market. It’s available online at SpiritsofBhutan.com for $49.99 a 750-ml. bottle, and is also launching at various New York on- and off-premise venues like The Brandy Library, Ambassador Wines & Spirits and other bars, hotels and restaurants. Blauvelt, New York-based Duggan’s Distillers is handling distribution of the brand. K5 whisky is a blend of 8-year-old and 12-year-old vatted malts made with grain whiskies and natural spring water from the Kingdom of Bhutan.

indexHeaven Hill Distilleries has introduced the limited edition Elijah Craig 21-Year-Old Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon. The release will be available in limited quantities in select markets across the country for one time only. It’s slated to hit shelves in September and will be priced at $140 a 750-ml. The 21-year-old Bourbon is packaged in the flask-shaped Elijah Craig Single Barrel bottle with a cork closure and marbled capsule, as well as a blue label with the age statement prominently displayed and the barrel number and “barrel date” on the back. The release follows the rollout of the Elijah Craig 20-Year-Old Single Barrel, which earned American Whiskey of the Year honors from Whisky Advocate.

indexBrown-Forman is set to roll out the limited edition 2013 Old Forester Birthday Bourbon this month. Priced at $54.99 a 750-ml. bottle, the Bourbon will be available beginning mid-August in limited quantities at retail stores across the country. The vintage-dated Bourbon is packaged in a decanter-style glass bottle, designed to look like that of the late 1800’s when Old Forester was first produced. Each bottle also features the date on which the Bourbon was barreled and bottled. Old Forester releases a special expression every year to commemorate the birthday of the brand’s founder, George Garvin Brown (September 2). This year’s edition is the 12th to be created. The brand also offers the Classic 86 Proof and Signature 100-Proof Bourbon variants.