GSN Spirited News: October 6th 2020 Edition

Biddeford, Maine’s Round Turn Distilling has launched Bimini Coconut, a new flavored gin. The 47% abv gin is made with juniper, grapefruit, and hops, before fat washing with coconut to naturally infuse the gin. Bimini Coconut is available in California, Maine, New York, and Massachusetts for around $35 a 750-ml. The new spirit sits alongside Bimini gin, Bimini Barrel Reserve No.-1, and Bimini Overproof in the distillery’s lineup.

Minnesota-based Phillips Distilling Co. announced the release of Douglas and Todd Small Batch Bourbon Cream Liqueur. As the name implies, the new product is made from the company’s Douglas and Todd Bourbon, aged a minimum of four years in new charred oak barrels, then blended with cream and vanilla bean flavors. It’s available now as a limited release retailing for $35 a 750-ml. at select retailers and coming soon to online sales. The Phillips Distilling portfolio also includes UV Vodka, Prairie Organic Spirits, and Revel Stoke Whiskies, among others.

Proximo Spirits has launched Bushmills 28-Year-Old Single Malt Cognac Cask, the first in the brand’s new Rare Casks series. The 46.7% abv whisky first aged in Bourbon and Oloroso Sherry casks for 11 years before spending an additional 17 years in Cognac casks. Fewer than 500 bottles of the whiskey will be available, exclusively in the U.S., for a suggested retail price of $500 a 750-ml.

Mystic, Connecticut’s Prima Barista has launched a new ready-to-drink hard coffee, made with vodka. The 12.5% abv drinks come in two flavors—Mocha Hard Iced Frappé and Vanilla Hard Iced Latte—and contain roughly the same amount of caffeine as a 1-ounce shot of espresso per 200-ml. bottle. Prima Barista’s coffee cocktails are now available in Florida and Indiana at retail for around $19-$20, and for direct shipping to over 30 states across the U.S.

Edrington-owned Highland Park single malt Scotch whisky has launched Cask Strength No.-1, the first release in its new cask-strength collection. This edition comes in at 63.3% abv and matured in Sherry-seasoned American oak casks for a range of years before blending and bottling. The non-chill-filtered whisky will be released yearly. Highland Park Cask Strength No.-1 retails for around $90 a 750-ml. and will be available online and in specialty retailers across the U.S.

Kahlúa is extending with a new Blonde Roast Style liqueur. Made with medium roast coffee and hints of caramel, toffee and citrus flavors, Kahlúa Blonde Roast Style is at 20% abv and suggested to be served with tonic or coconut water. Pernod Ricard-owned Kahlúa posted 6% growth in NABCA channels in the 12 months through June. 

Dan Aykroyd and John Alexander’s Crystal Head vodka has launched Onyx, a new vodka distilled from Blue Agave. The new brand extension is bottled at 40% abv in an opaque black bottle. The agave for the spirit is sourced from a single farm in Mexico and the final product is bottled without additives or sweeteners. Crystal Head Onyx will retail for around $55 a 750-ml. and joins the brand’s original release, made from Canadian corn, and Aurora, made from English wheat, in the full-time lineup.

High West, part of the Constellation portfolio, has introduced two bottled whiskey cocktails, Barrel-Finished Manhattan and Barrel-Finished Old Fashioned. Both are made using a blend of Bourbon and rye, then finished in rye barrels. The Old Fashioned is at 43% abv, while the Manhattan is at 37% abv. Rolling out nationwide, High West’s new bottled cocktails retail at $50 a 750-ml. (containing 12 cocktails) and $30 a 375-ml.

Mount Gay Rum, part of the Rémy Cointreau portfolio, is launching a new limited edition, Master Blender Collection: The Port Cask Expression. Created by master blender Trudiann Branker, the new bottling is a blend of rums distilled in a traditional column still and aged for five years in Tawny Port casks, together with rums double distilled in a copper pot still and aged for 14 years in American whiskey casks and finished in Tawny Port casks for one year. Retailing at $175 a 750-ml., Mount Gay’s new luxury Port Cask expression is a cask-strength at 55% abv and is limited to 2,100 bottles in the U.S.

Código 1530 Tequila is releasing a new limited-edition extra añejo expression, the George Strait Origen. The new expression aged over six years in French white oak barrels that previously held Napa Valley Cabernet. The 40% abv spirit will retail for $350, with only 1,200 bottles available nationwide. The six barrels used to create the Tequila were hand-selected by Código co-founder and country music legend George Strait. Código 1530 reports that it’s seen rapid gains in the year-to-date, registering growth of 40%.

Diageo is bringing back Cîroc vodka’s White Grape expression for the holiday season. Five times distilled from French grapes, Cîroc White Grape is rolling out now. Cîroc slipped 9% to 1.4 million cases in the U.S. last year, according to Impact Databank, amid intense competition in the U.S. vodka category. In Diageo’s full fiscal year through June, the brand’s net sales fell by double-digits, with the decline partially offset by good results for limited-time offers like White Grape.

Minnesota’s Tattersall Distilling has launched a bottled Manhattan, made from 100% Minnesota grown rye, aged in charred American white oak barrels, and blended with Tattersall Italian-style liqueur, Sherry, and bitters. This is the distillery’s fourth ready-to-drink cocktail, joining Old Fashioned, Bootlegger, and Salty Dog. It retails at $35 a 750-ml. and carries an abv of 35%. The new entry will roll out first in Minnesota, with Wisconsin to follow shortly after. Tattersall’s portfolio is distributed to 30 states.

Whiskeysmith Co., a new line of flavored whiskies from Colorado-based Old Elk, has launched nationally via Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits. The line is launching with three flavors—Chocolate, Banana, and Pineapple—and all come in at 30% abv. Beverage director Melinda Maddox said the brand is aimed at home and on-premise mixology, and as a one-step home cocktail alternative. Whiskeysmith is now available across the U.S. and retails for between $25 and $30, depending on the market.

Brown-Forman has launched Woodford Reserve Baccarat Edition, a new ultra-limited luxury release from the American whiskey brand. The newcomer is bottled at 45.2% abv and, after its initial maturation in American oak, aged for an extra three years in ex-Cognac casks. The whiskey is bottled in a handmade crystal decanter from Baccarat that’s reminiscent of the standard Woodford bottle but engraved in gold with both Woodford’s and Baccarat’s logos. It’s now available in limited quantities for $2,000 a 750-ml. 

Teeling Irish whiskey has announced a new addition to the distillery’s portfolio, Blackpitts Peated Single Malt whiskey. The 46% abv whiskey is triple distilled and matured in a combination of ex-Bourbon and ex-Sauternes casks. According to managing director Jack Teeling, the smokiness of triple distilled peated whiskey is quite distinct; he described it as more like “barbecue-style smoke,” compared to the briny or medicinal peated whiskies of Islay, Scotland. Blackpitts Peated Single Malt whiskey will launch globally in January 2021, for a suggested price of $75 in the U.S.

Courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Review: High West’s 36th Vote Barreled Manhattan & Boulevardier

1397679085926The barrel-aged cocktail has officially arrived.  No longer just a novelty at your favorite world-class bar, several are now available on the shelves of your local liquor store.  Having made several iterations of aged cocktails myself, I was keen to try the two recently released from High West Distillery.  Their whiskies are sublime, so I imagined their pre-made cocktails would follow suit.

The Barreled Manhattan is named after the vote to repeal prohibition that the state of Utah cast on December 5, 1933.  Of the then 48 states, Utah’s vote was the 36th, thereby ending forever the “noble experiment”.  The Barreled Boulevardier is a less well-known cocktail, but one that fits well with the subtleties of aging.  Basically a Negroni utilizing bourbon instead of gin, it first appeared during prohibition in Harry McElhone’s 1927 cocktail book “Barflies and Cocktails”.

36th-vote-manhattan-bottle36th Vote Barreled Manhattan (74 proof)
Visual: Golden brown.
Nose: Herbal and feminine.  Quite shy and elusive.
Taste: More woody and darkly herbal than I’m used to.  There is a curious sage/woodruff flavor that seems somewhat at odds with the whiskey.  Not to say that this is a negative, it just makes for a flavor that makes me consider what I’m tasting.
Finish: Oddly enough, I get a grape-like Kool-Aid flavor after a minute.  The fade is fairly short, and I’m left with a sweet fruity essence.
Overall: Not the kind of Manhattan I make at home, but certainly an interesting version that is miles beyond what you would find at 90% of the bars in America.  I’m just not sure that the choices of ingredients work to this versions advantage.
GSN Rating: B

Boulevardier-no-reflection-e1373426819569Barreled Boulevardier (72 proof)
Visual: Golden brown.
Nose: Somewhat spicy and sweet.
Taste: Nicely balanced with the vermouth being more forward than the other flavors.
Finish: Interesting spice flavors have a depth that goes on for quite some time.
Overall: Quite tasty and with the extra flavor from aging, more contemplative.  A clear winner.
GSN Rating: A-

For more information go to: High West

GSN Review: High West’s A Midwinter Night’s Dram Whiskey

Midsummer-Nights-Dram-web-1Now that we are fully into the first signs of spring, it seems a little odd to be reviewing a spirit crafted for mid-winter tippling, but be that as it may….

High West, out of Park City, Utah recently debuted another fine rye blend whiskey finished in port and French oak casks.  For those of you interested in the technical details: the final product is a blend of a 6-year old straight rye whiskey: 95% rye and 5% barley malt and a 16-year old straight rye: 80% rye, 10% corn, 10% barley malt.

GSN has previously reviewed several other whiskies in the High West portfolio here.

A Midwinter Nights Dram (98.6 proof)
Visual: Ruby tinged copper.
Nose: Rich, enveloping port notes create a dessert-like nose that opens the curtain onto a spicy and thoughtful stage of prominent actors.  Quite sultry and seductive.
Taste: A surprisingly fruity and cooking spice tinged entry reminiscent of ginger cake.  Hefty and hearty without being overwhelming, this whiskey manages to be assertive and yet quite confident in its presence.  There is a lot of dialogue going on between the spotlighted high notes and the more venerable low tonality.  An interesting concept.
Finish: Medium long with a lot of the fruitier port notes taking curtain calls.
Overall: A contemplative whiskey that is best enjoyed on a cool evening.  Quite remarkably memorable.
GSN Rating: A-

For more information go to: High West

GSN Review: High West Distillery Whiskies

Utah is generally known for two things: The Great Salt Lake and Mormonism.  Another aspect which is less known is that it’s been a dry state since 1870, until five years ago when the High West Distillery opened in Old Town Park City.  Since then, they’ve focused on crafting whiskies (and a few vodkas) along with running a cocktail-centric saloon in conjunction with a fine restaurant to boot.  You can even ski your way to the distillery as it is located at the bottom of a ski-lift .  Sounds like a great vacation to me!

Their whiskies are so good, my wife told me recently I should finish my review of them before I finished the bottles.  For a new distillery, these guys know what they’re doing, and they do it exceptionally well.

Double Rye! (92 proof)  A blend of 2-year-old 95% rye, 5% barley malt mashbill and a 16-year-old 53% rye and 37% corn mashbill.
Visual: Golden amber.
Nose: Sweet, with hints of woodspice, chestnuts, butterscotch, cinnamon.
Taste: Very balanced with a wonderful bite of rye.  There’s a toffee-like sweetness which is exceptionally mixable.
Finish: Medium long with a nice sweet edge at the end.
Overall:  Really, really drinkable on its own or works wonders in a Manhattan.
GSN Rating: A

Campfire (92 proof) A blend of three five-year old or older whiskies.  A straight bourbon whiskey from 75 percent corn, 20 percent rye, and 5 percent barley malt; a straight rye whiskey from 95 percent rye and 5 percent barley malt; and a blended malt Scotch whiskey, made of 100-percent barley malt that has been peated. The bourbon and rye are sourced from the old Seagrams plant in Indiana.                                                                                                                           Visual: Golden amber.
Nose: Dark with heavy smoke overtones, very scotch-like, spicy, burnt caramel.
Taste: Quite smokey and spicy at the same time.  Unique and a rye that is great on its own. A lot of body and intensity.
Finish: Fairly long with the spice aspect being more residual than the smoke.
Overall: Something in a class all its own.  A nice sipper.  Use a snifter.
GSN Rating: B+

Son of Bourye (92 proof) Two whiskies make up this blend.  One is a 5yr Old Bourbon- 75% corn, 20% rye, 5% barley malt.  The other is a 3yr Old Rye – 95% rye, 5% barley malt. Both are non-chill filtered.
Visual: Golden amber.
Nose: Very sweet up front with spice coming through.
Taste: Quite sweet and more in the line of a typical bourbon.  A lot of caramel and vanilla.
Finish: Medium long with a super sweet lingering finish.
Overall: A very well done bourbon style whiskey.
GSN Rating: A-

American Prairie Reserve (92 proof) Whiskey #1: 6-year-old Mashbill from 75% Corn, 20% rye, 5% barley malt blended with a 10-year-old Bourbon mashbill from 60% Corn, 35% rye, and 5% barley malt.  Both of these are outsourced from Seagram’s and Four Roses.
Visual: Golden amber.
Nose: Very light and dry with a grain bouquet.
Taste: Thin and with more alcohol flavor and bite than any of the others.  There certainly are notes of rye, but the spice is fleeting and rather subdued.
Finish: Dry and quite short.  Almost unfinished.
Overall: Seems elegant, but also somewhat insubstantial. The least impressive of the bunch.
GSN Rating: B-

Rendezvous Rye (92 proof)  A marriage of two straight rye whiskies: a straight 6-year-old with a mashbill containing 95% rye and 5% barley malt; a straight 16-year-old with a mashbill containing 80% rye, 10% corn, 10% barley malt.
Visual: Golden amber
Nose: Quite spicy, with pleasant caramel overtones.
Taste: Lots of high note spice.  Oddly enough, reminds me of Indian food.
Finish: Leaves a mouthful of spice lingering.
Overall: An interesting rye with an almost ginger bite. Try this between bites of sushi.
GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: High West Distillery