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: June 16th 2020 Edition

San Antonio, Texas-based Devils River Whiskey has launched a new coffee-flavored Bourbon in its 29-state distribution footprint. The 40% abv whiskey is made from a combination of high-rye Bourbon and locally roasted coffee that is sourced from Colombia, Brazil, and Honduras. The spirit is cold brewed for at least 24 hours before sweetening with agave nectar. Devils River Coffee Bourbon whiskey is rolling out now to markets across the U.S.

Alberta, Canada-based Paradise Spirits has launched its El Tequileño Tequila brand in the U.S. via Park Street Imports. Made in Jalisco, El Tequileño includes five Tequilas in its lineup, all at 40% abv: Blanco ($25 a 750-ml.), Reposado ($27), Platinum ($55), Reposado Gran Reserva ($57), and Reposado Rare ($225), aged for 6 years in an American oak pipon, an extra-large barrel. El Tequileño is available in 13 states.

Sam Houston Bourbon, part of the Western Spirits portfolio, has unveiled a 14-year-old Kentucky Straight Bourbon. Bottled at 49% abv and retailing at $120 a 750-ml., the new entry is rolling out in Texas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, New York, Colorado, New Mexico, Georgia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C.

Rochester, New York-based Geloso Beverage Group has added two new flavors to its Clubtails line of canned cocktails. The new flavors—Strawberry Daiquiri and Blueberry Mojito—are both at 10% abv and are made from a malt base. They join 11 other flavors in the Clubtails portfolio. The RTDs are available in 16-ounce cans and retail for around $2.

Moët Hennessy USA has announced the latest release in Glenmorangie’s Bond House No. 1 collection: Grand Vintage Malt 1996. The 43% abv whisky was matured in American oak casks—air dried and seasoned with Bourbon—for 23 years before bottling. This whisky aged entirely in the company’s specially designed casks. Glenmorangie Grand Vintage Malt 1996 is rolling out now to specialty whisky shops across the U.S. for a suggested price of $825 a 750-ml.

San Francisco-based Hotaling & Co. has launched Junipero Gin in new, completely redesigned packaging. The new look was designed by Stranger & Stranger and features the brand’s name in handwritten script on a blue bottle the shade of a juniper berry. The spirit inside, however, remains the same. The redesigned Junipero will be available exclusively in California in 2020 but will expand to Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Texas in 2021.

Courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Spirited News: June 9th 2020 Edition

San Francisco-based Hotaling & Co. has added Walsh Whiskey to its spirits portfolio, effective immediately. The move brings both the Irishman and Writers’ Tears whiskies into the Hotaling fold, alongside its existing brands like Dingle Irish whiskey, Hirsch Selected Whiskeys, and Old Pulteney, among others. Hotaling & Co. is now responsible for the brands’ general and limited releases, including the Irishman Founder’s Reserve, Writers’ Tears Copper Pot, and both brands’ yearly cask strength expressions.

U.K.-based Salcombe Distillery is launching its two signature gin labels, Salcombe Gin Start Point and Salcombe Gin Rosé Sainte Marie, in the U.S. this summer. Start Point (44% abv) is a classic citrus-led London Dry gin, while Rosé Sainte Marie (41.4% abv) is an all-natural pink gin with notes of fresh strawberries, lemon thyme, and orange blossom, with no added sugar, artificial colors, or flavorings. Both labels are retail-priced at $40 a 750-ml. Initial markets for Salcombe will be New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. The brand is handled in the U.S. by Park Street Importers.

Square One Organic Cocktails Portfolio

Square One Organic Spirits is launching a quartet of ready-to-drink cocktails. The line of sparkling, vodka-based RTDs will include the flavors Pear of Roses (containing pear, rose, lavender, rosemary, and lemon), Basil Berry Fizz (basil, strawberry, lemon), Mediterranean Pearl (bergamot, orange, pomegranate, coriander, star anise, and lime), and Cucumber Therapy (cucumber, rose, ginger, and lime). All four flavors are at 7.5% abv and retail for $20 a 4-pack of 12-ounce cans. Distribution will initially be limited to California but will expand across the country over the course of the summer.

Dallas, Texas-based Zamora Co USA has announced Don Papa Rum as the latest spirits brand to join its portfolio. Owned by U.K.-based Bleeding Heart Rum Company, the Philippines-made rum is anchored by its 7- and 10-year-old expressions. Last year the brand shipped 170,000 cases to 25 markets worldwide, with 3,000 cases going to three test markets in the U.S.: New York, California, and Massachusetts.

English gin brand Greenall’s has added two new flavored expressions to its lineup. Greenall’s Wild Berry and Blueberry gins are both bottled at 40% abv, priced at $20 a 750-ml., and contain no added sugar. The new gins are currently rolling out nationwide, aimed at independent and regional chain retail accounts.

Courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Spirited News: May 19th 2020 Edition

Brooklyn, New York-based Widow Jane has announced Lucky Thirteen, a new barrel pick program featuring 100 barrels of whiskey. Each barrel is aged for 13 years after distilling from a high-rye mash bill. The whiskies are proofed down to 45.5%-49.5% abv, with master distiller Lisa Wicker choosing the final proof after considering where in the rick house each barrel aged. Barrels will be available across the U.S., with Total Wine, plus other retailers in California, Florida, New York, and other states signing on to purchase barrels. The whiskies will retail at around $90 a bottle.

San Francisco-based Hotaling & Co. has added Convite Mezcal to its portfolio. Hotaling will bring three of Convite’s agave spirits to the U.S.: Mezcal Espadín Esencial ($45/40% abv); Mezcal Espadín-Madrecuishe Blend, a $70 bottling at 42% abv made from Espadín and wild-grown Madrecuishe agaves; and Mezcal Coyote, a $160 bottling made from 12-year-old wild-grown Coyote agave that’s bottled at 46% abv. The spirits are available now in New York, California, Texas, Massachusetts, Illinois, and Georgia.

Martini & Rossi, part of the Bacardi portfolio, has launched two new frozen RTD cocktails, Frosé and Frosecco. The 6.5% abv wine cocktails come in 10-ounce packages and can be consumed right from the pouch or poured into glasses. Both are made from Italian wine with natural fruit flavors added and do not contain artificial sweeteners or high fructose corn syrup. Martini & Rossi Frosé and Frosecco are now available across the U.S. for $4 a pouch.

Seagram’s Gin has debuted its latest flavored expression, Watermelon Twisted. Featuring a base of Seagram’s Extra Dry gin that’s infused with watermelon flavors, Seagram’s Watermelon Twisted gin is now available nationwide, retail priced at $11 a 750-ml. The new extension joins the flagship dry gin as well as Pineapple, Lime, Peach, Grape, Red Berry, Melon, and Apple Twisted gins.

Lucas Bols has relaunched its Bols Liqueurs range with a new formula and packaging. The line, which includes Blue Curaçao, Apricot Brandy, and Peach flavors, among numerous others, is now made with natural botanicals. The Bols Liqueurs bottles have been updated as well: they now feature a new logo, and are more in line with the look of the Bols Genever lineup.

Purcellville, Virginia-based Catoctin Creek Distilling Company will launch #InThisTogether Rye on June 1, with all profits going to charities supporting struggling bars and restaurants. The 40% abv whiskey was blended from spirits left over from the distillery’s barrel select program, from which many restaurant accounts had to abstain after suffering financial hardship due to Covid-19. Catoctin took those previously selected single barrels and blended them into this new “Infinity Barrel” Rye, which retails at $49 a 750-ml. It will be sold at the distillery with curbside pickup and at retailers in Washington D.C., Delaware, and Maryland through distributor Prestige-Ledroit. It’s also available online for direct shipping in Virginia only.

San Francisco-based Hotaling & Co. has added The Arran single malt Scotch whisky to its portfolio. Effective June 1, Hotaling will be the exclusive importer of The Arran’s entire lineup, which includes the Robert Burns Malt; 10-, 18-, and 21-year-old whiskies; and a variety of cask-finished expressions, with retail pricing ranging from $40-$246 a 750-ml.

Sailor Jerry has unveiled a new limited-edition commemorative bottle in partnership with the United Service Organizations (USO). Retailing at $15 a 750-ml., the special edition pays homage to the brand’s namesake, Norman “Sailor Jerry” Collins, who served in the Navy, and will be distributed nationally through the summer season. As part of the launch, Sailor Jerry and Anchor Media are donating $150,000 to the USO, adding to Sailor Jerry’s total contribution of $1 million supporting the USO and other military organizations since 2016.

Courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Spirited News: May 5th 2020 Edition

Louisville, Kentucky-based Michter’s has announced the 2020 release of its annual 10-year-old Bourbon. The whiskey will be available in limited quantities beginning in May for a suggested price of $130 a 750-ml. The highly allocated whiskey joins Michter’s Bourbon, Rye, Sour Mash, and American whiskey, plus limited releases, in the brand’s portfolio.

Chicago-based Ritual, the company behind a range of zero-alcohol gin and whiskey alternatives, has entered a new category with alcohol-free Tequila. The spirits alternative is designed with Margaritas in mind and blends botanicals to create a drink that brings smoke, agave, peppers, lime, and guava flavors. Ritual’s spirits alternatives are available via Amazon and Ritual’s website for $25 a bottle.

DeKuyper Cordials and Liqueurs is launching DeKuyper Classic Ol’ FashionThe 30 proof liqueur is intended to streamline the process of mixing an Old Fashioned into two steps by containing a range of flavors including citrus, bitterness, and bakery spices—the only additional ingredient required to complete the flavor profile is Bourbon. Available now nationwide for a suggested retail price of $13 a 750-ml., it’s also available online through Drizly and Reserve Bar.

Grace O’Malley Blended Irish Whiskey has launched in the U.S. The 40% abv label contains a blend of 46% malt and 54% grain whiskies, all sourced from Great Northern Distillery in County Louth, Ireland. Grace O’Malley was elaborated by master blender Paul Caris, who blended whiskies aged from three to 10 years and matured the final blend in a range of barrels including ex-Bourbon, ex-rum, and French oak. The brand, named for the 16th century Irish pirate and family matriarch, is handled by MHW in the U.S. market.

375 Park Avenue Spirits will add Glen Moray Scotch whisky to its import portfolio, effective June 1. The move will bring all four of Glen Moray’s collections—Elgin Classic, Elgin Heritage, Elgin Reserve, and Elgin Prestige—under 375 Park’s purview, joining Cutty Sark, which is owned by Glen Moray parent company La Martiniquaise-Bardinet.

Luxardo, part of the Hotaling & Co. portfolio, is extending its range with a London Dry Gin. A 43% abv blend of nine botanicals, the juniper-forward gin retails at $35 and will be rolling out nationwide this summer. Based in Torreglia, located in the Veneto region in northeastern Italy, Luxardo is known for its Maraschino liqueur, among other offerings.

Baltimore, Maryland-based Sagamore Spirit and Chico, California’s Sierra Nevada have teamed up to create Sagamore Spirit Brewer’s Select Rye Ale Barrel Finish. The new whiskey is a blend of 4- and 6-year-old rye whiskies finished in barrels used to mature Sierra Nevada Red Ale. The 45% abv whiskey is the second part in the companies’ collaboration, following Sierra Nevada’s barrel-aged red ale—made using Sagamore Spirit barrels—launched last year. The whiskey is rolling out now across the U.S. for a suggested price of $70 for a 750-ml.

San Francisco, California-based Hotaling & Co. has reintroduced Hirsch Bourbon, unveiling the first in what the company promises will be a series of new whiskies. The 46% abv Bourbon, named The Horizon, is blended from two whiskies distilled in Lawrenceburg, Indiana; 94% of the blend is a 5-year-old corn-heavy whiskey and the remainder is a high-rye Bourbon aged for 6 years. Hirsch The Horizon will be available this summer in California, Texas, Illinois, Massachusetts, Tennessee, New York, Kentucky, and Georgia for a suggested price of $40 a 750-ml.

Infinium Spirits-owned Templeton Rye has announced the 2020 release of the brand’s cask strength whiskey. This year’s rye comes in at 56.55% abv and is made from MGP’s 95% rye, 5% malted barley mash bill. Templeton Rye Barrel Strength Straight whiskey is now available across the U.S. in limited quantities at $60 a 750-ml.

Courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Spirited News: March 3rd 2020 Edition

Winebow has added El Buho mezcal to its New York distribution portfolio. The Oaxaca, Mexico-based brand was founded in 2012 by chef T.J. Steele, Adam Parker, and John Henry, enlisting the Don Isaac Distillery for production. El Buho’s portfolio includes Espadin, Ensamble, Cuishe, Tepeztate, Jabali, Pulquero, and Tobala-Espadin, all distributed by Winebow. The distributor now represents the brand in five states: Illinois, Minnesota, Washington, Wisconsin, and now New York.

Louisville, Kentucky-based Copper & Kings and Kentucky Peerless Distilling Co. have teamed up for a pair of limited-edition offerings. Copper & Kings’ release ($65) is an American brandy blended in a 60%-40% ratio from the distiller’s own five-year-old distillate and sourced brandies aged from nine to 18 years. The brandy was finished for 14 months in Peerless rye barrels before bottling at 54% abv. Peerless’ new whiskey ($129) is a single barrel rye finished in a Copper & Kings Absinthe barrel. Both releases are available in the companies’ gift shops and in extremely limited quantities across their distribution footprints.

Malibu Rum is launching a line of canned RTDs called Malibu Splash. The sparkling malt beverages come in 12-ounce slim cans and are targeting summer social occasions like barbecues and beach trips. Malibu Splash comes in strawberry, lime, passion fruit, and pineapple flavors, all of which are at 5% abv and retail for $9 a 4-pack or in variety 8-packs for $17, rolling out now nationally.

Sonoma, California-based 3 Badge Beverage Corporation is launching a new whisky called Benjamin Chapman. Its first release is a blend of 51% 10-year Canadian rye and 49% 7-year Canadian prairie wheat retailing at $39 a 750-ml. and bottled at 45% abv. The rye component aged for 10 years in white oak casks, while the wheat spent seven years in American oak barrels. 3 Badge says the new brand’s name refers to “an enigmatic figure from the 1960s international jet set era.” 3 Badge has a diverse stable of spirits that also includes La Pivón Vermouth, Uncle Val’s Handcrafted Gin, Kirk & Sweeney Rum, Pasote Tequila, and Bozal Mezcal.

San Diego-based Cutwater Spirits, part of the Anheuser-Busch InBev portfolio, has launched Tequila Soda, a 7%-abv canned cocktail made from Tequila, house-made soda and a hint of lime. It’s the third Tequila-based offering from Cutwater’s canned cocktail portfolio, which includes 18 labels overall. Tequila Soda will hit retail shelves in early March, priced at $9.99 a 4-pack. Cutwater is led by master distiller Yuseff Cherney, formerly of San Diego craft brewer Ballast Point.

Diageo is launching two limited edition whiskies from female blenders. The first is a new edition of Jane Walker (41.9% abv), created by master blender Emma Walker. A blended malt Scotch aged for 10 years, that offering retails at $38 a 750-ml. Also new is Bulleit Bourbon Blenders’ Select No. 001 (50% abv), made by blender Eboni Major and retailing at $50. It’s the first edition in Bulleit’s new Blenders Select series.

Rémy Cointreau-owned Mount Gay has revamped the blend of rums used in its Black Barrel and XO releases. The new blends were created by master blender Trudiann Branker. The new Black Barrel ($45) will now be made from rums aged three to seven years with more pot still rum included in the blend. The rum is finished in Bourbon casks for six months, up from four weeks. Mount Gay XO’s ($65) new recipe will use a wider range of aged rums—five to 17 years, as opposed to eight to 15—drawn from spirits aged in American whiskey, Bourbon, and Cognac casks.

No. 3 London Dry Gin, part of the Hotaling & Co. portfolio, is getting a packaging refresh. The updated bottle features turquoise glass along with clean lines and a minimalist, text-heavy label beneath the brand’s prominent key logo. The name and key are a reference to the home of the brand’s creator, Berry Bros. & Rudd, at No. 3 St James’s Street in London. The 46% abv spirit is produced in Holland at the De Kuyper distillery and imported by Hotaling, retailing nationally for $40 a 750-ml. The new packaging is available now in select states, with additional distribution to come.

Courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Review: J.H. Cutter Whisky

In the mid- to late-1800s when A.P. Hotaling’s liquor warehouse was the talk of San Francisco, the most celebrated whiskey in his stock was known as J.H. Cutter, an American whiskey that commanded the premium price of the day – an estimated $5 per bottle. In 2018, San Francisco’s Hotaling & Co., the importer and distiller formerly known as Anchor Distilling Company, introduces a reincarnation of that original whiskey – J.H. Cutter Whisky (using the spirit’s spelling of the day).

This blend of American whiskies brings together 73% sourced bourbon from Kentucky Bourbon Distillers aged 4.5 years, 17% Old Potrero 18th Century Style Rye Whiskey aged a minimum of 3.25 years, and 10% Old Potrero Port Finish Rye Whiskey aged 4 years.

“A.P. Hotaling was the original man of whiskey in the western United States, and with this release of J.H. Cutter, we seek to pay homage to his impact on San Francisco’s whiskey heritage, and celebrate a once great brand,” says Hotaling & Co.’s President & CEO Dennis Carr.

J. H. Cutter Whisky (96 proof)
Visual: Golden-orange.
Nose: Rich, fulsome nose of rye counterbalanced with a softer, but present corn distillate melded by delightful oak aging. Sweet, dessert-like and mouth-watering.
Taste: Retro-styled whisky that hits all the marks. Some spice, some char, some vanilla, some wood.  Exceptionally balanced.
Finish: Medium long. Things tail off with a hint of maple.
Overall: A great whisky that is a welcome return to a traditional style.
GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: Hotaling & Co.