GSN: Backbar Review – November 11-15, 2013

cw sutcliffeDon Sutcliffe, managing director of California-based Craft Distillers, and Willie Phillips, former managing director of The Macallan, have collaborated on a new series of Scotch whiskies. To be known as The Exceptional by Sutcliffe & Son, the line is debuting this month with a whisky called The Exceptional Grain, made from a blend of barrels from the Loch Lomond, North British and Carsebridge distilleries, married in first-fill Sherry casks. The first release is 1,500 bottles, retailing at $100 apiece, with availability through Craft Distillers in all major U.S. markets. Two more whiskies, The Exceptional Malt and The Exceptional Blend, are slated to appear in 2014 and 2015 respectively.

indexRussia’s RSG Trading is launching its super-premium Russian Diamond vodka brand in the U.S. Handled by DUN Beverage Partners, Russian Diamond ($24.99 a 750-ml.) is hitting New Jersey (distributed by Allied Beverage) and several New England states (distributed by M.S. Walker) this fall ahead of a national rollout next spring. Targeted toward young professional consumers, the Russian import is presented in a diamond-cut package with an Italian velvet label featuring textured metallic lettering.

indexTrinidad-based Angostura will introduce the first installment in a new series of limited-edition rums early next year. The new entry, Angostura No. 1 ($49.99 a 750-ml.), will hit the California, New York, New Jersey, Florida and Texas markets beginning in late January. A blend of 10-12-year-old rums matured in first-fill Bourbon casks, Angostura No. 1 is being released in a batch of 9,600 bottles worldwide.

indexBrown-Forman is launching its Jack Daniel’s Sinatra Select into additional U.S. markets through the end of this year. Previously available only in global duty free and Tennessee, the ultra-premium offering will now also be offered in the Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, San Francisco and New Jersey markets, priced at $165 a 750-ml. The 90-proof whiskey is aged in specially designed “Sinatra barrels,” which feature grooves to allow for more barrel-liquid contact.

All information courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN: Backbar Review – October 7-11, 2013

indexWilliam Grant & Sons is releasing a new Balvenie single malt expression exclusively for the U.S. market. Tun 1401 Batch 9 ($250) is a 49.3%-abv whisky sourced from 11 traditional whisky casks and three sherry butts, whose ages span a number of decades. It rested for several months in Tun 1401, one of the distillery’s unique “marrying vessels,” which also produced the previous limited releases Batch 3 and Batch 6. The Balvenie Tun 1401 Batch 9 will be distributed in limited supply beginning this month.

indexDiageo is introducing two new flavors to Smirnoff vodka’s range this fall—Wild Honey and Cinna-Sugar Twist. Both are now in national distribution, priced at $15.99 a 750-ml. The flavors join Smirnoff’s existing Confections portfolio, which also includes Root Beer Float, Iced Cake, Kissed Caramel, Whipped Cream and Fluffed Marshmallow.

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indexBeam Inc.’s Laphroaig single malt Scotch brand has reintroduced Laphroaig Triple Wood, its limited edition fall seasonal, in the U.S. Triple Wood, a 96-proof whisky, is matured three times, using ex-Bourbon barrels, 19th century-style quarter casks and European oak Oloroso Sherry casks. The returning entry will be available in limited quantities nationwide, priced at around $59.99 a 750-ml. Laphroaig Triple Wood is joined in the Laphroaig portfolio by the brand’s 10-year-old, 10-year-old Cask Strength, Quarter Cask, 18-year-old, 25-year-old, QA Cask and Càirdeas offerings.

imagesBrown-Forman has added a new seasonal variant to Jack Daniel’s, Winter Jack. A blend of apple cider liqueur, Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 Tennessee Whiskey and holiday spices, the new product is suggested to be served warm and touted as “reminiscent of apple pie complemented with Tennessee whiskey and seasonal spices, with a finish of toasted oak and vanilla.” Winter Jack is hitting 30 U.S. states and Canada this month.

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indexSidney Frank Importing Co. has expanded its Bärenjäger honey liqueur brand with a pair of new offshoots—Bärenjäger Honey & Tea and Bärenjäger Honey & Pear. Bärenjäger Honey & Tea features notes of sweet black tea and honey, while Bärenjäger Honey & Pear offers a blend of honey and pear brandy sourced from Germany. Both entries are currently available nationwide in 50-ml., 375-ml. and 750-ml. formats, priced at around $28.99 a 750-ml. The Honey & Tea and Honey & Pear variants are joined in the Bärenjäger portfolio by the brand’s original Bärenjäger honey liqueur and its Honey & Bourbon label, which launched last year.

indexGlenmorangie is set to introduce a very limited offering of what it calls the “world’s first extra-matured single malt,” Glenmorangie 1963. Packaged in a commemorative bottle including its original label, 1963 was extra-matured in Spanish Oloroso Sherry casks for almost two years prior to its original release in 1987. Glenmorangie says it recently uncovered 50 bottles of the historic whisky in its Highland warehouses. Twenty of them will be made available for purchase in the U.S. through high-end stores at a suggested price of $2,600 each.

indexFort Worth, Texas-based Firestone & Robertson Distilling Co. has launched its flagship T-X blended whiskey brand in Louisiana. Currently available in the state both on- and off-premise via Glazer’s, T-X is a blend of select whiskies priced at around $35 a bottle. Louisiana marks brand’s first expansion outside of its home market of Texas. A craft whiskey distillery established in 2010, Firestone & Robertson is planning to debut a straight Bourbon made with locally-sourced corn, wheat and yeast as the second offering in its portfolio.

indexPernod Ricard is returning its Pernod absinthe to its original recipe. The brand’s revamped formula was reconstructed in a two-year process from records that show how it was made in the 1800s, prior to the U.S. ban on absinthe from 1912-2007. Changes include a move from neutral grain to neutral wine spirit for the base, with grapes sourced from Languedoc as specified; the usage of grande wormwood sourced from Pontarlier, the historical home of the brand where the original factory was founded in 1805; and natural coloration through the maceration of green nettles, instead of added dyes and artificial colors. The remade Pernod (136-proof) will first appear at several leading New York City retailers, priced at around $68 a bottle.

index35 Maple Street, the spirits unit of Sonoma-based The Other Guys, has released two new limited-edition versions of its Masterson’s whiskey brand. Masterson’s 12-Year-Old Straight Wheat Whiskey ($79), at 50% abv, is made from Canadian wheat and glacial water, distilled in a copper pot still and aged in white oak casks. Masterson’s 10-Year-Old Straight Barley Whiskey ($79), at 46% abv, is made from Canadian barley and glacial water, double-distilled and also aged in white oak casks. Some 2,337 cases (14,022 bottles) of the 12-Year-Old Wheat and 1,954 cases (11,724 bottles) of the 10-Year-Old Barley will be available. The Other Guys, run by August Sebastiani, launched 35 Maple Street in 2011 with Masterson’s Rye ($79) and has since followed with Uncle Val’s Botanical Gin ($35-$40) and Kirk & Sweeney Dominican Rum ($40).

indexSouth Carolina-based High Wire Distilling Co. has made its debut in its local Charleston market with the launch of Hometown vodka and Silver rum. Initially rolling out into retail outlets this week, the pair will also be available at local bars and restaurants in the near future. Priced at $27.99, Hometown vodka is a gluten-free offering made with 100% corn, while Silver rum is produced using Barbadian molasses and will retail for $23.99. High Wire, which bills itself as Charleston’s first distillery since Prohibition, distills its spirits using a handmade German copper still.

indexSeveral new limited-edition malts are joining the Campari America portfolio across the Bowmore, Auchentoshan and Glen Garioch brands. Bowmore is welcoming a new addition called The Devil’s Cask, named for a local Islay legend in which the devil stows away in a barrel of Bowmore bound for the mainland. A 10-year-old Scotch aged in Oloroso Sherry barrels, Devil’s Cask is at 56.9%-abv and will retail at around $90, with 1,302 bottles coming to the U.S. starting next month. Atop the pricing ladder, Bowmore is introducing a 50-year-old, retail-priced at around $20,000 a 750-ml. It’s replacing a 40-year-old that was priced at $15,000. Devil’s Cask and the 50-year-old join Bowmore’s recently added Dorus Mor (55.1%-abv), a 10-year-old priced at $120, of which 2,400 bottles were imported. Meanwhile, Bowmore stablemates Auchentoshan and Glen Garioch, from the Lowland and Highland regions respectively, are being extended with small-batch Virgin Oak expressions. Auchentoshan’s is 46%-abv and will retail at around $130 with 2,100 bottles headed to the U.S. Glen Garioch’s is 48%-abv, retails at $110 and is available in an allocation of 1,038 bottles.

indexProximo Spirits will expand the Jose Cuervo line with the launch of a cinnamon-infused silver Tequila called Cinge. The new expression will roll out nationwide this fall, priced at $17.99 a 750-ml. bottle, and will also be available in 50-ml., 200-ml., 375-ml., 1-liter and 1.75-liter sizes.

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imagesPernod Ricard’s House of Martell is launching a new Cognac—Martell Caractère. The new variant, available exclusively in California and retailing at $34.99, is meant to pay tribute to Martell founder Jean Martell. Caractère (40% abv) is produced using grapes sourced from the company’s own vineyards in the Domaine Jean Martell, distilled twice without lees and aged in French oak.

imagesWilliam Grant & Sons has introduced a new variant, Phoenix, to the Tullamore D.E.W. Irish whiskey range. Phoenix, priced at $54.99 a 750-ml., will be an annual limited edition release, with only 2,500 nine-liter cases now available in the U.S. market. The triple-distilled whiskey (55% abv) is finished in Oloroso Sherry casks. Phoenix joins Original, 12-year-old Special Reserve and 10-year-old Single Malt in the brand’s lineup.

indexFairfield, New Jersey-based Jersey Artisan Distilling has debuted the first entry in its premium craft spirits range, Busted Barrel dark rum. Made with all-natural molasses sourced from Louisiana, Busted Barrel is aged with a handful of vanilla beans in American oak casks for three months. The 80-proof spirit will be available at New Jersey retail outlets starting next week, priced at around $34.99 a 750-ml. Jersey Artisan Distilling, which bills itself as the state’s first licensed distillery since Prohibition, is also gearing up to launch an eponymous vodka and gin range, as well as Busted Barrel Bourbon and whiskey offerings.

All information courtesy of Shanken

GSN: Backbar Review – September 30-October 4, 2013

indexPernod Ricard’s Irish Distillers has extended its Redbreast Irish whiskey brand with a new 21-Year-Old extension. Rolling out this month, Redbreast 21-Year-Old is made from a malted and unmalted barley mash, triple distilled in copper pot stills and then matured in a combination of American Bourbon barrels and Spanish Oloroso Sherry casks. The new entry is currently available across the U.S.—as well as in the U.K., France, Ireland and Germany—priced at $180 a bottle. Redbreast 21-Year-Old marks the ninth single pot still Irish whiskey in the Irish Distillers stable, as well as the brand’s oldest offering to date, joining Redbreast’s existing 12-Year-Old, 12-Year-Old Cask Strength and 15-Year-Old variants.

indexSidney Frank Importing Co. is aiming to reinvigorate its Jägermeister liqueur brand with the launch of its first U.S. extension, seasonal offering Jägermeister Spice. The limited edition expression hits national distribution today, priced at $22.99 a 750-ml. Jägermeister Spice (25% abv) uses the same 56 different herbs, blooms, roots and fruits as Jägermeister Original, but highlights the vanilla and cinnamon spices to give it a warmer taste profile.

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indexCampari America’s Cabo Wabo Tequila brand has expanded its range with Cabo Diablo, a new coffee liqueur. Featuring a color-changing label, the 35%-abv offering is made with a blend of Cabo Wabo Blanco Tequila and Arabica coffee liqueur. Cabo Diablo will be available this fall across New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Wisconsin, priced at $22.99 a 750-ml. The coffee liqueur joins Blanco, Reposado, Añejo and Uno entries in Cabo Wabo’s 100%-agave portfolio.

indexPernod Ricard is extending its Paddy Irish whiskey brand with two flavors, a honey offering to be known as Bee Sting, and spiced apple-flavored Devil’s Apple. Paddy’s new flavors are launching in the U.S. this month, backed by a millennial-targeted marketing campaign titled “Sleep when you’re 30.”

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indexSan Francisco-based Anchor Distilling has released Berry Bros. & Rudd’s Blue Hanger blended malt whiskey in the U.S. for the first time. Now in its seventh limited release, Blue Hanger’s current edition is comprised of one hogshead of Bruichladdich 1992, one butt of Bunnahabhain 1990, four hogsheads of Miltonduff 1997 and two hogsheads of Bunnahabhain Moine (peated) 2006. Blue Hanger 7th Limited Release will be offered exclusively in the U.S., with a total of 3,088 bottles available, priced at $99.99 each.

indexFormer Sidney Frank Importing executives Rick and Sarah Zeiler have launched a new shot brand, Coldcock American Herbal Whiskey. A Bourbon infused with herbs including green tea, hibiscus, eucalyptus, cinnamon and ginger, Coldcock is 70-proof and retails at $19.99 a 750-ml. Already present in California, Georgia and Indiana, the new brand is launching in New York, South Carolina, Tennessee and Nebraska today, and will soon hit New Jersey, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, Illinois and Texas.

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imagesBeam Inc. is extending the John DeKuyper & Sons Crave chocolate liqueurs range with the launch of Crave Chocolate Truffle. The new flavor is available nationwide with a suggested retail price of $17.99 a 750-ml. bottle. Chocolate Truffle (15% abv) joins Chocolate Mint, Chocolate Cherry and Chocolate Chili in the Crave range of flavors.

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hollynog-Project1-2Pewaukee, Wisconsin-based Midwest Custom Bottling, bottler of RumChata, is launching Holly Nog—a new spiked eggnog—in the U.S. this holiday season. Made with wine and Wisconsin dairy cream, Holly Nog (owned by Midwest Custom Bottling, while RumChata is owned by Agave Loco) will be available at both liquor stores and wine-only stores, as well as in the dairy aisle of grocery stores. The 14%-abv entry comes in 750-ml. bottles, priced at $9.99 each.

indexJack Daniel’s is introducing a limited edition Master Distiller #1 bottle, honoring founder Jasper Newton “Jack” Daniel, nationwide this fall. The 750-ml. bottles, which were previously only available in Tennessee and duty free shops, are currently hitting shelves at retail locations across the U.S. ($24.99). Master Distiller #1 is the first in a new series recognizing the seven men who have held the master distiller post since the Jack Daniel Distillery began producing nearly 150 years ago. In addition to Jack Daniel, the list of master distillers includes Jess Motlow, Lem Tolley, Jess Gamble, Frank Bobo, Jimmy Bedford and Jeff Arnett (currently in the position).

indexSerge Imports’ Exclusiv has debuted a new brandy-flavored vodka, XO Napoleon. The new expression will be priced at $10 a 750-ml. and will initially launch in New Jersey, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee. Exclusiv XO Napoleon (35% abv) uses 5- to 18-year-old brandies for flavoring and achieves the brandy coloring through the traditional French method of including caramelized sugar. XO Napoleon marks the brand’s tenth offering.

indexDiageo is debuting a new single malt Scotch offering, Talisker Storm, in the U.S. market. Launching nationwide this month, the non-age-stated whisky is matured in oak for a minimum of three years and retails at $66 a 750-ml. Part of Diageo’s Classic Malts collection, Talisker is the only distillery on Scotland’s Isle of Skye.

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indexBeam Inc. is set to roll out a new batch of Booker’s Bourbon handpicked by whiskey experts in the coming days. Booker’s Bourbon Batch No. 2013-6 will hit shelves nationwide in early October, priced at $49.99 a 750-ml. The new offering is 126.5-proof and has been aged for seven years. Beam Master Distiller Fred Noe honored his father’s tasting tradition of sharing bottles with friends by hosting his own Booker’s Bourbon Roundtable, which consisted of a select group of whiskey advocates, writers and experts.

imagesBeam Inc. has launched Ice Surge—a new liqueur brand—in select U.S. markets. Targeted toward the shot occasion, the 70-proof range includes Tropical Freeze (pineapple and mango) and Frozen Berry (raspberry, blackberry and açai) variants, both of which are said to combine fruit flavors with a unique cooling sensation. Priced at $16.99 a 750-ml., Ice Surge will initially be available across 20 markets.

imagesPernod Ricard’s Seagram’s gin has added Red Berry Twisted, a gin infused with raspberry and strawberry flavors and aimed at the at-home cocktail occasion.

All information courtesy of Shanken News Daily