GSN Alert: July 27th – National Scotch Whisky Day

756Scotch is a whisky that has a wide variety of styles and flavors, which I unfortunately don’t have the time to get into here.  But, this is what you need to know.  There are five regions in Scotland which produce whiskies: Campbeltown, Highland, Islay, Lowland and Speyside; and there are five styles of Scotch: blended grain, blended malt, blended Scotch, single grain and single malt.

GSN has reviewed several Scotches over the years including: Aberlour, AuchentoshanBenRiach, BowmoreCutty SarkGlendronachGlenrothes, Glen Garioch, LaphroaigMonkey Shoulder, Pig’s Nose and Sheep Dip.

If you’re looking to try a Scotch cocktail, GSN recommends the classic, Blood and Sand.

Sláinte!

GSN Alert: Laphroaig Honors International Women’s Day – March 8th

LAPHROAIG_1This Sunday, March 8th marks International Women’s Day, honoring female influencers in a variety of different areas who helped shape where women are today. 
Scotch is often thought of as a male-dominated industry, but Laphroaig – along with many other renowned distilleries – wouldn’t be the same if it weren’t for countless women behind the brand. To celebrate this international holiday, we wanted to call attention to two women who have helped make Laphroaig what it is today and raise a glass of Laphroaig 10 Year Old to all women who have impacted the whisky industry?
Laphroaig would like to honor both Bessie Williamson and Vicky Stevens for their pioneering roles in the world of whisky. Each have impacted Laphroaig, as well as the overall Scotch industry, in their own unique way and below I have included some brief information on these extraordinary women.
Bessie Williamson, Distillery Manager after Ian Hunter

Bessie Williamson

Bessie Williamson owned and managed the Laphroaig distillery from 1954-1972, and is known to be the only female Scotch whisky distiller during the 20th century. She was instrumental in promoting single-malt Scotch to international recognition, and was a necessary force in growing Laphroaig to where it is now.

Vicky Stevens

Today, Vicky Stevens continues the strong female role at Laphroaig by managing the Visitor Center and serving as a global ambassador for Laphroaig. She is a driving force behind the hugely successful “Friends of Laphroaig” program, which boasts over 600,000 members in over 150 countries and continues to grow worldwide. She also pioneered the in-depth whisky tour at the distillery where she has set the standard for visitor experiences among distilleries around the globe.

More information about Laphroaig & International Women’s Day

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 – August 26-30, 2013

maplecremewithbucketsCambridge, Vermont-based Boyden Valley Winery and Spirits has introduced its new Vermont Ice Apple and Maple Crème liqueurs. They’re available at select retail stores in New England or on the company’s website, with expanded distribution across the country slated for September. Vermont Ice Maple Crème Liqueur is priced at $27.99 a 750-ml., while the Ice Apple Crème Liqueur is $29.99. Distilled in small batches, the liqueurs are created using apple brandy made from local apples—including Northern Spy, Macintosh and Empire varieties—blended with the company’s own Ice Cider for the Ice Apple liqueur and estate-made maple syrup for the Maple Crème liqueur. Boyden, which claims to be the first craft distiller in the country to focus on cream liqueurs, also produces a number of red, white and fruit wines.

Parkers_Wheated_4th_EditionHeaven Hill Distilleries has unveiled the sixth edition of its limited edition Parker’s Heritage Collection. This year’s Bourbon, set to be released in September, will include select barrels of 11-year-old Heaven Hill rye-based Bourbons mixed with select barrels of the wheated mashbill that Heaven Hill uses for the Old Fitzgerald line (which is also aged for 11 years), bottled at cask strength. Only 7,500 bottles have been produced for national and international distribution, priced at $80 a 750-ml. This year’s release will feature three “dumps,” with each featuring a different barrel proof—the first will be 65.8% abv. The annual Parker’s Heritage Collection is meant to honor 6th generation master distiller Parker Beam for his 50 years of distilling experience.

indexBeam Inc.’s Laphroaig single malt Scotch has released a limited edition Càirdeas Port Wood label in the U.S. Created to commemorate Islay’s Feis Ile whisky festival, the new, 102.6-proof expression is aged with Port wood for part of its maturation and features classic peat and charcoal notes. Càirdeas is currently available at select retail outlets, priced at around $74.99 a 750-ml.

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indexBeam’s Pinnacle vodka brand has introduced a new line of fall- and holiday-inspired flavors. The range includes Caramel Apple, Peachberry Cobbler, Pecan Pie and Salted Caramel extensions, all of which will join Pinnacle’s year-round lineup, as well as limited edition seasonal Peppermint Bark and returning entry Pumpkin Pie. Initially rolled out into select markets in July, all six flavors are expected to be available nationwide by the end of next month, priced at around $12.99 a 750-ml.

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indexHeaven Hill Distilleries is poised to release the latest edition of its Parker’s Heritage Collection, named for master distiller emeritus Parker Beam, and this year’s rollout has a cause. Beam, a sixth-generation distiller in his 53rd year at Heaven Hill, has been diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. The new Parker’s Heritage Collection release, dubbed “Promise of Hope,” will help raise funds for the battle against ALS. For each bottle sold, Heaven Hill will contribute $20 to the Parker Beam Promise of Hope Fund (www.alsa.org/ParkerBeamPromiseofHope), which has been established through the ALS Association. The effort is expected to raise at least $250,000. The 7th Edition Parker’s Heritage Collection Promise of Hope release will start selling in mid-September in retail and on-premise venues nationwide, at an average price of $90 a 750-ml. Like the previous six Parker’s Heritage Collection editions, Promise of Hope’s quantity will be limited, although Heaven Hill will make more bottles available than in previous years in order to maximize fundraising. The 2012 volume was about 7,500 bottles.

cirocDiageo has officially launched the newest addition to Cîroc vodka’s flavor line, Amaretto. The extension hit the market in July and is now available nationwide (priced at $34.99 for a 750-ml. bottle). Cîroc’s flavor lineup was initially launched in 2010. Now also including Peach, Coconut and Red Berry, the flavor line has become the brand’s growth engine of late.

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indexCalifornia-based Wilson Daniels has added England’s Sipsmith London Dry Gin to its U.S. import portfolio. Made in the classic London dry style, Sipsmith uses a traditional blend of botanicals and is handcrafted in single batches producing a few hundred bottles at a time. The British offering will be available starting next month, priced at around $42 a bottle.

All information courtesy of Shanken News Daily