GSN Spirited News: September 28th 2021 Edition

Edrington has added a new 30-year-old whisky to The Macallan’s Double Cask line. The 43% abv single malt is blended from whiskies matured in Sherry-seasoned casks made from European oak sourced from France and Spain, and American oak from Ohio, Missouri, and Kentucky. The company has teamed up with photographer Erik Madigan Heck to capture the spirit of the whisky in a series of photos tied to the release. The Macallan Double Cask 30-Year-Old is packed in a presentation box and is rolling out now around the world for a suggested price of $4,000 a 750-ml.

Maker’s Mark has debuted its newest limited edition bourbon, Maker’s Mark Wood Finishing Series 2021 Limited Release: FAE-02. Retailing at $60, the new offering was bottled at 109.1 proof. FAE-02 was made by finishing fully-matured, cask strength Maker’s Mark in secondary barrels fitted with double-heat-treated virgin French Oak barrel staves that undergo an infrared exposure prior to a flame toast finish.

The Dalmore has launched a new, ultra-limited, 30-year-old whisky in the U.S. The Dalmore 2021 Edition is bottled at 42.8% abv and matured in ex-Bourbon barrels before finishing in Tawny Port pipes from Graham’s. Only 200 bottles of the 2021 Edition will be released in the U.S., available at retailers like Total Wine, Wally’s, and, among others, for a suggested price of $5,500.

Edrington has announced Highland Park 15-year-old Viking Heart, the latest permanent addition to the Orkney-based distillery’s portfolio. The 44% abv whisky is a new creation and blends Sherry-seasoned European and American oak barrels with a little bit of whisky matured in refilled barrels previously used to age Highland Park’s malts. The whisky comes in an embossed ceramic bottle and will retail for around $110 when it hits shelves across America around the beginning of November. 

Beam Suntory has launched a limited edition bottling of Jim Beam Black to celebrate the 43rd Ryder Cup. The new bottle features imagery from Whistling Straits, the Wisconsin course where the Cup is currently being contested, and will be available in select retailers in Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Missouri, Minnesota, New Jersey, Tennessee, and Wisconsin for around $23 a bottle. Jim Beam Black is an extra aged variant of the distiller’s standard white label whiskey and is bottled at slightly higher abv of 43%.

The Producer, a new mezcal brand, is rolling out now in the U.S., making its debut with two expressions: Ensamble ($47) and Tepeztate ($98). The 40.2% abv Ensamble is made from 7-year-old Espadin agave plants and 9-year-old Cuishe agave plants that are distilled in a copper pot still following open-air fermentation. Tepeztate is also bottled at 40.2% abv and is made from agave plants sourced from Sierra Sur, Oaxaca, a coastal region. The wild agave for this mezcal is harvested after roughly 16 years.

Fort Collins, Colorado’s Old Elk Distillery has launched its Whiskeysmith line of flavored spirits in markets across the U.S. The brand launched last October with three flavors—chocolate, banana, and pineapple—and, since then, has added four more flavors: blood orange, salted caramel, peach, and coconut. All seven flavors come in at 30% abv and are pitched to consumers as “cocktails in a bottle” or as ingredients to add new flavors to mixed drinks.

BenRiach single malt Scotch whisky, part of the Brown-Forman portfolio, is debuting two new offerings. The first, Malt Season, is the first expression in a century to be produced entirely using barley malted from the distillery’s floor maltings. Retailing at $149 a 750-ml., it was matured in Bourbon and Virgin Oak and is bottled at 48.7% abv. The second new product, Smoke Season, retails at $72 and is bottled at 52.8% abv. It’s billed as the most intensely smoked whisky ever released by BenRiach.

Chicago-based Inspiro Tequila has introduced its first expression, Luna Blanco, a gluten-free and additive-free 100%-Blue Weber agave blanco Tequila containing zero sugar and zero carbs. Inspiro’s initial offering is rested in American oak barrels for a lunar quarter and packaged in a custom-designed bottle. Retailing at $53, it’s currently available online, with distribution to select local markets coming soon. Inspiro was founded by former attorney Mara Smith.

Information courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Review: Maker’s Mark Whisky

bottle-makersDoes anyone remember the great Maker’s Mark controversy of 2013?  The company announced in late winter of that year, that they would be lowering the proof of their bourbon from 45% to 42% to keep up with consumer demand.  The public would have none of it.  It’s amazing how much publicity it generated.  In my mind, reminiscent of what Coca-Cola did when they brought New Coke onto the market in 1985.  Demand for old Coke went up, and they solidified their market. Granted, Maker’s Mark has always had a positive image in the eye of the consumer, but with so many new bourbons coming onto the market, it was a great move to remind people about their product.

Maker’s Mark debuted 60 years ago, and has since been owned by Hiram Walker, Fortune Brands, Beam Inc. and will soon be purchased by Suntory.

Maker’s Mark (90 proof)
Visual: Light maple syrup brown.
Nose: Rich, woody and spicy.  A lot of intriguing character comes through.  You can instantly tell this is a killer bourbon.
Taste: Smooth and bready with a hefty dose of aged corn spirit.  The wood aging adds a spicy character and brings a lot of high notes.  On the other end of the spectrum, there are elements of caramel, cinnamon, burnt vanilla and sweet corn.  A huge variety of flavors make for one intriguing bourbon.
Finish: Lovely and amazingly cohesive.  The fade stays true to itself the entire time, with no one element trying to overpower the finish.
Overall: Elegant and at the same time, self-assured.  The balance of flavors make for an eminently sippable whisky.  Lovely on its own, it also works wonders in classic cocktails like the Manhattan, Mint Julep and Boulevardier.
GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: Maker’s Mark

GSN Review: Maker’s Mark & Maker’s 46

Bourbon has been produced in Kentucky since the 18th century.  Maker’s Mark is one of the more recent expressions, having only been around since 1954.  Based on an unusual (for Bourbon) recipe that contains red winter wheat, barley and corn, it is immediately recognizable on back bar shelves as the bottle with the dripping red wax.

It really is a family affair, as Bill Samuels Sr. developed the ratio of grains and his wife Marjorie designed the bottle, label and even the idea for the distinctive red wax.  What is particularly interesting is that Bill Sr. came up with seven different mash bills and rather than distilling and aging them, he simply baked them into loaves of bread.  The best tasting was the one that contained no rye.

The Maker’s Mark distillery debuted a new iteration of their flagship product in 2010 with “46”.  The main difference is that seared French oak slats are introduced into the aging process towards the end of the initial slumber of 6 to 7.5 years in charred white oak.  This gives it a smoother quality for both sipping and mixing.

Maker’s Mark (90 proof)
Visual: Crystaline medium brown.
Nose: High corn nose, with notes of leather, black pepper, fresh-cut grass, caramel corn,
Taste: Initially, sweet corn and charcoal with some heat.  Notes of brown sugar, wood tannins, cinnamon, nutmeg, bread yeast, smoke and maple.
Finish: Refreshing and balanced with a medium long finish.  The fade goes to a slightly bittersweet woodiness and smoke.
Overall: One of my favorite go-to whiskies for mixing in cocktails, this also works handily on its own served on the rocks.
GSN Rating: A

Maker’s 46 (94 proof)
Visual: Crystaline medium brown.
Nose: Similar to the regular Maker’s Mark with darker and sweeter maple-like overtones.
Taste: The taste is lighter and more elegant.  The rusticism has been replaced with a more refined and crisp mouthfeel.  There is an element of Autumn in the bottle.
Finish: More heat on the finish than the regular Maker’s Mark, but the flavors disappear rather quickly, almost like a bourbon-like ice wine.
Overall: Easier to use as a mixer, yet still filled with the well-loved Maker’s Mark character, this bourbon works well as an alternative to other sour mash bourbons that don’t stand out from the crowd.
GSN Rating: A-

For more information go to: Maker’s Mark