GSN Spirited News: September 29th 2020 Edition

Moët Hennessy USA is set to launch A Tale of Cake, the newest limited release from single malt Scotch brand Glenmorangie, in October. The 46% abv whisky was finished in Tokaji casks. A Tale of Cake’s launch will be accompanied by a promotional campaign involving cocktails and cake recipes by Jeremy Le Blanche and Dominique Ansel, respectively, to go with the new whisky and with Glenmorangie’s core releases. The whisky will retail for around $99 a 750-ml.

Brown-Forman has announced a new three-batch Bourbon release to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Old Forester. The three whiskies will each be at cask strength and bottled in amber-colored glass reminiscent of hand-blown bottles used in the 19th century. Batch 1 is bottled at 62.8% abv and is made from 46 barrels; Batch 2 is made from 48 barrels and bottled at 63.2% abv; and Batch 3 is assembled from 53 barrels and is at 63.4% abv. Old Forester 150th Anniversary Bourbon is bottled unfiltered—only barrel char sediment has been removed—and will be available in limited quantities across the U.S. for around $150 a 750-ml.

Goslings Rum is offering a new limited release called Papa Seal Single Barrel Bermuda Rum. It was blended from a range of pot- and column-distilled rums that run between 10 and 21 years aged in white oak barrels and aged another two years in Bermuda, ultimately bottled at 41.5% abv. Only 1,500 bottles of Papa Seal 2020 will be available nationwide, each hand-labeled with its barrel number, bottle number, and bottling date. Beginning next month it will be available at select retailers in 16 states as well as online, retailing for $199 a 750-ml.

Edrington has announced the sixth and final release in the Macallan Edition Series. The Macallan Edition No. 6 is a 48.6% abv whisky made from liquid matured in both European and American Sherry-seasoned oak casks. Tying in with the launch, the Macallan has started a partnership with the Atlantic Salmon Trust to support efforts to protect at-risk fish, including in the Macallan’s own section of the river Spey. The Macallan Edition No. 6 is rolling out globally this month and will retail for around $150 in the U.S. Last year, the Macallan was at 268,000 cases in the U.S., according to Impact Databank.

Heaven Hill Brands has released a packaging refresh for parts of the Evan Williams family of whiskies. Evan Williams Black’s new label sports a richer gold color and a black and gold capsule with Evan Williams’s signature. The bottled-in-bond release features a green and white label that more prominently shows the higher proof and the standards of bonded whiskey; the capsule shows the tax strip designating the whiskey as bonded. Evan Williams’ flavored releases will now feature a centered label and the new bottle shape.

Minnesota-based Prestige Beverage has added Davidoff Cognac to its import portfolio for the U.S. The company is now rolling out Davidoff’s V.S. ($35), V.S.O.P. ($50), and X.O. ($150) releases—all bottled at 40% abv—in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, North and South Carolina, North and South Dakota, Nevada, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Texas, and Wisconsin.

William Grant & Sons has relaunched Milagro Select Barrel Reserve, the brand’s luxury-priced tier. The full line—Blanco ($40), Reposado ($45), and Añejo ($55)—is returning to market in new bottles inspired by Mexican architectural works and featuring an engraved agave plant and colors specific to each release.

Proximo Spirits has made former special edition Kraken Black Roast Coffee rum a permanent addition to the line. The 33.3% abv rum is made from macerating the brand’s Trinidadian spiced rum with coffee beans to create a richly spiced and sweet spirit, according to the company. Kraken Black Roast Coffee rum is now available across the U.S.

Sombra mezcal, part of the Davos Brands portfolio, has unveiled a new bottle design. The new packaging, which rolls out this fall, takes its inspiration from the vaso veladora, glass cups traditionally used to contain prayer candles that are common in Oaxacan churches. The updated design also includes a refreshed logo, copper lettering, and a reduced glass weight to be more eco-friendly. Sombra, which translates to “shadow,” is at 90 proof and retails at $35 a 750-ml.

Clase Azul Tequila has announced the launch of the 2020 edition of its Día de Muertos Tequila, set to hit shelves on October 1. The 40% abv spirit is made from a blend of Clase Azul’s Plata, 8-month-old reposado, and 5-year-old Ultra—aged in ex-Sherry casks—Tequilas. The 2020 Día de Muertos Tequila is a limited release and only 2,000 bottles will be available globally, retailing for around $400 a 750-ml.

The Dalmore has launched the latest release in its Principal Collection, a 12-year-old single malt finished in Sherry casks. The 43% abv whisky is initially aged for 10 years in American oak barrels previously used to mature Bourbon before finishing for up to three years in casks that held Pedro Ximenez and Oloroso sherry. The Dalmore 12-year-old Sherry Cask Select single malt is now available in the U.K. and major Asian markets with a U.S. launch to follow in 2021.

Plantation rum has extended its portfolio with two new Fijian rums. Plantation Isle of Fiji is a permanent addition to the range. Distilled in pot and column stills at Rum Co. of Fiji, and then double-aged in Fiji and France, it’s at 40% abv and retails at $25 a 750-ml. Plantation Fiji Vintage 2005 is the first offering in Plantation’s new Birds of Paradise vintage collection. It was first distilled in triple column stills and aged for 14 years in Bourbon casks in the mild climate of the Fiji Islands, then spent an additional year in Ferrand French Oak barrels in the House’s cellars in Cognac. The limited edition is at 50.2% abv and retails at $80.

Chicago-based House of Somrus is adding to its range with a new Coffee Cream liqueur. The line extension is made with coffee and chicory, together with real dairy cream from Wisconsin and quintuple-distilled Caribbean rum. Retailing at $25 a 750-ml., it carries an abv of 13.5% and is rolling out across 21 states.

Courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Review: Milagro & Milagro Select Barrel Reserve Tequila

Do you believe in miracles?  Do you love tequila?  Several bottles of this heavenly spirit made their way to the Good Spirits News tasting room recently, and were put through their paces.  The results were nothing short of miraculous.

Milagro (spanish for miracle), grow their own agave plants, which takes 8-12 years until they are mature enough for harvesting.  As well, they slow roast the agave for 36 hours in clay ovens, thereby bringing out the deep and rich flavors that are often discarded by other manufacturers who only roast a few hours in an autoclave.  Lastly, they go an extra step in the process by doing three distillations, instead of the normal two, to further hone the essence of the spirit.  For aging, they use a mix of American oak whiskey barrels and French Limosine oak barrels, which I will note in the tasting comments below.

Milagro Silver (80 proof) – Bottled from the still.  Clear.  Strong agave and citrus notes with a fresh, bright and clean salty character.  Wet forest, cedarwood.  Quite smooth with a hesitant character that seems to only come out upon a second taste.  Almost as if your palate needs to dial down a notch to acclimate to its subtleties.  Don’t get me wrong, this is a well done tequila and easily a perfect choice for a Margarita or Frostbite cocktail.  It’s just that Milagro Silver is the freshman of the Milagro line; likeable, but lacks the character development acquired over time.  GSN Rating: B

Milagro Reposado (80 proof) – Aged in American Oak for six months. Clear with a very light yellow tint.  Darker nose than the Silver, this has more smoke and roasted agave and I hazard to say, a bit more fire.  The taste is not quite as smooth, but with a lot more sweet caramel and vanilla coming out to play.  This makes for a fine sipper, but also adds more body to cocktails.  I’m surprised at the super long finish which not only includes vanilla, but a lot of mint verging on menthol.  There’s a burnt sugar taste that lingers including the characteristic slight bitterness of scorched dextrose.  Pretty intriguing and a spirit that will raise your eyebrows.  GSN Rating: B-

Milagro Anejo (80 proof) – Aged for eighteen months in American Oak. Color of a light scotch, a heathery crystal gold.  Really sweet with lots of roasted agave and vanilla.  As with the other Milagros, this is light in body, but has a lot of the agave flavor out front.  There’s more of that mintiness, but not as intense.  It seems more toned down and plays a secondary roll to the sweetness of the agave.  If you want to try something interesting, use this in a scotch cocktail like a Blood and Sand, or especially a Mamie Taylor where it will work well with the lime and spice of the ginger beer. Mostly tho’, this is a very nice spirit that is perfect to pull out at the end of the day to celebrate the good things in life.  GSN Rating: A-

Milagro Silver Select Barrel Reserve (80 proof) – Aged in French Oak for 30-45 days. The first thing I noticed about the Select Barrel Reserve bottles is the spectacular hand-blown glass agave piña inside the bottle.  The bottle even makes a unique sound as the tequila is poured, due to a unique mechanism in the neck of the bottle.  Crystal clear.  Refreshing and savory nose full of agave aroma, mixed with hints of spice and pepper.  The mouthfeel is exceptionally smooth and almost creamy with hints of spearmint, vanilla, white pepper, coconut milk, and brine.  The finish is medium-long ending with a sweetness.  An exceptionally fine distillation.  GSN Rating: A

Milagro Reposado Select Barrel Reserve (80 proof) – Aged for ten months in French Oak. Clear with the slightest tinge of gold.  A healthy nose of roasted agave with high notes of agave sugar and spice.  Flavors very much in the traditions of Mexican cuisine.  Hints of cocoa pods, cinnamon, even a touch of green chili pepper.  Exceptionally smooth and a more balanced product than the regular reposado.  A beautiful product that deserves to be savored on it’s own.    GSN Rating: A

Milagro Anejo Select Barrel Reserve (80 proof) – Aged three years in French Oak. Beautiful rich roasted pineapple gold color.  Nose has a lot of bright, floral high notes with an almost scotch-like element.  Very light and dry taste gives way to toasted bread, browned butter, salted bacon, and cereal grains.  Hey, this is breakfast in a glass!  The agave character seems to be lost in the blend, however.  Granted, this is a fantastic spirit, but one which has perhaps been in the barrel a bit too long, and thus the wood has taken over the piña flavor.  Still, an amazing and classy spirit, well worth checking out.  GSN Rating: A-

For more information about Milagro Tequila go to: http://www.milagrotequila.com/