GSN Review: Mount Gay Black Barrel

With the introduction of Master Blender Trudiann Branker in April 2019, the distillery’s and Barbados’ first female master blender, Mount Gay began a new chapter for the distillery’s rich history. In her new role, Branker revisited Mount Gay’s core blends. As a result, Branker created a new blend for Mount Gay Black Barrel.

Mount Gay Black Barrel benefits from an older selection of rums being used for the blend, moving to a blend of three to seven-year-old rums as opposed to the previous two to seven years, with a higher content of double distilled pot still rums. The finishing period, still taking place in deeply charred Bourbon casks, will be extended to six months, greatly lengthened from the previous four week finishing period.

“It is an honor to be at the forefront of the exciting changes that Mount Gay will see in 2020, and I’m proud not only to be the first female master blender in Barbados but to be part of the team that will take Mount Gay from strength to strength,” said Trudiann Branker, Mount Gay Master Blender. “I am wholeheartedly committed to embracing the expertise that we have inherited for over 300 years and am passionate about looking ahead as we combine both science and craft to explore what makes Mount Gay more than a rum.”

GSN’s Remarks: The updated Black Barrel showcases the heart of the rum. Beautifully sweet, yet dry, notes of baking spices, vanilla bean and dried fig intertwine with the oak char and wood. The pot still character shines through as well, with a self assuredness that highlights the independent spirit of the Caribbean. There is a warm, tropical character in the rum that makes it perfect for everything from a Rum Old-Fashioned to a plethora of faux tropical libations. A wonderful reimagining of a great spirit that lifts it to a new standard. Highly recommended. GSN Rating: A+

For more information go to: Mount Gay Rum

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