GSN Spirited News: October 6th 2020 Edition

Biddeford, Maine’s Round Turn Distilling has launched Bimini Coconut, a new flavored gin. The 47% abv gin is made with juniper, grapefruit, and hops, before fat washing with coconut to naturally infuse the gin. Bimini Coconut is available in California, Maine, New York, and Massachusetts for around $35 a 750-ml. The new spirit sits alongside Bimini gin, Bimini Barrel Reserve No.-1, and Bimini Overproof in the distillery’s lineup.

Minnesota-based Phillips Distilling Co. announced the release of Douglas and Todd Small Batch Bourbon Cream Liqueur. As the name implies, the new product is made from the company’s Douglas and Todd Bourbon, aged a minimum of four years in new charred oak barrels, then blended with cream and vanilla bean flavors. It’s available now as a limited release retailing for $35 a 750-ml. at select retailers and coming soon to online sales. The Phillips Distilling portfolio also includes UV Vodka, Prairie Organic Spirits, and Revel Stoke Whiskies, among others.

Proximo Spirits has launched Bushmills 28-Year-Old Single Malt Cognac Cask, the first in the brand’s new Rare Casks series. The 46.7% abv whisky first aged in Bourbon and Oloroso Sherry casks for 11 years before spending an additional 17 years in Cognac casks. Fewer than 500 bottles of the whiskey will be available, exclusively in the U.S., for a suggested retail price of $500 a 750-ml.

Mystic, Connecticut’s Prima Barista has launched a new ready-to-drink hard coffee, made with vodka. The 12.5% abv drinks come in two flavors—Mocha Hard Iced Frappé and Vanilla Hard Iced Latte—and contain roughly the same amount of caffeine as a 1-ounce shot of espresso per 200-ml. bottle. Prima Barista’s coffee cocktails are now available in Florida and Indiana at retail for around $19-$20, and for direct shipping to over 30 states across the U.S.

Edrington-owned Highland Park single malt Scotch whisky has launched Cask Strength No.-1, the first release in its new cask-strength collection. This edition comes in at 63.3% abv and matured in Sherry-seasoned American oak casks for a range of years before blending and bottling. The non-chill-filtered whisky will be released yearly. Highland Park Cask Strength No.-1 retails for around $90 a 750-ml. and will be available online and in specialty retailers across the U.S.

Kahlúa is extending with a new Blonde Roast Style liqueur. Made with medium roast coffee and hints of caramel, toffee and citrus flavors, Kahlúa Blonde Roast Style is at 20% abv and suggested to be served with tonic or coconut water. Pernod Ricard-owned Kahlúa posted 6% growth in NABCA channels in the 12 months through June. 

Dan Aykroyd and John Alexander’s Crystal Head vodka has launched Onyx, a new vodka distilled from Blue Agave. The new brand extension is bottled at 40% abv in an opaque black bottle. The agave for the spirit is sourced from a single farm in Mexico and the final product is bottled without additives or sweeteners. Crystal Head Onyx will retail for around $55 a 750-ml. and joins the brand’s original release, made from Canadian corn, and Aurora, made from English wheat, in the full-time lineup.

High West, part of the Constellation portfolio, has introduced two bottled whiskey cocktails, Barrel-Finished Manhattan and Barrel-Finished Old Fashioned. Both are made using a blend of Bourbon and rye, then finished in rye barrels. The Old Fashioned is at 43% abv, while the Manhattan is at 37% abv. Rolling out nationwide, High West’s new bottled cocktails retail at $50 a 750-ml. (containing 12 cocktails) and $30 a 375-ml.

Mount Gay Rum, part of the Rémy Cointreau portfolio, is launching a new limited edition, Master Blender Collection: The Port Cask Expression. Created by master blender Trudiann Branker, the new bottling is a blend of rums distilled in a traditional column still and aged for five years in Tawny Port casks, together with rums double distilled in a copper pot still and aged for 14 years in American whiskey casks and finished in Tawny Port casks for one year. Retailing at $175 a 750-ml., Mount Gay’s new luxury Port Cask expression is a cask-strength at 55% abv and is limited to 2,100 bottles in the U.S.

Código 1530 Tequila is releasing a new limited-edition extra añejo expression, the George Strait Origen. The new expression aged over six years in French white oak barrels that previously held Napa Valley Cabernet. The 40% abv spirit will retail for $350, with only 1,200 bottles available nationwide. The six barrels used to create the Tequila were hand-selected by Código co-founder and country music legend George Strait. Código 1530 reports that it’s seen rapid gains in the year-to-date, registering growth of 40%.

Diageo is bringing back Cîroc vodka’s White Grape expression for the holiday season. Five times distilled from French grapes, Cîroc White Grape is rolling out now. Cîroc slipped 9% to 1.4 million cases in the U.S. last year, according to Impact Databank, amid intense competition in the U.S. vodka category. In Diageo’s full fiscal year through June, the brand’s net sales fell by double-digits, with the decline partially offset by good results for limited-time offers like White Grape.

Minnesota’s Tattersall Distilling has launched a bottled Manhattan, made from 100% Minnesota grown rye, aged in charred American white oak barrels, and blended with Tattersall Italian-style liqueur, Sherry, and bitters. This is the distillery’s fourth ready-to-drink cocktail, joining Old Fashioned, Bootlegger, and Salty Dog. It retails at $35 a 750-ml. and carries an abv of 35%. The new entry will roll out first in Minnesota, with Wisconsin to follow shortly after. Tattersall’s portfolio is distributed to 30 states.

Whiskeysmith Co., a new line of flavored whiskies from Colorado-based Old Elk, has launched nationally via Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits. The line is launching with three flavors—Chocolate, Banana, and Pineapple—and all come in at 30% abv. Beverage director Melinda Maddox said the brand is aimed at home and on-premise mixology, and as a one-step home cocktail alternative. Whiskeysmith is now available across the U.S. and retails for between $25 and $30, depending on the market.

Brown-Forman has launched Woodford Reserve Baccarat Edition, a new ultra-limited luxury release from the American whiskey brand. The newcomer is bottled at 45.2% abv and, after its initial maturation in American oak, aged for an extra three years in ex-Cognac casks. The whiskey is bottled in a handmade crystal decanter from Baccarat that’s reminiscent of the standard Woodford bottle but engraved in gold with both Woodford’s and Baccarat’s logos. It’s now available in limited quantities for $2,000 a 750-ml. 

Teeling Irish whiskey has announced a new addition to the distillery’s portfolio, Blackpitts Peated Single Malt whiskey. The 46% abv whiskey is triple distilled and matured in a combination of ex-Bourbon and ex-Sauternes casks. According to managing director Jack Teeling, the smokiness of triple distilled peated whiskey is quite distinct; he described it as more like “barbecue-style smoke,” compared to the briny or medicinal peated whiskies of Islay, Scotland. Blackpitts Peated Single Malt whiskey will launch globally in January 2021, for a suggested price of $75 in the U.S.

Courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Spirited News: April 28th 2020 Edition

Newport, Oregon’s Rogue Ales and Spirits has expanded distribution of its line of canned cocktails, bringing four RTDs to markets across the U.S. In addition to the national push, Rogue has launched a new flavor—Grapefruit Vodka Soda—and added a variety 8-pack featuring two cans of each flavor. Rogue’s full line of canned cocktails, including Ginger Lime Vodka Mule, Cranberry Elderflower Vodka Soda, and Cucumber Lime Gin Fizz are rolling out now nationally in 4-packs of 12-ounce cans plus the variety pack.

Proximo Spirits has announced a new, aged extension to the Jose Cuervo Tradicional family, the 100% blue agave Tequila extension of the U.S. market’s largest Tequila brand. The 40% abv spirit first matured for 12 months in new American oak before finishing for up to four months in barrels used to age Bushmills’ single malt whiskey. Jose Cuervo Tradicional Añejo is now available across the U.S. for around $33 a 750-ml. Last year, Jose Cuervo Tradicional crossed 200,000 cases in the U.S., according to Impact Databank.

Infinium Spirits has taken Los Arango Tequila nationwide, increasing production to meet newfound demand. The brand consists of a blanco, reposado, and añejo—all bottled at 40% abv—and is named for Pancho Villa (whose given name was José Doroteo Arango). The spirits are produced in Guanajuato, Mexico and the brand was revived in 2018.

Appleton Estate, part of the Campari portfolio, is adding an 8-year-old Reserve offering to its range. The newcomer is at 43% abv and is rolling out nationwide this spring, retailing at $29 a 750-ml. The launch of Appleton Estate 8-year-old Reserve coincides with a new look across the Appleton range. The makeover includes a sleeker bottle shape, a new cork closure, and a new label incorporating details on the production process, the Appleton insignia, and master blender Joy Spence’s signature.

Louisville, Kentucky’s Rabbit Hole has extended its lineup with Bespoke gin. The new spirit is a London Dry gin finished for nine to 12 months in Rabbit Hole’s Boxergrail rye whiskey barrels. The gin itself is made with angelica, coriander, juniper, lemon peel, licorice, orange peel and orris root, and bottled at 44.5% abv. Rabbit Hole Bespoke gin is now available for $50 a 750-ml. The company, part of the Pernod Ricard portfolio, is now making a push toward national distribution in the U.S.

While the backbone of the brand is Bourbon, Heaven Hill has recently expanded the family by adding a new rye whiskey. The $30 release initially launched in Oregon, Georgia, and North and South Carolina and is expanding from there. Elijah Craig Rye comes in at 47% abv and joins other Heaven Hill ryes including the high-end Pikesville Rye (55% abv) and the more accessibly priced Rittenhouse Rye (50% abv).

Courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Spirited News: April 21st 2020 Edition

Pernod Ricard has launched the Glenlivet Caribbean Reserve, a new extension of the single malt Scotch brand that’s finished in rum barrels. The 40% abv whisky is a non-age-statement expression whose taste profile is sweet and tropical-fruit forward. The Glenlivet Caribbean Reserve is now available across the U.S. at a suggested price of $35 a 750-ml. Last year, The Glenlivet reached 1.3 million cases globally and had a retail value of $575 million, according to Impact Databank.

St. Louis, Missouri-based Luxco has announced Vita Frute, a new line of RTD cocktails that come in four flavors. The 5% abv vodka-based drinks are available in Lime Basil, Watermelon, Grapefruit, and Pineapple Coconut, and all have 100 calories per serving. Vita Frute is now available across the U.S. in 4-packs of 12-ounce cans for around $9.

Courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Spirited News: March 10th 2020 Edition

Louisville, Kentucky’s Barrell Craft Spirits has launched two new whiskies, the latest in its numbered series of luxury-priced cask-strength blends. First up is Barrell Bourbon Batch 023, a 53.89% abv blend of 10-, 12-, and 15-year old straight Bourbon sourced from Tennessee, Kentucky, and Indiana. Barrell has also announced Rye Batch 003, a 58.35% abv blend of ryes from Indiana, Poland, Tennessee, and Canada. Both whiskies will be available in limited quantities across the company’s 43-state distribution footprint for around $90 a 750-ml.

El Mayor Tequila, part of the Luxco portfolio, is launching a new look including an updated logo and packaging. The new bottle features an embossed agave leaf design around the neck as well as written embossing at the base and is stopped with real cork. The new logo features the brand’s name in readable cursive script. The revamped look will apply to all El Mayor expressions, including Blanco, Reposado, Añejo, and Extra Añejo, and will be available nationally this summer.

Woodford Reserve has released a commemorative 2020 Kentucky Derby bottle as part of its role as presenting sponsor of the event. The special packaging features art by Richard Sullivan, a local artist and former player for the Atlanta Braves. The watercolor label illustration depicts horses racing toward the finish line of Churchill Downs. At 45.2% abv, 1-liter bottles of the Derby edition are now retailing for $50 across the U.S. and on e-commerce site Reserve Bar.

Looking to capitalize on the lower-alcohol spirits trend, Constellation Brands is extending Svedka with a new line called Pure Infusions. Bottled at 30% abv and retailing at $15 a 750-ml. and $16 a 1-liter, Svedka Pure Infusions are launching in three flavors: Strawberry Guava, Ginger Lime, and Dragonfruit Melon.

Bacardi has launched Dewar’s Ilegal Smooth, a new blended Scotch whisky finished in mezcal barrels. The 8-year-old whisky is blended from up to 40 malt and grain whiskies before finishing for an undisclosed amount of time in ex-Ilegal mezcal barrels before bottling at 40% abv. This new whisky follows last year’s Dewar’s Caribbean Smooth, a rum barrel finished expression.

Palm Bay International has added mezcal label Gracias a Dios to its import portfolio. Made by 4th-generation mezcalero Oscar Hernandez and his nephew, Milo Jimenez, Gracias a Dios includes six different mezcal expressions—Espadín Blanco ($40 a 750-ml.), Espadín Reposado ($50), Tobalá ($86), Tepextate ($86), Cuishe ($86), and Pechuga ($106)—as well as an agave gin ($53) that’s infused with 32 botanicals, representing the 32 states of the Mexican Republic.

Bacardi-owned Cazadores has added an Añejo Cristalino to its lineup. The new entry ages for over two years in small oak barrels and is then filtered through activated charcoal and stripped of its coloring while maintaining its oak-aged profile. Retailing at $40 a 750-ml., Cazadores Añejo Cristalino is rolling out to select retailers nationally.

Johnnie Walker has launched Master’s Ruby Reserve, a new limited edition offering dedicated to master blender Jim Beveridge’s 40-year career. The ultra-luxury bottling includes whiskies from the “ghost” distilleries of Cambus, Carsebridge, Pittyvaich, and Port Ellen, which are balanced with aged expressions from Talisker, Royal Lochnagar, Glendullan, and Cragganmore. All of the whiskies included are at least 40 years old. Packaged in a golden-red Baccarat crystal decanter, Johnnie Walker Master’s Ruby Reserve is bottled at 43% abv, retails at £15,000 ($19,700), and is limited to 398 bottles globally.

Beam Suntory has announced a revamp for Old Overholt Straight Rye Whiskey. The new Old Overholt ($18 a 750-ml.) will come in at 43% abv, an increase from the previous from 40% abv, and the new label will feature a “grumpier” rendering of brand founder Abe Overholt. In addition, Old Overholt will now be bottled with non-chill filtering, a move that brings the brand more in line with its pre-Prohibition history. Later this year, the company plans to launch a high proof (57% abv) 4-year-old bottling and a 46.3% abv 11-year-old bottling. Old Overholt Bottled-in-Bond will remain on the market unchanged.

Redbreast Irish whiskey, part of the Pernod Ricard portfolio, is adding a 27-year-old expression to its permanent range. Redbreast 27-year-old joins 12-, 15-, 21-year-old, and Lustau offerings in the existing lineup. It’s a cask-strength whiskey bottled at 54.6% abv after aging in Bourbon, Sherry, and Port casks. Retailing at $500 a 750-ml., Redbreast 27-year-old is launching in 23 U.S. markets.

Disaronno is introducing a new Velvet offshoot in the U.S. market. Billed as a gluten-free cream liqueur having notes of apricot with touches of almond and vanilla, Disaronno Velvet is at 17% abv and is rolling out nationally at $30 a 750-ml.

Courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Spirited News: February 11th 2020 Edition

Pernod Ricard has unveiled a limited edition label for Jameson Irish whiskey, which is rolling out for St. Patrick’s Day. The new label includes designs by Dublin-based graphic designer Stephen Heffernan, aka Hephee. The bottles feature a QR code that brings up a website where fans can remix the label using Hephee’s designs and enter for a chance to win a Jameson bar sign matching their design (in some markets, consumers can also win bottles of Jameson with their custom labels).

Lucas Bols USA’s Passoã liqueur has announced a bottle and label redesign that highlights the brand’s natural passion fruit flavor. The new logo also features a sunset graphic (replacing a tropically colored Brazilian flag), above a reminder that Passoã is made with natural flavoring. The 20% abv liqueur retails for $18 for a 750-ml. and it’s recommended as an ingredient in sangria or a mimosa.

Austin, Texas-based Ballotin Chocolate Whiskey has released its latest portfolio extension, Chocolate Mocha Whiskey Cream. The 17% abv spirit blends whiskey and chocolate coffee cream liqueur, and is available across the brand’s 25-state distribution footprint. It joins Chocolate Cherry, Chocolate, Bourbon Ball, Chocolate Mint, and Caramel Turtle in Ballotin’s portfolio.

Minneapolis, Minnesota-based Tattersall Distilling is releasing a limited-edition collaboration with Surly Brewing Co. Tattersall has taken Surly’s Darkness Russian Imperial Stout and distilled it to create Darkness Bierschnapps, a 20% abv spirit. Two bottles of the Stout go into each 750-ml. of Bierschnapps and nearly 600 gallons were used in total to produce 200 cases. After distillation it is aged twice—in new charred white oak barrels and in the original stout barrels. It’s available now at select retailers throughout the Midwest, retailing for $30.

Beam Suntory has launched Courvoisier Avant-Garde Bourbon Cask Edition, the latest limited time offering for the Cognac brand. The spirit is made from Courvoisier’s VSOP blend and finished in Bourbon barrels before bottling at 40% abv. Due to labeling laws, the new Courvoisier is labeled as a spirit drink made of Cognac finished in Bourbon barrels. The brand is the third-largest Cognac brand in the U.S., and last year saw a successful launch for its Master’s Cask Collection Sherry Cask Finish.

Massachusetts-based M.S. Walker is adding Gin Lane 1751 to its import portfolio. The London-based, small-batch gin brand is produced by eighth-generation master distiller Charles Maxwell. Gin Lane 1751 includes four expressions: London Dry ($30 a 750-ml.), Victorian Pink ($35), Old Tom ($40), and London Royal Strength ($40).

Cognac Frapin has introduced three new limited-edition blends in the U.S. They include Cellar Master Edition No. 1 (retailing at $99, 46.7% abv), Collector Edition 1994 ($199, 40.8% abv), and Plume Frapin ($3,500, 40% abv). Cellar Master Edition No. 1 was aged for over 10 years, while Collector Edition 1994 aged for 24 years, and Plume Frapin spent more than 60 years in the distiller’s Paradis cellar, with only 100 carafes (finished with 18-carat rose gold) coming to the U.S.

William Grant & Sons has added two new offerings to its Glenfiddich Rare Collection, both dating from 1975. Glenfiddich Cask 4706 comes in at 48% abv and matured in a European oak Sherry butt. Cask 5114 was matured in a European oak hogshead, a rarity for the company, and is at 54.7% abv. The 44-year-old whiskies are bottled at cask strength and are non-chill-filtered. Only 100 bottles of each will be available at a suggested price of $9,000 a 750-ml.

Beam Suntory-owned Kilbeggan Irish whiskey is releasing a single pot still limited edition. The mashbill is based on a recipe used at the distillery more than a century ago that notably features oats in addition to raw and malted barley. It’s double distilled to 43% abv and is the second limited release to be fully distilled and matured at Kilbeggan following the distillery’s 2010 restoration. Kilbeggan Single Pot Still is rolling out in the U.S. this month, retailing for $45 a 750-ml.

Proximo Spirits and country music stars Jason Aldean and Florida Georgia Line have teamed up to create Wolf Moon Bourbon. The 40% abv whiskey is distilled from grain sourced from the Midwest and bottled after 4 years of aging in Lawrenceburg, Indiana. This is the second whiskey released by Florida Georgia Line members Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard, following 2016’s Old Camp Whiskey, also part of the Proximo portfolio. Wolf Moon is currently available in select markets and is rolling out nationally soon for a suggested price of $24 a 750-ml.

Woodford Reserve is launching a new Batch Proof whiskey as part of its Master’s Collection series. The newcomer is made with the same grain bill and process as Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon and bottled at 123.6 proof. Retailing at $130 a 750-ml., the limited edition whiskey is rolling out in select U.S. and global markets. Woodford is part of the Brown-Forman portfolio.

Winebow has partnered with the U.K.’s Halewood Wines & Spirits to bring two whisk(e)y brands to the United States beginning on March 1. First up is Crabbie’s Yardhead Single Malt Scotch, a 40% abv whisky distilled in the Scottish Highlands and matured in ex-Bourbon barrels. The whisky is positioned as an entry-level malt for drinkers first discovering the category and will retail at around $25 a 750-ml. Winebow will also handle distribution for Peaky Blinder Irish Whiskey, a 40% abv blended whiskey matured in Sherry casks. Peaky Blinder will retail at around $19 a 750-ml. Both whiskies will be available in 750-ml. and 1-liter bottles.

Courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Review: Green Spot Irish Whiskey

green-spot-bottle-1At one time, there existed several “spots” of whiskey including red, blue, yellow and green.  Today, the only one that has consistently withstood the vagaries of time is Green Spot.

Why the name?  Originally the colored spots were used on the casks to designate the length of aged whiskey within.  Simple as that.  It also happens to be one of the few bonded spirits in Ireland.  The license being held by Mitchell & Sons wine merchants.  Most of the bottles are sold in Dublin from their storefront, and in general only about 500 cases are bottled per year.  So, this has been a difficult whiskey to obtain until Pernod-Ricard recently managed to have Green Spot imported into the US. If you can find it, pick up a few for the bargain price of only $50 a bottle.

Green Spot is a blended 7-10 year old single pot still whiskey, aged in new bourbon and sherry casks.

Green Spot (80 proof)
Visual:  Golden yellow.
Nose: Rich, sweet and malty.
Taste: Smooth and rich with a mellow spiciness.  Definite peppery notes come from the bourbon barrels and the sherry barrels give it a wine-like sweetness that comes through at the very end.
Finish: A lot of interesting character develops rapidly.  Sweet, then peppery, then woody, then vine-fruit, then malty, and a rustic sensibility.
Overall: At first it seems like a typical Irish single pot still, but there’s more than that going on here, than let’s say what you find in Redbreast (another of my all-time favorites).  Green Spot has a bit of terroir which for the life of me, seems elusive.  It’s almost as if Ireland itself has been captured in the bottle.
GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: Irish Distillers

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