GSN Spirited News: November 2nd 2021 Edition

Templeton Distillery, part of the Infinium Spirits portfolio, is launching the third expression in its Cask Finish Series. The latest whiskey is Templeton Rye Oloroso Sherry Cask Finish, made from American straight rye whiskey aged a minimum of six years in charred oak barrels. It was then rested an additional nine months in Sherry casks sourced from the Marco de Jerez region of Spain that aged Sherry anywhere from eight to 20 years. It’s at 46% abv and is available in limited quantities in the U.S. for $50-$55 a 750-ml. Previous entries in the series include Maple and Caribbean Rum Cask Finish. 

Louisville, Kentucky’s Michter’s has announced the 2021 edition of the brand’s 20 Year Old Bourbon. The whiskey comes in at 57.1% abv with the barrels chosen by master distiller Dan McKee and master of maturation Andrea Wilson. Michter’s 20 Year Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon will begin to roll out in limited quantities across the U.S. in November, carrying a suggested retail price of $750 a 750-ml. This is the first release of 20-year-old Bourbon from Michter’s since 2019.

Louisville, Kentucky-based Angel’s Envy has announced the 2021 edition of the distillery’s cask strength Bourbon, the tenth annual release from the company. This year’s edition comes in at 60.35% abv and comes in a commemorative wooden box. Only 14,760 bottles will be released this year, available in select retailers—including the Angel’s Envy distillery store—across the U.S. Angel’s Envy 2021 Cask Strength Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Finished in Port Wine Barrels will begin to roll out on December 1, with a $230 suggested retail price.

Campari America has officially entered the Cognac category, introducing the Bisquit & Dubouché brand. Bisquit & Dubouché offers a flagship VSOP ($59 a 750ml.) and high-end XO ($180). Both offerings will initially launch in select states, focusing on California, Texas, and Florida, in accounts where the premium plus and super-premium business is concentrated, with plans for further expansion in 2022.

Procera, a new ultra-premium gin from Nairobi, Kenya, has launched in the U.S. The 44% abv gin is made with a blend of African botanicals, notably its namesake variety of juniper, indigenous to Kenya. Procera is also made with pink peppercorn, orris root, coriander, Swahili lime, Pixie orange, and green tea, among other botanicals. The gin is packaged in hand-blown bottles made by local glassblowers. Handled by New York-based Innovation X Marketing, Procera is now available in New York and online for a suggested retail price of $85 a 750-ml.

Johnnie Walker has unveiled High Rye Blended Scotch Whisky, which features a unique mash bill of 60% rye aged in American oak barrels, along with some of the notable single malts that make up the traditional Johnnie Walker blend, including Cardhu, Caol Ila, and Glenkinchie. The 45% abv expression is now available across the U.S., retailing at $35 a 750-ml. 

Pernod Ricard’s Smooth Ambler has kicked off a new collection of whiskies, the Founder’s Series, with a cask strength rye. The new whiskey is made from a mash of 88% rye and 12% malted barley and is distilled at Smooth Ambler’s West Virginia distillery. The Founder’s Series cask strength rye is a limited release and only six batches of less than 400 cases will be produced each year. The whiskey will begin rolling out in November in select stores in California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, North and South Carolina, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas with a suggested price of $55 a 750-ml.

Distinguished Vineyards & Wine Partners is launching the Fuji whisky brand in the U.S. Fuji Single Grain Whiskey ($95) is now available at select establishments nationwide, with its flagship label ($60) slated to arrive in November. Both expressions will be available nationwide on and off premise. Named after one of Japan’s most iconic landmarks, Mt. Fuji Distillery is situated just miles from the peak of Mt. Fuji. 

Islay Scotch whisky distiller Bunnahabhain has announced Cask Strength 12 Year Old, a new annual release. The 2021 edition of the whisky is bottled at 55.1% abv and was matured in ex-Sherry casks. The whisky will be available beginning November 18 and carries a suggested retail price of $100. 

French malt whisky producer Alfred Giraud has launched Voyage, the first whisky in the Exploratory Series, a new line of whiskies for the U.S. Voyage is bottled at 48% abv and made from two French single malts matured in new French Robinia casks and Sauternes wine casks before finishing in ex-Cognac casks. Only five casks were selected for the initial release, with the whisky available at select retailers in Florida, New York, and California at a suggested price of $180 a 750-ml. In addition, Voyage will be available through the brand’s website and on ReserveBar.

Information courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Brews News: October 19th 2021 Edition

Atlanta, Georgia-based Tip Top Proper Cocktails has expanded its RTD cocktail offerings with a line of “shaken” cocktails, complementing the brand’s original “stirred” lineup. The new releases—a Margarita (26% abv), a Bee’s Knees (26% abv), and a Daiquiri (24% abv)—are available in 100-ml. cans and double the brand’s portfolio, which originally consisted of an Old Fashioned (37% abv), Manhattan (31% abv), and a Negroni (28% abv). Tip Top’s cocktails are available in Georgia, Florida, New York, Colorado, South Carolina, and Texas as well as on Delta’s domestic flights and through the company’s website.

Pernod Ricard is extending Malibu rum with a new range called Cocktails in a Can. Available in Piña Colada and Strawberry Daiquiri expressions, the new cocktails are made with Caribbean rum and natural flavors. They’re rolling out nationwide in four-packs of 12-ounce cans and weigh in at 7% abv. 

Smirnoff is launching a new Poco Pico seltzer variety pack including four flavors, Mango Chili, Pineapple Jalapeno, Spicy Tamarind, and Spicy Margarita. Smirnoff’s Poco Pico Seltzer comes in a 12-pack of 12-ounce cans retailing at $16. 

Information courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Spirited News: October 12th 2021 Edition

Phillips Distilling has officially launched Cubist, a new vodka brand intended to be stored in the freezer. Beginning this month, Cubist is being test marketed in Minnesota and Arizona with an expanded launch slated for 2022. Thermochromic ink technology turns the brand’s bottle label blue when the liquid has reached optimal temperature. Aimed at males aged 26-45, Cubist will retail at $25 a 750-ml.

Bacardi-owned Patrón Tequila has announced a new aged expression: Patrón Sherry Cask Aged Añejo. The 40% abv Tequila matured for over two years in Oloroso Sherry casks before bottling. The new Tequila is available exclusively in the U.S. in select retailers and on Drizly while supplies last for a suggested price of $80 a 750-ml.

Walsh Whiskey has released a new limited-edition whiskey in the Writers’ Tears family. Writers’ Tears Icewine Cask Finish is a blend of Irish single malt and pot still whiskies finished in Inniskillin casks from Ontario, Canada for 12 months. 3,500 bottles of the 46% abv whiskey are being distributed to select retailers in Canada, Ireland, and the U.S., where the new release carries a suggested price of $85 a 750-ml.

Firestone & Robertson Distilling Co., part of the Pernod Ricard portfolio, has launched TX Straight Bourbon Whiskey Finished in Cognac Casks, the latest release from the Fort Worth-based distiller. The 50.8% abv whiskey is the third release in the Barrel Finish series, following Tawny Port and PX Sherry Cask finished whiskies. This release also marks the end of master distiller Rob Arnold’s tenure with F&R, as he is now stepping aside, allowing Ale Ochoa, master blender, and new master distiller Evan Brewer to take the helm. TX Straight Bourbon Whiskey Finished in Cognac Casks is rolling out now throughout Texas for a suggested price of $65 a 750-ml.

Rémy Cointreau has added a new brandy to the St-Rémy portfolio in the U.S. St-Rémy Signature is bottled at 40% abv and is first matured in new oak before transferring to more traditional used casks. St-Rémy Signature is the first spirit created by the brand’s master blender Cécile Roudaut and is rolling out now in select markets across the U.S. for a suggested price of $30 a 750-ml.

Disaronno International has launched Engine gin, a new Italian spirit designed by Paolo Dalla Mora, former CMO at Moschino and global communications director for parent company Illva Saronno. The 42% abv gin is made with juniper and a variety of Italian botanicals, including Ligurian sage, lemon, licorice root, and damask rose. The gin is packaged in a tin mock-oil-can, evoking its creator’s passion for racing and cars. Engine is now available across the U.S. for a suggested price of $30 a 750-ml.

Information courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Spirited News: August 10th 2021 Edition

Beam Suntory has launched Basil Hayden Toast, a new Bourbon featuring a brand new mash bill. The 40% abv whiskey swaps out rye for brown rice in the mash and a portion of the final whiskey is finished in toasted oak barrels after its initial aging period. Basil Hayden Toast is now available across the U.S. for a suggested price of $50 a 750-ml. 

Diageo has announced the second round of releases in its Prima & Ultima collection of single malt Scotch whiskies, with registration now open for collectors to indicate their interest in the bottles. This release consists of eight bottles selected from Diageo’s Scotch distilleries and only 376 full sets will be released for a suggested price of £23,500 (including tax and duty), which converts to $32,641. Whiskies in this collection come from Convalmore, Auchroisk, Lagavulin, and Brora, among others. In September, Diageo will auction off the first set of bottles from this collection through Sotheby’s, with proceeds benefiting humanitarian agency CARE International.

Hall of Fame basketball player Scottie Pippen has teamed up with Dave Phinney’s Savage & Cooke for a new Bourbon. The brand, called Digits, is a 5 year old Tennessee Bourbon with a mashbill of 75% corn, 21% rye, and 4% malted barley that is bottled at 46% abv. It’s available in the Chicago area, retailing at $70. 

Código 1530 has announced a new, ultra-aged, luxury Tequila. The 13-year-old spirit is bottled at 40% abv with part of its extended maturation taking place in Cabernet Sauvignon barrels, which, according to co-founder and co-CEO Ron Snyder, have very dense grain, allowing the Tequila to slowly soak in flavors from the wood. Before bottling, the Tequila finishes for six months in Cognac casks to impart another level of flavor. Código 1530 13-year-old will be limited to 350 bottles, with each retailing for a suggested price of $3,300. It’s available through the brand’s website and in select high-end retailers.

The Dalmore has announced The Dalmore Decades, a new collection of rare Scotch whiskies drawn from the company’s collection of ultra-aged spirits. Three sets of whiskies—Nos. 4, 5, and 6—will be released in very limited quantities, with No. 4 selling for £100,000 ($138,825.50) and No. 5 for £200,000 ($277,651). The No. 4 Collection features four whiskies from 1979 onward and the No. 5 Collection is made up of five whiskies from 1967 and later. The Dalmore Decades No. 6 Collection is the rarest of the three, featuring six bottles from 1951 to 2000, that will be auctioned off by Sotheby’s Hong Kong beginning in October.

Nashville, Tennessee’s Brown Water Spirits has launched O.H. Ingram River Aged Flagship Bourbon Whiskey, the third release in the brand family. The 50% abv whiskey is available in select locations in Tennessee and Kentucky and is the inaugural release in a new annual series. Later this year, the company plans to launch a wheated Bourbon as the fourth release in the O.H. Ingram family. All of the brand’s whiskies are matured in a floating rickhouse on the Mississippi River.

Barrell Craft Spirits has released Barrell Bourbon Batch 030, a blend of straight Bourbon whiskies. The batch includes liquid from 5-, 6-, 9-, 10-, 11-, and 15-year old barrels distilled and aged in Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, and Wyoming, and bottled at a cask strength of 117.32 proof. Barrell Bourbon Batch 030 carries a suggested retail price of $90.

El Mayor Tequila, part of the Luxco portfolio now owned by MGP Ingredients, has added a new luxury expression: El Mayor Extra Añejo Sherry Cask Aged. The 40% abv Tequila matured for 38 months in Sherry casks and was distilled from hand-selected, estate-grown agave. The new Extra Añejo retails for around $130 a 750-ml. and is a limited release with roughly 5,000 bottles allocated across the brand’s distribution footprint. The new release is the third Extra Añejo Tequila from El Mayor, joining the brand’s American oak aged version and its Rum Cask Finish Extra Añejo.

Pernod Ricard is extending the Jameson portfolio with a new orange flavor, which will roll out in the U.S. next year. Jameson Orange combines the triple-distilled Jameson Irish Whiskey with natural orange flavoring and is bottled at 30% abv. The newcomer will debut in international markets like the U.K. and Russia, retailing at £24 ($33), before coming to the U.S. in 2022.

Information courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Spirited News: July 20th 2021 Edition

Limestone Branch Distillery is releasing its 2021 Yellowstone Limited Edition Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. The 50.5% abv whiskey is a blend of 7-year-old and 15-year-old Bourbons, with select barrels of 7-year-old finished in Amarone wine casks. It’s debuting this month, retailing at $100 a bottle. Kentucky-based Limestone Branch was founded by master distiller Stephen Beam and his brother Paul in 2011.

Vermont-based WhistlePig has unveiled a new RoadStock Rye whiskey in collaboration with Jordan Winery and Firestone Walker Brewery. The 43% abv rye retails at $73 a 750-ml. and is launching at select liquor stores. Half of the whiskey was finished in Bordeaux blend casks from Jordan Winery in Sonoma’s Alexander Valley. The balance was finished in Firestone Walker’s Imperial Stout, Imperial Blonde Ale, and Experimental Ale barrels. The whiskies were finished in a specially commissioned 18-wheeler “Rolling Rickhouse” commissioned by WhistlePig, which traveled 6,000 miles across the country from the distiller’s Vermont farm and back to complete the finishing process.

Smooth Ambler, part of the Pernod Ricard portfolio, is launching a new Contradiction Rye whiskey as well as new packaging on the Contradiction brand. Contradiction’s new offering features four rye whiskies in its blend: two from Tennessee (51% rye and 70% rye), one from MGP (95% rye), and one (88% rye) from the Smooth Ambler distillery in West Virginia. The 52.5% abv bottling retails at $40 a 750-ml. Concurrently, Contradiction is shifting to a new bottle and label on both the rye and its existing Bourbon. Both are non-chill-filtered and produced in small, numbered batches.

Finlandia vodka is introducing a new Botanical range of 30% abv bottlings in Cucumber & Mint and Wildberry & Rose flavors. Retailing at $16 a 750-ml., the newcomers have no artificial flavors, artificial sweeteners, or added sugars, and are gluten-free, with 73 calories a serving. Recommended with sparkling water, tonic, or lemonade, they’re currently available now in Colorado, Connecticut, Louisiana, Texas, and Washington, ahead of a larger rollout.

Information courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Brews News: June 1st 2021 Edition

Branded coconut supplier CoCo & Co is debuting Sunboy, a line of RTD cocktails made with coconut water and fruit. The company has previously provided coconut cocktails at music festivals and other events in partnership with Diageo and Pernod Ricard. The drinks, all at 5% abv, come out June 1 in Passion Fruit, Pineapple, and Tangerine flavors, and in variety packs. Sunboy products contain no added sugar or artificial flavors, and are gluten free.

New York-based KBrews Inc. has launched Màkku Passion Fruit, the latest release in the company’s line of lightly carbonated, rice-brewed drinks. The 6% abv brew is only lightly filtered, giving it a silky and creamy texture, and it’s made without any artificial sweeteners. The new addition will roll out this summer and will join the brand’s original, blueberry, and mango expressions. Twelve-ounce cans will retail for around $3.50 and will also be available in 4-packs in the brand’s 21-state distribution footprint.

Courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Spirited News: April 20th 2021 Edition

St. Paul, Minnesota-based Prestige Beverage Group has added two new whiskies—Tullibardine and Highland Queen—to its portfolio. Tullibardine adds a new single malt to Prestige’s range, including a variety of cask-finished whiskies as well as luxury-priced vintage offerings which can date back decades. Highland Queen is a new contender in blended Scotch for Prestige, which will market the brand’s lineup from its entry level to its luxury-priced blends.

Longmont, Colorado-based Left Hand Brewing Company is releasing Sinister Malt Whiskey in partnership with Foundry Distilling Co. The first release of the collaboration, Sinister Whiskey was inspired by Left Hand Brewing’s Milk Stout Nitro and was distilled from a similar mashbill. The liquid dates from 2019, when Left Hand stopped short of adding lactose or beginning fermentation and instead shipped the liquid to West Des Moines, Iowa, where Foundry Distilling is located. Aged two years in charred oak barrels, the whiskey is at 47.5% abv. Sinister will be available starting in May in Colorado, Iowa, and other select markets, priced at $60 a 750-ml. The two partners are planning three additional whiskey collaborations.

Denver, Colorado-based Stranahan’s has updated its flagship original release with new packaging and older liquid. The 47% abv single malt whiskey is now a blend of 4-, 5-, 6-, and 7-year-old spirits aged in charred American oak barrels. The whiskey’s updated packaging features a new label on the lower half of the bottle as well as a reimagining of Stranahan’s offset yellow label on the top half.

Ardbeg single malt Scotch whisky is introducing Scorch, a new limited edition. Matured in heavily charred American ex-Bourbon casks, Ardbeg Scorch is aimed firmly at devotees of smoky Islay malts. It’s bottled at 46% abv and will roll out June 1, retailing at $120 a bottle. 

Casa Noble Tequila has revamped its ultra-premium range, unveiling refined liquid and overhauled packaging for its Single Estate Organic Blanco ($44), Reposado ($50), and Añejo ($55) expressions. The brand’s new packaging features taller, sleeker bottles with a crest featuring Tequila cues like agave, coa harvesting blades, and a barrel. The redesigned brand, part of the Constellation portfolio, is launching nationwide. 

Our/New York, Manhattan’s first legal distillery since Prohibition, backed by Pernod Ricard, has partnered with Rethink Food to create a limited-edition basil-flavored vodka. The 35% abv spirit is distilled from corn and blended with a basil extract made using locally sourced basil by Brooklyn-based urban farm Square Roots. The new vodka is limited to 1,800 bottles that will be available to bars, restaurants, and retailers across New York City by April 22, just in time for Earth Day.

Courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Spirited News: March 30th 2021 Edition

Kentucky’s Bardstown Bourbon Co. has announced its second collaboration with California wine brand The Prisoner, set to hit shelves on April 1. The whiskey—the latest in Bardstown’s Collaboration Series—is a 10-year-old Tennessee bourbon, bottled at 50%, and finished for 18 months in barrels used to mature The Prisoner’s flagship red blend. Bardstown Bourbon Company & The Prisoner Wine Company Collaboration will retail for around $124 a 750-ml. and will be available in limited quantities in Bardstown’s distribution footprint.

Luxury Tequila player Clase Azul is introducing a new offering, Mezcal Guerrero, nationwide on April 1. The newcomer is made from 100% Agave Papalote, also known as Agave Cupreata, which is specific to Mexico’s Guerrero region and can take up to 15 years to mature. Recommended to be sipped neat, Clase Azul’s Mezcal Guerrero is packaged in a tall green decanter stylized with a number of elements evocative of Guerrero culture. The 42% abv mezcal will retail at $249 a 750-ml.

Highland Park, part of the Edrington portfolio, has unveiled a new ultra-luxury single malt. The new Highland Park 50-year-old was selected from nine refill casks originally laid down in 1968, married together in 2008, then re-racked into a handful of first-fill Sherry seasoned oak casks. Then, after a further 12 years of maturation, one of these limited casks was selected and married with a small quantity of the whisky from the last 50-year-old released by the Orkney-based distillery. Bottled at 43.8% abv and retailing at $30,000 a bottle, Highland Park 50-year-old is an extremely limited release of 274 bottles each signed by master whisky maker Gordon Motion.

Oakland, California’s Absinthia Bottled Spirits has launched Absinthia Verte, the brand’s second release following Absinthia Blanche. The absinthe is made from California grapes and distilled with wormwood, star anise, fennel seed, and coriander seed, plus Roman wormwood, anise hyssop, and lemon balm to give the Verte its green color. The spirit is bottled at 55% abv and retails for $45 a 375-ml. Absinthia Verte (and its sibling, Blanche) are available on the brand’s website and in key markets across the U.S.

Sombra mezcal, part of the Davos Brands portfolio recently acquired by Diageo, is launching Reposé, billed as a first-of-its-kind reposado made with Sombra’s Espadin mezcal, aged in Bordeaux wine barrels. Sourced from Château Léoville Poyferré, a second growth wine estate in Saint-Julien, the barrels are filled with Sombra’s Espadin mezcal and aged for up to six months. Château Léoville Poyferré is owned by the family of Davos founder Guillaume Cuvelier. Sombra Reposé is launching nationally, retailing at $50 a bottle.

Beam Suntory has released the first bottling of Booker’s Bourbon for 2021: Donohoe’s Batch. This iteration of the barrel-proof Bourbon is bottled after 6 years and comes in at 63.65% abv. Donohoe’s Batch is named for Mike Donohoe, a friend of Booker Noe and longtime top executive at Jim Beam. Booker’s Bourbon Donohoe’s Batch is now available in limited quantities across the U.S. for a suggested price of $90 a 750-ml.

Dallas, Texas-based Oak & Eden has re-released Bourbon & Brew, the company’s popular collaboration with West Oak Coffee. The 45% abv Bourbon is finished in bottle with a 5-inch piece of French oak that is soaked in West Oak cold brew coffee sourced from Colombia. Bourbon & Brew is now available on Oak & Eden’s website for $60 a 750-ml. and in retailers in most of the company’s 22-state distribution footprint.

Pernod Ricard has announced new watermelon flavors for both Absolut vodka and Malibu rum. Absolut Watermelon comes in at 38% abv and will be available nationwide beginning on April 12. Malibu Watermelon is now available across the U.S. and comes at 21% abv; 750-ml. bottles retail for around $20 and 1.75-liter bottles go for a suggested price of $26.

Louisville, Kentucky’s Barrell Craft Spirits has launched a new brand, Stellum, with a pair of barrel strength whiskies. Initially, the brand is hitting shelves with a Bourbon and a rye; each is a blend of straight whiskies sourced from Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Stellum Bourbon comes in at 57.49% abv and the brand’s rye is at 58.12% abv. Both retail for a suggested price of $55 a 750-ml. and are available in select locations across 45 states. In addition to Stellum’s blended releases, the company will also offer single barrel bottlings under the brand name.

Bozal mezcal, part of the 3 Badge Beverage portfolio, is introducing Guías de Calabaza, a vegetarian Sacrificio-style mezcal from Río de Ejutla in Oaxaca. A single maguey expression made from 100% Agave Angustifolia (Espadín), Bozal Guías de Calabaza retails at $99 and carries an abv of 47%. Sacrificio mezcals are made in small batches for personal consumption as well as for fiestas with locals and neighbors. Their distillation often involves meat proteins like pork, chicken, or lamb. 3 Badge says Guías de Calabaza follows traditional sacrificio methods while eschewing the protein addition.

Courtesy of Shanken News Daily

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