GSN Backbar Review: September 29-October 3, 2014

indexGlenmorangie has released a new single malt, Taghta, which it says is the world’s first crowdsourced whisky. Created over the past 18 months with input from whisky enthusiasts in more than 30 countries, Taghta—which is Scots Gaelic for “The Chosen One”—will be available globally in a supply of 12,000 bottles, retailing at £70 ($114) apiece. The new malt was developed by—and will be sold through— Glenmorangie’s Cask Masters program, led by Dr. Bill Lumsden, the brand’s director of distilling and whisky creation. Through the Cask Masters program, consumers helped decide in which casks the spirit was matured and assisted with packaging design and imagery associated with the finished malt.

indexPhillips Distilling’s UV vodka has launched UV Salty Caramel Apple, the brand’s first limited edition seasonal flavor. Featuring notes of apple, caramel and salt, the fall-inspired offering will be available nationwide, retailing for $11.99 a 750-ml. and $12.99 a 1-liter. Salty Caramel Apple joins UV’s existing range of more than 20 flavored vodkas, including its recently released UV Sugar Crush and UV Sriracha entries.

indexThe Edrington Group has officially unveiled Macallan Rare Cask, a new expression within the luxury malt’s core range. Aged in handpicked Spanish oak Sherry seasoned casks, Rare Cask is presented in a sculpted, heavy glass decanter and retails at $300 a 750-ml. The ruby red-hued single malt carries an alcohol-by-volume of 43%.

3-bottle-spirits-landing-pageLouisville, Kentucky’s Copper & Kings American Brandy Co. is releasing a new offering, Absinthe Blanche, a 130-proof clear absinthe that retails at $55 a 750-ml. bottle.

indexBeam Suntory’s Pinnacle vodka has re-introduced its Pumpkin Pie and Peppermint Bark flavors ahead of the holiday season. The pair, which are priced at around $12.99 a 750-ml., will be available nationwide for a limited time. Pumpkin Pie and Peppermint Bark join Pinnacle’s existing 40-plus portfolio.

indexFishbowl Spirits’ Blue Chair Bay rum brand has released Coconut Spiced Rum Cream, a new limited edition extension. Featuring vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove notes, Coconut Spiced Rum Cream is targeted toward the holiday gift-giving occasion and, according to the company, can serve as a lower-calorie egg nog alternative. The 30%-abv offering joins Blue Chair Bay’s existing White, Coconut, Coconut Spiced and Banana entries. The brand, created and owned by singer Kenny Chesney, retails for around $19 a bottle.

IMG_1823California-based Congenial Spirits is launching a new small-batch whiskey, Twelve Five Rye, to select on- and off-premise outlets in Los Angeles, San Diego and Arizona. Retailing at $50 a 750-ml. bottle, Twelve Five is distilled at Cedar Ridge Winery and Distillery in Swisher, Iowa, and aged for a minimum of two years in charred American oak barrels. The mashbill of the 95-proof whiskey—which is named for the day Prohibition was lifted in 1933—is 70% rye, 15% malted barley and 15% corn. Initially, Twelve Five is being released in a limited quantity of 2,500 cases.

All information courtesy of Shanken News Daily


GSN: Backbar Review – August 26-30, 2013

maplecremewithbucketsCambridge, Vermont-based Boyden Valley Winery and Spirits has introduced its new Vermont Ice Apple and Maple Crème liqueurs. They’re available at select retail stores in New England or on the company’s website, with expanded distribution across the country slated for September. Vermont Ice Maple Crème Liqueur is priced at $27.99 a 750-ml., while the Ice Apple Crème Liqueur is $29.99. Distilled in small batches, the liqueurs are created using apple brandy made from local apples—including Northern Spy, Macintosh and Empire varieties—blended with the company’s own Ice Cider for the Ice Apple liqueur and estate-made maple syrup for the Maple Crème liqueur. Boyden, which claims to be the first craft distiller in the country to focus on cream liqueurs, also produces a number of red, white and fruit wines.

Parkers_Wheated_4th_EditionHeaven Hill Distilleries has unveiled the sixth edition of its limited edition Parker’s Heritage Collection. This year’s Bourbon, set to be released in September, will include select barrels of 11-year-old Heaven Hill rye-based Bourbons mixed with select barrels of the wheated mashbill that Heaven Hill uses for the Old Fitzgerald line (which is also aged for 11 years), bottled at cask strength. Only 7,500 bottles have been produced for national and international distribution, priced at $80 a 750-ml. This year’s release will feature three “dumps,” with each featuring a different barrel proof—the first will be 65.8% abv. The annual Parker’s Heritage Collection is meant to honor 6th generation master distiller Parker Beam for his 50 years of distilling experience.

indexBeam Inc.’s Laphroaig single malt Scotch has released a limited edition Càirdeas Port Wood label in the U.S. Created to commemorate Islay’s Feis Ile whisky festival, the new, 102.6-proof expression is aged with Port wood for part of its maturation and features classic peat and charcoal notes. Càirdeas is currently available at select retail outlets, priced at around $74.99 a 750-ml.


indexBeam’s Pinnacle vodka brand has introduced a new line of fall- and holiday-inspired flavors. The range includes Caramel Apple, Peachberry Cobbler, Pecan Pie and Salted Caramel extensions, all of which will join Pinnacle’s year-round lineup, as well as limited edition seasonal Peppermint Bark and returning entry Pumpkin Pie. Initially rolled out into select markets in July, all six flavors are expected to be available nationwide by the end of next month, priced at around $12.99 a 750-ml.


indexHeaven Hill Distilleries is poised to release the latest edition of its Parker’s Heritage Collection, named for master distiller emeritus Parker Beam, and this year’s rollout has a cause. Beam, a sixth-generation distiller in his 53rd year at Heaven Hill, has been diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. The new Parker’s Heritage Collection release, dubbed “Promise of Hope,” will help raise funds for the battle against ALS. For each bottle sold, Heaven Hill will contribute $20 to the Parker Beam Promise of Hope Fund (, which has been established through the ALS Association. The effort is expected to raise at least $250,000. The 7th Edition Parker’s Heritage Collection Promise of Hope release will start selling in mid-September in retail and on-premise venues nationwide, at an average price of $90 a 750-ml. Like the previous six Parker’s Heritage Collection editions, Promise of Hope’s quantity will be limited, although Heaven Hill will make more bottles available than in previous years in order to maximize fundraising. The 2012 volume was about 7,500 bottles.

cirocDiageo has officially launched the newest addition to Cîroc vodka’s flavor line, Amaretto. The extension hit the market in July and is now available nationwide (priced at $34.99 for a 750-ml. bottle). Cîroc’s flavor lineup was initially launched in 2010. Now also including Peach, Coconut and Red Berry, the flavor line has become the brand’s growth engine of late.


indexCalifornia-based Wilson Daniels has added England’s Sipsmith London Dry Gin to its U.S. import portfolio. Made in the classic London dry style, Sipsmith uses a traditional blend of botanicals and is handcrafted in single batches producing a few hundred bottles at a time. The British offering will be available starting next month, priced at around $42 a bottle.

All information courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN: Backbar Review – June 10-14, 2013

indexSingle malt Scotch brand The Glenrothes has launched a new three-pack offering, as well as its latest release, The Glenrothes 2001 Vintage. Rolling out in the U.S. this month, The Glenrothes Triple Pack includes three 100-ml. bottle samples of the brand’s Select Reserve, 1998 vintage and the new 2001 vintage. The trio—which is targeted toward the gift occasion—is priced at $39.99. In addition to being featured in the Triple Pack, the 2001 vintage will also be released as a standalone at retail later this summer.

imagesCampari America is reintroducing its premium Sagatiba cachaça brand to the U.S. market. Rolling out this month, Campari will offer a pair of Sagatiba expressions, including Sagatiba Pura ($24.99 a 750-ml.), an unaged entry, and Sagatiba Velha ($29.99), which is aged for two to three years. Both offerings will initially be available throughout New York, Florida, Southern and Northern California and Nevada.


indexBeam Inc.’s Pinnacle vodka has bolstered its popular dessert flavor line with a new entry, Strawberry Shortcake. Like Pinnacle’s many other flavored entries, the 35%-abv Strawberry Shortcake retails for around $13 a 750-ml.

All information courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN: Backbar Review – April 1-5, 2013

imagesDiageo will extend its Captain Morgan rum brand with a limited edition Sherry Cask Finish next month. Captain Morgan Sherry Cask Finish ties in with the company’s efforts to illuminate the exploits of the real-life Captain Henry Morgan, including, most recently, its Sundance Channel documentary on Morgan’s 17th-century flagship, the Satisfaction. The limited-release entry is intended to celebrate the discovery of the cannons from the Satisfaction on an archaeological expedition to Panama led by Diageo, says Tom Herbst, vice president, marketing, rums. “(The Sherry Cask extension) will be a unique flavor profile,” Herbst adds. “It will have a richer, fuller flavor and mouthfeel resulting from being finished in Sherry casks, which are the type Captain Morgan would have had on his boat.” No word yet on the new offering’s retail price-positioning, but it will likely be at a premium to the core brand. The Sherry Cask variant also continues Captain Morgan’s outreach beyond the rum category, with a style that should appeal to whiskey drinkers. The brand pursued a similar gambit with its launch of Captain Morgan Black (94.6 proof, $22 a bottle) last summer, which Diageo says was designed to draw in drinkers of brown spirits across multiple categories.

imagesBrown-Forman is launching a new program to sell personalized barrels of Old Forester Bourbon for $7,500 each, according to local news reports. The process involves master distiller Chris Morris choosing three barrels from over 200 (a day’s production volume) in Old Forester’s 4- to 6-year-old inventory, and then walking customers through a tasting of the three barrels from which they may choose. A barrel holds about 220 bottles, making the price per bottle about $34. Brown-Forman also does a similar barrel program for Jack Daniel’s.

imagesBeam Inc.’s Pinnacle vodka has added Rainbow Sherbet to its fast-rising line of dessert-flavored entries. Pinnacle’s newest flavor combines the tastes of orange, lime and raspberry. Rainbow Sherbet is the first of several new Pinnacle flavor innovations planned for 2013, including Strawberry Shortcake, which is coming soon.



imagesHeaven Hill Distilleries is introducing new products to two of the U.S. spirits market’s hottest segments—flavored whisk(e)y and vodka’s $12-$18 price tier. This spring, Heaven Hill is rolling out High Rise Vodka and Cinerator Hot Cinnamon flavored whiskey. High Rise is a domestically-produced vodka, distilled five times from winter white wheat. It will initially be launched in 11 markets around the U.S. Priced at around $15 a 750-ml., High Rise features a core offering as well as Cherry and Citrus extensions.

imagesBeam Inc. has unveiled Jim Beam Distiller’s Masterpiece, a limited edition extra-aged Kentucky Bourbon. Created to coincide with the start of Kentucky’s horse racing season, Distiller’s Masterpiece is finished in Pedro Ximénez Sherry casks and packaged in a wooden case. The 100-proof offering will be available solely at the Jim Beam American Stillhouse in Clermont, Kentucky, priced at $200 a bottle. Distiller’s Masterpiece debuts as Jim Beam’s most upscale offering to date, joining the brand’s Original, Honey, Red Stag, Black, Devil’s Cut and Jacob’s Ghost expressions.

imagesBeam Inc. has launched its 2 Gingers Irish whiskey brand in the Chicago market. Previously available in other Illinois regions, the twice-distilled whiskey is also sold in Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin, priced at around $19.99 a 750-ml. Established by Minnesota-based entrepreneur Kieran Folliard in January 2012, 2 Gingers was acquired by Beam in December for an undisclosed sum. The brand, which is produced at Beam’s Kilbeggan Distilling Co. in Ireland, has quickly risen to become the fifth-largest Irish whiskey brand in the U.S., with sales of around 20,000 cases across 2,100 accounts last year.

imagesPernod Ricard has introduced its limited edition Absolut Mexico bottle in the U.S. market. The special edition, which contains unflavored Absolut vodka and retails at $19.99 a 750-ml., has been available in Mexico since last year. The Absolut Mexico package was designed by contemporary Mexican artist and tattoist Jeronimo Lopez Ramirez, also known as Dr. Lakra. According to Pernod, the design “combines three legendary icons from ancient Mayan culture—Hurakan (Hurricane), Kukulkan (Serpent) and Balam (Jaguar)—and brings them to life on the Absolut bottle through a modern artistic lens that represents Mexico today.”

All information courtesy of Shaken News Daily.