GSN Spirited News: May the 4th Be With You Edition

San Diego, California-based Cutwater Spirits, part of the Anheuser-Busch portfolio, is launching Cutwater Mezcal, its first foray into the mezcal category. The new entry is distilled from 100% Cenizo Agave. To ensure long-term sustainability of the agave supply, Cutwater will plant five baby agave plants for each plant harvested and is establishing an on-premise nursery to cultivate agave plants from seed. The first bottling of Cutwater Mezcal, released earlier this month, is a limited run available at select retailers. It’s at 45% abv and retails for $50 a 750-ml.

French import Citadelle Gin is introducing Jardin d’Été as a permanent addition to the portfolio. The new expression, whose name translates as Summer Garden, is made with the same 19 botanicals used in Citadelle’s flagship gin plus melon flesh, whole lemon, yuzu zest, and orange peel. The additions were inspired by a garden cultivated by Debbie Gabriel, wife of Citadelle founder Alexandre Gabriel, at Château de Bonbonnet, Citadelle’s base in southwest France. It is available now in the U.S., bottled at 41.5% abv and priced at $25 a 750-ml. Citadelle Gin is part of Maison Ferrand, which also produces Cognac Ferrand and Plantation Rum.

PaQui Tequila founder John Chappell has launched a new mezcal artesanal called Lejana y Sola. Made in Lachilà, Oaxaca from Espadin agave and wild Cuishe agave, Lejana y Sola retails at $60 a 750-ml. and is distributed in the New York, Florida, and California markets, with online availability reaching 40 states. The brand name translates to “Afar and Alone” and was inspired by the famous Federico Garcia Lorca poem, “Il Cancion del Jinete,” or “The Horseman’s Song.”

Prestige Beverage Group has introduced two new single malt Scotch whisky expressions from Tullibardine to the U.S. Tullibardine Artisan is a non-age-statement malt matured in ex-Bourbon barrels and bottled at 40%. It will retail for around $30 a 750-ml. The second new release is Tullibardine 12-year-old, a 40% abv whisky matured in first-fill Bourbon barrels, retailing for $45. Both whiskies will be available in 20 states across the U.S.

High West is introducing a limited edition of its Rendezvous Rye, featuring artwork from American artist Ed Mell, who’s renowned for his Western landscapes. This limited edition kicks off High West’s transition of the distillery’s flagship whiskey to a seasonal release. This first seasonal edition retails at $70 a 750-ml. and will be available nationwide by the end of May.

Courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Review: High West Distillery Whiskies

Utah is generally known for two things: The Great Salt Lake and Mormonism.  Another aspect which is less known is that it’s been a dry state since 1870, until five years ago when the High West Distillery opened in Old Town Park City.  Since then, they’ve focused on crafting whiskies (and a few vodkas) along with running a cocktail-centric saloon in conjunction with a fine restaurant to boot.  You can even ski your way to the distillery as it is located at the bottom of a ski-lift .  Sounds like a great vacation to me!

Their whiskies are so good, my wife told me recently I should finish my review of them before I finished the bottles.  For a new distillery, these guys know what they’re doing, and they do it exceptionally well.

Double Rye! (92 proof)  A blend of 2-year-old 95% rye, 5% barley malt mashbill and a 16-year-old 53% rye and 37% corn mashbill.
Visual: Golden amber.
Nose: Sweet, with hints of woodspice, chestnuts, butterscotch, cinnamon.
Taste: Very balanced with a wonderful bite of rye.  There’s a toffee-like sweetness which is exceptionally mixable.
Finish: Medium long with a nice sweet edge at the end.
Overall:  Really, really drinkable on its own or works wonders in a Manhattan.
GSN Rating: A

Campfire (92 proof) A blend of three five-year old or older whiskies.  A straight bourbon whiskey from 75 percent corn, 20 percent rye, and 5 percent barley malt; a straight rye whiskey from 95 percent rye and 5 percent barley malt; and a blended malt Scotch whiskey, made of 100-percent barley malt that has been peated. The bourbon and rye are sourced from the old Seagrams plant in Indiana.                                                                                                                           Visual: Golden amber.
Nose: Dark with heavy smoke overtones, very scotch-like, spicy, burnt caramel.
Taste: Quite smokey and spicy at the same time.  Unique and a rye that is great on its own. A lot of body and intensity.
Finish: Fairly long with the spice aspect being more residual than the smoke.
Overall: Something in a class all its own.  A nice sipper.  Use a snifter.
GSN Rating: B+

Son of Bourye (92 proof) Two whiskies make up this blend.  One is a 5yr Old Bourbon- 75% corn, 20% rye, 5% barley malt.  The other is a 3yr Old Rye – 95% rye, 5% barley malt. Both are non-chill filtered.
Visual: Golden amber.
Nose: Very sweet up front with spice coming through.
Taste: Quite sweet and more in the line of a typical bourbon.  A lot of caramel and vanilla.
Finish: Medium long with a super sweet lingering finish.
Overall: A very well done bourbon style whiskey.
GSN Rating: A-

American Prairie Reserve (92 proof) Whiskey #1: 6-year-old Mashbill from 75% Corn, 20% rye, 5% barley malt blended with a 10-year-old Bourbon mashbill from 60% Corn, 35% rye, and 5% barley malt.  Both of these are outsourced from Seagram’s and Four Roses.
Visual: Golden amber.
Nose: Very light and dry with a grain bouquet.
Taste: Thin and with more alcohol flavor and bite than any of the others.  There certainly are notes of rye, but the spice is fleeting and rather subdued.
Finish: Dry and quite short.  Almost unfinished.
Overall: Seems elegant, but also somewhat insubstantial. The least impressive of the bunch.
GSN Rating: B-

Rendezvous Rye (92 proof)  A marriage of two straight rye whiskies: a straight 6-year-old with a mashbill containing 95% rye and 5% barley malt; a straight 16-year-old with a mashbill containing 80% rye, 10% corn, 10% barley malt.
Visual: Golden amber
Nose: Quite spicy, with pleasant caramel overtones.
Taste: Lots of high note spice.  Oddly enough, reminds me of Indian food.
Finish: Leaves a mouthful of spice lingering.
Overall: An interesting rye with an almost ginger bite. Try this between bites of sushi.
GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: High West Distillery