GSN Backbar Review: November 10-14, 2014

indexEquality Vodka, a new brand aimed at the LGBT community, is launching in Texas this month through Glazer’s. An 80-proof entry retailing at $30 a bottle, Equality is distilled and bottled in New York, and plans to expand beyond the Texas market looking ahead. For its first two years, Equality has pledged to donate a portion of sales to the Lambda Legal Defense Fund, focused on LGBT causes.

indexDurham, North Carolina-based Mystic Bourbon Liqueur is entering Virginia, and will be available at 100 Virginia ABC stores by late next month. Southern Wine & Spirits’ mid-Atlantic division will represent the brand in the Virginia market. The small-batch spirit, made from Bourbon, wildflower honey and spices, was launched last October and has enjoyed a strong start, selling 10,000 bottles across its core North and South Carolina markets to date.

indexRémy Martin has unveiled a limited edition Louis XIII Cognac in celebration of the brand’s 140th anniversary, Louis XIII Black Pearl Anniversary Edition. The blend of more than 1,200 eaux-de-vie ranging from 40 to 100 years in age is from a single 572-liter tiercon taken from the Heriard Dubreuil family’s private cellars, the third of its kind released by the family in the past century. It is packaged in a metallic decanter from the House of Baccarat, with 775 decanters released worldwide at a suggested retail priced of $16,000 each.

imagesGatlinburg, Tennessee’s Ole Smoky Tennessee Moonshine is expanding distribution of its holiday offering, Shine Nog, to all 50 states beginning this month. The 35-proof, cream-based moonshine liqueur had previously only been available at the company’s distillery. The limited-release holiday offering is available in 750-ml. mason jars for about $20-$25.

indexRochester, New York craft producer Black Button Distilling is launching its first Bourbon offering, Little Barrel Bourbon. Debuting in a limited release of 1,400 375-ml. bottles that will retail at $40 each, Little Barrel will be hitting retail shelves on December 1. The company, which also produces Citrus Forward gin, Apple Pie moonshine and Wheat vodka, recently extended availability to New York City (through Blue Print Brands) and says it’s negotiating distribution deals in 10 additional states. Black Button is also planning a “Big Barrel” Bourbon for next year.

imagesCharleston, South Carolina’s Striped Pig Distillery has released three new small-batch craft spirits in its home state. Striped Spiced Rum ($24.99) is a spiced version of the company’s original Striped Rum, while its Striped Whiskey is made with locally grown corn and matured with charred barrel staves. Striped Gin ($26.99), meanwhile, is billed as a less juniper-forward gin, designed to appeal to those who don’t normally consider themselves gin drinkers. These three latest offerings join Striped Shine, Striped Rum and Striped Vodka in the micro-distiller’s portfolio.

Indio-HopkaPortland, Oregon-based Indio Spirits has launched Indio Hopka, a new “hop liqueur” intended to appeal to both craft beer and spirits consumers. Made with a grain distillate and a blend of Citra and Cascade hops, Indio Hopka ($26.99) is packaged in a hinge-top 750-ml. bottle and features a beer-inspired label. The 40%-abv hybrid offering, which can be consumed in a mixed drink, as a shot or over ice, is currently available across Oregon and Washington. Established in 2004, Indio Spirits’ portfolio also includes Indio Silver, Marionberry, Lemongrass-Lime and Blood Orange vodkas; Snake River Stampede Canadian whiskey; James Oliver Rye and American whiskey; Cricket Club gin; Barrel Room rum and Curaçao; and Red Island Finger Lime rum and Spiced rum.

indexThe newest release to Diageo’s Orphan Barrel whiskey project, highlighting rare whiskies from the company’s warehouses, will be an offering called Lost Prophet. Lost Prophet is a 22-year-old whiskey distilled in 1991 from what was then the George T. Stagg distillery (now Buffalo Trace) in Frankfort, Kentucky. Similar to Diageo’s previous Orphan Barrel releases—Rhetoric, Barterhouse and Old Blowhard—this whiskey spent time maturing in the old Stitzel-Weller warehouses in Louisville (since 2006 for Lost Prophet), and was bottled in Tullahoma, Tennessee, at the George Dickel distillery. The mashbill for Lost Prophet is 75%-78% corn, 7%-10% barley, and 15% rye. It’s bottled at 90.1 proof (45.05% abv) and will list for about $120. Similar to Old Blowhard, this will be a one-time release.

indexDiageo has officially launched Piehole, a new range of flavored Canadian whisky-based liqueurs. Debuting with a trio of Apple Pie, Cherry Pie and Pecan Pie expressions, Piehole is made with a blend of flavored whiskies aged between four and eight years and is bottled in Canada. The 35%-abv entries, which are targeted toward the shot occasion, will retail for around $14.99 a 750-ml.

All information courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Backbar Review: May 19-23, 2014

indexWilliam Grant & Sons is releasing the second offering in The Balvenie’s series of Single Barrel Scotch whiskies, a 15-year-old Single Barrel Sherry Cask. The new Balvenie entry has been matured exclusively in a single European oak Sherry butt for at least 15 years. No more than 650 hand-numbered bottles are drawn from each cask, and each bottle carries the number of the cask in which it was matured. Launching to select U.S. markets this month, Balvenie 15-year-old Single Barrel Sherry Cask is 47.8% abv and retails at $100 a bottle. The newcomer joins 12-year-old Single Barrel First Fill (launched early last year) in the Single Barrel series, which will add its final installment, a 25-year-old Balvenie matured in refill American oak barrels, this fall.

indexDiageo’s Captain Morgan rum has introduced a new limited edition. Rolling out this month, Captain Morgan 1671 Commemorative Blend Spiced Rum pays tribute to privateer and brand namesake Captain Henry Morgan, who raided and captured Panama City’s Fort San Lorenzo in 1671. The 35%-abv offering features a blend of spices and is finished in Spanish oak. Captain Morgan 1671 Commemorative Blend Spiced Rum will be available nationwide, priced at $19.99 a 750-ml.

indexRichland, Georgia’s Richland Distilling Co. has formed a new marketing tie-up with Florida-based The Action Group USA (TAG) to introduce its flagship Richland rum ($55) into key southeastern markets. TAG USA will initially expand the rum’s reach into Florida and South Carolina, with additional rollouts in Texas and along the Eastern seaboard to follow. The new states will join existing markets Georgia and Tennessee. Produced using natural, estate-sourced sugar cane syrup, Richland rum is a small-batch spirit aged in virgin American oak barrels. The rum is the sole entry for Richland Distilling, which expects to release around 8,000 cases this year.

indexDiageo’s newly launched Orphan Barrel Whiskey Distilling Company is releasing a third expression of its craft Bourbon nationwide in limited quantities. The new whiskey, named Rhetoric, will be progressively aged and released over the coming years, with its inaugural 20-year-old Kentucky Straight Bourbon launching in June, and a 21-year-old expression set for release in 2015. The initial 45%-abv offering will be available in limited supply for a suggested retail price of $85 a 750-ml. bottle. Stocks of Rhetoric were found in warehouses at the Stitzel-Weller facility in Louisville, Kentucky and it was bottled at Orphan Barrel’s headquarters in Tullahoma, Tennessee. Rhetoric joins Orphan Barrel’s 20-year-old Barterhouse and 26-year-old Old Blowhard whiskies.

indexCIL US Wine & Spirits, the U.S. subsidiary of Cognac producer Camus Wine & Spirits, has partnered with Canada’s Domaine Pinnacle for the U.S. release of Ungava Canadian Premium Gin. Launched in 2012, Ungava has grown to reach 60 counties and will be available in Florida, Tennessee and Kentucky in June, with expansion to 18 states anticipated by the end of the year. Ungava is distilled in northern Québec and is made in small batches with six botanicals handpicked by the native Inuit tribe for a yellow coloring, according to the company. Ungava Canadian Premium Gin is 43.1% abv and will retail for about $32.99 a 750-ml. bottle.

indexHeaven Hill Distilleries is extending Evan Williams Bourbon with the summer release of Evan Williams Kentucky Slush to select test markets. The 12.5%-abv pre-mixed cocktail is made with the brand’s Bourbon along with Lemonade, Orange Juice and Sweet Tea flavors and will retail for about $14.99 a 1.75-liter bottle. Running under the marketing tagline of “For Seriously Refreshing Bourbon … Just Chill,” Kentucky Slush will be available June through August in Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. Evan Williams Bourbon earned 2013 Impact “Hot Brand” honors with 15% growth to 1.65 million cases for the year.

indexDevotion Spirits is debuting a new tea flavor for its line of vodkas, Tiki Tea. Billed as gluten-free and sugar-free vodka made 100% from corn, Tiki Tea joins Devotion’s range of flavors that includes Wild Cherry, Coconut, Blood Orange, Black & Blue and the Perfect Cosmo. The new flavor will be launched over Memorial Day weekend in New Jersey, with a phased national rollout throughout this summer and fall. Devotion partnered with Allen Flavors, the maker of Arizona Iced Tea, for flavoring within its vodka range, which retails for $19.99. In January, Devotion Spirits announced nationwide distributions plans and can now be found at retailers such as Publix, Kroger, Albertsons, Whole Foods and Total Wine & More, among others.

All information courtesy of Shanken News Daily