GSN Review: SIA Scotch Whisky

sia-scotch-whiskyIt seems as if Kickstarter is the way of the future when it goes to procuring funding for new products.  San Franciscan Carin Castillo (now Luna-Ostaseski) had the brilliant idea to start a Scotch whisky campaign about two and a half years ago.  She raised over $45,000 and the rest is history.

But, where is Sia (“six” in Gaelic) crafted?  As it turns out, in Glasgow by Douglas Laing & Co., Ltd. where they have been making single malt & blended Scotches since 1948.  For SIA, they use a blend of Highland and Speyside malts, with a touch of Islay thrown in for good measure.

SIA Scotch Whisky (86 proof)
Visual: Very pale yellow-gold.
Nose: Honey-malt sweet with just a light touch of peat smoke.
Taste: Delicate, heathery and light in character.  Quite feminine in its approach on the palate.  Round and creamy mouthfeel with a deft use of oak aging.
Finish: Fairly short with the most lasting notes being those of honey and malted barleycorn.
Overall: Easy to drink neat, and even easier on the rocks.  This will get lost in some of the more intense Scotch cocktails like a Blood & Sand.  Great for a Hot Toddy however!
GSN Rating: B

For more information go to: SIA Scotch

GSN Review: Auchentoshan Virgin Oak Single Malt Scotch Whisky

aucob.non12The Auchentoshan distillery lies in the west of Scotland in an area known as “the corner of the field”.  One of six lowlands distilleries, Auchentoshan was founded in 1800 and uniquely utilizes a triple distillation for their whiskies.  Many of them are aged in ex-Bourbon in conjunction with used sherry casks.  However, for this new expression they exclusively use North American virgin oak.

Auchentoshan Virgin Oak (92 proof)
Visual: Medium gold.
Nose: Wood and just a hint of smoke.  Reminiscent of an Irish style whiskey.
Taste: Light, smooth and with a lot of dry, tannic notes of oak.  Lightly sweet with a touch of maple, Demerara, and caramel.  A few drops of water bring out a more rounded quality and less wood.
Finish: Fairly long with a slightly bitter edge that lets you know you’re drinking Scotch and not Irish whiskey.
Overall: Yes, it’s a higher proof, but with a bit of branch water, it opens up into a better whisky which makes for a fine winter warmer and reflective sipper.
GSN Rating: B+

For more information go to: Auchentoshan

GSN Review: Glen Garioch Virgin Oak Single Malt Scotch Whisky

ggrob.non3Glen Garioch is the most easterly of the Scottish distilleries.  Located in Oldmeldrum, near Aberdeen, they have been making fine whiskies since 1797.  The town itself has been known as ‘the granary of Aberdeenshire’ supplying the area with excellent barley as well as pure water from the Silent Spring of Coutens Farm.  They have added a new expression to their portfolio with a non-chill filtered Highland whisky aged in untoasted American Oak.

Glen Garioch Virgin Oak (96 proof)
Visual: Medium gold.
Nose: Lightly smoked with a high note of baking spice.
Taste: Rich, elegant and powerful with a lot of character.  Spicy, honeyed and creamy with a ton of vanilla caramel.  The smokiness plays a supporting role throughout.
Finish: Medium long with the sweeter elements lasting far longer than the smoke.
Overall: Really fine and masterfully distilled and aged.
GSN Rating: A-

For more information go to: Glen Garioch

GSN: Backbar Review – October 14-18, 2013

indexAbsolut has revealed the latest edition in its city-inspired vodka series, Absolut Chicago. The new entry is an olive and rosemary-flavored vodka geared toward Martinis, Bloody Marys and other cocktails. Absolut Chicago is packaged in a crowdsourced bottle design made in collaboration with the city’s Threadless organization, a community of more than 200,000 graphic designers and illustrators. The Chicago-themed vodka is the most recent release in a limited-edition series that has also included Absolut tributes to New Orleans, Brooklyn, Boston, Miami, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

indexEdrington Group single malt brand The Macallan has unveiled a new prestige Scotch whisky in the U.S. market, Macallan M. The luxury malt, retailing at $4,500 a bottle, is a non-age-stated, Oloroso Sherry cask-matured whisky. It’s packaged in a special case and bottled in an individually numbered Lalique crystal decanter, of which 1,750 are currently available globally. Macallan M was created to be the top expression in the malt’s luxury 1824 series.


imagesA new line of “culinary” spirits is being introduced to the New York metro market this month through Empire Merchants. The Rave Review line of spirits includes 60-proof rum, brandy, blended Bourbon and blended hops entries retailing at $10 a 200-ml. bottle, with a 1-liter size available to the trade at $17.99. Additional flavors are planned for next year. The range was created in consultation with executive chefs, food scientists and other culinary experts to be ideal for culinary blending of flavors.

imagesSt. Helena, California-based Charbay Distillery & Winery is celebrating its 30th anniversary with the launch of the Alambic Collection, a range of seven new wines and spirits produced using its copper alambic charentais pot stills. Available now are Whiskey Release III ($410, distilled from Pilsner beer), R5 Whiskey Lot 511A ($79, distilled from Racer 5 IPA from Bear Republic Brewery), Brandy No. 89 ($93, 24 years old), Still House Port ($50 a 375-ml., 7 years old) and Distillers’ Port ($75 a 375-ml., 7 years old). The company will also roll out Charbay ‘S’ Whiskey ($140, distilled from Bear Republic Brewery’s Black Stout) this Thanksgiving, followed by Charbay Aged Rum (10 years old), which is slated to be released in early spring of 2014.

indexUtah craft distillery Ogden’s Own has released two new vodkas, cinnamon-flavored Five Wives Sinful and vanilla-flavored Five Wives Heavenly. The 70-proof duo, launching first in Oregon and Idaho, are offshoots of Ogden’s “middle-shelf” Five Wives brand that is distributed in 15 states (Five Wives is available online in 26 states).



indexWilliam Grant & Sons’ Glenfiddich single malt Scotch brand is launching a new limited edition Age of Discovery Bourbon Cask Reserve entry this fall. Created to celebrate the synergies between the American and Scotch whisky industries, Bourbon Cask Reserve is aged for 19 years in ex-Bourbon American oak barrels, marking the first time Glenfiddich has aged a whisky entirely in Bourbon casks. The 40%-abv offering is packaged in a blue box adorned with depictions of the Mississippi River and several landmarks, which serve as a nod to the casks’ journey from the U.S. to Scotland. Rolling out nationwide, the 2013 Age of Discovery Bourbon Cask Reserve is priced at $149.99 a bottle.

indexF. Korbel & Bros. has released its first new Korbel Brandy entry in more than a decade, Korbel 12. A limited edition entry, Korbel 12 is a handcrafted California brandy, distilled in a copper-lined still, aged for a minimum of 12 years and blended from select barrels. Just 1,800 six-bottle cases of the new offering will be available in key markets, priced at $39.99 a bottle. Korbel 12 joins the flagship Korbel California brandy, Korbel VSOP Gold Reserve and Korbel XS labels in the existing Korbel brandy portfolio.

indexCamus Cognac has released its new Family Legacy variant in the U.S. Created as a tribute to the Camus family’s five generations, Family Legacy is a blend of five crus from Grande Champagne, Petite Champage, Bon Bois, Fin Bois and the Borderies. Aged in French oak barrels, each of the crus are blended together in eight consecutive steps, from youngest to oldest, and then bottled at 40.8% abv. The specialty expression, which rolls out this month, will be available nationwide priced at $1,299 a bottle.

indexMissouri-based McCormick Distilling has unveiled two new brands, Triple Crown Whiskey and Hook’s Spiced rum. Triple Crown, a blended North American whiskey, is 80-proof and retails at $20 a 750-ml. It’s launching in 35 states across the U.S. Hook’s rum includes Spiced and Black Spiced variants retailing at $15 and $17 respectively. The 92-proof offerings are now available in 46 states.

stolichnaya_elit_pristine_vodka_from_himalayan_water_series_z4z4fSPI Group’s Stolichnaya vodka brand has released the second entry in its Elit by Stolichnaya “Pristine Water” series, the New Zealand edition. Made with water sourced from a natural spring in New Zealand, the limited edition, 80-proof expression is packaged in a crystal bottle created by French crystal house Royale de Champagne and sits in a handcrafted wooden case. Just 300 bottles of Elit by Stolichnaya’s New Zealand edition will be available worldwide, priced at around $3,000 each. The new offering follows Elit by Stolichnaya’s 2011 launch of its Himalaya edition, which marked the brand’s first Pristine Water entry.

All information courtesy of Shanken News Daily