GSN Spirited News: December 1st 2020 Edition

Warren, Vermont’s Mad River Distillers has teamed up with Napa, California’s Silver Oak Cellars on a new barrel finished rye whiskey. The 48% abv whiskey is distilled from 100% chocolate rye and following its initial maturation undergoes a second aging period in toasted oak barrels previously used to mature Silver Oak Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon. Only five barrels of the Cabernet-finished rye were produced. The bottling is available at Post Road Liquors in Wayland, Massachusetts and Upper Falls Beverage in Needham, Massachusetts. In addition, the rye will be available from the distillery at its Burlington and Waitsfield, Vermont-based tasting rooms.

Backbone Bourbon Company has added two new whiskies to its portfolio. The first, Backbone Uncut Decade Down, is a new 10th anniversary edition of the company’s barrel strength whisky that comes in at roughly 57% abv (depending on the batch). The company is also launching a 15-year-old extension of its Old Bones Bourbon. The new Old Bones release is five years older than the original and was distilled in Frankfort, Kentucky before bottling at 54% abv. The new Old Bones is available now in limited quantities (214 6-packs), retailing at $130. Roughly 250 cases of Backbone Uncut Decade Down will be available in the company’s 20-state distribution footprint beginning in December.

Ardbeg single malt Scotch is extending its core range at the high end with a 25-year-old expression. Bottled at 46% abv, the newcomer is presented in a gun metal bottle encased in an intricate metal cage. It will roll out globally in January, retailing at $850 a bottle. 

North Carolina’s Durham Distillery is launching Conniption Barrel Aged Gin No. 1, the first in a series of annual releases. The new offering is inspired by the botanical blend in Durham Distillery’s Conniption Navy Strength gin, complemented by 10 months spent aging in Bourbon barrels sourced from High West Distillery. (High West owner Constellation Brands has a minority stake in Durham.) Conniption Barrel Aged Gin No. 1 is currently available exclusively in North Carolina but will roll out nationally on February 1.

Jose Cuervo is extending its high-end Reserva de la Familia range with Platino and Reposado offerings. Made at the La Rojena distillery, Platino ($65) is making its return to the U.S. market after a period of absence, while the Reposado ($85)—aged in heavily toasted American oak as well as lightly toasted American and French oak—is entirely new. The new entries join the existing Extra Anejo ($189) in the Reserva de la Familia portfolio, which is celebrating its 25th year on the market.

Bacardi is bringing back its ready-to-drink Coquito, which proved popular last holiday season. Retailing at $20 a 750-ml., the limited edition offering combines Bacardi Superior white rum with toasted spices, coconut cream, vanilla, and cinnamon, and is bottled at 13% abv. It’s rolling out to 44 states—marking an expansion of more than 30 states compared with last year’s launch.

Tequila Ocho is releasing three new Anejo expressions under its Barrel Select series. Barrel Select Tropical is a 45.8% abv Tequila aged in rum casks from Fiji, Trinidad, and Panama. Barrel Select Continental is aged in Cognac casks and was bottled at 43.1% abv, while Barrel Select Transatlantic was aged in both Cognac casks and rum casks from Fiji and Panama. All three were made in collaboration with Maison Ferrand master blender Alexandre Gabriel and retail at $90 a 750-ml.

Courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Review: Tequila Ocho

344Not all tequilas are created equal.  There are about 140 Mexican distilleries that produce over 1600 different tequilas.  Tequila Ocho stands out from the rest by literally sourcing their agave pinas from a variety of eight (Ocho) fields owned by the company.  A collaboration between the Camarena family and Tomas Estes, their tequilas are unique in that each bottle lists the particular field the agaves come from, as well as the year it was bottled.  In a sense giving it a vintage like you find in top quality wines.

These tequilas are world’s apart from each other, and a great example of what single estate tequilas are capable of.  Two of the unaged blancos were sent to me for review.

Tequila Ocho Plata Single Estate: Los Corrales (80 proof)
Visual: Clear.
Nose: Sweet and delicate, with a lemony citrus bouquet almost bordering on floral.  Airing brings the slightest hint of vanilla custard.
Taste:  Medium heat with black pepper overtones.  Baked agave is pronounced with an almost milky character.  Quite dry, with a lot of minerality.
Finish: Fairly long with the lasting impression being one of a slightly minty chalk-like terroir.
Overall:  Very interesting, and unique.  I was left with the impression of the chalky soil character found in Champagne, France in terms of terroir.
GSN Rating: A-

Tequila Ocho Plata Single Estate: Las Pomez (80 proof)
Visual: Clear.
Nose: A heady and almost dark rum-like nose with apparent agave overtones.
Taste: Cinnamon and fresh-baked bread.  Sweet and almost fruity.  There is a lively freshness here that almost seems playful.
Finish:  Very nice with a long single sweet note of barley sugar.
Overall:  This is a great dessert tequila.  Surprisingly, despite the lack of any aging whatsoever, it has the smoothness indicative of a fair amount of oak aging.
GSN Rating: A-

For more information go to: Tequila Ocho