GSN Spirited News: June 15th 2021 Edition

Armagnac house Château de Laubade has collaborated with Kentucky’s Bardstown Bourbon Company to create the Traveling Barrel, a limited-release eau de vie de vin d’Armagnac finished in a Bourbon barrel. The 48.4% abv spirit is made from two barrels of 8-year-old Armagnac (one distilled from Ugni Blanc and one from Baco) that spent eight months finishing in a Gascony oak barrel used to mature a Bardstown Bourbon whiskey. Only 698 bottles of Château de Laubade the Traveling Barrel will be available in select retailers in New York, New Jersey, Washington, D.C., Massachusetts, Illinois, Tennessee, Kentucky, California, and Washington state.

Seattle-based Westland Distillery has unveiled Westland American Single Malt Whiskey, its new flagship label, which will replace the previous core trio of Westland American Oak, Sherry Wood and Peated. Those expressions will be discontinued, though they will remain on retail shelves until supplies are depleted. Westland American Single Malt ($60 a 750-ml.) was distilled from six different types of barley and matured in five different cask types for 40 months on Washington’s Olympic peninsula. Going forward, Westland’s range will include the new flagship label and the annual releases from its Outpost Collection, comprised of Garryana ($150), Colere ($150), and Solum, whose first release is slated for 2023.

Campari America has added a new high-end rum to the Appleton Estate family. The new expression, Appleton Estate 15-year-old Black River Casks, is rolling out now and will be available nationally. The 43% abv rum was created by master blender Joy Spence, who is currently celebrating her 40th anniversary with Appleton, and takes its name from the Jamaican river used to proof Appleton’s rums. The 15-year-old rum retails for around $65 a 750-ml. In addition, Spence and Appleton have also relaunched the brand’s 21-year-old rum ($150) with a new bottle and flavor profile to retailers across the U.S.

The distilleries of Bardstown, Kentucky, including Heaven Hill, the James B. Beam Distilling Co., Bardstown Bourbon Company, Preservation, and Log Still have come together to celebrate their shared history, with each distillery contributing whiskey to a new limited-edition line of Bourbon whiskies. Beginning in September, the new whiskies—all sharing the same bottle design and housed in a gold-embossed navy blue box—will roll out to the distilleries’ on-site tasting rooms. The release dates will be spaced to allow collectors to make trips to each distillery and complete the set.

Diageo has added a new 8-year-old Bourbon whiskey to the George Dickel family. The 45% abv whiskey was created by Cascade Hollow distiller and general manager Nicole Austin, who selected barrels of whiskey that showed more traditional Bourbon notes, distinct from Dickel’s Tennessee whiskey offerings. George Dickel 8-Year-Old Bourbon is now rolling out in select markets across the U.S. for a suggested price of $33 a 750-ml.

Intrepid Spirits’ Mad March Hare Poitin has received a new bottle design. Inspired by Celtic art and mythology, the new design links Mad March Hare with the long history of poitin, which has been made in Ireland since the sixth century. Retailing at $30 a 750-ml., Mad March Hare is at 40% abv, with the new look hitting the market now.

Courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Spirited News: August 18th 2020 Edition

Seattle, Washington’s Westland Distillery has announced the Outpost Range, a new series of whiskies to be released beginning in November and continuing through 2023. First up will be Garryana American Single Malt Whiskey, the fifth edition of the distillery’s Garryana-aged malt. The November release comes in at 50% abv and is made with peated spirit. The second release, Colere, will be released in spring 2021. It’s bottled at 50% abv and is made with Alba barley. Future Colere releases will be dedicated to distilling different varieties of barley. The final release, Solum, will use locally sourced peat.

Bacardi is mounting a renewed push into spiced rum, reintroducing its former Oakheart label in a new incarnation as Bacardi SpicedNoting that spiced rum is the only segment of the rum category to show volume growth over the past decade, Bacardi is launching Spiced ($13) nationwide this month, targeting at-home occasions and both new and existing spiced rum consumers.

Ireland’s West Cork Distillers has launched a new, limited release IPA Cask Finished Irish Whiskey in the U.S. The 40% abv whiskey is a blend of 75% grain whiskey, distilled from wheat, and 25% malt whiskey that matured for four years before blending and finishing for six months in casks that held Blacks of Kinsale’s IPA. Through M.S. Walker, West Cork Distillers IPA Cask Finished Irish Whiskey will be available across the U.S. for around $33 a 750-ml.

Kansas City, Missouri-based Boulevard Brewing has partnered with West Des Moines, Iowa-based Foundry Distilling Co. to turn Boulevard’s Unfiltered Wheat Beer into a whiskey. The result is called Midnight Ritual, a 44.5% abv malt whiskey that’s aged more than two years in charred oak barrels. The release promises to be the first in a series of partnerships between the two producers, turning more brews into limited edition whiskies. Beginning next month, Midnight Ritual will be available in very limited quantities in Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, and Nebraska.

Phillips Distilling Company has launched Prairie Organic Sustainable Seasons, a new line of botanical and fruit flavored spirits. The 30% abv flavored vodka comes in three varieties: Grapefruit, Hibiscus, and Chamomile; Watermelon, Cucumber, and Lime; and Apple, Pear, and Ginger. Each contains 75 calories per serving and all are made with organic ingredients and without added sugar. The trio is rolling out nationwide for a suggested price of $22 a 750-ml.

Proximo has expanded 1800 Tequila with a new, luxury-priced extension, 1800 Cristalino. The 40% abv spirit is made from 100% blue agave and aged for 16 months in American and French oak before finishing for six months in Port barrels. The añejo Tequila is then filtered to remove the color imparted by the barrel. 1800 Cristalino is now rolling out in select markets across the U.S. for $65 a 750-ml.

375 Park Avenue Spirits has added Ming River Baijiu to its import portfolio, effective October 1. The importer, a division of Sazerac, will handle the brand’s sales and will also support Ming River’s marketing efforts in the U.S. Ming River is a young brand—created in 2018—from China’s oldest continuously operating distillery. The spirit is distilled from red sorghum and bottled at 45% abv. 375 Park Avenue will offer Ming River in 750-ml. and 50-ml. bottles.

Courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Spirited News: February 18th 2020 Edition

Zeke Bronfman and Nate Medow are partnering to launch Xed, a new canned sparkling cocktail brand. Pronounced “Crossed,” the new entry is brewed from cane sugar and comes in four 5.7% abv expressions: Vodka Soda, Gin + Tonic, Moscow Mule, and Mojito, all of which contain 1 gram of sugar, 2 grams of carbohydrates, and 120 calories a 12-ounce can. Xed is initially planning to launch in New Jersey in April in 6-packs of cans, with expansion to New York to follow. Bronfman and Medow are classmates at Williams College. Bronfman is the grandson of the late Edgar Bronfman, Sr., who for decades led drinks giant The Seagram Company Ltd.

Seattle, Washington-based Westland Distillery has unveiled Coldfoot, a new limited-edition whiskey launching in conjunction with outdoor outfitter C.C. Filson’s line of clothes and gear of the same name. The 50% abv single malt whiskey is bottled without an age statement, but the company says it “traces major components of Westland’s five-year-old stock” and that peated and Sherry cask-matured whiskies are included. Westland’s Coldfoot will be available in extremely limited quantities—978 bottles—at a suggested price of $100 a 750-ml. Westland is part of the Rémy Cointreau portfolio.

Ardbeg, part of the Moët Hennessy portfolio, is launching Ardbeg Blaaack to commemorate the 20th anniversary of its Ardbeg Committee. The Islay-based whisky maker twenty years ago formed the committee to safeguard the legacy of the brand; it now boasts more than 100,000 members worldwide who are consulted on new bottlings and expressions. Named in reference to the sheep that the distillery takes its name from, Blaaack is a limited-edition release aged in Pinot Noir casks sourced from New Zealand and bottled at 46% abv. It retails at $140 a 750-ml.

Courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Review: Garryana 2018, Edition 3|1 Whiskey

In its quest to express the unique terroir of Westland’s Pacific Northwest origins, Westland Distillery’s ambitious Garryana series relies on the limited supply of the very rare Quercus garryana, a species of white oak that imparts a distinctive flavor profile to single malt whiskey. With the September release of Garryana 2018, Edition 3|1, Westland reveals how supply fluctuations can challenge the distilling team to evolve the series in new directions.

Unlike the previous two editions, which married ratios of full-term matured Garry oak casks to traditional oak casks, the limited supply of Garry oak forced Master Distiller Matt Hofmann and Blender Shane Armstrong to employ a series of vattings and casks finishes for this year’s edition. The resulting whiskey features component whiskies that are each matured in a combination of casks, producing a complex integrated flavor profile. With a mash bill of 5-malt, Washington Select and heavily peated, the whiskey was aged in Garry oak, New American oak, 1st fill ex-bourbon, 1st fill ex-Port and refill ex-Westland casks.

“Each year, we must begin with assessing what is available to us, and then be open to following a path that the cask and the whiskies reveal,” explains Hofmann. “Because we cannot rely on a formula, we must be inventive in the ways we work with the supply in order to end up with a whiskey we are proud of.”

Garryana 2018, Edition 3|1 (112 proof)
Visual: Copper.
Nose: Loads of toffee, and surprisingly, a banana-like ester that gives this a tropical nose. Quite unique.
Taste: Less peated than I expected, which isn’t a bad thing at all. It allows the malt to shine with a hearty and semi-spicy chew. The flavor is round and full, with a tannic sizzle on the far back palate.  Aggressive and wood-forward.
Finish: Long with some darker, molasses and toffee notes finishing the journey. Curiously, there is also a cigar-like tobacco taste that lingers for quite a while.
Overall: Definitely a lot going on here. Unlike any whiskey on the market ever.  Worth checking out if you can manage to procure a bottle.  This one won’t last long with collectors scooping it up.
GSN Rating: A-

For more information go to: Westland Distillery

GSN: Backbar Review – October 28-November 1, 2013

indexThe Macallan single malt Scotch has released the latest entry in its limited Masters of Photography series, the Elliott Erwitt Edition. A collection of 35 unique single-cask whiskies, each paired with a different 11”x14” print signed by photographer Elliott Erwitt, the new expression is packaged in a 375-ml. glass flask hidden inside a photo-archival book. Worldwide, 2,030 Elliott Erwitt Edition packs will be released, with 320 of the packs allocated for the U.S. market. Launching globally this month, The Masters of Photography: Elliott Erwitt Edition is priced at $1,500. The Erwitt entry follows The Macallan’s previous Masters of Photography collaborations with Annie Leibovitz, Albert Watson and Rankin.

indexGig Harbor, Washington-based Heritage Distilling is introducing a new offering, Elk Rider Blended Whiskey, in honor of its first anniversary. To be formally unveiled November 2, the new blended whiskey, made from local Northwest Washington ingredients, joins Elk Rider Vodka and Gin in the brand line. In addition to the Elk Rider range, Heritage also produces Commander’s Rye Whiskey, HDC Vodka, HDC Char Barrel Finished Vodka, HDC Soft Gin, Fall Classic Apple Cider Flavored Whiskey. The company’s brands are distributed in Washington and Oregon.

indexThe New Hampshire Liquor Commission (NHLC) is launching the first-ever barrel of Aberfeldy single cask Scotch available in the U.S. this fall. Currently available for pre-order through November 1, the 1997 Aberfeldy Single Cask entry is currently priced at $229.99 and includes a personalized engraved medallion with purchase. After November 1, remaining inventory will be offered at select New Hampshire Liquor & Wine Outlet stores for $249.99. Only 600 bottles of the limited edition, 16-year-old offering will be offered.

indexBeefeater Burrough’s Reserve is now rolling out in the U.S. market. The limited edition new product features gin made using the original Beefeater recipe and then finished in rare oak barrels selected by master distiller Desmond Payne. Burrough’s Reserve ($70 a 750-ml.) is produced in very small batches, and each bottle displays its batch and bottle number on the label.


indexSouth Africa’s Amarula liqueur has unveiled a new extension, Amarula Gold, a non-cream product that will be launched in key global markets early next year. Like Amarula Cream, Gold is also made from marula fruit that is fermented into a marula wine and then double-distilled and aged in oak for 24 months.



indexSeattle’s Westland Distillery has released the first bottling of its American Single Malt Whiskey. Westland’s American Single Malt, priced at $60 a 750-ml., is made from five different malted barleys and matured in heavily charred new American oak casks. The whiskey will be the flagship of Westland’s line. At its 13,000 square foot facility, the group is currently producing approximately 100 full-size casks a month. The American Single Malt is available now at retail and on-premise in Washington state, with more markets to follow.

indexBacardi has unveiled The Facundo Rum Collection, a new range of limited-edition, aged sipping rums. The collection, which is a tribute to Bacardi founder Don Facundo Bacardi Massó, will feature four handcrafted, luxury entries intended to appeal to Scotch and Cognac connoisseurs. Rolling out this month, the four rums will initially be available only in New York and Miami, limited to just 12,000 cases for their debut year. The first tier in the Facundo Collection is Neo ($45), a blended white rum made with liquid aged for up to 8 years, which is then carbon-filtered to remove color. Next in the range is Eximo ($60), which is blended prior to being aged for more than 10 years, and then Exquisito ($90), which is made with 7- to 23-year-old rums and finished in Sherry casks. The collection’s most upscale offering is Paraiso ($250), which is matured for up to 23 years and finished in Cognac casks. Each of the variants is intended to be consumed neat or on the rocks with the exception of Neo, which is also suggested to be consumed in cocktails.

indexThe Teeling Whiskey Co. has introduced a namesake single grain Irish whiskey. Teeling Single Grain is a 46% abv product fully matured in Californian Cabernet Sauvignon wine barrels. Single grain Irish whiskey bottlings are very rare because the grain whiskey is generally blended with heavier styles to produce most of the category’s leading brands. Teeling Whiskey Co. was founded by Jack Teeling in 2012, soon after his father, John, sold Cooley Distillery to Beam Inc (Jack had been Cooley’s sales and marketing director). The company is currently planning to build its own production facility in Dublin, which would be the city’s first new whiskey distillery in more than a century.

indexMassachusetts-based Heavenly Spirits is reintroducing France’s Armorik Breton single malt whisky to the U.S. The 46%-abv whisky’s Classic expression ($49 a 750-ml.) is made from 100% French malted barley, aged almost 7 years in refilled American Bourbon casks, and finished in Oloroso Sherry casks for three months. Armorik’s Double Maturation variant ($55) is aged 5 years in French oak from the Armorik forest and at least two years in Oloroso Sherry Casks. Concurrently, Heavenly Spirits has added Jules Theuriet Creme de Framboise to its range. The 18%-abv. raspberry liqueur comes in 750-ml. and 375-ml. sizes.

indexWashington, D.C.-based New Columbia Distillers is releasing a limited-edition seasonal gin, Ginavit. Ginavit was created by adding several traditional Scandinavian aquavit botanicals to New Columbia’s Green Hat Gin. The blend was then rested in apple brandy barrels for three months. Retailing at $40, Ginavit will hit D.C. Retailers and restaurants in limited quantities beginning next week.

All information courtesy of Shanken News Daily