GSN Spirited News: October 19th 2021 Edition

Deutsch Family Wine and Spirits’ Redemption Whiskey has launched its latest limited release, a Bourbon whiskey finished in Cognac barrels. The new whiskey brings together Redemption and Maison Ferrand’s namesake Cognac by finishing the former’s high-rye Bourbon in the latter’s casks. After its initial maturation the whiskey spent a year in Ferrand Cognac casks before bottling at 49.5% abv. Redemption Cognac Cask Finish Whiskey is now available nationwide, while supplies last, for a suggested price of $70 a bottle.

Edrington’s The Macallan has kicked off a new series of limited edition whiskies with The Macallan Harmony Collection Rich Cacao. The collection will trace the brand’s trek toward sustainable packaging while showing off select whiskies from The Macallan’s library. This release was selected, as its name suggests, for its chocolate-forward flavor profile and was inspired by whisky maker Polly Logan’s work with Spanish pastry chef Jordi Roca and chocolatier Damian Allsop. The whisky’s box is 100% biodegradable and made from used cacao husks. It’s bottled at 44% abv and blends European and American Sherry-seasoned oak casks and is now available globally for a suggested price of $160.

Molson Coors has entered the spirits category with Five Trail Blended American whiskey. The 47.5% abv whiskey is blended from three Bourbons, including a four grain recipe and a 13-year-old Bourbon, along with a Colorado single malt. Molson Coors’ initial foray into brown spirits was made in a partnership with Kentucky’s Bardstown Bourbon Company. Five Trail is now available in Colorado, Georgia, Nevada, and New York for around $60 a bottle.

William Grant & Sons has launched The Balvenie Tun 1509 Batch 8, the final release in the Tun 1509 series. The 52.3% abv whisky was blended from 18 rare casks selected by malt master David Stewart and rested together for three months in the collection’s namesake Tun, or large oak vessel for marrying whiskies. Batch 8 is rolling out now in limited quantities across the U.S. for a suggested price of $410.

Louis XIII Cognac is introducing a new special edition aimed exclusively at upscale nightclubs. The luxury Cognac’s N°XIII edition is packaged in individually numbered red decanters with six red bespoke crystal glasses made by glassmaker Saint-Louis. Only 200 N°XIII editions were created, and they’re targeted to select nightclubs.

Tullamore Dew, part of the William Grant & Sons portfolio, has debuted Tully Chips, a new package of six 50-ml. bottles of the brand’s flagship Irish whiskey. The minis are packaged in a bag reminiscent, like the name suggests, of those used for potato chips. Tully Chips are now available in select retailers in Illinois, South Carolina, Texas, Maryland, and Washington, D.C., as well as through caskers.com in Florida and California.

Infinium Spirits is launching two new expressions under the Zaya rum brand, Cocobana (40% abv) and Alta Fuerza (57.5% abv), retailing at $30 and $40 respectively. Both are blends of aged rums, with Alta Fuerza, meaning “High Force,” being the overproof variant. Infinium vice president of marketing Marcel Durand cited the growth of “the premium, super premium, and ultra premium rum categories aided by the rising popularity of craft rum cocktails, as well as dedicated rum bars,” in announcing the launch.

Clase Azul Spirits is introducing a new multi-year Día de Muertos series of limited editions called Nuestros Recuerdos (“Our Memories”), which will feature one release per year from now through Fall of 2025. The first installment in the Nuestros Recuerdos series is a single-estate agave Tequila called Sabores (“flavors”). Inspired by the holiday’s gastronomical traditions, Sabores debuts today, with 5,000 decanters available worldwide, priced at $750 each. Future editions in the series will include offerings titled Aromas (“scents”), Colores (“colors”), Música (“music”), and Recuerdos (“memories”).

Dallas, Texas-based Oak & Eden has announced the latest releases in the Anthro series, the distillery’s collaborative releases made with musicians. The new collection, the Troubadour chapter, features five whiskies all available through the distillery’s website. The new collaborations are from John Paul White of the Civil Wars (a barrel proof four grain Bourbon finished with a charred American oak spire), Jamestown Revival (a barrel proof rye with a toasted French oak spire), Filmore (a 45% abv four grain Bourbon finished with toasted American oak and made with honey and coffee), Penny & Sparrow (a barrel proof Bourbon finished with an American oak spire), and Abraham Alexander (a 45% abv Bourbon finished with an American oak spire and infused with vanilla).

Ireland’s Waterford Whisky, founded by industry veteran Mark Reynier, has unveiled a new whisky called The Cuvée, which will become the distillery’s flagship offering. Retailing at $95 a 750-ml. and carrying an abv of 50%, The Cuvée was inspired by the great châteaux of Bordeaux and created via the winemaker’s art of assemblage. It includes 25 component whiskies, each distilled and matured from a single barley harvest of a single Irish farm. Waterford head distiller Ned Gahan separately assessed each whisky for its terroir-driven attributes, then blended them to create The Cuvée, which is bottled at natural color, is not chill filtered, and features a “terroir code” that links to details on the component whiskies and production.

The House of Suntory has announced the 2021 limited-edition bottling of Hibiki Harmony. The special bottling features flowers and flowing water across the 24 faces of the bottle, which represent the seasons according to the Japanese lunar calendar and pays tribute to the Ryusui-Hyakka (one-hundred flowers and flowing water). The whisky is bottled at 43% abv and will be available in limited quantities across the U.S. at a suggested price of $125 a 750-ml.

Information courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Spirited News: September 21st 2021 Edition

William Grant & Sons’ Hudson Whiskey has launched Four Part Harmony, the distillery’s oldest release so far. The 7-year-old whiskey is made from 60% corn, 15% rye, 15% wheat, and 10% malted barley, and is bottled at 46% abv. The new whiskey is a limited edition offering and retails for $70 a bottle.

Hangar 1, part of the Proximo Spirits portfolio, has partnered with Crimson Wine Group to introduce Smoke Point, a limited edition vodka made from smoke-tinged grapes from California wildfires. Retailing at $50 a 750-ml., Smoke Point will be distributed nationally. The spirit was distilled from Napa Valley Malbec and Merlot grapes affected by the smoke and heat from the devastating 2020 Glass Fire that swept through Napa and Sonoma last year. All proceeds will be donated to the California Fire Foundation to raise awareness of the growing California fire season.

Diageo has released the latest batch of Blade and Bow 22-year-old Kentucky Straight Bourbon whiskey, with this iteration celebrating the 86th anniversary of the Stitzel-Weller distillery. The 46% abv Bourbon will be available in limited quantities in 19 markets across the U.S. as well as at the brand’s Garden and Gun Club in Louisville, Kentucky. The newly opened club will feature a unique tasting experience tied to the 22-year-old whiskey.

Infinium SpiritsCorralejo Tequila has added a new Extra Añejo expression as the latest addition to the brand’s core portfolio. The 40% abv Tequila is distilled from 100% blue agave and matures for 36 months in charred American oak barrels before bottling. The new release is set to hit shelves in select retailers by the end of September and will carry an $80 suggested retail price. This is the third Extra Añejo Tequila in Corralejo’s portfolio, alongside the $130 Corralejo 1821 release and a $250 limited edition Extra Añejo that matured in Templeton rye barrels.

Bardstown, Kentucky-based Kentucky Owl is partnering with Bardstown Bourbon Company on a new release. Called The Wiseman Bourbon, it’s a straight Bourbon blended from Kentucky Owl 4-year-old wheat and high-rye Bourbons along with other 5- and 8-year-old liquid. The Wiseman is the first release for Kentucky Owl under new master blender John Rhea, who was inducted into the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame in 2016 and joined the distillery in June of this year. At 45.4% abv, The Wiseman will be available soon at select retailers across Kentucky Owl’s national footprint, priced at $60 a 750-ml.

Baileys is reintroducing its Apple Pie flavor this fall, partnering with four bakeries across the country to create apple pie-inspired desserts infused with the flavor of Baileys Irish Cream Liqueur. They include The Pie Hole in Los Angeles, Four & Twenty Blackbirds in Brooklyn, Georgetown Cupcake in Washington, D.C., and Justice of the Pies in Chicago. Baileys Apple Pie is rolling out nationally, retailing at $25 a 750-ml.

Codigo 1530 Tequila is debuting a George Strait Special Edition Rosa-Reposado expression, retailing at $75-$80. The newcomer is made by aging Codigo’s Tequila Rosa in uncharred French oak wine barrels for three months, then finishing it in Spanish Sherry casks.The bottles feature a custom print with country music star and partner George Strait’s silhouette, guitar, and signature. Codigo 1530 is present in all 50 states.

Miami, Florida-based Tropical Distillers is launching a new addition to its J.F. Haden’s line of liqueurs. The second spirit the brand brings to market is J.F. Haden’s Citrus Liqueur, made with oranges, limes, and lemons grown in Florida at the company’s Miami distillery, without preservatives, artificial colors, or flavors. It’s at 20% abv and joins Mango Liqueur in the J.F. Haden’s lineup, with RNDC providing distribution in Florida and Georgia to start, with expansion to other states including New York and Nevada to follow.

Kentucky Peerless Distilling has announced Double Oak Bourbon, the latest release from the Louisville-based craft distiller. Like the name suggests, the whiskey is matured in two separate barrels, transferring from its initial barrel to a new charred oak barrel midway through its aging. Initially, Peerless’ Double Oak Bourbon was bottled periodically as a single barrel whiskey available at the distillery, but the producer is now expanding the offering to select retailers in Kentucky, California, Illinois, Florida, and New York.

Information courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Spirited News: February 2nd 2021 Edition

Casa Komos Beverage Group (CKPG) has partnered with Molson Coors Beverage Company to distribute Superbird, a Tequila-based canned cocktail. Initially, the partnership will bring Superbird to 10 new markets through spring. The RTD, a 5.9% abv canned Paloma cocktail, is made with 100% blue agave Tequila, grapefruit juice, agave nectar, and sparkling water. This move marks an expansion by Molson Coors into the world of premium, spirits-based RTDs.

Dewar’s 8 year old Portuguese Smooth has been finished in ruby port casks for four months. Single malt Scotch makers have employed port casks for years, prizing them for the fruity, intense flavors they impart—think Balvenie 21 year old Portwood, Dalmore Port Wood Reserve, and Glenmorangie 14 year old Quinta Ruban, No. 9 in Whisky Advocate’s 2019 Top 20. But for blends, the fortified wine casks are largely new terrain. So when Dewar’s master blender Stephanie Macleod was given the opportunity to use port casks for a new expression, she jumped at the chance.

William Grant & Sons has released Hendrick’s Gin Lunar, the second spirit in the brand’s Cabinet of Curiosity series. The 43.4% abv gin’s recipe was created by master distiller Lesley Grace and has the cucumber and rose Hendrick’s is known for plus citrus, baking spice, and floral notes. The release is rolling out now across the U.S. and will be available for a limited time for around $40 a 750-ml. In a nod to the first full moon of the year, Hendrick’s is also selling a ‘moonbathing’ kit—moongoogles, a moon blanket, and moonscreen lotion—to celebrate the release.

Beam Suntory’s Bowmore Islay Scotch whisky has launched a new 30-year-old expression, set to be released annually. The whisky is bottled at cask strength—45.3% abv—and matured in Sherry and Bourbon casks in the distillery’s No. 1 vaults. The release will be drawn from only two casks each year and will be an extremely limited offering. Roughly 2,600 bottles of the first iteration are available globally with a U.S. suggested retail price of $2,500.

Sheffield, Massachusetts-based Berkshire Mountain Distillers is launching a series of new whiskies as part of its Craft Brewers Whiskey Project. The whiskies were made in partnership with various brewers in the Northeast and are the result of a five-year collaboration entailing the distillation of more than 10 beers, though each final release is the result of a single source beer. The first three expressions, due out in February, were created using Massachusetts Bay Brewing’s UFO White Ale, Spencer Brewery’s Trappist Ale, and Big Elm Brewing’s 413 Farmhouse Ale and are all at 43% abv. Forthcoming entries in the series will highlight Samuel Adams, Jack’s Abby, and Brewery Ommegang, among others. The series will be available for purchase at Berkshire Mountain’s taproom and in select stores and restaurants.

Winebow is adding LiV craft vodka cocktails to its portfolio across 15 wholesale markets. LiV includes Southampton Lemonade, Watermelon Crush, Last Summer Lime Fizz, and Long Island Cold Brew Tea, and retails at $12 a 4-pack of 12-ounce cans. Each can has 100 calories, is 5% abv, and is sugar- and gluten-free. LiV is part of the Long Island Spirits portfolio, which also includes LiV vodka, Rough Rider and Pine Barrens whiskies, Deepwells gin, and Sorbetta liqueurs.

Hennessy has released a new limited edition cocktail kit, featuring the brand’s XO Cognac. The Hennessy XO 49 Commemorative Cocktail Set contains a bottle of XO, a recipe for the 49th cocktail, an ice mold, and a pair of glasses etched with the 49th, referring to election of the first Black and South Asian American Madam Vice President of the U.S., Kamala Harris. The cocktail features the Cognac, as well as hibiscus and pomegranate teas, and orange. The kit is currently available through Cocktail Courier for $260. In addition, Hennessy is donating to the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, above the brand’s previous $10 million scholarship commitment.

Courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Spirited News: October 13th 2020 Edition

Lansdale, Pennsylvania-based Boardroom Spirits is introducing a new Vanilla vodka ($27 a 750-ml.), along with two vodka-based ready-to-drink bottled cocktails, the Blueberry Blush and the Spiced Vanilla Peartini (both $38 a 750-ml.). The Vanilla vodka is made with Madagascar Bourbon vanilla beans and bottled at 32% abv, while the cocktails are at 21% abv. In addition to both bottled and canned cocktails, Boardroom’s range includes gin, Bourbon, rum, vodka, liqueurs, and flavored spirits.

William Grant & Sons has announced the latest release in the Balvenie Tun 1509 series, Batch 7. The 52.4% abv whisky is assembled from 21 casks—10 refill Sherry butts, 4 refill barrels, and 7 Sherry hogsheads—that were blended and left to marry for three months before bottling. Balvenie Tun 1509 Batch 7 is now rolling out across the U.S. for around $410 a 750-ml.

Brooklyn-based Kings County Distillery is launching a 7-Year Single Barrel BourbonDistilled in July 2013 and bottled at 107 proof, this barrel was reduced by a 34% angel’s share and was matured in the “greenhouse-like upstairs aging room” in the company’s Brooklyn Navy Yard distillery. This release will be sold only at the distillery, but future offerings from Kings County’s Single Barrel series will be distributed to key accounts in New York and beyond.

Rumson, New Jersey-based Penelope Bourbon has launched Rosé Cask Finish, a new limited edition. The 47% abv whiskey is blended from three different mashbills using four grains before finishing in barrels previously used to mature French rosé made from Grenache grapes. Penelope Rosé Cask Finish joins a Straight Bourbon whiskey and a barrel proof offering in the brand’s portfolio. Penelope sources its whiskies from Lawrenceburg, Indiana’s MGP Ingredients. Only 2,400 bottles of the new whiskey will be released and it will retail for around $65 a 750-ml.

Diageo is launching a new line of limited whiskies from its Tullahoma, Tennessee-based Cascade Hollow Distilling Co. Cascade Moon Edition No. 1 is an 11-year-old whisky at 42% abv, which is being promoted via the tagline “Mellow as Moonlight.” It’s rolling out in Tennessee, California, and Texas, retailing at $90. Cascade Hollow general manager and distiller Nicole Austin blended the whisky to feature similar tasting notes to those found in a gose-style beer. A second release from the Cascade Moon series will follow later this fall.

Louisville, Kentucky-based Barrell Craft Spirits has introduced Barrell Armida, a blend of three straight Bourbon whiskies finished separately in Pear Brandy, Jamaican Rum, and Sicilian Amaro casks. Armida was bottled at 56.06% abv and is available at select retailers within the brand’s current 45 U.S. markets and online via the BCS website. A limited run of 3,700 750-ml. bottles is rolling out, retailing at $90. An independent blender and bottler of aged, cask-strength sourced whiskey and rum, Barrell Craft was founded by former marketing and tech entrepreneur Joe Beatrice in in 2013.

Portland, Oregon’s Freeland Spirits has introduced a new canned French 75 cocktail. The 15.5% abv cocktail is made with Freeland gin, lemon juice, and Inox Unoaked Chardonnay from Chehalem Winery. The combination is carbonated and packaged in 8.4-ounce cans. Four-packs are now available at Freeland’s tasting room and in retailers in Oregon, Washington, California, Florida, Illinois, and New York for around $17. Freeland’s French 75 joins American gin, Bourbon, Genever-inspired spirit Geneva, and a canned Gin and Tonic in the distillery’s portfolio.

Chopin Imports has launched a selection of spirits from Ireland’s Hinch Distillery in the U.S. For the initial rollout, Chopin has released Hinch Small Batch whiskey (matured in Bourbon casks and retailing for $30), Hinch 5 Year Old Double Wood (ex-Bourbon and new American oak, $40), Hinch 10 Year Old Sherry Cask ($55), and Ninth Wave gin ($30.) These spirits are now available in 11 states with national distribution (and an expanded lineup including Single Malt and Pot Still whiskies) to follow in February 2021.

Nashville, Tennessee’s Brown Water Spirits has launched O.H. Ingram River Aged Straight whiskeyThe 46% abv whiskey matured in a floating rickhouse in the Mississippi River in Ballard County, Kentucky. This is the first release from Brown Water Spirits, and the company says the next offering in its River Aged series, a straight rye, will follow in November. O.H. Ingram River Aged Straight whiskey is now available in Tennessee with expansion into other markets coming as more of the whiskey becomes available.

Luxury Tequila brand PaQui has debuted across six U.S. states, including New York, California, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and Tennessee. The new brand includes 100%-blue agave Silvera ($50 a 750-ml.), Reposado ($60), and Añejo ($70) expressions and is made by master Tequilero Gilberto Jasso in Jalisco, Mexico. PaQui means “to be happy” in the Aztec language, and its bottle design is inspired by an Aztec pyramid. Founder John Chappell is a veteran of Banfi, Boston Beer, and Labatt USA.

Edrington’s The Glenrothes has announced its oldest whisky so far, a 50-year-old single malt distilled in November 1968. The whisky matured in ex-Bourbon and ex-Sherry casks before bottling at 48% abv. Each bottle is sold in a lacquered black case and the whisky comes in a numbered crystal decanter. Only 50 bottles will be available globally, retailing at $35,000. Buyers will be invited to the Glenrothes estate (typically closed to the public) and enrolled in a 50-member club with the other buyers, offering the chance to purchase exclusive malts in the future.

Courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Spirited News: September 29th 2020 Edition

Moët Hennessy USA is set to launch A Tale of Cake, the newest limited release from single malt Scotch brand Glenmorangie, in October. The 46% abv whisky was finished in Tokaji casks. A Tale of Cake’s launch will be accompanied by a promotional campaign involving cocktails and cake recipes by Jeremy Le Blanche and Dominique Ansel, respectively, to go with the new whisky and with Glenmorangie’s core releases. The whisky will retail for around $99 a 750-ml.

Brown-Forman has announced a new three-batch Bourbon release to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Old Forester. The three whiskies will each be at cask strength and bottled in amber-colored glass reminiscent of hand-blown bottles used in the 19th century. Batch 1 is bottled at 62.8% abv and is made from 46 barrels; Batch 2 is made from 48 barrels and bottled at 63.2% abv; and Batch 3 is assembled from 53 barrels and is at 63.4% abv. Old Forester 150th Anniversary Bourbon is bottled unfiltered—only barrel char sediment has been removed—and will be available in limited quantities across the U.S. for around $150 a 750-ml.

Goslings Rum is offering a new limited release called Papa Seal Single Barrel Bermuda Rum. It was blended from a range of pot- and column-distilled rums that run between 10 and 21 years aged in white oak barrels and aged another two years in Bermuda, ultimately bottled at 41.5% abv. Only 1,500 bottles of Papa Seal 2020 will be available nationwide, each hand-labeled with its barrel number, bottle number, and bottling date. Beginning next month it will be available at select retailers in 16 states as well as online, retailing for $199 a 750-ml.

Edrington has announced the sixth and final release in the Macallan Edition Series. The Macallan Edition No. 6 is a 48.6% abv whisky made from liquid matured in both European and American Sherry-seasoned oak casks. Tying in with the launch, the Macallan has started a partnership with the Atlantic Salmon Trust to support efforts to protect at-risk fish, including in the Macallan’s own section of the river Spey. The Macallan Edition No. 6 is rolling out globally this month and will retail for around $150 in the U.S. Last year, the Macallan was at 268,000 cases in the U.S., according to Impact Databank.

Heaven Hill Brands has released a packaging refresh for parts of the Evan Williams family of whiskies. Evan Williams Black’s new label sports a richer gold color and a black and gold capsule with Evan Williams’s signature. The bottled-in-bond release features a green and white label that more prominently shows the higher proof and the standards of bonded whiskey; the capsule shows the tax strip designating the whiskey as bonded. Evan Williams’ flavored releases will now feature a centered label and the new bottle shape.

Minnesota-based Prestige Beverage has added Davidoff Cognac to its import portfolio for the U.S. The company is now rolling out Davidoff’s V.S. ($35), V.S.O.P. ($50), and X.O. ($150) releases—all bottled at 40% abv—in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, North and South Carolina, North and South Dakota, Nevada, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Texas, and Wisconsin.

William Grant & Sons has relaunched Milagro Select Barrel Reserve, the brand’s luxury-priced tier. The full line—Blanco ($40), Reposado ($45), and Añejo ($55)—is returning to market in new bottles inspired by Mexican architectural works and featuring an engraved agave plant and colors specific to each release.

Proximo Spirits has made former special edition Kraken Black Roast Coffee rum a permanent addition to the line. The 33.3% abv rum is made from macerating the brand’s Trinidadian spiced rum with coffee beans to create a richly spiced and sweet spirit, according to the company. Kraken Black Roast Coffee rum is now available across the U.S.

Sombra mezcal, part of the Davos Brands portfolio, has unveiled a new bottle design. The new packaging, which rolls out this fall, takes its inspiration from the vaso veladora, glass cups traditionally used to contain prayer candles that are common in Oaxacan churches. The updated design also includes a refreshed logo, copper lettering, and a reduced glass weight to be more eco-friendly. Sombra, which translates to “shadow,” is at 90 proof and retails at $35 a 750-ml.

Clase Azul Tequila has announced the launch of the 2020 edition of its Día de Muertos Tequila, set to hit shelves on October 1. The 40% abv spirit is made from a blend of Clase Azul’s Plata, 8-month-old reposado, and 5-year-old Ultra—aged in ex-Sherry casks—Tequilas. The 2020 Día de Muertos Tequila is a limited release and only 2,000 bottles will be available globally, retailing for around $400 a 750-ml.

The Dalmore has launched the latest release in its Principal Collection, a 12-year-old single malt finished in Sherry casks. The 43% abv whisky is initially aged for 10 years in American oak barrels previously used to mature Bourbon before finishing for up to three years in casks that held Pedro Ximenez and Oloroso sherry. The Dalmore 12-year-old Sherry Cask Select single malt is now available in the U.K. and major Asian markets with a U.S. launch to follow in 2021.

Plantation rum has extended its portfolio with two new Fijian rums. Plantation Isle of Fiji is a permanent addition to the range. Distilled in pot and column stills at Rum Co. of Fiji, and then double-aged in Fiji and France, it’s at 40% abv and retails at $25 a 750-ml. Plantation Fiji Vintage 2005 is the first offering in Plantation’s new Birds of Paradise vintage collection. It was first distilled in triple column stills and aged for 14 years in Bourbon casks in the mild climate of the Fiji Islands, then spent an additional year in Ferrand French Oak barrels in the House’s cellars in Cognac. The limited edition is at 50.2% abv and retails at $80.

Chicago-based House of Somrus is adding to its range with a new Coffee Cream liqueur. The line extension is made with coffee and chicory, together with real dairy cream from Wisconsin and quintuple-distilled Caribbean rum. Retailing at $25 a 750-ml., it carries an abv of 13.5% and is rolling out across 21 states.

Courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Spirited News: September 15th 2020 Edition

Evanston, Illinois-based Few Spirits has launched Immortal rye, a new whiskey proofed down to bottling strength with tea. The 46.5% abv whiskey is made by blending cask strength Few rye with 8 Immortals tea from Denver’s the Tea Spot. The whiskey does not contain added sugar or other additives. The whiskey’s label art showcases a dragon print that was shown at the 1893 World’s Fair. The initial release is limited—only 6,000 bottles—and is rolling out now across the U.S. for around $45 a 750-ml.

Japanese whisky maker Nikka is releasing a pair of new whiskies finished in apple brandy barrels in an homage to the company’s origins producing apple juice and other apple products before launching the first Nikka whisky in 1940. The first release is Yoichi Single Malt Whisky Finished in Apple Brandy Barrels, produced at Nikka’s founding distillery on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido. The second is Miyagikyo Single Malt Whisky Finished in Apple Brandy Barrels, produced in Sendai, Japan. Both are at 40% abv and retail for $250 a 750-ml. Imported by San Francisco-based Hotaling & Co., they will be distributed in California, New York, Texas, Illinois, Massachusetts, Florida, Colorado, Washington, and Tennessee.

Benriach single malt Scotch whisky, part of the Brown-Forman portfolio, has revamped its core lineup and unveiled two new expressions. The newcomers include Smoky Ten and Smoky Twelve whiskies, retailing at $60 and $65 a 750-ml., respectively. Those offerings join the Original Ten ($54) and Original Twelve ($60) in the range, which has been repackaged and will be hitting the market in its new incarnation next month. Benriach will follow with Twenty-One, Twenty-Five, and Thirty-Year-Old single malts in the U.S. next year.

Heaven Hill has announced the 2020 iteration of Parker’s Heritage. This year’s whiskey is a 10-year-old Bourbon matured in heavily charred barrels. The spirit was distilled from a mash of 72% corn, 12% malted barley, and 10% rye, and aged in level 5 char barrels, as opposed to Heaven Hill’s typical level 3 char barrels. The whiskey is bottled at 60% abv and is rolling out now in limited quantities across the U.S. for around $120 a 750-ml. A portion of the proceeds from each bottle goes to fund research and patient care for those diagnosed with ALS.

Tequila Partida has debuted Roble Fino, a line of luxury sipping Tequilas. The new range includes a Reposado ($100 a 750-ml.), aged for a minimum of 6 months in ex-Bourbon barrels and then aged for two more months in ex-single malt, Sherry-seasoned casks; a Reposado Cristalino ($115), finished in ex-single malt, Sherry-seasoned casks; and an Añejo ($125), aged for 18 months in ex-Bourbon barrels, then finished for five more months in ex-single malt, Sherry-seasoned casks. All three Tequilas are now rolling out in New York, California, Florida, Illinois, and Texas, with additional markets to follow.

Beam Suntory has launched this year’s version of Basil Hayden’s 10-Year-Old Bourbon. The 40% abv whiskey is made from the company’s high-rye mashbill. It serves as the higher-end limited release for the brand and sits alongside the flagship Basil Hayden’s Bourbon, Basil Hayden’s Dark Rye, and other limited releases like 10-year-old rye, and Caribbean Reserve Rye. Basil Hayden’s 10-year-old is now available across the U.S. for around $70 a 750-ml.

Diageo has released Captain Morgan Sliced Apple, the latest flavored offshoot for the spiced rum brand. The 35% abv rum is made from the original spiced rum with added ginger and apple flavoring. Captain Morgan Sliced Apple is now available across the U.S. for around $16 a 750-ml.

San Francisco, California-based Gold Bar Spirits Co. has launched Rickhouse Cask Strength Straight BourbonThe whiskey is distilled from a mash of 80% corn and 20% rye and is bottled at 51.5% abv. With this new release, Gold Bar continues its partnership with the San Francisco 49ers, with Rickhouse named the official whiskey of the team’s Faithful to the Bay campaign. Rickhouse is now available in major retailers across the U.S. and on the company’s website for around $35 a 750-ml.

Minnetonka, Minnesota’s Dashfire has announced a new line of hard coffees, set to launch throughout the state at the end of the month. The 14% abv RTDs will come in three flavors—Rum Café Mocha, Rum Golden Latte, and Bourbon Cold Brew—and all will be available in individual 200-ml. cans. Southern Glazer’s will distribute Dashfire’s hard coffees in Minnesota and the company is planning for a wider release through Vision Wine & Spirits in the future.

Moët Hennessy-owned Belvedere has long looked to differentiate itself by bringing the concept of terroir to the vodka category. Now the brand is introducing its new Heritage 176 expression and a “Made With Nature” platform, highlighting its Polish origins and craftsmanship. Heritage 176 is rolling out across 20 U.S. markets, retailing at $35 a 750-ml. The new offering nods to the 19th century practice of malting rye by kiln-heating—which Belvedere says unlocks distinctive flavors in the resulting liquid—with its distillers applying fire to malt the rye before distillation. It’s intended to be served over ice with a lemon twist.

William Grant & SonsHudson Whiskey has rebranded with more mature offerings and a new, more accessible price point. The distillery’s Baby Bourbon is now Bright Lights, Big Bourbon, a 46% abv whiskey retailing at $40 a 750-ml. Manhattan Rye has relaunched as Do the Rye Thing, also bottled at 46% abv and retailing for $40. The company’s Maple Cask Rye, a whiskey finished in maple syrup barrels, has rebranded as Short Stack and will retail at around $55. The company also has launched Back Room Deal, a new rye whiskey finished in barrels used to age peated Scotch, which will retail at around $55 a 750-ml.

Courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Spirited News: February 11th 2020 Edition

Pernod Ricard has unveiled a limited edition label for Jameson Irish whiskey, which is rolling out for St. Patrick’s Day. The new label includes designs by Dublin-based graphic designer Stephen Heffernan, aka Hephee. The bottles feature a QR code that brings up a website where fans can remix the label using Hephee’s designs and enter for a chance to win a Jameson bar sign matching their design (in some markets, consumers can also win bottles of Jameson with their custom labels).

Lucas Bols USA’s Passoã liqueur has announced a bottle and label redesign that highlights the brand’s natural passion fruit flavor. The new logo also features a sunset graphic (replacing a tropically colored Brazilian flag), above a reminder that Passoã is made with natural flavoring. The 20% abv liqueur retails for $18 for a 750-ml. and it’s recommended as an ingredient in sangria or a mimosa.

Austin, Texas-based Ballotin Chocolate Whiskey has released its latest portfolio extension, Chocolate Mocha Whiskey Cream. The 17% abv spirit blends whiskey and chocolate coffee cream liqueur, and is available across the brand’s 25-state distribution footprint. It joins Chocolate Cherry, Chocolate, Bourbon Ball, Chocolate Mint, and Caramel Turtle in Ballotin’s portfolio.

Minneapolis, Minnesota-based Tattersall Distilling is releasing a limited-edition collaboration with Surly Brewing Co. Tattersall has taken Surly’s Darkness Russian Imperial Stout and distilled it to create Darkness Bierschnapps, a 20% abv spirit. Two bottles of the Stout go into each 750-ml. of Bierschnapps and nearly 600 gallons were used in total to produce 200 cases. After distillation it is aged twice—in new charred white oak barrels and in the original stout barrels. It’s available now at select retailers throughout the Midwest, retailing for $30.

Beam Suntory has launched Courvoisier Avant-Garde Bourbon Cask Edition, the latest limited time offering for the Cognac brand. The spirit is made from Courvoisier’s VSOP blend and finished in Bourbon barrels before bottling at 40% abv. Due to labeling laws, the new Courvoisier is labeled as a spirit drink made of Cognac finished in Bourbon barrels. The brand is the third-largest Cognac brand in the U.S., and last year saw a successful launch for its Master’s Cask Collection Sherry Cask Finish.

Massachusetts-based M.S. Walker is adding Gin Lane 1751 to its import portfolio. The London-based, small-batch gin brand is produced by eighth-generation master distiller Charles Maxwell. Gin Lane 1751 includes four expressions: London Dry ($30 a 750-ml.), Victorian Pink ($35), Old Tom ($40), and London Royal Strength ($40).

Cognac Frapin has introduced three new limited-edition blends in the U.S. They include Cellar Master Edition No. 1 (retailing at $99, 46.7% abv), Collector Edition 1994 ($199, 40.8% abv), and Plume Frapin ($3,500, 40% abv). Cellar Master Edition No. 1 was aged for over 10 years, while Collector Edition 1994 aged for 24 years, and Plume Frapin spent more than 60 years in the distiller’s Paradis cellar, with only 100 carafes (finished with 18-carat rose gold) coming to the U.S.

William Grant & Sons has added two new offerings to its Glenfiddich Rare Collection, both dating from 1975. Glenfiddich Cask 4706 comes in at 48% abv and matured in a European oak Sherry butt. Cask 5114 was matured in a European oak hogshead, a rarity for the company, and is at 54.7% abv. The 44-year-old whiskies are bottled at cask strength and are non-chill-filtered. Only 100 bottles of each will be available at a suggested price of $9,000 a 750-ml.

Beam Suntory-owned Kilbeggan Irish whiskey is releasing a single pot still limited edition. The mashbill is based on a recipe used at the distillery more than a century ago that notably features oats in addition to raw and malted barley. It’s double distilled to 43% abv and is the second limited release to be fully distilled and matured at Kilbeggan following the distillery’s 2010 restoration. Kilbeggan Single Pot Still is rolling out in the U.S. this month, retailing for $45 a 750-ml.

Proximo Spirits and country music stars Jason Aldean and Florida Georgia Line have teamed up to create Wolf Moon Bourbon. The 40% abv whiskey is distilled from grain sourced from the Midwest and bottled after 4 years of aging in Lawrenceburg, Indiana. This is the second whiskey released by Florida Georgia Line members Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard, following 2016’s Old Camp Whiskey, also part of the Proximo portfolio. Wolf Moon is currently available in select markets and is rolling out nationally soon for a suggested price of $24 a 750-ml.

Woodford Reserve is launching a new Batch Proof whiskey as part of its Master’s Collection series. The newcomer is made with the same grain bill and process as Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon and bottled at 123.6 proof. Retailing at $130 a 750-ml., the limited edition whiskey is rolling out in select U.S. and global markets. Woodford is part of the Brown-Forman portfolio.

Winebow has partnered with the U.K.’s Halewood Wines & Spirits to bring two whisk(e)y brands to the United States beginning on March 1. First up is Crabbie’s Yardhead Single Malt Scotch, a 40% abv whisky distilled in the Scottish Highlands and matured in ex-Bourbon barrels. The whisky is positioned as an entry-level malt for drinkers first discovering the category and will retail at around $25 a 750-ml. Winebow will also handle distribution for Peaky Blinder Irish Whiskey, a 40% abv blended whiskey matured in Sherry casks. Peaky Blinder will retail at around $19 a 750-ml. Both whiskies will be available in 750-ml. and 1-liter bottles.

Courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Backbar Review: April 28-May 2, 2014

indexHeaven Hill Distilleries’ Burnett’s vodka brand has released a new trio of flavored entries. Rolling out nationwide next month, Burnett’s Ruby Red Grapefruit, Mango Pineapple and Red Berry will be available in 1.75-liter, 1-liter, 750-ml. and 50-ml. formats, priced at around $10.99 a 750-ml. The three additions bring the Burnett’s flavored vodka range to a total of 37 entries.

indexStoli Group USA is looking to boost its namesake vodka brand with a campaign centered on the Moscow Mule cocktail, which includes vodka, ginger beer and lime served in a copper mug. In line with the effort, Stoli has created its own branded ginger beer, which is rolling out to both the on- and off-premise in four-packs that will retail at $5.99.

indexWashington, D.C.-based One Eight Distilling is slated to make its debut this summer with the launch of a new craft spirits collection. The distillery’s initial offerings will include Rock Creek White Whiskey, Ivy City Gin and District Made Vodka, all of which are handcrafted using locally-sourced rye. The trio will be available both on- and off-premise throughout the city’s metro area. One Eight, which is named for Article One, Section Eight of the Constitution, bills itself as the second distillery to open in Washington, D.C. since Prohibition.

indexWilliam Grant & Sons has launched Ancho Reyes—a Mexican ancho chile liqueur—in select U.S. markets. Produced by Licorera Ancho Reyes y Cia., Ancho Reyes is based on a traditional 1920s recipe and made using hand-selected ancho chiles. The 40%-abv liqueur, which features dried chile, cinnamon, cacao and tamarind notes, among other flavors, can be consumed neat or in cocktails. Retailing for around $32.99 a 750-ml., Ancho Reyes is currently available both on- and off-premise across California, Nevada, Texas, New York, Florida, Wisconsin, Colorado and Washington.

indexHeaven Hill has expanded availability Lunazul Tequila’s Primero expression nationwide. A 100%-agave añejo Tequila, Lunazul Primero is aged for 18 months and then filtered eight times, resulting in a clear color. The 40%-abv offering retails for around $24.99 a 750-ml. Along with Primero, the accessibly-priced, 100%-agave Lunazul range also features Blanco, Reposado and Añejo entries, priced at between $20-$22 a 750-ml.

All information courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN at Tales 2012 – Lesson Three (Be Here Now)

On opening night of Tales, I had the opportunity to chat for awhile with Gary “gaz” Regan.  We were both on a bus taking a group of Tale-ies (not the same as those on the TV series “Lost”) to a gigantic party hosted by William Grant & Sons at the New Orleans Museum of Art.  gaz and I see eye to eye on a lot of things besides bartending.  One of them is what he calls “mindfulness”.  To bring the concept down to just one sentence, it could be summarized as “Live in the moment”.  It sounds ridiculously simple, but it’s not easy to put into practice.  Just think of how much of our lives are spent living in the past or the future.

Some examples that I’m sure a lot of bartenders can relate to:

That jerk of a customer or boss who set you off, and even hours later is still affecting your mood for the rest of your day.  Living in the past of the moment they sent negative energy into your life, and instead of moving beyond it, you absorbed it.

Or, you have a job interview, cocktail contest or seminar you have to present, and the thought of what might go wrong makes you obsess to the point of where you inevitably will not perform at your best.  Living out your fears of the future.

By living in the present on the first night of Tales (gaz said to me at one point, “It doesn’t get any better than this, Blair”) we were both experiencing all that life had to offer.  We weren’t shortchanging our lives in the regrets of what we did or didn’t do in the past or worrying about what we needed to do in the future.

With an event like Tales of the Cocktail, there are literally hundreds of options offered at any given time for spirits enthusiasts.  Don’t worry if you can’t make all of the seminars, or don’t meet all of the “bar stars” you’d hope to, or even make all of the parties.  Because in the end, it’s all about appreciating where you are at any given time.  Be there now, to paraphrase one of gaz’s favorite philosophers.