GSN Spirited News: March 16th 2021 Edition

Boston-based Latitude Beverage has launched Tequila Zarpado, the first agave spirit in the company’s portfolio. The release was distilled at Cavas de Don Max from 100% blue agave and will initially be available as a Blanco expression. The 40% abv Tequila will retail for around $25 a 750-ml. and will be available in Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island.

Agave Loco has announced the national release for RumChata Limón. The 14% abv liqueur is a blend of Caribbean rum and cream with added vanilla and lemon flavoring. In addition to making Limón available across the U.S., the company has added new sizes—a 375-ml. bottle ($16) and a 3-pack of 100-ml. bottles ($12)—to the roster. RumChata Limón is also available in 750-ml. bottles for around $22 at retail.

Jackson, Mississippi’s Cathead Distillery has launched Bitter Orange vodka, the first flavored innovation for the company’s Cathead vodka in eight years. The 35% abv spirit is made with Bitter Orange and Satsuma extract and bottled without any added sugar. It joins the unflavored original vodka and two flavors—honeysuckle and pecan—in Cathead’s vodka portfolio. Cathead Bitter Orange vodka is now available in select retailers across the U.S. at around $20 a 750-ml. and $27 a liter.

Bombay Sapphire gin has launched a line of canned cocktails. The new ready-to-drink offerings—Bombay Sapphire Gin & Tonic and Bombay Sapphire Gin & Tonic Light—mark the Bacardi brand’s entry into the canned cocktail space. The cocktails are packaged in 4-packs of 250-ml. cans, retail priced at $13. Bombay Sapphire canned cocktails are currently rolling out nationwide.

The Dubliner Irish Whiskey is launching The Dubliner Beer Cask Irish Whiskey. The release was created in partnership with Massachusetts craft brewer Wachusett Brewing Company. First, the distiller shipped casks used for its Bourbon Cask Aged Irish Whiskey to Wachusett to use to create a barrel aged version of its Quinn’s Amber Ale. Then the brewer shipped back the now-beer soaked casks to Dubliner for its release. Dubliner Beer Cask is now available in Massachusetts and surrounding New England markets like Rhode Island and Connecticut.

Louisville, Kentucky’s Barrell Craft Spirits has launched Seagrass, a new blend of American and Canadian rye whiskies. The release comes in at 59.2% abv and is blended from whiskies finished in Martinique Rhum Agricole casks, apricot brandy casks, and Madeira barrels. The American component of Seagrass is sourced from Indiana and no age statements were disclosed. Seagrass is now available in 45 markets across the U.S. for a suggested price of $90 a 750-ml.

County Down, Ireland’s Two Stacks Irish whiskey has launched Dram in a Can, a new 43% whiskey packaged in 100-ml. cans. The whiskey is blended from Irish grain whiskey, single pot still whiskey, and peated malt whiskey. Four-packs of 100-ml. cans are now available across the U.S. for around $19. Looking ahead, the company plans to release the canned whiskey in 750-ml. bottles alongside Two Stacks Blender’s Cut, a 65% abv brand offshoot. Two Stacks Dram in a Can is imported by High Road Spirits.

Versailles, Kentucky-based Woodford Reserve is releasing its annual high-proof expression for 2021. Woodford Reserve Batch Proof, part of Woodford’s Master’s Collection, was bottled this year at 128.3 proof (approximately 64% abv). It comes in a new bottle, which features a long neck and rounded shoulders. This limited-edition release is available in select U.S. markets for a suggested price of $130 a 750-ml. and can be purchased at the Brown-Forman-owned Woodford Reserve Distillery.

Diageo has launched Cîroc Summer Citrus, the latest flavored offshoot for the grape-distilled vodka brand. The 35% abv spirit is infused with orange and other citrus flavors, and comes packaged in a multicolor bottle meant to evoke summer. Cîroc Summer Citrus is now available for a limited time across the U.S. for a suggested price of $34 a 750-ml. Last year, Cîroc slipped an estimated 2.2% to 1.35 million cases in the U.S., according to Impact Databank.

Courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Spirited News: September 22nd 2020 Edition

Woodford Reserve has launched Woodford Reserve Four Grain a new, limited edition whiskey. A blend of Woodford Bourbon, rye, malt, and wheat whiskies—all aged in new charred oak barrels—Woodford Reserve Four Grain is bottled at 45.2% abv and retail priced at $50 a 375-ml. Four Grain is the latest addition to the brand’s annual Distillery Series, which was created to showcase innovative expressions.

Denver-based Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey has announced Mountain Angel 10 Year Old, the oldest release yet from the Proximo-owned distillery. The 47.3% abv whiskey is made from locally sourced malted barley and aged in charred new American oak barrels, with some barrels losing up to 80% of their contents due to evaporation. The whiskey is rolling out now in extremely limited quantities; fewer than 500 bottles will be available in Colorado, California, and New York, with some bottles allocated as part of a special weekly tasting program at the brand’s distillery. Stranahan’s Mountain Angel 10 Year Old retails for around $130 a bottle.

Infinium Spirits’ Templeton Rye has unveiled the 2020 release in its barrel finish series, Caribbean Rum Cask Finish. The 46% abv whiskey was distilled in Indiana by MGP and matured for five years before finishing for six months in rum casks previously used to mature Jamaican rum. This is the second release in Templeton’s barrel finish series and follows last fall’s Maple Cask Finish. Templeton Caribbean Rum Cask Finish is rolling out now in limited quantities across the U.S. for roughly $45-$50 a 750-ml.

Chicago, Illinois-based High Road Spirits has added Italian malt whisky brand Puni to its import portfolio. The first and only Italian malt whisky, the Puni lineup ($90-$130 a 750-ml.) includes four expressions: Puni Gold, matured in first-fill, ex-Bourbon casks; Puni Alba, aged in Sicilian Marsala casks and finished in ex-Islay barrels; Puni Vina, a limited edition wine cask-matured whisky; and Puni Sole, finished for two years in Pedro Ximénexz Sherry casks. The whiskies will initially be available across Illinois, California, Minnesota, New York, New Jersey, Washington, Texas, and Florida, with more states to come.

Frankfort, Kentucky-based Castle & Key Distillery has released its latest seasonal gin, Autumn 2020 London Dry gin. The new, 49% abv expression was made from a combination of 12 botanicals, among them cedar leaf, spicebush, caraway, and orris root. Autumn 2020 London Dry gin is retail priced at $36 a 750-ml.; only 11,400 bottles were produced. Castle & Key opened in 2018, following the four-year restoration of the Old Taylor Distillery.

A new Irish single malt whisky—from Mark Reynier, who led the revival of Islay distillery Bruichladdich—is set to hit the U.S. market with four expressions, starting in October. Waterford Whisky’s single malts are all bottled at 50% abv and are non-chill filtered. Three of the releases are terroir-driven whiskies made from barley from Rathclogh, Dunmore, and Dunbell. They’ll retail online for around $95 a 750-ml. The fourth whisky, Gaia Organic, is the first certified organic Irish single malt, according to the company. It will retail at around $110 a 750-ml.

Dallas, Texas-based whiskey producer Oak & Eden is re-releasing its recurring seasonal Bourbon & VineCreated in collaboration with Marker Cellars Winery, Bourbon & Vine is bottled at 45% abv and finished in-bottle with a Cabernet Sauvignon-steeped French oak wood spiral. First launched in 2018, it was Oak & Eden’s first limited edition release. It’s available now in Texas, Colorado, California, Michigan, Tennessee, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Georgia, and the distillery’s website, where it retails for $60 a 750-ml.

Nashville, Tennessee-based Peg Leg Porker has added a new limited-edition whiskey to its lineup. Aged for 15 years, the Peg Leg Porker Tennessee Straight Bourbon 15-Year Pitmaster Reserve Label features a mashbill of 84% corn, 8% rye, and 8% malted barley, and was finished through hickory charcoal after being de-barreled. The whiskey was bottled at 45% abv and retails at $400 a 750-ml. 15-Year Pitmaster Reserve will be available once a year, with 2,500 bottles made in its first release. Peg Leg Porker is owned by famed pitmaster Carey Bringle.

Vermont-based WhistlePig Rye has introduced the latest iteration of its limited edition The Boss Hog whiskey. Featuring a base of straight rye whiskey that’s aged for 17 years in American oak, then finished in rare Spanish oak, and finished for a second time in South American teakwood casks, The Boss Hog VII: Magellan’s Atlantic is bottled at 52.6% abv-53.9% abv and retail priced at $500 a 750-ml. Like the six editions of The Boss Hog that came before it, Magellan’s Atlantic will be available at high-end retail shops and on-premise accounts across the U.S.

Courtesy of Shanken News Daily

GSN Spirited News: March 10th 2020 Edition

Louisville, Kentucky’s Barrell Craft Spirits has launched two new whiskies, the latest in its numbered series of luxury-priced cask-strength blends. First up is Barrell Bourbon Batch 023, a 53.89% abv blend of 10-, 12-, and 15-year old straight Bourbon sourced from Tennessee, Kentucky, and Indiana. Barrell has also announced Rye Batch 003, a 58.35% abv blend of ryes from Indiana, Poland, Tennessee, and Canada. Both whiskies will be available in limited quantities across the company’s 43-state distribution footprint for around $90 a 750-ml.

El Mayor Tequila, part of the Luxco portfolio, is launching a new look including an updated logo and packaging. The new bottle features an embossed agave leaf design around the neck as well as written embossing at the base and is stopped with real cork. The new logo features the brand’s name in readable cursive script. The revamped look will apply to all El Mayor expressions, including Blanco, Reposado, Añejo, and Extra Añejo, and will be available nationally this summer.

Woodford Reserve has released a commemorative 2020 Kentucky Derby bottle as part of its role as presenting sponsor of the event. The special packaging features art by Richard Sullivan, a local artist and former player for the Atlanta Braves. The watercolor label illustration depicts horses racing toward the finish line of Churchill Downs. At 45.2% abv, 1-liter bottles of the Derby edition are now retailing for $50 across the U.S. and on e-commerce site Reserve Bar.

Looking to capitalize on the lower-alcohol spirits trend, Constellation Brands is extending Svedka with a new line called Pure Infusions. Bottled at 30% abv and retailing at $15 a 750-ml. and $16 a 1-liter, Svedka Pure Infusions are launching in three flavors: Strawberry Guava, Ginger Lime, and Dragonfruit Melon.

Bacardi has launched Dewar’s Ilegal Smooth, a new blended Scotch whisky finished in mezcal barrels. The 8-year-old whisky is blended from up to 40 malt and grain whiskies before finishing for an undisclosed amount of time in ex-Ilegal mezcal barrels before bottling at 40% abv. This new whisky follows last year’s Dewar’s Caribbean Smooth, a rum barrel finished expression.

Palm Bay International has added mezcal label Gracias a Dios to its import portfolio. Made by 4th-generation mezcalero Oscar Hernandez and his nephew, Milo Jimenez, Gracias a Dios includes six different mezcal expressions—Espadín Blanco ($40 a 750-ml.), Espadín Reposado ($50), Tobalá ($86), Tepextate ($86), Cuishe ($86), and Pechuga ($106)—as well as an agave gin ($53) that’s infused with 32 botanicals, representing the 32 states of the Mexican Republic.

Bacardi-owned Cazadores has added an Añejo Cristalino to its lineup. The new entry ages for over two years in small oak barrels and is then filtered through activated charcoal and stripped of its coloring while maintaining its oak-aged profile. Retailing at $40 a 750-ml., Cazadores Añejo Cristalino is rolling out to select retailers nationally.

Johnnie Walker has launched Master’s Ruby Reserve, a new limited edition offering dedicated to master blender Jim Beveridge’s 40-year career. The ultra-luxury bottling includes whiskies from the “ghost” distilleries of Cambus, Carsebridge, Pittyvaich, and Port Ellen, which are balanced with aged expressions from Talisker, Royal Lochnagar, Glendullan, and Cragganmore. All of the whiskies included are at least 40 years old. Packaged in a golden-red Baccarat crystal decanter, Johnnie Walker Master’s Ruby Reserve is bottled at 43% abv, retails at £15,000 ($19,700), and is limited to 398 bottles globally.

Beam Suntory has announced a revamp for Old Overholt Straight Rye Whiskey. The new Old Overholt ($18 a 750-ml.) will come in at 43% abv, an increase from the previous from 40% abv, and the new label will feature a “grumpier” rendering of brand founder Abe Overholt. In addition, Old Overholt will now be bottled with non-chill filtering, a move that brings the brand more in line with its pre-Prohibition history. Later this year, the company plans to launch a high proof (57% abv) 4-year-old bottling and a 46.3% abv 11-year-old bottling. Old Overholt Bottled-in-Bond will remain on the market unchanged.

Redbreast Irish whiskey, part of the Pernod Ricard portfolio, is adding a 27-year-old expression to its permanent range. Redbreast 27-year-old joins 12-, 15-, 21-year-old, and Lustau offerings in the existing lineup. It’s a cask-strength whiskey bottled at 54.6% abv after aging in Bourbon, Sherry, and Port casks. Retailing at $500 a 750-ml., Redbreast 27-year-old is launching in 23 U.S. markets.

Disaronno is introducing a new Velvet offshoot in the U.S. market. Billed as a gluten-free cream liqueur having notes of apricot with touches of almond and vanilla, Disaronno Velvet is at 17% abv and is rolling out nationally at $30 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 Review: Woodford Reserve Double Double Oaked & Sweet Mash Reserve

Double-Double-Oaked-Label

Woodford Reserve continues their aggressive program of new releases with two new bourbons debuting this summer.  The Double Double Oaked is just what the name implies, starting with their Double Oaked version, and finished in a heavily toasted new oak.  So, in a sense this is triple oaked.  The Sweet Mash Reserve utilizes a different fermentation process instead of the usual sour mash process.

GSN has previously reviewed Woodford Reserve’s Sonoma-Cutrer Finish, and Kentucky Straight Rye.

Double Double Oaked (90.4 proof)
Visual: Dark copper.
Nose: Intense biting wood grain.  Tons of high notes of baking spices.
Taste: Round, lots of char but not any smoke.  Reminiscent of clove, cinnamon and dark brown bread.
Finish: Long and spicy, with just enough sweetness to keep it from being like a rye.
Overall: Quite intense and works much better with a splash of water to bring it all into focus.  Surprisingly smooth and not at all overdone with wood.
GSN Rating: B+

Sweet Mash Reserve (90.4 proof)
Visual: Darkening gold.
Nose: Barn wood and straw.  New leather.  Catawba Grape.
Taste: Yes, this is sweet.  But, it works.  Kind of like a fruity bourbon.  It’s as if they upped the sugar content.  Very interesting.
Finish: Long and lots more of that sweetness.  Almost like alcoholic maple candy.  I’m reminded of Quebec’s Sortilège liqueur.
Overall: Another interesting expression that will work well with mixed drinks, or poured over a single large cube of ice.
GSN Rating: A-

For more information go to: Woodford Reserve

GSN Backbar Review: Mar. 3-7, 2014

indexU.K. import Crabbie’s Original Alcoholic Ginger Beer has added a new flavored offering to its portfolio, Spiced Orange, which will be sold in the 42 states within the brand’s distribution footprint. The 4.8%-abv beverage will be available in four-packs of 11-ounce bottles or in a 16.9-ounce bottle. The new addition will have a lighter ginger profile with an added orange flavor and is ideally served chilled with a slice of orange, by itself or in ginger beer cocktails.

indexIrish whiskey upstart Teeling launches its first product in the U.S. April 1. Teeling’s debut release, an eponymous blended Irish whiskey finished in Flor de Caña rum casks, is positioned at $40 a bottle. Initially launching in 17 states through importer Infinium Spirits, the 46%-abv, non-chill-filtered expression is expected to be in national distribution by next year.

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indexBrown-Forman has unveiled the 2014 limited edition Woodford Reserve Kentucky Derby bottle. Rolling out this month, this year’s commemorative offering features artwork by Louisville-based artist David O. Schuster, which depicts horses, jockeys and the final stretch of the Kentucky Derby race. The 2014 Woodford Reserve Kentucky Derby bottle will be available nationwide, priced at around $43.99 a 1-liter. Woodford Reserve has served as the official Bourbon sponsor of the Kentucky Derby for 16 years.

All information courtesy of Shanken News Daily.