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Dirty Sue Whiskey Cherries

Dirty Sue Whiskey Cherries is a new brand of cocktail cherries.

Bartender and Dirty Sue founder Eric “ET” Tecosky bathes the cherries in cherry juice formulated with Tennessee and Kentucky whiskeys, and mellowed with notes of vanilla, star anise and currant.

These Stardust cherries are from the Pacific Northwest, and are “noticeably larger than other cherries in the category and have a skin that pops with the first bite revealing a flavor that’s been compared to a ‘fresh cherry’,” the company says.

Dirty Sue Whiskey Cherries are now available on Amazon.com and DirtySue.com for $17.95 per 16-oz. jar.

Dirty Sue Whiskey Cherries are Kosher-certified and gluten free.

Angry Orchard Unfiltered Cider

Angry Orchard Crisp Apple Unfiltered is a less-sweet and full-bodied new cider, with a hazy hue.

To craft Unfiltered, Angry Orchard started with a blend of juice from culinary and traditional bittersweet apples. Low in acid and high in tannin, this blend of apples offers a cider flavor reminiscent of the robust apple aroma that visitors may experience at the Angry Orchard in Hudson Valley, New York, late in the season, the company says.

Angry Orchard skipped the filtration process to keep the cider’s hazy, natural appearance, hearty aroma and fuller apple taste at 6% ABV.

Angry Orchard Unfiltered is available now nationwide, in six-pack bottles for a suggested retail price of $9.99 per pack — and on draft.

El Mayor Cristalino Tequila

El Mayor Tequila has launched El Mayor Cristalino, a clear añejo tequila.

“To achieve the crystal-clear brilliance, we filtered our añejo tequila using ultra-fine charcoal,” explains Graciela González, fourth-generation distiller and daughter of Master Distiller Rodolfo González at Destiladora González González. “This process creates a Cristalino tequila that has the complexity and character of an añejo, with the crisp, bright notes and color of a blanco expression.”

As with every bottle of El Mayor, Cristalino is made with estate-grown, 100% blue agave from the lowlands of Jalisco. Aged a minimum of 12 months, El Mayor Cristalino has flavors of cooked agave with oak notes, hints of vanilla, fruity undertones and a finish of herbal and citrus notes, the company reports.

El Mayor Cristalino is 40% ABV. It is available nationally for the suggested retail price of $39.99 per 750-ml. bottle.

Diageo Unveils 2019 Special Release Scotch Whisky Series

Scotch collectors, start your engines.

Diageo has revealed the full details for their 2019 Special Release series of limited-edition, cask-strength Scotch whiskies.

Featuring expressions from famous distilleries, as well as those less known or even closed, these bottlings are annually some of the most sought-after whiskies on the planet.

The 2019 collection includes:

  • Cardhu 14-Year-Old: A small batch double matured for two years in Amontillado sherry-seasoned hogsheads
  • Cragganmore 12-Year-Old: A smoky Speyside classic, matured in refill American oak casks
  • Dalwhinnie 30-Year-Old: Highland malt with over thirty years of maturation in refill hogsheads and butts
  • Lagavulin 12-Year-Old: Powerfully peaty, a small batch of Lagavulin matured in refill American oak casks
  • Mortlach 26-Year-Old: A small batch of “The Beast of Dufftown” matured in first-fill Pedro Ximenez/Oloroso-seasoned casks
  • Pittyvaich 29-Year-Old: A 1989 ghost, double matured in Pedro Ximenez and Oloroso sherry seasoned casks
  • Talisker 15-Year-Old: Smoky, made by the sea, the first ever release of Talisker as a 15 year old, matured in freshly charred American oak hogshead
  • The Singleton of Glen Ord 18-Year-Old: A previously unreleased expression of a fruit and spiced expression, oak matured in freshly charred American oak hogshead

As with the 2018 release and all previous series, these are nationally available, but on a very limited scale.

“Discerning drinkers around the world will delight in this new collection,” says Ewan Gunn, Diageo global whisky master. “From the hand-selected single malt Scotch to the visually arresting bottles, they each tell a strong story of the extraordinary place and the people who have shaped each dram. These prestigious and limited-edition bottlings offer fans an opportunity to collect and explore some of our rarest stocks.”

40 Alcohol Gift Ideas for Holiday Season 2019

Holiday season is right around the corner. Soon, consumers will head out in search of gifts for friends, family and co-workers. High-end spirits, beer and wine remain a staple of gift giving — especially as the craft boom pushes the quality and variety of these products to unprecedented levels.

Below we look at 40 beverage alcohol products that are on retail shelves right now, or soon will be, that can serve as excellent gifts — at all price levels — for whichever holidays you or your shoppers celebrate.

Spirits and Liqueur

Teeling 24-Year-Old Single Malt Irish Whiskey

This spirit made history by being named World’s Best Single Malt at the 2019 World Whiskies Awards — a first for Irish whiskey. Limited to 5,000 bottles per batch, this expression aged in ex-bourbon casks before finishing in ex-Sauternes wine barrels.

SRP: $499.99 per 750-ml. bottle.

Smirnoff Peppermint Twist

This is Smirnoff vodka mixed with natural peppermint flavors. This festive bottle, wrapped in seasonal stripes, features “Scratch and Sniff” packaging that releases hints of peppermint by rubbing the outside of the bottle.

SRP: $11.99 per 750-ml. bottle.

Smirnoff No. 21 Holiday Ornament Bottles

These festive 750-ml. holiday bottles contain classic, non-GMO, 80-proof Smirnoff vodka. Bring to a party, or display at home.

SRP: $11.99 per 750-ml. bottle.

Remus Volstead Reserve Bourbon

Bottled-in-bond bourbon that dates to 2005, from MGP’s historic distillery in Lawrenceburg, Indiana. Celebrating the century anniversary of the Volstead Act, this is a one-time-only release. Only 500 9-liter cases are available.

SRP: $199.99 per 750-ml. bottle.

Saint Brendan’s Holiday Packs

This Irish cream brand has two value-added packages for 2019. One includes 50-ml.s of The Quiet Man Irish Whiskey, Ezra Brooks Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey and Pearl Vodka. The other has two K-Cups, Dark Roast Coffee and Hot Cocoa, perfect for Irish Coffee.

SRP: $12.99 per pack.

Ezra Brooks Holiday Packs

This brand has two options for holiday season ’19. The first is a cocktail bar in a box, with bourbon, Old Fashioned cocktail syrup, recipe booklet and stainless steel jigger. The second has Ezra Brooks Bourbon Cream with a branded tumbler and holiday cocktail recipe book.

 SRP: $12.99 per pack.

Bärenjäger Gift Pack

Originally an 18th-century lure to draw bears out of dwellings, this 70-proof honey liqueur caught on with hunters and fur trappers as well. An ideal cocktail sweetener with a kick, Bärenjäger’s 2019 gift pack includes a branded glass.

SRP: $29.99

Flor De Caña 25-Year-Old Rum

This Nicaraguan rum has aromas of vanilla, wood and dark cocoa, the company says, while on the palate it’s sticky-sweet and cut by fruity, nutty and caramel notes.

SRP: $154.99 per 750-ml. bottle.

Glenfiddich India Pale Ale Cask Single Malt

The whisky finished in IPA craft beer casks from a Speyside microbrewer. Flavors include green apple, pear and spring blossom, the company reports, plus hops, fresh herbs and that characteristic Glenfiddich fruitiness and sweet, vanilla oakiness.

SRP: $70 per 750-ml. bottle.

Glenfiddich Winter Storm Single Malt

The first-ever whisky finished in ice wine casks. Aged 21 years, with a “unique layer of sweetness and complexity,” the company says. The third release in the Glenfiddich Experimental Series.

SRP: $250 per 750-ml. bottle.

Crown Royal XR

The second addition to the Crown Royal Extra Rare Whisky Series. Crafted from final batches produced at founder Samuel Bronfman’s original LaSalle Distillery. Since LaSalle closed in 1993, Crown Royal XR will not be available for much longer.

SRP: $129 per 750-ml. bottle.

Four Roses Holiday Gift Pack

Includes a 750-ml. bottle of Four Roses along with a red stainless steel flask. On the nose the bourbon has pear and light fruitiness, floral, gentle spice and honey, the company reports, before a palate of fresh fruit and hints of apple.

SRP: $20.99-$22.99 

The Balvenie Doublewood 17 Year Old 

An elder sibling to the DoubleWood 12 year old, this shares its honeyed, spicy characteristics, but with deeper vanilla notes, hints of green apple and creamy toffee, the company reports. It matured in American oak and European sherry casks.

SRP: $149.99 per 750-ml. bottle.

Glen Moray Holiday Gift Sets

This Scotch brand is offering a series of box sets that come with two glasses and one 750-ml. bottle of either Glen Moray Single Malt, Sherry Cask Finish, Chardonnay Cask Finish, 12-year-old Single Malt or Peated Single Malt.

SRP: $24.99-$29.99

The Glenlivet 14 Year Old

Featuring a new label with a modernized look, this is the first in The Glenlivet portfolio in the U.S. that’s finished in Cognac casks. It has sweet and fruity aromas.

SRP: $55 per 750-ml. bottle.

Calamity Gin Value Added Pack

This Calamity Gin gift pack pairs a light juniper, “Texas Dry” gin with mixers to enhance the citrus and floral notes of the spirit. 

SRP: $24.99

Knockmore Irish Whiskey Shot Glass On-Pack

Includes a shot-glass. Knockmore Irish Whiskey is made from blended 4-year-old Irish Whiskey with 8- and 10-year-old grain and malt whiskies in first-filled bourbon barrels.

SRP: $28.99  

Bird Dog Whiskey Holiday VAPs

This brand has two 2019 gift boxes. One offers a 750-ml. of Bird Dog Blackberry or Peach with two 50-ml. bottles of Black Cherry and Strawberry. Available only in NY and LA, the other contains a 750-ml. of Bird Dog Blackberry or Peach with two stainless steel shot glasses.

SRP: $19.99

Hibiki Japanese Harmony Anniversary Pack

In celebration of Hibiki’s 30th anniversary, the House of Suntory has released a specially designed bottle featuring a kimono-inspired tabane-noshi pattern, created to represent both celebration and shared happiness. 43% ABV.

SRP: $100

Herradura Ice Tray VAP

Comes with one 750-ml. bottle of Tequila Herradura Silver and a custom horseshoe ice mold tray, with a cucumber mint ice cube recipe on the packaging. 

SRP: $44.99

Johnnie Walker Blue Label Ghost & Rare Glenury Royal

The final installment in this series draws on rare casks from the Highland “ghost” distillery of Glenury Royal, which closed its doors in 1985. There have only been eight official bottlings of Glenury Royal in the past 23 years.

SRP: $349.99 per 750-ml. bottle.

100 Proof Elmer T. Lee Bourbon

August 5, 2019, would have been the 100th birthday for whiskey pioneer Elmer T. Lee. In celebrating the father of Blanton’s, Buffalo Trace released a 100-proof commemorative bottling of Elmer T. Lee bourbon.

SRP: $100

Camus Mixology Edition

These annual releases feature recipes from internationally renowned bartenders that enhance the profile of Camus cognacs. The 2019 edition highlights the Haut Camus cocktail by Patrick Pistoles, and includes ice cube tray and glass.

SRP: $30-35

Camus XO With Tulip Glasses

Camus XO contains eaux-de-vie that matured for at least 10 years in small oak casks. Each blend contains distillates from Borderies cru, enhancing the floral profile of this aromatic cognac, the company says. This set includes two tulip glasses.

SRP: $150-160

Montelobos Tobalá Mezcal

While nearly all commercially available tobalás are made with wild agave, Montelobos Tobalá is utilizes only sustainably produced tobalá, cultivated from seed in Puebla, Mexico.

SRP: $99.99

Chambord Royale Cocktail Kit

Comes with the French black raspberry liqueur, plus ingredients to make the signature Chambord Royale – champagne and Chambord with a raspberry garnish — with two 187-ml. bottles of Korbel Brut.

SRP: $22.99

Wine

Chandon ‘Harvested Under The Stars’ Collection

This limited-edition bottle is available in standard and magnum sizes, and contains the brand’s signature Brut varietal. Chandon harvests under the stars because the California night protects the quality of Chandon’s grapes, the company says.

SRP: $19 per 750-ML., $43 per magnum.

Dom Ruinart Blanc de Blancs 2007

Composed of 100% chardonnay, 100% Grands Crus, from the Côte des Blancs and Montagne de Reims regions. Notes of green citrus and grapefruit. The sap-infused and chalky finish is framed with an elegant bitter flavor, the company says.

SRP: $179

Dom Ruinart Rosé 2007

Available in October, white grape compose 80% of this chardonnay rosé, with the remaining 20% being pinot noir from the only Grand Cru vineyard in Aÿ, France. Aromas of damson, hibiscus and ripe citrus notes, the company says, before hints of tree sap and a refreshing finish.

SRP: $365

La Grande Dame Rosé 2008

Notes of spicy red fruits with blood orange and grapefruit, rooibos tea and fine leather, the company says. On the palate: long aging notes, dried flowers and subtle smokiness.

SRP: $300

Krug Grande Cuvée 167th Edition

A blend of 191 wines from 13 different years, the youngest of which is from 2011, while the oldest dates back to 1995. Stayed seven years in Krug’s cellars. 47% pinot noir, 36% chardonnay and 17% meunier. 


SRP: $170

Krug Rosé 23rd Edition

A blend of 60 wines from 10 different years, the youngest of which is from 2011, while the oldest dates back to 2000. Stayed seven years in Krug’s cellars. 45% chardonnay, 29% pinot noir and 26% meunier.

SRP: $300

Bodega Numanthia Termanthia 2011 

With vines that are over 120 years old and grown at an altitude of 2,625 feet above sea level, this Spanish wine from the Toro appellation has notes of violet, pastry cream and acid strawberry, the company says.

SRP: $250

Yarden Katzrin 2014

Blend of 94% cabernet sauvignon and 6% merlot. Aged 24 months in new French oak barrels. Aromas of stewed black fruits and tobacco leaf, the company reports, with the mélange of flavors ranging from plum to raspberry to earth.

SRP: $212.99

Yarden Katzrin Blanc de Blancs Late Disgorged 2007

Aromas of freshly baked baguette, preserved lemons and green apples, layered with nuances of flowers and cream. Displaying fresh acidity, this late-disgorged sparkling wine is flavorful and elegant, the company says.

SRP: $105.99

Ao Yun 2015

From the first wine estate in the Himalayas, a blend of cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc. Notes of cold chimenea, Mysore sandalwood, Dhofar incense and crushed strawberries.  Ao Yun has partnered with crystal-maker Riedel on an exclusive wine glass.

SRP: $300

Guado al Tasso Bolgheri DOC Superiore 2016

Characterized by a bouquet of roasted coffee and leather, along with notes of ripe berry fruit, the company says. The palate is vibrant, fresh and savory, with fine-grained tannins.

SRP: $125

Chateau de Pommard Clos Marey-Monge: Monopole 2017 

From the largest monopole in Burgundy, this blend of seven cuvees from limestone and clay-rich terroirs of the clos creates a deep, elegant, sophisticated pinot noir that can be aged for decades, the company reports. 

SRP: $141

Craft Beer

Founders Kentucky Bourbon Stout 2019 (KBS)

One of the original “white-whale” beers is still among the most-sought-after stouts in the country each year. This bourbon barrel-aged chocolate coffee stout is 12.2% ABV and ages like fine wine. Collect and compare vintages.

SRP: Varies per market.

Founders Canadian Breakfast Stout 2019 (CBS)

Another classic “white whale” beer, CBS is available in 2019 for the first time in 12-oz. bottles. This imperial coffee chocolate stout aged in maple bourbon barrels. Like KBS, it’s popular among collectors who cellar and age top-quality beers.

SRP: Varies per market.

Kyle Swartz is editor of Beverage Dynamics magazine. Reach him at kswartz@epgmediallc.com or on Twitter @kswartzz. Read his piece Craft Beer Has Reached a New Phase of Maturity.

Woodford Reserve Unveils Chocolate Malted Rye Bourbon Whiskey

The latest in the Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection series is their Chocolate Malted Rye whiskey.

This new expression is the result of Woodford Reserve Master Distiller Chris Morris discovering a flavor technique that toasts rye grain long enough that it begins to taste like chocolate, the company says.

“The rye malt was roasted to a level that its natural sugars caramelized into a dark chocolate note,” Morris explains. “This special bourbon even surprised me as it matured in our warehouses. Each time I tasted it, the chocolate notes became even more pronounced.”

Woodford Reserve Chocolate Malted Rye is 90.4 proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. ​The mash bill is ​70% corn, 15% chocolate malted rye and 15% distillers malt.

On the nose is soft mocha, caramel and roasted nuts that combine with hints of cedar, the company reports. The palate is roasted rye grain, dry cocoa nibs and dark chocolate, with a soft mocha character atop a layer of cherry fruit and toasted oak — before a chocolatey finish.

“Woodford Reserve bourbon ​has a complex and balanced flavor profile that includes a hint of chocolate,” says Assistant Master Distiller Elizabeth McCall. “Chocolate Malted Rye takes those cocoa notes to a new level.”

This limited-selection, one-time-only whiskey will hit shelves in the U.S. this month. The suggested retail price is $129.99 per 750-ml. bottle.

Woodford Reserve releases two Master’s Collections each year — one in the fall and one in the spring. Earlier this year, the distillery launched Batch Proof Bourbon 2019, while 2018 included Woodford Reserve American Select Oak and Woodford Reserve Oat Grain Kentucky Bourbon.

Nick Offerman and Lagavulin Release Collaboration Scotch Whisky

Actor Nick Offerman, best as Ron Swanson from the NBC’s “Parks and Recreation,” has continued his long-running collaboration with Lagavulin with a new Scotch whisky release.

Lagavulin Islay Single MaltScotch Whisky Offerman Edition Aged 11 Years is the result of Offerman’s work with Distillery Manager Colin Gordon. Together they built an expression with the trademark Lagavulin peatiness, plus extra spices and notes of dried fruit to carry the smoke, the company reports.

The new Scotch launches this month to retailers nationwide for a suggested retail price of $74.99 per 750-ml. bottle.

In addition to helping select the liquid, Offerman aided in developing the bottle packaging, which includes his portrait, signature and personal quote:  

“I have traveled the world and sampled many attempts at pleasing nectars, but it is solely this distillation of Islay; a tiny, charismatic Scottish isle, that has claimed my palate. Yea, and my heart into the bargain.”

Stolen X Rock & Rye in Cans

Stolen Spirits, which launched Stolen X in 1-L and 750-ml. bottles earlier this year, has extended the line with 100-ml cans.

According to Nielsen, RTD consumption increased over 40% in the past year. Based on a pre-prohibition spirit known as “Rock & Rye,” Stolen X is made with straight American rye whiskey, and then blended with organic raw honey and real orange peel.

“Most canned beverages are watered down versions of classic cocktails, but Stolen X delivers 2.25-oz. of a full strength great-tasting cocktail in a can,” says Marc Bushala, CEO of Spirits Investment Partners, the group behind Stolen Spirits. “The new format and premium ingredients will only extend interest and sales in the brand as we continue to disrupt the category.”

Distributed in partnership with Breakthru Beverage Group, Young’s Market, RNDC and other independent wholesalers, Stolen X 100-ml. cans are available for a suggested retail price of $2.99 each, in on-premise and off-premise establishments in: CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IL, KY, LA, MD, MA, MI, MN, MS, MO, NE, NJ, NY, OK, SC, TN, TX, WA and WI.

“Canned cocktails are changing the game in both the on and off-premise,” says Ryan Perry, co-founder and CIO of Spirits Investment Partnership. “Owners and operators especially crave options which provide incremental impulse purchases and facilitate trade up into the high margin whiskey category.”

Sonoma-Cutrer Vintage 2017 Vine Hill ‘Flanc De Coteau Bloc’ Pinot Noir

Sonoma-Cutrer today announced the introduction of its Vintage 2017 Vine Hill ‘Flanc De Coteau Bloc’ Pinot Noir as part of its Winemakers Release series.

Sonoma-Cutrer’s Vine Hill Vineyard in the Russian River Valley provided the fruit for this release, with grapes specifically selected from the highest elevation, hillside blocks. With more than a 400-ft. elevation change, each ridge, slope, and valley in the vineyard contributes to the grapes, the company says. Combined with a variety of soils, clones and rootstocks that limit excessive vine growth, the vineyard provided a variety of fruit.

Three specific winemaking techniques were used to craft this wine. First, a technique called submerged cap was used, which keeps the grape skins held beneath the surface of the fermented wine. Second, grapes were cold soaked and fermented in French oak barrels; and third, traditional fermented in small, open top, stainless fermenters. After fermentation, each of the individual components were barrel-aged in 100% French oak barrels made from wood sourced from the Gauthier family mill. After aging for 16 months, the final blend was assembled and bottled. The wine was then allowed to rest and evolve for an additional six months in the bottle prior to release.

“Extra care was taken in selecting the specific fruit, fermentation methods and French oak barrels to produce this exclusive, once in a lifetime Pinot Noir,” explains Sonoma-Cutrer Director of Winemaking, Mick Schroeter. “This 2017 vintage of our Winemakers Release highlights the artistry and innovation of our winemaking and Pinot Noir craftsmanship.”

The Winemakers Release is a series of limited-production wines offered periodically and consisting of expressions that showcase the craftsmanship and innovation of Sonoma-Cutrer, the company says. Sonoma-Cutrer’s V’17 Vine Hill ‘Flanc De Coteau Blocs’ Pinot Noir is hitting shelves now in select markets for a suggested retail price of $49.99 per 750-ml. bottle.

V’17 Vine Hill ‘Flanc De Coteau Bloc’ Pinot Noir has aromas of dark blackberry and black ripe plum fruit with juniper spice, cinnamon, cedar wood and earth notes, the company reports. This pinot noir offers oak integration and firm, polished tannins. The flavors in this wine showcase its savory tension and complexity that round out to fresh acidity with a juicy finish.

Old Pulteney Huddart, 15 and 18 Year Old Scotch Whiskies

Old Pulteney has announced the U.S. launch this fall of its updated range.

The relaunched portfolio now includes three new Highland expressions: the smoky non-age-statement Huddart, plus a 15 Year Old and 18 Year Old.

These new whiskies join Old Pulteney’s 12 Year Old malt, and the entire collection is now housed in a redesigned bottle and box.

Named after the street in Wick where the Pulteney Distillery was founded, Huddart is a smokier take on the Old Pulteney style. It finished in casks that once held peated whisky. After initial notes of mellow wood smoke, honey and oily leather, Huddart continues into crisp green apple, with creamy vanilla and a hint of burnt toffee in the background, the company reports. Flavors of freshly ground spices and soft vanilla balance the central notes of smoke and peat fire, supported by sweet and faint salty coastal flavors, together reminiscent of salted caramel.

Huddart is 46% ABV. The suggested retail price is $65 per 750-ml. bottle.

The 15 Year Old has aromas of dried fruit, ripe apples and citrus, the company says, with honey sweetness and a chord of creamy vanilla. The 15 Year Old unites spice and sweetness, balanced with coastal notes. There are flavors of Christmas cake and fragrant spices, with layers of chocolate and a dark toffee sweetness, while the finish delivers a faint hint of salty sea air.

Old Putney 15 Year Old is 46% ABV, with a suggested retail price of $90 per 750-ml. bottle.

Completing the new portfolio, the 18 Year Old takes its character and color from the American oak casks and Spanish sherry butts in which it has been matured, delivering a deep amber color. It features notes of chocolate and spice, the company reports, with chocolate and creamy vanilla notes enriched by the sweetness of honey tempered by spices and a hint of flowery fruitiness, citrus and apple. Flavors of chocolate, honeyed spices and Christmas cake combine with floral notes, plus hints of citrus and green apple on the finish.

Old Putney 15 Year Old is 46% ABV, with a suggested retail price of $139 per 750-ml. bottle.

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