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Mount Gay Rum The Master Blender Collection: Pot Still

Mount Gay Rum will release a new limited-edition expression, The Master Blender Collection: Pot Still.

The second edition in this series — following Mount Gay XO Peat Smoke Rum — and the first blend from the new female Master Blender, Trudiann Branker, Pot Still celebrates the original way Mount Gay made rum for about 200 years, using only rums distilled in double retort pot stills.

After selecting a specific batch of pot still liquid, Trudiann placed it into virgin ex-whiskey casks for six months prior to bottling, to enhance the spicy and roasted nutty notes, the company says. 

Only 4,920 bottles are available globally, with just 1,002 available in the U.S. 

Mount Gay The Master Blender Collection: Pot Still is bottled at cask strength at 96 proof. The suggested retail price is $170 per 750-ml. bottle.

Casa Cinzano 1757 Vermouth di Torino G.I. Vermouth

Campari Group has announced the nationwide launch of the Italian vermouth, 1757 Vermouth di Torino G.I., from Casa Cinzano.

Available in Rosso and Extra Dry variants, this vermouth was created by Bruno Malavasi, Campari Group Italian Icons Herbalist and Master Blender, and inspired by the legacy of the original Cinzano Brothers.

The liquid of 1757 Vermouth di Torino is evocative of the Cinzano Brothers’ Bottega shop in Torino, the company says, where they experimented to create the original Cinzano Vermouth in the late 1700’s.

Created in Piedmont according to quality regulations that qualify the vermouth for its signature G.I. (Geographical Indication) Vermouth di Torino quality classification, 1757 Vermouth di Torino’s Italian base wine is infused with a blend of aromatics and the ingredient Artemisia (wormwood) from Piedmont.

“With this latest addition to the Cinzano Vermouth portfolio, we started by thinking about the kind of sensorial experience we wanted the liquid to deliver in color, textures, scents and flavors,” says Malavasi. “It allowed me to really delve into Cinzano’s history in alchemy, as well as my own knowledge and creativity, and, of course, the glue that keeps them together — passion. Cinzano has an incredible history, dating back more than two and a half centuries, and studying the notes and recipes of the Cinzano Brothers in order to inspire this new recipe, and preserve the prowess of the brand, has been a privilege.”

The Rosso delivers a sweet, fragrant and full taste profile, the company says, ideal for cocktails such as the Negroni, Americano and the Milano-Torino. On the palate, dried fig opens to spices and wood, before a long bittersweet finish.

The Extra Dry vermouth offers a more Mediterranean herbal and floral bouquet that accompanies a long, pleasantly bitter finish. In mixology, the Extra Dry complements gins and vodkas in Martini cocktails, and, naturally, the Old Pal.

Each bottle of 1757 Vermouth di Torino has been individually numbered.

The Balvenie Unveils Tun 1509 Batch 6 Scotch Whisky

The Balvenie Single Malt Scotch Whisky today announced the release of the latest bottling in its collectable Tun 1509 series — Tun 1509 Batch 6.

Following in the footsteps of batches 1-5 of The Balvenie Tun 1509, Batch 6 is a non-chill filtered whisky, bottled at 50.4% ABV.

Batch 6 of Tun 1509 is a combination of 21 casks brought together in the Tun, which is maintained by the distillery’s team of on-site coopers and sits in Warehouse 24. The liquid was left to marry for three months before being bottled at the distillery.

“This rare technique creates the perfect environment for the different casks to ‘knit’ together,” the company says, “allowing each of their composite qualities to mix and create a unique single malt Scotch whisky which is more than the sum of its constituent parts.”

Launching across 16 countries in fall 2019 and selected global travel retailers, The Balvenie Tun 1509 Batch 6 is comprised of liquid from sherry refill butts, ex-bourbon American Oak barrels and DoubleWood refill sherry butts, which were previously used to finish The Balvenie DoubleWood before being filled with new make and aged.

“Batch 6 is a truly remarkable liquid that showcases gorgeous character and rich depth produced during the marrying process,” says Master Blender David Stewart. “Much like the last Tun 1509 series we released in September of 2018, this expression will have whisky enthusiasts excited. The liquid presents a beautiful depth on the palette with a touch of maple syrup, candied orange and runny honey. It is delightfully rich on the nose with soft brown sugar, toffee, blossom honey and ginger oak spices, and presents a sweet and malty finish featuring swathes of oak vanilla alongside a spicy layer.”

Every bottle of Tun 1509 Batch 6 comes with a breakdown chart showing in-depth detail on the whisky, with visual representations of the flavor profile of each of the 21 casks and the overall character of the resulting single malt.

Batch 6 of Tun 1509 will be available from October 2019 onwards at a suggested retail price of $399.99 per 750-ml. bottle.

On the nose is soft brown sugar, toffee, blossom honey and ginger oak spices, the company reports, followed by a palate with a touch of maple syrup, candied orange and runny honey. The finish is sweet and malty alongside oak vanilla and a spicy layer.

Whiplash Wines New Branding, Expanded Portfolio

The Jamieson Ranch Vineyard’s tier of Whiplash Wines has introduced a new look and expanded portfolio.

Starting this fall, Whiplash will debut their new label along with the addition of three new wines.

Whiplash Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay join the Whiplash Red Blend, Zinfandel and Malbec.

All six of Whiplash’s wines retail for $12.99 per 750-ml. bottle, and are available nationwide.

“Whiplash Wines are inspired by the unbridled spirt of the west and pays tribute to the horses that helped establish this region,” explains Vice President of Marketing Natasha Hayes. “When we decided to update the Whiplash package, we wanted to reflect the story of the name along with the quality of the wine. With the ability to source wines throughout fine wine growing regions in California, the decision to expand was an easy one. We are looking forward to sharing our Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay alongside our original red wines.”

Whiplash wines are a part of the Napa Valley Jamieson Ranch Vineyards portfolio and among WX Brands’ portfolio of brands including Bread & Butter Wines, Chronic Cellars, Jelly Jar Wines, Our Daily Wines, and Reckless Love Wines.

“Whiplash’s updated design brings a new energy to this brand,” explains Jamieson Ranch Winemaker Linda Trotta. “These wines are fun to make, and this eye-catching label represents the unbridled spirit of the brand and highly enjoyable style of the wine.”

The Prisoner Wine Company Eternally Silenced Pinot Noir

The Prisoner Wine Company has introduced a new wine to its portfolio: Eternally Silenced the brand’s first pinot noir.

Eternally Silenced has aromas of pine needles, cranberries, dark cherry, clove and brown spice, the company says, followed by red berry flavors with structure and tannins on the palate. 

Each bottle is hand-dipped in wax, partially obscuring the figure on its label.

Eternally Silenced ships out to retailers and on-premise accounts this month. The suggested retail price is $54.99 per 750-ml. bottle.

The Prisoner Wine Company produces blends from grapes from California.

Few Releases Tequila-Aged Boubon in Collaboration with Alice In Chains

Craft distilling pioneer Few Spirits has unveiled a collaboration whiskey made with the band Alice In Chains, a pioneer of grunge music.

The new products is called All Secrets Known. It features a custom-designed label by artist Justin Helton.

The whiskey is Few bourbon finished for six months in tequila barrels, and bottled at 101 proof. Sweet and spicy whiskey flavors are complimented by grassy agave undertones, the company says.

The suggested retail price is $75 per 750-ml. bottle.

“Nobody sounds like Alice In Chains,” says Few Spirits Founder and Master Distiller Paul Hletko. “We were inspired by their courage to create a sound that flouted convention and thought, ‘There are lots of tequilas finished in bourbon barrels, but it’s rare to find a widely-available bourbon finished in tequila barrels. Let’s do that instead’.”

Artist Helton, of Status Serigraph, is no stranger to working with musical talents like Phish, The Avett Brothers, My Morning Jacket, Ween and The Black Keys. “I’ve been a fan of Alice In Chains forever with Jar of Flies being one of the first CD’s I ever owned,” says Helton. “‘I Stay Away’ and ‘No Excuses’ were on repeat in my room. For this design I found inspiration in the name All Secrets Known. The eye in the mouth is a play on seeing all that’s been spoken. The color scheme is a nod to Black Gives Way to Blue, the album on which the song ‘All Secret Known’ appears.”

Helton designed the label in Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, using a mix of hand-rendered illustrations with imagery from the 1800’s.

All Secrets Known is another foray for Few Spirits into partnerships with music acts. In 2006, Hletko partnered with The Flaming Lips to create Brainville Rye Whiskey.

“Brainville led to access,” Hletko says. “Doors started opening and I’ve always felt like when you get a chance to work with cool people you admire, you’ve got to at least check it out. As a long-time fan of Alice In Chains and someone who has at various points made his living as a guitar player, the opportunity to work with someone like Jerry Cantrell, whose sound is unlike any other, was one we were determined to see through come hell or high water.” 

A limited-release, All Secrets Known will be available in CA, CO, IL, NY and WA, and for purchase online through ReserveBar.com.

Interview: Maker’s Mark’s Jane Bowie on Innovating Bourbon

Maker’s Mark Distillery, which is not necessarily known for new products, last month announced its first-ever nationally available limited-release bourbon. With the (long) name of Maker’s Mark Wood Finishing Series 2019 Limited Release: Stave Profile RC6, this cask strength bottling is 108.2 proof — far above Maker’s standard 90 — and was finished with proprietary wood staves known as RC6.

With a name like a Star Wars droid, you’d expect something futuristic. RC6 delivers. Made in partnership with Independent Stave Company, these staves are American Oak seasoned outdoors for 18 months, then toasted in a convection oven.

The experiment is meant to accentuate the natural fruit flavors of Maker’s Mark. Having sampled RC6, it comes as advertised. Rich fruity flavors of plum and raisin balance perfectly with the oak and heat. It’s a smooth, fruitier, different take on the classic Maker’s profile.

For a deeper look into what brought about this innovation from a company better known for consistency than variation, I recently spoke with Jane Bowie, Maker’s Mark Innovation Expert.

Made in partnership with Independent Stave Company, these staves are American Oak seasoned outdoors for 18 months, then toasted in a convection oven.

Beverage Dynamics: A limited-edition whiskey is a new look from Maker’s Mark. What was the thinking?

Jane Bowie: I have to go back to the beginning, with Maker’s Mark 46. I remember during that experience — which began in 2008 — how we were experimenting with Independent Stave Company, and I thought, ‘Oh my goodness, there’s so much more flavor in oak that we’re missing out on! What else is out there?’

That really opened up our eyes towards exploring the different profiles. We have since experimented with hundreds of different staves.

BD: What was the inspiration for RC6?

JB: This one is inspired by the proprietary yeast strain that we propagate onsite every day. It’s a 2.5-day process to propagate. It brings so much flavor, and sets the tone for what’s going to happen in the barrel. This stave experimentation was inspired to highlight what flavors you get from that yeast. I find there’s pear, banana and something almost like the flavors of a Hefeweizen beer.

We wanted to create a stave that showcases the flavors that Maker’s has in abundance, but don’t necessarily get the top billings like caramel and vanilla.

BD: So how did you accomplish that with the wood?

JB: The funny thing is that wood doesn’t naturally impart fruit characteristics. So it took a lot of experimenting to get there. How could we get the whiskey to be a fruitier, brighter version of Maker’s, which shows off the propriety yeast? And that’s what I love about this whiskey: it is so fruity and bright and spicy, with the classic Maker’s sweetness to keep everything in balance.

With this American white oak stave, the original common-sense thinking told us that the acidity in the wood might provide more bright fruit. And we originally thought that less outdoor seasoning would help keep the acidity higher. But this stave was the opposite. We found out that the best route was 18 months of outdoor seasoning, followed by one day in the convection center on a medium temperature.

This Maker’s Mark cask strength whiskey also spent nine weeks in our limestone bourbon cellar.

BD: RC6 is part of an innovative series of planned limited releases. Why start releasing these whiskeys now?

JB: The thing is, we’ve been doing these experimentations for years. We finally thought it was the right time to bring people along on the journey. People today are more discerning about what they’re eating and drinking. They want more flavor than ever before in whatever they spend their time, money and calories on.

Maker’s 46 turns nine years old this summer. When we launched that in 2010, the market was so different. Maker’s 46 was a little ahead of its time. Now we’ve had nine years of producing Maker’s 46, and talking about it, and we’re in a place of understanding innovation and the flavors we can create — and we’re excited to share all this with other people.

BD: Anything you can tell us about what’s next in this experimental series?

JB: We’re continuing to do a lot of experimentation around oak. It’s all flavor-driven. Also, we’re looking at how these whiskeys finish on your palate, the viscosity and the texture. We’ll continue looking at where flavor comes from in Maker’s Mark, like how RC6 focuses on the yeast strain. Where else can we go and capture flavor? How far can we go on the flavor spectrum?

While we can’t give out exact details, we obviously have lots of different things in the works, inspired by all the processes that we can do here. We want to release a new experimental product yearly. That’s the idea. We’ll see if we can keep up with that goal.

BD: I’ve been asking this question to all distilleries: What are you thoughts on the booming whiskey secondary market? And for the matter, what about the newer trend of people posting their large collections of unopened whiskey on social media?

JB: It’s fun to watch what’s been going on with the bourbon secondary market and social media in the last five-to-ten years, but unopened whiskey sitting on shelves is never what you want. You want people to consume whiskey.

My opinion on the secondary market is that it’s been both wonderful and terrible for the industry. I hope that people are buying this new whiskey to go home and share it with friends, and to compare it with Maker’s 46. That was certainly the intention with this: to be consumed with friends.

Kyle Swartz is editor of Beverage Dynamics magazine. Reach him at kswartz@epgmediallc.com or on Twitter @kswartzz. Read his recent piece Talking Whiskey With Eddie Russell.

Jägermeister Releases Arrogant Bastard Ale

Jägermeister has continued its recent focus on innovation with its first-ever liquid partnership in the U.S. The brand has joined forces with the craft brewer Arrogant Consortia to create Jägermeister Arrogant Bastard Ale.

Brewed and imported from Berlin, Jägermeister Arrogant Bastard Ale is an American strong ale featuring a variety of the 56 herbs, roots, fruits and spices found in the herbal liqueur. The limited release of 20,000 bottles of Jägermeister Arrogant Bastard Ale will be available through Arrogant Consortia’s distribution network.

This follows other recent Jägermeister innovations like their new cold brew coffee liqueur, coolpack alternative packaging and Manifest.

Jägermeister Arrogant Bastard Ale is 8.5% ABV and is available now for a suggested retail price of $18-$22 for a 750-ml. bottle.

See where Jägermeister Arrogant Bastard Ale is available near you here.

U.S. Announces 25% Tariff on Scotch, Irish Whiskey, Other European Alcohol

As part of an ongoing trade war between the U.S. and Europe, the Trump administration today announced plans for a 25% tariff on all manners of European imports.

These includes Scotch whisky, along with European liqueurs and cordials, as well as Irish whiskey.

The new tariffs are set to go into effect on Oct. 18.

For reason behind this negative economic development, look to the sky. Earlier this week, the Trump administration sought and received approval from the World Trade Organization to impose these tariffs as retaliation against the European Union giving aid to Airbus in helping fight off its U.S. competitor, Boeing.

“Despite the fact that this dispute is about aircraft subsidies, our sector has been hit hard, with single malt Scotch whisky representing over half of the total value of UK products on the US Government tariff list (amounting to over $460 million),” says Karen Betts, chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association.

“The tariff will undoubtedly damage the Scotch whisky sector,” Betts adds. “The U.S. is our largest and most valuable single market, and over £1 billion of Scotch whisky was exported there last year. The tariff will put our competitiveness and Scotch Whisky’s market share at risk.”  

These come a year after the EU imposed a similar 25% tariff on U.S. products, which has greatly affected American whiskey sales overseas.

Jack Daniel’s Launches Tennessee Apple Whiskey

The Jack Daniel Distillery has introduced Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Apple, a blend of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey with apple liqueur.

The newest member of the Jack Daniel’s family launches nationally in October.

“Mr. Jack was known for being an innovator and always exploring how to do things differently, including adding different flavors and ingredients,” says Jack Daniel’s Master Distiller Jeff Arnett. “Tennessee Apple couples the character of our Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey with the taste of crisp, green apples. It’s like a freshly picked apple in a glass of Jack.”

At 70 proof, Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Apple features a blend of green apples with the sweet bold notes of Jack, the company says. It hits shelves nationally October 1 in 50-ml., 375-ml., 750-ml. and 1-L bottle sizes, with a suggested retail price of $26.99 for a 750-ml.

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