Distiller’s Friday Roundup – April 9, 2021By Stephanie Moreno
Now that we’re moving into slightly warmer weather, we’re starting to see new releases from all spirits categories beyond whiskey. In fact, if you like piña coladas (and getting caught in the rain), check out the new limited-edition release from Baileys. However, if you prefer your spirits on the darker side, Laphroaig Sherry Oak Finish should do the trick. This new single malt release will be an ongoing limited expression and it sounds perfect come rain or shine.
With May just around the corner, Woodford Reserve is getting ready for the Kentucky Derby. The brand’s Mint Julep Charity program returns this year, so if you’ve got some dollars to spend this year, check out the gold- and silver-plated Mint Julep cups. Speaking of May, mark your calendars for that first week if you’re a fan of tequila and guacamole. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson wants to encourage you to support your local restaurants and he wants you to know that The Guac is on The Rock! You can read about this initiative from Teremana Tequila along with other exciting news in the spirits world in Distiller’s Friday Roundup for April 8, 2021!
Laphroaig Sherry Oak Finish Launched
This week Islay single malt brand Laphroaig added a new ongoing annual limited-edition expression to its portfolio. Laphroaig Sherry Oak Finish 10 Year finishes for 12-18 months in former oloroso sherry casks. It’s bottled at a cask strength of 48% ABV.
“We are thrilled to announce the release of the newest Laphroaig expression,” says John Campbell, Laphroaig’s distillery manager. “Sherry Oak is an exquisite addition, taking our iconic Laphroaig 10 Year and finishing it in oloroso sherry casks, which lend depth and sweetness. This is a perfect accompaniment to any whisky collection and a celebrated expansion of the Laphroaig range. Laphroaig drinkers are the most passionate Scotch drinkers in the world and with this new offering, we’re delighted to give them another Scotch option that embraces our commitments to craftsmanship and innovation.”
Only 4,450 cases of Laphroaig Sherry Oak Finish 10 Year are available globally with the US getting the product this month. It has an SRP of $89.99.
Woodford Reserve $1,000 Mint Julep Charity Program Honors Black Jockeys Who Won The Kentucky Derby
Woodford Reserve’s Mint Julep Charity Program returns just before the start of the 2021 Kentucky Derby. This year the Kentucky whiskey brand honors Black jockeys who have previously won the Kentucky Derby. Black jockeys won 15 Derbies in its early years before racism and segregation practices forced them out of the sport.
The proceeds from the 2021 cup sales benefit the Kentucky non-profit organization Project to Protect African-American Turf History. One hundred cups went on sale April 6th with eleven gold-plated cups going for $2,500 each and 89 silver-plated cups priced at $1,000 a piece. Each cup is engraved with the name of one Black jockey along with the year(s) he won the Kentucky Derby.
“The jockeys played a significant role in horse racing that many people know little about,” Woodford Reserve Master Distiller Chris Morris said. “It’s time to honor them and their legacies. They each exemplified love for the sport and the pursuit of excellence, despite the inequality and injustice they faced throughout their lives and careers.”
Woodford Reserve Mint Julep cups /Photo Credit: Woodford Reserve
Buffalo Trace Releases Annual Kosher Whiskey Trio
This week Buffalo Trace announced that the annual supply of its Kosher whiskeys is set to arrive on shelves by this May. This second batch of Kosher whiskeys will also be released in the same three styles as the 2020 releases: Kosher Straight Rye, Kosher Rye Recipe Straight Bourbon and Kosher Wheat Recipe Straight Bourbon.
As Passover ended April 4th this year, these matured Kosher whiskeys are now ready to be processed. The bottling lines at Buffalo Trace will be flushed completely before filling these bottles to ensure that non-Kosher spirits will not be in contact with these products.
“We were overwhelmed with the popularity of our Kosher Whiskey when we first released it last year,” said Master Blender & Director of Quality Drew Mayville. “We realize having a truly certified Kosher whiskey is important to not only the Jewish community, but also a broader audience, and we’re pleased that we have the ability to offer it each year to reach this audience.”
Each expression of Kosher whiskey will have an SRP of $39.99.
Compass Box Announces New Design for Two Blended Whiskies
This week Scotch whisky brand Compass Box announced a label redesign for two of its most popular blended Scotch whiskies. Formerly known as the Great King Street collection, these two marques will now simply be known as Artist Blend and Glasgow Blend. These blended whiskies which feature a high malt percentage were created by founder John Glaser in 2011 and 2014, respectively. The contents of the bottles will remain unchanged.
With labels designed by renowned designer Stranger & Stranger, the new Artist Blend label is a tribute to the city of Edinburgh. It features an artist standing in front of the Scottish National Gallery. The blend itself has a fruity, creamy profile. Meanwhile, the Glasgow Blend, a rich and smoky whisky, has its label displaying the city’s Duke of Wellington statue. Over the past few decades this Glaswegian landmark has had various street cones placed atop its head.
“When I first created these blended Scotch whiskies, I was inspired by the writing of Aeneas MacDonald in his classic 1930 book, Whisky,” explains Glaser. “MacDonald wrote about the distinct differences in whisky taste between the citizens of Edinburgh and Glasgow. He also detailed what blended Scotch whisky recipes were like at the time. This was all hugely inspirational to me when I first created Artist Blend and Glasgow Blend, and it made these whiskies, in effect, an homage to Scotland’s two biggest cities.”
Artist Blend and Glasgow Blend have an SRP of $38 each and both bottles are widely available.
Francisco Alcaraz, Former Patrón Master Distiller Dies
This week tequila brand Patrón announced the sad news of the death of its former master distiller, Francisco Alcaraz. According to the brand he passed away peacefully on Easter Sunday April 4th in his home in Guadalajara, Mexico after battling long standing health issues. Alcaraz was 75 years old.
Alcaraz had a 50 year long career in tequila with over 30 of them at Patrón. He is credited with creating the signature taste profile for Patrón and is said to be the longest standing master distiller of tequila. Last summer he turned over the position to David Rodriguez. At the time of his retirement Alcaraz said, “I am privileged to have had such a fulfilling and life-changing career at Patrón Tequila.”
Alcaraz is survived by his wife Teresa, four children, and six grandchildren. This week we will raise a glass of Patrón in his honor.
Francisco Alcaraz /Photo Credit: Patrón
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The Guac Is On The Rock
This week Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and his tequila brand Teremana have announced a new initiative intended to encourage folks in the US to support their local restaurants. Dubbed the “Guac On The Rock,” this initiative will reimburse patrons over the age of 21 for their order of guacamole when they combine that with a purchase of a Teremana Tequila cocktail. The aim is to help restaurants and servers who have been affected financially by the ongoing pandemic.
“No better way to celebrate my 397th birthday, than with all of us helping our favorite local restaurants get back on their feet, all while drinking some Teremana and enjoying our favorite guacamole. I want to help get people safely back into our restaurants, bars and hotels. This is an industry close to my heart and one who normally gives all of us so much support year-round. These people need our help and support to get back in business,” says Johnson. “Let’s go help them out, enjoy some amazing drinks and food and say thank you for all they do. And let everyone know that The Guac’s on The Rock!”
Reimbursement will be up to $10 per person for a single guacamole order and will be capped nationwide at $1 million dollars of guacamole purchased. The offer is valid from Saturday, May 1st, 2021 – Wednesday, May 5th 2021. For more details on the Guac On The Rock program, you can visit Teremana’s website for rules and restrictions.
EFFEN Vodka Announces Pride 365 Bottle
This week, vodka brand EFFEN has announced its 2021 Pride 365 Bottle released in celebration of Pride year-round, not just Pride Month. The limited edition bottle was designed by Chicago-based, LGBTQQIA2S artist Sam Kirk and it celebrates the Black and LGBTQQIA2S communities. For every Pride 365 Bottle made, EFFEN is making a donation to Allies in Arts.
EFFEN Pride 365 Vodka has an SRP of $21.99 and is available now nationwide.
Baileys Colada Launches Just in Time for Beach Weather
Irish cream liqueur brand Baileys announced this week the launch of a new limited-edition flavor to its portfolio. Baileys Colada is made with Irish cream as well as coconut and pineapple flavors.
“We’re so excited to introduce Baileys Colada to welcome in the warmer weather months and give people yet another reason to treat themselves,” said Stacey Cunningham, director of Baileys & Liqueurs, Diageo North America. “Whether you want to enjoy it blended with ice, poured over ice, or on top of ice cream, your vacation starts the second you take that first sip!”
Baileys Colada is now available nationwide for a limited time with an SRP of $24.99.
NEW RELEASES ON THE HORIZON
We try to keep an eye on all of the label approvals that go through the TTB (The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau) so we know which releases to look out for. Here are a few of the most interesting looking approval submissions we’ll likely see in the not-too-distant future. Keep in mind that ABVs listed are also subject to change.
Upcoming TTB Releases
Jack Daniel’s ubiquitous Old No. 7 Tennessee whiskey does not contain an age statement, nor do any of its whiskeys. This will be a big departure for the brand.
What We Know:
This Tennessee whiskey is aged for 10 years. Also, it will bear the signature of Chris Fletcher, the brand’s newly appointed master distiller.
Founded in 1953, Maker’s Mark launched just its second brand extension in 2010. Since then, the brand has released other wood finishing expressions. This series appears to look to experiment with fermentation, distillation and maturation.
What We Know:
This first experiment appears to be taking a closer look at the whiskey barrel entry proof.
This is a commemorative edition bottling made to honor the opening of Heaven Hill’s expanded visitor center.
What We Know:
This Kentucky straight bourbon is aged for 8 years and is specially bottled for the Bottle Your Own Tour. It will be bottled at barrel proof.
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