Distiller’s Friday Roundup – August 20, 2021

August 20, 2021

Happy Friday, booze fans!

Summer continues to roll along. Right now in many areas it might feel too schvitzy to move, but spirits announcements are poised for the upcoming fall season when the weather is hopefully more comfortable.

From Kentucky, Michter’s US*1 Toasted Barrel Finish Bourbon is finally back after a 3 year absence! Out of Mississippi, Cathead Distillery’s Old Soul Bourbon is out, and in Texas, there’s the new Still Austin Straight Wheat Whiskey.

In Scotch whisky news, we’re excited to see the US release of Laphroaig 2021 Càirdeas Pedro Ximenez Cask (there’s other big Scotch whisky news too, but more on that later).

Meanwhile, Great Jones Distilling Co., Manhattan’s first whiskey distillery to open since before Prohibition, is opening with three expressions and a cool retro style venue to sip them in.

On the rum front, there’s the debut of Bacardí Reserva Ocho Sherry Cask Finish (and somehow there is also an NFT involved). There’s also the release of the Copalli Cacao flavored rum.

For fans of ultra aged tequila, that category continues to grow with the announcement of Corralejo 25th Anniversary Extra Añejo.

Oh, and Ryan Reynolds wants to buy you an Aviation Gin cocktail. Yes, you.

But speaking of spirits of a certain age, we begin with the details about the luxe Glenfiddich Grande Couronne 26 Year old whisky.

Read on and sip on!

Glenfiddich Introduces Grande Couronne, the Latest Expression In Its Grand Series

Glenfiddich Scotch whisky has announced the launch of Grande Couronne, the newest expression in its Grand Series. Grande Couronne, French for “great crown”, is a 26-year-old whisky which is matured in American and European oak casks at the Glenfiddich Distillery in Dufftown, Scotland. It then receives an extended finish for up to two years in French Cognac casks.

“The Grand Series perfectly encapsulates Glenfiddich’s spirit of innovation and our ability to experiment with aged liquid and intriguing finishes. Grande Couronne is the latest to exemplify that approach,” says Glenfiddich Malt Master, Brian Kinsman. “It is the only Glenfiddich single malt that has matured in American and European oak casks and finished in rare French Cognac casks. The length of the finish, two years, is highly unusual and adds extra layers of sweet toasted oak and velvety aromas of café crème, brown sugar and soft spice.”

Grande Couronne is fittingly exhibited in an ornate glass bottle wrapped in a filigree gold print. Additionally, it is packaged in an embossed box. Bottled at 43.8% ABV, Glenfiddich Grande Couronne is available nationwide at an SRP of $600.

Glenfiddich Grande Couronne

Michter’s US*1 Toasted Barrel Finish Bourbon Returns After A Three Year Hiatus

The 2021 bottling of its Toasted Barrel Finish Bourbon will begin shipping from Michter’s Louisville, KY headquarters in September! This is the first time the popular whiskey has been available since 2018.

“We first launched our groundbreaking US*1 Toasted Barrel Bourbon in 2014, and we followed up with releases in 2015 and 2018. While we continue to experience whiskey shortages at Michter’s, we decided to use some of our bourbon stocks for this toasted offering so our loyal Michter’s supporters could enjoy it,” said Michter’s President Joseph J. Magliocco.

“At Michter’s we do a lot of experimentation as we pursue our goal of making the greatest American whiskey. The innovative work that our production team is undertaking on toasted barrel finishing is delivering remarkable results,” commented Michter’s Master Distiller Dan McKee.

Michter’s Toasted Barrel Bourbon uses Michter’s US*1 Small Batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon as a base. Then the whiskey is transferred into a second barrel made of 18-month air-dried wood that is toasted for additional aging.

The bourbon is bottled at 45.7% ABV and will sell for an SRP of $100 per 750 mL bottle.

US*1 Toasted Barrel Finish Bourbon /Photo Credit: Michter’s

Laphroaig Announces 2021 Càirdeas US Release

Càirdeas is an annual series created by John Campbell, the Laphroaig Distillery Manager, to celebrate Friends of Laphroaig. Càirdeas (Gaelic for “friendship”) began in 1994 for friends, fans and followers to join from all over the world. This year, the release was announced internationally on Laphroaig Day during its second ever virtual iteration of Fèis Ìle Festival.

The 2021 Càirdeas Pedro Ximenez Casks edition is tripled-matured. First it’s aged in American oak ex-bourbon barrels, then in Quarter Casks. Finally, it’s aged in European oak hogsheads containing PX sherry.  It is bottled at a cask strength of 58.9% ABV. The whisky is currently available for purchase on the brand’s website and in US  stores for an SRP of $99.

2021 Càirdeas Pedro Ximenez Casks /Photo Credit: Laphroaig

Great Jones Distilling Co., Manhattan’s First And Only Legal Whiskey Distillery Since Prohibition, Opens in NoHo

There have been no whiskey distilleries in Manhattan for at least 100 years. That changes now as Great Jones Distilling Co., Manhattan’s first and only legal whiskey distillery since Prohibition, opens its doors in NoHo.

It took over 6 years for Great Jones Distilling Co. to work through rigid city regulations and centuries-old fire codes, not to mention a global pandemic, to come to fruition. The 28,000 square-foot space is located at 686 Broadway, with a custom-built and engineered distillery where people can enjoy distillery tours and tasting experiences starting Saturday, August 21. The venue also includes a restaurant, speakeasy and event venue, which will open starting in September.

Great Jones Distilling Co. was founded by Proximo Spirits and is the vision of 11th generation spirits maker Juan Domingo Beckmann. The whiskeys are made exclusively with grains grown in the Black Dirt region less than two hours north of Manhattan in upstate New York.

Great Jones Distilling Co. /Photo Credit: Great Jones Distilling Co.

Being a Part of It, As New York Whiskey

“The opening of Great Jones Distilling Co. represents a landmark moment for spirits and New York City history, bringing the craft of whiskey distillation back to Manhattan after 100 years,” said Beckmann. “For 11 generations my family has crafted some of the world’s leading spirits, and we are proud to introduce a bourbon that truly embodies the best of New York State ingredients and the ‘lightning in a bottle’ energy of Manhattan. The Great Jones Distillery will give the city a new spirits legacy, and is dedicated to the resiliency and hustle that New Yorkers have shown to the world over this past year.”

Great Jones Distilling Co. is introducing three new whiskeys: Great Jones Straight Bourbon (86 proof, $40), Great Jones Four Grain Straight Bourbon (90 proof, $50) and Great Jones Straight Rye (90 proof, $40). The liquids have been aging for the past five years in new, charred American oak barrels in upstate New York in preparation for the distillery opening.

The renovation of the 82-year-old building was designed in partnership with Groundswell Design Group. Bringing it back meant conquering many challenges unique to NYC, including reinforcing the floor to support the stills. This involved navigating the subway system that runs below the building. Bonus: a secret tunnel was discovered (they apparently like to think it was used to transport whiskey and other spirits under the streets of New York)! Naturally, this tunnel will be a feature of the speakeasy-style bar.

Bacardí Rum Launches Limited Edition 5 Year Cask Finish Series, Beginning With Reserva Ocho Sherry Cask

To coincide with National Rum Day earlier this week, Bacardí Rum announced it is expanding its premium range with the launch of the limited-edition Bacardí Reserva Ocho Sherry Cask Finish. According to the press release, the launch marks the start of a five-year collection, with a new cask finish offering released annually through 2025.

Each of the rums in the Bacardí Reserva Cask Finish series will use a base of Bacardí Reserva Ocho. Then each rum will finish maturing for several additional months in a non-traditional barrel that will change year to year.

The inaugural release has been aged in American oak barrels for eight to 12 years. It’s finished in an ex-oloroso sherry cask for over two months. According to the press release, this cask was chosen because of the brand’s connections to Spain.

Bacardí Reserva Ocho Sherry Cask Finish /Photo Credit: Bacardí

Bacardí enters the NFT game

In addition, Bacardí is teaming up for the launch with celebrity photographer, Cam Kirk, to create an original NFT (non-fungible token) inspired by the Bacardí Reserva Ocho Sherry Cask Finish. This is part of the brand’s “Do What Moves You” campaign to celebrate themes of self-expression, connectivity and individuality. The project apparently allows Kirk to explore new photographic possibilities through themes of rum.

“Every time I take on a new project, I approach it with the highest level of precision and passion,” said Kirk. “I saw that exact precision and passion from the Master Blenders when they introduced me to the new Sherry Cask Finish and it was my honor to capture it for a fellow rum fan. This is my first-ever NFT, so I knew it had to be a truly special collaboration.”

The NFT will live as a piece of art to showcase the new cask finish, and comes with digital effects and interactive motion graphics. It will go on sale on September 1 on the brand’s website for only two weeks.

Proceeds from the NFT sale will directly benefit the “Backing the B.A.R.” initiative which supports Black-owned hospitality businesses. It is presented by the NAACP and sponsored by Bacardí.

Bacardí Reserva Ocho Sherry Cask Finish is bottled at 40% ABV for an SRP of $32.99. It will be available online and in stores nationwide, starting in September.

Corralejo Tequila Announces Limited Edition 25th Anniversary Extra Añejo

Corralejo Tequila, imported by Infinium Spirits, has released a limited edition 25th Anniversary Extra Añejo Tequila. The brand says the bottling is a tribute to both 250 years of tequila-making tradition as well as 25 years of Corralejo Tequila. There are only 1,600 bottles in the release.

Corralejo Tequila is produced at Hacienda Corralejo, the birthplace of Don Miguel Hidalgo y Costillo — a local hero known for his role in sparking the Mexican War of Independence and leading the insurgents to victory. Located in Guanajuato, Mexico, Hacienda Corralejo is credited with being the first estate in Mexico to commercially produce tequila in 1755. It is also one of the few distilleries allowed to craft tequila outside of the state of Jalisco.

The 25th Anniversary Extra Añejo Tequila is made with 100% Blue Weber agave that’s hand-harvested from the Hacienda’s fields. The agave is slow-cooked in stone clay ovens for 36 hours, then fermented with a proprietary strain of yeast. Each tequila is double-distilled using column stills and Alembic copper stills imported from Spain. The tequila is aged in Templeton Rye American Whiskey barrels for five years.

It is bottled at 40% ABV and retails for an SRP of $249.99.

Corralejo 25th Anniversary Extra Añejo Tequila

Ryan Reynolds Offering Fans a “Round on Him” in Honor of National Aviation Day

National Aviation Day has been declared for August 19. In honor of the “holiday,” Aviation Gin owner Ryan Reynolds says he is offering fans a round on him.

“In 1939, President Roosevelt drank a few Negronis and immediately declared August 19th National Aviation Day,” jokes Reynolds. “But don’t take mine or FDR’s words for it — try it yourself. That’s right: this Aviation Day, I’m buying.”

So from August 19th to 22nd, Reynolds will reimburse those 21 and older for an Aviation Gin cocktail (up to $7). Simply upload a receipt to their website here.

Ryan Reynolds /Photo Credit: Aviation Gin

Cathead Distillery Debuts A New Small Batch Release of Old Soul Bourbon

Mississippi’s Cathead Distillery is debuting the 2021 release of its small batch Old Soul Straight Bourbon. It is a blend of two whiskeys with an identical high-rye mash bill that are aged for four and five years, respectively.

The product was developed by Cathead Co-Founders Richard Patrick and Austin Evans. It is bottled at 90 proof with a high-rye mash bill of 75% corn, 21% rye and 4% malted barley.

Only 88 barrels were produced from whiskeys distilled in Mississippi and Indiana, then aged onsite at the Jackson, MS-based distillery.

Old Soul Bourbon is bottled at 43% ABV with an SRP of $44.95. It is available for preorder with nationwide shipping via their website as well as at select retailers in the US.

Old Soul Straight Bourbon Small Batch /Photo Credit: Old Soul

Still Austin Announces Limited Edition Straight Wheat Whiskey

Still Austin Whiskey Co. has announced a limited-release Straight Wheat Whiskey. This is the fifth expression in its Distillery Reserve Series.

The expression is made of 100% winter hawk wheat, exclusively grown in its home state of Texas. The bourbon was aged for three years and four months. The release is limited to 600 full sized 750 mL bottles, set to retail for $100 each. Fans are invited to enter into an online lottery for the chance to purchase a bottle by visiting the Still Austin website from now through Monday, August 30 at 12 PM. Still Austin will notify all winners on Tuesday, August 31, 2021, via email, with 24 hours to make the purchase. All bottles must be picked up at the Still Austin distillery beginning on Friday, September 3 at 11 AM CST.

Copal Tree Distillery Releases Cacao-Infused Rum In U.S.

Copal Tree Distillery, maker of single estate Copalli Rum, has expanded the release of its Cacao expression in the US.

Copalli Cacao Rum is sustainably produced at the distillery located in the heart of the tropical rainforest in Southern Belize. It is made with only 4 ingredients: organic, heirloom sugar cane; yeast; cacao nibs grown, dried and roasted at the distillery; and pure water collected from the canopy of the Belizean Rainforest.

“We take our delicious Copalli White Rum, place it into a tank to rest with 100% organic, freshly harvested cacao nibs,” said Master Distiller Ed Tiedge. “Over several weeks, the cacao nibs infuse a rich chocolate flavor and aroma into the rum, which is then redistilled to create a smooth, finished product — unlike anything on the market.”

The brand says Copalli Cacao is not a traditional chocolate-flavored liquor, especially since it is bottled at 80 proof. It retails for an SRP of $30.99.

Copalli Cacao Rum /Photo Credit: Copal Tree Distillery

Ready to grab a bottle of Glenfiddich Grande Couronne?

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