We’ve made it to another Friday, y’all! For me, this small achievement is reason enough to celebrate. And if that isn’t good enough, we’re also so close to saying goodbye to February to which I think we’d all like to say: good riddance! March (should) bring some warmer weather, but it is also going to bring us some exciting new spirit releases our way. Bourbon fans in particular should be excited to see the release of Maker’s Mark FAE-01. This is the latest in the brand’s Wood Finishing Series which is set to hit shelves very soon.
But if rye is more your speed, you should start reaching out to your favorite retailer for the 2021 batch of Michter’s Barrel Proof Rye. It’s been a couple of years since this whiskey has been available so you can be sure it’s going to go quickly. There’s a lot to get to this week including a couple of older single malts from Bowmore as well as some new botanical spirits from Grey Goose. So without further ado, here’s Distiller’s Friday Roundup for February 26, 2021!
Maker’s Mark FAE-01, Latest in Wood Finishing Series Announced
This week Maker’s Mark announced the latest release in its Wood Finishing Series making this the third bottling in the series. Like each of the previous releases, the bourbon begins with fully matured cask strength Maker’s Mark. Then it is finished in secondary barrels containing the proprietary wood staves. There will be two releases for 2021 with Maker’s Mark FAE-01 being released in March.
Maker’s Mark FAE-01 focuses on the specific flavors of dried fruit and oak by searing an American oak stave on one side while leaving the other side raw. Conversely, Maker’s Mark FAE-02 will be focused on a rich, weighty texture.
“Every whisky in our Wood Finishing Series is meant to have a strong point of view; it should tell a story about what we do at the distillery,” says Jane Bowie, director of innovation at Maker’s Mark. “For 2021 we wanted to use wood to draw out those underlying bold qualities of classic Maker’s that we get from non-chill filtration — heavy oakiness, earthy fig and that creamy, palate-coating mouthfeel. The more we experimented with different stave types, the more we realized one bourbon wouldn’t even scratch the surface of big flavor and texture, so we’re excited to share a pair of releases that tell two sides of a complete story.”
Expect to see Maker’s Mark FAE-02 released in the fall later this year. Meanwhile, Maker’s Mark FAE-01 is available as of March 2021 with an SRP of $59.99. It is bottled between 110.3-110.6 proof.
Michter’s Releases Barrel Proof Kentucky Straight Rye
This week Michter’s announced the release of US*1 Barrel Strength Kentucky Straight Rye. This is a single barrel product with an average proof of 110.3. The last time Michter’s offered this product was in April 2019.
Michter’s Master of Maturation Andrea Wilson said, “These barrels are at just the right point to highlight the beautiful nuances of a great rye whiskey. This release is a powerhouse.”
This batch of US*1 Barrel Strength Kentucky Straight Rye will be launched in March 2021 nationally and internationally with an SRP of $100.
Bowmore Launches Timeless Series with Release of Two New Single Malts
This month, Islay single malt brand Bowmore announced the launch of a new limited-edition series with two new additions to its older range of single malts. The Timeless Series from Bowmore features “masterpieces of whisky beautifully crafted and shaped by time.”
For its 27 Year single malt bottling, the whisky matured in sherry and ex-bourbon casks for 15 years. Then the whisky was transferred to first-fill oloroso sherry butts for 12 more years. It is bottled at a cask strength of 52.7%.
As for the 31 Year, it was matured in ex-bourbon casks for 29 years. Then the whisky was transferred to Spanish oak Matusalem sherry butts to finish maturing for 2 more years. It is bottled at 45.4%. This is exclusive to Global Travel Retail outlets with just 3000 bottles available.
With just 3,000 bottles produced, Bowmore Timeless Series 27 Year has an SRP of $1,525 and is available now worldwide. Meanwhile, Bowmore Timeless Series 31 Year has an SRP of $2,100 and is exclusive to Global Travel Retail outlets. It too is limited to 3,000 bottles. To celebrate the launch of this series, the brand has collaborated with film director and artist Thomas Vanz who has produced a short film that “illustrates the power of time as expressed in the evolution of whisky.” You can watch the film here.
Grey Goose Launches Essences Line
This week Grey Goose introduced Essences, a botanical spirits collection made with Grey Goose Vodka infused with real fruit and cold-distilled botanicals. There are three flavors of Essences available: Strawberry & Lemongrass, Watermelon & Basil, and White Peach & Rosemary. Crafted by cellar master François Thibault, they are each gluten-free and have no artificial ingredients, sugar or carbs. Each 1.5 oz serving equals 73 calories.
“Grey Goose Essences has been a labor of love for both me and the brand,” said Thibault. “The freshest ingredients were meticulously searched for and a unique distillation process is used for each fruit and each botanical to ensure we captured the purest flavor in every bottle. All three Essences flavors reveal the most perfect expression of the ingredients they contain.”
The Grey Goose Essences bottlings are available as of February 2021 with an SRP of $29.99 each.
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TIDBITS FROM AROUND THE SPIRITS WORLD
Let’s take a quick look at what else is going on around the world this week…
This bottling is a limited-edition bottling commemorating the Kentucky Derby Festival for 2021. Heaven Hill is a partner with the festival which is celebrating its 66th anniversary in 2021. The bourbon includes the barreling date, the barrel number, and the date it was bottled. This limited-edition bottle has its neck dipped in hot pink wax and includes a 2021 Gold Pegasus Pin.
Bottled at 115 proof, it will be available for sale beginning March 11th at the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience and at select Kentucky retailers for $74.99.
Archenemy Space Whiskey is made from a blend of two straight bourbon whiskeys each distilled in Indiana. One was distilled in June 2012 and the other in August 2015. They were aged in traditional 53-gallon white oak barrels (char #2). It’s bottled unfiltered at 90 proof.
This whiskey was released by entertainment company Legion M inspired by their major motion picture “Archenemy” released in December 2020 starring Joe Manganiello. You can purchase the whiskey online for a price of $44.99-48.99.
Tanqueray 0.0% is an alcohol-free spirit alternative to Tanqueray London Dry Gin. It is made using the same blend of botanicals used in the London Dry Gin. For example, juniper, coriander, angelica and licorice are featured. It’s available as of March 2021 in Spain and the UK for £16 (~$23).
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
While most WhistlePig whiskeys on the market are distilled in Canada, recently the brand has incorporated some of its own distilled whiskey into a few products under its Farmstock lineup. It appears that the brand is finally ready to release a 100% distilled-in-house rye and bourbon made entirely on its farm in Vermont from harvesting-to-bottling.
What We Know:
Both the Farmstock Rye and Farmstock Bourbon are single barrel releases and they are also bottled-in-bond. The “Beyond Bonded” statement appears to be in reference to the fact that the whiskeys are bottled beyond the standard 4 years required for the category, but we’ll wait to hear from the brand when they officially release the pair of whiskeys.
Chronicles is a limited edition “ultra-aged” series for Canadian Club which first started in autumn 2018. In fact, the series began after the release of Canadian Club 40 Year which was released to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday in 2017. Whisky distilled in 1977 was used for that release and in each of Chronicles bottlings with each release meant to pay homage to the history of the brand.
What We Know:
This the fourth release in the series and at the heart of it is a corn whisky which was distilled in 1977. As is stated on the label, the whisky was aged for 44 years. However, it is still unclear what if any other alcoholic products have been added to it. Notably, the 9.09% rule allows plenty of leeway to make this Canadian whisky stand out from the rest in the series.
The Master Blender’s Collection from Mount Gay first began in 2018 with the 1703 Master Select Rum release. This is the fourth release in the series and the third for current Master Blender Trudiann Branker.
What We Know:
This rum made from a single batch at Mount Gay which was distilled in copper pot stills. Then the rum aged for 14 years in ex-bourbon barrels before being finished in virgin Andean oak casks.
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