Distiller’s Friday Roundup – July 9, 2021By Amanda Schuster
For many people, it seems that summer travel is back. But even if you don’t have plans to take off just yet, this week’s batch of new releases can take you around the world, right from your glass.
We start with details on one of the most anticipated releases of the year: Old Forester Birthday Bourbon 2021. In more Kentucky bourbon news, Blue Run Spirits has announced two versions of a limited 14 Year Small Batch Bourbon — and one is an online exclusive. And if you consider yourself an expert level bourbon taster, you’ll definitely want to check out Bardstown Bourbon Co.’s 2021 World’s Top Taster competition. Meanwhile, in Houston, Yellow Rose Harris County Bourbon has been released.
For fans of interesting independent bottlings, Scallywag Chocolate Limited Edition #4 and The ImpEx Edition One collection may be well worth checking out.
In time for summer refreshment, Bacardí Tropical flavored rum and Finlandia Botanical expressions have just been released. And to get things shaking, Novo Fogo now has a service industry-friendly Bar Strength Silver Cachaça. Plus, there is now a collectible, limited edition of Bombay Sapphire Gin with a bottle designed by artist Steven Harrington.
OK, let’s start the journey with some bourbon!
Old Forester Announces Birthday Bourbon 2021
We have the deets on Old Forester’s upcoming edition of the brand’s beloved annual release, Old Forester Birthday Bourbon 2021!
The 2021 release consists of 12-year-old barrels and is bottled at 104 proof. The batch was selected from 119 barrels that were filled on April 16, 2009 and matured in Warehouse G.
“This year, we’ve composed a bold and compelling offering which showcases the unique fruit-forward side of Old Forester,” said Master Taster Jackie Zykan. “Playful berry undertones with summery dessert notes balance out to our flagship spice finish while taking sippers on a textural journey from velvety to dry mouthfeel.”
For those who don’t already know, Birthday Bourbon is an annual, vintage-dated, one-of-a-kind bourbon. It comes together from barrels selected from one specific day of production. It’s released each year on September 2nd to celebrate the birthday of Old Forester founder George Garvin Brown.
According to the press release, this year happens to mark Old Forester’s 151st anniversary. This makes it the only bourbon brand with an uninterrupted history, sold by the same family company before, during and after Prohibition.
Old Forester Birthday Bourbon 2021 will be available starting September 2nd at the retail shop at Old Forester Distilling Co. It will also be available as a limited release nationwide for $129.99.
Blue Run Spirits Releases 14 Year Small Batch Bourbon
A 14 Year Small Batch Bourbon from Blue Run Spirits can now be found at select retailers in the US. It is bottled at 113 proof and sells for a suggested $199.99. In addition, a 14 Year Small Batch Reserve Bourbon, also 113 proof, will be available online only for a $249.99 SRP beginning July 7th at 3pm EST.
“We are very pleased to be able to offer a special Reserve bottling of our award-winning 14-Year-Old Small Batch Bourbon to our fans outside our current distribution states,” said Mike Montgomery, CEO of Blue Run Spirits. “Our 13.5-Year-Old Single Barrels that were released in May sold out online in minutes, so we want to thank our online customers for their voracious support of Blue Run.”
The barrels in this small batch bourbon were selected by Blue Run’s Liquid Advisor Jim Rutledge. According to the press release, they plan to roll out more whiskeys in the coming months. This includes a rye in September and a high rye bourbon in October. Additionally Blue Run says it will be distilling and laying down new fill at Bardstown Bourbon Co. this year with Rutledge serving as the distiller.
Bardstown Bourbon Co. Begins Search for the 2021 World’s Top Whiskey Taster
Speaking of Bardstown Bourbon Co. (BBCo.), the brand is launching the second annual World’s Top Whiskey Taster competition in partnership with Moonshine University. The contest is open to all whiskey connoisseurs, enthusiasts and fans to compete for a grand prize of $20,000, a scholarship to Moonshine University’s Executive Bourbon Steward program, the opportunity to create their own whiskey blend with Bourbon Hall-of-Famer and Master Distiller Steve Nally and a sponsored block party in its hometown. The latter will feature the BBCo.’s mobile tasting bar.
“We’re excited to bring the competition back this year and introduce more whiskey lovers to Bardstown Bourbon Company,” said BBCo. Marketing Director Laurel Altman. “We always love connecting with fellow enthusiasts and this competition is the perfect opportunity to grow the community, while giving our fans a platform to demonstrate their knowledge and passion for whiskey.”
The competition consists of three phases. It begins with a casting call, then regional qualifying rounds. The winners of the regionals will be expected to travel to BBCo. to compete for the 2021 World’s Top Whisky Taster crown and be awarded the grand prize.
Further information with dates, times, rules and conditions can be found here. Candidates must be at least 21 years old to enter.
Bardstown Bourbon Co. /Photo Credit: BBCo.
ImpEx Beverages Debuts The ImpEx Collection With Edition One
Sam Filmus and Chris Uhde of ImpEx Beverages have announced the debut of The ImpEx Collection, starting with Edition One.
This edition features independent bottlings of Scotch whisky, world whisky, and rum expressions.
About the selection process, Sam Filmus, president of ImpEx Beverages, said, “Finding the symphony of nose, palate, and finish is key. Sometimes we are looking for the original style the distillery offers and other times it’s about finding the surprise cask that is totally different from the norm. For us it’s about making sure those truly special gems don’t get lost and being able to bring unique and special options to the customer.”
Chris Uhde, vice president of ImpEx Beverages, added, “There is a lot of great whisky out there and choosing a cask for The ImpEx Collection is always a very carefully thought-out process. When selecting a cask, I ask myself three questions: ‘Is it delicious? Would I be proud to share and enjoy this whisky with friends? Does the cask fit in a complementary way with the other casks being offered in the release?’ Only if the answer to all three is ‘Yes!’ then I have found a cask worth including in The ImpEx Collection.”
Springbank 1993 25 Year Cask #94 /Photo Credit: ImpEx Beverages
What’s In The ImpEx Collection?
The ImpEx Collection includes single casks, vattings of multiple casks of spirits, and small-scale batches of unaged spirits like mezcal. Production is limited due to the rarity of the spirits.
Edition One includes these expressions. For an entire list, please visit their website here.
– Springbank 1993 25 Year Cask #94 (oloroso sherry cask finish)
– 1980 40 Year Blend Cask #34 (sherry butt)
– Caol Ila 2008 12 Year Cask #313250 (hogshead)
– Milk & Honey 2017 3 Year Cask #2017-0123 (ex-bourbon finished in ex-PX sherry hogshead)
– Clarendon Rum 2007 13 Year Cask #654MBKB (oak barrel)
– Long Pond Rum 2005 15 Year Cask #21VRW (oak barrel)
Yellow Rose Distilling Announces the Debut of Harris County Bourbon
Yellow Rose Distilling, said to be Houston’s first legal whiskey distillery, has announced the launch of Yellow Rose Harris County. This high-rye bourbon is named for the county in which the distillery is located. The mash bill consists of 25% Texas-grown rye and also uses corn and malted barley grown in the state.
Bottled at 92 proof, it’ll be available across Texas, California, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Florida this month. Harris County will retail for $44.99 per 750ml bottle.
“We selected Texas grown grains, settled on double pot distilling and a low entry proof to barrel,” says Michael Langan, general manager of Yellow Rose Distillery. “This allows us to highlight our region as well as the expertise of our team, while paying homage to pre-Prohibition techniques that we feel allow us to balance the maturation of this whiskey within our dynamic local climate. Despite its low entry proof, we choose to bottle at 92 proof to maintain density of flavor and mouthfeel that was hard earned in our slow double pot distillation and 30 months in the Texas heat and humidity.”
In addition, Yellow Rose Distillery announced it has expanded to include a major refurbishment of its visitor and experience center. Features include a brand-new bar, lounge, presentation and tasting rooms well as a new 1,200 sq ft. outdoor deck.
Tidbits From Around the World
Let’s take a quick look at what else is going on around the world this week.
Douglas Laing & Co. Release Scallywag Chocolate Limited Edition #4
First off, to clarify, this is not a flavored whisky. The fourth release since 2018 of this bottling exclusively uses 100% sherry-matured single cask single malts from Speyside. Chocolate is the dominant flavor profile, with each cask said to have been chosen for its “cocoa-rich tasting notes”. It is bottled at 48% ABV without coloring or chill filtration.
There are only 3,000 bottles of the latest edition available globally. It is expected to retail at £55.00/€64.00 (or local equivalent) at fine select retailers.
Novo Fogo Announces Bar Strength Silver Cachaça
Novo Fogo Cachaça has released a new, high-proof silver cachaça in a 1-liter bottle format that is specifically designed for the bar community. This reformulation of Novo Fogo Silver Cachaça has a higher proof that’s intended to stand out in cocktails. Additionally, it’s being made available at a bar budget-friendly price point. Also, the bottle redesign features an ergonomic structure with a smaller, circular footprint, a taller neck and a slimmer midsection.
The Bar Strength 1-liter expression is rested in stainless steel for one year, and bottled at 43% ABV. It is available mainly for on-premise purchase and in select liquor stores nationwide for the average wholesale cost of $24.
Bacardí Introduces Bacardí Tropical
Get your blenders and muddlers ready: Bacardí Rum has announced the launch of Bacardí Tropical, a limited-edition flavored rum. The launch is set to kick off on National Piña Colada Day, which happens to be this Saturday, July 10. And hey, that’s not to be outdone by National Mojito Day on Sunday, July 11! Bacardí Tropical is only available for a limited time until the fall.
Bacardí Tropical begins with a base of Bacardí White Rum. According to the press release, it’s infused with “all-natural pineapple, coconut, and guava fruit flavors” and contains no artificial sweeteners. In addition, the rum is gluten-free, and only 100 calories per 1.5 ounces. Bottled at 35% ABV, Bacardí Tropical has an SRP of $12.99 per 750mL bottle.
Finlandia Botanical “Captures the Essence of a Finnish Summer”
Finlandia Vodka has announced a new range, Finlandia Botanical. This is a line of vodka-based spirits with botanical infusions in a lower ABV format of 30%. They are made with zero sugar or artificial sweeteners.
“Boasting the best Finnish nature has to offer, Finlandia Botanical combines the versatility and mixability of vodka with the craftsmanship of botanical infusions in a way previously only associated with gin,” says Pekka Pellinen, Finlandia Vodka global master mixologist. “Sipped in a spritz, on the rocks, or with tonic, the new expression will invoke the dreamy night-less nights of the Finnish summer.”
Finlandia Botanical Cucumber Mint and Wildberry Rose are available now in Colorado, Connecticut, Louisiana, Texas and Washington. They each have an SRP of $15.99. According to the press release, a larger roll out is expected soon.
Bombay Sapphire Partners With Artist Steven Harrington To Create A New Limited Edition Bottle Design
Bombay Sapphire has announced a partnership with Los Angeles-based artist Steven Harrington to release a new limited edition Bombay Sapphire bottle, available as of this week.
Harrington’s first ever design for Bombay Sapphire features many of the motifs the artist is known for, including his signature palm tree characters. The brand says it’s on track to be the first major gin brand to be made with 100% sustainably sourced botanicals. In addition, the botanicals used are featured in the illustrations, along with the iconic Bombay Sapphire blue bottle and other related gin and cocktail themes.
This marks the second artist-designed Limited Edition bottle for the brand, following the inaugural Limited Edition designed by artist Hebru Brantley released in July 2020. Brantley, a long-term collaborator of Bombay Sapphire, nominated Steven Harrington to design this latest edition.
The Bombay Sapphire Steven Harrington Limited Edition is available nationwide from July 1 and online at ReserveBar.
Ready to grab a bottle of Bithday Bourbon 2021?
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