Distiller’s Friday Roundup – September 17, 2021By Amanda Schuster
Greetings spirits fans! Though it isn’t officially autumn for another week, the booze news gets us ready this week with a multitude of spirits that represent the deeper hues of fall.
In whisky news, we begin with Hudson Whiskey Four Part Harmony. This is a variation of its popular four-grain bourbon, but this time it’s aged for a minimum of 7 years. In Kentucky, Blade & Bow 22 Year returns, and Stoli announced the debut bottling of Kentucky Owl Wiseman Bourbon made in partnership with Bardstown Bourbon Co. Over in Evanston, FEW Spirits is celebrating 10 years (congratulations!) by releasing FEW 10th Anniversary. And there’s an Elvis whiskey, actually two of them, (hey, it was now or never).
Meanwhile, Bulleit is offering to buy you a round once a week with Local Bar Sundays. And Westland Distillery continues its crusade to elevate the American Single Malt category. The Judgement of Westland pits major players in the global single malt scene against each other in blind tastings.
Across the pond, Compass Box is ushering in autumn with the debut of its latest core expression, Orchard House. Also, The Dalmore is releasing the first in a 30-year limited-edition series this month. Meanwhile, Glenmorangie’s The Lighthouse, a distillery dedicated to brand innovation, is up and running.
On the agave front, The Producer Mezcal makes its debut as well as Corralejo Tequila Extra Añejo. And the pink-hued celebrity tequila trend continues with Código 1530 x George Strait Rosa-Reposado.
Speaking of celebrity spirits, in vodka land, CÎROC and Sean Diddy Combs have released the new limited-edition CÎROC Pomegranate. And Hangar 1 Smoke Point Vodka, distilled with smoke-tainted grapes, gives back to California communities affected by last year’s horrific Glass Fire.
A Warning from Buffalo Trace
But before we get into anything else, we want to let you know that Buffalo Trace Distillery has recently received the alarming news that many online whiskey sites, mostly originating on social media, have been listing rare expressions like Blanton’s and Double Eagle Very Rare for sale at what seem like bargain prices. But the bottles never show up, or show up empty, or the liquid is a fake.
“We’ve had fans from across the U.S. contact us to tell us they’ve been duped. We’ve taken legal action to have the sites shut down and also sent notices to the social media companies asking them to take action, but unfortunately the situation persists,” said Mary Tortorice, general counsel, Sazerac Company.
Totorice says to look out for these red flags: “In all but six states plus the District of Columbia, it is illegal to ship alcohol directly to consumers. One of the tip offs is if the website will process your order with shipment to your state, if you are located in one of the 44 states where shipping alcohol directly to your home is illegal. Another red flag is if the website is located in another country, as the majority of the scams we have seen have been located overseas.”
So basically, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
Phew! How about we move on to less sobering news?
Hudson Whiskey Debuts Four Part Harmony
This week, Hudson Whiskey introduced its oldest release to date, Four Part Harmony, a four-grain bourbon aged a minimum of 7 years.
Tuthilltown Distillery originated its Hudson Four Grain variant in 2010 as a limited release that quickly gained popularity. Four Part Harmony ushers in what the brand says is the start of a new era.
“Hudson Whiskey has been looking forward to this moment ever since our humble beginnings upstate, so we’re thrilled to unveil our oldest release to date,” says Paul Coffey, senior brand manager of Hudson Whiskey. “Four Part Harmony is ready to ‘wow!’ dedicated Hudson fans and turn other whiskey drinkers’ heads with its bold, yet refined taste. This release shows Hudson Whiskey’s intent to continue pushing boundaries and paving the way within this pivotal time in the American craft whiskey movement.”
The distillery sources 100% of its grains from neighboring Hudson Valley farms. It’s pot-distilled from a mash of 60% corn, 15% rye, 15% wheat and 10% malted barley. Notably, Four Part Harmony is Kosher-certified whiskey.
Hudson Whiskey Four Part Harmony is bottled at 92 proof (46% ABV) with an SRP of $69.99 per 750mL.
Compass Box Adds Orchard House To Its Blended Malt Scotch Whisky Lineup
Compass Box has announced an extension of its signature range with Orchard House. The whisky is bottled at 46% ABV with an SRP of $50. It will be sold throughout the US starting October 1st and produced year-round.
Orchard House gets its name from the dominant part of its blend, which comes from stocks of liquid from distilleries known for whiskies with fruit-forward flavor profiles. These whiskies were then aged in a variety of casks which include first fill ex-bourbon barrels, oloroso-sherry-seasoned butts, and French oak custom barrels.
This expression is somewhat of a departure for Compass Box, as Founder and Whiskymaker John Glaser explains, “Orchard House is our first core range whisky produced almost entirely from whiskies we have aged since the day they were distilled. In a sense, it is more ‘our whisky’ than anything we’ve made before. We are so proud of this. Something new, something different for us. Something joyful. And delicious.”
The Dalmore Unveils An Annual Series With 30-Year-Old Scotch Whisky
This month, The Dalmore has introduced a new 30 Year limited-edition bottling. Only 200 bottles are available nationwide for this one. On the positive side, this is just the first in a series of 30-year-old expressions for years to come.
The 2021 Edition was first matured in American white oak ex-bourbon barrels. Then the whisky was transferred into rare 30 Year Old Graham’s Tawny Port pipes. Significantly, the distillery has a longstanding partnership with the winery.
“This new annual release, although instantly collectible, is intended for whisky fans seeking the finest Scotch whisky to enjoy every year and we’re proud that it is a celebration of our longstanding relationship with Graham’s Port,” explains Whisky Maker Gregg Glass. “The Dalmore 30 Year Old 2021 Edition is the result of our shared patience and dedication to craftsmanship of over more than 180 years, creating an exquisite single malt which is divinely decadent with every drop.”
The Dalmore 30 Year 2021 Edition is bottled at 42.8% with an SRP of $5,500.
Glenmorangie’s Dr. Bill Unveils New Innovation Distillery: The Lighthouse
Glenmorangie has opened the doors to what the brand refer to as its “innovation distillery — a place which promises to bring a kaleidoscope of delicious new flavors to whisky.”
Director of Whisky Creation Dr. Bill Lumsden is known for his experimental approach and boundary-pushing flavor innovations. These are apparently the inspiration for the Lighthouse, the first on-site distillery dedicated to a single malt brand’s limited-edition experimental releases.
The multi-million pound Lighthouse is named for its approach to whisky-making, and its stature. Its 20m-high stillhouse can apparently be seen for miles around. The campus includes:
– The Stillhouse, equipped with two of the Glenmorangie signature giraffe-high stills
– The Brewhouse, a stone building for experiments with barley, water and yeast during the mashing and brewing processes.
– Sensory laboratory, where spirits are tasted and tested.
The Lighthouse /Photo Credit: Glenmorangie
Shining a Light On Whisky Innovation
“Our Lighthouse is the new home of imagination,” says Dr. Bill. “Here, we’ll indulge our most fantastical ideas as we strive to create a whole array of different flavors. We will play with raw ingredients, and make small adjustments and big changes in ways never tried before. Nothing is off limits, as long as it’s delicious.”
To mark the Lighthouse opening, Glenmorangie is releasing Glenmorangie Lighthouse, a 12-year distiller-onsite exclusive, limited to 3,000 bottles. It was matured in bourbon and sherry casks that now line the Lighthouse’s walls.
Bulleit Launches “Local Bar Sundays” To Rally Consumers to Support their Local Bars
This week, Bulleit has announced the launch of Local Bar Sundays, a mission to inspire consumers to support their favorite local bars and restaurants and make every Sunday a Local Bar Sunday.
Bulleit says it will reimburse the cost of the first drink with the “First Drink’s on Us” rebate fund that will run through the end of 2021.
Any drink made with Bulleit that costs equal to or less than $10.01 pre-tax will be reimbursed to adult consumers (+21) when ordered at their favorite local bar or restaurant in qualifying states (check the brand’s website for full details and a schedule of promotional events in various participating areas). Consumers will be reimbursed via Venmo by simply uploading their drink receipt to LocalBarSundays.com after purchasing a qualifying Bulleit drink during the promotion. However, Bulleit also reminds those participating that they should still tip out of decent common courtesy.
“Local bars and restaurants are a reflection of the vibrant and diverse communities they serve and have been the backdrop to some of life’s most important celebrations,” said Ricky Collett, Global and US Brand Director of Bulleit Frontier Whiskey, Diageo North America. “We’re proud to launch an initiative that reminds consumers of the importance of supporting their local establishments and communities, by making every Sunday, a Local Bar Sunday.”
The Local Bar Sundays mission was first introduced at this year’s Tribeca Festival and follows a donation of $250,000 to support the North American Hospitality Industry as part of the Bulleit Frontier Fund.
Westland Distillery Launches the Judgement of Westland
At the Whisky Show in London this October, Westland Distillery will kick off The Judgement of Westland, a three-month campaign with a series of blind tastings held worldwide. The tasting will compare four single malt whiskeys from four distinct global regions.
The name is a nod to the Judgement of Paris, a blind tasting hosted in 1976 by a British wine merchant that pitted new world wineries of California against the acclaimed Bordeaux Chateaux. The Judgement of Westland series of blind tastings seeks to reveal whether a single malt from America can stand up to prestigious old world single malts.
“The Judgement of Westland isn’t about claiming that we’re better than someone else. It isn’t about crowning a champion,” says Matt Hofmann, co-founder of Westland. “It is our effort at Westland to measure ourselves against other whiskeys and other regions that we admire and that are respected the world over. We believe that all single malts should be considered and judged on their merits, on the intention and excellence of execution. We celebrate that the map of great single malts is now a global one, and we are excited for fans to assess our place within it.”
How It Works
Starting at the Whisky Show, the blind tastings held worldwide will feature four unique single malts from Scotland, Australia, India and the US. Attendees will be informed of an individual whisky’s country of origin, but not its brand. The single malts and scoring system were curated and designed independently by whisky experts Dave Broom and Sam Simmons.
Featured single malts will share the criteria that all are widely commercially available, are listed at similar price points, and none are cask strength or single cask bottlings. The scoring system rates the whiskies out of five stars, not to be ranked in order but graded individually on their own merits. All four whiskeys are allowed to receive the same grade.
For more information on the campaign or to follow along with results updated daily, visit The Judgement of Westland website.
Blade and Bow’s 22-Year-Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Returns
In time for Bourbon Heritage Month, and to celebrate the 86th anniversary of the day the Stitzel-Weller Distillery first opened its doors, Blade and Bow has re-released it’s 22 Year Kentucky Straight Bourbon. The 46% ABV bourbon was aged and bottled at Stitzel-Weller itself, and will be available in 19 markets as well as on-site at Stitzel-Weller and the distillery’s Garden & Gun Club in Louisville, KY, as supplies last. The bourbon has an SRP of $499. But as with many in-demand limited edition whiskeys that price may vary per location.
“Blade and Bow 22-Year-Old pays homage to the artful passion and celebrated craftsmanship of the famed Stitzel-Weller Distillery,” said Doug Kragel, lead educator for Blade and Bow.
FEW Spirits Celebrates Its First Decade With Anniversary Bottling
FEW Spirits has introduced the FEW 10th Anniversary Straight Bourbon Whiskey. This limited-edition hits this month and will be available exclusively in Illinois and through a direct-to-consumer channel, BuyFewSpirits.com.
“This represents a significant milestone of success for our team,” said FEW Spirits Founder Paul Hletko. “We have overcome so many obstacles to get here, and we owe a huge debt of gratitude to our fans, friends and family.”
The release is made from a mash bill of corn, rye, barley and wheat aged for 6 years in American oak. It’s bottled at 46.5% ABV and is limited to 650 cases with an SRP of $50.
“FEW is built on defiance and a refusal to accept the status quo,” continued Hletko. “We defied the odds by choosing Evanston as our home, actually changing the laws of our beloved Prohibitionist hometown. We are inspired by the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, a time when the eyes of the world settled here as we celebrated innovation and new ways of thinking and doing things … And we defiantly made a world class bourbon from Chicago, when most people thought that wasn’t even possible.”
Scapegrace Black, The World’s First Naturally Black Gin, Arrives Stateside
Scapegrace Black is the world’s first naturally black gin. Surprisingly, upon its launch in its native New Zealand, the gin sold out in one day. The gin is now available in the U.S.
The Scapegrace Distillery was founded by brothers-in-law Mark Neal and Daniel McLaughlan in 2014. This gin is made by Master Distiller Anthony Lawry, one of New Zealand’s first single malt whisky distillers. He uses standard gin botanicals as well as a combination of local sweet potato, aronia berries, pineapple and saffron. The butterfly pea flower — the component that adds the dark color when mixed with these other ingredients and heated to the right temperature — is sourced from Southeast Asia.
“It has never been part of the brand ethos to follow what other distillers were doing,” says co-founder Mark Neal. “We decided that if we were going to make a flavored gin, we were going to do it our own way. By experimenting with different botanicals, we discovered we could make a naturally black liquid with very particular botanicals and distinct flavors. It took us about a year to bring this liquid to life.”
Scapegrace Black Gin is bottled at a 41.6% ABV. It’s available at retailers nationwide and online with an SRP of $39.99 per 750mL.
Introducing The Producer Mezcal
The Producer Mezcal launches in the US this month with two expressions: Ensamble and Tepeztate. The debut expressions are now available at retailers in California, New York, Nevada and Texas, with plans to add more wild agave selections like an Arroqueño in 2022.
“The project started as a bridge of connections between U.S. and Mexican cultures, with the goal to open the door for those curious about mezcal, wanting to learn about the individual agaves, palenques (distilleries), producers and role mezcal plays within the culture of Oaxaca,” says Carlos Sada, head of operations for The Producer.
More About the Expressions
This selection carries a $46.99 SRP and is bottled at 40.2% ABV. Approximately 2,000 bottles per batch are available.
Made in Tlacolula de Matamoros in Oaxaca, the agave harvested from Tlacolula de Matamoros and Soledad Salinas. Maestro Erasto Martinez produces the Ensamble in copper pot stills. Furthermore, he uses an eight to eleven day open-air fermentation to allow for natural airborne yeast to ferment the mash. The Espadin (Angustifolia Haw) are harvested at 7 years; and the Cuishe (Karwinskii) are harvested around an average of 9 years. The cooked agave hearts are crushed traditionally using a stone tahona wheel.
This selection carries a $97.99 SRP and is bottled at 40.2% ABV. Approximately 666 bottles per batch per batch are available.
Made in Santiago Matatlan, Oaxaca, with the agave harvested from Sierra Sur, Maestro Celestino Sernas produces the Tepeztate in copper pot stills with a 13-day open-air fermentation. The wild Tepeztate are harvested around an average of 16 years, some as old as 25 years.
Tidbits from Around the Spirits World
Let’s take a quick look at what else is going on around the world this week…
Kentucky Owl releases The Wiseman Bourbon
This week Stoli has announced the release of The Wiseman Bourbon. This release is the first Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey produced and distilled by Kentucky Owl in collaboration with the Bardstown Bourbon Co. in Bardstown, Kentucky. The product is a blend of Kentucky Owl 4-year-old wheat and high-rye bourbons, along with 5 ½-year and 8 ½-year-old Kentucky-sourced bourbons. Furthermore, it’s the first release under Master Blender John Rhea, who previously worked as Four Roses COO. Rhea’s duties there included blending, maturation and evaluation.
The Wiseman Bourbon is bottled at 90.8 proof with an SRP of $60 per 750mL and will be available at select retailers.
Grain & Barrel Spirits Partners with Elvis Presley Enterprises to Launch Two Elvis Presley-Inspired Whiskeys
Grain & Barrel Spirits has announced a long-term licensing agreement with Elvis Presley Enterprises (EPE) to launch two Elvis Presley-themed whiskeys. Both expressions, a rye and a Tennessee whiskey, both 90 proof, were sourced and blended in Elvis’ home state of Tennessee.
To answer your next question, the labels feature The King in his younger prime. Also, the bottles feature his signature TCB (Taking Care of Business) logo and a copy of his signature. They will sell for an SRP of $49.99 a piece.
Hangar 1 Announces Limited-Edition Smoke Point Vodka
Hangar 1 Vodka has launched Smoke Point Vodka. As a response to last year’s devastating Glass Fire which affected Napa and Sonoma communities, the vodka was created in collaboration with Crimson Wine Group to benefit the California Fire Foundation. The vodka is distilled with smoke-tinged grapes which would have otherwise been discarded by winemakers.
According to the press release, the vodka is “altogether unique and delicious with no trace of smoke.” Hangar 1 Smoke Point Vodka is bottled at 40% ABV and retails for $50, available at the Hangar 1 Distillery in Alameda, restaurants and liquor stores throughout California and available across the country at Reservebar.com.
Announcing Código 1530 x George Strait Special Edition Double Barrel Rosa-Reposado
Código 1530 Tequila Rosa-Blanco gets its pink hue from resting the brand’s blanco expression in French white oak Napa Valley cabernet wine barrels for one month. Meanwhile, the Rosa-Reposado, created with country music star and tequila fan George Strait, is similarly finished in Spanish sherry casks (of unspecified style) after resting three months in traditional oak. It is bottled at 40% ABV and sells for an SRP of around $79.
Introducing Corralejo Tequila Extra Añejo
Corralejo Tequila has launched a new member of its permanent lineup, Extra Añejo.
The tequila is produced at the Hacienda Corralejo, located in Guanajuato, Mexico. It is made with 100% Blue Weber agave, hand-harvested from the Hacienda’s own fields. The agaves are slow-cooked in stone clay ovens for 36 hours, then fermented with a proprietary strain of yeast. It is double-distilled in a combination of column stills and Alembic copper stills imported from Spain. The Extra Añejo is aged for 36 months in charred American oak barrels.
Corralejo Extra Añejo Tequila is bottled at 40% ABV) and will be available at the end of September at select retailers with an SRP of $79.99.
CÎROC and Sean Diddy Combs Unveil a New Limited-Edition CÎROC Pomegranate
CÎROC has announced a new limited edition created with celebrity brand co-founder Sean Diddy Combs, CÎROC Pomegranate. The vodka is “infused with pomegranate and other natural flavors”. It is bottled at 35% ABV and will become available in October at an SRP of $29.99 while supplies last.
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