Distiller’s Friday Roundup – September 3, 2021By Amanda Schuster
Hello, September and happy National Bourbon Heritage Month, whiskey fans!
August sure left with a bang in most parts of the US, and we hope everyone is safe and dry. However, get ready for a torrent of new spirits releases in the coming weeks!
Naturally, there’s lots of bourbon flowing this month. And one of the first families of bourbon, Jim Beam, has announced the addition of the Fred B. Noe Distillery, offering whiskey innovations, visitor experiences and brand incubation. New bourbon releases this week include: Four Roses 2021 Limited Edition Small Batch; Widow Jane Lucky Thirteen; Lux Row Blood Oath Trilogy Pacts 4, 5 and 6; Barrell Craft Spirits 2021 Gray Label Bourbon; and Detroit City Four Grain Bourbon. In addition, Woodford Reserve announced a partnership with Williams Sonoma to launch co-branded cocktail mixers, among other mixology experiences.
There’s big news in rye this week too. Blackened is launching its Masters of Whiskey series with Blackened x Willett Kentucky Rye Finished in Madeira Casks (and you know sound is involved in the process). Also, Blue Run Spirits is releasing Kentucky Straight Golden Rye.
In Scotland, the Johnnie Walker Princes Street whisky experience is finally opening, and to much fanfare.
Plus there’s a new Hefeweizen-Style whiskey from Texas, Bahnbrëcker Slow River Blend, and it’s co-owned by musician Randy Rogers. And also a pechuga-style tequila made with turkey breast? Yep. Get ready for Maestro Dobel Pavito.
But let’s start with the bourbon.
Introducing the Four Roses 2021 Limited Edition Small Batch
This week, Four Roses Distillery announced the release of its Four Roses 2021 Limited Edition Small Batch Bourbon.
The bourbon is non-chill-filtered and bottled at 114.2 proof. Furthermore, it’s composed of four different batch selections aged 12 to 16 years. These batches consist of four of the 10 distinct Four Roses bourbon recipes. In detail, the bourbon mash bill recipes with yeast strain used are as followed:
– 16-year-old OBSV (35% rye, delicate fruit)
– 14-year-old OBSQ (35% rye, floral essence)
– 12-year-old OESK (20% rye, slight spice)
– 16-year-old OESV (20% rye, delicate fruit)
“Hand-selecting the barrels to make up our annual limited edition bottling is one of my most rewarding experiences each year.” said Four Roses Master Distiller Brent Elliott. “The ability to work with 10 bourbon recipes each with distinct characteristics opens up endless possibilities. This year’s release brings a proof higher than any of the past Limited Editions, creating robust complexity and layers of flavors resulting from the variety of constituent batches and recipes.”
Approximately 14,500 hand-numbered bottles of Four Roses 2021 Limited Edition Small Batch Bourbon are available in the US. The SRP is $150. Additionally, Four Roses plans to offer a limited quantity for sale at its Visitor Center via a public lottery draw. Individuals may register for the lottery now till September 12 by visiting the Four Roses website. Those who are selected via random draw will schedule appointments to pick up their purchase at the distillery.
Widow Jane Distillery Adds Lucky Thirteen To Range Of Year-Round Offerings
Widow Jane Distillery announced the addition of Lucky Thirteen Small Batch Bourbon to its range of year-round offerings.
The whiskey is aged 13 years in American oak barrels which are hand-picked by Widow Jane President and Head Distiller Lisa Wicker. Additionally, the whiskey is proofed with limestone-rich water from Rosendale Mines of NY. Although the whiskey was initially released as a private-single-barrel program at a variety of proofs, Lucky Thirteen will be henceforth bottled at 93 proof (46.5% ABV) in super small batches, just a few barrels at a time.
Said Wicker, “I see the ability to share really special expressions, like Lucky Thirteen, with whiskey geeks and industry friends as one of the real gifts of this profession. As our stock of well-aged bourbon beyond 10 years continued to mature, we were able to match Lucky Thirteen to our signature blending process, consisting of bourbons from Kentucky, Tennessee, and Indiana. This was a very natural evolution for us, to make a rich, complex bourbon, while upping the ante in proof to 93, versus our 10 year bourbon’s proof of 91.”
Lucky Thirteen will now be available year-round, though in limited quantities. The SRP is $99.99.
Lux Row Distillers releases the second edition of its Blood Oath Trilogy featuring Pacts 4, 5 and 6
Lux Row Distillers has announced the release of Blood Oath Trilogy, Second Edition, the latest collection of limited-release bourbons the brand refers to as “Pacts,” created by Lux Row Master Distiller John Rempe. Pacts 4, 5 and 6 make up the latest Trilogy with a limited supply of 1,400 sets. It will be available late September with an SRP of $799 per set.
According to the press release, the name Blood Oath refers to a promise Rempe made to keep the blend of Kentucky straight bourbon whiskeys a secret known only to him. Apparently, he says, it also refers to a “promise to create the best bourbon for bourbon connoisseurs.”
Each limited-edition Pact comes in at 98.6 proof (49.3% ABV).
This second Blood Oath Trilogy contains Pacts 4, 5 and 6 — reserved since 2018, 2019 and 2020, respectively.
– 4th Pact is a blend of a 12-year bourbon, a 10-year bourbon and a 9-year bourbon. Then it was finished in toasted barrels for seven months.
– 5th Pact is a blend of a 13-year bourbon, an 11-year wheated bourbon, and an 8-year bourbon. Then it was finished in Caribbean rum barrels.
– 6th Pact is a blend of a 14-year high-rye bourbon, an 8-year high-rye bourbon and a 7-year high-rye bourbon. Then it was finished in cognac casks.
“I look back on each Pact I’ve created for the Blood Oath Series with a tremendous sense of pride and accomplishment, and with each new Pact I develop, I become more eager to create the next,” said Rempe. “The bourbons I’ve selected to create each Pact are becoming rarer and harder to find, as are the resulting Pacts themselves. A Blood Oath Trilogy set is like a piece of bourbon history. I’ll never repeat a blend, so once it is gone, it’s gone.”
Blackened Launches “Masters of Whiskey” Series With Blackened X Willett Kentucky Straight Rye Finished In Madeira Casks
The “Masters of Whiskey Series” is a salute to Blackened’s collaborative roots. This series will combine the skills of Master Distiller and Blender Rob Dietrich and renowned makers of other whiskeys to bottle special expressions. According to the press release, each will be a limited edition “finished to their own unique playlist which is blasted to the barrels using Blackened’s proprietary Black Noise™ sonic enhancement process.”
For the first in the series, Dietrich and Willett Distillery’s own Master Distiller Drew Kulsveen combined a Kentucky high-rye with low-rye recipes from Willett Distillery’s Family Estate Selection. The oldest whiskey was aged 8 years, while the average age of the bottling is 6 ½ years. The whiskeys were then married together and finished in Madeira casks for up to 14 weeks.
Exit Light, Enter Night (And Hopefully Flavor)
During that time, the whiskey underwent the proprietary Black Noise™ “sonic enhancement process” that uses low hertz frequencies from Metallica’s music to vibrate the barrels. This is thought to strengthen interaction between the whiskey and the wood, and extract more flavors and color from the barrels. In case you’re wondering, the playlist was selected by Dietrich and Kulsveen. Metallica cofounder and drummer Lars Ulrich sequenced the playlist.
Blackened x Willett Kentucky Straight Rye is bottled at cask strength at 109.6 proof (54.8% ABV). It has an SRP of $139.99.
America’s First Family Of Bourbon Unveils New Distillery That Pushes The Boundaries Of What American Whiskey Can Be
The James B. Beam Distilling Co. (JBBDCo), 225 years running, has unveiled the Fred B. Noe Distillery, dedicated to Seventh Generation Beam Master Distiller Fred Noe. According to the press release it is a monument to “JBBDCo’s ethos of Genuine in the Making — its tireless and timeless commitment to honoring, elevating and pioneering what American Whiskey should and could be.” The new distillery will be led by Noe’s son, Eighth Generation Beam Distiller Freddie Noe, and produce several of the JBBDCo.’s most well-known brands, including Freddie’s own Little Book Whiskey annual series of blends, as well as future innovations.
“Our new distillery is really the heart and soul of the Beam legacy,” said Fred Noe. “Years ago after my dad, Booker Noe, created the original small batch bourbons, he looked to me to welcome more whiskey drinkers into our family of brands. Now as I look ahead, it’s with great pride that I hand the reins of this special place over to my son Freddie, and I look forward to working side-by-side as he leads the next chapter in whiskey making for the James B. Beam Distilling Co.. At the new distillery Freddie will continue to experiment with new fermentation, distillation and blending techniques to produce category-defining and boundary-pushing whiskey of the highest quality. I can’t wait to see what he does with it, and I know that my dad is smiling down on us today.”
The Fred B. Noe Distillery joins the Beam family’s iconic distillery campus in Clermont, KY that has produced bourbon since 1935.
For more information about the James B. Beam Distilling Co. and the Fred B. Noe Distillery, including behind the scenes details on its design and construction, please visit the website here.
Fred B. Noe Distillery /Photo Credit: James B. Beam Distilling Co.
Woodford Reserve and Williams Sonoma Partner To Present Cocktail Mixers and Consumer Experiences
Woodford Reserve and home goods retailer Williams Sonoma have formed a new partnership to bring unique cocktail experiences to kitchens and homes across America. The collaboration kicks off with a line of co-branded cocktail mixers in time to celebrate Bourbon Heritage Month.
The range of cocktail mixers include the Old Fashioned, Whiskey Sour and Mint Julep. Visitors to the Woodford Reserve Distillery in Versailles, Kentucky may enjoy the signature cocktails onsite and purchase the mixers.
Additionally, Woodford Reserve and Williams Sonoma plan to lead virtual online cocktail classes on September 15th and 29th for consumers to learn how to prepare the signature cocktails, as well as hear about the history of bourbon from Assistant Master Distiller Elizabeth McCall. More product and experiential opportunities will be announced in the coming months and years.
The Old Fashioned, Whiskey Sour and Mint Julep cocktail mixers are now available at Williams Sonoma stores across the US, on the website here and at the Woodford Reserve Distillery in Versailles, Kentucky for $18.95 per 16 fl. oz. bottle.
Williams Sonoma & Woodford Reserve Whiskey Sour Cocktail Mixer /Photo Credit: Woodford Reserve
Diageo Opens Landmark Global Johnnie Walker Visitor Experience
Diageo’s Johnnie Walker Princes Street, a new eight-floor visitor experience, has opened in Edinburgh, Scotland.
It’s been four and a half years in the making, and is considered the centerpiece of Diageo’s £185 million pound investment in Scotch whisky tourism in Scotland, making it the largest single investment program ever for Scotch whisky tourism.
To mark the opening a Johnnie Walker flag was raised above the building by Ivan Menezes, chief executive at Diageo, and Barbara Smith, managing director of Johnnie Walker Princes Street.
“This is a proud day for everyone. Last year Johnnie Walker celebrated 200 years since founder John Walker opened the doors to his small grocery store and today represents the next chapter of the incredible story,” said Menezes. “Johnnie Walker Princes Street is a landmark investment in Scotch whisky and into Scotland and it sets a new standard for immersive visitor attractions. It celebrates Scotland’s remarkable heritage, our incredible skilled whisky-makers, and looks to the future by engaging new generations of consumers from around the world in the magic of Scotch whisky.”
Johnnie Walker Princes Street /Photo Credit: Diageo
More About the Johnnie Walker Experience
The 71,500 square foot Johnnie Walker Princes Street experience includes various tours, including a cellar vault, retail spaces, roof terrace and bars (with food!) with skyline views. It employs 150 people, with over 23 languages spoken between them. Additionally, there are plans for a Johnnie Walker Learning for Life Academy to train additional unemployed people. Furthermore, the building can also host events for up to 200 people.
Johnnie Walker Princes Street will open its doors to the public at 1 PM on Monday, September 6th. Tickets for tours start from £25 per person and include a 90-minute tour and three personalized Scotch whisky samples. Non-alcoholic alternatives are available upon request.
To book and for more information visit the brand’s website here.
New Spirits Brand, Bahnbrëcker, Helmed By Texas Musician Randy Rogers, Launches World’s First Hefeweizen-Style Whiskey
Country star Randy Rogers and co-founders Eric Chase, Cary Schindler, Ash Wineinger, Michael Devers, along with spirits-industry veteran Steve Luttmann, have announced the launch of Bahnbrëcker, based in New Braunfels, TX. Bahnbrëcker’s first release is Slow River Blend — the first-ever Hefeweizen-style whiskey.
Bahnbrëcker’s name derives from “trailblazer” in German. The name is also a nod to the pioneering spirits of the company’s hometown of New Braunfels, TX. Slow River Blend is made from Texas and Midwestern wheat macerated with lemon peel and clove. As a result, the spirit is reminiscent to the flavors of a Hefeweizen-style beer. The brand says it’s completely “WONF-free” (i.e. no “With Other Natural Flavors”).
“We wanted to create something that the people who came before us in this great community of New Braunfels would be proud of,” said Rogers. “I think you’re going to find that this craft whiskey distinguishes itself from others. Slow River Blend gives you this aroma, it gives you this flavor of the lemon and the clove blended with your whiskey that creates this Hefeweizen taste, this Hefeweizen spirit that is the spirit of New Braunfels.”
Bahnbrëcker’s Slow River Blend will be available throughout Texas and nationwide at select retailers starting September 15. The SRP is $37.99. Expect more releases from them to come.
Blue Run Spirits Launches Kentucky Straight Golden Rye Whiskey
Blue Run Spirits’ first Rye Whiskey is now available at select retailers in the U.S. and will be sold online beginning Monday, September 6 at 3 PM EST. Golden Rye Whiskey is the fourth whiskey release since Blue Run launched in October of last year.
Golden Rye Whiskey is a small-batch whiskey composed from only 91 select barrels, and bottled at 95 proof. Each bottle comes with a green neck strip with gold accents indicating the bottle number and date it was bottled. The brand says the name is inspired by the color of the grains used to make it.
Blue Run Kentucky Straight Golden Rye Whiskey is available for $99.99 SRP.
Barrell Craft Spirits Releases 2021 Gray Label Bourbon
To coincide with Bourbon Heritage Month, Barrell Craft Spirits has unveiled its most recent release.
The Gray Label Bourbon is a blend of straight bourbon whiskeys matured for 15 years. These were distilled in IN, KY and TN, then blended at BCS’s facility in Kentucky. Then it’s bottled at 100.4 proof (50.2% ABV). Barrell Craft Spirits Gray Label 15 Year has an SRP of $250 and is available at select US retailers.
Detroit City Distillery Adds Four-Grain Bourbon to Lineup
Detroit City Distillery (DCD) has launched Four Grain Straight Bourbon, a new bourbon for its permanent lineup. To celebrate, DCD will host a Bourbon Release Party on Friday, September 3 at its Tasting Room in Eastern Market from 4-12 PM. The distillery says there will be more Friday release parties to come. Check the website here for details.
Four Grain Straight Bourbon is made from four different Michigan grains: corn (57%), rye (19%), red winter wheat (12%), and malted barley (12%). It matured in new oak for a minimum of two years. The whiskey is then finished in maple, wine, and cognac barrels and bottled at 100 proof. The SRP is $55.
Maestro Dobel Announces the First Pechuga Tequila, Maestro Dobel Pavito
Maestro Dobel has announced the limited-edition release of Pavito, the world’s first pechuga tequila.
Traditionally consumed as a treat in Mexico — particularly at harvest time and during the festival of Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) — pechuga is a type of mezcal that is made with seasonal fruits, spices and a protein, usually, chicken breast, that is kept in a vapor basket as the liquid is distilled. In this instance, Pavito is pechuga tequila enhanced with turkey breast. Incidentally, pechuga means “breast” and pavito means “turkey.”
100% Blue Weber agaves grown and sourced from a single family-owned estate were used. Pavito uses Maestro Dobel’s double-distilled silver tequila as a base. That tequila is allowed to macerate with the fruit and spices for a short time. Then there is a third distillation during which the turkey breast is placed atop the still. As a result, the tequila vapors pass through the “pechuga” during distillation process.
Maestro Dobel Pavito is bottled at 40% ABV and is available at select retailers nationwide with an SRP of $59.99.
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