New Spirits Roundup – March 4, 2022By Amanda Schuster
Happy Friday, booze fans!
Spring is only a couple of weeks away, and brands are already starting to roll out new editions that reflect the coming season as one of rebirth, or, at the very least, refreshment.
Glendalough takes the Wicklow distillery’s own whiskey and rests it in casks sourced after an inspirational visit to Hokkaido, Japan a few years ago. Also in Irish whiskey news, Slane has a new special edition celebrating 40 years of the castle’s lawn music festivals.
In bourbon news, Heaven Hill christens its new Heritage Collection range. We also have loads more whiskey, tequila, and even some RTDs to tell you about.
But first, let’s take a dive into Hendrick’s Neptunia, the new limited-edition is inspired by the Scottish seaside.
Neptunia is the latest limited release from the “Cabinet of Curiosities” of Hendrick’s Gin Master Distiller Lesley Gracie. As one can guess, the expression is inspired by the sea, with marine botanicals in the blend as well as citrus.
The Hendrick’s Gin Palace is only two miles away from the Ayrshire coast of southwest Scotland, which was Gracie’s inspiration. “I find listening to the sound of the waves crashing on the shore really therapeutic,” she says. “Most of my creations are based on memories – I play around with botanicals and combine them to recreate certain sensations. Hendrick’s Neptunia for me is that freeing feeling of the sea bottled in a gin. You have that distinctive fresh character from coastal herbs, depth of flavor from the sea botanicals and an unmistakably clean, bright citrus finish that lifts in a round, refreshing way that makes it Hendrick’s.”
Hendrick’s Neptunia is bottled at 43.4% ABV with an SRP of $39.99.
Glendalough Distillery has announced the launch of a 7-year-old Irish single malt aged in ultra rare Japanese Mizunara casks sourced from the island of Hokkaido, Japan.
For those unfamiliar, Mizunara is a notoriously fickle wood, hence why it’s so rare and expensive to use for whiskey aging. Though they need double the time to grow than other trees, the trunks often get twisted. The wood takes 3 years to dry and is difficult to cooper, and it is also rather porous. But after adjustments are made to seal it with natural fruit pectin to prevent leakage, the payoff is a wood that is very generous with imparting unique flavors on the whiskey.
Glendalough 7 Year Mizunara Finish is bottled at 46% ABV with an SRP of $99.99. The bottle comes with a little red thread to represent the Japanese red thread of fate that connects two souls. In this instance, it’s a connection between Glendalough’s Wicklow, Ireland home and Hokkaido, Japan.
This week Slane Irish Whiskey has announced the launch of Slane Special Edition. This release marks the brand’s second release in the US and it celebrates 40 years of music performances at Slane Castle. The bottling is also a tribute to Lord Henry Conyngham, who began hosting epic rock concerts with some of the world’s biggest acts on the castle’s front lawn in 1981.
Think of Slane Special Edition as an updated “cover”, if you will, of Slane’s signature Irish whiskey. It’s produced in the same triple-casked method, but with a higher amount of new American oak casks. Additionally, it’s bottled at 45% ABV as a tribute to the 45 rpm single format.
The liquid comes in a rockin’ black glass bottle with 1981-inspired label artwork by Irish photographers Andy Spearman and Fran Caffrey. Furthermore, the gift carton comes with recipes, a history of Slane’s music history and a link to a 40th anniversary playlist curated by Slane Irish Whiskey co-founder and son of Lord Henry, Alex Conyngham.
Like a concert ticket, Slane Special Edition will be available for pre-sale via Reserve Bar starting March 6 for an SRP of $36.99. A wider nationwide release is expected to follow soon after.
Heaven Hill Distillery has announced the debut release of its new Heritage Collection with Heaven Hill 17 Year Barrel Proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. Henceforth, each spring this rare, limited release will feature some of the distillery’s oldest inventory of aging whiskey.
The Collection celebrates the distilling and maturation techniques honed since 1935, and will feature one of the six proprietary Heaven Hill American whiskey mash bills. The first edition is composed of 78% corn, 10% rye and 12% malted barley. It’s bottled at a barrel proof of 118.2. With a 17 year age statement, it is made up of 28% 20-year-old barrels, 44% 19-year-old barrels and 28% 17-year-old barrels pulled from Deatsville, Glencoe, Schenley and Heaven Hill main campus warehouse locations. The bottlings will come in premium packaging with all information about each whiskey featured.
Heaven Hill Heritage Collection 17 Year Barrel Proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon will launch in limited quantities for an SRP of $274.99.
Bulleit Frontier Whiskey has introduced a line of whiskey-based RTDs with Bulleit Crafted Cocktails. These were produced in collaboration with top bartending talent.
“As a brand rooted in bartender culture, we collaborated with a number of leading bartenders to perfect and refine two timeless whiskey cocktails, the Old Fashioned and Manhattan,” said Diageo’s Senior Vice President of Whiskies Sophie Kelly. “With Bulleit Crafted Cocktails, consumers can pour and serve bar quality, crafted cocktails wherever they are. Whilst nothing can replace the full experience of enjoying a drink made by your local bartender, Bulleit Crafted Cocktails are as close as you can get.”
The Bulleit Old Fashioned Cocktail mixes the brand’s Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey with the aromatic orange bitters and simple syrup, à la the classic recipe. The Bulleit Rye Manhattan is of the spicy rye variety, mixed with sweet vermouth and bitters. These are bottled at 37.5% ABV and available in 375mL ($16.99) and 750mL ($29.99) bottles. Notably, these are permanent additions to the Bulleit portfolio with and will be available nationwide.
More New Releases
Let’s take a quick look to see what else is hitting shelves this month.
To celebrate the 125th passing of the Bottled in Bond Act, Buffalo Trace Distillery honors E. H. Taylor Jr. with a commemorative single barrel release chosen by country musician Chris Stapleton.
The Bottled in Bond Act was passed on March 3,1897 as a guarantee of whiskey quality.
For the second year, proceeds for the E. H. Taylor, Jr. Bottled in Bond commemorative Chris Stapleton Single Barrel Bourbon are being donated to Stapleton’s charitable fund, Outlaw State of Kind. Each bottle will be autographed by Stapleton and used to raise funds for a variety of charities across the country. Information on various live auction events and other related merchandise (and concert tickets!) can be found here.
For this new limited-edition expression, Old Forester’s standard 1910 Old Fine Whisky is transferred to a second barrel to age for an additional 18 months, hence the name, Extra Old.
By the way, the significance of the year 1910 harkens back to October 22, 1910, when a fire on the bottling line halted the production of Old Forester. This meant that the whiskey waiting to be bottled had to be stored in a second barrel until it could be bottled.
Old Forester 1910 Extra Old is bottled at 93 proof. It’s available in limited quantities while supplies last at the brand’s retail shop and in select states for an SRP of $49.99.
This week Sagamore announced a new edition to its Reserve Series: Rum Cask Finish Rye Whiskey.
Sagamore Spirit originally offered a Rum Cask Finish Rye Whiskey in 2019 as a super-limited-edition which was available exclusively at its Baltimore distillery. But for this nationwide release, Sagamore Spirit took a blend of its 5 and 6-year-old straight rye whiskeys and placed some in ex-rum casks from South America, and the rest in barrels from Jamaica, aging both for an additional 10 months. Once maturation was complete, the whiskey from both barrels was then blended back together.
Sagamore Spirit Rum Cask Finish is bottled at 98 proof with an SRP of $79.
Tequilero David Ravandi, founder of 123 Organic Tequila portfolio, has relaunched El Luchador Tequila, inspired by Mexico’s lucha libre masked wrestlers. The new collection, all bottled at 40% ABV, consists of El Luchador Blanco and Reposado (SRP of $39.99, $44.99, respectively) as well as an impending Añejo release. In addition, look out for El Luchador Distill-Proof Blanco Tequila, bottled at 55% ABV with a $49.99 SRP.
The tequilas are made from 100% blue Weber agave grown in Los Altos, Jalisco. The reposado and añejo aged expressions rested in French white oak barrels (reposado 4-6 months; añejo 14-16 months) that once held Puligny Montrachet wine. Distill-Proof replaces the Overproof Organic Blanco that was originally released in 2013.
Ready to grab a bottle of Neptunia Gin?
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