Diageo Paving the Way for Nutrition Labels on Alcohol

In a recent press release, Diageo formally announced their intention to begin including ‘macronutritional’ information labels on their alcohol products. They have been providing this information to consumers by way of their DRINKIQ website since 2006, but have been prohibited by the TTB from placing this information on the products themselves. Yes, prohibited, as in not allowed. Even serving size was not allowed on any US alcohol product. Diageo, in league with a series of other consumer groups, had been working since 2003 to get this changed and succeeded in 2013. Personally, I have seen nutrition labels recently on some brands of hard cider, but not much else, aside from the occasional light beer calorie assertion. A visit to the DRINKIQ website is worth it just to see the ingredients in Bulleit listed as “Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey”, and perhaps even more interestingly, the Orphan Barrel series being listed as just “whisky” (without an ‘e’, which is kind of irritating).

As one who doesn’t think too much about the calories or carbs in my whiskey, I can’t say I feel too strongly one way or another about having nutrition labels become ubiquitous. They are optional at this point, so no one is required to provide this information, yet. I do find a certain amount of irony in the company responsible for the mysterious Orphan Barrels campaigning for any kind of honesty in labeling, but I find more information is better than less. Additionally, the ‘allergen’ section also seems like it could be useful to a large part of the population. What do you guys think? The full press release is below if you’re interested, cheers!

Diageo Nutrition Data Press Release

E.H. Taylor 17 Year Old Cured Oak Set for Late March Release

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It’s been awhile since some factual news came across my feed that got me excited, but here it is. Buffalo Trace plans to release a 17 year old version of their E.H. Taylor Jr. product at the end of March. The ‘Cured Oak’ refers to the process of the barrel staves being left in the open air to ‘cure’ for 13 months instead of the standard 6 months. Bourbonr postulates that this may be some of the bourbon used in the Buffalo Trace Experimental series with varied wood curing times. That sounds like as good of a hypothesis as any to me.  Suggested retail price will be $69.99, which seems very reasonable for a 17 year old product from Buffalo Trace. This release, like all others in the E.H. Taylor series, will be Bottled in Bond which continues to make us happy. If you tried any of the ‘extra cured’ Buffalo Trace Experimental series, let us know in the comments and maybe you can help us know what to expect. I think we’ll definitely be buyers, assuming we can find it. Cheers and happy St. Patrick’s Day!

You can read the actual press release here: E.H. Taylor Jr. Cured Oak Bourbon

P.S. We do know about the upcoming return of I.W. Harper to the American market, but are waiting to tell you more about it until after this Thursday when we actually get to taste some and talk to the brand representation.  Until then, slainté!

Town and Branch Releases Single Barrel (Distillery Exclusive)

We had the chance to try some of the single barrel at Town and Branch this past week, and weren’t very impressed. Tasting it next to the regular offering, our group was in relative agreement that the Town and Branch is Old Grand Dad stock from Beam, and the single barrel is a from Heaven Hill. “But wait,” you say, “I thought they had big pot stills and were distilling in downtown Lexington, right?” Well, they do have some nice pot stills and are certainly distilling something, but it isn’t aging anywhere on premises, and it doesn’t seem to be in any of the bottles yet. Neither of the bourbons they offer are bad by any means, but they will seem very familiar to other less expensive offerings in stores now. We look forward to the release of their own distillates in a few years!

That said, the rye IPA was delicious. I think this is the best release from Alltech since the Pumpkin Barrel Ale. Save your money on the single barrel for now, and go get yourself a 4-pack of the beer.

Press release:

Kentucky Rye Barrel IPA seasonal and limited edition single barrel Town Branch® Bourbon flow into market

Why You Should Come To The Bourbon Classic

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In case you’ve been hiding under a rock for the last couple weeks and actively shun all forms of social media, I’m here to tell you that the Bourbon Classic is coming up. You may have seen the link to it on our home page. Most sites are posting the official press release of events (which I will put at the bottom), but we wanted to give you a little bit more. To be open, we have been given media passes to the event, but we have no monetary sponsorship or other interests in the event.  I paid my own money to go last year and thought it was worth every penny.

What the heck is it?

Basically, it is a two day event in Louisville that creates a bourbon Shangri-La for all attendees. Friday night there is a cocktail and small plate competition. Bartenders and chefs from Kentucky restaurants are paired with a distillery to create cocktail and small plate combinations in both contemporary and traditional styles. What does this mean for you? It means you get to try 18, yes 18, cocktails and small plates from some of the area’s best chefs and cocktail barons. Don’t worry, they aren’t full cocktails, and I don’t think anyone died last year. The small plates aren’t just single bite amuse-bouche either, they’re relatively substantial portions of intricate and delicious dishes. Here’s an example of one combo from last year for reference:

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That one was an insanely good chicken and waffles with a delicious old fashioned. In case the small plates and cocktails don’t fill you up, there were still multiple large buffet tables filled with all sorts of gourmet snacks that you can use in your desperate attempt to taste all 18 cocktails and remember it (You don’t have to drink the whole thing. Drink responsibly and for heaven’s sake get a cab or hotel room in walking distance).

In case Friday night wasn’t enough to entice you, by dragging yourself out of bed Saturday afternoon you’re rewarded with a series of ‘classes’ you can choose from lead by some big names in the business. This year they’ve added a bourbon and country ham pairing seminar as well as sessions on barrels and bourbon glassware. These all include some kind of bourbon to sip as you get your learn on. In between the two classes, you get to hear from a panel of nearly everyone who’s anyone in the bourbon world as they talk about trends, tell stories, and generally needle one another.

Finally comes the Bourbon Experience Saturday night. Food is provided by some of the chefs featured in Friday night’s competition, as well as large gourmet buffets. Then there’s the bourbon. Oh my, the bourbon. Every participating distillery has a table where they sample their wares. Most of which bring some of their good stuff. Michter’s 10 year was a memorable one from last year. And at these tables is generally the master distiller and/or very knowledgeable marketing staff. You can glide from tasting to tasting and get lost in an avalanche of delicious barrel aged goodness. There’s live music and a festive atmosphere so it makes for a most entertaining night out.

Now, if you think I’m playing this up and using flowery language to entice you to go, you’re right. If you’re a fan of bourbon, I can think of no weekend more perfect to celebrate your love of the stuff with like minded folks. It’s like the Bourbon Trail just plopped down in the middle of Louisville for a weekend and brought amazing food with it. If you want even more out of the weekend, you can spring for the VIP tickets. These will get you access to a private bar and buffet area sponsored by Michter’s and Buffalo Trace. It also includes a completely open bar with products from the sponsoring distillery. I may have drank entirely too much Michter’s 10 year and Stagg Jr. last year, as they flowed like water.

If you decide to come, let us know as we’d love to meet up. We will also be participating in the Media Camp before the event and should be posting frequent updates and interesting facts we discover. The official opening of the Camp is open to the public and if you’re interested, check it out here. It includes a large tasting, Pappy Van Winkle included.

Cheers and we hope to see you there!

Here’s the official event press release:

Bourbon Classic 2015 Details Announced

Introducing the Most Geographically Complicated Bourbon: J.R. Revelry

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Coming out soon in NYC, this is the most geographically complicated bourbon I’ve yet to come across. Owned by the Hispanic company La Bodega Internacional in Atlanta, GA, this is bourbon is produced at MGP in Indiana, shipped to Nashville, TN for bottling and then will have its first release in New York. Confused yet? The website repeatedly assures you that the whiskey is “100% Made in the U.S.A.”, which is somewhat humorous as it has to be in order to have the legal name ‘bourbon’. While I don’t predict this will be a particularly special bourbon, I had to post about it due to it’s comically convoluted origin. That said, kudos to them for being open about their distillation and operation. Also hat’s off to helping someone achieve the American Dream with the American Spirit.

Website 

Press Release

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof #7 Coming Very Soon

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Originally slated for January, the 7th release should hit the shelves anytime now. Bourbonr has a photo suggesting it will be 128 proof this time around. Can’t confirm that, but I wouldn’t mind seeing a release that wasn’t paint thinner. Should be about 12 years old, as usual. Here’s the official Heaven Hill press release from last year that confirms the early release for this year: http://kybourbontrail.com/heaven-hill-distilleries-continue-periodic-releases-elijah-craig-barrel-proof-bourbon/

Bonus: Word on the street is that the Evan Williams 12 Year Red Label has been delayed due to ‘packaging’. Don’t know what that means, but let us know if you see it in the wild.

 

Four Roses Annual LE Single Barrel Scrapped, For Now

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I think this means they’re just cancelling the yearly single barrel, barrel strength limited edition and will be keeping the barrel strength SB’s for the distillery itself and store picks. If that’s the case, I’m happy as a clam with the current availability of various recipes of barrel strength single barrel at a lower cost than the annual releases. Guess we’ll see and hope those stick around. Fred Minnick reports HERE. I can’t find the raw press release, but I will post it when I can.

Jim Beam Bottled In Bond to Be Released February

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First announced by Bourbon Blog, and later confirmed by Whisky Advocate, Jim Beam will be releasing a Bottled-in-Bond expression this February. Four years old and with an MSRP of $22.99, the release party will be at Bourbon’s Bistro February 9th in Louisville if you’re interested. When asked why bring back a bonded expression now, Fred Noe replied:

“It came from bartenders wanting bottled in bond, people digging up old recipes calling for bottled in bond,” Fred said. “Hell, that’s an easy hit for us; just do what we used to do. It’s not that hard to develop: 4 years old, one season, one distillery, 100 proof. We age pretty much everything 4 years already, just a matter of designing the package. It’s been well-received, they’re excited to get hold of it.”

We at BOTB love our BIB bourbons, so cheers to you Fred Noe! This might be enough to make me try a product with “Beam” on the label again.

Jim Beam Rye Revamp

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Beam Suntory Press Release

Full Text Below:

JIM BEAM RELEASES NEW PREMIUM TAKE ON RYE WHISKEY STAPLE

Deerfield, Ill. – January 13, 2015 – Today, Jim Beam®, the world’s No. 1 bourbon, announces the refresh of Jim Beam® Rye – the classic Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey offering that’s been a staple on whiskey bars globally for decades. 

New Jim Beam® Pre-Prohibition Style Rye, bottled at 90-proof, has a distinct spicy flavor and long, soft finish, and makes the product perfectly mixable for any classic or contemporary rye whiskey cocktail. Founded in 1795, Jim Beam Rye is a pre-prohibition style rye whiskey made from one of the Beam family’s oldest recipes, and is distilled with the same exacting standards that have governed Jim Beam for more than 200 years.

“We’ve heard loud and clear from bartenders and whiskey fans that  they are looking for a bolder Rye that stands up better in cocktails,” said Fred Noe, Jim Beam’s 7th Generation Master Distiller. “We listened to this feedback, and know that the time is right to Make History by taking a classic product that’s loved around the world and making it even better.”

About Jim Beam® Pre-Prohibition Style Rye Whiskey

  • Now bottled at 90-proof, the new Jim Beam Rye is a pre-prohibition style Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey
  • Jim Beam Pre-Prohibition Style Rye is spicy and warm with a bit of a black pepper bite which gives way to vanilla and oak undertones. The finish is warm and inviting.
  • Jim BeamPre-Prohibition Style Rye has a rye spicy aroma, with hints of vanilla and oak notes, with a golden amber color.
  • Jim Beam Pre-Prohibition Style Rye will have an updated bottle label design to reflect the premium quality of product

New Jim Beam Pre-Prohibition Style Rye has a suggested retail price of $22.99 for 750mL, and will be available in select on-premise locations and retailers nationwide starting in January 2015.

For more information about Jim Beam Pre-Prohibition Style Rye, “like” our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/JimBeam), follow us on Twitter (@jimbeam) or visithttp://www.jimbeam.com/other-bourbons.

Woodford Releases 53% Rye Whiskey

Woodford Reserve Rye

Woodford Rye Press Release and Video

Full Text Below:

LOUISVILLE, Ky., Jan. 21, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Woodford Reserve today announces the release of its latest permanent product extension, Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey, which will be available for purchase in select markets throughout the country beginning in February. The latest release showcases the company’s ongoing commitment to both whiskey lovers and innovation within the industry.

Woodford Reserve Rye is the third permanent line extension to join the portfolio, which includes the original Woodford Reserve Distiller’s Select and Woodford Reserve Double Oaked. When it comes to the craft of bourbon and whiskey, Woodford Reserve prides itself on maintaining an original and contemporary approach that focuses primarily on the adjustment of one of the five sources of flavor. To complement and emphasize the spice characteristics found in the original Woodford Reserve, the Rye uses a base that’s 53 percent rye, resulting in a liquid that’s both more balanced, and refreshingly subtle.

Since 2006, Master Distiller Chris Morris has been hard at work crafting a rye that’s worthy of the Woodford Reserve name. Because of the consistency of the mash, rye is notoriously more difficult to craft than a traditional bourbon, requiring more attention to detail throughout production, leaving the bulk of production to only the most experienced Master Distillers.

“One of the primary reasons behind Woodford’s growth into the number one selling ultra-premium[i] bourbon in America is because of our commitment to flavor, and that’s something that’s engrained in everything we do,” said Morris. “Not only does it affect how I approach bourbon production personally, it’s the lens through which we view the future of Woodford Reserve, and I couldn’t think of a liquid that better embodies that than the rye.”

“As a brand, one of the things we’re most proud of is the passion and commitment that our fans have, both for Woodford Reserve, whiskey and bourbon in general. For us, releasing a rye is a chance to give back to these consumers,” said Woodford Reserve Brand Director Jason Kempf. “Time and time again, we kept hearing requests for a rye. Woodford Reserve has always maintained a commitment to the spirit of innovation, and the rye is no exception. We’re excited to give our fans something they’ve been so vocal about for so many years, and that is finally ready to share with them.”

Woodford Reserve Rye is produced with the same heritage and tradition that surrounds the site of the iconic Woodford Reserve Distillery in Versailles, Kentucky. As early as the mid-1800s, the site has been the location for visionary distilling practices, an attitude that Oscar Pepper and Master Distiller James Crow, the first people to distill at this location, fully embraced. Together, they perfected several whiskey production processes that continue to be used throughout the industry and have since become synonymous with great whiskey. Today, the Woodford Reserve Distillery is visited by more than 130,000 visitors each year.

Woodford Reserve Rye will be available in February 2015, with an MSRP of $37.99 for a 750ml and in select markets, including:California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New York (Metro and Upstate), New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Washington.

Tasting Notes for Woodford Reserve Rye:

Color: Rich honey.

Aroma: Spicy with distinct notes of rye, black pepper, cedar and cassia bark sweetened with a dusting of marzipan. Hints of pear, apple and almond dance in its depths.

Flavor: Clove, rye, mint and honey mingle together with hints of apple and malt.

Finish: long and sweetly spiced.

Woodford Reserve is a product of the Brown-Forman Corporation, a producer and marketer of fine quality beverage alcohol brands such as Jack Daniel’s, Southern Comfort, Finlandia, Korbel, Tequila Herradura, Sonoma-Cutrer, Chambord, and Tuaca. Please enjoy your bourbon responsibly. For more information on Woodford Reserve, visit www.woodfordreserve.com or visit Facebook atwww.facebook.com/woodfordreserve.

Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey, 45.2% Alc. by Vol., produced and bottled by the Woodford Reserve Distillery, Versailles, KY ©2015

[i] Woodford Reserve Distiller’s Select Bourbon is the #1 Ultra-Premium (>29.99) North American Whiskey (Nielsen, 52 Week, TOTAL US – XAOC + LIQ PLUS, thru 06-Dec-2014)

Video – http://youtu.be/zPXqVKUvvWc

Photo – http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20150121/170412

 

SOURCE Woodford Reserve