The Science of Barrel Aging on
(Almost) All the Cocktails & Spirits Books Published in 2015, For Reading or Gifting

New Booze for December 2015: Bluetooth Vodka, Aged Gin, Double and Triple Barreled Spirits, and more!

While you were luxuriating over Thanksgiving week, I was hard at work putting all this New Booze into my mouth. Here is information on some new releases hitting the market. 


Humboldt Distillery Organic Spiced Rum

Humboldt Spiced RumHumboldt Distillery announces that its spiced rum is now available throughout California and ready to mix into holiday cocktails. The company is the region’s only producer of certified organic rum.

Humboldt Distillery Organic Spiced Rum is distilled from domestically grown organic sugar cane and flavored with whole organic spices. It contains no artificial flavors or colors and is gluten free.  Humboldt Distillery’s Organic Spiced Rum is modestly spiced with subtle hints of vanilla, spice and fruit. Humboldt Distillery Organic Spiced Rum is 80-proof (40% alcohol by volume) and available in 750-ml bottles at a suggested retail price of $22.99.


The Spirit of Boston Three-Pack

UnnamedJust in time for holiday gifting, Boston Harbor Distillery will release its limited edition “Spirit of Boston” package, a three-bottle gift set that will include multi-layered whiskey varieties distilled from three distinct Samuel Adams beers – New World Tripel, Thirteenth Hour, and Merry Maker Gingerbread Stout. This unique, limited-edition collection highlights the treasured connection between Rhonda Kallman, CEO of Boston Harbor Distillery, and Jim Koch, brewer and founder of Samuel Adams, who spent 15 years together building one of the most successful craft breweries in the U.S. The “Spirit of Boston” three-pack set will be released as three 375ml bottles packaged together for easy, holiday gift giving, for $120.


Boomsma  Cloosterbitter

Cloosterbitter_bottleCraft + Estate, a member of The Winebow Group, has launched a new herbal bitter from celebrated Dutch genever producer Boomsma that is now available nationwide. Cloosterbitter (SRP $25/ 750 ml) is a blend of 17 natural herbs based on a 15th century recipe from the Monastery Clearkamp, which was located near the Frisian town of Dokkum, where monks embraced its medicinal properties.

The herbs and plants that produce Cloosterbitter are found in the Frisian meadow and harvested in May. They are macerated separately and then blended together according to the secret Boomsma family recipe. Cloosterbitter is bottled at 40% ABV and has a distinctive yellow/green color.

Principe de los Apostoles Gin

Principe-de-los-apostoles-mate-ginThe history of the mate leaf dates back to the Spanish colonization of Argentina and the Guarani tribe who helped plant the first mate plantation in the town of Apostoles in the Misiones district, which today is known as the national capital of yerba mate. Renato “Tato” Giovannoni is the most celebrated mixologist in Buenos Aires and after years of experimenting, he finally nailed down the perfect formula for his own elixir and a unique way to honor the most Argentine drink of all – the mate.

This is the first premium gin to be made in Latin America - its main botanical ingredients are yerba mate, pink grapefruit, peppermint and eucalyptus – all of which are macerated separately and distilled in 200 liter copper stills. Smooth and sophisticated – a new world expression of an old world tradition.


UnnamedGlenfiddich 1978 Rare Collection Cask

Glenfiddich  has announced the release of the 1978 Rare Collection Cask No. 28121. Part of the Glenfiddich Rare Collection, this single cask release is exclusive for the United States with less than 150 bottles available. Matured for more than 36 years, Glenfiddich’s Malt Master Brian Kinsman hand-selects only a small number of exceptional casks for the esteemed collection.

In true Glenfiddich fashion, each bottle is individually numbered and presented in a  leather box, emblazoned with Glenfiddich’s copper stag. Glenfiddich 1978 Rare Collection Cask (54% ABV) has an SRP of $3,500 and will be available in prestigious outlets in key cities across the nation.


Spirit Works Whiskey

UnnamedSpirit Works Straight Wheat Whiskey is made from 100% organic Red Winter Wheat that results in a rich, caramelized-sugar palate rounded out with delicate notes of sweet tea and toasted walnut, finishing with graham crackers and subtle smoke.

The Straight Rye Whiskey is a true small-batch, high-rye whiskey. Rugged and robust, the rye rewards the discerning drinker with notes of bright baked apple, coffee and sweet golden honeycomb with a warm spice finish.

The grains for each whiskey are milled, mashed, fermented, and distilled entirely on site at the Distillery in Sonoma County. Each batch is aged for a minimum of two years in 53-gallon, charred, brand new American White Oak barrels; then non-chill filtered in order to preserve the full aromatic complexity of this uniquely American spirit. Both whiskies are bottled at 45% ABV / 90 Proof and have a SRP of $65.

Exposición Panamá-Pacific Rum

Panama-Pacific-Rum-23-heroExposición Panamá-Pacific Rum is a Spanish-style molasses-derived rum made at the Ingenio San Carlos distillery in Panama. Production begins in the country’s interior, in the Provencia de Herrera region, where we harvest our sugarcane between the months of January and May. Once harvested, we must extract the vibrant sugarcane’s succulent juices within a short twelve-hour window in order to retain their bright, fresh sweetness.

The extracted cane juices are then evaporated into a molasses, to which we add our own special proprietary yeasts in order to ferment the sugars over two days into a low-alcohol molasses mash which will then be strengthened through distillation. In keeping with early rum production traditions originally applied in Cuba, we then distill the molasses in our historic Coffey copper column still to a slightly lower proof than is normally achieved in other distilleries, creating our rum’s signature richer, fuller flavor and character.

After distillation, we rest the fresh cane spirit in Kentucky bourbon casks initially for three years. Those rum selections deemed worthy of an extended maturation are then transferred into exhausted Tennessee whiskey barrels, whose oak flavors are more depleted, for a gentle imparting of vanilla, caramel and butterscotch notes without over-dominating our balanced cane and molasses essence. During this long aging, the rum rests in horizontally-stacked casks until optimal flavors are attained.

Panama’s year-round hot and humid climate of an average 35° C (95° F) is the perfect environment for our rum to mature under the careful supervision of our always attentive quality control team. We bottle no rum until it has entirely achieved the stated age… Panamá-Pacific’s age statement reflects the youngest rum in the blend, not just a portion of it.

Real Minero, Rey Campero, Mezcalosfera by Mezcaloteca Mezcals

HeavyMetl0046-finalHeavy Métl Premium Imports announces that they are bringing Real Minero and Rey Campero. A third, very rare selection from Mezcalosfera by Mezcaloteca will be available in January.

The first brands Heavy Métl is importing are from Oaxaca, one of eight states allowed to call their distilled agave “mezcal.” Real Minero is produced from wood-fired stills nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Madre Mountains and uniquely distilled in clay pots by the same family since 1898. Produced by a father-son team of maestros, Rey Campero is famous for its wild agave varietals. One of the most recognized expressions produced by Rey Campero is Jabali—this unique wild agave is difficult to access as it grows on cliffs and the distillation process can be very temperamental. Rey Campero was the first to certify and import Jabali into the U.S.

In late January, Heavy Métl will also begin importing Mezcalosfera by Mezcaloteca, known for its limited micro-batch flavors that do not exceed 300 liters and its worldwide cult following. Heavy Métl will soon expand its portfolio of mezcales and import from other Mexican states including Guerrero, Michoacan and San Luis Potosi.

Anchor Christmas Spirit

UnnamedSan Francisco’s Anchor Distilling Company and Anchor Brewing have teamed up for the third time to release their Christmas Spirit, available November 30 until December 31, 2015. The Christmas Spirit is a merry result of distilling Anchor Brewing’s Christmas Ale, a rich and dark-spiced ale from the previous year, into a smooth, winter-spiced, white spirit that’s ideal for mixing in holiday cocktails and punches.

The secret recipe for Anchor Brewing’s Christmas Ale, available from mid-November to mid-January, changes annually, resulting in a uniquely distinctive Christmas Spirit, which is signified by the different hand-drawn tree on the label each year.

“Every year since 1975, the unveiling of Anchor Brewing’s Christmas Ale is a major celebratory event. With the Christmas Spirit, we’ve now created a similar tradition on the Anchor Distillery side that captures the same joy and excitement of the holidays,” says Bruce Joseph, Head Distiller for Anchor Distilling.  45% ABV, 750ml, $54.99 SRP


Caña Brava 7 Year old Rum

Cana brava rum 7yo_3226The 86 Co. releases Caña Brava 7 year Old Reserva Añeja rum, the first dark aged spirit in their portfolio. Staying true to the company’s ethos it has been made by a veteran master distiller with the input from the bartending community on how it works in classic and contemporary cocktails.

Caña Brava 7 year old begins with a selection of young and fresh rums handpicked by Master Distiller Francesco ‘Don Pancho’ J. Fernandez. The rums are blended to create an age base which is then aged further in used bourbon casks for over seven years before being bottled. Caña Brava 7 Year old is a true aged expression of its lighter and younger sibling Caña Brava 3 Year Old. After creating the Cana Brava 3 year old Carta Blanca, a small amount stayed in cask for further aging. After 7 years of total aging this rum is now ready for a one-time release. Caña Brava 7 year olds character emphasizes the fresh cut sugar cane flavors associated with their style while the aging has added depth and richness you would expect from a rum with this age. Its surprisingly dry finish and higher than normal proof (90 Proof/ 45% ABV) give this rum additional body and flavor and makes it very suitable for mixing in cocktails such as El Preseidentes, Old Cubans and Rum Old Fashioned’s.


Crystal Head AURORA Vodka

V3_CHV_AURORA_White_WebAURORA, a new expression from Crystal Head Vodka is making its way to retailers. Founded in 2008 by actor, musician, and entrepreneur, Dan Aykroyd, Crystal Head Vodka is now sold in over 42 countries around the world.

Produced in Newfoundland, Canada, Crystal Head AURORA comes in a uniquely crafted bottle with an iridescent finish, created in celebration of the most vivid aerial phenomenon in the world – the aurora borealis, otherwise known as ‘the Northern Lights’. The additive-free, ultra-premium vodka is made with high quality English-grown wheat from North Yorkshire and pristine water from St John’s, Newfoundland. It is five times distilled and filtered seven times, with three of the filtrations passing through layers of Herkimer diamonds. Instead of exploring different flavors, AURORA was crafted using a different grain, which offers a drier, bolder, and spicier vodka while staying true to the Crystal Head house-style.

The new expression of Crystal Head is bottled in hand-crafted glass with an original, decorative finish. No two bottles are alike and the appearance is designed to reflect the aurora borealis natural light display, with its mysterious visual properties. This extremely limited, special edition bottle will be available in 700 mL and 750 mL in select countries, including the U.S. for $59.99


FOS Mastiha

IMG_1341Hailing from the small island of Chios, Greece comes FOS Mastiha, a new clear spirit with a unique sweet taste.  The prime ingredient of this spirit derives from resin of the Mastiha Tree, also known as the Crying Tree. The rare and natural tree resin is grown and cultivated exclusively on the small Mediterranean island in Greece, unable to take root anywhere else in the world—making it stubbornly Greek.  The resin droplets, known as Mastiha Tears are left to slowly seep out of the bark and dry in the natural sunlight to form translucent golden crystals. Before the first autumn rain, when the tears are ready to be harvested, the area around the tree is cleaned, leveled and coated in a fine white soil on which the tears fall and are gathered.

The Ambrosia Group has perfected this formula using traditional, tedious collection and cultivation methods, while utilizing modern technology to delicately blend, distill and bottle. The addition of secret ingredients and special formulas results in the pure ambrosia, creating the delicious FOS Mastiha.

FOS Mastiha liqueur is made out of 100% pure Mastiha and is not scented.  28% ABV/750 ml.


Booth’s Finest Dry Gin Cask Mellowed

Booth's Finest Dry Gin Cask MellowedBorn in London during the Golden Age of Gin, the Booth’s brand has been revered by gin enthusiasts since the 1740s.

Gently mellowed in sherry casks, Booth’s acquires a great delicacy of flavor, aroma and a surprising softness that gives the liquid a distinctive smooth finish. As a result of the cask mellowing, juniper notes are softened and the liquid is imbued with a unique and characteristic golden hue.

Hitting shelves just in time for the holiday season, Booth’s Finest Dry Gin Cask Mellowed can be found nationwide wherever fine spirits are sold for an SRP of $45.


Lunazul Double Barrel Reposado Tequila

UnnamedLunazul 100% Agave Tequilas introduces the limited edition Lunazul Double Barrel Reposado. Available through the end of the year, Lunazul Double Barrel Reposado, is a blend of handcrafted 100% Agave Tequilas blended under the direction of Heaven Hill Tequila partner Tierra de Agaves. Aged first in American white oak barrels, it is finished in 11-year-old wheated Bourbon barrels selected from Heaven Hill. After the second aging, the Reposado is married with select Extra-Anejo, creating a smooth and sophisticated Tequila.


Tierra de Agaves’ 3,500 acres of Agave is among the largest independent sources in Mexico. The lowland agave from the Central valley of Tequila contributes an earthier and more toasted Tequila flavor. The Heaven Hill barrels then follow the flavor with hints of vanilla that complement the typical barrel notes of Reposado Tequila.

Lunazul Double Barrel Reposado Tequila ($39.99) will be available for a limited time beginning in October.

Vodka_studio04-03_alpha copyMEDEA Vodka Bluetooth-Enabled Bottle

MEDEA Vodka, the world's only spirit with a customizable LED message band on the bottle, is now lighting up the aisles with its new Bluetooth technology-equipped bottles which are hitting the shelves in new major retailers nationwide. 

The MEDEA Vodka LED bottle uses Apple's iBeacon Bluetooth technology in an innovative way to allow a smart phone to wirelessly set and display scrolling messages and is available both on iPhone and Android. Free to users, the App, developed in-house by the Medea technology team, will connect each consumer to their own bottle giving them the option to invite others, join social media, and locate their bottle, with updates containing more features planned in the near future. From the distance of a basketball court, Medea drinkers can create and edit up to 10 different messages of their choice.


Glendalough  Triple Barrel whiskey

Glendalough Triple BarrelThe Glendalough Distillery have taken their Double Barrel whiskey and brought it to new depths. Aging for a third time in one of only six highly sought after Madeira barrels attained off the coast of Africa.

A Single Grain Irish Whiskey, an underutilized style of Irish whiskey originating in Ireland in the 1830’s, distilled in a Coffey still, it initially sucked the marrow out of two barrels - American Bourbon and Spanish Sherry. They each brought their own unique flavor, spice and character to the lively whiskey, then further aged in one of only six Madeira Casks. 

The Glendalough Distillery has released a Triple Barrel offering, a very limited release to small number of specialist retailers in MA, NY, NJ, DC, MD, DE and GA.



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