BUFFALO TRACE DISTILLERY RELEASES 2016 ANTIQUE COLLECTION WHISKEYS

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RANKFORT, FRANKLIN COUNTY, KY (Sept. 7, 2016) It’s the best time of the year for whiskey fans, as Buffalo Trace Distillery releases its 2016 Antique Collection. The highly anticipated collection will once again feature five limited-release whiskeys of various ages, recipes and proofs. Here’s what ardent fans can expect:

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George T. Stagg

The powerhouse favorite of the Antique Collection, George T. Stagg weighs in at a hefty 144.1 proof this year.  Past releases of this uncut and unfiltered bourbon won many top awards, including twice named the number one spirit in the world by F. Paul Pacult’s The Spirit Journal. This year’s release contains bourbon from barrels filled in the spring of 2001. This batch contained 142 barrels, but not as many bottles as expected, due to some very greedy angels!  Storage location of these barrels varied across warehouses M, N, H, L and K.  Finding a bottle this fall will be difficult due to the low yield.  This whiskey tastes of dark chocolate, coffee and vanilla.

William Larue Weller

The Antique Collection’s uncut, unfiltered, wheated recipe bourbon is William Larue Weller. Previous editions of this wheater have won many accolades, including the “Bourbon of the Year” by Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2016 edition. The 2016 offering was distilled in the spring of 2003 and aged on the third and sixth floors of Warehouses D, K, and L.  This bourbon registers in at 135.4 proof – one of the stronger Weller releases.  The bold flavors include plum, figs and vanilla.

Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye

Thomas H. Handy is the uncut and unfiltered straight rye whiskey. The 2015 edition was named “Best American Rye Whiskey” at the 2016 World Whiskies Awards.  This year’s Handy was distilled in the spring of 2010; aged on the fourth, fifth and seventh floors of Warehouses I, K, and M, and weighs in at 126.2 proof.  The flavor has been described as toffee and cinnamon.

Eagle Rare 17 Year Old

The previous edition of this bourbon was honored with a Silver Outstanding Medal at the 2015 International Wine and Spirits Competition. The 2016 edition has been aging on the first, second and third floors of Warehouses H and K.  This 90 proof bourbon was aged for seventeen years and tastes of leather, vanilla, tobacco and toffee.

Sazerac Rye 18 Year Old

Last year Sazerac Rye 18 Year Old was named the Best Rye Whiskey 11 Years and Older by Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2016 edition.  This 2016 straight rye whiskey release has notable flavors of smoke, clove and all-spice with a dry finish.  The barrels for this whiskey were filled in April of 1998, making them the first “new” batch in years not drawn from the stainless steel tank as the previous past few editions have been.  From this year onward, this whiskey will be drawn directly from barrels put away for 18 years, versus using any tanked whiskey.

The Antique Collection was introduced more than a decade ago and has become a cult favorite among whiskey connoisseurs. Since 2000 these whiskeys have garnered numerous awards from such notable publications as Whisky Advocate Magazine, Spirit Journal, and Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible.

The 2016 Antique Collection whiskeys will be available in limited quantities starting in late September or early October.  Suggested retail price is $90 each.

1792 Distillery Releases a New Limited Edition Full Proof Bourbon

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BARDSTOWN, KENTUCKY (May 17, 2016) – A stout 125 full proof bourbon is the latest limited edition release in the 1792 Bourbon line up.  Bottled at the same proof it was originally entered into the barrel, the bourbon was distilled, aged, and bottled at the historic Barton 1792 Distillery.

New oak barrels were filled with 125 proof distillate in the fall of 2007 and left to age in Warehouses E, N, and I for eight and a half years. Warehouse I is one of the oldest warehouses at Barton 1792 Distillery. All of these warehouses are seven stories high, metal clad, with concrete bottom floors, and windows all the way around the outside, allowing some direct sunlight inside.

1792 Full Proof BottleAfter the barrels were emptied, the bourbon underwent a distinct filtering process, forgoing the typical chill filtration, and instead was only passed through a plate and frame filter.  This allowed the bourbon to maintain a robust 125 proof for bottling, as well as the rich and bold flavor. The aroma is powerful – with vanilla and dried cherries notes.  The first taste is intense as it meets the tongue, oaky and full bodied, but continues with flavors of caramel and jam-like fruit, before an enduring finish.

This is the fourth limited edition release of 1792 Bourbon expressions, the Full Proof joins previous releases of Sweet Wheat, Port Finish, and Single Barrel Bourbons. Although the 1792 Full Proof Bourbon is very limited in quantities, it will be released annually for the next few years. The 1792 Full Proof Bourbon will be available at retail starting in late May. Suggested retail pricing is $44.99.

BUFFALO TRACE RELEASES COLONEL E. H. TAYLOR, JR. SEASONED WOOD BOURBON WHISKEY

Buffalo_Trace_DistilleryFRANKFORT, FRANKLIN COUNTY, KY (Feb. 29, 2016) – Buffalo Trace Distillery continues its tribute to former Distillery owner Colonel E. H. Taylor, Jr. with a special release bourbon whiskey aged in seasoned wood oak barrels.  This 100 proof, Bottled-In-Bond, small batch wheat recipe bourbon was aged well over a decade and is a special one-time-only release.

The barrels in this release underwent a variety of special seasoning processes,   including barrels made from staves that were immersed in an enzyme rich bath with water heated to 100 degrees.  After spending time in this proprietary solution, these staves were then placed into kilns and dried until they reached an ideal humidity level for crafting into barrels.  Other staves were seasoned outdoors for six months, and still others were left outdoors for a full 12 months before being made into barrels and sent to Buffalo Trace Distillery to be filled and aged.  All barrel staves were seasoned, dried, and crafted at Independent Stave Company, who consulted on this project with the premiere expert on oak maturation, Dr. James Swan.

EH Taylor Seasoned Wood Bottle & CanisterThe result of aging in these distinct barrels has delivered a wheat bourbon that is quite different from the other wheated bourbons made by Buffalo Trace. Descriptions include, “a delicate aroma of caramel and dried fruit, followed by a bright and pleasant first sip.  Oak tannins are balanced by a touch of butterscotch, almond, citrus notes, and hint of spicy clove. The body is soft and balanced with an aftertaste that lingers perfectly.”

This Seasoned Wood Bourbon is the eighth and latest release in the collection of  E. H. Taylor, Jr. whiskeys, rounding out the collection of Old Fashioned Sour Mash Bourbon, Single Barrel Bourbon, Warehouse C Tornado Surviving Bourbon, Barrel Proof Bourbon, Straight Rye Whiskey, Small Batch Bourbon and Cured Oak Bourbon. The Sour Mash, Warehouse C Tornado Surviving Bourbon and Cured Oak were one time only releases and are no longer available.

The Colonel E. H. Taylor, Jr. collection was first released in early 2011 and several subsequent releases have followed.  Like some of the previous releases, this one-time-only bottling is very limited.   Also consistent with past releases, the Seasoned Wood Bourbon displays a vintage label and is offered inside a distinct canister reminiscent of Taylor’s whiskey package from over one hundred years ago. These six bottle cases will again be shipped in an impressive wooden box first used for the Cured Oak release.  The boxes are modeled after the wooden crates used by Taylor to transport goods during the days before Prohibition.

Colonel Edmund Haynes Taylor, Jr.  is widely considered one of the founding fathers of the bourbon industry, fighting for the Bottled-in-Bond Act of 1897, nearly three decades after he purchased the distillery that is known today as the Buffalo Trace Distillery. During his time, Taylor implemented several innovative methods still used today by Buffalo Trace, such as climate controlled aging warehouses. In addition to his bourbon interests, Taylor had political ties. He was the great-nephew of President Zachary Taylor and elected the mayor of Frankfort, state representative to the Kentucky General Assembly and a member of the State Senate.

This special bottling of Colonel E.H. Taylor, Jr. Seasoned Wood Bourbon Whiskey will be available starting in late March in limited supply.  The suggested retail price is $69.99 per 750ml bottle.

The HoOchly team will be on the look out for a few bottles, if you find one and get to try it before we do please let us know what you think!

Buffalo Trace Distillery Launches Interactive Website

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Franklin Co, Frankfort, Ky. (Oct. 28, 2015) – There’s no denying that bourbon has become more popular these days, but many drinkers are new to the brown spirit and confused about how bourbon whiskey is made and the subtle nuances of recipes, aging, proof and warehousing.  Buffalo Trace Distillery intends to change that with a new interactive website, www.yourperfectbourbon.com.

craft-your-perfect-bourbon-siteIn just a few minutes, users can design a bourbon perfect for their own taste. Once on the site, visitors will select their own bourbon recipe and learn how the grains such as corn, wheat, rye and barley influence the taste. Adding more rye results in a more “daringly spicy” bourbon, for example.  Visitors will then see animated graphics explaining how the distillation process works, before witnessing just what 55 seconds of charring can do to an oak barrel.  Then users on this bourbon journey get to select which level in the aging warehouse they want their barrel to age, and learn how different elevations within a warehouse ultimately impact the taste of each bourbon.  Aging and proof round out the end of the experience, before each custom designed bourbon is complete. Then a description of each participant’s perfect bourbon is unveiled, based on their individual preferences. While each custom designed bourbon is unique, the website will also identify actual brands from the Buffalo Trace portfolio that taste most similar in profile, helping fans learn what they might like the next time they crave a sip of bourbon whiskey.

“I hope people will really enjoy this fun and interactive experience, while learning how bourbon is made,” said Kris Comstock, bourbon marketing director. “It takes years to craft a great bourbon, but it only takes minutes to design your favorite online.”

The website www.yourperfectbourbon.com is for entertainment purposes only and not for the purchase of whiskey, too bad right? Let us know what you thought about it and what bourbon you came up with!

Van Winkle Bourbon Will Be Available Soon! Barrels yield less 15, 20 and 23 Year Old Bourbon than usual

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FRANKFORT, FRANKLIN COUNTY, KY (Oct. 14, 2015) – The long anticipated annual release of the Van Winkle bourbons is almost here, but unfortunately some of the angels were extra greedy over the past two decades, leaving us less bourbon than in previous years.

“When bourbon ages over 15 years, much is lost to the angel’s share.  Many of the 53 gallon oak barrels often yield less than 20 gallons,” said Kris Comstock, bourbon marketing director. “Unfortunately this year we experienced poor yields on the older Van Winkle whiskeys.  Furthermore, we have strict quality standards here at Buffalo Trace and several of the older Van Winkle barrels did not meet those standards. This makes a drastic difference in volume, considering we have very few barrels as it is. The result is less 15 year-old Pappy Van Winkle than usual, and far less 20 year-old and 23 year-old. Frankly, about half as much as last year.”

           Van Winkle bourbons are known for their smoother and sweeter flavor and they are aged years longer than most others and garner an impeccable reputation among connoisseurs.  Although the bourbons have become increasingly popular worldwide in recent years, very little is sold overseas, so that most of these coveted bottles are available in the United States.

The Van Winkle collection consists of several whiskeys. Suggested retail prices are as follows:

  • $49.99 – Old Rip Van Winkle Handmade Bourbon 10 Year Old 107 proof
  • $59.99 – Van Winkle Special Reserve Bourbon 12 Year Old
  • $99.99 – Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye Whiskey 13 Year Old
  • $79.99 – Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve Bourbon 15 Year Old
  • $149.99 – Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve Bourbon 20 Year Old
  • $249.99 – Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve Bourbon 23 Year Old

“Although a lot of retailers charge more than our suggested pricing, we are not asking them to do so,” said Julian Van Winkle, president, Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery. “We have not raised prices and do not intend to do so drastically in the future. We are committed to our quality and our pricing.”

The Van Winkle line of whiskeys has won a multitude of awards through the years, including the 15-year-old being named “Excellent/highly recommended” in the 2014 Ultimate Spirits Challenge; the 20 year-old awarded “Extraordinary/ultimate recommendation” in the 2013 Ultimate Spirits Challenge; a double gold for the 20 year-old in the 2014 San Francisco World Spirits Competition; and the Chairman’s Trophy and “Extraordinary/Ultimate Recommendation” for the 20 year-old in the 2015 Ultimate Spirits Challenge.

The Van Winkle Whiskeys will be available starting in November and they will be packed three bottles per case. Please remember that supply is quite limited and bottles shall be hard to find in stores, bars and restaurants.

Happy hunting!

HARLEN WHEATLEY NAMED THE FIRST “MASTER DISTILLER OF THE YEAR” AT WHISKY MAGAZINE’S ICONS OF WHISKY AMERICA AWARDS 2016

unnamed FRANKFORT, FRANKLIN COUNTY, KY (Oct. 7, 2015) – Buffalo Trace Distillery’s master distiller and visitor center manager were each honored at “Whisky Magazine’s Icons of Whisky America Awards 2016,” for their hard work at the Distillery. Harlen Wheatley was named “Master Distiller of the Year” and Matt Higgins was recognized as “highly commended” for Visitor Attraction Manager of the Year.

The category for “Master Distiller of the Year” is brand new this year, making Wheatley its very first recipient.

“Receiving ‘Master Distiller of the Year’ is a great honor, and doing so as the first recipient of this award to kind of the set the bar is extremely humbling,” said Harlen Wheatley, master distiller. “In every single category, we’re up against some very tough competition each year. We feel very honored to receive each of these recognitions.”

The Icons of Whisky Awards were created by Whisky Magazine to celebrate the people and places behind the great whiskies of the world. Nominees can be self-nominated or nominated by anyone working in the spirits industry.  Those working in the spirits industry then vote on the winners, with the editors of Whisky Magazine then culling down the votes into final winners. This year’s awards were announced during The Great Kentucky Bourbon Tasting & Gala on September 19th.  The winners from the Icons of Whisky America Awards will go to compete at the World Whiskies Awards taking place in London, England, in the spring of 2016.

CORAZON TEQUILA COMES OUT WITH BRAND NEW PACKAGING

CORAZON TEQUILA RELEASED A NEW PACKAGING INSPIRED BY EXPRESIONES DEL CORAZON LINE! 

           16952_Corazon_VarietyComparison_Stg11 CHICAGO, IL (Sept. 30, 2015) – Corazon Tequila is making some exciting changes to its packaging beginning in October. Inspired by the simple elegance of the Expresiones del Corazon line, the new heritage packaging puts the focus on the quality and craftsmanship that goes into every bottle of Corazon Tequila.

After five years on the market, Corazon realized that the current contemporary packaging did not reflect the heritage, authenticity, quality, and status of Corazon. These spirits are crafted of 100 percent agave, using artisanal fermentation and distillation practices. Traditional clay ovens, proprietary yeast and oxygenation are a few of the elements utilized to create these beautiful tequilas, crafted at the world class Casa San Matias Distillery in Mexico.

When Corazon created Expresiones, a premium line of tequila aged in barrels that previously held award-winning whiskies like Buffalo Trace and Old Rip Van Winkle, the packaging was designed to reflect the passion or “heart” that goes into every bottle of Corazon Tequila.  This was an obvious choice, as Corazon translates as “heart” in English.  Given the acclaim earned by these unique tequilas, the decision was made to design the base brand, which includes Corazon Blanco, Reposado and Anejo, to be reminiscent of the prestigious Expresiones.

“The new packaging really harkens back to the heritage of the brand,” Corazon Marketing Manager Mary Ellen Hogan said. “The uncomplicated bottling highlights the quality of the spirit and allows the heart and craftsmanship in every bottle to shine through.”

The new packaging will begin appearing on shelves nationally in October. Suggested retail pricing for Corazon Anejo is $39.99, Reposado is $34.99 and Blanco is $29.99. All three are 80 proof.

About Gemini Spirits & Wine

Gemini Spirits & Wine is the fastest growing spirits and specialty brand development company in the United States. Gemini is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Sazerac Company and is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. Gemini operates as an autonomous company, and is focused on building its portfolio of spirits and specialty brands concentrated in targeted categories.

BUFFALO TRACE DISTILLERY ANNOUNCES THE RELEASE OF THEIR 13 YEAR-OLD SOUR MASH BOURBON EXPERIMENT

Buffalo_Trace_Experimental_Collection_2015Frankfort, KY (Sept. 22, 2015) Buffalo Trace Distillery announced today the last Experimental Collection Release for 2015.

Buffalo Trace has returned to its roots with the latest release in their long-running experimental whiskey program, a bourbon made using an old-fashioned process of souring the mash.  Distilled in May of 2002, this Old Fashioned Sour Mash experiment used Buffalo Trace’s proprietary mash.  The bourbon was cooked and cooled to standard and the mash was allowed “to sour” before yeast was added to start the fermentation process, a method long abandoned because of its difficult process.

This sour mash method differs from the more common process used today by almost all bourbon manufacturers. The routine method calls for cooking and cooling the mash, and then immediately adding yeast and a small amount of previously distilled mash (or “setback”) as it cools to sour the mash.   The traditional old-fashioned sour mash process started to vanish many years ago, and it was not until a gathering of distillery “old timers” that Buffalo Trace was inspired to revive it.

After the sour mash was distilled, it was entered into barrels at two different entry proofs, 105 and 125. Aged for 13 years on the seventh floor of Warehouse I, the two different entry proofs took on unique characteristics. The 105 entry proof delivers a light body, with notes of vanilla and fruit, and a dry, nice finish, while the 125 entry proof offers a medium flavored body, with spicy flavors mingled with caramel, and a balanced pleasing finish.

These barrels are part of more than 4,000 experimental barrels of whiskey aging in the warehouses of Buffalo Trace Distillery. Each of them has unique characteristics that differentiate them in distinct ways. Some examples of experiments include unique mash bills, types of wood, and different barrel toasts. In order to further increase the scope, flexibility, and range of the experimental program, an entire micro distillery, named The Colonel E.H. Taylor, Jr. “OFC” Micro Distillery, complete with cookers, fermenting tanks, and a state-of-the-art micro still has been constructed within Buffalo Trace Distillery. Buffalo Trace has increased its commitment to experimentation with the recent addition of Warehouse X, which is smaller but specifically designed to explore the extent of environmental influences on the flavor profiles of whiskey.

The Experimental Collection is packaged in 375ml bottles, with two bottles from each entry proof in a case. Both entry proofs were bottled at 90 proof.  Each label includes all the applicable information unique to that barrel of whiskey. These whiskeys retail for approximately $46.35 each and will be available in late September, 2015. Experimental Collection releases are generally quite small and have limited availability… We can’t wait to get our hands on one of these bottles!

Drew Estate Announces Newest Drew Estate Lounge at Famous Smoke Shop Retail Store

1-400 Miami, FL – Drew Estate announced today that their newest  Drew Estate Lounge would open at Famous Smoke Shop’s  Retail Store in Easton, PA immediately prior to Famous’  annual Cigarnival event, taking place on June 26 & 27, 2015.  This new Drew Estate Lounge will become the second Drew  Estate Lounge in the United States, following the opening of  the first Drew Estate Lounge at Corona Cigar Company in  Sand Lake, FL in February 2014.

The new Drew Estate Lounge will be located within Famous Smoke Shop’s Retail Store in Easton, PA, which features a 35,000 sq. ft. humidor offering all of Drew Estate cigar brands, as well as the attached Leaf Cigar Bar which serves craft beer and select spirits. The lounge will include custom-made Drew Estate furniture, ashtrays, and artwork made by Subculture Studios, the art and graffiti department within Drew Estate’s La Gran Fabrica located in Estelí, Nicaragua.

When asked about the new Drew Estate Lounge, Drew Estate president Michael Celluci stated that, “Famous Smoke Shop has been a long-time partner of Drew Estate. When Arthur Zaretsky came to me with the idea of creating a Drew Estate Lounge at their retail store, I was both honored and excited. Our team at Subculture Studios created some really special pieces for the store, and I can’t wait to see the completed lounge at Cigarnival this weekend.”2-400

Drew Estate will also be sponsoring the Cigarnival Golf Tournament at Riverview Country Club on Friday, June 26th, 2015. The tournament includes a custom Drew Estate golf polo shirt, Drew Estate cigars, lunch, and beer during the tournament. To learn more, visit http://cigarexpo.net.

To learn more about the Drew Estate Lounge at Famous Smoke Shop, view the attached photo gallery, which includes photos of the new lounge. Also, if you’re attending Cigarnival this weekend, make sure to stop by the lounge in person.