Coconut Cartel Enters Liquor Industry With Launch of ‘World’s First Premium Coconut Rum’

coconutcartelbottleonlyCoconut Cartel (Miami, Florida) has announced that it is officially expanding its brand with the launch of its first premium rum, Coconut Cartel Special.

After making a name for themselves with Fresh Branded Coconuts that ended up in the hands of celebrities such as Salma Hayek, Drake and Martha Stewart, the people behind Coconut Cartel are taking the next step in their journey by fully embracing their original inspiration – “a fresh cold coconut spiked with a shot of Central American aged rum” – and bottling it.

The “refreshing, delicious and naturally just a little sweet” Coconut Cartel Special accurately represents that inspiration by infusing “a unique blend of Central American dark rum . . . with real coconut water to proof. The natural minerality in the coconut water makes this blend uniquely smooth, with notes of vanilla at first and a touch of coconut as the finish.”  Coconut Cartel Special is 40% ABV/80 PROOF.

“Premium Rum is finally having its moment in the sun, and the timing couldn’t be better to launch a fresh new face in somewhat a dull space. We are excited to change people’s perception of what they think rum is (hint: it’s not just what you chugged in college).”

 

– Mike Zig, founder of Coconut Cartel

Coconut Cartel Special is available now in 750ml bottles for the suggested retail price of $36.99.  You can expect to find this premium spirit in Florida, California and New York and available to ship to 42 states online through Coconut Cartel’s website. Prost!

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Victor George Vodka Makes Statewide Debut in Florida

VGbottleVictor George Vodka (Fort Lauderdale, Florida), an ultra-premium gluten-free vodka, has officially announced that it is now available throughout the state of Florida.

Established in South Florida as “one of, if not the only, African American owned liquor brands in Florida”, Victor George Vodka is an organic, gluten-free vodka that is “created using a patented filtration system to remove harsh tasting congeners that cause hangovers and burn found in many other vodkas and spirits.” With this being “a key selling point and part of what has driven the early buzz about the brand”, Victor George Vodka has quickly become “one of the most requested brands for high profile events such as Flo Rida’s and Tory Lanez’s birthday parties, Yacht Lifeboat show events, the Summer Dreams weekend event at Top Golf and many more.”

“I discovered that 8 distillations created magic – the perfect cut,” says Victor G. Harvey, Founder of Victor George Vodka. “By combining different distillation techniques with traditional craftsmanship, I developed a one-of-a-kind, elevated vodka that features a slow distillation process, giving the gluten-free vodka a silky-smooth, non-burning finish.”

Harvey added, “I am very excited to have the opportunity to begin the next stages for the Victor George Vodka brand. Over the next few months, we plan to accelerate our proven business strategy to increase awareness and sales of Victor George Vodka in our key markets and anticipate making significant announcements regarding growth and expansion opportunities including international sales, distribution deals, marketing initiatives, and celebrity partnerships.”

Harvey concluded, “Victor George Vodka is positioned to become a luxury brand leader in the ultra-premium spirits industry, particularly with affluent urban consumers whose exclusive lifestyles and desire for exceptional products are influenced by music, fashion, sports, and entertainment.”

Originally only available at a select group of liquor stores, restaurants, and bars, Victor George Vodka is now available throughout the state of Florida with the help of local distributor Peninsula Beverage.  Vodka lovers in Florida can expect to find this ultra-premium spirit available in the following formats: 750ml bottles ($18.99), 1L bottles ($25.99), and 1.75ml bottles ($28.99). Prost!

Tasting Notes – Spirits Edition: Rocky Mountain Peppermint Schnapps from Lee Spirits Co.

LeeSpiritsRMPSbottleFor this special Christmas Eve edition of Tasting Notes, we fully immerse ourselves in the spirit and flavors of the holiday season by spending some time with the newly released Rocky Mountain Peppermint Schnapps from Lee Spirits Company (Colorado Springs, Colorado).

Proudly introduced earlier this month as one of the only craft Peppermint Schnapps manufactured in the United States, Rocky Mountain Peppermint Schnapps is a premium quality Peppermint Schnapps “made from all-natural peppermint, purified Rocky Mountain water and all-natural premium cane sugar.” Clocking in at 90 PROOF/45% ABV, Rocky Mountain Peppermint Schnapps “is designed to drink ‘neat’ or accompany a wealth of mixed drinks such as enhancing the delicious Alexander or adding peppermint schnapps to hot chocolate.”

750ml bottles of Rocky Mountain Peppermint Schnapps are available now in Colorado and will see expanded distribution in 2019.  You can find this new offering at fine liquor retailers and bars located throughout the state of Colorado.

With all that background information now out of the way, what do you say we raise a neat pour of Rocky Mountain Peppermint Schnapps to the holidays and get into these Tasting Notes?

Tasting Notes for Rocky Mountain Peppermint Schnapps from Lee Spirits Company

Appearance: Rocky Mountain Peppermint Schnapps is packaged in a tall and slender clear bottle that is wearing a parchment-like label that depicts the offering’s name cut out of a bed of peppermint leaves.  This tastefully stylized design is blocked out and centered above a tiny Colorado state flag and a proud proclamation of “Handmade with Rocky Mountain Water.” When poured neat into a tasting glass, the spirit is mostly clear but does have a tinge of a translucent cloudiness to it.  When swirled, the liquid seems to carve a high arcing line into the glass and drops some of the slowest moving legs we have ever seen in a spirit.

Aroma:  Just as one would expect, these Schnapps are filled with peppermint, but it is an incredibly clean and natural presence. There is not a hint of artificiality or extract. This deeply herbal waft is then tempered a bit with a delicate layer of pure sugar and a gentle jolt of alcohol residing in the background. As a whole, these aromatics easily conjure up comforting and cheery memories of the holidays.

Taste:  Peppermint of course dominates here as well with a bright, refreshing burst of that minty coolness.  This is countered slightly as cane sugar works its way in to lay down some sweetness alongside those herbal tones.  These elements combine to create an experience that is strikingly similar to that of a classic candy cane.  Clean alcohol is present in the finish, but it does not even attempt to overwhelm the peppermint.

Mouthfeel: A touch on the syrupy side, these Peppermint Schnapps completely coat the tongue and palate before slowly evaporating away into nothing.  Although it does lean a bit to the sweet side, the herbal character of the peppermint does a good job of lifting away some of that sweetness in effort to keep things from getting cloying.  That 45% ABV/90 PROOF brings a bit of booziness, but it is tame and takes the form of a comforting warmth in your belly.  Notes of your favorite peppermint candy are left to linger behind in the aftertaste.

Final Thoughts:  All in all, Lee Spirits Company made Rocky Mountain Peppermint Schnapps exactly what it should be: a clean, cool and fresh peppermint spirit.  The peppermint character is wonderfully natural and pronounced but cut with just the right amount of sugar to keep things from coming across medicinal.  With that said, the peppermint maintains enough of its integrity to keep the sweetness from becoming cloying.  The ratio is spot on, basically making Rocky Mountain Peppermint Schnapps liquid peppermint candy but without any hint of artificial character.

Rocky Mountain Peppermint Schnapps can easily be enjoyed neat (we were delighted to sip on it for over an hour while working on these notes), but you can get into some real fun with this spirit by experimenting with it in cocktails.  Peppermint can work wonders in a variety of cocktails all year long, but the desire for that flavor does become more prevalent during the winter and especially during the holidays.  With that in mind, we decided to combine Rocky Mountain Peppermint Schnapps with eggnog, another quintessential flavor of the holidays, to create a festive and fun Candy Cane Nog (pictured above):

Candy Cane Nog

  • 6 oz. to 8 oz. Eggnog
  • 3/4 oz. Rocky Mountain Peppermint Schnapps 
  • Whipped Cream 
  • Candy Cane Stick

Add Eggnog and Rocky Mountain Peppermint Schnapps to shaker tin filled with ice and shake.  Strain into a glass coffee mug. Top with whipped cream and garnish with a candy cane stick.  You can also dust the whipped cream with cinnamon, nutmeg, cocoa powder (our choice) or red & green sprinkles for added garnish.  

The Candy Cane Nog shows just how versatile peppermint is as an ingredient as the Rocky Mountain Peppermint Schnapps brightens and lifts the heavy creaminess of the eggnog while embracing and accentuating the nog’s spices.  This combination beautifully balances the two featured ingredients and elevates these established festive flavors to another level.

If you are not a fan of eggnog, you can always use Rocky Mountain Peppermint Schnapps to make an Adult Hot Cocoa or incorporate it into the recipes for cocktails such as the Peppermint Patty or Peppermint White Russian.

No matter how you chose to enjoy Rocky Mountain Peppermint Schnapps, one thing is for sure: you are certainly never going to be disappointed whenever this spirit graces your glass.  Be sure to treat yourself to a bottle if the opportunity arises . . . but, above all, make sure you have a safe and happy holidays.  Prost!

Lee Spirits Co. Introduces Rocky Mountain Peppermint Schnapps

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Lee Spirits Company (Colorado Springs, Colorado) has officially announced the release of Rocky Mountain Peppermint Schnapps, one of the only craft Peppermint Schnapps manufactured in the United States.

Arriving just in time for the holidays, Rocky Mountain Peppermint Schnapps is a premium quality Peppermint Schnapps “made from all-natural peppermint, purified Rocky Mountain water and all-natural premium cane sugar.”  Clocking in at 90 PROOF/45% ABV, Rocky Mountain Peppermint Schnapps “is designed to drink ‘neat’ or accompany a wealth of mixed drinks such as enhancing the delicious Alexander or adding peppermint schnapps to hot chocolate.”

“We had been producing this product for our tasting room, Brooklyn’s on Boulder Street, since our company’s inception in 2015,” said Ian Lee, Co-Founder “This year, we had an opportunity to test it with our distributor who immediately gravitated towards it due to the wonderful taste, quality of ingredients, price point, and the fact that this brand is one of the only craft peppermint schnapps made in the United States. We are very excited to offer this premium product across Colorado today and are equally enthusiastic to expand Rocky Mountain Peppermint Schnapps to additional states in 2019.”

Rocky Mountain Peppermint Schnapps is rolling out now in Colorado and expanded distribution is expected later in 2019.  You can track this new offering down at fine liquor retailers and bars located throughout the state of Colorado.  Prost!

Suerte Tequila Introduces Lucky Lips Eight-Year Aged Extra Añejo

suerterabbitSuerte Tequila (Boulder, Colorado) has officially announced the Limited-Edition release of an eight-year Extra Añejo named Lucky Lips.

Here to serve as Suerte’s Extra Añejo release for 2018, Lucky Lips is a golden hued premium tequila that has aged in “charred American White Oak whiskey barrels for eight years.” This lengthy aging period – one year longer than the distillery’s last edition of Extra Añejo – yields a complex flavor profile featuring “a strong oak presence, hints of vanilla, cinnamon, honey, and date.”

“As an independent craft tequila, we have the luxury to create Suerte in the manner that we believe makes the best product,” said Suerte co-founder Laurence Spiewak. “Our master distiller uses traditional methods, 100% blue weber agave, and pure spring water from Atotonilco el Alto in the highlands of Jalisco. Lucky Lips is a patient reflection of the love and care that we put into our tequila.”

A very limited amount of Lucky Lips is available now in 750ml bottles that retail for $109.99 each.  You can expect to find this Limited-Edition offering at select retailers located in the 24 U.S. states that normally see Suerte products.  Prost!

Johnnie Walker Releases Limited-Edition 28 Year Old Midnight Blend

JohnnieWalkerLogoJohnnie Walker (London, England) has announced that it will officially complete its John Walker & Sons Private Collection with the November release of 28 Year Old Midnight Blend.

Arriving as the fifth and final edition in the John Walker & Sons Private Collection, 28 Year Old Midnight Blend is a “decadent Scotch . . . containing rare and precious whiskies aged for a minimum of 28 years.” Meant to be enjoyed “after-dinner, or approaching the ‘midnight’ moment,” this carefully selected blend “features layers of butterscotch, caramel and toffee, balanced with a fruitiness and touch of spice.”

“Whiskies aged for 28 years are rare, and very special. In our search to find the flavours and characteristics necessary for a rich, indulgent Scotch like Midnight Blend, we were very lucky to have access to some of the most mature reserves drawn from the four corners of Scotland. Each individual malt and grain used in the final whisky adds layers of flavour to the 28 Year Old Midnight Blend, leaving hints of fruit, sweet and spice and making it a wonderful final addition to the Private Collection.”

– Jim Beveridge, Johnnie Walker Master Blender

With only 3,888 limited-edition, individually numbered collectible decanters available, 28 Year Old Midnight Blend will officially hit shelves in November with a recommended retail price of $750.  You can expect to find this Limited Release offering at select retailers located throughout Johnnie Walker’s distribution network in the U.S.  Prost!

Vital Information for 28 Year Old Midnight Blend from Johnnie Walker

Release – Limited/John Walker & Sons Private Collection, November 2018
Style – Blended Scotch Whisky 
ABV – 42.8%
Blend – A blend of rare & precious whiskies aged for a minimum of 28 years
Fun Fact – On the blend selection: “Working closely alongside fellow blender Craig Wallace, [Jim Beveridge] sampled hundreds of the finest single malt and grain whiskies to eventually hand-select only a few rare whiskies with the character necessary for a Scotch this wonderfully smooth and indulgent.”
Serving Suggestions “28 Year Old Midnight Blend is best served neat, in a balloon glass, rolled in the hand to gently warm the whisky and release the distinctive aromas. For a truly decadent serve, enjoy with a square of dark chocolate.”
Locator – https://www.johnniewalker.com/en-us/shop-for-johnnie-walker/

The Glenrothes Distillery Unveils Soleo Collection of Single Malt Scotch Whisky

SOLEO-29The Glenrothes Distillery (Rothes, Scotland) has officially announced the release of the Soleo Collection, a lineup of five entirely new Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whiskies matured in sherry-seasoned oak casks.

Established to be a change in direction for The Glenrothes that will steadily steer the distillery away from its previously released Vintage and Reserve offerings, the Soleo Collection is an array of Single Malt Scotch Whiskies developed to celebrate “the rich and colorful origins of the whisky-making journey and its most defining part, the sherry seasoning of the oak casks.”  The term “Soleo” refers to the process of sun-drying the grapes that will eventually make the sherry that will then go on to season the distillery’s oak casks.  This process gives the grapes their “own distinctive color palette”, and the distillers at The Glenrothes have used those colors as their canvas to showcase the “sherry and the role it plays in shaping [their] single-malt.”

“The Glenrothes is a true craft single-malt. Taking things back to a vital yet simple natural process, this new collection allows us to tell a vital part of the story that hasn’t before been highlighted in this way. We believe in sharing the inspiring detail in how and why we create the whiskies we do. The Soleo Collection does exactly that; making these fantastic new whiskies is testament to our commitment to craftsmanship and quality.”

 

– Gordon Motion, Master Whisky Maker

The Soleo Collection is comprised of the following five new single-malts:

  • 10 YEARS OLD (40% ABV): A delicate and more subtle style of single malt, with notes of vanilla, shortbread and citrus peel. RRP $45 USD
  • 12 YEARS OLD (40% ABV): The epitome of the distillery style, with notes of vanilla, melon and cinnamon. RRP $55 USD
  • WHISKY MAKER’S CUT (48.8% ABV): Inspired and shaped by the hand of master whisky maker Gordon Motion, using only first-fill sherry-seasoned casks and bottled at his preferred strength. Vanilla, orange peel and nutmeg character. RRP $75 USD
  • 18 YEARS OLD (43% ABV): A complex and well-rounded expression with a vanilla, pear and fresh-ginger character. RRP $130 USD
  • 25 YEARS OLD (43% ABV): Winner of the Chairman’s Trophy Award for Best Speyside Single Malt at the 2018 Ultimate Spirits Competition. Rich and intense, this expression delivers heady woody notes with a character defined by salted caramel, mango and coriander seeds. RRP $500 USD

All offerings in the Soleo Collection are hitting shelves now and whisky-lovers can expect to find them at fine spirits retailers located throughout the U.S.  Prost!

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New Belgium & Knob Creek Collaborate to Create Oakspire Bourbon Barrel Ale

NBOakSpire2New Belgium Brewing (Fort Collins, Colorado) has officially announced that Oakspire Bourbon Barrel Ale, a Limited Edition offering brewed in collaboration with Knob Creek Distillery (Clermont, Kentucky), will begin hitting shelves and taps in mid-September 2018.

Brewed to showcase “Knob Creek and New Belgium’s shared passion for innovation and dedication to hard-earned flavor”, Oakspire is “an entirely new style of bourbon barrel ale” that employs the use of “a steel, missile-shaped vessel” that New Belgium’s engineers created to act as “a delivery system where Knob Creek Bourbon-soaked oak spirals and char from used Knob Creek Bourbon barrels [mingle] with – and [add] robust flavors to – New Belgium’s high rye ale.”  Thanks to this new technique, the beer is allowed to pick up “sweet brown sugar and caramel notes” from the char and “flavors of oak and spice” from a “custom blend” of oak spirals that were “toasted in varying degrees.” This all results in a “beautiful, full-flavored” Oakspire Bourbon Barrel Ale (9% ABV) that boasts “notes of caramel, vanilla and toasted oak.”

“We could have simply barrel-aged some ale, or rested beer on barrel staves, but that wouldn’t have given us the amazing freshness and flavor of Oakspire Bourbon Barrel Ale,” said Ross Koenigs, Research and Development Brewer at New Belgium. “Our Brewhouse team likes to say that we didn’t just develop a custom extraction technology, but rather, a beer-flavoring ‘missile,’ and we’re thrilled to present our newest, innovative venture with the launch of Oakspire Bourbon Barrel Ale.”

Oakspire Bourbon Barrel Ale will officially release in mid-September and hang around as long as supplies last.  You can expect to find this Special Release available in 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles and on draft at select craft beer establishments located in Alabama, Florida, Colorado, North Carolina, and throughout the rest of New Belgium’s nationwide distribution area.  Prost!

Vital Information for Oakspire Bourbon Barrel Ale from New Belgium Brewing

Release – Limited/Special, mid-September 2018
Style – Rye Beer
ABV – 9%
IBUs – 20
Malts – Pale, Munich, Caramel 80, Rye & Roasted Barley
Hops – Nugget & HBC 472
Yeast – Ale
Special Ingredients – Knob Creek Bourbon soaked oak spirals & char from used Knob Creek Bourbon barrels
Availability – 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles & draft
Beer Finder – https://www.newbelgium.com/beer/finder/

 

Highland Park Continues Viking Legends Series with Limited Release of VALKNUT

HP-2018-Valknut-Hero-Bottle+Carton-750ml-CMYK-687x720-d74f15ed-8a92-4eb4-8ab9-d5d15c816a71Highland Park Distillery (Kirkwall, Scotland) has officially announced the Limited Release of VALKNUT Single Malt Scotch Whisky, the second expression in its Viking Legends Trilogy.

Preceded by the mid-2017 release of the critically-acclaimed VALKYRIE, VALKNUT has arrived to serve as the second offering “in a series of three Viking Legends releases inspired by the rich Viking heritage and mythology of Highland Park’s Orkney Islands home.”  Meaning “‘knot of those killed in battle’ and represented visually by three interlinked triangles”, the Valknut is a symbol “closely associated with the Norse god Odin, who guided the spirits of the dead to Valhalla.”

The story of the Valknut is compelling and I wanted to ensure that the design feature of this packaging was a fitting match to the whisky created by Master Whisky Maker Gordon Motion. Also, as VALKNUT is part of a series of three expressions, I made sure that there is continuity in the style of the packaging; for example, the frieze design at top is consistent in look, but the story of the symbol has been brought to the front panel.”

 

– Jim Lyngvild, renowned Danish designer & artist behind the packaging for VALKNUT

As a whisky, VALKNUT (46.8% ABV) is a “bolder, more intense” Single Malt Scotch from Highland Park that boasts a “drier and smokier profile and a higher ABV than VALKYRIE.”  A maturation period predominantly spent in American sherry seasoned oak casks provides VALKNUT with a “a slightly higher phenolic level compared to VALKYRIE” while a “small amount of Orkney ­grown tartan barley . . . adds to its smokier edge and lingering sweet, spicy finish.”

VALKNUT is rolling out in the U.S. now and will be available as long as supplies last.  You can expect to find this Limited Release offering available in 750ml bottles (suggested retail price of $80 each) at ReserveBar.com, Caskers.com and at select retailers located throughout the U.S.  Prost!

Vital Information for VALKNUT from Highland Park Distillery

Release – Limited, September 2018
Style – Single Malt Scotch Whisky
ABV – 46.8%
Treatment – Aged predominantly in American sherry seasoned oak casks
Natural Cask-Driven Color (no additives) – Light & golden
Nose – Toasted vanilla pods, cracked black pepper, oak shavings, cloves, anise, aromatic smoke
Palate – Sweet, aromatic cloves join forces with tangy hints of anise
Finish – Intensely balanced and bold; leaves a lingering memory of aromatic peat smoke & sweet spices
Fun Fact – On the story of the Valknut: “Viking sagas tell of the Valkyries, the fierce angels of Norse mythology who combed the battlefields for the bravest fallen warriors. Vikings who met an honorable death were marked out by the symbol of the Valknut and spirited away by the Valkyries to Valhalla to join Odin’s mighty army and prepare for Ragnarok, the battle of the end of the world.”
Availability – 750ml bottles

Spoetzl Brewery & Balcones Distilling Team Up to Release Limited-Edition Spoetzl Märzen

SpoetzlMarzen2cropSpoetzl Brewery (Shiner, Texas) has announced that it will officially begin the Limited Release of Spoetzl Märzen, a barrel-aged collaboration with Balcones Distilling (Waco, Texas), in October 2018.

Created as a joint effort from “two Texas icons who share a passion for supreme craftsmanship and appreciation for things done well”, Spoetzl Märzen is a massive Märzen-style Lager brewed with imported Munich malts, “hopped with prized Hallertau and Hersbrucker varietals and krausened twice to round out the lightly toasted, spicy malt flavors.”  Once the brewing process was completed, the beer was then sent to mature in “barrels that formerly housed the award-winning single malt whisky” from Balcones Distilling.  Well-aged and fully-matured, the “labor of love” that is Spoetzl Märzen (11% ABV and 32 IBUs) has emerged from its rest as a “coppery-orange hued, hop-forward brew [that has] notes of caramel and oak from the whisky-imbued barrels offering a smooth, lingering finish that adds depth and character.”

“For 109 years, Spoetzl Brewery has delivered best in class craft beer. We are excited to get back to our roots with the second release of our small batch brewing program. Barrel-aging is wildly popular from beer to coffee, not to mention the original way to make a Märzen-style lager. For this reason, it was great to work with our friends over at Balcones Distilling, the most awarded Texas whisky, as the tannins from whisky-soaked barrels naturally increase the clarity of the beer while also imparting a unique roundness and incredible color to the beer.”

 

– Tom Fiorenzi, Director of Brewing at Spoetzl Brewery

Spoetzl Märzen will officially release on October 1 and will be available as long as supplies last.  You can expect to find this Limited-Edition beer available in 750ml bottles (suggested retail price of $14.99 each) at select specialty beer retailers located throughout the state of Texas.  Prost!

Vital Information for Spoetzl Märzen from Spoetzl Brewery and Balcones Distilling 

Release – Limited, October 2018
Style – Märzen
ABV – 11%
IBUs – 32
Featured Malts – Munich
Featured Hops –  Hallertau & Hersbrucker
Treatment – Aged in Balcones Distilling “1” Texas Single Malt Whisky barrels 
Availability – 750ml bottles
Distribution – Texas only