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Crown Royal Noble Collection French Oak Cask Finished

Crown Royal Noble Collection French Oak Cask Finished

Do you love drinking Crown Royal? If you do, I have some great news. A new member has joined the family – Crown Royal Noble Collection French Oak Cask Finished.

The Noble Collection

What’s so special about The Noble Collection? These whiskies award-winning  and only released annually. Now in its fourth year, each release highlights the artistry and skill of the Crown Royal Master Distillers and Blenders. The Crown Royal brand continues to push the boundaries of innovation with different flavor offerings and finishing techniques.

Crown Royal Noble Collection French Oak Cask Finished

Crown Royal Noble Collection French Oak Cask Finished is the fourth release in Crown Royal’s award-winning Noble Collection. This limited-edition liquid combines the smoothness of the Deluxe with rich dark notes of caramel, vanilla and fruit and with a body and structure that can only be achieved through French Oak. Sip neat or on the rocks and experience the captivating character that only French oak can deliver!

Famed French Oak

The famed French oak used in Noble Collection French Oak Cask Finished is sourced from the renowned Vosges region in France. Known for its meticulously manicured forests and ideal climate, the Vosges region leads to the growth of the tightest grain to help impart subtle flavors and aromas of vanilla and baking spices into the whisky.

The new French oak barrels are seasoned for two years, which sets the stage for the final two-step fire toasting.  Crown Royal Fine De Luxe gains rich dark notes of caramel, vanilla and fruit thanks to the French oak. I really picked up all this oak and finish here, and it made a huge difference in the experience.

The Final Details

Crown Royal Noble Collection French Oak Cask Finished is packaged in a really cool looking, ultra deep purple bottle with a crystal-cut style base, a resealable cork top. This is all encased in the brand’s iconic purple bag with gold accents. This makes the whisky the perfect gift to commemorate special occasions and holidays.

The Noble Collection French Oak Cask Finished is 80 proof, 40% Alc/Vol and will be available in limited quantities nationwide at the suggested retail price of $59.99 for a 750 mL bottle and is now available in select markets nationwide.

Crown-Royal-Noble-Collection

Enjoying Crown Royal

Enjoy the classic taste of Crown Royal on the rocks, neat, or in a cocktail, but please enjoy responsibly. Guy and the Blog LLC was provided a sample for the purpose of this review and all opinions expressed are my own.

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Thirsty Thursday: Speyburn 10 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky For Father’s Day

Speyburn 10 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whiskey 2

I’m not a huge whiskey drinker, if I’m being honest, but I’ve dabbled with a dram or two in my time and I do enjoy it. I’ve had very good and very poor, and everything in between. That being said, Father’s Day is coming soon and a fine Scotch might very well be an ideal gift. Most dads I know don’t care about clothes or candy, shoes or ties. Maybe it’s time you asked…what kind of scotch drinker is dad? I think you will find a much happier father on the other end of that “happy day” wish.

If you are not 100% certain (or if he’s not either), I would start with some relatively easy. I think I would recommend some Speyburn 10 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky (SRP $29). It has some bold flavors and a long, smooth finish, yet is very easy to drink. Speyburn 10 offers a classic Speyside experience with its medium-bodied, delicate and fruity character with that hint of peat Dad loves.

Speyburn 10 Yr Old Single Malt With CAO Brazilia Cigar

I enjoyed it very much. It’s got a unique taste, clean with a little bite yet smooth. A plus for me…there’s no sweetness really. It’s a great whisky and is just as good as brands that cost 2-3 times as much. In other words, it’s a great value along with being a great Scotch. It’s a bargain for the quality of the whisky.

Speyburn 10 year old single malt is matured in a combination of American Oak ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks. Here’s some more on the Speyburn 10 Year Old:

Speyburn 10 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whiskey

Don’t be afraid to pair this beauty with a dope smoke, like this excellent CAO Brazilia. Its lustrous wrapper is perfectly aged and blended with Nicaraguan fillers, creating a full-bodied cigar with a long, luxurious finish. Nice balance, perfect pairing with your Speyburn 10 Year Old.

To find out more about all of the fine Scotch Whiskys coming from Speyburn since 1897, please check out:

Guy and the Blog received a sample of the Speyburn 10 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky for the purpose of this review. All opinions expressed, along with the cigar pairing advice, are my own.

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U.S. Keeps On Drinking…Jameson, Malibu, The Glenlivet, Champagnes All Up

While Pernod Ricard’s 8% net sales growth to €4.61 billion ($6b) in the six months through December was driven largely by an 18% surge in its emerging market business (identical to rival Diageo’s), Pernod’s U.S. net sales also enjoyed a healthy uptick, rising 5% over the period. An exclusive analysis from Impact Databank reveals that Pernod’s high-flying Jameson Irish whiskey brand, along with a revitalized Malibu rum, offset U.S. volume declines for Absolut vodka, Seagram’s gin and Chivas Regal Scotch in calendar 2011.

Jameson’s spectacular rise in the U.S. market continues to be one of the drinks industry’s top stories. The fact that the super-premium ($25) Irish whiskey actually picked up speed during the recession—more than tripling in volume since 2006 and prospering in the on-premise all through the downturn—testifies to its brand cachet among trend-setting spirits consumers.

Malibu’s renewed strength in the U.S. market is a more recent trend. Not long ago, both Malibu and Kahlúa were seen as turnaround projects for Pernod Ricard USA. Kahlúa continues to struggle, slipping below 1 million cases in 2011 for the first time in decades. But Malibu, boosted by playful new ad positioning, returned to volume growth in 2010 and then advanced by nearly 7% last year, breaking the 1.7-million-case threshold for the first time.

Pernod aims to keep Jameson and Malibu consumers engaged by innovating on each with new extensions. Jameson’s Black Barrel ($35) was introduced last fall, while Malibu Red, a rum-Tequila hybrid selling at a premium to the core brand’s $14 a bottle, is slated for an upcoming release. (Malibu Red follows two other variants including higher-alcohol Malibu Black, and a seasonal Malibu Winter offering accented by coconut flakes swirling in the liquid).

The Glenlivet—the leading single malt Scotch brand in the U.S.—continued its steady upward progress last year, rising 6.5%, but work remains to be done in the rest of Pernod’s Scotch stable. Chivas Regal had halted its long-term U.S. slide in 2010 with a modest increase, but last year it slowed again, declining by 1.3%. Chivas has lost nearly 20% of its U.S. volume since 2005. During that time period, archrival Johnnie Walker has grown by around 10% in the U.S. market.

More troubling for Pernod USA may be the halt in progress for its largest brand, Absolut. After a buoyant 2010 in which it added about 150,000 cases in U.S. sales, Absolut, under pressure from proliferating “cheap-chic” vodkas like Svedka, Pinnacle and Sobieski, surrendered 60,000 cases in 2011, with trends deteriorating over the second half of the year. Pernod Ricard CEO Pierre Pringuet said today that the group intends to turn up Absolut’s volume with a new U.S. campaign in March, as well as new extensions Absolut Grapevine and Absolut Miami. But even as the economy suggests it may begin to put some wind behind brands like Absolut, competition in the vodka category appears only to be getting stiffer.

Pernod Ricard USA – Top 10 Distilled Spirit Brands
(thousands of nine-liter cases)
Calendar Year Percent Change
Brand1 2009 2010 2011 2009-2010 2010-2011
Absolut Vodka 4,485 4,630 4,570 3.2% -1.3%
Seagram’s Gin2 2,865 2,670 2,545 -6.8% -4.7%
Malibu Rum3 1,605 1,635 1,745 1.9% 6.7%
Jameson 815 1,035 1,335 27.0% 29.0%
Kahlua Liqueur4 1,030 1,000 985 -2.9% -1.5%
Hiram Walker Cordials 920 890 885 -3.3% -0.6%
Beefeater Gin 515 510 510 -1.0% 0.0%
Chivas Regal 395 400 395 1.3% -1.3%
Fris Vodka 260 360 385 38.5% 6.9%
The Glenlivet 285 310 330 8.8% 6.5%
Total Top 10 13,175 13,440 13,685 2.0% 1.8%
1 includes flavors
2 includes Twisted
3 excludes Cocktails
4 excludes Drinks to Go and Ready to Drink

Source: IMPACT DATABANK

U.S. wine exports hit a record $1.39 billion in 2011 on an increase of 21.7%, according to the Wine Institute. Volume shipments rose 5.8% to 455.7 million liters, or 50.6 million nine-liter cases. Some 34% of U.S. wine exports by value were shipped to the 27 member countries of the European Union, accounting for $478 million in revenue, up 10% from 2010. Volume shipments to the E.U. reached 28 million cases in 2011, edging up 1.4% from the previous year. Other top markets included Canada (up 23% to $379 million), Hong Kong (up 39% to $163 million), Japan (up 39% to $105 million) and China (up 42% to $62 million).

Champagne shipments to the U.S. enjoyed double-digit growth in 2011, according to the French Federation of Wine and Spirits Exporters (FEVS). The FEVS said Champagne exports to the U.S. market rose 12.2% by volume and 18.6% by value last year. In 2010, Champagne shipments jumped 35% by volume to 1.41 million cases, according to France’s Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne (CIVC) and Impact Databank.

Source: Shanken News Daily

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Glenfiddich Cask Of Dreams, SinFire Cinnamon Whisky, Stetson Kentucky Straight Bourbon

Whisky Booze News:

William Grant & Sons USA has unveiled a new limited-edition Glenfiddich bottling, Cask of Dreams. The new offering is a marriage of Glenfiddich whiskies taken from a hand-picked selection of American oak casks holding matured whiskies of a variety of ages, with the youngest being 14 years old. The blend was then finished in 11 virgin American oak casks, which had previously been inscribed by thousands of Americans with their own personal dreams and aspirations. Selling for $99 a 750-ml., only 3,500 bottles of Cask of Dreams (48.8%-ABV) are available in the U.S.

Oregon’s Hood River Distillers, known for its Pendleton Canadian whisky, is joining the fast-rising flavored whisky category with the launch of SinFire Cinnamon Whisky. Targeting men and women 21-40, the new brand will be in national distribution next month at around $17 a bottle. That puts it roughly in line with Sazerac’s Fireball, also a cinnamon-flavored whisky, which has garnered a strong following as a shot option among the younger LDA crowd over the past year.

New Jersey-based importer and marketer Vision Wine & Spirits has added the newly launched John B. Stetson Kentucky Straight Bourbon whiskey brand to its U.S. portfolio. Best known for its long legacy of hat manufacturing, the John B. Stetson company crafts its Bourbon with Native American corn, barley, rye and wheat, distills it twice in a copper pot still and ages the liquid in new American white oak barrels for four years. Priced at $26.99 a 750-ml., John B. Stetson Kentucky Straight Bourbon is available nationally.

Source: Shanken News Daily

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Sweet Reds, New Whiskys, And Starbucks Is Going Starbooze

Sweet Red Wines

W.J. Deutsch & Sons says it will launch a new extension to its Yellow Tail wine brand, Sweet Red Roo, this March. The new addition, the 15th wine in the Yellow Tail portfolio, is a blend of Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and other red varietals. “Sweet Red Roo is the nexus of two categories on fire with consumers right now—sweet wine and red blends,” said Francois Magnant, Yellow Tail’s brand director, noting a 246% jump in sweet wines’ dollar value in 2011 according to Nielsen, and SymphonyIRI numbers showing sales of more than half a million cases of sweet reds across the U.S. market last year.  Yellow Tail remains the top-selling imported wine brand in the U.S. by a wide margin and in the top five wine brands overall at over 8.3 million cases.

New Scotch

Glenmorangie will add a new whisky, Glenmorangie Artein, to its Private Edition series beginning February 1. Artein (which is Gaelic for “stone”) is a 46%-abv blend of 15- and 21-year-old whiskies extra matured in Super Tuscan wine casks. The name refers both to the layers of limestone through which Glenmorangie’s water source, Tarlogie Spring, filters, as well as the stony soils from which Italy’s Super Tuscans are crafted. Artein ($79.99 a bottle) is the third offering in the brand’s Private Edition series. It follows Glenmorangie Sonnalta PX, extra matured in Pedro Ximenez sherry casks; and Glenmorangie Finealta, a recreation of an early recipe from the Glenmorangie archives, both of which are now sold out.

New French Whisky

Palm Bay International is introducing a new super-premium French whisky, Bastille 1789, in the U.S. market. Created by Jean-Marc Daucourt (known for creating X-Rated Fusion liqueur among others), the malt and wheat for Bastille 1789 is sourced from northeast France. The whisky is distilled in alembic pot stills and aged for five to seven years in a combination of French oak, cherry wood and acacia casks. Bastille 1789 is rolling out this month in Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C. at around $29.99 a bottle. It’s slated to hit nationwide distribution this May.

Starbucks Getting Boozey…can’t wait

Starbucks plans to expand its evening wine, beer and premium food program to locations in Atlanta, Southern California and Chicago by the end of this year. Under the concept, which began at Starbucks locations in the Pacific Northwest in 2010, the company offers local wine and beer options, as well as snacks, small plates and hot flatbreads. The concept is expected to roll out in five to seven Chicago locations and four to six locations in both Atlanta and Southern California. The company wishes to create a “warm and inviting place” for customers to come and “unwind and connect with the people they care about,” according to senior vice president of U.S. Operations Clarice Turner.

Sources: Shanken News Daily and Reuters

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Top 25 Spirits Brands Of 2011

The U.S. spirits market’s top 25 brands enjoyed solid overall growth in 2011, advancing by 2.5%—or more than 2 million cases—to 86.9 million cases, according to Impact Databank. However, that progress was almost totally driven by just two brands—Pinnacle and Svedka, which together added 1.8 million cases last year. Both Pinnacle and Svedka retail for around $13-$14 a 750-ml., putting them near the low end of imported vodka’s pricing spectrum. Low-priced domestic players Barton and Skol were also among the growth standouts in the top 25—advancing by 4% and 8%, respectively, and adding further evidence that competitively priced vodka remains the U.S. spirits market’s most dynamic segment.

Growth was sluggish for the market’s biggest brands. The top five—Smirnoff, Bacardi, Captain Morgan, Jack Daniel’s and Absolut—achieved aggregate growth of just 0.6%. Further down the list, there were some promising performances. Hennessy (+2.8%), Ketel One (+5.3%) and Malibu (+5.6%) experienced their biggest growth in at least five years. Meanwhile, Jim Beam’s 3.9% bump was its largest gain since 2000. (That growth didn’t include Beam extension Red Stag, which is estimated to have advanced by around 30% in 2011.)

While the top 25 brands comprise roughly 45% of total U.S. spirits volume, some of the best performers of 2011 didn’t crack the list. Two examples are Diageo’s Cîroc vodka and Pernod Ricard’s Jameson Irish whiskey. After doubling its sales to 685,000 cases in 2010, Cîroc is projected to have doubled again in 2011 as it surged past the million-case mark. Jameson jumped past the million-case threshold in 2010 when it advanced by 27%, and it accelerated its growth in 2011, with sales up 29% during the first half of the year. Both brands are poised to enter the top 25 rankings by year-end.

For a full report on the Top 25 Spirits Brands of 2011, see Impact’s January 1&15 issue.

Source: Shanken News Daily

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