New Release - Wine & Spirits Magazine

New Release

            Doce Trecenas     $60.00     Doce Trecenas Mezcal
This mezcal carries the perfect balance of smoke and sweetness. Made with 100 percent hand-harvested Capón Espadín agave, the flavor from the smoked piñas carries the spirit without any additives. Full bodied, rich and energetic, it’s full of pineapple, coconut and caramel flavors. Bright, savory and packed with flavor, this is practically a cocktail on its own—though, it would also be great in a smokey margarita.  Doce Mezcal Inc., Manhasset, NY

            Cincoro     $80.00     Cincoro Blanco Tequila
Cincoro refers to the five former NBA colleagues who created the brand—Michael Jordan, Wes Edens, Jeanie Buss, Emilia Fazzalari and Wye Grousbeck. It’s a celebrity brand that lives up to the hype. Made from 100 percent Blue Agave, this blanco Tequila is fresh, bright and clean. Full of sweet agave, prickly pear and orange oil flavors, it carries an undertone of jalapeño before finishing with a touch of vanilla. It’s effortlessly smooth—easy to sip straight with a squeeze of lime. The bottle, clear glass shaped to replicate one long agave leaf, will also look beautiful on your home bar. Cinco Spirits Group, Miami, FL

            Crystal Head     $48.00     Crystal Head Vodka
This clean, approachable vodka is distilled four times in Newfoundland, Canada from local Canadian corn, then blended with water from a nearby glacial source. It is filtered seven times, including three times through quartz crystals known as Herkimer diamonds. Whether that scientifically improves the vodka is hard to verify but, regardless, it is incredibly smooth, full of wet-stone minerality and the illusion of fresh mountain air. Oh, and the bottle is shaped like a skull, sure to be a conversation starter. Infinium Spirits Inc., San Diego, CA

            Citadelle Gin     $40.00     Citadelle Gin Vive le Cornichon
This is a limited release from Citadelle Gin’s owner and Master Blender Alexandre Gabriel in collaboration with Maison Marc, the French cornichon company, whose cornichons are one of the flavors infused into this gin. The flavors are subtle and savory, ranging from fresh juniper berries to fennel and salty dill while the body remains silky and lifted. Perfect in a gin martini straight up or dirty, garnished with olives or cornichons. Maison Ferrand USA, Quincy, MA

            Gin Mare     $40.00     Gin Mare Mediterranean Gin
From the small fishing village of Vilanova i la Geltrú in Catalonia, Spain, this Mediterranean gin leads with a salty spritz, reminiscent of ocean air. Distilled from local Arbequina olives, thyme, rosemary and basil, it is a fresh and savory gin that captures the feeling of springtime on the Mediterranean coast. It has a brisk energy and delicate mouthfeel, complimented by refreshing cucumber and lemongrass flavors. Serve with tonic and garnish with a green olive and basil leaf for a fresh spring sipper. St. Killian Importing Co. Everett, MA

            Browne     $45.00     Browne Northwest Botanical Gin
This floral gin uses local Washington grains and botanicals to build its lively lavender, lilac and elderberry scents. That floral character continues on the palate along with fresh Kaffir lime and lemon. The body is lushly viscous; it’s best served shaken with ice in a cocktail, like a Gin and Tonic or cucumber lavender spritz. Browne Family Spirits, Spokane, WA

            Harmony     $44.00     Harmony Gin
Fresh juniper, pine needle and coriander scents bound from the glass. This gin, which has Woody Harrelson as a backer, is distilled with botanicals including artichoke, green tea, elderberries, muscadine grapes and orris root to create an amber colored spirit that packs a punch. CanTiki’s Amanda Sasser said that its gritty texture and strong herbal notes reminded her of Old Navy gin Origen Holistic Spirits, Petaluma, CA

            PaQuí     $56.00     PaQuí Silvera Tequila
John Chappell works with Master Distiller Gilberto Jasso to produce PaQuí. This is made from Blue Weber Agave aged seven to ten years, picked at a sugar level of 25-26 brix for richness of flavor. The Silvera has a lovely nose full of prickly pear and grapefruit scents and a touch of smoke. These flavors mingle on the palate, mixed with pineapple in a grassy finish. PaQuí Silvera, New York, NY
            Chivas Regal     $50.00     Chivas Regal Chivas XV
This is a delicate, smooth blend of 15-year-old whiskies finished in French oak casks, with a small portion also finished in Cognac barrels. It has pretty scents of poached pear, quince and almond skin, revealing complex layers of ginger, white peach and praline on the long finish. It is both savory and bright, lifted in its energy with a kiss of smoky peat. This was a spirit that kept our panelists talking, as they found notes of stewed apple, honey and cinnamon to add to its list of attributes. Chivas Bros. Import Co., New York, NY

            Bib & Tucker     $55.00     Bib & Tucker 6-Year-Old Small Batch Bourbon
You could find pleasure in the scent of this Bourbon alone—an intense aroma full of pralines and cream, brown sugar and fresh peaches. That decadent scent developed over the course of six years in new American white oak barrels, even as this whiskey remains energetic and taut. It’s fruity and fresh with lemon, Bing cherry, pineapple and banana flavors. Jessie Sander from*Vintage Wine + Eats called it a “Hawaiian vacation,” loving its “mix of coconut and vanilla with tropical fruit flavors and just a touch of rye spice.” This is practically an Old Fashioned without the mixers. Bib & Tucker, Columbia, TN

            Hennessy     $1500.00     Hennessy Paradis Rare Cognac
Hennessy Paradis is a blend of more than 100 eaux de vie ranging from 25 to 100 years in age—creator Maurice Fillioux likes to compare the blend to individual instruments that together create a symphony. This rare blend is aged in old barrels, letting the scents of apricot, praline and jasmine sing on their own. From the first sip it’s intensely alive, as bright lemon and tangerine emerge from the wood-aged notes of hazelnut and cinnamon. Its silky texture sets this Cognac apart, giving a sensation of sprightly energy. If the 750ml bottle price seems daunting, Hennessy also offers 50 ml bottles for $110. Moët Hennessy USA, Inc, New York, NY

            Bib & Tucker     $55.00     Bib & Tucker Double Char Bourbon
This double-char whiskey is first aged for six years in new American white oak, followed by five months or more in a second, new, heavily charred and smoked barrel. All that new oak aging creates a Bourbon with a savory, smokey finish that lingers. It has flavors of black-cherry cola and cinnamon stick, then lasts with the earthy scent of the forest floor after a rain. It’s a well-balanced whiskey melding cereal components with fruit and spice. This is one to sip slowly and savor. Bib & Tucker, Columbia, TN

            Chicken Cock     $200.00     Chicken Cock Red Stave
This is a wine lover’s Bourbon—a Kentucky Bourbon finished in petite sirah barrels from California’s J. Wilkes winery. Lovely fruit scents of dried cranberry and cherry blend beautifully with caramel, vanilla and savory pink peppercorn. This is a luscious Bourbon that rolls through the mouth and coats the tongue, finishing with red fruit and a pop of brightness that brings cleans up the richness.  Chicken Cock Whiskey, Charleston, SC

            Barrell     $60.00     Barrell Foundation Bourbon
Barrell has produced only cask strength whiskeys…until now. The Foundation blend clocks in at 100 proof instead of Barrell’s usual 115, making it approachable for whiskey drinkers at all levels. It’s a blend of whiskeys ranging from five to nine years of age from Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee and Maryland. This has classic Bourbon flavors of orange peel and cherries integrated into pecan and toffee notes. The long finish makes your mouth water with a pleasant touch of salinity in the end. Barrell Craft Spirits, Louisville, KY

            Broken Barrel     $80.00     Broken Barrel Honey Smoke: Reserva
Broken Barrel founder Seth Benhaim believes that using just one kind of barrel of aging whiskey is a missed flavor opportunity. So, he ages this whiskey for six years in oak, then transfers it to steel tanks where he steeps the spirits with broken barrel staves for five months. Half of those staves were once honey barrels and half were sotol barrels. This doesn’t taste like a syrupy sweet, honey-infused spirit. Rather, honey softly seasons it, as does the sotol, distilled from a plant native to southwestern Arizona and Chihuahua, Mexico, that adds green herbal notes. The result is a tasty balance of earth, sweetness and spice. Broken Barrel Whiskey Co., Owensboro, KY

            Cincoro     $100.00     Cincoro Reposado Tequila
This reposado balances fresh, roasted agave fruit flavors and vanilla oak spice, having rested eight to ten months in oak barrels. Its lush body is lifted and energetic, and the finish lingers with crème brûlée and baking-spice flavors. Vintage Wine + Eats’ Rebecca Phillips loved that it maintained racy acidity throughout its richness of flavor, remarking that it had “Madeira vibes.” Cinco Spirits Group, Miami, FL

            Cincoro     $140.00     Cincoro Añejo Tequila
This añejo is aged for 24 to 28 months in oak in the distillery’s underground cellar, resulting in a complex, rich tequila full of caramel, cocoa and malt tones. Juicy orange, ginger peel and white pepper scents add pops of spice and dimension, balancing the full body. Tasters appreciated that they could still taste the agave through the oak aging as well as how it lasted through a smooth finish.  Cinco Spirits Group, Miami, FL

            Shelter Distilling     $70.00     Shelter Distilling Single Barrel Blue Corn Bourbon
This whiskey, from Mammoth Lakes in California, is made from a mash of heirloom California blue corn and Colorado malted barley and later distilled with Sierra Nevada water. Sweet scents of vanilla and oak spice jump from the glass, even as this whiskey’s flavors of red cherry, red apple skin and plum blossom are nicely integrated to brighten up that spice. Great for an Old Fashioned. Shelter Distilling, Mammoth Lakes, CA

            Divine Distillers     $65.00     Divine Distillers Pinot Noir Paradiso
The distillery, based in Independence, Oregon, makes their brandy from Willamette Valley pinot noir grapes. It leads with cherry, cranberry and floral scents. There’s some sweetness on the palate mingled with caramel and nutmeg spice from aging two years in used pinot noir barrels. Vintage Wine + Eats’ Jessie Sander found it “versatile, fruity and young,” enjoying its flavors of prunes, toffee and gingerbread. Divine Distillers, Independence, OR
            Mozart     $30.00     Mozart Chocolate White Cream Liqueur
This cream liqueur from Austria was a standout, breaking from our panelist expectations of a cream liqueur. The creamy white chocolate flavors and silky, lactic mouthfeel brought a sensual experience that didn’t overwhelm our tasters with sweetness. CanTiki’s Amanda Sasser said, “It doesn’t taste artificial at all—it tastes like melted white chocolate!” Deliciously understated, this would be great in hot chocolate or in a white chocolate Martini. Better yet, muddle strawberries with it for a pink Valentine’s Day treat. Marussia Beverages USA, Ceder Knolls, NJ

            Select     $25.00     Select Apertif Liqueur
Select Apertivo claims to be theoriginal Venetian spritz inspiration, longbefore Aperol flooded the market. Created in 1920 in the Castello district of Venice at Pilla Distilleries, Select is made with a blend of botanicals including juniper berries and rhubarb. It inhabits a middle ground between sweet and fruity Aperol and intensely bitter Campari. It contains both sweet red cherry, lemon and apple flavors and savory ginger and almond skin, with a medium bitter finish. It’s a standout in a spritz—make sure to garnish it with a green olive in true Venetian fashion. Total Beverage Solutions, Mt. Pleasant, SC

            Chinola     $33.00     Chinola Passion Fruit Liqueur
Bursting with passion fruit, mango and apricot scents, this liqueur, with its bright golden-orange color, captures the feel of a summer beach day. Made from passion fruit grown in the Dominican Republic (where the fruit is called chinola), this is a sweet liqueur that manages to maintain lift and energy despite its viscous body. It would be killer mixed into a Margarita, Piña Colada or Mojito. Park Street Imports, Miami, FL
            Berczy     $11/4 cans     Berczy Peach & Raspberry Hard Seltzer
Berczy originated in London, where it first offered vodka and fresh fruit juices in a ready-to-drink cocktail at the low ABV of 4 percent for 12 ounce cans. Unlike a lot of other seltzers on the market, this isn’t sweet. It’s as fresh and drinkable as your favorite LaCroix. There’s nothing artificial about the taste of the fruit—whether you go for the peach and raspberry, passionfruit and turmeric, or lemon and lime flavors. A thirst-quenching option for any backyard gathering, “It’s the best hard seltzer I’ve ever tried,” said Vintage Wine + Eats’ Rebecca Phillips. Berczy Distilling Company, Utica, NY

            Passion Tree     $12/6 cans     Passion Tree Hard Seltzer
This hard seltzer from California comes in 7.5 fluid-ounce cans at an ABV of 5.5 percent. The minis come in dragon fruit, guava, boysenberry, coconut and litchi, packed with flavor while remaining dry and refreshing. Our tasting panels favored the dragon fruit and guava, finding the fruit well-balanced and tasty. Passion Tree Co., San Marcos, CA

            Beatbox     $4/500ml box     Beatbox Pink Lemonade
This tastes exactly as described, like a spiked pink lemonade for adults. The ABV, at eleven percent, is a little higher than some of the other canned cocktails we tasted, but the flavors remain balanced. The pink lemonade isn’t overly sweet and would be great over ice on a hot summer day. Beatbox Beverages LLC, Austin, TX

Based in Los Angeles, California, Alissa Bica is the Associate Editor and Spirits Critic at Wine & Spirits. She is also a sommelier at 71 Above and co-runs the home wine tasting company, Côte Brune and Blonde. In any rare moments of free time, she writes about obscure grape varieties in the blog Off the Beaten Wine Path.

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