News

Blood Oath Pact No. 3 Announced

Luxco’s third release of their limited edition Blood Oath is set to be released in April.  Each year features a different blend.  Pact No. 3 is a blend of two 7-year bourbons and a 12-year bourbon.  One of the 7-year bourbons was finished in cabernet sauvignon casks from Swanson Vineyards in Napa Valley.  

“These carefully selected bourbons come together for a spicy, yet incredibly smooth flavor profile. By finishing some of the bourbon in cabernet sauvignon barrels, I was able to drive more character and depth into the bourbon,” says John Rempe, creator of Blood Oath and Director of Corporate Research and Development at Luxco. “Not only will you taste the spiciness of the rye along with the sweet notes from the wine barrels, but you’ll also taste strong caramel and chocolate overtones, giving it a velvety, well-balanced finish.”

Like previous versions, Blood Oath Pact No. 3 is bottled at 98.6 proof and retails for $99.99.  It is a one-time release of 10,000 bottles.  I enjoyed the first two release.  Read my notes for Pact No. 1and Pact No. 2.

Luxco is currently building a distillery in Bardstown. In fact, their still was installed just last week (as of the writing of this post). In the meantime, they continue to source their whiskies and are doing a fine job at picking barrels and blending whiskies.

Sneak Peek of the Sazerac House

img_0810

Earlier today, Sazerac Company offered members of the press a preview of the Sazerac House museum.  The Sazerac House is destined to be an important visitor attraction and museum in this giant cocktail city of New Orleans.  The history of the sazerac cocktail will play a large part at the museum, but expect to see other New Orleans cocktails featured. The role of New Orleans in the history of bourbon will also be a key part.

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, Sazerac Chairman Bill Goldring and Sazerac CEO Mark Brown were in attendance.

Right to left: Jeffrey Goldring, Bill Goldring, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, and Mark Brown break the ground, so to speak

Right to left: Jeffrey Goldring, Bill Goldring, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, and Mark Brown break the ground, so to speak

“We’ve long believed that New Orleans really is the birthplace of the cocktail,” said Brown.  “There would be those that would dispute it.  Fair enough, but I think we have a pretty good claim.  This is going to augment all of the hard work that Ann Tuennerman has been doing with Tales of the Cocktail, which by any standards has been remarkable.”

After a few words from everyone, Brown mentioned the company is burying a time capsule.  Inside is a bottle of Sazerac Rye, Peychaud’s bitters, a rocks glass, and a recipe for the cocktail.

A time capsule will be buried in the museum.

Sazerac Company is based here in New Orleans, though most of the action takes place at their award-winning Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, KY.  The company’s roots can be traced to the Sazerac Coffee House in the French Quarter back in the 1800s.  It is said that is where the sazerac cocktail was invented by Antoine Peychaud.  The Sazerac Company itself formed in 1850.

The location at the intersection of Canal Street and Magazine Street is near where the original Sazerac Coffee House stood, and in a prime tourist location. Sazerac projects 100,000 visitors during its first year. The Sazerac House will create 45 new jobs and is expected to open late 2018.

Brown also said, “New Orleans’ claim to fame with cocktails is definitely going to be cemented with this opportunity.”

And before you whiskey fans ask, I’m told there will be commemerative bottlings available at the museum.

Constellation Brands, Inc. Buys High West Distillery

The news came out last night – High West Distillery was picked up by Constellation Brands, Inc.  It was rumored for several days that the Utah distillery was up for sale, with other companies placing bids.  The Wall Street Journal reported the winning bid came from Constellation Brands for a staggering $160 million.  Constellation Brands says it plans to keep all High West employees on as they continue business as usual.

Constellation Brands previously owned the Barton Distillery, but sold that off to Sazerac in 2009.

Here’s the full press release:

VICTOR, N.Y., Oct. 5, 2016 — Constellation Brands, Inc. (NYSE: STZ and STZ.B), a leading beverage alcohol company, today announced an agreement to purchase Utah-based High West Distillery. The acquisition includes all of High West’s operations and its portfolio of distinctive, award-winning and high-end American straight whiskeys. With High West, which has experienced double-digit volume growth year over year for the past three years, Constellation Brands enters the dynamic and profitable high-end craft whiskey segment. The transaction is expected to close by the end of October.

David Perkins and his wife, Jane, founded High West Distillery in 2004 with a vision to make delicious whiskey that celebrates the history and heritage of America’s Old West. High West’s proprietary blend of old and young whiskeys has received positive reviews from both industry experts and consumers. With a taste of the Old West and labels to match, consumers experience stories of cowboys, campfires, prairies and Utah history in every bottle. High West is the first legal distillery in the state of Utah since 1870. As part of the agreement, High West’s employees will join the Constellation Brands family to ensure continuity in the distinctive styles of the whiskeys.

“High West’s whiskeys are high-end, distinctive and delicious – perfect for today’s knowledgeable consumer who enjoys artfully crafted whiskeys,” said Bill Newlands, president, wine and spirits division, Constellation Brands. “With the addition of High West, Constellation Brands bolsters its position in the dynamic and growing craft spirits category. We look forward to welcoming this creative and talented team to Constellation Brands as we work together to drive growth for High West and build our premium spirits portfolio with brands that consumers love.”

“Our award-winning whiskeys are artfully blended to create unique and complex flavors inspired by the Old West,” said John Esposito, chief executive officer, High West. “We craft innovative whiskey blends that reflect our sense of adventure and pioneering spirit. When it came to the next step for High West, we wanted to work with the right partner that will help us grow further while maintaining our culture and core values. With the strength of the Constellation Brands team, we will be able to reach more consumers and continue our track record of innovation.”

The High West portfolio sells approximately 70,000 cases annually. The portfolio includes four core High West Whiskey products: American Prairie Bourbon, Double Rye!, Rendezvous Rye and Campfire, the only blend of Scotch, bourbon and rye whiskeys on the market. In addition, High West Distillery produces several limited edition whiskeys.