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The Find: March 2014

Posted on  | March 13, 2014   Bookmark and Share
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Among the many revealing stats in DISCUS’s review of the 2013 spirits market, this one stood out: flavored whiskies accounted for 45% of whiskey volume growth. So, as fast as whiskey overall is growing, nearly half of that is being driven by flavors. Cinnamon and honey are now tried and true members of the extended whiskey family; yet to be seen are the limits of infusing brown goods, as opposed to vodka, which by its nature is more of a flavor-ready canvas. With growth among flavored vodkas slowing, the next few months may indicate which way the flavor arrow is pointing. To wit, consider:

Scotch has stayed on the flavor sidelines, but as reported in this issue, Irish whiskies are in play, extending from Bushmill’s Honey into bolder iterations from Paddy’s and Kennedy.

Up north, maple is turning into the go-to flavor. Sidney Frank is now bringing in Sortilège, a maple-infused, 60-proof combination of rye whiskey and pure maple syrup. Maple is one of the hottest flavors in the food sector today; its appearance in brown spirits seems natural. Other Canadian maple-tinged whiskies include Tap 357, Collingwood and Crown Royal Maple Finished.

Independent Distillers USA, the folks behind the edgy Twisted Shotz, have been pushing the bourbon envelope with their Woodstock brand. After testing the conventional flavors with Hot Licks and Killer Bee (both launched in 2012), Woodstock has added a chocolate-flavored bourbon called After Dark and a vanilla one, dubbed Vanzilla. The idea is to present them as “serious bourbons—with a bit of a devilish grin.” Whimsical label copy carries through on that attitude; all four Woodstock bourbons are 70 proof, with SRP $16.99. independentdistillersusa.com



Elsewhere in America, Bird Dog is well established in the flavored whiskey arena with its Blackberry Bourbon, released in 2009; the brand recently added peach, hot cinnamon and maple, line-priced at $19.99 SRP.

Chicken Cock Whiskey, a resurrected brand that gained notoriety in the 1920s as a bootleg product, is saddling up with country music star Colt Ford for concerts, promotions and social media, hoping his good ole Southern appeal will cast a halo on the irreverent brand’s Cinnamon, Southern Spiced and Root Beer whiskies; SRP $19.99.





And speaking of natural, it’s hard to argue with the simpatico partnership of coconut and rum. But Malibu’s latest innovation—Malibu Rum Sparkler—has bubbles that set it apart, plus a wild card in the mix: coconut water, which has exploded in food products of late based on health factors. The new Malibu sparklers come in two flavors, peach and coconut; at only 11% ABV (22 proof) and $16.99/750ml SRP, the new sparklers are ready to please crowds come summertime. maliburumdrinks.com


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