Posted on | March 22, 2016
Written by | BevNetwork
Not only is the Irish Whiskey category showing no signs of slowing down, Pernod Ricard, proud keepers of market leader Jameson, continue to boost the Irish pedigree with new expressions.
Midleton Dair Ghaelach is the first-ever Irish Whiskey from the distillery to be finished in native Irish oak hogsheads. A selection of traditional Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey distillates, matured for between 15 and 22 years in ex-bourbon casks, were married together before being filled into the Irish hogsheads, and were then nosed and tasted each month until the whiskey showed the ideal contribution of the Irish oak, which imparts notes of vanilla, caramel and chocolate to the classically rich, spicy Single Pot Still profile. Bottled at cask strength (117 proof) without chill filtration; SRP $269.99.
Green Spot Château Léoville-Barton is the first ever Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey to be finished in Bordeaux wine casks. This whiskey is initially matured in traditional Sherry and bourbon barrels and then transferred into the ex-Bordeaux wine casks for 12 to 24 months. The year-plus spent in the Léoville-Barton casks leads the spirit to gain floral and wood characteristics on the nose and palate, which give way to a perfectly balanced, long, spicy finish. 92 proof; SRP $99.99.
Billy Melnyk spent well over a decade working with mega-brands like Bacardi and Grey Goose and noticed a hole in the wine and spirits marketplace: premium, authentic saké with Western appeal and strong brand recognition. “As saké advocates, we’ve been consuming saké for years, but it was always challenging for us as English speakers to understand the labels,” Melnyk says. “We wanted to take a modern approach to a beverage with deep tradition.”
He and co-founder Dan Rubinoff found a brewer in Japan’s Niigata Prefecture, a region famous for the purity of its water, to craft Sōtō (which means “outside”), and they enlisted the help of Zachary Gross, saké sommelier at New York’s acclaimed Shuko restaurant. A super-premium grade Junmai Daiginjo, Sōtō was designed to pair with “a wide variety of international cuisines, not only sushi,” says Rubinoff. Refreshing and bright with notes of apple, lime and cucumber and a dry finish, Sōtō is available in CA, FL, NV & NY; SRP $39.99/720ml, $19.99/300ml. sotosake.com
LIQS, the pre-mixed cocktail shot brand targeting LDA consumers both on- and off-premise, has jumped into the flavored whiskey category with a new single-serve 50ml expression. Fireshot combines cinnamon and vanilla with premium whiskey. Like the other LIQS’ low-sugar shots—Tequila Cinnamon Orange, Vodka Kamikaze, Vodka Lemon Drop, Vodka Cucumber Lime and Vodka Lychee Grapefruit—Fireshot comes in a package that can be shot, sipped or poured over ice.
“When launched, our initial focus was off-premise and for the in-home consumer,” notes LIQS founder Michael Glickman. “But having seen the success of the brand at a number of very different on-premise venues, we have begun to explore this exciting new outlet.” No doubt Fireshot (45 proof) is aiming to attract Fireball drinkers; Glickman believes Fireshot’s taste “is so perfectly balanced, no chaser is needed.” On-premise, LIQS single-serve 50ml shots sell for $6-$8. Single-flavor 3-packs retail for $6.99. Currently available in NY, NJ, FL, TX, MA, RI, CT and Canada, with expansion plans for 2016. LIQSshot.com