Archive for May, 2012

Heaven Hill to Introduce Elijah Craig 20 YO Single Barrel

BARDSTOWN, KY—Heaven Hill Distilleries, Inc., the country’s largest independent family-owned and operated spirits producer and marketer, announces a new limited edition release of Elijah Craig 20-Year-Old Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. Heaven Hill, who holds the world’s second largest inventory of Bourbon and the most “extra-aged” barrels in its rickhouses, will be offering the new 20-Year-Old bottling of Elijah Craig Single Barrel in limited quantities to selected markets across the country on a one-time basis. The new bottling will retail for approximately $130 for the 750ml size, but less than 80 specially selected barrels will be dumped, yielding fewer than 1,300 bottles.

Last fall, a special one barrel bottling of the Elijah Craig 20-Year-Old Single Barrel done by Heaven Hill to mark the 20th anniversary of the Kentucky Bourbon Festival was named “American Whiskey of the Year” by Whisky Advocate Magazine. Editor and Publisher John Hansell, in bestowing the honor, called the award winner “seamless, richly textured, and impeccably balanced.”

In order to manage stock levels in the warehouses, Heaven Hill has temporarily suspended bottling of the 18-Year-Old Elijah Craig Single Barrel that it has offered for a number of years, but plans to augment the Elijah Craig line with future extra-aged single barrel limited editions.

“With literally thousands of aging barrels over 10 years old, we have a huge and one-of-a-kind resource to tap into,” noted Heaven Hill’s 7th generation Master Distiller Craig Beam. “We’ve carefully identified several hundred that are at middle to high storage in our best rickhouses, and these will be the source for these very special future Elijah Craig Single Barrel editions. These are some of the best older barrels of traditional rye-based Bourbon we have in our inventory.”

The first 20-Year-Old Single Barrel release, which will start to appear on shelves in major metro markets in 36 states in late May or early June, will be packaged in the traditional Elijah Craig Single Barrel bottle, but with a brown face label which carries the 20-Year-Old age statement. The new 20-Year-Old version will continue to be bottled at a robust 90 proof, or 45% alcohol/volume.

Aside from the recent honor from Whisky Advocate for the special 2011 release of the 20-Year-Old, Elijah Craig 18-Year-Old Single Barrel has in the past won Double Gold Medal/Best Bourbon from the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, “Top 50 Spirits” from Wine Enthusiast magazine, and a Gold Medal at the International Spirits Challenge.

“We are tremendously excited to introduce this special edition Elijah Craig 20 Year-Old into a broader market, albeit still in very limited quantities,” stated Heaven Hill Whiskey Portfolio Brand Manager Susan Wahl. “This release, and subsequent releases, will take the consumer on a tasting journey of discovery that will motivate them to move up the brand offerings, from the more widely available 12-Year-Old Elijah Craig Small Batch on through these more aged, rarer bottlings.”

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Maker’s Mark’s “Perfect Mint Julep”

It’s time to press your seersucker suit and unpack your fanciest hat because racing around the corner comes the most exciting two minutes in sports, the Kentucky Derby! More than just a sporting event, Derby is as much about fashion and sipping mint juleps as it is horse racing. So, what exactly is a mint julep? It sounds simple – ice, bourbon, sugar and mint – but the truth is there’s a lot of prep that goes into making this iconic drink correctly.

Maker’s Mark is one of Kentucky’s finest bourbons, handcrafted at the oldest operating bourbon distillery in the world. Rob Samuels, eighth generation distiller and grandson of Maker’s Mark Founder Bill Samuels Sr., has happily offered up his family’s personal recipe for The Perfect Mint Julep

“The Perfect Mint Julep”

(Serves 14-16)

 

Ingredients:

1 liter Maker’s Mark® Bourbon

Lots of fresh spearmint

Distilled water

Granulated sugar

Powdered sugar

 

  1. To prepare the mint extract, remove about 40 small mint leaves – wash and place in a small mixing bowl.  Cover with 3 ounces of Maker’s Mark.  Allow the leaves to soak for 15 minutes.  Then, gather the leaves in a clean, soap-free piece of cotton cloth and vigorously wring the mint bundle over the bowl of whisky.  Dip the bundle again and repeat the process several times.  Then set aside.

 

  1. To prepare the simple syrup, mix 1 cup of granulated sugar and one cup of water in a cooking pot.  Heat to dissolve the sugar.  Stir constantly so the sugar does not burn.  Set aside to cool.

 

  1. To prepare the mint julep mixture, pour 3 ½ cups of Maker’s Mark into a large glass bowl or glass pitcher.  (Pour the remaining whisky from the liter bottle into another container and save it for another purpose).  Add 1 cup of the simple syrup to the Maker’s Mark.

 

  1. Now, begin adding the mint extract a tablespoon at a time to the julep mixture.  Each batch of mint extract is different, so you must taste and smell after each tablespoon is added.  You may have to leave the room a time or two to clear your nose.  The tendency is to use too much mint.  You are looking for a soft mint aroma and taste – generally about 3 tablespoons.

 

  1. When you think its right, pour the whole mixture back into the empty liter bottle and refrigerate it for at least 24 hours to “marry” the flavors.

 

  1. To serve the mint julep, fill each glass (preferably a silver mint julep cup) half full with shaved ice.  Insert a sprig of mint and then pack in more ice to about an inch over the top of the cup.  Then, insert a straw that has been cut to one inch above the top of the cup so the nose is forced close to the mint when sipping the julep.

 

  1. When frost forms on the cup, pour the refrigerated julep mixture over the ice, add a sprinkle of powdered sugar to the top of the ice and serve.

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Buffalo Trace Releases Fifth Round of Single Oak Project Bourbon

FRANKFORT, Franklin County, Ky (May 1, 2012) – One year ago Buffalo Trace Distillery unveiled its Single Oak Project and its quest for the perfect bourbon. Now as the fifth round of Single Oak Project Bourbons are released, there has been much excitement and many reviews, but still many questions to be answered.

The fifth round of experiments will focus on three variables, the recipe, rye vs. wheat; the entry proof, 105 vs. 125 proof; and wood grain size, tight, average, or coarse. All of the other variables such as barrel stave seasoning, aging warehouse, char level, and tree cut (top or bottom) remain constant.

As with the other four releases, Buffalo Trace hopes whiskey enthusiasts can continue to rate each whiskey they taste online at www.singleoakproject.com. To date, more than 1700 accounts have been created online, and nearly 1,550 reviews have been given on the four various releases so far.

The whiskey reviews have been tallied and the leading barrel after one year is…. a three way tie!! Barrels #10, 106 and 184 are all tied for first place. With all three of those barrels having different variables, it seems the only thing the three have in common is that the oak was harvested from bottom half of the tree! The other six variables of the leading barrels vary.

“Quite a mixed bag so far,” said Kris Comstock, bourbon brand manager. “It seems the only thing people can agree on so far is that they like bourbon aged in barrels made from the bottom portion of oak trees, opposed to the top half. Good thing we have 3 more years, 144 more barrels, and thousands more reviews to come!”

After a consumer reviews a bottle online, they will be availed of all the aging details and provenance of the barrel. They can interact with others who’ve also reviewed the barrel, compare their reviews, and even learn for themselves which characteristics they enjoy most, in order to help them select future favorites. Participants online will earn points after each review and most importantly, help Buffalo Trace Distillery create the perfect bourbon!

The Single Oak Project is part of an intensive research project Buffalo Trace Distillery started conducting in 1999 by hand picking 96 trees with different wood grains and then dividing them into a top and bottom piece, yielding 192 unique sections. From there, staves were created from each section and were air dried for either 6 months or 12 months. After all the staves were air dried, a single barrel was created from each tree section, resulting in 192 total barrels. These barrels were given either a number three or a number four char and then filled with either wheat or rye recipe bourbon.

To further the variety of experiments, the barrels were filled at two different proofs, 105 and 125 proof. And if this wasn’t enough, two completely different warehouses were used, one with wooden floors and one with concrete floors. In total, seven different variables were employed in Buffalo Trace’s ultimate experiment.

For eight years the Distillery continued with its tracking process, creating intricate databases and coming up with a potential of 1,396 tasting combinations from these 192 barrels!

The Single Oak Project Bourbon is being released in a series every three months from 2011 through 2015 until all of the 192 barrels have been released. The first releases hit select stores in 2011. This fifth release will reach stores towards the end of May. Like all the other releases, the quantities are very limited. Every case will contain 12 bottles, each from a different barrel. The fifth release is made up of barrel numbers 1, 17, 33, 49, 65, 81, 97, 113, 129, 145, 161, 177. All releases will be packaged in a 375ml bottle. Suggested retail pricing per bottle is $46.35.

At the conclusion of the Single Oak Project, the Distillery plans to take the top rated barrel based on online consumer feedback, make more of that product and launch it under the Single Oak Project nameplate

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