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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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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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Buffalo Trace Wins 3 Awards From Whisky Magazine

FRANKFORT, Franklin County, Ky (April 3, 2012) – Buffalo Trace Distillery garnered high honors during the Whisky Magazine Icons of Whisky Hall of Fame Awards ceremony held March 22, 2012 at the Waldorf Hilton in London, England.  Most special was the Lifetime Achievement Award and Hall of Fame induction given to Master Distiller Emeritus Elmer T. Lee.

Elmer T. Lee was born in 1919 on a tobacco farm near Peaks Mill in Franklin County, Kentucky. He graduated from Frankfort High School in 1936 and served in the U. S. Army Air Force during World War II as a radar bombardier on a B-29. After flying missions over Japan through 1945, Elmer was honorably discharged in January 1946. He returned home and studied engineering at the University of Kentucky, where he graduated with honors in 1949.

In September 1949 Elmer began working in the engineering department of the George T. Stagg (now Buffalo Trace) Distillery in Frankfort. In 1966, he was promoted to plant superintendent, responsible for all plant operations and in 1969 he became plant manager. Elmer retired in 1985, but continues to serve as ambassador for Buffalo Trace, educating others on the unique qualities of Kentucky’s bourbon whiskey.

It was in 1984 that Elmer introduced the single-barrel bourbon concept to the world with Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon, named in honor of Col. Albert B. Blanton. Elmer is known throughout the industry for his expertise and knowledge of bourbon whiskey and has received numerous awards and recognition.

In addition to Elmer’s honor, two whiskeys distilled at Buffalo Trace Distillery were also awarded “Best in the World” honors by Whisky Magazine at the Hall of Fame Awards:

  • Eagle Rare 17 Year Old Kentucky Bourbon
    • Best American Whiskey in the World
    • Best Bourbon in the World
  • Sazerac 18 Year Old Kentucky Rye Whiskey
    • Best Rye in the World

“It’s been such a pleasure and an honor to be able to learn from Elmer Lee,” said Harlen Wheatley, Buffalo Trace Distillery’s current Master Distiller.  “The knowledge he brings forth to our industry has been invaluable, and we’re happy everyone else in the world recognizes it as well.”

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2012 Four Roses LE Single Barrel Coming Soon

LAWRENCEBURG, Ky. (March 30, 2012) – This spring, Four Roses Distillery will issue the newest release in its series of limited-quantity special bottlings with the 2012 Limited Edition Single Barrel Bourbon, which will be bottled at barrel strength and encompass a spicy, full-bodied recipe.

Four Roses Master Distiller Jim Rutledge personally selected a 12-year-old bourbon that uses Four Roses’ recipe coded OESK, one of the ten uniquely handcrafted bourbon recipes produced by the Lawrenceburg, Ky.-based distillery. Among the flavor characteristics, the new bourbon exhibits an aroma of smoky oak featuring ripe red cherries, nutmeg and hints of toasted almonds. The palate offers flavors of creamy vanilla and caramel combined with layers of rich honey, cinnamon and brown sugar, finishing with soft undertones of toasted almonds.

“This year’s single barrel selection really brings out the spicy aroma and flavor that is characteristic of our OESK recipe,” said Rutledge. “When I tasted it I found cinnamon and nutmeg spices were evident, and felt it would make for a great bourbon to be enjoyed neat or on the rocks.”

Four Roses’ ten distinct recipes allow the distillery to continually offer a variety of unique, limited-edition single barrel bottlings.

A barrel strength bottling offers bourbon enthusiasts the opportunity to taste straight from the barrel, when the bourbon is uncut and non-chill filtered. At a proof range between 100.6 and 114.4, approximately 4,000 bottles of the Four Roses 2012 Limited Edition Single Barrel Bourbon are planned for distribution in mid-April to U.S. markets where the brand is currently available.

“I believe this bourbon has the potential to become a classic,” added Rutledge. “It’s a testament to the capabilities of our ten recipes, the flexibility of our distillery and all the people attached to the brand.”

 

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Blanton’s Single Barrel wins Chairman’s Trophy at 2012 Ultimate Spirits Challenge

FRANKFORT, Franklin County, Ky (March 27, 2012) – The winners from New York’s 2012 Ultimate Spirits Challenge have been announced. Buffalo Trace Distillery was honored for several of its new whiskeys, along with some classic favorites.

Judges awarded Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon the highest honor of “Chairman’s Trophy” winner among all other

Within the Canadian Whisky Category, Caribou Crossing Single Barrel Canadian Whisky was awarded the “Chairman’s Trophy.” This $50 Canadian Whisky is the first Canadian Single Barrel whiskey of its kind and has been well received by both consumers and reviewers alike since its introduction in 2010.bourbon whiskeys. Blanton’s was the first Single Barrel Bourbon Whiskey ever commercially sold back in 1984 and remains a favorite among connoisseurs.

Other highly recommended whiskeys from Buffalo Trace Distillery include:

  •  Colonel E. H. Taylor, Jr. Single Barrel Bourbon (NEW)
  •  William Larue Weller Bourbon
  •  Elmer T. Lee Single Barrel Bourbon
  •  Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve 23 Year Old Bourbon
  •  Benchmark Old No. 8 Kentucky Straight Bourbon
  •  Eagle Rare Single Barrel Bourbon
  •  George T. Stagg Bourbon
  •  Kentucky Tavern Bourbon
  •  Buffalo Trace Bourbon
  •  Sazerac Straight Rye Whiskey
  •  Royal Canadian Small Batch Canadian Whisky

“The Ultimate Spirits Challenge is a prestigious spirits tasting competition, judged by some of the industry’s best. To have only 31 Chairman’s Trophies presented total, and for us to win two of them, makes us immensely proud,” said Harlen Wheatley, Master Distiller.

Find a complete list of winners online at http://www.ultimate-beverage.com/the-results/2012-spirits-results/.

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Woodford Reserve Bourbon Releases 2012 Kentucky Derby Bottle

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Woodford Reserve, the Official Bourbon of the Kentucky Derby® is honoring the country’s favorite horse race with the release of the 2012 Kentucky Derby commemorative bottle. The limited-edition bottle features the artwork of one of America’s most recognized and beloved illustrators, Michael Schwab.

Schwab, who resides in Northern California, has a classic and timeless quality about his work. He creates iconic images that are strong and simple, yet always contemporary. Using black as the foundation for his forms, Schwab builds light and dimension into the picture plane by adding blocks or flat, bold colors. The result is an image that immediately recognized and one that codifies his work as thoughtful, lasting, and sustainable.

“The Kentucky Derby is one of the most anticipated events of the year and I wanted to communicate the excitement through this artwork and to honor ‘The Greatest Two Minutes in Sports,’” says Schwab.

On this year’s Derby bottle, Schwab features a strong and simple image of a single thoroughbred with a jockey racing towards the finish line. You can feel the power in the image indicated by the thoroughbred digging in the track, kicking up dirt as he races. The jockey is wearing brightly colored argyle silks with his tack featuring the #1 saddle cloth. A matching argyle neck band seals the top of the commemorative bottle.

“The imagery on this year’s bottle captures the essence of the Derby,” says Laura Petry, Woodford Reserve brand manager. “As the ‘Official Bourbon of the Kentucky Derby’ we are excited to unveil Schwab’s great work and commemorate this historic partnership.”

The limited edition liter-size bottle will be available in early April in 45 US states at a suggested retail price of $42.99.

Woodford Reserve also sponsors a Grade I race, the $500,000 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic, which is run on Derby Day, May 5, 2012, and has become one of thoroughbred racing’s premier turf events.

About Michael Schwab:
Born in Oklahoma, Michel Schwab now lives and works in Northern California. From his studio in Marin County, he has established a reputation as one of America’s most recognized and best-loved graphic artists.

Having attended school in Texas, New York, and California, Michael has a broad array of visual, cultural, and geographic references to which he regularly turns for ideas. His work is easily recognized by his signature use of large, flat areas of color, dramatic perspectives, and bold, graphic portraits often communicating a message of ecological and historic preservation.

Additionally, his work is in the permanent collection of the Library of Congress and the National Portrait Gallery.

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Angel’s Envy Bourbon Dinner

Master Distiller Lincoln Henderson invites bourbon enthusiasts to join him & Chef Jim Gerhardt of Limestone Restaurant (10001 Forest Green Boulevard) in Louisville on Friday, March 30th at 6:30pm for a 5-course Angel’s Envy bourbon dinner.

This event is open to the public, but space is limited. Please RSVP to Skyler Jones at Limestone Restaurant — 502.426.7477. Cost is $75 per person. The event menu is available upon request.

See below for more information about Angel’s Envy or visit www.angelsenvy.com

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2012 Commemorative Marker’s Mark Bottle Features UK Football Great Tim Couch

LEXINGTON, KY (March 20, 2012)–As Keeneland and Maker’s Mark embark on the 16th edition of its signature charitable bottle series to raise money for charity, the two are once again teaming up to honor and support their friends at UK HealthCare. This year’s bottle will celebrate UK football great Tim Couch, whose likeness will be featured on the bottle this spring. Proceeds from the bottle sales will benefit the Gill Heart Institute at UK HealthCare.

“The most important thing about this bottle is that the proceeds from it will go to help my fellow Kentuckians fight and win the battle of heart disease ¬especially in Eastern Kentucky,” Couch said. “Winning this is very near and dear to my heart and more important than any football game. My father passed away from heart disease, and everyone has a family member that this terrible disease has affected.”

Maker’s Mark will donate proceeds from the sales – estimated to be about $200,000 from 20,000 bottles sold statewide – to the Gill Heart Institute, which will utilize these funds to grow and develop high-quality clinical heart care services in rural Eastern Kentucky. The 65 health-care providers at the Gill Heart Institute saw an estimated 15,500 outpatients in 2011, including those seen in 51 monthly outreach clinics covering much of Eastern Kentucky. The Gill staff reads 25,000 images annually.

“Reaching patients in Eastern Kentucky is a critical component of the mission of UK’s Gill Heart Institute,” said UK Executive Vice President for Health Affairs Dr. Michael Karpf. “Outreach clinics help us touch patients who may not have access to the high level of care we provide. By continuing these services, we are helping to improve the lives of these individuals. We are thankful to Keeneland and Maker’s Mark for providing us with this opportunity.”
“Keeneland is a company that is a kindred spirit of Maker’s Mark - original, true to its roots and a model corporate citizen that exemplifies what Kentucky can do and is a force to be reckoned with on the world stage,” said Rob Samuels, Maker’s Mark COO. “UK Healthcare is much the same – a world-class medical facility in the heart of Kentucky, bringing leading cutting edge research in the field of medicine and bringing advanced medical treatment to all of us.”

Born in Hyden, Ky., Couch played football for the University of Kentucky where he was selected as an All-American and number one pick in the 1999 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns. During his time at UK − from 1995 to 1998 – Couch set several school records was a Heisman Trophy finalist. His career totals at Kentucky included completing 795 of 1,184 passes for 8,435 yards and 74 touchdowns. He still holds the NCAA record for completion percentage in one game and for completions per game.

Maker’s Mark will produce 20,000 numbered, limited edition bottles honoring Couch, and they should be available statewide Friday, April 6, opening day of Keeneland’s Spring 2012 meet. The bottle should retail for about $49 if retailers take their normal markup.
“We are very proud that Maker’s Mark, UK HealthCare and Keeneland have come together once again for this very worthy project,” said Keeneland President and CEO Nick Nicholson. “We congratulate Tim Couch as this year’s honoree. This initiative will be very important to people back home and many years from now, they will remember Tim Couch as not only an outstanding athlete but as a good person who works hard to make a difference in his community.”

A bottle signing, scheduled the day of the $300,000 Maker’s 46 Mile (G1) (formerly known as the Maker’s Mark Mile), will be held Friday, April 13, trackside at Keeneland, with Couch, Samuels and Nicholson. For more details about the signing, visit Keeneland.com

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