Woodford Reserve and Esquire Crown “Master of the Manhattan”

New York, NY – After searching the country for the nation’s ultimate well-crafted Manhattans, Woodford Reserve bourbon and Esquire magazine have crowned Marcelo Nascimento from Austin, Texas and his “Voodoo Manhattan” as the “Master of the Manhattan” for 2011.

Nascimento’s cocktail was reviewed by a distinguished panel of experts along with the 10 other bartenders creations from across the country. Nascimento and the other participant’s cocktails were critiqued on creativity, ingredients, presentation and taste. The judges included Woodford Reserve Master Distiller Chris Morris, spirits journalist Paul Pacult, Whiskycast creator Mark Gillespie, and Douglass Miller from the Culinary Institute of America. The judging took place at The Manhattan Experience at Top of the Standard in New York City on Monday, January 10.

“There was some stiff competition from the other bartenders and I didn’t expect to win, but the judges told me they thought my drink really stood out,” said Nascimento.  “The whole time in New York was exceptional and I want to thank Woodford Reserve and Esquire for an amazing experience.”

The Voodoo Manhattan along with the other 10 recipes will be featured in a Woodford Reserve advertisement in the February edition of Esquire. The Voodoo Manhattan recipe is as follows:

Voodoo Manhattan crafted by Marcelo Nascimento

2½ oz. Woodford Reserve®

½ oz. Amaro Averna

½ oz. Clément Créole Shrubb

½ bar spoon of Pink peppercorns

Garnish with skewered blood orange supremes and inflamed orange peel

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Bill Samuels, Jr. Stepping Down as Pres. of Maker’s Mark

Loretto, KY (January 12, 2011) – In April of this year, Bill Samuels, Jr., will retire as President of Maker’s Mark®,the world’s oldest operating bourbon distillery and a National Historic Landmark, and transition into the new role of Chairman Emeritus for the iconic global brand. His son, Rob Samuels, who was appointed Chief Operating Officer in October 2010, will lead the Maker’s Mark organization going forward. The announcement was made by Matthew J. Shattock, President & Chief Executive Officer of Beam Global Spirits & Wine, Inc.

“Bill Samuels reinvented the way bourbon was marketed at a time when the industry needed it most,” Shattock said. “He forever changed the bourbon industry while building Maker’s Mark into a global brand and staying true to his family’s commitment to handcraftsmanship. We’re pleased that Rob Samuels, as Maker’s Mark Chief Operating Officer, will follow in his footsteps, as Bill travels throughout the world on behalf of the brand as Chairman Emeritus.”

Bill Samuels, Jr., has been at the helm of Maker’s Mark for 35 years, and has overseen the growth of the brand from a Kentucky “cult” bourbon into a national icon that gave rise to the modern era of bourbon.  Mr. Samuels is the son of Maker’s Mark Founder, Bill Samuels, Sr., and the seventh generation to continue the family’s tradition of bourbon making first started in Kentucky by Robert Samuels in 1784.  Since taking over the business from his father in 1975, Maker’s Mark has experienced double-digit growth year-on-year, and the Maker’s Mark Distillery has become one of the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s most popular tourist destinations, attracting more than 100,000 visitors annually from the world over.

“A lot has changed in the spirits industry since we first started selling Maker’s Mark, but I’ve made sure all along that the way we craft our bourbon has remained the same as when we first started,” said Mr. Samuels.  “Our heritage and craft is what makes us unique and ensures our quality.”

Samuels continued, “Now that we’ve achieved the milestone of one million cases as a brand, it’s the perfect time to transition the day-to-day running of Maker’s Mark to Rob, who will carry on our family traditions. I look forward to taking on this new role and meeting with our brand fans in markets around the world.”

Bill Samuels, Jr., will officially step down as President and transition to Chairman Emeritus on Friday, April 15th during the Maker’s Mark Mile, a Grade-1 thoroughbred horserace held at the historic Keeneland Racetrack in Lexington, Ky., which will be the 15th and last year for the running of the race.  A private event will be held the following day at the Maker’s Mark Distillery in Loretto, Ky., for brand Ambassadors and invited guests to celebrate the retirement of the venerable bourbon baron.

Together with his father, Bill Samuels, Jr., created the premium bourbon category.  A true pioneer and innovator, Mr. Samuels has forged a rich and enduring legacy, without ever intending to do so.  From the brand’s tongue-in-cheek advertising campaigns, to the industry pioneering brand Ambassador Program and the engaging Distillery visitor experience, Mr. Samuels helped transform Maker’s Mark from a bourbon into a lifestyle.  Last summer, Mr. Samuels introduced what may well become one of his most defining contributions, Maker’s 46, the highly acclaimed first new bourbon from the Maker’s Mark Distillery in 52 years.

Growing up the son of a bourbon maker, and with Jim Beam as his godfather, everyone expected Mr. Samuels to work in the whisky industry.  Always the contrarian and, to the surprise and consternation of many friends and family, Mr. Samuels decided to pursue other interests.  He studied rocket science at the Case Institute of Technology and UC Berkley, and then went on to Vanderbilt University, where he earned a law degree before eventually deciding to join the family business and take on the marketing and promotion of what was then an emerging local “cult” bourbon.

Said Mr. Samuels, “My career has been an incredible journey and, over the last 43 years, I have always stayed true to my fundamental belief that the most successful way to build Maker’s Mark is one brand fan at a time and to let brand fans become our most influential advocates.  I have no doubt that the future of Maker’s Mark is in the best of hands with Rob at the helm as COO and that the best is yet to come as the brand’s popularity continues to swell both in the U.S. and internationally.”

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Wild Turkey Gives Us A Rooster of A Cocktail

In honor of the opening of True Grit, the all-star remake of one of the all-time greatest films, Wild Turkey has put together this Old West cocktail with all the ingredients—the gold, the grit, the sarsaparilla and the whiskey—that shaped the now-mythic American West.

So catch a matinee, come home and make yourself up a “Rooster.” What better way to follow a new classic than with another?

Check out the recipe below and give it a try. Be sure to leave a comment and let us know if it is any good!

The Rooster
1 1/2 oz Wild Turkey 101
1/2 oz cinnamon schnapps laced with gold flakes
4 oz Sarsaparilla or any root beer
Salted rim (provides the grit!)

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Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve Arriving Soon

Bourbon Buzz just received the following information from Knob Creek:

Knob Creek has big news, and we wanted our faithful Stillhouse fans to be the first to know: In just a few weeks, we’re launching Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve, the first single-barrel offering from Knob Creek®.

Knob Creek is the only bourbon that puts as much effort into our passion as you put into yours and as a result, our new Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve is a truly extraordinary bourbon. Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve has been hand selected, barrel-by-barrel to be a unique expression of Knob Creek’s rich, mature flavor. Bottled at near barrel strength of 120 proof, Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve will offer you a smooth, nuanced experience with even more of the rich wood and vanilla notes that have made Knob Creek the standout bourbon that it is.

You won’t have to wait much longer: We’ll be shipping our first batch early next year. We’ll send you more information in the weeks ahead, so stay tuned. And get ready to toast a deliciously rewarding new year!

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New Moonshine Debuts From STILLHOUSE

This Fall, craft distiller STILLHOUSE is bringing us a re-birth of a classic. Original MOONSHINE is a versatile new spirit, enjoyed neat, on the rocks, or in a variety of mixed cocktails. Original MOONSHINE is 80 proof, all-natural, and gluten-free. Original MOONSHINE is the first product launched from STILLHOUSE, a premium spirits brand based in Culpeper, VA where the product is charcoal-filtered and distilled four times in a Prohibition-era copper pot still, the same authentic process that has been passed down discreetly for hundreds of years. Created by serial entrepreneur Brad Beckerman and Adam Perry Lang, renowned celebrity chef and restaurateur. Original MOONSHINE is now available in select locations throughout New York, Los Angeles, Austin and Virginia and is coming soon to Las Vegas and Miami. It also will be available off- premise in early 2011 at select retailers.


The Taste:
It blends the recipe of centuries ago with the smooth, refined flavors that appeal to today’s palate:
  • Nose – Freshly snapped cornhusk, but only after a bare drizzle of pure water is added to open the nose.
  • Taste – Smooth, mellow and elegant. A mid warm sweetness of unrefined raw sugar, retaining the richness from freshly picked corn.
  • Finish – A pleasant and tempered clean finish, void of impurities, with a diffused and balanced lingering of warmth.
  • Versatility – the subtle, distinctive character is most noticeable when sipped just shy of neat with a slash of pure water. When wall bruised with ice, it transforms into a creamy, voluptuous, satiny texture. The mixability of this spirit is most friendly to any fruit that has medium or strong acidity, but is also well-matched with most mixers within the bartender’s repertoire.
Signature Cocktail: The Shiner
1 ½ parts Original MOONSHINE
Juice of one-half Lime
3 oz of club soda
Pour Original MOONSHINE and lime juice into an old fashioned glass over ice
cubes. Top with club soda and stir. Garnish with a slice of lime.

Continued updates on MOONSHINE will be posted at :

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Whisky Magazine Names Four Roses Whisky Distiller of the Year

LAWRENCEBURG, Ky. (October 20, 2010) – Whisky Magazine named Lawrenceburg, Ky.-based Four Roses Distillery the Whisky Distiller of the Year last week as part of the annual “Icons of Whisky – America” Awards “designed to celebrate the people and places behind the greatest whiskies in the world.”

“This is an overwhelming honor that caps off the year-long celebration of our distillery building’s 100th anniversary,” said Jim Rutledge, Four Roses Master Distiller. “We’ve worked hard to bring Four Roses premium Kentucky Bourbon back to the states.”

Once the nation’s leading Bourbon in the 1930s, 40s and 50s, Four Roses was pulled from U.S. distribution by then owner Seagram to market the brand solely overseas. Eight years ago, with distribution limited to Kentucky, Four Roses returned to the domestic market after four decades of absence.

Four Roses continues to build on the success of the, annual Limited Edition Single Barrel and Small Batch offerings – the most recent being
a small batch featuring three of Four Roses’ ten recipes – OBSV aged 15 years, OBSK aged 11 years and OESK aged 10 years.

Also gaining popularity is the private barrel selection program the distillery conducts for retailers or groups interested in purchasing a barrel, complete with a private tasting and customized bottling.

“This honor from Whisky Magazine puts everything into perspective,” added Rutledge. “We’re very appreciative and excited about the future of Four Roses.”

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Woodford Reserve Releases Limited Edition Maple Wood Finished Bourbon

November 1, 2010, Louisville, Ky. – Woodford Reserve announces the latest extension of its acclaimed Master’s Collection which will be released on November 1. Called ‘Maple Wood Finish,’ it is the fifth in the series of limited edition bottlings and continues Woodford Reserve’s tradition of crafting rare whiskeys that extend the category in bold new directions.

This whiskey is one of the most unique Master’s Collection’s to date as it is the industry’s first bourbon to be finish aged in barrels made from sugar maple wood. Barrels play a key role in producing bourbon, with approximately 70 percent of the spirit’s flavor and aroma and all of its color provided by the barrel. Woodford Reserve’s new offering features bourbon finish-aged in uniquely crafted barrels made of maple wood, something never before done in the industry.

“Sugar maple trees have a complex natural chemistry, rich in calcium, potassium and other minerals, but they are best known for their flavorful sap which contains as much as 3% sugar,” said Woodford Reserve Master Distiller Chris Morris. “Though it was thought that whiskey barrels could not be crafted from sugar maple wood, our Brown-Forman Cooperage has done just that. Of all the distillers in our industry, we are the only bourbon company that crafts its own barrels, giving us unique knowledge and control of the process. The Master’s Collection Maple Wood Finish uniquely finish-ages Woodford Reserve in a toasted, not charred, maple wood barrel, resulting in a whiskey enhanced with hints of maple, honey and cinnamon.”

Ever year, one of the five sources of flavor is changed for the Master’s Collection expressions. These five sources – grain, water, fermentation, distillation, and wood-aging – are unique to bourbon whiskey, and altering just one of them creates a totally new flavor profile.

“Bourbon must be matured in new, charred oak barrels, and in our quest to fully understand the contribution oak wood makes to bourbon, we have studied other Kentucky hardwoods as well,” said Wayne Rose, brand director for Woodford Reserve. “This has led to some exciting discoveries and innovative barrel finish concepts. One of these – Maple Wood Finish – is a first for the spirits industry and has resulted in an amazing, elegant whiskey.”

Maple Wood Finish is the fifth in the Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection series following the Four Grain, Sonoma-Cutrer Finish, Sweet Mash and Seasoned Oak offerings. Released periodically at the master distiller’s discretion, the Master’s Collection whiskeys are extremely limited in quantity and bottled only once, in a proprietary package inspired by the copper pot stills of The Woodford Reserve Distillery.

The inspiration for the Master’s Collection is rooted in the rich history and tradition of what is today known as The Woodford Reserve Distillery. In the mid-1800s distillery owner Oscar Pepper and Master Distiller James Crow studied and recommended use of key processes like sour mashing and charred barrel maturation at the historic Woodford County distillery. These practices are still maintained in the bourbon industry, and today the distillery receives more than 100,000 visitors annually and is the only one in America to use bourbon triple distilled in traditional copper pot stills.”

Woodford Reserve Maple Wood Finish will be sold in 45 U.S. markets, and a limited quantity will be available in Canada, the United Kingdom, Belgium, France, Germany, New Zealand and Australia. Each bottle is individually hand-numbered and presented at 94.4 proof. Available in major metro markets, only 1,676 cases are available with a suggested retail price of $89.99 for a 750ml bottle.

Tasting Notes for Woodford Reserve Maple Wood Finish

Color:            Golden brown.

Aroma:         Rich and sweet with hints of brown sugar glazed baked apricots, milk chocolate and fresh toasted oak.

Taste:            Warm with cinnamon spice, faint hints of maple syrup, berry fruit and a touch of nuttiness.

Finish:          Crisp with delicate maple syrup notes lingering on with a touch of warm fruit.

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Pappy Van Winkle 23 Year Old Bourbon Named “Spirit of the Year”

FRANKFORT, Franklin County, Ky (Oct. 19, 2010) – Wine and Spirits Magazine has named Pappy Van Winkle 23 Year Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey “Spirit of the Year” in its annual buying guide issue.  There are only eight spirits of the year in the issue, and Pappy Van Winkle 23 is the only bourbon.

“We are honored to receive this recognition from Wine and Spirits, one of the most respected publications in the spirits industry,” said Julian Van Winkle III. “This caps off an unbelievably successful year for the Van Winkle line as a whole, with major wins for Pappy 15 at the Los Angeles International Wine and Spirits Competition and Pappy 20 at both the International Wine and Spirits Competition and the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.”

The Wine and Spirits annual buying guide issue will be on sale at newsstands October 19th.

About Van Winkle Bourbon

The Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery has a four generation history. The Van Winkle

family’s involvement in the bourbon industry began in the late 1800s with Julian P. “Pappy” Van Winkle, Sr. He was a traveling salesman for the W.L. Weller and Sons wholesale house in Louisville. Pappy and a friend, Alex Farnsley, eventually bought the wholesale house and also partnered with Mr. A. Ph. Stitzel on the purchase of Mr. Sitzel’s distillery.  The three of them merged the two companies and became the Stitzel-Weller Distillery.

In May of 1935 at the age of 61, Pappy opened the newly completed Stitzel-Weller Distillery in South Louisville. Its prominent brands were W.L. Weller, Old Fitzgerald, Rebel Yell, and Cabin Still.  Pappy had a heavy influence on the operations there until his death at the age of 91. His son, Julian, Jr. took over operations until he was forced by stockholders to sell the distillery in 1972. The rights to all of their brands were sold to Norton Simon, Inc. Later, United Distillers, who eventually ended up with the Stitzel-Weller Distillery, sold off all of the original labels around 1999.
After selling the distillery, Julian Jr. resurrected a pre-prohibition label, the only one to which the Van Winkles kept the rights, called Old Rip Van Winkle. He used whiskey stocks from the old distillery to supply his brand. Julian Jr.’s son, Julian, III took over in 1981 when Julian, Jr. passed away. Julian III has continued with the Van Winkle tradition of producing high-quality wheated bourbon. His son, Preston, joined the company in 2001 and the Van Winkles look to continue that tradition for generations to come.
In 2002 the Van Winkles entered into a joint venture with Buffalo Trace Distillery in Franklin County, Frankfort, Ky. All of the Van Winkle’s whiskey production now takes place at Buffalo Trace Distillery under the same strict guidelines the family has always followed. For more information on the Van Winkle family of bourbon please visit www.oldripvanwinkle.com.

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