Distiller’s Friday Roundup – May 10th, 2019

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May 10, 2019

The Kentucky Derby and Cinco de Mayo are in the rear view mirror, but the news and new releases just keep coming. First, Constellation brands acquired a majority stake in Nelson’s Green Brier of Tennessee. Diageo unveiled the latest Orphan Barrel release with Forager’s Keep 26 Year. Wild Turkey announced the newest addition to the Master’s Keep line with Cornerstone Rye. Finally, Compass Box is back with No Name 2, their follow up to Compass Box No Name. Let’s dig in.

Constellation Brands Acquires Majority Stake in Nelson’s Green Brier

Back in 2016, Constellation Brands acquired a minority stake in Tennessee-based Nelson’s Green Brier. Now, the company is taking the next step and acquiring a majority stake in the company. Known for Belle Meade Bourbon, the brand was founded by brothers Charlie and Andy Nelson in 2011. Their great-great-great grandfather, Charles Nelson, founded a distillery on the site in 1860, but was later forced to close due to Prohibition.

Constellation Brands Acquires Majority Stake in Nelson's Green BrierNelson’s Green Brier Distillery / Photo Credit: Nelson’s Green Brier

Constellation initially acquired a minority stake in the brand in 2016 through its venture capital group, Constellation Ventures. With Constellation acquiring a majority stake in the company, it plans to fold Nelson’s Green Brier into its existing wine and spirits portfolio. NGB will join other brands such as Utah’s High West, Svedka Vodka and Casa Noble tequila.

Earlier this year Constellation acquired a minority stake in New York’s Black Button Distilling, and just last month acquired a minority stake in Los Angeles-based Mezcal El Silencio.

Compass Box Unveils No Name 2

Following the success of Compass Box No Name in 2017, Compass Box is back with No Name 2. It begins with a combination of two peated single malt whiskies. The first, from Caol Ila Distillery, aged in refill Sherry casks. The second is from Talisker and aged in re-charred hogsheads. Next comes a single malt whisky from Clynelish that aged in re-charred hogsheads. Finally comes a proprietary blend made of Highland malts aged in French oak. These are (typically) from the Clynelish, Teaninich and Dalluaine distilleries.

Compass Box No Name 2Compass Box No Name 2

It was bottled at 48.9% ABV in February of 2019 and is also non-chill filtered with no color added. Only 8,802 bottles will be available worldwide with the UK and select international markets getting No Name 2 this month. The US will see this release in September 2019.

Wild Turkey Master’s Keep Cornerstone Rye

The next in Wild Turkey’s Master’s Keep series is Wild Turkey Master’s Keep Cornerstone Rye. It is also the first rye whiskey in the series. It is a combination of 9 to 11-year-old whiskeys chosen by master distiller Eddie Russell. In fact, the name is a nod to rye’s place as America’s first whiskey.

Wild Turkey Master's Keep Cornerstone RyeWild Turkey Master’s Keep Cornerstone Rye

The last Master’s Keep release was Wild Turkey Master’s Keep Revival, a bourbon finished in oloroso sherry casks, and was Distiller’s Whiskey of The Year for 2018. Wild Turkey released 19,200 bottles of that release, but will only release 15,000 of the Cornerstone Rye.

Cornerstone Rye has a 54.5% ABV and carries a SRP of $175. It will only be available in the United States beginning August 2019.

Forager’s Keep 26 Year: The Latest Orphan Barrel Whiskey

Forager’s Keep 26 Year marks the 14th Orphan Barrel release. Started by Diageo, the Orphan Barrel program is “an endeavor to rescue nearly forgotten barrels” of whiskey.

Forager's Keep 26 YearForager’s Keep 26 Year

The Forager’s Keep 26 Year hails from Pittyvaich Distillery (Gaelic for “Farmstead at the Birch Wood”), a Speyside distillery that closed in 1993. The distillery was only open for 18 years, making this whisky older than the place it came from. Pittyvaich single malt was never widely available, and the distillery has long since been demolished.

It has a 48% ABV with a SRP of $399 per 750ml bottle.

And That’s Not All…

This week delivered news of even more new releases. Here are the key details!

Smirnoff Zero-Sugar Infusions Launches Three Flavor Variants

Featuring three flavor variants, Smirnoff launched a new line of flavored zero-sugar vodkas. The line includes: Smirnoff Zero Sugar Infusions Watermelon & MintSmirnoff Zero Sugar Infusions Cucumber & Lime and Smirnoff Zero Sugar Infusions Strawberry & Rose.

Smirnoff Zero-Sugar InfusionsSmirnoff Zero-Sugar Infusions / Photo Credit: Smirnoff

Each vodka has a 30% ABV with a SRP of $11.99 per 750ml bottle. There are 72 calories, 0 carbs, 0 fats and 0 sugars per a 1.5oz serving.

Swedish Distillery Spirit of Hven Unveils Hvenus Rye

Spirit of Hven Hvenus Rye Whisky was created by Spirit of Hven’s Master Distiller, Henric Molin. Made from a blend of 42 different casks, the final mash bill consists of 78.6% rye, 11.9% wheat, 4.8% corn and 4.8% barley. The casks are matured for three to six years, partially in warehouses with controlled climate conditions. It has a 45.6% ABV.

J.J. Corry the Battalion: Irish whiskey finished in Tequila and Mezcal casks

J.J. Corry the Battalion begins with grain and malt whiskeys, both aged in ex-bourbon casks. The grain whiskey was then aged in mezcal and tequila casks and the malt whiskey was aged in mezcal casks, both for seven months. The final blend is 60% 9 year grain whiskey and 40% 13 year malt whiskey. It is bottled at 41% ABV, has a SRP of $73 US per 500ml bottle. Only 700 bottles of the whiskey will be available.

Starward Whisky Comes to the US

As of May 6th, 2019, Australia’s Starward whisky will be available in the United States for the first time. The first expression Starward will bring to the States is Starward Nova, an Australian single malt whisky matured in Australian red wine barrels.

It is bottled at 41% ABV and available nationally for a suggested price of $55 per 750ml bottle.

Australian Distillery Created Vegemite-Flavored Liqueur

There’s nothing quite as iconically Australian as Vegemite, the spread made from leftover brewers’ yeast with vegetable and spice elements. Calling its flavor divisive would be an understatement, as some love it, while others loathe it. Now, Sydney-based gin distillery Archie Rose have attempted to capture the taste of Vegemite spread across buttered toast in the form of a liqueur: ArchieMite Buttered Toast Spirit. Created using a massive 55 pounds of butter and 30 pounds of sourdough bread, the liqueur will be available starting May 8th. Only 3,000 bottles will be available at the distillery and online.


Which spirits are you ready to hunt for after this week’s roundup? Wild Turkey Master’s Keep Cornerstone Rye, or maybe that Australian vegemite liqueur? To each their own!

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