Every month, a huge amount of booze moves through the Gear Patrol offices — beer, wine and a whole lot of whiskey. This week: star-studded bourbon, a crushable IPA from Vermont and more.
Sweetens Cove Tennessee Bourbon
Sweetens Cove is a new spirits label and its first product is a 13-year-old bourbon blended by Marianne Eaves, a former blender at Brown-Forman (the company that owns Old Forester, Jack Daniel’s, Woodford Reserve and others). Its received praise from reviewers at Breaking Bourbon and whiskey writer Aaron Goldfarb and signed off on it.
That’s quite a CV for a new brand, but the whiskey in the bottle lived up to it. Its heavy on vanilla and oak characteristic (13 years will do that), but there’s a clear and powerful peanut butter flavor that works its way from the nose to the finish. It is an electric whiskey, which is even more surprising once you learn its technically a “celebrity” spirit. Among others, its backers include Andy Roddick, multiple Mannings and Jim Nantz. The cold bucket of water on the Sweetens Cove hype train is the price — it’s set to retail at a whopping $200. The brand says there are 14,000 bottles in the batch. If you’ve got money to spend or someone to get a unique gift, seek it out. —Will Price, Assistant Editor
Lawson’s Finest Liquids Little Sip IPA
The Sip of Sunshine family of East Coast IPAs is the backbone of Lawson’s Finest Liquids. And Sean Lawson has added a newborn to that family: Little Sip IPA. Still relying on the Citra hop to do the heavy lifting of floral and citrus flavors, Little Sip is more of the Session IPA of the family at 6.2 percent ABV. It’s clean, hoppy, a tiny bit of bite but nothing overpowering. It’s another example of liquid perfection from Lawson’s and one that’s paired perfectly with a summer day outside. —Ryan Brower, Commerce Editor
Basil Hayden’s 10-Year-Old Rye
Because of its low proofing, Basil Hayden’s isn’t looked at kindly by capital-W Whiskey Guys, but it was never meant for them. Its premium bourbon for the masses, and no expression to date has represented this as much as the 10-year rye. Its low proof means alcohol doesn’t get in the way of tasting the whiskey’s maturity, which comes through a pleasant dryness and hug of vanilla on the tongue. It’s delightfully nice to drink, and you can get it at most liquor stores. —Will Price, Assistant Editor
Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey Canned Cocktail
Say what you need to say, but know that deriding canned bubbly-honey-lemonade-whiskey is a denial of happiness. It’s not artful and it’s not going to win awards, but it’s a wildly satisfying summer drink, and the perfect drink to reach for when your buddies pull out the Claws. —Will Price, Assistant Editor
Torch & Crown Brewing Company Tenement
Most newer craft breweries take a bit of time before releasing a lager because, as the old adage goes, there’s nowhere to hide in a lager. In its short time as a brand, Torch & Crown has not shied away from brewing crispy pilsners — and they’ve succeeded at it. The latest lager offering from the soon-to-be-first-brewery-in-Manhattan-since-1995 is Tenement and it’s hit the spot on warm summer days. It’s lagered for over 100 days and offers up crackery malts with a floral noble hop compliment for a smooth, clean finish. When you’re able to produce enjoy 4.9 percent ABV pilsners like Tenement before you even have a physical space, you know you’re on to something. —Ryan Brower, Commerce Editor