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Spirits

Two Dead Men Sell Whiskey

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

When dead men return from the great beyond to sell whiskey you know it must be good! Two famous men who championed Jack Daniels when they were alive have been pressed into service once again in order to sell some very rare and sought after Tennessee Whiskey; Jack Daniels 1954 Gold Medal and Jack Daniels Sinatra Select. As we have acquired  a limited number of these bottles, I thought I would take the time to explain the story behind them and what makes them that little bit extra special.

Jack Daniels 1954 Gold Medal

Jack Daniels 1954 Gold MedalThis special bottling commemorates the Brussels Belgium Star Of Excellence that Jack Daniels won in 1954 and the man who became a local hero because of it. A letter was sent to the Jack Daniels Distillery in Lynchburg informing them of a whisky judging competition in Belgium. The job of sending the whiskey was given to Herb Fanning, the right hand man of the distillery’s boss’s son.

Herb was from simple country stock and had no appreciation of marketing finesse. He marched straight down to the production line and scooped up the first few bottles that he saw, sending them off to Belgium without a second thought. When word of this reached the marketing department, they were not impressed and asked Herb why he had not procured a special whisky to send to the competition. Herb was exasperated at the question and replied “Why all Jack Daniels is special!”

Herb’s future with the company looked bleak until a timely letter arrived congratulating the distillery on being awarded the Star Of Excellence. It was time for the hotshots in advertising to eat humble pie and they offered Herb the chance to star in an advert for the brand! He appeared in many such adverts over the years and became something of a local legend in Lynchburg and continued to have a very successful career at the company until he retired many years later.

This bottling celebrates Herb’s unshakeable faith in the brand and the honest outlook of the company’s employees in the Deep South. You can get your bottle of Jack Daniels 1954 here but hurry because there are less than a handful left!

Jack Daniels Sinatra Select

jack daniels sinatra selectWhilst Herb Fanning may only have been known to his local community (I had never heard of him before I researched the story), Frank Sinatra is a name that every single person in the world knows (near enough anyway!).

Sinatra was an avid consumer of Jack Daniels whiskey and it would always appear on stage with him throughout his career. He called it “the nectar of the gods” and favoured the traditional serve of ‘three rocks, two fingers and a splash of water.’ These days it’s pretty common for celebrities to endorse alcohol brands (see this Jim Beam article) or start their own but Frank was different – he never got paid a single penny by Jack Daniels!

It all started in the 40s when Jack Daniels was just a small local whiskey brand that no one outside of Tennessee had heard of. Sinatra and his friend Jackie Gleason were drinking in a bar when Frank asked Jackie to suggest a drink that would “get him smashed”. Jackie mentioned that JD would be a good drink to start with and Frank immediately fell in love with it. After that night, he was rarely seen without a glass or bottle of it nearby. He even took his favourite drink to his grave in 1998 as he was buried with a hip flask of the whiskey.

Due to Frank’s unparalleled success, his endorsement of Jack Daniels single-handedly raised the brand from a local commodity to America’s best selling whiskey. Again, remember that his recommendation was authentic and genuine, how many times do we see that today?

Listen to Frank and get your bottle of Jack Daniels Sinatra Select here.

 


That’s Not Dan Aykroyd!

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

Crystal Head Vodka is an iconic premium vodka created by Ghostbusters star Dan Aykroyd and painter John Alexander. Founded in 2008, this quadruple distilled masterpiece is triple filtered through diamond crystals. It is so good that it picked up two Gold Medals at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. If you are wondering why that’s a big deal, the San Francisco comp is akin to the Oscars of the spirit world!

Any of you who know this product will be aware that it comes in a super distinctive bottle shaped like a skull, a brilliant piece of marketing if I do say so! But have you ever wondered who’s skull is it? No ….. well neither had I to be honest with you!

Luckily (really?) a Mr. Nigel Cockerton has put his Masters degree in Forensic and Medical Art to good use and created the skull bottle’s ‘real life face’ and let me tell you now that this does not look like Dan Aykroyd! Mr. Cockerton used advanced facial reconstruction techniques normally used for historical or forensic purposes and sculpted the facial muscles and skin using clay. He then submitted a fascinating but macabre step by step process to the guys at Crystal Head Vodka.

At present we don’t know what Mr. Aykroyd thinks about this impromptu reverse autopsy (kind of, isn’t it?) but I think that he would be missing a trick if he didn’t release a ‘special edition’ utilising this man’s work!

You can buy a bottle of Crystal Head Vodka here, minus the excess facial tissue of course!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Super Xmas Wine Show 2013

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

On Thursday 7th November we held our annual Christmas Wine Show at the Merchant’s Manor Hotel in Falmouth. This heralded a return to tradition after last years show had to be cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances. There were over a hundred and fifty different wines and spirits from all over the world on offer spread across eighteen tables of representatives.  I will take this opportunity to say a quick thanks to all the reps as they did a splendid job of informing our guests about the products on offer and were very generous with their measures! We had a lot of interest in the event before it was even announced officially and our prediction of a good turn out was well founded.  Everyone was in brilliant form and I think it is safe to say that a good time was had by all involved! We enjoyed meeting our customers immensely and wish them all a Happy Christmas and all the best in the New Year.


The King Is Dead, Long Live The King

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

The cocktail resurgence is blooming at an exponential rate in the UK with an estimated 6% of all spirits purchased being drank in a cocktail. Although a great many classic cocktails are vodka based (Cosmopolitan, Bloody Mary), you would be forgiven for trampling this spirit underfoot as you clamber forward to marvel at one of the of  the gin/rum based infusions that are dominating the scene. It seems that the old stalwart has fallen by the wayside and is it any wonder? If you mix it with coke then you taste coke, if you mix it with red bull ….. you get the idea! By its very nature, gins production offers lots of scope to introduce different flavours through the use of botanicals  and rum has seen an explosion in popularity amongst the young and trendy, spawning and influx of sweet, spiced and flavoured varieties. So, that’s it then, vodka is dead and buried.

I wouldn’t count on it! Vodka has an amazing knack of adapting to new trends – just look at a few of the new flavoured vodka products that have been released recently;

Square One Cucumber Vodka Organic

Belvedere Blood Mary Vodka

Absolut Berri Acai Vodka

Skyy Infusions Raspberry Vodka

This is just the tip of an ever expanding list of vodkas that are adapting to their fluid climate like a chameleon; those lizards have been around for millions of years! Of the 171 new vodkas that were released last year, 122 of them were flavoured or blended. That is certainly a telling sign that this spirit has reacted to its more flavoursome cousins and has re-positioned itself accordingly. If you look over the pond to our American cousins then you will see that the vodka industry has experienced growth for the 17th consecutive year – that is pretty impressive considering the global recession! The US has also spawned a trend of savoury flavoured vodkas – bacon being amongst the most bizarre! Whilst this is not yet en trend here in the UK, don’t be surprised if we end up following suit, even if it is in a more typically reserved British fashion. A case in point would be Black Cow Vodka. The brain child of Jason Barber, a dairy farmer from Dorset, this full strength vodka is made from milk of all things! To some that may sounds like a stomach churning drink (it did to me to begin with) but I can assure you it is very smooth, creamy and delicious!

I’m not saying by any means that you should be discounting gin, rum or any other spirit. There are some wonderful innovations occurring across the board, many driven by the cocktail boom, that are worthy of your attention. Just do not make the mistake of thinking that vodka is a thing of the past, as it is constantly changing to meet the needs of today’s market. After all, their is no better blank canvas to create the cocktails from – the Cosmopolitan and its ilk are called classics for a reason you know!

 


Battle Of The Botanicals

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

Gin is not a drink that you would associate with Cornwall; cider, mead and ale are the alcoholic beverages that this fair county is historically known for but that is rapidly changing. The past few months have seen the birth of not one but two Cornish Gin micro distilleries and they are a stones throw away from one another to boot (but then everything is in Cornwall isn’t it!?). Let’s have a look at the tale of the tape before we compare the rival products shall we?

In the red corner we have the Southwestern distillery who launched their product at the tail end of July, aptly named Tarquin’s Dry Gin after the head distiller. This unique gin has proved quite the overnight success story with high sales reported from the off. Each small batch of spirit is distilled in a traditional copper pot which is fired by flame. Only the heart of the batch is taken for bottling which is checked rigorously on the nose and by taste. The spirit is then diluted with authentic Cornish spring water taken from a source in Boscastle and left to stand for a few days. Tarquin then personally wax seals each bottle (300 are produced per batch) and hand writes his tasting notes on the label. This is a real labour of love but it is his vision to produce great tasting spirits with care and integrity. By all accounts it seems that he is succeeding in bringing this uncompromising vision to fruition!

In the blue corner we have the new contender who has come out swinging! Elemental Cornish Gin is a family run company that is also distilling gin in the traditional way using a copper pot and naked flame. Again, only the heart of the distillate is used and is mixed with Cornish spring water to produce  a bottled strength of 42%. The company have stated that their vision is to produce a quality artisan product that is unique and classy. Similarly to Tarquin’s, each bottle is wax sealed by hand – I think that must be a perquisite of making alcoholic beverages in small batches! However, Elemental Cornish Gin is produced in batches of only 80 bottles so it appears to be even more hand crafted – whether this will be sustainable economically remains to be seen!

So you would like to know which of the gins is the best then? That is a difficult question as they are both very different from one another despite the similarity of their creation. Tarquin’s gin is very fruity with floral notes that are crisp yet delicate on both the nose and the palette. The Elemental Gin is considerably spicier and more robust with deeper flavours that are immediately obvious. So which one is the ‘best’ all comes down to a matter of personal taste – I would personally recommended them both as they drink so differently  and are both quality products. Obviously, Cornish Gin is a relatively niche market but hopefully both of these companies can make a success of their different gins.  We wish them both luck and may the best distiller win!

You can decide for yourself which gin should be the Cornish king! Buy Tarquin’s Dry Gin here and Elemental Cornish Gin here.


Is The Devil Inside You?

Thursday, September 19th, 2013

Whether he is or isn’t, there is certainly one place that he’s not and that is The Bowmore Round Church on the Scottish Island of Islay. It is the oldest building on the island with construction starting in 1767 and finishing in 1769. Its construction was initiated by Daniel Campbell The Younger, the son and heir to a wealthy merchant family from Argyle.

Inspiration for The Devils Cask WhiskyAn inscription etched into a stone block above the entrance to the building has a Latin inscription which translates as;

“With pious intent, and to promote truth and honour, Daniel Campbell, lord of this island, built at his own expense in the year 1767, this church dedicated to the supreme God.”

The village of Bowmore sprang up around the church in 1768 and was originally built to re-house the inhabitants of Kilarrow who were not directly employed by the Islay estate. The church boasts commanding views of the village and Loch Indaal and is still open for weekly worship to the islands current residents. The round church was the focal point for the population of Bowmore and its legend is the inspiration for a very special whisky!

Bowmore Church Could Be Very Scary At NightLegend has it that the round church was built in a circular fashion so that there were no corners in the building. Why you may ask? To keep the Devil out of course! It is an old Christian belief that the devil hides in the corners of a room and the God fearing people of the time certainly did not want Lucifer inhabiting their new church (despite the fact that it could easily pass as the setting for a horror film on a stormy night!). That is why, in  Christian homes and religious structures, you often find crucifixes or statues depicting saints in the four corners of the room to ward away the Unholy One.

Thankfully, the Devil was not homeless for long as he found a nice place to stay when the famous Bowmore Distillery opened in 1779! He’s been very busy producing superb single malt whisky for the last 234 years (he must of hated the round barrels though!) and a limited edition whisky has been released to celebrate this local legend.

Bowmore Distillery's The Devils CaskIt is aptly named the ‘The Devils Cask’ and is being produced in extremely limited numbers with only 540 bottles available in the UK. Bowmore’s characteristic rich flavour is further enhanced by the maturation process occurring in the finest first fill sherry casks.

Here at Drinkfinder, we are lucky enough to be receiving a small quantity of this rare whisky and orders will be by allocation only. Please get in contact with us ASAP if you would like to own one of these unique bottles. After all, who doesn’t want to taste the Devil’s produce?

 

 

 


Who Wants To Auchentoshan One?

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

Auchentoshan Virgin Oak Limited Numbers

 

Resident whisky maestro Mark has only got great things to say about this limited release from Auchentoshan. You will be delighted with the chocolatey, caramel, orange and cinnamon infusion which finishes beautifully with spiced brown sugar. Get yours before they are all gone!

Stock is limited so buy your Auchentoshan Virgin Oak Limited Edition now!


Cinnamon Liqeur – Smirnoff Gold

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013
New Smirnoff Liquer
Summer Blues or Winter Warm Up

 

Summer is fading to a distant memory but you can hang on to that Summery feeling with this tall drink made from Smirnoff’s new liqueur. With a hint of warming cinnamon however, this liqueur is also useful for warming up when the cold inevitably hits!

Apple Bite Gold:

Mix Smirnoff Gold with apple juice and lemonade and serve in a tall glass with ice = Instant Summer Feeling!

Buy Smirnoff Gold Here


Taste Of The Orient – Opihr Spiced Gin

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013
Bottle of Spiced Gin
Taste The Orient

 

Here at Drink Finder our resident gin lovers have been raving over this little beauty! Opihr spiced gin using spices sourced from the east so why don’t you discover the exotic intensity of The Orient for yourself. And if you’re worried about supporting the UK economy and think this is imported, then you’ll be glad to know it’s produced by G&J Distillers, England’s oldest producer of high quality gin!

Buy your spiced gin here.


Christmas Wine & Spirits Show 2011

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

We are holding a tasting of over 150 different wines, whisky, rums, liqueurs and other spirits.
A tasting not to be missed:

Thursday, November 3rd 6.30pm -9pm

The Falmouth Beach Hotel
Gyllyngvase Beach, Falmouth, Cornwall.

Tickets £10 per person*
Refundable when you place an order for £40 or more on the night.

Entrance by ticket only.

Tickets available on 01326340226