October, 2017

 

Dear friend of fine spirits,

Greetings.  Many of you have already seen our big news: ALAMBIC sold the Germain-Robin brand and inventory to Gallo, with a 5-years non-compete. Why? ALAMBIC and Craft Distillers realized that the resources behind the brand were simply not sufficient to allow us to do a decent job of sales/distribution in today’s crowded marketplace. Craft will, as this goes to press, continue to market gin, whiskey, vodka, mezcal, and let’s not forget the fabulous aged cocktails.

Caddell will still be able to source Germain-Robin’s current bottlings from Gallo for the foreseeable future. We also bought in a large inventory to cover the next 3 months after ALAMBIC’s inventory is moved to Gallo.

Once Only no. 26 is a 20-year-old San Giovese, 3 very nice Colombards from 2004 and 2006, and a bombshell Dolcetto from 2013: incredible fruit. This is a masterpiece of blending by Joseph Corley. Neither of the Italian varietals has ever been distilled for serious brandy, to my knowledge. These one-time blends, a barrel at a time, are not something Gallo intends to continue: likely the last one. A bargain at the price of $75.

Crispin Cain’s Russell Henry Dark Gin. The latest release spent time in a Limousin oak brandy earlier used for a very good brandy. When folks come into the store, I always suggest that they taste this, and it almost always ends up in a sale. Amazing stuff. $60.00. The other spirit people almost always buy when they taste it is the Infusion Works Seville Orange.

Two Newly Arrived Mezcals:

Mezcalero 18 is another Karwinskii special from the species’ master, Don Valente of Santa Maria Pila. The blend (accomplishing by mixing the agaves in the roasting pit) is semi-wild and wild madrecuishe and bicuishe (both variants of Karwinskii, wild Mexicano (rhodacantha, also known as dobadaan), and a little Espadín. Valente’s usual cleanly distilled complexity and balance. $96.

Mezcalero Special no. 3. This is an almost perfect wild tobalá (agave potatorum) from upland slopes containing limestone, distilled by the talented Rodolfo Juan Juarez in San Juan del Rio. It has spent two years resting in tank, which to my palate is superior to two years in oak: noticeably composed. I tasted it for the second time on an August visit to Oaxaca on the company of two other tobalá mezcals from other region and other good distillers. The San Juan stood out, not dramatically, because it is elegant and subtle: it just tasted way better. The minerality is in judicious balance. $135. Highly recommended: I’m drinking it at home. We have about 36 bottles.

Ansley Coale/Craft Distillers