Jefferson’s launches bartender competition alongside new releases

Jefferson's Reserve Groth Reserve Cask Finish

Two products are being added to the Jefferson’s whiskey range in the UK as part of new activity that includes a bartender barrel-ageing competition.

UK distributor Cellar Trends is introducing the limited-release Jefferson’s Reserve Groth Reserve Cask Finish bourbon, which has been extra-matured for nine months in ex-Cabernet Sauvignon barrels from the renowned Groth Vineyards in California’s Napa Valley. At 45.1% ABV, it is a robust, unique whiskey, recommended for sale at £99 in 75cl bottles in retail.

Also new to the UK is Jefferson’s The Manhattan Barrel Finished Cocktail, which is a Manhattan made with Jefferson’s bourbon, dry and sweet vermouth and barrel-aged spiced cherry bitters. The liquid has been aged for an extra 90 days in oak barrels before being bottled at 34% ABV.

This barrel-ageing process gives the cocktail a ripe aroma with nuances of Madeira wine and vanilla, which leads to a hint of bitter herbs, vermouth and citrus. The finish is clean and lengthy, with soft notes of liquorice and oak at the end. It was created by Jefferson’s founder Trey Zoeller with David Granger, editor-in-chief of Esquire magazine in the US.

The barrel-ageing has inspired a cocktail competition launched in the UK for Jefferson’s by Cellar Trends. Fifteen bartenders have been invited to take part, with the first heat in the north of England taking place on October 21 at Bar 314 in Leeds followed by the London heat and final in London in mid November.

They have been challenged to create an original cocktail using Jefferson’s Small Batch Bourbon which will be judged after ageing for 45 days in five-litre oak barrels. The overall winner will enjoy a trip to the home of Jefferson’s in Louisville and receive a never-released bottling from Trey’s personal archive.

Katie Warren, group marketing manager at Cellar Trends, said: “Jefferson’s is well known for its experimental and adventurous approach to blending.

“We are excited to be working with 15 UK bartenders for the Jefferson’s Barrel Aged Cocktail Competition. At the same time, the launch of the two new limited editions will highlight Jefferson’s skill as one of the most innovative bourbon blenders.

“They deliver surprising new styles which have a creative edge in their production and will intrigue discerning drinkers. Further new launches will follow in 2016.”

The range available in the UK comprises Jefferson’s Very Small Batch and, exclusive to the on-trade, Jefferson’s Reserve Very Small Batch plus limited-edition Jefferson’s Ocean Aged At Sea bourbon which is finished in barrels on a ship.

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