The Tasting Panel magazine

July 2013

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Page 39 of 149

MANHATTAN COCKTAIL CLASSIC Spirits Side Up IMPORTER PALM BAY INTERNATIONAL SHOWS OFF ITS CRAFT SPIRITS PORTFOLIO AT MCC by David Ransom PHOTO: DAVID RANSOM T Left to right: Ignacio Carballido of Los Amantes; Conor Chase, The Irishman Brands; Daniela Cester of Alexander Grappa and Bottega Liqueurs; Alain Royer, Master Distiller of Frapin and Boulard; and Charles Daucourt, Brand Manager for Bastille and OR-G. his year's Manhattan Cocktail Classic, the fifth annual, offered a myriad of opportunities to try a variety of spirits at its various events, seminars and tastings, held throughout the city. Not surprisingly, there seemed to be much emphasis on the craft category, whether it was in the New York State Distillers room at the Opening Gala, at one of the many small tastings throughout the boroughs or at tasting suites at MCC's "home base" hotel, Andaz 5th Avenue. One of the more interesting suites was hosted by Palm Bay International, who, while having always had a few well-chosen spirits in their stable to complement a considerable wine catalog, made a decision a few years ago at the behest of President and COO Marc Taub to ramp up that part of their business in an effort to create a more well-rounded portfolio. This year seems to be a coming-out of sorts for Palm Bay's self-dubbed "Craft Spirits Portfolio," which features a diverse selection of spirits, some well-known—Aperol, Alexander Grappa and Bottega Liqueurs (THE TASTING PANEL, March 2012) and Williams & Humbert's Gran Duque d'Alba Brandy—along with a wonderful group of up-and-coming brands. Those include: Bastille 1789, a hand crafted French Whiskey made in the Cognac region; Dos Maderas Rum, also by Williams & Humbert, which is distilled and spends five years in barrels in the Caribbean before being transported to Spain and sherry cask-finished for three to five years, and The Irishman Brands, a group of small production pot-stilled Irish whiskeys made by the Walsh family in Waterford on Ireland's South Coast. Also available are a group of small production Oaxacan mezcals from Los Amantes; new 901 Tequila, the realization of full-time tequila enthusiast and multi faceted entertainer Justin Timberlake's quest for a high-quality ultra-smooth sip, and Bouchant Orange Liqueur from cognac producer Maison Roullet-Fransac. One particularly intriguing new spirit, with the somewhat racy name of OR-G, is sure to be a hit this summer. Also from France, it is an exotic blend of vodka and natural persimmon, infused with hints of mango, papaya, and lime. Rounding out the portfolio are a group of legendary eau de vie, including Calvados Boulard, whose famed super-premium apple brandy from Normandy is considered by many to be the best in the world; and Cognac Frapin, one of the few estateproduced cognacs, made to exacting standards for hundreds of years and still owned by the Frapin family. Whatever the brand or category, Palm Bay International seems to have done its homework, and its spirits, whether new to the market, or simply new to Palm Bay, are worth a look for any bar manager or aficionado. 38  /  the tasting panel  /  july 2013 TP0713_034-65.indd 38 6/24/13 5:40 PM

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