Arts & Entertainment

Dowd on Drinks: All The News That Fills The Glasses




As the weather cools, the news machines rev up in the world of adult beverages.

There are so many news items we can’t spend a lot of time and space on each one, so we’ll provide a “flight” of samples for your consumption.

— The World Whiskies Awards results are in. They’re sponsored by Whisky magazine, the British publication that is the world’s leading spirits journal.

Panels of judges in Europe, the U.S. and Japan vote after blind tastings in several stages.

The category winners:

Highland Single Malt: Glenmorangie Nectar D’Or. Speyside Single Malt: The Glenrothes 1978. Irish Single Malt: Bushmills 16 Years Old. Japanese Single Malt: Yoichi 20 Years Old. Other Single Malt: Privus 05. Island Non Islay Single Malt: Talisker 30 Years Old. Islay Unpeated Single Malt: Bunnahabhain 25 Years Old. Islay Peated Single Malt: Lagavulin 16 Years Old. Island Single Malt: Talisker 30 Years Old.

— Talk about aged whiskies. The Dalmore is launching a 50-year-old Scotch whisky expression to the United Kingdom market. It contains whisky distilled 140 years ago, according to the company which describes it as one of the world’s “oldest” whiskies. It is a limited edition release, with just 191 boxed Portugese crystal decanters being released through the travel retail sector. It is retailing for about $1,077 per unit. If you want it, better get your favorite merchant to order for you if possible unless you’re flying into British airports.

— Is Slurm headed your way? The parade of drinks moving from fiction to reality apparently is flowing unabated. This is the third time I’ve been able to report on such possibilities.

The first was Pawtucket Patriot Ale from the animated TV series “Family Guy.” The second was Booty Sweat, the energy drink created in the film

“Tropical Thunder.” Both now are real products.

Now, Slurm (motto: “It’s Highly Addictive”), the official soft drink of the 31st Century, might move from the animated TV series “Futurama” to our very own dimension. Twentieth Century Fox has filed for the “Slurm” trademark which would cover (prepare yourself) “carbonated and non-carbonated soft drinks; fruit drinks; fruit juices; mineral and aerated water; bottled drinking water; energy drinks; syrups and powders for making soft drinks and other beverages, namely soft drinks, fruit drinks and tea; coffee-flavored soft drinks; Ramune (Japanese soda pops); powders used in the preparation of isotonic sports drinks and sports beverages.”

— Castello Banfi, the top Tuscan wine producer, said in a statement that bottles of Brunello di Montalcino from the 2003 harvest have been released from impound and are back on sale.

The Italian government had seized 600,000 bottles back in April over allegations there were too many of them for the wine to be authentic. The conclusion was that the wine had been doctored with other wines.

Government investigators have not yet explained publicly why the wine was released.

— Bargain-priced wines from Australia may soon become the norm. Recent bumper crops have increased the supply of wine grapes and helped drive down prices. Now, South Australian vines are showing promise of a good grape crop: i.e., another wine glut.

Paul Clancy, chairman of the Wine Grapes Council of South Australia, told the Aussie broadcaster ABC Rural that last year’s crop was more than 500,000 tons and this can’t be sustained year after year. He says that with overseas and domestic wine markets stagnating, many grape growers soon will have no buyers.

— Q: What is purple, Peruvian and presently coming on the beverage market?

A: Half the drinks line from Simply Originals LLC, a husband-and-wife business in Rowayton, Conn., that was founded last year.

They have come up with two all-natural Andean-based artisanal drink recipes: Simply Originals Purple Corn and Simply Originals Flaxseed.

The non-carbonated beverages contain about half the calories and sugar found in the most popular drinks. They are available at Northeast Whole Foods and other markets in southern Connecticut, New York and northern New Jersey.

Renato Varas, co-founder of the company with wife Meghan, grew up drinking versions of these beverages in his native Peru. The Purple Corn is commonly known as “chicha morada” in Peru. It contains Andean purple corn, cinnamon, clove, pineapple and lemon and contains high levels of antioxidants.

The Flaxseed, first such ready-to-drink beverage on the U.S. market, is based on the tradition of “emolientes,” or herbal fusions, and has high levels of omega-3’s, antioxidants and fiber.

(William M. Dowd covers the adult beverage industry online at BillDowd.com.)

(c)2008 Hearst Newspapers