Leonid Yangarber, the former CEO of Russian Standard USA, has joined forces with Ludwig Vanneron, a wine expert, and Steve Thompson, the president of TSS Brands, to introduce Coalition Whiskey, a new Kentucky straight rye whiskey that has been finished in Bordeaux wine barrels.
This new company has released four bottles into the world so far. Three are named for the type of barrels that the whiskey was finished in: Margaux Barriques, Pauillac Barriques, and Sauternes Barriques. Coalition is also offering up Barrel Proof, a limited release of the original base 100% rye whiskey.
The rye whiskey in each bottle comes from Thompson’s Kentucky Artisan Distillery, in Crestwood, Kentucky, an operation that uses an all-copper pot still that dates back to the pre-Prohibition days and rye grain sourced from a farm located one mile from the distillery.
“A 100% Rye Whiskey is a true rarity in the industry,” said Steve Thompson, in a prepared statement. “While most rye whiskies use malted barley or added corn, Coalition Whiskey is made completely from rye. It’s a more expensive way to go, but there was truly no other way to create that truly deep, rich and spicy flavor we knew would be the ideal match for our velvety Bordeaux wine barrel finishing.”
The ownership group also goes to what looks to be great pains to source the right barrels for the finishing process, working closely with wineries and cooperages in the Bordeaux region of France.
“It took the inspection of nearly 150 barrels just to find the perfect 25 we are using to finish our Rye Whiskey,” Vanneron added. “You have to first start with the best, most voluptuous wines from the finest chateaus in all of France to get the best possible barrels for Coalition Whiskey. Following up to nine months of finishing, each barrel from the separate Bordeaux wine appellations enhances the whiskey in a different, intriguing way.”
Each of the barrel finished expressions from Coalition will be available at the end of January 2021, with an SRP of $90. The barrel-proof whiskey retails for $130. Bottles will be on the shelves at retailers in NY, NJ, CA, FL, KY, IL, and CO, as well as available online. Official tasting notes for each release are below.
Margaux Barriques: It has an attractive deep garnet amber color. There is a lot of elegance in the mouth, a good backbone, and a long pleasant finish. It has a complex flavor with floral notes of violets and lilacs, red fruit nuances, and a touch of roasted coffee beans.
Pauillac Barriques: It has a dark, seductive amber color and a very complex bouquet rich in blackberry, plum, cherry notes, hints of coffee, and spices, primarily black pepper. On the palate, it shows a generous volume with smoked nuts and a pleasant well-integrated wood finish
Sauternes Barriques: It has a deep amber color and a rich, fragrant nose with perfectly balanced honeyed vanilla notes, caramel, and apricot hints. Exquisite and remarkably elegant, it is smooth on the palate, with luscious flavors of dried fruit, toffee, and a delicate almond finish.
Barrel Proof: It has an amber-gold color and a complex taste with deep spice, butterscotch, and orange peel notes, hints of cedar, tobacco leaves, herbal tea with a peppery finish.