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News Briefs for December 14, 2018

December 14, 2018

•Cigar Aficionado is set to begin its countdown of the top cigars of 2018, beginning with its Best Buys of the year, which will be unveiled today. On Monday, December 17, the magazine will reveal the No.-10, -9, and -8 cigars on its annual Top 25 list, followed by Nos. -7, -6, and -5 on Tuesday; Nos.-4, -3, and -2 on Wednesday; and the Cigar of the Year on Thursday. Cigar Aficionado’s full Top 25 Cigars of 2018 will be named on Friday, December 21.

•Booker’s Bourbon has released Booker’s 30th Anniversary, a 70/30 blend of 9-year-old and 16-year-old whiskies. Using barrels selected by master distiller Fred Noe, son of founding distiller Booker Noe, the expression is at 62.9%-abv. It’s rolling out nationwide in extremely limited quantities at $200 a bottle. Booker’s, part of Beam Suntory’s small batch portfolio, sold 24,000 cases in the U.S. last year.

•Sazerac Co. has joined forces with Tequila producer Casa San Matias on Los Vecinos del Campo, a new line of mezcals. Made by 10 mezcaleros from Oaxaca’s Valles Centrales, Los Vecinos del Campo is launching with a 90-proof Espadin ($34 a 750-ml.) expression, with Tobala and Ensamble No. 1 offerings to follow in 2019. The Casa San Matias portfolio also includes such Tequila brands as Rey Sol, Orgullo, and Pueblo Viejo, among others. Last month, Sazerac purchased 19 non-core brands from Diageo in a transaction valued at $550 million.

•Taunton, Massachusetts-based importer Vision Wine and Spirits will handle U.S. distribution for Dunnet Bay Distillery’s duo of Rock Rose gins. Rock Rose Original (41.5%-abv, $50 a 750-ml.) and Rock Rose Navy Strength (57%-abv, $53 a 750-ml.) are named for the cliff-dwelling Rhodiola Rosea plant indigenous to the far north of Britain, whose root gives the brand its signature ingredient. Vision Wine and Spirits is a division of Martignetti Companies, the seventh-largest wine and spirits distributor in the U.S.

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