The realms of art and spirits have once again converged, this time in homage to the iconic Jean-Michel Basquiat. Great Jones Distilling Co., Manhattan's sole whiskey distillery, has unveiled an artistic collaboration with Basquiat, featuring a trio of captivating whiskey bottles. To enhance this fusion of art and spirits, a popup experience has been set up at the distillery's bar, delighting patrons with its immersive Basquiat-inspired ambiance. This extraordinary collaboration is slated to captivate patrons until October.
Great Jones Distilling Co. made its grand entrance onto the scene in August 2021. Situated in Manhattan's NoHo neighborhood, it derives its name from the adjacent Great Jones Street. Owned by the renowned Proximo, the same conglomerate behind the famed tequila brand, Jose Cuervo, it became the first whiskey distillery to grace Manhattan since the era of Prohibition. The distillery, although currently engaged in small-scale whiskey production, sources the liquid within its bottles from Black Dirt Distilling, an upstate craft distillery also under the Proximo umbrella. The core lineup from Great Jones comprises a bourbon, four-grain bourbon, and rye whiskey, and now this collaboration introduces three new and intriguing expressions.
Among the novelties are the Great Jones x Jean Michel Basquiat Dinosaur Edition and the Great Jones x Jean Michel Basquiat Skull Edition. Both incorporate the distillery's four-year-old bourbon, with each bottle adorned with the distinctive Basquiat label artwork, aptly named according to their visuals. The third whiskey is an exclusive creation of the distillery—the Great Jones x Jean Michel Basquiat Pineau de Charentes Wine Cask-Finished Bourbon. This seven-year-old bourbon underwent an enriching one-year-and-seven-month maturation in sweet fortified wine casks hailing from France. Bottled at 91 proof, it showcases Basquiat's iconic crown artwork on the label.
What sets this cask-finished bourbon apart is its final touch. The 600-liter cask utilized for the finishing process was thoughtfully handpicked by Great Jones' head distiller, Celina Perez. Explaining the significance of the cask, Perez noted that French oak, typically used for liqueur casks like Pineau de Charentes, possesses unique characteristics compared to American oak. Its lighter and more porous nature permits the bourbon's flavors to shine while also infusing distinct qualities from the French oak. A sneak peek of this whiskey reveals a marked departure from the core bourbon, offering a palate rich with sweet berry and spice notes culminating in a robust, tannic finish.
Embracing this artistic collaboration, Great Jones' bar has been magically transformed into "The Basquiat Bar." Operating hours span Thursday through Saturday from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., treating visitors to an array of delectable food and beverages inspired by the artist's creative essence. The ultimate immersive experience awaits in the barrel room, where patrons can partake in the Distilling New York x Basquiat VIP Tour, dubbed "Basquiat's New York." Here, you can savor the exclusive cask-finished whiskey, sipping cocktails amidst an environment adorned with captivating art and relics of 1980s New York City.
For those eager to acquire the Basquiat-inspired bottles, two of them can be procured directly from the distillery's website at a suggested retail price (SRP) of $39 each. In addition to these distinctive spirits, the website offers an array of merchandise, including hoodies, caps, and t-shirts. However, to secure the distillery-exclusive bourbon, with an SRP of $150, a visit to the distillery in person is essential. For those not planning a trip to New York City in the foreseeable future, the standard straight bourbon and other whiskey offerings can conveniently be obtained from online platforms such as Drizly.
About Great Jones Distilling Co.
Great Jones Distilling Co. is a Manhattan-based whiskey distillery located in the NoHo neighborhood of New York City. It opened its doors in August 2021 and holds the distinction of being Manhattan's first whiskey distillery since the Prohibition era. Owned by Proximo, a prominent drinks company known for brands like Jose Cuervo tequila, Great Jones Distilling Co. focuses on producing small-batch whiskey. While the distillery operates in Manhattan, the whiskey it bottles comes from Black Dirt Distilling, another craft distillery owned by Proximo, situated upstate.
The core lineup of Great Jones includes bourbon, four-grain bourbon, and rye whiskey. The distillery gained notable attention for its artistic collaboration with the late Jean-Michel Basquiat, resulting in the release of three special-edition whiskeys featuring Basquiat's iconic artwork on their labels. These expressions include the Dinosaur Edition, the Skull Edition, and a distillery exclusive Pineau de Charentes Wine Cask-Finished Bourbon. The Pineau de Charentes-finished bourbon offers a unique flavor profile influenced by French oak casks and features Basquiat's crown artwork on the label.