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Great Jones Released a New Bourbon Inspired by Jean-Michel Basquiat

Great Jones Released a New Bourbon Inspired by Jean-Michel Basquiat

Great Jones Released a New Bourbon Inspired by Jean-Michel Basquiat

Nearly a year ago, Great Jones Distilling Co. in Manhattan released a trio of bourbons in bottles that were designed to commemorate the late, great New York artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. It was just announced that the collaboration will continue in the form of a new bottle called Empire Edition, along with some apparel, all featuring Basquiat’s trademark crown drawing.

Great Jones was the first whiskey distillery to call Manhattan home since Prohibition when it opened in 2021, and is currently the only one in operation in the borough (Brooklyn, on the other hand, has several of note including Kings County Distillery). While whiskey is being distilled on a small scale at Great Jones, what you currently find in the bottles is made in upstate New York at Black Dirt Distillery (both are owned by Proximo Spirits, the company behind Jose Cuervo and other big tequila brands).

Great Jones’ flagship bourbon—a four-year-old whiskey made from New York-grown corn, malted barley, and rye and bottled at 86 proof—is the whiskey you’ll find in the new Great Jones x Jean-Michel Basquiat: Empire Edition bottle. The new label features Basquiat’s “Mecca” painting, a work he created in 1982 as an interpretation of the NYC skyline. “In continuing our partnership with Jean-Michel Basquiat, we are proud to align Great Jones Whiskey with a New York icon whose art represents the vibrant culture of downtown New York,” said Lander Otegui, senior VP of marketing at Proximo Spirits, in a statement. “With this special edition bottle release, we are paying homage to Basquiat’s legacy on Great Jones Street, while also setting a new standard for craft distilling in Manhattan using entirely New York ingredients, to make our award-winning whiskeys.” Official tasting notes describe dry corn, cake batter, vanilla, and white pepper on the nose, followed by green grass and white pepper on the palate.

Great Jones worked with fashion brand Rome Pays Off to to create a collection of apparel and merchandise that were also inspired by “Mecca,” including a bucket hat, t-shirt, and sweatshirt. You can visit the distillery this summer to purchase a bottle of Great Jones x Jean-Michel Basquiat: Empire Edition bourbon (SRP $40), and you can also sip on some of the cocktails that go along with the new release, created by Great Jones head mixologist Collin Frazier, at the bar there. The whiskey and apparel collection are available to purchase from the Great Jones website now, and the core lineup can be found at websites like ReserveBar.

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