Beam sends six-grain spirit to limited outlets

Jim Beam is known mostly for the consistency of its standard version of bourbon. That's one reason it is such a favorite with cocktail makers for such standards as a Manhattan.

Now, the company has come up with a new six-grain expression called Jim Beam Signature.

It is beign tried at the moment as a product available only through what is known as "travel retail" -- in other word, European duty-free shops at 29.99 Euros.

It is made from a blend of spirits distilled from corn, barley, wheat, triticale, rye and brown rice. (And, no, Start Trek fans, triticale is not the same grain used in the immortal episode "The Trouble With Tribbles.")

The limited-production spirit -- 13,800 bottles of the six-year-old, 89-proof spirit, to be precise -- is, says a gramatically-challenged company statement, "a result of us mingling different bourbons together. Each were made from a standard bourbon recipe (high percentage of single grains). For instance, we distilled a high wheat, small grain bourbon; a high triticale, small grain bourbon; and a high brown rice, small grain bourbon. Each were barreled separately then mingled together prior to bottling."


NY a hotbed of sports Halls of Fame

Fame, as the saying goes, may be fleeting, but in New York State, you have a better-than-average shot at making it stick.

That's because New York has at least 30 halls of fame that are open to the public, filled with honorees ranging from athletes to abolitionists, dancers to doyennes, soccer players to singers.

The number actually tops 30, but that would include virtual halls -- several of which have buildings in the planning stages but most of which are programs of honors rather than physical venues. Plus, numerous schools, colleges, municipalities, teams and business organizations have virtual halls of fame, which pads the total well beyond 50.

I recently attended a wedding reception at the Saratoga Auto Museum in Saratoga Spa State Park. Because it also is home to the New York State Stock Car Association Hall of Fame, I got to thinking of all the sports-related hall of fame sites within easy reach of New Yorkers.

The most visible and best known is, of course, the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown (888-425-5633). But it does not stand alone. There are:

National Museum of Racing & Hall of Fame, devoted to thoroughbred horse racing, Saratoga Springs (518-584-0400).

National Soccer Hall of Fame & Museum, Oneonta (607-432-3351).

Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame, Goshen (845-294-6330).

International Boxing Hall of Fame, Canastota (315-697-7095).

Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame, Amsterdam (518-842-0022).

National Distance Running Hall of Fame, Utica (315-724-4525).
New York Museums Guide
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Passport fees going up on July 13

WASHINGTON, DC -- If you're in need of a passport for upcoming international travel, better hurry or you'll be paying more for the privilege.

As of Tuesday, July 13, adult passport book fees will go from $100 to $135, and the fee for persons under 16 will go from $85 to $105. Renewals of adult passports will go from $75 to $110.

The U.S. State Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs, which oversees the passport office, also is raising 24 other related fees.

The "switch to the e-passport with the chip and the additional security features are what is increasing the costs," said John Echard, a spokesman for the Bureau of Consular Affairs. "It's a lot more expensive to make passports now than it used to be."

New passports have had an electronic chip embedded in them since October 2006. The chips contain all the information in the passport plus facial-recognition data.

Passport cards, which resemble driver's licenses and are used to allow entrance to the U.S. from Canada, Mexico, Bermuda and the Caribbean at land border crossings or sea ports-of-call.
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