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Top 10 spirit launches in December 2014

As 2014 came to a close, the spirits industry pulled out all the stops with a host of imaginative launches, including whisky tweed, cherry bakewell vodka and single vineyard Cognac.

Top-10-spirit-launches-in-December-2014
The final expression in Stolichnaya’s elit range is among our pick of the top 10 spirits launches in December 2014

As Christmas approached, Diageo launched a number of fashion-inspired releases for its Johnnie Walker blended Scotch brand, ideal for gifting, while celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal celebrated great British produce with the launch of a cherry bakewell-flavoured vodka.

Bacardi continued its foray into the single malt Scotch category with two new Aultmore expressions, and Hine pioneered terroir over age with its single vineyard Cognac.

Meanwhile, Peychaud’s Bitters experimented with barrel ageing, Stolichnaya vodka released the last in its luxury elit series and one new controversial whiskey brand drew inspiration from the financial crisis.

Looking at those which were made available on the market, as well as those which were unveiled to be released at a later date, this is our roundup of the top 10 spirit launches in December 2014.

Click through the following pages to discover which brands made the cut.

Peychaud’s Barrel-Aged Bitters

Peychaud's-Barrel-Aged-BittersEarly in the month, US group Sazerac unveiled a new variant of it Peychaud’s Bitters range aged in rye whiskey casks for 140 days.

Inspired by the original bitters recipe of Antoine Amedie Paychaud, which was used in rye-based cocktails in 19th Century New Orleans, the variant is available in limited quantities at an RRP of US$16.99.

For more information, click here.

Aultmore 12 and 21 Year Old

Aultmore-21-Year-OldBacardi continued its foray into the single malt Scotch whisky category last month with the launch of two new age statements from the Aultmore distillery.

The group released 12 and 21-year-old bottlings from the distillery in UK travel retail in partnership with World Duty Free Group (WDFG). The whiskies have been launched as part of Bacardi’s “Last of the Great Malts” range, which also includes Deveron, Craigellachie and Royal Brackla.

For more information, click here.

Domaines Hine Bonneuil

Domaines-Hine-BonneuilCognac house Hine released its innovative single vineyard expression, Domaines Hine Bonneuil 2005, in markets across the globe.

Produced using grapes from Hine’s 70-hectare estate in the village of Bonneuil, in the Grande Champagne region, the vintage is an endeavour by Hine to focus on terroir rather than age. The house said there would be other vintages, but only when the year was good enough.

For more information, click here.

Dappa

Dappa-GrappaDappa is the first UK-made version of the Italian aperitif Grappa, which has been created by craft spirits producer the Devon Distillery.

Skins of English red grapes sourced from a Devon vineyard have been distilled by hand in copper pot stills to create the 43% pomace brandy, described as having “clean, crisp and grassy flavours, with hints of berries and earthy tones”.

For more information, click here.

Heston Blumenthal’s Cherry Bakewell Vodka

Heston-Blumenthal-cherry-bakewell-vodka-2Famed chef Heston Blumenthal teamed-up with UK supermarket Waitrose to launch a cherry bakewell-flavoured vodka, blending British sour cherry juice and pure amaretto extract with potato vodka from Chase Distillery.

Described by Blumenthal as a “truly British drink”, the vodka was inspired by the 131% upsurge in demand for the traditional almond and cherry-flavoured tart at Waitrose.

For more information, click here.

Stoli elit Andean Edition

Stoli-elit-Andean-EditionStolichnaya vodka completed its elit pristine waters luxury range with the launch of the Andean Edition (US$3,000), which is created using water sourced from a natural spring in the foothills of the Andes Mountains in Chile.

The water is then used to dilute “Russian alpha spirit” made from a single source of grain, which is then freeze-filtered at -18C. The elit series explores how water from different sources effects the flavour of vodka.

For more information, click here.

Johnnie Walker tweed and brogues

Johnnie-Walker-broguesJohnnie Walker showed off its experimental side last month with the launch of two unusual products – a tweed fabric infused with the aroma of whisky, and a set of brogues with hidden miniatures whisky bottles in the heel.

Created in partnership with Harris Tweed Hebrides, the Johnnie Walker Harris Tweed has been layered with the smell of whisky so that it is “permanently imbued” in the material. Meanwhile, the Johnnie Tan Leather Brogue has been designed in partnership with men’s footwear specialist Oliver Sweeney.

For more information, click here.

Lehman Brothers whiskey

Lehman-Brothers-whiskeyThe financial crisis was used as inspiration for a new whiskey named after Lehman Brothers, the New York-based financial services firm which declared bankruptcy in 2008, a move thought to have played a major role in the global economic downturn.

The whiskey brand, which is distilled and matured in New York using New York grain from a selection of existing New York distilleries, features three initial expressions, named Ashes of Disaster, Evergreen and Snapfire. Barclays, which purchased Lehman Brothers immediately after its demise, has opposed the registration of the whiskey brand name.

For more information, click here.

Brighton Gin

Brighton-GinIn the run-up to Christmas, Brighton and Hove’s first licensed distillery, the Brighton Spirits Company, released its inaugural product, Brighton Gin.

Described as “wonderfully refreshing when served with tonic, ice and a slice of orange”, the gin is made with botanicals including juniper, fresh orange and milk thistle.

For more information, click here.

Bruichladdich Octomore 6.3 Islay Barley

Octomore-6.3-Islay-BarleyIslay distillery Bruichladdich unveiled the first whisky in its cult Octomore range which is made using 100% Islay-grown barley, called Octomore 6.3 Islay Barley.

The expression, aged for five years in ex-Bourbon casks and bottled at 64% abv, uses Islay malt sown on the Octomore Farm by friend of the distillery James Brown in 2008.

For more information, click here.

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