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Top 50 most innovative spirit launches of 2014: 30-21

Ham-infused mezcal, sparkling rum and the world’s oldest gin recipe are some of the concoctions included in the third instalment of our top 50 most innovative spirits launches of 2014.

Click through the following pages to see the third instalment of our top 50 most innovative spirits launches of 2014

Two bitters brands also make an appearance in this list for their barrel experimentation and forged ingredients, while whisky finds a new guise in the form of Scottish tweed.

Brands which transgress established categories feature once again and take inspiration from the wine world.

Also in 2014, a €300 liqueur raised a few eyebrows, while a group of cult craft US whiskey creators came together to produce a collaborative Bourbon.

Click through to the following pages for the third instalment of our top 50 innovative spirits launches of 2014, counting down from 40 to 31.

30. Del Maguey Ibérico

Del-Maguey-IbéricoAs interest in mezcal increased across the globe, “single village” brand Del Maguey fused the world’s of food and drink with its Ibérico expression – which uses Ibérico de Bellota ham.

Created by Del Maguey’s founder Ron Cooper and renowned chef José Andrés, along with his ThinkFoodGroup, the variant replaces the chicken breast used to make the brand’s Pechuga bottling with salty ham.

Described as having a flavour of pear, fig and wet hay, Ibérico is created by taking an already twice distilled mezcal and distilling it for a third time with a leg of Ibérico de Bellota ham suspended in the atmosphere of the still.

Ibérico de Bellota ham excited bartenders across the world who relished its innovative flavour and mixing ability. The spirit was awarded the Best New Product 2014 Spirited Award.

For more information, click here.

29. Gin 1495

Gin-1495Innovation in gin surged in 2014, but one expert looked towards the category’s storied past to create one of the most pioneering expressions of 2014.

Using a recipe from an out-of-print Dutch-language book charting the history of jenever, gin expert Philip Duff partnered with EWG Spirits & Wine to recreate what is believed to be the oldest recorded recreational gin, dating back to 1495.

The recipe called for ginger, galangal, clove, cinnamon, cardamom and grain of paradise, nutmeg, sage and juniper, and uses a grape distillate as its base. Duff also created a modern interpretation of the recipe which has more juniper and citrus notes, called Interprětātǐo.

A limited number of Gin 1495 bottles were created for an auction to raise money for trade charity The Benevolent.

For more information, click here.

28. Peychaud’s Barrel-Aged Bitters

Peychaud's-Barrel-Aged-BittersReleased at the end of 2014, US Bourbon producer Buffalo Trace explored the affects of wood on cocktail bitters with Peychaud’s Barrel-Aged Bitters.

The variant takes the original Peychaud’s recipe and matures it in ex-Sazerac Rye Whiskey barrels for 140 days.

Described by Buffalo Trace as an “interesting experiment”, Peychaud’s Barrel-Aged Bitters is inspired by the brand’s creator Antoine Amedie Peychaud and his original bitters recipe in rye-based cocktails in 19th Century New Orleans.

For more information, click here.

 27. Johnnie Walker Harris Tweed

Johnnie-Walker-Harris-TweedWhile most whisky lovers might agree that Johnnie Walker Black Label isn’t exactly the most innovative Scotch whisky in terms of distillation and blending, this product this is certainly an example of creative spirits marketing.

Launched in Berlin, Johnnie Walker Harris Tweed was been created by brand owner Diageo in partnership with Harris Tweed Hebrides and Heriot Watt University. The product itself is a tweed fabric which has been infused with the aroma with Johnnie Walker Black Label.

Able to withstand multiple dry cleans, the tweed has been layered with the whisky smell so that it is “permanently imbued” in the material.

For more information, click here.

26. Malibu Rum Sparkler

Malibu-Rum-SparklerThe worlds of sparkling wine and spirits seemed to merge when Pernod Ricard launched one of its key innovations for the year, Malibu Rum Sparkler.

Presented in a Champagne-style bottle with a cork stopper, the expression is a sparkling blend of carbonated Malibu and coconut water and is available in two flavours, Coconut and Peach.

The 11% abv expression was launched exclusively in the US and was targeted towards millennial party-goers.

Its launched followed other innovative Malibu releases, including spiced rum Malibu Island Spiced and Malibu Red – a rum and Tequila hybrid.

For more information, click here.

25. Disaronno Riserva

Disaronno-RiservaItalian drinks group Ilva Saronno certainly got tongues wagging in October 2014 when it not only incorporated the flavours of Scotch into its traditional Italian liqueur Disaronno, but also slapped on a €300 price tag.

Said to be the first ultra-premium brand extension of the brand, Disaronno Riserva uses a young blended malt Scotch whisky as its base, adding amaretto flavours.

Once blended, the liqueur is then further left to marry in Florio marsala wine casks for six months. The heavy glass bottle was designed to lend a more premium image to the brand.

For more information, click here.

24. Voz Vodka

Voz-VodkaNew label Voz Vodka transgressed an array of drinks categories when it launched in January last year, channeling the characteristics of vodka, wine and liqueurs.

The brand is described as a sparkling vodka which is flavoured with sweet liqueur Crème de Cassis.

To create the drink, natural mineral water that is softened and deep-frozen is blended with a 100% grain vodka and Crème de Cassis flavours. The product is then sold in a Champagne-style bottle.

For more information, click here.

23. Four Kings Bourbon

Four-Kings-BourbonIn April 2014, four Midwestern craft distilleries took the unusual step of teaming up to created a blended Bourbon using each of their stocks.

Corsair Distillers, Few Spirits, Journeyman Distilling, and Mississippi River Distilling each put forward 30 gallons of whiskey for Four Kings Bourbon – said to be the first collaborative product of craft whiskey producers.

All producers used stocks of Bourbon whiskey, except Corsair, which also put forward 15 gallons of smoked wheat whiskey.

Launched exclusively in Chicago, the whiskey from each distillery is aged for an additional few months so that the flavours may marry together.

22. Eden Mill

Eden-MillScotland’s first combined brewery and distillery, Eden Mill, took the trend of unusual gin botanicals to another level by channelling the flavour of beer.

In September last year, the company launched its Hop Gin – a gin which uses Australian galaxy hops as a botanical in its new small batch gin recipe.

Described as marking an “evolution” in the crafts of brewing and distilling, Hop Gin has a citrus and apricot aroma from the hops, which complements the traditional gin flavours of  juniper, coriander and liquorice.

For more information, click here.

21. Reyka Icelandic Bitters

Reyka-Icelandic-BittersTo complement the emerging cocktail trend of natural ingredients, William Grant & Sons took the innovative step of launching cocktail bitters made with foraged ingredients under its Reyka vodka brand.

Created by master distiller Lesley Gracie, Reyka Icelandic Bitters uses Icelandic ingredients including moss, angelica leaf and crowberry juice.

The launch not only capitalises on consumer interest in the provenance of their drinks, but also demonstrates that spirits brands believe in the importance of bitters matching the flavours of their products.

The small-batch release was created exclusively for UK bartenders and coincided with a foraging expedition to Iceland.

For more information, click here.


Top 10 spirits launches of 2014: 20-11

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