Top 10 best value for money luxury spirits
Though value might not be the first factor that springs to mind when shelling out on a luxury spirit, it’s useful to establish if liquids are truly worth their lofty price tags, or whether they simply bear pricey packaging.
The Spirits Business held its inaugural Luxury Spirits Masters last month, where an experienced panel of judges recognised the best bottlings in the business.
Looking across multiple categories, from rum to Cognac, world whisky to vodka, a range of spirits were awarded the top accolades of Master and Gold medals for their quality.
The individual scores of each entrant have not been revealed, however these are 10 of the highest rated medalists in the competition, in no particular order.
Our judges have given each luxury spirit listed here the seal of approval for offering excellent quality within their respective price categories.
Click through to the following pages to view the top 10 best value for money luxury spirits of 2016.
Cannonball Edinburgh Gin
Price: approx £45
The first Master medal of the day was awarded to “very well-rounded”, “stand-out” Cannonball Edinburgh Gin, of the Gin – Ultra Premium category. Though it is bottled at 57% abv, the expression “didn’t have that overpowering sense which you can have with higher abv gins”, according to a judge. He added: “It’s incredibly classic, beautifully smooth, and has a nice level of sweetness to it as well.”
Vana Tallinn Elégance
Price: approx £55
Gold medal-winning Vana Tallinn Elégance, a blend of rum and Estonian spirit, was deemed “the biggest surprise of the day”. The rum-based expression – described as a “decadent liqueur” by the panel – was praised for its “stunning” nose and notes of treacle, caramel, marmalade, and lemon drizzle cake. Hailing from Estonia, the liqueur, which was entered into the Liqueur – Ultra Premium class, sees the original Vana Tallinn recipe blended with select rum aged in oak casks from Martinique.
Arbikie Potato Vodka
Price: approx £38
Scotland’s first “farm to bottle” distillery Arbikie first launched this vodka, made using potatoes grown on the same estate, back in 2014. The Stirling family, owners of the Arbikie Highland Estate, claim the use of copper pot stills in the distillation process gives the vodka a “comparable quality and depth to Scotch”. The panel described the Vodka – Ultra Premium category Gold medallist as “very clean and soft, yet characterful”.
Rum Malecon Rare Proof
Price: approx £50
Described as “vegetal, then with an almost meaty nose”, Rum Malecon Rare Proof is “based on Cuban recipes” and hails from Panama. This particular expression, entered into the Rum – Ultra Premium flight, is bottled at 48.8%.
Paul John Indian Single Malt Peated Select Cask
Price: approx £68
Produced in Goa, Paul John Peated Select Cask has been matured in ex-Bourbon barrels before being bottled at its cask strength of 55% abv. Judges felt the expression, which was part of the World Whisky – Single Malt – Ultra Premium flight, offered a “deep, brooding power” and awarded it a Gold medal.
Cognac Park Extra Grande Champagne
Price: approx £150
Created by The House of Tessendier, which has been producing Cognacs ever since 1880, Cognac Park Extra Grande Champagne delighted the panel, and was praised its “rich, fruity” quality. The expression won a Master medal in the Cognac – Super Premium round. Of the liquid, one judge remarked: “This is exactly what I get excited about Cognac for, that sense of time, and just letting the spirit and the wood do their thing. It’s the right wood in the right cellar left for the right amount of time – you get this incredible balance.”
Price: approx £40
Colombian entrant La Hechicera, a singular entry in the Rum – Super Premium flight, was deemed “a nice sipping rum”, with a nose that is “everything you’d expect from a great rum”. Sourced and selected by the Riascos, this expression is blended from liquid matured between 12 and 21 years in white oak.
Price: approx £130
A Master medal went to Glenmorangie Signet, described as a “warm, enticing, voluptuous” liquid from “clearly very well-selected casks”. Judges felt the “classic” whisky was “about toffee and fire embers, and you could really settle down with it”. Part of Glenmorangie’s Prestige range, Signet is a blend of the brand’s oldest whisky, distilled more than thirty years ago when malting still occurred on-site at its Highland distillery. The expression was awarded a Master medal in the Scotch Whisky – Single Malt – Ultra Premium category.
Price: approx £38
Vodka – Super Premium entrant BeringIce vodka was celebrated for its “distinct softness” and “unusual sweetness” and awarded a Gold medal by the panel. Created from soft winter wheat, the vodka is distilled five times through platinum filters.
Cognac Campagnère Extra
Price: approx £
Deemed “a cut above” the rest, Cognac Campagnère Extra was considered “really well-rounded” and “really felt like a higher-priced expression in its composition”. The expression won a Master medal in the Cognac – Super Premium heat. One judge noted: “It has this delicacy and a softness, a deftness of touch that really shows the artistry behind the Cognac, bringing together the various elements to give a less dramatic but equally characterful drink.”