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Top 50 innovative spirits launches of 2016: 40-31

‘Anti-ageing’ caviar collagen vodka, an American whiskey aged in Japanese mizunara oak, and the “world’s first” gastro-gin dominate the second instalment of our most innovative spirits launches list.

We reveal the second instalment of our top 50 innovative spirits launches of 2016

From pioneering filtration techniques to never-before-seen barrel ageing, a selection of producers truly experimented with the technical aspects of distilling in 2016.

Meanwhile, other distillers decided to mark momentous milestones and celebrate historical influences with one-off bottlings and creative branding.

From “French moonshine” and 80-year-old rum casks to Shakespearean sippers and “rare and exclusive” rye, innovation abounds in part two of our round-up.

Click through the following pages to see the second part of our top 50 innovative spirits launches of 2016, counting down from 40 to 31.

To view 50 to 41, click here.

40. Teeling The Aviators Single Cask

Teeling Whiskey Company commemorated the first year of The Aviators Whiskey Society, set up by ARI retail staff in Dublin Airport, with this specially-selected bottling.

A 12-year-old single malt, The Aviators Single Cask has been matured in ex-Bourbon barrels band then finished in ex-Californian cabernet sauvignon casks.

The liquid was hand-selected by members of the society at a tasting event at the Teeling Distillery, where more than 50 members of the society sampled four single cask expressions.

For more information, click here

39. Anti Everything Vodka

Described as a “beauty cocktail mix”, Anti Everything combines vodka with “super anti-ageing, natural ingredients” including caviar collagen for consumers who “love life, love socialising and care about feeling good and looking good”.

Designed to be mixed with Champagne the liquid features “super supplement” sea buckthorn, which contains the highest plant source of vitamin E, lutein and fatty acids – and has 15 times more vitamin C than oranges.

For more information, click here

38. Alley Cat Gin

Following on from the launch of juniper barrel-aged ‘Stray Cat Gin’, in April Kentucky-based Copper & Kings American Brandy Co. launched an apple-brandy based barrel-aged gin.

Alley Cat Gin is double distilled in a Vendome copper pot still with traditional botanicals, and without the additional use of grain neutral spirit (GNS).

It is said to have a “piney, juniper and citrus-forward” aroma and a flavour of vanilla, fennel, cinnamon and orange blossom

For more information, click here

37. 1616 Gin

April proved to be a fruitful month for innovation – in the same month The Cotswolds Distillery marked the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare with the launch of 1616 Gin.

The gin is based on 17th century Dutch-style genever that has been aged in American oak ex‐red wine casks, “as would have been made in the time of Shakespeare”.

The bottle’s label design is based on The Tempest and features a quote from the play.

For more information, click here

36. Vulson Old Rhino Rye

Coming in at 36 is French Alps-based distillery Domaine des Hautes Glace, which aged its organic Vulson White Rhino Rye to create a “mineral” spirit with spicy notes of gingerbread.

Made from malted rye grown on-site at the distillery’s farm, the expression has been matured for one year in French new oak casks and three years in Cognac casks.

The original Vulson White Rhino Rye, described as a “rye eau de vie” and “French moonshine”, first launched in the UK in 2014.

For more information, click here

35. Żubrówka Black

When launching the expression in March, Roust Group said marked “a new chapter” for the Żubrówka brand as the “only” Polish vodka to undergo a filtration process using charcoal from Białowieża oaks.

Water for Żubrówka Black is drawn from springs in the Białowieża Forest, while the wheat used for producing the neutral spirit comes exclusively from Polish farms.

The packaging was also touted as the “first” bottle in the market made of black transparent glass.

For more information, click here

34. Sobieski Single Estate Rye

Imperial Brands-owned Sobieski Vodka launched an expression made using 100% “rare and exclusive” Polish Dankowski rye.

The vodka is produced in limited quantities at the Lancut Distillery – the oldest distillery in Poland – using Dankowski rye harvested from Polish fields and water from the Carpathian Fore.

The creation of Sobieski Single Estate Rye was described as ” a natural extension” of the Sobieski franchise.

For more information, click here

33. Gin & Jonnie

Spirits producer Onder De Boompjes partnered with Dutch Michelin star chef Jonnie Boer to launch Gin & Jonnie – the “world’s first” gastro-gin.

The genever and gin producer spent a year working with Boer to create a gin that delivers the “best gastronomic value”.

The resulting liquid includes botanicals such as ruby grapefruit, amalfi lemon, verveine, Portuguese oranges, fennel seeds, fennel blossoms and five pepper varieties.

For more information, click here

32. Bainbridge Yama Mizunara

Washington State-based Bainbridge Organic Distillers released the “first” non-Japanese whisky aged exclusively in virgin Japanese mizunara oak casks.

The wood was harvested from the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido, which is then quarter-sawn and air-dried in Japan for at least three years.

Once fully seasoned, the distillery imported the wood to the US, where a family-owned cooperage turns the oak into barrels.

The resulting whiskey is described as an organic “American single grain barely”.

For more information, click here

31. Havana Club Tributo

Last February, Havana Club has launched the first liquid in its new Havana Club Tributo Collection. The 2016 edition blends rums aged in 80-year-old casks with younger rums to give an “aromatic and intense” taste.

Further expressions in the Havana Club Tributo Collection will be unveiled annually at the Cuban Habanos Festival, which this year takes place from  February 27 to March 3.

For more information, click here

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