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Top 10 spirits launches in December 2018

A vodka infused with cannabis oil, a non-alcoholic apéritif range and a one-year-old “sacrificial spirit” are among the top products to have launched last month.

We present our pick of top spirits launches from December

The end of 2018 was rife with new product launches, including non-alcoholic ‘spirits’, rare whiskies and cannabis-based booze.

A common theme among the new launches was older bottlings, with Basil Hayden’s, Caol Ila and Tomatin unveiling their oldest expressions to date.

Bartenders were also the target of a number of new products including the debut of an Old Fashioned cocktail syrup from Woodford Reserve and The Connaught Bar’s first gin.

Click through the following pages to explore our full round-up of exciting spirits launched in December. 

Which new products caught your eye last month? If we’ve missed your favourite, let us know in the comments below.

Aecorn Apéritifs

Seedlip, the “world’s first” non-alcoholic ‘spirit’, unveiled a new sister brand last month – called Aecorn.

The apéritif range will debut early this year with three expressions. Aecorn is inspired by the “European apéritif tradition” and English herbal remedies from the 17th century.

Each variant has been produced from English grapes and aromatised with herbs, roots and bitter botanicals.

For more information, click here

Stranger & Stranger and Juveniles

Compass Box released two limited edition expressions last month, called Stranger & Stranger and Juveniles.

Stranger & Stranger is a one-year-old “sacrificial spirit” that contains liquid from Glenlossie, Glen Elgin and Linkwood distilleries.

It is comprised of 99% liquid from the three Speyside single malt distilleries. However, the addition of the one-year-old grain whisky spirit from Girvan distillery prevents the expression from being classed as Scotch whisky.

Juveniles whisky is comprised of single malt liquid from four distilleries and is described as having notes of barley sugar, pear drops and vanilla.

For more information, click here.

The Connaught Bar Gin

To celebrate its 10th anniversary, revered martini bar The Connaught in London released its own gin.

The Connaught Bar Gin, which has been created in-house, uses a classic London gin recipe as its base.

Botanicals include juniper berries, coriander seeds, liquorice, angelica root and orris root. It also features Amalfi lemon, which usually garnishes a Martini from the bar, and Bordeaux red wine.

For more information, click here. 

Strykk Not Vodka

The non-alcoholic Strykk range launched in July 2018 with two products: Stryyk Not Rum and Stryyk Not Gin.

A new alcohol-free ‘vodka’ joined the series last month, which has notes of cucumber and menthol with a “sweet, wheaty undertone and hints of coriander”.

Stryyk Not Vodka has been distilled and bottled in the UK. The new expression has undergone a “rigorous development process to ensure it delivers on flavour”.

For more information, click here

Gordon & Macphail 1968

Gordon & MacPhail 1968 is Caol Ila’s oldest expression to date. It was aged in a refill Sherry hogshead and has been bottled at cask strength 52.5% abv.

The whisky is described as having warming spice on the palate, followed by fruit flavours with a finish of bonfire embers and lemon zest.

Only 199 bottles have been created, available globally at an RRP of £7,500 (US$9,587).

For more information, click here

Woodford Reserve Old Fashioned Cocktail Syrup

Targeted at the on-trade, Woodford Reserve Old Fashioned Cocktail Syrup is made using bitters, sugars and botanical extracts to deliver a “syrup with depth”.

The recommended serve is 50ml Woodford Reserve Distiller’s Select Bourbon and 10ml of Woodford Reserve Old Fashioned Cocktail Syrup, stirred with ice for 10 seconds and then garnished with orange zest.

For more information, click here.

Tomatin 50 Year Old

Last month, Tomatin unveiled its oldest expression to date – a 50-year-old single malt priced at £10,000 (US$12,595).

Limited to 70 bottles, Tomatin 50 Year Old was distilled on 24 November 1967 and has been aged in a first-fill oloroso Sherry butt, cask number 35817.

The whisky has an abv of 45.3% and has been bottled in a hand-blown Glencairn crystal decanter, encased inside an Italian-crafted wooden box that has been finished with Italian leather.

For more information, click here.

XOP Platinum Port Ellen 1982 Vintage Single Cask

To conclude its 70th anniversary celebrations, independent whisky bottler Douglas Laing launched a 1982 vintage Port Ellen and a 26-year-old Big Peat bottling.

Only 273 bottles of the XOP Platinum Port Ellen have been created, bottled at cask strength 54.5% abv and priced at RRP £1,950 (US$2,458). The whisky is said to have notes of salt, tar, phenol, coal dust, and mocha.

Meanwhile, the Big Peat Platinum Edition has been bottled at cask strength 51.5% abv, with only 3,000 bottles available to purchase at an RRP of £175 (US$220). It is said to have flavours of smoky barbecued meat and a salty-sweet character.

For more information, click here.

Basil Hayden’s 10 Year Old Bourbon

Basil Hayden’s 10 Year Old Bourbon is the brand’s oldest expression to date and is bottled at 40% abv.

It features the brand’s signature high-rye Bourbon recipe, which has been aged longer in American oak barrels to “offer an additional layer of complexity”.

The longer ageing is said to give the Bourbon “heightened oak aromas along with hints of char and vanilla”.

For more information, click here


As the trend for cannabis-based drinks grows, a vodka distilled five times and infused with cannabis oil has launched in Amsterdam.

Bottled at 40% abv, Weedka is said to be “well balanced” with a “fine taste” and a “soft finish”.

It contains no THC or other psychoactive substances and was created in collaboration with Herman Jansen Beverages in Schiedam, in the Netherlands.

For more information, click here.

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