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Top 50 innovative new spirits of 2018: 50-41

A Port Ellen-finished Japanese whisky, a peated barrel-aged gin and a rum matured in brandy casks all feature in the first instalment of our top 50 most innovative spirits launches of last year.

2018 saw a number of innovative releases in the spirits industry
2018 saw a number of innovative releases in the spirits industry

Unusual barrel finishes, recyclable bag-in-box concepts and colour-changing expressions made for an experimental year in the spirits sphere.

In the first round-up of inventive bottlings as part of The Spirits Business‘s annual top 50 innovative spirits list, we select the spirits tapping into the latest trends and shaking up their respective categories.

Click through the following pages to see the first part of our top 50 innovative spirits launches of 2018, counting down from 50 to 41.

50: Pinkster on Tap


Pink gin brand Pinkster’s three-litre bag-in-box concept was inspired by a desire to reduce glass waste in both the on- and off-trade with a recyclable gin pouch and tap.

Pinkster hopes its new bag-in-box format will appeal to festival-goers, as well as those looking to enjoy a gin and tonic outside.

For more information, click here.

49: Martin Miller’s 26 Moons

Following on from the release of 9 Moons in 2016, Martin Miller’s unveiled 26 Moons last year, a gin that has been aged in a single ex-Madeira cask for 26 months – taking cask-aged gin to another level.

Initial tastings of the gin in 2016 revealed “an ethereal pink hue to the liquid” but found that the cask had not yet impacted on the gin’s flavour.

Following this assessment, the cask was left to mature for longer until it reached a “sweet spot” at 26 months.

For more information, click here.

48: Famous Grouse Bourbon Cask


Launched in April, The Famous Grouse Bourbon Cask is the first release in the blended Scotch brand’s new Cask Series.

The whisky has been blended from a “high proportion” of liquid matured in American oak and first-fill Bourbon casks to deliver flavours of caramel and vanilla. At a time when premiumisation is the word on everyone’s lips, the launch stands out with its positioning as an “affordable” way for whisky fans to experiment with new styles

For more information, click here.

47: Mr Black Coffee Amaro

Mr Black Coffee Amaro is a blend of cold press coffee and 14 botanicals – including citrus from the distillery’s garden in New South Wales

Described as a “modern take on the traditional Italian bitter liqueur”, the expression has a flavour of “bitter gentian, orange, grapefruit and toasted coffee”, with a long bitter finish.

For more information, click here.

46: Dekantā Eigashima 2011 Kikou – Ki Series

Blending the world’s of Japanese and Scotch whisky, this six-year-old Japanese whisky has been finished in Port Ellen casks and is the first in online retailer Dekantā’s Ki Series of independently bottled Japanese whiskies. The launch in June coincided with the company’s third anniversary.

The single cask whisky is the company’s first private bottling, with only 300 bottles of Eigashima 2011 Kikou – Ki Series created.

For more information, click here.

45: ELLC Peated Barrel-Aged Gin

East London Liquor Company released a new barrel-aged gin in April, rested in an ex-peated whisky barrel for 47 days.

Launched as part of the firm’s Barrel-Aged Gin Programme, each release in the initiative uses ELLC’s signature London Dry Gin as a base before it is aged in a range of casks.

For more information, click here.

44: Old Curiosity gins


At the start of last year Edinburgh’s Old Curiosity Distillery launched a new range of gins that change colour when mixed with tonic water.

The range comprises three flavours: including Apothecary Rose, Lavender and Echinacea, and Chamomile and Cornflower.

Each gin is made using botanicals grown, picked, dried and infused by the Secret Herb Garden team.

For more information, click here.

43: Fluère

As the low­ and no-­alcohol trend gathers pace, a new expression entered the market last year from Dutch VOC Spirits.

Fluère, meaning ‘flow’ in Latin, is described as a distilled ‘spirit’ with a “balanced floral blend of botanicals” and bottled without a trace of alcohol.

Its botanical recipe is based on essential oils of juniper, lavender, coriander and lemon peel, which have been distilled with steam.

For more information, click here.

42: Pine Barrens Bottled in Bond

Pine Barrens Bottled in Bond from Long Island Spirits is the first American single malt whiskey to carry the federal government’s ‘bottled in bond’ designation.

The limited edition expression has been described as a “richly textured spirit with a cigar and cedar richness” and “botanic-like qualities of eucalyptus and juniper”, with additional notes of “honey sweetness, cinnamon oatmeal, raisin and cherry skin”.

The spirit is produced from a barley wine ale, which is double-distilled by Long Island Spirits in copper pot stills and filled into new American oak casks for four years.

For more information, click here.

41: Ron Jungla

Ron Jungla is made from premium Caribbean rum that has been matured for a second time in Bodegas Suau brandy barrels in Majorca.

Bottled at 40% abv, Ron Jungla is said to have an aroma of dried grape, plum, toasted cocoa, and distilled cane sugar molasses, with a “balance of acidity and sweetness” on the palate.

For more information, click here.

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