Top 10 spirits launches in April 2022
With a vodka flavoured with tropical notes and a whisky aged in Armagnac barrels, April was an eclectic month for spirit releases.
Product launches last month jumped around from category to category, delighting drinkers with the release of gin made from wine and an Irish cream liqueur.
Ardbeg didn’t hold back with its punchiest release yet, The Macallan threatened the bank balances of whisky collectors across the world, and Nc’nean showcased its experimental side with the first launch from its new spring spirit collection.
Scroll on for our top picks from last month’s releases.
For more new spirits, check out our previous round up of top launches.
Craigallachie 13YO Armagnac cask finish
Speyside producer Craigellachie debuted its 13 Years Old Armagnac Cask Finish whisky last month, the first expression to come from the brands new Cask Collection.
To create the liquid, Craigellachie malt master Stephanie Macleod aged the existing 13-year-old single malt for an additional year in Bas-Armagnac casks from Gascony in France. Those who enjoy the sweet autumnal flavours of baked apples and cinnamon rolls enhanced by the aromas of bonfire night will enjoy this special dram.
Bottled at 46% ABV, the new expression is priced at RRP £52.99 (US$65)
One for “the most Ardcore of fans”, Ardbeg has done the pun work for us with this much talked about limited edition release, launched to mark this year’s Fèis Ìle festival.
A first for the Islay distillery, this particular bottling was crafted with roasted black malt “burnt to hair-raising levels”. Those sipping it won’t be surprised to pick up notes of charcoal and sweet smoke, while notes of aniseed and dark chocolate are likely to punch you on the nose (in a good way). The whisky retails for £100 (US$131.37).
Ardbeg also released an NFT whisky last month, which had been buried in a peat bog for nearly three years.
Flying the flag for the emerging low-to-mid ABV spirit category last month was Decem, a 10% ABV ‘spirit’ from 2016 Masterchef finalist, Billy Wright.
Three years in the making, Wright’s three launch expressions include a gin-style London Dry, a rum-based Spiced Blend and an Aperitif produced by macerating a variety of botanicals for three days, then blending the spirit with strawberry and grape juices. All are designed to “give drinkers lighter alternatives to be enjoyed all day or all night”.
Each expression is priced at RRP £30 (US$39.17), available for purchase at decemdrinks.com.
Bombay Sapphire Citrus Pressé
Each of the products within the Bombay Sapphire flavoured gin portfolio are inspired by iconic cocktails. The Citron Pressé expression combines the brand’s London Dry Gin with the taste of Mediterranean lemons to mimic the flavours found in the long cocktail, which comprises gin, lemon juice, sugar, and carbonated water.
Samuel Gelston’s Irish Cream Liqueur
Samuel Gelston’s portolio expanded last month to fit in a new cream liqueur, made from a blend of Irish whiskey, rich cream and chocolate.
The perfect bottle for anyone who enjoys indulgence and boozy desserts, the expression offers flavours of milk chocolate and vanilla, underpinned by the taste of whiskey and finished off with a delicate spice.
Samuel Gelston’s Irish Cream Liqueur is available from Tesco stores in Northern Ireland and The Drop Store, for RRP £14 (US$18.21) per 700ml bottling.
Terlingham Vineyard Dry Gin
For when you can’t decide between gin and wine, the producers at the Kent-based Terlingham Vineyard have launched a limited edition gin made from the vineyard’s Bacchus Wine.
The Baccchus is produced using grapes grown from the same chalk seam as the Champagne region, which are then turned into an ‘eau de vie’. It’s once that process is complete that locally foraged botanicals from Terlingham’s home in Folkestone are added, along with more wine, to produce the final liquid.
Au Vodka Pineapple Crush
UK-brand Au Vodka crushed it in April with the launch of its newest flavour, Pineapple Crush.
The brand has a history of favouring the fruitier flavours for its vodkas, with a portfolio already boasting Red Cherry, Green Watermelon, Blue Raspberry, Fruit Punch and Black Grape. After teasing the release on the brand’s social media, the new flavoured variant was tipped to be the ‘drink of the summer’. Now the wait for the warmer weather commences.
Banditti Club Port Finish Rum
Made from fresh sugarcane juice on the island of Madeira, the Rum Masters 2021 Gold Medal winner Banditti Club Port Finish rum has, according to the director of brands, “been in the pipeline for a while”.
The rum in this limited edition bottling has been naturally fermented, giving it a grassy and fruity flavour profile. Notes of vanilla and woody spice are the result of the long and slow maturation in virgin oak, while the finishing period in tawny Port casks takes this spirit to another level, adding rich fruity layers of strawberries, blackberries and dark chocolate.
Priced at RRP £28 per bottle, the Port Cask Finish is available online at glasgowdistillery.com, or via The Good Spirits Co in Bath Street and Clarence Drive, Glasgow.
Macallan Distil Your World New York
With a recommend retail price of US$4,200, the latest release from The Macallan isn’t a mainstream bottling, but for collectors or whisky fans with deep pockets, it certainly is one to aspire to have on a shelf.
Housed in a white presentation box featuring an engraved aerial map of New York, this limited edition whisky came to the market in partnership with the Roca brother’s, and is inspired by the Big Apple itself.
Offering sweet notes of classic American candy alongside nods of peanut butter and chocolate, the liquid is available at select Macallan Boutiques around the world, in premium specialist retailers and in exclusive premium non-specialist retailers.
Nc’nean ‘Huntress 2022’
The west-Scotland based Nc’nean distillery turned to yeast for its latest release, Huntress 2022, marking the beginning of a new spring series from the sustainably-led brand.
“Now it is the turn of some of our spirit experiments to take the spotlight,” said founder Annabel Thomas. “We’ve been running yeast trials every year, and this is the first one to be let loose in the world.”
One of the yeast strains used in the trials, Distila Max RM, is most commonly used in rum production and develops notes of tropical fruits, coupled with a rich minerality, bringing a new complexity to this whisky. Definitely a dram for the ‘yeast curious’.