Top 10 spirits launches in August
From a rugby-inspired gin to a rum approved by Colonel Sanders, August was a great month for product launches.
As the summer drew to a close, there was one last aperitivo to make an appearance, but most brands were turning to darker, spicier flavours in anticipation of autumn.
From a super-rare single malt to a rich and velvety coffee liqueur, here are our top 10 spirits launches from August.
Union XV Gin
With the Rugby World Cup kicking off at the beginning of September, many brands spent August putting together marketing plans to attract revellers worldwide.
But none were quite as prepared as Union XV Gin, which has been five years in the making. The brand was conceived in Scotland in 2018 by John MacSporran, who wanted to combine his “two great passions”: gin and rugby union.
Union XV has 15 botanicals sourced from rugby-loving nations around the world, including the national flowers of England, Ireland, Wales and Australia (rose, shamrock, oak, and wattle seed). Its juniper is from Scotland and is accompanied by Indian cardamom and Japanese cherry blossom.
Glen Scotia 48 Years Old
Glen Scotia was certainly not trying to appeal to the crowds with the launch of its 48-year-old single malt. Each bottle is priced at £11,000 (US$13,960) and only 250 are available.
The whisky spent 43 years in Bourbon barrels and a further five years in oloroso Sherry hogshead, before being finished for six months in a second-fill Pedro Ximénez hogshead.
Tasting notes include Seville orange, green herbal notes and delicate spice flavours, such as nutmeg and cinnamon – or so we’ve heard. Good luck to anyone wanting to grab this collector’s item.
Aperitivo season was in full swing and Casa Komos Brands Group launched a product to disrupt the category.
Doladira is a blend of rhubarb and alpine botanicals, including plum, gentian, elderflower, and pine.
“I created Doladira to have the drink I always wanted but could never find,” said its creator, Meredith Erickson. “An aperitivo with real ingredients, less sugar, and a perfect balance of bitterness, acidity, herbaceousness and salinity.” Cheers to that.
KFC x Dead Man’s Fingers Rum
We know all about food and spirits pairings, but this one took us by surprise.
KFC teamed up with Dead Man’s Fingers to create a limited edition ‘finger liquor good’ spiced rum using the fried-chicken brand’s 11 herbs and spices.
Tasting notes include caramel, vanilla, treacle toffee and nutmeg, but the exact spice blend will remain a secret.
Pernod Ricard teamed up with Rabbit Hole distillery to create a new Bourbon brand called Mary Dowling.
The brand is named after the ‘mother of Bourbon’, who managed to triumph in the male-dominated world of pre-Prohibition whiskey.
The Mary Dowling Whiskey Company has launched with two expressions: a high-rye Bourbon finished in Tequila barrels, and a Double Oak Cask Strength Bourbon.
The Glenlivet Twist & Mix Cocktails
Pernod Ricard is shaking up the RTD category with The Glenlivet Twist & Mix Cocktails line.
The range uses a new patented Vessl cap closure and mixing technology. “Consumers simply twist the cap, and the cleverly designed mechanism will burst natural flavours into The Glenlivet single malt whisky,” explained Yogesh Gandhi, global head of innovation at Pernod Ricard’s Scotch whisky arm, Chivas Brothers.
The range has launched with two takes on classic cocktails, an Old Fashioned and a New Manhattan.
Captain Morgan Spiced Gold 0.0%
The alcohol-free category got a little spicier in August as Diageo revealed the first dark ‘spirit’ in its non-alcoholic portfolio.
Captain Morgan Spiced Gold 0.0% has been two years in the making and offers a similar flavour profile to its alcoholic counterpart, with rich notes of caramel, molasses, vanilla and spices.
Diageo is hoping that the product can capitalise on both the resurgence in rum’s popularity and the growth of the alcohol-free ‘spirit’ market.
WhistlePig FarmStock Beyond Bonded
Vermont-based producer WhistlePig has released what it describes as its ‘most ambitious whiskey experiment’ in the form of an annual limited edition farm-to-bottle whiskey series.
It’s also the brand’s rarest release, with just 23 barrels created, with each bottled as a single barrel.
The three expressions in the range, all of which rest at 50% ABV, use grains from the brand’s nine fields across 500 acres. All have been distilled and proofed with the farm’s own well water, and aged in their own sustainably harvested Vermont oak.
Mr Black Double Cacao
Good things come from collaboration. Australian spirits producers Mr Black and Starward teamed up and combined cacao nibs, coffee liqueur and whisky to create something “better than the sum of their parts”, Tom Baker, co-founder of Mr Black, said.
Mr Black Double Cacao has a rich and velvety mocha flavour, with accents of red fruit, toasted oak and smoky peat flavours that linger.
It features Starward’s Peated Finish whisky, which won Gold at The World Whisky Masters 2023.
Quest’s End Whiskey
Good Girls actor Matthew Lillard has embarked on a quest to create a “high-end spirits experience” for the fantasy community in August, with 16 whiskeys planned for the range.
Find Familiar Spirits launched with a super-premium blended whiskey named Quest’s End: Paladin, which rests at 50% ABV and uses whiskey from barrels sourced from Kentucky and Indiana.
Each bottle in the range will be accompanied by a booklet containing chapters of a new saga, with each expression based on a fictional character within it.