Top 10 spirits launches in September
From an extra-savoury Scotch to a British absinthe, September had a range of spirits launches to wet your whistle.
Although the weather might not be what we’d expect for October, spirits brands were embracing the flavours of autumn last month, from a Calvados-finished brandy to a cardamom-ginger vodka.
Here are our top 10 spirits launches from September.
Spirited Xchange Special Releases
Presenting the Spirited Xchange Special Releases as one entry in this list feels a little bit like cheating, as the new range features eight single malts from eight different brands in Diageo’s Scotch portfolio.
The bottles feature illustrations by global artists, designed to visually represent each whisky’s tasting notes and its distillery.
The brands included in the range are: Mortlach, The Singleton, Talisker, Lagavulin, Roseisle Distillery, Glenkinchie, Oban and Clynelish.
Italicus creator Giuseppe Gallo added to the Savoia range with Orancio, an apéritif inspired by the citrus and spices that can be found on the silk road.
The new release is made using orange wine – said to be a first for aperitivos. The expression has a ‘bitter-sweet’ profile with citrus notes of bitter orange, lime and bergamot. The aromatic herbs result in an ‘exotic, fragrant, rich and warm mix’.
Johnnie Walker Blue Label Elusive Umami
Three-Michelin-starred chef Kei Kobayashi worked with Johnnie Walker to create this unique umami-forward Scotch, which encompasses both savoury and sweet.
Its fruity notes of blood orange and red berries co-exist with a ‘touch of smoked meat’ and a ‘hint of salt and pepper’, which are rounded out with a long, sweet fruit finish.
The brand’s master distiller described the creation process as “a gastronomic exploration” and recommends serving the whisky neat alongside caviar.
St-Rémy Calvados Cask Finish
French brandy St-Rémy teamed up with Calvados producer Château du Breuil to conclude its Cask Finish Collection. Previous releases in the range included brandies finished in Sauternes, Port and rum casks.
The brandy offers notes of fresh orchard fruits, vanilla, apple pie and almonds on the aroma, with cooked apples and nutmeg on the palate – the perfect drink for autumn?
WhistlePig PiggyBack Legends Series: Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake Barrel
Drinking and driving is not a good combination, unlike WhistlePig’s collaboration with Alfa Romeo Formula 1 Team Stake.
The third release in the PiggyBack Legends Series was tested in the racing team’s wind tunnel in Switzerland, before heading to the Vermont distillery to endure varying levels of G-force – a process the producer claims has accelerated the interaction between the whiskey and the wood, thus ‘staying true to the physical nature of Formula 1’.
Absolut Nights Nordic Spice
Designed to be served as an ice-cold shot, this new flavoured vodka from Absolut has notes of green cardamom, ginger and apple, with ‘fruity undertones and a spicy kick’.
It comes in a green glass bottle that aims to ‘capture the spirit’ of the night-time city streets of the Nordics.
The ‘green fairy’ has gone (metaphorically) red, white and blue with Devil’s Botany’s ‘fundamentally British’ take on absinthe.
The UK’s first dedicated absinthe distillery uses the same regulations that define a London Dry gin to create the expression which, unlike traditional absinthes, doesn’t turn cloudy when diluted. The brand says that this minimises the flavours of green anise and fennel seed, allowing the supporting botanicals to stand out.
Jack Daniel’s American Single Malt
This innovation from Jack Daniel’s has been long-awaited since it was first announced at the Tax Free World Association (TFWA) show in Cannes, France, last October.
Jack Daniel’s American Single Malt has aromas of soft oak, fruit and cocoa, with notes of dark chocolate-covered nuts and berries, with a subtle, sweet oloroso Sherry finish.
It features a 100% malted barley mash bill – the brand’s first permanent expression of this kind – which is ground, fermented and distilled in Lynchburg, Tennessee.
Stranger & Sons Sherry Cask Aged Gin
The gin world appears to be taking a leaf out of whisky’s book, with Indian brand Stranger & Sons creating a Sherry cask-finished gin.
The expression is rested in ex-Amontillado and oloroso Sherry casks for more than a year, before being infused with cascara and wild honey. It’s described as like ‘sipping a classic Old Fashioned cocktail’ with a twist.
Stillgarden herbal liqueurs
Those of you struggling to get your hands on traditional Chartreuse would be wise to investigate these new releases from Dublin-based Stillgarden Distillery.
Buí 43 and Glas 55 are described as Ireland’s ‘first’ Chartreuse-style herbal liqueurs. Buí 43 is a yellow herbal liqueur created with botanicals such as Irish honey, lemon balm, cloves, anise, while green-hued Glas 55 has been formed with a lemon balm, peppermint and sage base.