Top 10 spirits launches in January
New year, new launches. While most of us were still trying to screw our heads on after Christmas, spirits producers were straight off the starting blocks in January with new expressions.
While big companies like Diageo, Rémy Cointreau and Pernod Ricard all offered up innovations last month, there was an impressive showing from smaller brands too, including a spirit made from honey and an independent Scotch brand celebrating its fifth birthday.
Here are our top 10 spirits launches from January.
WhistlePig Dank & Dry Old Fashioned Cocktail
Vermont distillery WhistlePig launched a product to help make Dry January a little ‘danker’. Its non-alcoholic Old Fashioned ready-to-drink (RTD) cocktail is made with its PiggyBack Devil’s Slide 100% Rye Non-Whiskey and Vermont cannabis terpenes that were cultivated in whiskey barrels.
The brand says the terpenes give the cocktail a ‘hazy aroma’ and ‘toasty mouthful’.
White X Cognac
Sazerac teamed up with rapper Quavo to create what they’re describing as a ‘white’ Cognac. The brand said the expression uses a white grape from the Champagne region in Cognac and adapted its distillation and ageing methods to “preserve the fresh and fruity characteristics of the grape”. How precisely this differs from a traditional Cognac is unclear, but we’re interested to see where it goes.
Tales of The Macallan Volume II
Anyone who received a very generous amount of cash this Christmas might look to blow it on The Macallan’s newest release, which is a homage to the brand’s founder Alexander Reid.
It’ll set you back US$89,000, but it does come in a handmade Lalique crystal decanter hidden within a book.
Tequila Don Julio Alma Miel
A new expression from Tequila brand Don Julio sees añejo and blanco Tequilas blended, with the former aged for at least 14 months before being finished in Crémant du Limoux wine casks and the latter distilled with oven-roasted agave honey.
Although it was only released in January, the product is making waves, having earned the prestigious Taste Master title at The Tequila & Mezcal Masters 2024 and becoming one of our most-read stories.
Whitley Neill Smoky Bacon & Horseradish Gin
Our list heads from a sweet and smooth expression to one that is quite the opposite. Gin brand Whitley Neill raised eyebrows with its latest savoury release, which blends bacon and horseradish.
And for those less daring but still on the hunt for something innovative, the brand also released a Japanese Yuzu and White Strawberry Gin, which may prove more versatile in your home bar.
Absolut x Ocean Spray RTDs
The 4.5% ABV range includes four flavours: Vodka Cranberry, Vodka Cran-Grape, Vodka Cran-Pineapple and Vodka Cran-Raspberry.
Lochlea 5 Year Old
Ayrshire distillery Lochlea celebrated its fifth birthday this year and marked its maturation with its very first age-statement whisky.
The expression is a vatting of five different casks, including two from the distillery’s first filling in August 2018.
Act of Treason
This January saw the release of Australia’s first agave spirit – just don’t call it a Tequila.
Top Shelf International, which created Act of Treason, said Queensland’s dry tropical region provides ideal conditions for growing the plant, mirroring the climate of Jalisco and the Mexican town of Tequila. The area is now home to 600,000 agave plants – so we’re expecting more products on the horizon.
Hive Drinks Co
Mead is an ancient drinks category, but teacher James Rowlands has put a different spin on a honey beverage by creating a spirit from it. The 40% ABV expression is the product of a collaboration between Rowlands’ brand Hive Drinks, Hensol Castle Distillery and Afon Mêl Mead.
Rémy Martin 300th Anniversary Coupe
From a new brand to one that’s very old – the next entry on our list from January celebrates 300 years of Cognac from Rémy Martin, which was founded in 1724.
The brand’s 300th Anniversary Coupe was created by cellar master Baptiste Loiseau from the brand’s Réserve Perpétuelle, a collection of rare eaux-de-vie from the Grand Champagne region that has been passed on by Loiseau’s predecessors over the years.