(The Spirits Business) The Balvenie’s oldest whisky to-date, Belvedere’s terroir-inspired vodka range and a gin distilled with organic turkey breast are name-checked in our round-up of last month’s top spirits launches.
Last month, Belvedere unveiled its Single Estate Rye Series, comprised of two expressions that explore the idea of terroir in vodka, and the country’s only “all-female Irish whiskey company” launched its first product, an Irish whiskey made with a blend of single malt whiskies.
Scotch whisky saw Edrington-owned Highland Park unveil a new single malt inspired by the “synchronicity of music and whisky”, while Balvenie launched its oldest expression to date as part of its highly-anticipated DCS Compendium Chapter Three range.
J. J. Corry The Gael
Chapel Gate Irish Whiskey Co has the distinction of being the first modern whiskey bonder in Ireland, as well as being the country’s only “all-female Irish whiskey company”. The company’s first product, J. J. Corry The Gael is their first product, and is a blend of 5% 26-year-old single malt, 27.5% 11-year-old single malt, 27.5% 15-year-old single malt and 40% is seven-year-old single grain whiskey.
It is said to have “fruit forward flavours”, and no artificial colours. The expression is available online in 500ml (£60) and 750ml (£80) bottles.
Belvedere Smogóry Forest and Lake Bartężek
Belvedere has released two expressions as part of a new terroir-focused range, called Belvedere Single Estate Rye Series. The range explores the idea of terroir in vodka, claiming that climate variation affects the taste produced from the Polish dankowskie diamond rye used in each expression.
Smogóry Forest is made entirely from dankowskie diamond rye grown at a single small estate in western Poland. Lake Bartężek is crafted from dankowskie diamond rye grown at a single farm in northern Poland’s Mazury lake district, a region known for its glacial lakes, weather shaped by Baltic winds and long, snowy winters. The rye in this region spends over 80 winter days buried in snow.
Arbikie Haar Vodka
Scottish farm distillery Arbikie Estate has launched Haar Vodka, an expression distilled from zulu wheat grown on the Black Laws field. It is described as an “incredibly smooth vodka with hints of caramel”.
The vodka is named after the ‘Haar’ – a “soft, rolling and freezing” North Sea fog that frequently blankets the Arbikie farm and distillery.
The new expression joins ‘Tattie Bogle’, Arbikie’s Potato Vodka, with a third vodka planned for spring 2018 to complete the terroir vodka range.
DCS Compendium Chapter Three
Speyside distillery The Balvenie this month launched a 55-year-old single malt whisky, its oldest ever expression. It is part of the company’s DCS Compendium Chapter Three range. Five expressions are included in Chapter Three, each from a year “relevant to the evolution of The Balvenie”.
The 1961 expression is a “European oak Oloroso sherry hogshead” and is said to represent “the style of whisky The Balvenie distilled around this time”.
The rest of the set features whiskies from 1973, 1981, 1993 and 2004.
Each set comes with a signed second edition of The Balvenie DCS Compendium book, written by The Balvenie global ambassador, Dr Samuel J Simmons.
Swedish distillery Mackmyra teamed up with Italian winery Masi to finish its latest whisky expression in Masi Costasera Amarone casks. The whisky was first matured in Sweden in the traditional Mackmyra casks, before some spent a further six months in Masi’s 600-litre oak barrels.
The 46.1% abv single malt is described on the palate as having “raisins, dried pears, ginger and vanilla” flavours. The aroma has notes of grape, herbs and a “slightly mineral tone”.
Raffaele Boscaini, of Masi Technical Group, added: “It is fascinating to see how our casks, where for a long period Masi Costasera has been aged, have transferred their character and specific aromas from our unique wine to another unique product.”
Evil Spirit Gin
This Halloween, the village of Pluckley in Kent, said to be the most haunted village in England, has got involved with another type of spirit entirely with the launch of a “haunted gin”. Card and gift company Moonpig is behind the spirit. The gin features apples and mint picked from the orchards and gardens of the village, which is reported to have at least 15 ghosts.
As a finishing touch, the gin has a “sprinkling of Devil’s Claw” and has been cursed by professional witch, Julianne White. The curse “empowers the drinker to follow whatever their hearts desire – whether it is for good or evil”. Brave imbibers can get a bottle from Moonpig’s website for £13 this Halloween season.
W Signature 12
Bottled at 35% abv, Diageo Korea’s W Signature 12 is a whisky-based spirit drink blended by three master blenders. It uses whiskies matured at least for 12 years in Scotland.
The firm is targeting the low-abv trend with the new expression and also intends to “enhance” consumer communication around the trend.
Portobello Road Gin launched Pechuga Gin, said to be the first of its kind. It is distilled with turkey breast, which is suspended over the still and cooked in the rising vapours. It is a limited-edition release and part of the brand’s Director’s Cut series.
Pechuga Gin is a redistilled blend of the company’s signature 171 blend, with organic turkey breast and 13 botanicals including apples, plums, raisins, apricots, passion fruit cassia bark and nutmeg.
It is available online and at The Distillery’s Bottle Shop for £35.
Highland Park Full Volume
Highland Park’s new single malt Full Volume takes inspiration from the “synchronicity of music and whisky”.
Gordon Motion, Highland Park’s master whisky maker, created Full Volume using 100% ex-Bourbon casks. Distilled in 1999 and bottled in 2017, its flavour profile is described as “citrus, creamy vanilla with a lightly smoky finish”.
The packaging is inspired by old fashion guitar amplifier, with the dials on the side indicating the different measures of Bourbon, peat, vanilla and fruit flavours.
Compass Box No Name and Phenomenology
Compass Box has released two new blended malts inspired by the concept of phenomenology.
The peated expression, called No Name, is comprised of liquid from three Islay distilleries, as well as a “touch of malt whisky finished in French oak”.
The second whisky, called Phenomenology, has been initially released without recipe information in order to “encourage drinkers to experience the whisky without preconceptions”.
Both new blended malts have been designed to challenge a drinker’s “thinking about how a whisky is experienced and understood” through the theory of phenomenology – that is, sensory experiences.
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