Imbibe Live 2016: first day highlights

Imbibe Editorial

Imbibe Editorial

04 July 2016

After a packed first day of Imbibe Live, here are just a few of our highlights:

Mangrove (E133) had a particularly strong Mexican spirit selection, a highlight of which was limited edition Directo de Alambique, a 55% abv tequila straight from the still. Next to this was Mexican Chile Liqueur Ancho Reyes, including a Verde expression not yet seen in the UK - worth checking out for its versatile spicy and vegetal character.

Launching today at the show was new Parlay Ultra Black Rum - and they're not kidding about the colour. Hit stand SS15 to taste this spicy, fruity rum that's distilled in Cambridge.

Maverick Drinks (A70) is never short of interesting products to try, so nip across and taste the Bruto Americano from St George Spirits. It's naturally coloured with cochineal, is made with buckthorn and balsam fir, and starts with a gentle bitterness that builds in intensity over time, and really lingers on the palate. According to the team at St George, it's 'Making Americano great again'. Boom boom.

Relatively new Edinburgh-based distributor Thunder Road Emporium (SS12) has some really interesting products on its stand, including the characterful single-distilled barley-based Wild Knight Vodka and the Cheongsam Tea Liqueurs, which are surprisingly dry and have good, subtle tea flavours. What's really attracting interest there, however, is the Ol' Major Bacon-Flavored Bourbon, which is fat-washed with bacon and is a relatively sweet sipper with fudge and vanilla mingling with those crispy bacon notes.

Like your spirits to have an ethical edge? Then head to Gorilla Spirits (SS13) to try their Silverback Gin. Distilled in Hampshire, it's 'mountain strength' at 46% abv and includes acacia blossom, lemongrass and calamus root alongside the classic four botanicals of juniper, coriander, angelica and sweet orange peel. They're donating a pound for every bottle sold to The Gorilla Organisation.

Fancy a pisco disco? Then boogie on over to the Peru stand (E20) and have a chat with the different pisco producers there. We particularly enjoyed the Cuatro Gallos Acholado Mosto Verde Colección de Artistas (funky bottle design as well) and Demonia de los Andes Quebranta Puro - a very rounded, creamy spirit with a dry finish.

As usual, Cask Liquid Marketing (D110) have got a dynamic stand. Pop over to say hi to Luc Merlet of Merlet Spirits and try some of the interesting products he's got on hand. We liked the nutty, raisiny Merlet Pineau des Charentes Extra Vieux.

And we may just have spied a bottle of Whistlepig 10yo Rye on the spirits shelf at Enotria (D18) too...

On Stand E42 Louis Latour Agencies is showing new wines from its biodynamic New Zealand producer Seresin Estate, including a 2014 Sauvignon Blanc with focused fruit purity and the complex, layered Chiaroscuro 2011, a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Riesling. Other highlights include Seresin's sister label, the organic Momo  a great choice for house wine listings. We loved the selection of Pouilly-Fumés from Michel Redde et Fils too, including his mineral Barre à Mine, grown in flint soils.

Over on Stand C30, Boutinot is inviting visitors to 'Discover the Stories Behind the Wines' with over 30 wines that showcase the strength of its portfolio. Try Greek white Papagiannakos Kalogeri Malagouzia 2015, some Seriously Cool Cinsault 2015 from Stellenbosch's Waterkloof, sparkling Chilean white Emiliana Organic NV from Casablanca  and look out for the Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas-inspired label on Sixty Clicks Shiraz Mataro 2015 from Central Victoria in Australia.

So much to see, so little time... What are you seeing at the show that is impressing you? Tweet us on the handle @imbibeuk with the hashtag #imbibelive to let us know.

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