New products: June's top spirit launches

Kate Malczewski

Kate Malczewski

25 June 2020

Looking for new spirits to stock as you reopen your bar? We’ve got you covered. From Mexican whiskey to limited-edition cognac, these are the latest launches in the spirits world

Abasolo Mexican Whiskey

On-trade distributor Mangrove is set to bring Mexican whiskey to the UK in the form of Abasolo.

The spirit is produced by Casa Lumbre, the company behind Ancho Reyes Liqueur and Montelobos Mezcal. It is made at Destileria y Bodega Abasolo, the first purpose-built whisky distillery in Mexico, by master distiller Dr Ivan Saldaña.

Abasolo is derived from Cacahuazintle, a type of heirloom corn, which undergoes a process called nixtamalisation – soaking and cooking the corn in an alkaline solution before it is washed and hulled – to heighten its flavours and aromas. This process is a crucial part of the preparation of traditional Mexican foods such as corn tortillas, but ‘has never been used before in spirit production’, according to the brand. The whisky is then distilled twice in copper stills and finished in new toasted and used oak casks.

The resulting liquid promises notes of roasted corn, honey, vanilla, black tea and leather. It is recommended to be served neat, highball-style with ginger beer or coconut water, or in cocktails like the Old Fashioned.

43% abv, RRP £34.99/700ml, Mangrove; available from July 2020

Nixta Corn Liqueur

Another product from Casa Lumbre, Nixta is a liqueur made from nixtamalised Mexican corn.

The liqueur’s production involves macerating corn in a corn distillate, then sweetening it with clarified wort made from even more corn.

With notes of vanilla, caramel and, of course, sweet corn, Nixta can be served neat or used as a modifier in cocktails.

30% abv, RRP £29.99/700ml, Mangrove; available from July 2020

Waterford Single Farm Origin Bannow Island Edition 1.1 and Single Farm Origin Ballykilcavan Edition 1.1

Irish whiskey maker Waterford Distillery has released its first single malt expressions: Single Farm Origin Bannow Island Edition 1.1 and Single Farm Origin Ballykilcavan Edition 1.1.

Founded by Mark Reynier, the former CEO of Islay scotch producer Bruichladdich, Waterford is centred on the concept of terroir and believes the growing conditions of barley, its raw material, greatly affect the final spirit.

As such, each of the distillery’s two new whiskeys use barley from a different farm. The Bannow Island Edition sources its barley from land on the southern coast of County Wexford, while the Ballykilcavan Edition’s barley comes from County Lois.

To further help the drinker understand the emphasis on terroir, every bottle features a code that can be entered on the Waterford website, which unlocks pictures and audio recordings from the farm that shed light on the whiskey-making process.

The whiskeys are made without additives or chill filtration.

‘I’ve spent a lifetime in the top end of the drinks industry and Waterford is the culmination of this rather unusual journey. It’s rare one has the chance to breathe life into such a provocative concept,’ commented Reynier.

‘For years, folk have been hoodwinked on where whisky’s quality truly lies – once stills, then water, now wood. We want to shine the light on what really makes malt whisky the most complex spirit in the world, the primary source of all that extraordinary flavour: barley.’

Waterford Single Farm Origin Bannow Island Edition 1.1, Ballykilcavan Edition 1.1, 50% abv, RRP £70/700ml, The Whisky Exchange

Hine Antique XO Cognac 100th Anniversary 1920-2020

Cognac producer Hine has unveiled a limited edition bottling to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the first release of its Antique XO.

The spirit blends Antique XO with a Grande Champagne eau-de-vie from the 1920 vintage, kept since its harvest.

According to the brand, the limited-edition cognac is rich and floral, with hints of citrus and fresh pastry underpinned by notes of cedar wood.

Only 1,920 bottles have been produced.

40% abv, RRP £165/700ml, Hine Cognac

Douglas Laing The Epicurean Cask Strength Edinburgh Edition

Douglas Laing has collaborated with a group of Edinburgh bartenders to create a new cask-strength commemorative bottling.

The producer hosted a one-off event at the bar Nauticus, which saw bartender attendees blending samples of single cask, single malt whiskies. Fred Laing, chairman of Douglas Laing, then tasted each of the bartender’s expressions and chose the whisky of Lindsay Blair, head of production at 56 North, as the winner.

Just 600 bottles of the whisky have been released.

53.3% abv, RRP £49.99/700ml, Douglas Laing & Co

The Lakes Distillery Whiskymaker's Reserve No.3 Single Malt Whisky

Scotch producer The Lakes has released the third expression in its Whiskymaker’s Reserve series.

The single malt whisky was created with ‘a multi-layered approach to flavour creation’, matured in PX, oloroso, cream Sherry and red wine casks. The Lakes Distillery views the new release as ‘an evolution in the journey to define a Sherry-led house style’.

On the nose, the expression features notes of incense, spiced chocolate and toffee, while the palate shows flavours of honey, figs and wood spice.

54% abv, RRP £65/700ml, The Lakes Distillery

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