From Sauternes cask single malts and cream liqueurs, to Cuban rum and new partnerships, we've rounded up some of the biggest new launches in the world of spirits
Cotswolds Hearts & Crafts Sauternes Cask Single Malt Whisky
The Warwickshire Cotswolds Distillery has released the first in a series of Arts & Crafts-inspired single malts, and its first ever European oak cask expression.
The Cotswolds Hearts & Crafts Collection will comprise yearly, limited editions made up of the work carried out at the distillery over the years. The team have been filling small parcels of 'specials', including both European and American oak casks, seasoned with Sauternes, Pineau de Charente, calvados, rum, Port, Madeira, Banyuls, vermouth and other interesting wines.
Its first, the Sauternes Cask Single Malt Whisky, is made up of only 1,680 bottles. It comes from a selection of five premium French oak casks, seasoned with sweet Sauternes wine for a honey-coloured malt with 'vinour quality and notes of sweet raising and oak wood spice'.
On the nose, it shows 'raisin and malted biscuit' with notes of 'peach and ripe pears'; on the palate, there is 'honey with fresh nectarine and a touch of lemon zest leading to creamy vanilla and warm oak wood spice'.
55.2% abv, RRP £74.95/700ml, cotswoldsdistillery.com
Ron La Progresiva Mezcla 13
There's a new Cuban rum in town. Ron La Progresiva Mezcla 13 has been launched in the UK by Island Rum Company as its first premium rum blend.
The rum has been crafted using a blends of some of the island's finest aged rums, from stocks hidden away in the ageing houses of luxury Cuban rum stable, Vigia. It's been blended by a team of female 'Ron Maestros' and is designed as a sipping rum (with a large ice cube and a twist of orange peel, or at room temperature in a balloon glass), although it can be used in classics such as a Negroni or Old Fashioned.
It's low on sugar (only 5.5g/l) and has a 'dry, mellow character with notes of subtle ripe citrus, deep rich sweetness of molasses and smokey, but smooth woody notes'.
41% abv, £43.95/700ml, masterofmalt.com
Disaronno has entered the cream liqueur category with the launch of Disaronno Velvet.
At 17%, it's a lower abv product than the classic and the suggested serve is simply over ice. The bottle is also the same shape as the original, with a square cap, and features a new image.
'The unique tasting experience enjoyed over ice means consumers across the UK can enjoy a completely new product, still with the distinctive taste of Disaronno which is loved around the world, even during this enforced period at home,' said Neil Jardine, managing director of Disaronno International UK. 'The launch is incredibly exciting for us and we have big ambitions for the brand in the UK and entering a new category with the launch of Velvet is only the start.'
Those big ambitions for the brand refers to its announcement that it will be unveiling a new UK subsidiary, Disaronno International UK, which will begin operations in January 2021.
17% abv, RRP £15/500ml, disaronno.com/en
East London Liquor Co to co-create Kew's upcoming spirits
East meets West as East London Liquor Co (ELLC) has been chosen by the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew to co-create and distil its new spirits.
'This is incredible. As a passionate gardener and drinker, someone who's been to Kew Gardens many times, this is an extraordinary opportunity for myself, and for the team at East London Liquor Co,' said founder Alex Wolpert. 'As a young company we all feel truly honoured to have been selected by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, for this partnership, an organisation with a 260-year history.'
Founded by former bartender Wolpert in 2014, ELLC produces and imports award-winning gin, whisky, vodka, rum and other spirits, and will be using seasonal flora from the botanic gardens in the new products.
'Kew Gardens is woven into London's heritage, so we felt it was important to select a distillery that is truly rooted in the city,' said Quincy Leon, head of licensing at RBG Kew. 'East London Liquor Co is part of a historically industrial and creative community... They are also progressive in their outlook, with a real commitment to sustainable production. This chimes in with our ethos.'
Buffalo Trace Experimental 12yo Wheat Bourbon
The Kentucky distillery is releasing its first 'experimental' whiskey for 2020 and its 23rd in total since 2006: a wheat bourbon aged for four year, cut with water, then re-barreled and aged for a further eight years.
It may be unusual to interrupt the aging process, but the Buffalo Trace team are happy with the results. 'We’ve always known water was a necessary component in making whiskey,' said master distiller Harlen Wheatley. 'This experiment helped us to understand how important a role water actually plays in whiskey production.'
The bourbon is described by Wheatley as having a 'nose that is sweet and floral, with notes of oak, vanilla, and a bit of leather. There’s a really smooth creamy mouthfeel here. The taste is a pleasing balance of butterscotch, honey, and wood with a crisp finish.'
45% abv, £38.03/375ml, buffalotracedistillery.com