Top 10 spirits launches in July 2018

A Johnnie Walker bottling featuring liquid from the silent Port Ellen distillery, Seedlip's third non-alcoholic 'spirit' and a Don Julio Tequila finished in Scotch casks have been name-checked in our round-up of last month's launches.

Scotch dominates in our July list with new expressions from Grant's, Chivas Regal, Mortlach and The Famous Grouse. Diageo extended its Johnnie Walker Blue Label Ghost & Rare range with a new expression containing whisky from closed distilleries Port Ellen, Caledonian and Carsebridge. Unusual cask finishes were also at play with a reposado Tequila finished in casks previously used to aged Scotch whisky, and a blend of US and South African brandies finished in Bourbon barrels. Click through the following pages to explore our full round-up of the most interesting spirits launched in July. Which new spirits products caught your eye last month? If we’ve missed your favourite, let us know in the comments section below. 

Johnnie Walker Blue Label Ghost & Rare Port Ellen

Diageo-owned Scotch whisky brand Johnnie Walker Blue unveiled the second edition of its Blue Label Ghost and Rare, a limited edition series featuring whisky from closed distilleries. This special bottling features whisky from silent distilleries Port Ellen, Caledonian and Carsebridge. It also features liquid from Mortlach, Dailuaine, Cragganmore, Blair Athol and Oban. Port Ellen distillery closed its doors in 1983 and the brand is one of the most highly collectible in the Scotch whisky industry. However, in October last year Diageo pledged a £35m investment to restart production at Port Ellen and Brora by 2020. For more information, click here.

Seedlip Grove 42

Alcohol-free ‘spirit’ Seedlip extended its portfolio last month with the launch of a third expression – Grove 42. The new bottling contains three varieties of Mediterranean orange, lemon peel, ginger and lemon distillates, and Japanese sansho peppercorn. Grove 42 opens up a new mixer category for Seedlip, and is recommended served with soda and an orange twist. For more information, click here.

Mortlach trio

Last month, Diageo replaced its Mortlach single malt Scotch range with three new bottlings – 12-year-old Wee Witchie, 16-year-old Distiller’s Dram and 20-year-old Cowie’s Blue Seal. The range replaces the previous four expressions in Mortlach’s range, which comprised Mortlach Rare Old, Special Strength, an 18-year-old and a 25-year-old. Mortlach is produced using a distillation process that effectively distils the liquid 2.81 times. For more information, click here.

Cooper & Kings Geography Bi-Continental Brandy

Copper & King's new Geography Bi-Continental Brandy is a blend of US and South African brandies. The brandies were married together and then aged for an additional two years in Kentucky Bourbon barrels. Master distiller Brandon O’Daniel describes the expression as “beautifully viscous, and balanced with a delicious luminosity”. For more information, click here

Grant's Cask Editions

The core Grant’s range has been streamlined to four expressions: Grant’s Triple Wood, Grant’s Triple Wood Smoky, Grant’s Rum Cask Finish and Grant’s 8 Year Old Sherry Cask Finish. Grant’s Cask Editions is born from “decades” of experimentation by master blender Brian Kinsman and his team. New expression Grant’s Rum Cask Finish has been aged in oak barrels before being matured further in ex-Caribbean-style rum barrels. Meanwhile, Grant’s 8 Year Old Sherry Cask Finish has been aged for eight years in oak barrels before being transferred into oloroso Sherry casks. For more information, click here.

Don Julio Reposado Cask Edition

Last month, Don Julio launched a reposado Tequila finished in casks previously used to aged Scotch whisky for the Buchanan’s blend. It was first matured in American white oak barrels for eight months before moving to the whisky casks, where it was aged for a further 30 days. The Tequila is described as “a rich and nuanced” iteration of the original Don Julio Reposado “with hints of whisky on the finish”. For more information, click here.

Discarded

William Grant & Sons moved into the vermouth category with the launch of Discarded last month. Discarded vermouth is infused with cascara, a waste product in coffee production. It is made by steeping cascara in alcohol and then blending the infusion into the base of a fortified wine along with other botanicals. For more information, click here.

Chivas XV

Pernod Ricard-owned Scotch brand Chivas Regal launched a 15-year-old blend finished in Grande Champagne Cognac casks, exclusively in travel retail. Chivas XV has been designed to be compatible with a “wide range of contemporary serving styles”, including as a shot or mixed in cocktails. For more information, click here.

The Irishman Founder's Reserve – Caribbean Cask Finish

Walsh Whiskey Distillery’s The Irishman Founder’s Reserve – Caribbean Cask Finish has been finished in ex-Chairman’s Reserve casks. It is a limited edition vatting of single pot still and single malt whiskeys, aged in American oak Bourbon barrels before being finished in the Caribbean rum casks. Only 12 casks of the expression will be released, with each cask generating 380 bottles. For more information, click here.

Famous Grouse Ruby Cask

The Famous Grouse Ruby Cask has been rested in Port-seasoned oak casks and is the second expression in the brand’s Cask Series. The range aims to offer whisky fans an affordable way to experiment with different whisky flavours and cask styles. For more information, click here.