Top 10 spirit launches in January 2016

Feb 1, 2016by Amy Hopkins

The New Year kicked off with the launch of a highly anticipated Japanese whisky, Nordic bitters and a “really, really ridiculously good looking” limited edition vodka bottle.

January 2016 also saw the release of Glenmorangie’s new Private Edition whisky and a no-age-statement expression from Chivas Brothers’ Longmorn Distillery. A 40-year-old Scotch from Tomintoul distillery made its debut, as Woodford Reserve continued its experimental focus on wood. Looking at those which were made available on the market, as well as those which were unveiled to be released at a later date, this is our round up of the top 10 spirit launches in January 2016. Click through the following pages to discover which brands made the cut.

Marka Bitters

Marka-BittersMarka Bitters is the inaugural product from Oslo Håndverksdestilleri (OHD) – Norway’s first new distillery since 1927. Co-founded by Marcin Miller, of the Number One Drinks Company, OHD is not set to open until June this year. As such, Marka Bitters has been produced at nearby Ægir brewery where OHD’s head distiller, Dave Gardonio, was formerly head brewer. The digestive bitters contains 16 botanicals – including dandelion, bog myrtle and angelica root, and is rested in oak barrels for several months before it is bottled. For more information, click here

Glenmorangie Milsean

Glenmorangie-MilseanGlenmorangie Milsean joins the Scotch whisky brand’s Private Edition collection, which launches a new product each year. Scots Gaelic for ‘sweet things’, Milsean is a no-age-statement Bourbon cask-matured whisky that has been finished in heavily toasted Portugese red wine casks – a first for the experimental distillery. Before the liquid was transferred from one cask to another, Dr Bill Lumsden, director of distilling and whisky experimentation at Glenmorangie, arranged for the wine casks to be charred in order to “enhance the sweeter notes of Glenmorangie”. For more information, click here

Cîroc Derek Zoolander Blue Steel

Ciroc-Zoolander-bottleIn celebration of the premier of Zoolander 2, Diageo launched a limited edition Cîroc Vodka bottle inspired by the film’s star fictional male model Derek Zoolander. Featuring a bespoke blue colour reflecting Zoolander’s famous ‘blue steel’ pose, the bottle was created in collaboration with famed fashion photographer Mario Testino. It is described as a “fashion-forward” and “really, really ridiculously good-looking” bottle. For more information, click here

Yamazaki Sherry Cask 2016

Yamazaki-Sherry-Cask-2016Hoping to match the enormous critical and commercial success of its 2013 edition, Beam Suntory has launched a new version of its Yamazaki Sherry Cask whisky for 2016. Aged in Sherry casks sourced from the Northern region of Spain, the whisky is said to have a “raisin-like, deep sweetness that is both elegant and rich”. At US$300, the no-age-statement expression is double the price of its 2013 incarnate, which was named ‘best world whisky’ by Jim Murray in his Whisky Bible 2015. For more information, click here

Longmorn The Distiller’s Choice

Longmorn-The-Distiller’s-ChoiceAs part of a “renewed focus” on its Longmorn Distillery, Chivas Brothers has released no-age-statement The Distiller’s Choice. The whisky has been triple cask matured in American oak, ex-Oloroso Sherry and “traditional” oak casks. Chivas Brothers said Longmorn 16 Year Old will “remain part of the range”, however the company adds that “more information available in due course”. For more information, click here

Beluga Hunting Noble Bitters

BelugaVodka brand Beluga has moved into the bitters category with the release of two new bottlings last month. Available across Russia, Beluga Hunting Herbal and Beluga Hunting Berry Noble are described as a “unique combination” of Siberian herbs and berries, malt spirit, and water. The bitters have been created at Beluga’s Mariinsk Distillery in Siberia. For more information, click here

Tomintoul Aged 40 Years

Tomintoul-Aged-40-YearsAngus Dundee Distillers launched a special edition Tomintoul Scotch whisky created from four forgotten casks containing whisky that had been laid to rest in 1974. Tomintoul Aged 40 Years carries a £2,500 price tag and has been bottled in handcrafted crystal decanters with crystal glass stopper. It is presented in a wooden gift box, decorated in matte black lacquer. For more information, click here

Woodford Reserve Frosty Four Wood

Woodford-Reserve-Frosty-Four-WoodDeveloped by master distiller Chris Morris, Woodford Reserve Frosty Four Wood is a blend of American oak-aged Woodford Reserve Bourbon that has been finished in Maple, Sherry and Port oak barrels. The whiskey was first unveiled in 2012 as part of Woodford’s Master’s Collection, during which time it was exposed to record-low temperatures during the 2013 Polar Vortex, resulting in “mineral precipitation”. As part of the new Distillery Series, the whiskey has been modified with filtration techniques to produce a “more fruit-forward” taste profile with “hints of maple”. For more information, click here

East London Liquor Company Barrel-Aged Gin

East-London-Liquor-Company-Barrel-Aged-GinEast London Liquor Company has moved into barrel-aged gin with the launch of an “experimental” new range. The first offering in the collection, East London Liquor Company Barrel-Aged Gin, sees the distillery’s signature London Dry Gin aged in French Oak barrels. A further three bottlings will be added to the range throughout 2016. For more information, click here

Rock Oyster Cask Strength

Rock-Oyster-Cask-StrengthFirst launched in January 2015, Rock Oyster is made using Scotch whisky from distilleries across the Scottish isles, including Jura, Islay, Arran and Orkney. Last month, brand owner Douglas Laing & Co. unveiled a cask strength version of the whisky, offering a “massive amplification “ of Rock Oyster’s “coastal qualities” and flavours of peat, honey brine and salt. Bottled at 57.4% abv, the small batch whisky is available as a limited edition. For more information, click here